Posts by Geri Walton

The Beecher-Tilton Scandal of 1875: A Shocking Event

The Beecher-Tilton scandal involved Henry Ward Beecher and Elizabeth Tilton. Henry was a well-known and popular New York clergyman and Elizabeth was the wife Theodore Tilton. In addition, both the Tiltons were members of Henry’s Brooklyn congregation and in fact, Theodore and Henry were good friends. Theodore had served as Henry’s assistant from 1860 to…

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Being a Jane Austen Sibling: Her Brothers and Sister

Being a Jane Austen sibling meant being one of eight children in a family whose father was George Austen and whose mother was Cassandra Leigh. George was an Anglican rector who descended from wool manufacturers and rose to the lower ranks of the landed gentry and Cassandra was a member of the aristocratic Leigh family…

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Tompkins Square Park Riot of 1874: The Workingmen’s Fight

The Tompkins Square Park riot of 1874 happened on 13 January when American working men gathered in protest over the loss of jobs. It all began with a depression that started in 1873 when railroad owner Jay Cooke issued millions of dollars of worthless stock, investors panicked, and banks closed resulting in an economic collapse.…

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Ferris Wheel: The 1800s Invention and Its Inventor

The Ferris wheel was invented because of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Prior to the Exposition, meetings were held throughout the country and attended by engineers and architects. It was asserted at one of these gatherings that American architects had glorified themselves by the magnificent buildings they had built but that civil engineers had contributed…

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Children of Marie Antoinette: A Brief History of Each

The children of Marie Antoinette included two girls and two boys, the girls being the oldest and youngest. All four children were born in France, welcomed within an eight year period, and well-loved by their parents. However, despite their splendid start and their royal connections all the children of Marie Antoinette and King Louis would…

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Jobs for Horses: What Work They Did in the 1800s

Plenty of jobs for horses existed in the nineteenth century. For instance, because these animals were the primary means of transportation, “every pound of freight that traveled on the … railroad network required local delivery, and in most cases, horses provided the motive power.”[1] Because of such work requirements horses were plentiful in the 1800s…

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Josiah Henson and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

Josiah Henson was an author, abolitionist, and minister who escaped slavery in the United States with his story being supposedly utilized by Harriet Beecher Stowe when she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Henson was born on 15 June 1789 on a farm in Port Tobacco in Maryland that was owned by Francis Newman. Henson’s father was…

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Madame Rachel: A Victorian Era Con Artist

Sarah Rachel Russell was born into a Jewish theatrical family around 1814 and became known as Madame Rachel, an infamous criminal and con artist who operated in Victorian London. She was purportedly cousin to musician Henry Russell, an English pianist, baritone singer, and composer. She was poor and illiterate and grew up in London’s East…

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Cats in the 1700s: Pleasant and Unpleasant Tales

There are many interesting tales about cats in the 1700s. For instance, the same year that Jane Austen was born, it was reported that a “melancholy accident happened” because of a crazed cat in Doctors-Commons, on St. Bennet’s Hill, in London. It began when the family of a Mr. Gardner shut a cat up in…

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Trial of the Detectives and Harry Benson and William Kurr

The “Trial of the Detectives” was a notorious police corruption scandal that involved officers at Scotland Yard in 1877. The criminals who bribed certain Scotland Yard officers were two swindlers, Harry Benson and William Kurr. In the end, both Benson and Kurr became notorious enough that their wax figures ended up in Madame Tussaud’s Chamber…

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