Posts by Geri Walton

The Largest Slave Auction in U.S. History

The story of America’s largest slave auction involves Pierce Mease who was born to Sarah Butler. Her father was Pierce Butler, an Irish-American, South Carolina rice planter, slaveholder, politician, an officer in the American Revolutionary War. He also served as a state legislator, member of Congress of the confederation, 1787 Constitutional delegate, and member of…

Read More

Lightfoot Brothers: The 1840 Murder of Nevell Norway

The Lightfoot brothers (23-year-old James and 36-year-old William) were both born in the Parish of St. Breock to John Lightfoot and Elizabeth Penaligon. As adults, James and William worked long hours. James maintained that he and William were working in Pencarrow Wood when a man suggested they could “enrich” themselves in a much easier way…

Read More

Tarring and Feathering Attacks in America

Although the phrase tarring and feathering appears to have originated just prior to the American Revolution, the practice was much older having first happened in Europe. One of the earliest reports of it occurring was in 1189 during the time of the English King Richard the Lion-Hearted. Laws and regulations had been drawn up in…

Read More

The Green Goods Scam of the 19th Century

The green goods scam was a fraudulent scheme that involved persuading victims to turn over thousands of dollars in genuine bills that would then be returned to the victims double their value in counterfeit bills. The scam was run by a gang of sharpers, called “green goods men.” They make millions of dollars using denominations…

Read More

Tattooing: A Fad of the Late Nineteenth Century

There is evidence that some of the earliest practices of tattooing happened around 4,000BC. However, despite tattooing have had a long history, public awareness of it did not begin to spread until the 1870s. The reason for this had to do with a legal case that captivated Victorian England and was often known as the…

Read More

François-Adrien Boieldieu: The French Mozart

François-Adrien Boieldieu was born the same day as English novelist Jane Austen, on 16 December 1775. Boieldieu’s father was secretary to Archbishop Larochefoucauld and his mother kept a millinery shop. Unfortunately, unlike Austen’s parents, Boieldieu’s parents were unhappily married, and his father filed for a divorce and married a second time.

Read More

The Many Dogs of George Washington

The dogs of George Washington were of varying breeds and ranged from Greyhounds, Dalmatians, and Newfoundlands, to Briards and terriers. He even had spaniels, just like the French Queen Marie Antoinette and her friend and superintendent of her household, the princesse de Lamballe. Although Washington’s dogs varied, the dog that was most popular with him…

Read More

Return Ward: Ohio’s First Serial Killer

Return Ward was christened Return Jonathan Meigs Ward and was born in Erie County in Ohio on 8 June 1815. His mother died when he was two years old, and his father never remarried. It was hard for his father to raise him and his other children and so Ward was “put out to be…

Read More

James Hadfield: His Attempt on King George III’s Life

James Hadfield was charged with high treason after attempting to assassinate King George III at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on the evening of 15 May 1800. Hadfield was sitting in the second row from the orchestra towards the middle of the pit as King George III entered his box. As usual the King began…

Read More