Granbury's folklore is rich with tales about the legend of John St. Helen. St Helen lived in Granbury during the 1870's, the frontier settlements earliest says, and he worked as a bartender at two saloons. One of the saloons where he tended bar was located in the old buildings on the south side of the town square where the Nutshell Eatery and St. Helen's are today.
Many Granbury old-timers believe, and longstanding local tradition says that John St. Helen was in fact John Wilkes Booth, President Abraham Lincoln's assassin.
History says that John Wilkes Booth was shot and killed at Garrett's farm in Virginia shortly after Lincoln's assassination. Some historians believe there was a conspiracy among members of Lincoln's cabinet to murder the president. Legend has it these same high-ranking officials helped Booth escape and the man killed at Garrett's far wasn't the president's assassin.
Booth found his way through the sympathetic South to Glen Rose and then to Granbury where he used the name John St. Helen.
St. Helen disappeared from Glen Rose late one night because a local girl was marrying a US Marshal. Although he owned a store on the grounds of a mill in Glen Rose, St. Helen left for Granbury the same night the betrothed marshal arrived in town.
St. Helen kept his true identity a secret for many years, until he believed he was dying. St. Helen didn't die however and he left Granbury as soon as he recovered.
The mystery of John St. Helen has been featured on two popular television series: "20/20" and "Unsolved Mysteries". In addition it is the subject of an original Granbury Opera House production called "The Myth and the Mummy".
For more information you can contact the Granbury Visitors Center located in the east end of the City Hall building or go to www.granburytx.com.