America/United States

Robert Burns 119th Birthday Celebration in 1878

Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and lyricist who pioneered the Romantic movement and is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. He also became a cultural icon in Scotland and a great source of inspiration world-wide because he influenced people like William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Steinbeck, and Alexander…

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Copper King Mansion and William A. Clark

William A. Clark built the 34-room Copper King Mansion in Butte, Montana between 1884 and 1889. It was situated in what was called Uptown and was reported to have nine fireplaces imported from France, ninety doors, and six-hundred and thirty-nine windowpanes. In addition, there was a grand staircase, known as the “Staircase of All Nations”…

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Memorial Day Observances in America in 1885

Memorial Day is an American holiday in which Americans honor the dead and remember those who died while in the armed services. The holiday originated in the aftermath of the American Civil War when a movement formed to honor dead soldiers on both sides of the conflict. This day of remembrance was initially called Decoration…

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Black Cats: An Enterprising Hoax in 1891

Everyone has probably heard about the many superstitions surrounding cats, particularly black cats. For instance, one of the oldest and most enduring superstitions about black cats is related to them crossing your path. In America it was predicted that if you such a thing happened you would suffer bad luck whereas in Britain, Ireland, Japan…

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Harry Morse: “Bloodhound of the Far West”

Harry Morse (Henry Nicholson Morse) was an Old West lawman elected in 1863 as the sheriff of Alameda County, California. He served in that capacity from 1864 to 1878. Because of his tracking skills he became a celebrated and legendary figure partly because he found and captured some of the most notorious and infamous outlaws…

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Strange and Terrible Deaths in the 1800s

There were many strange and terrible deaths in the 1800s and among them is a story from 1879 about a poor woman roasted alive in her carriage. It all began when Mrs. Honora Lacy left her home in Chester County. She was traveling to Wilmington, Delaware to buy a large quantity of cotton, straw, and…

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The Cowboy: An American West Icon

The word cowboy did not begin to come into wide usage until the 1870s. In the nineteenth century, George Parsons, a licensed attorney turned banker lived in Arizona Territory in Tombstone and kept a detailed diary of what it was like to live in the Old West. He described the cowboy in this fashion:

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John Webster: Harvard Lecturer and Convicted Murderer

John Webster was born on 20 May 1793 and was from a well-connected family where his grandfather achieved success as a merchant. Indulged as a child and pampered in his youth, he enjoyed the best education and graduated from Harvard College. However, for all his advantages he learned nothing about money or how to be…

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Mary Rogers: A Sensational 1841 Murder

Mary Rogers was a noted American beauty whose body was found in the Hudson River in 1841. Her death was cloaked in mystery and much publicized by the press. There were some people who believed she committed suicide, others who thought she was an object of gang violence, and those who claimed she was victim…

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Vanderbilt Ball of 26 March 1883: A Spectacular Affair

The Vanderbilt ball was an extravagant event held on 26 March 1883 by Alva Vanderbilt and her husband, William Kissam Vanderbilt. It was held as a housewarming at their newly built home located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-second Street in New York. Attendees noted that it was one of the most brilliant…

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