Posts by Geri Walton

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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May Day 1876 and the Coach from Oxford to London

A new stagecoach commenced running between Oxford and London in 1876, which was the same year that Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a story set in the 1840s about a boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The Oxford and London stagecoach’s first journey was not as…

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The Dangers of Eating Buns: A Delicious Delicacy

Although there were dangers in the Victorian Era and Georgian Era, some people claimed there were dangers in eating buns, at least that was what some newspapers thought in the mid-nineteenth century. These delicacies were delicious treats that people loved for breakfast or for afternoon tea. However, on 31 December 1859, an article previously published…

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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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Elopement of Richard Brinsley Sheridan with Marcia Maria Grant

In 1835, English newspapers reported on the scandalous elopement of the future Whig politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Marcia Maria Grant, daughter of Lieutenant General John Colquohoun Grant. The elopement happened on 15 May 1835, around the same time that Madame Tussaud was busying establishing her wax museum on Baker Street in London and many…

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