|Robert Lincoln, son of the 16th president|
Robert Lincoln nearly died on a train platform in Jersey City, New Jersey, in late 1864 or early 1865.
He described the strange synchronicity of events in a 1909 letter to Richard Watson Gilder, editor of The Century Magazine:
“The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car. The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform.
“Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.”
The famed Shakespearean actor did not learn until some months later than the man whose life he’d saved was the son of the president whom his brother would assassinate.