My New Book on Jane Austen's Cousin Eliza is Now Available!

Lydia Sherman: The Derby Poisoner and Serial Killer

By Geri Walton | July 26, 2021

Lydia Sherman was born under the surname Danbury on 24 December 1824 in Burlington, New Jersey. Within a year of her birth her mother died. When her father remarried, Sherman chose to live with her uncle, John Claygay, a New Brunswick, New Jersey farmer, because she did not like her stepmother.

Louis Philippe I: King of the French From 1830 to 1848

By Geri Walton | July 19, 2021

Born on 6 October 1773, Louis Philippe became King of the French from 1830 to 1848. He was the son of Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans and Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon (sister-in-law to the Princesse de Lamballe). The younger Louis Philippe inherited the title of the Duke de Chartres and was known for…

Ned Buntline: American Publisher Edward Zane Carroll Judson

By Geri Walton | July 12, 2021

Ned Buntline was the pseudonym of Edward Zane Carroll Judson Sr. who was born on 20 March 1821 in Harpersfield, New York. At the age of five he moved with his parents to Bethany, Pennsylvania, and then at thirteen ran away from home and became a soldier. The next year he shipped out on a…

Spiritualism: A Religious Movement of the 1800s

By Geri Walton | July 5, 2021

Spiritualism was a religious movement that first appeared in the 1840s. It happened in upstate New York in what was called the “Burned-over District” where the religious revivals and new religious movements created such spiritual fervor it seemed to set the area on fire. This area also embraced an environment where many people thought direct…

English Wedding: An Extravagant One in 1853

By Geri Walton | June 28, 2021

Details from an English wedding in “high life” happened in the ancient parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham in Lancashire in 1853 at the parish church, St Mary the Virgin. The extravagant wedding, which was “Old English” in style took place between 26-year-old Dudley Clarke Fitzgerald de Ros, 23rd Baron de Ros (equerry to the Prince Consort) and…

Peter Williamson aka “Indian Peter” of the 18th-Century

By Geri Walton | June 21, 2021

Peter Williamson, also known as “Indian Peter,” was a Scottish memoirist who was part showman, part entrepreneur and inventor. He was born to James Williamson in Hirnlay near Aboyne and he described his parents as “respectable” though not rich.

Belvoir Castle Fire on 26 October 1816

By Geri Walton | June 14, 2021

The Belvoir Castle fire happened on 26 October 1816. This castle, which was really a manor, was first built after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and was in Leicestershire, England west of the town of Grantham and north-east of Melton Mowbray. It was situated at the extreme northerly corner of the county of Leicestershire and…

Hyde Park: Interesting Incidents in the 1700s

By Geri Walton | June 7, 2021

Hyde Park was established by Henry VIII in 1536 and opened to the public in 1637 where it quickly became popular. Major improvements to the park happened in the early eighteenth century under the direction of Queen Caroline. It was also during the eighteenth century that several noteworthy things happened at the park, among which…

Caps: Nightcaps, Monmouth Caps, Thinking Caps, Pudding Caps, and White Caps

By Geri Walton | May 31, 2021

There are all sorts of caps from history. For instance, there was the mythical fairy or ghost in English folklore known as the bluecap and the redcap was a type of malevolent, murderous goblin found in Border folklore. A type of cap you wore on your head was the Liberty cap. It came to represent…

Sarah Forbes Bonetta: Queen Victoria’s Black Goddaughter

By Geri Walton | May 24, 2021

Sarah Forbes Bonetta was originally named Princess Aina and was an Egbado princess of the Yoruba people in West Africa. She was orphaned at the age of five during a war with the Kingdom of Dahomey and then became the slave of King Ghezo. Around 1850, Captain Frederick E. Forbes of the Royal Navy arrived…