8. James William Boyd
In 1865, Captain James William Boyd, an officer of the Confederacy, was released after having been captured by the Union. He was due to meet his son and travel to Mexico when he vanished without trace. Boyd’s disappearance is the subject of a conspiracy theory that he was killed after being mistaken for John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. Boyd was said to somewhat resemble Booth and shared the same initials, none of which seems to be hard evidence, and the theory has been proposed, discounted, ridiculed, and fictionalized by a whole host of historians and writers, most of whom relegate Captain Boyd to a subplot in someone else’s drama.
What is known is that Boyd was held as a prisoner of war by the Union until February 1865, when he was released so that he could return home to take care of his seven children, his wife having died while he was incarcerated. His son is said to have received a letter telling him to meet Boyd in Brownsville, Texas, but Boyd never showed up for the rendezvous, and no further word was ever received from him.