Posts by Geri Walton

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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Joseph Vacher: Serial Killer Known as “The French Ripper”

Joseph Vacher was a nineteenth century French serial killer. His place in French social history was much like that of England’s “Jack the Ripper” and so he became known as “The French Ripper” in Paris. Although he was tried and convicted of murdering just two victims, he was thought to have killed somewhere between eleven…

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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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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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