John M. Lloyd

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John Minchin Lloyd (between 1835-36 – December 18, 1892) was a former Washington, D.C. policeman who played a key role in the trial of the conspirators in the Abraham Lincoln assassination. Arrested and charged in the conspiracy, his testimony helped convince authorities of the guilt of Mary Surratt, who became the first woman executed by the United States Government.


Lloyd became a policeman in the late 1850s, but resigned in 1862. Two years later, he moved to the rural hamlet of Surrattsville, in Prince Georges County, Maryland. In October 1864, he rented a local tavern from the widowed Mary Surratt for $500 a year and served as its innkeeper, as well as being engaged in farming her land.

Following the Lincoln assassination on April 14, 1865, Federal soldiers arrested Mrs. Surratt as being a key person within the conspiracy. Lloyd was also arrested and kept in solitary confinement until he agreed to testify against Mrs. Surratt. He informed the military tribunal that conspirators John Surratt, George Atzerodt, and David Herold had visited the tavern and asked him to hide a pair of carbines, ammunition, some rope, and a monkey wrench on the premises. He and John Surratt did so on March 13, hiding the package in the ceiling joists above the tavern's main dining room.

Lloyd later implicated Mrs. Surratt as having knowledge of the weapons. She was convicted and hanged, primarily on his testimony. Lloyd was freed and allowed to go his way. For much of the rest of his life, he lived in south Washington.

Lloyd died in the District of Columbia from complications from injuries suffered in a fall from a collapsing building scaffold in about 1892. He is buried there in Mount Olivet Cemetery, less than 100 yards south of Mary Surratt's grave.

John M. Lloyd Sr. (born 1941), John M. Lloyd II (born 1976) and John M. Lloyd III (born 2013) are his only known descendants living to the present day (2014), related to Lloyd through Lloyd's brother. John M. Lloyd Sr. was the last of the Lloyds of southern Maryland to be a police officer in the family to present. Lloyd II and III are authentic American Civil War living historians as a family hobby, ironically.


  • Lloyd, Daniel Boone, The Lloyds of Southern Maryland. Washington D.C.: self-published, 1971.
  • United States Army Military Commission. The Assassination of President Lincoln: And the Trial of the Conspirators. Washington D.C.: Moore, Wilstach & Boldwin, 1865.