His Name is Mud is a derogatory phrase used to describe a person who is unpopular or out of favour. The obvious allusion is one of a person finding him or herself so low in society opinion that they are wallowing in the mud, but this is not the origin of the phrase. John Wilkes Booth assassinated the popular president, Abraham Lincoln, in Washington’s Ford Theatre on April 14 1865. As he made his escape Booth broke his leg, but still managed to reach his horse and ride away to temporary safety. When he reached the countryside he looked for Dr Samuel Mudd who treated his injury.
Mudd had no idea of the events of the evening but when he heard the following day of the assassination he immediately informed the authorities he had seen Booth. Despite his innocence the good doctor was arrested and later convicted for conspiracy and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1869 Mudd was pardoned and released from jail, but the American public never forgave him for his implied involvement in the assassination plot. It would be another 100 years before Mudd was finally declared innocent and his family name was cleared during the 1970’s.
Extract from Money for Old Rope Parts 1 & 2