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Mary Ann Cotton: Female Serial Killer of the 1800s

By Geri Walton | October 26, 2020

Mary Ann Cotton was an English serial killer convicted of poisoning her stepson Charles Edward Cotton. She supposedly did it with arsenic, a terrible poison that causes intense gastric pain and a rapid decline of health. He was also not her only victim as it is likely she also murdered a total of twenty one…

Wyld’s Great Globe: A 1850s and 1860s London Attraction

By Geri Walton | October 19, 2020

Wyld’s Great Globe, also known as Wyld’s Globe or Wyld’s Monster Globe, was a world globe that served as an attraction in London’s Leicester Square between 1851 and 1862. It was constructed based on the ideas of James Wyld, a British geographer and map-seller, who was the oldest son of James Wyld the elder and…

Ina Coolbrith: First California Poet Laureate

By Geri Walton | October 12, 2020

Ina Coolbrith was born in Nauvoo, Illinois, and christened Josephine Donna Smith on 10 March 1841. Her parents were Agnes Moulton Coolbrith and Don Carlos Smith, youngest brother to the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith. Unfortunately, Don Carlos died of tuberculosis four months after Josephine’s birth and her…

Château de Rambouillet, the Estate, and its History

By Geri Walton | October 5, 2020

The Château de Rambouillet also known in English as the Castle of Rambouillet, is a château in the town of Rambouillet in northern France about 31 miles southwest of Paris. It was originally a fortified manor that dates to 1368. King Francis I died there in 1547 and during the reign of Louis XVIII it…

Virginia City: An American Silver Mining Boomtown

By Geri Walton | September 28, 2020

Virginia City developed as a boomtown after the January discovery in 1859 of the first major U.S. silver ore deposit known as the Comstock Lode.* Located in Storey County in the state of Nevada, the population reached around 25,000 in the mid-1870s and then declined after 1878. In addition, some people consider Virginia City to…

Fouquier-Tinville: Purveyor to the Guillotine

By Geri Walton | September 21, 2020

Fouquier-Tinville was born Antoine Quentin Fouquier de Tinville and became a French public prosecutor who, because of his zealous prosecutions during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror, earned the nickname “Purveyor to the Guillotine.” Born in Herouël, a village in the Aisne department, he was the son of a seigneurial landowner. He studied…

Hell on Wheels: Temporary Cities of the Transcontinental Railroad

By Geri Walton | September 14, 2020

“Hell on Wheels” was an itinerant tent city that included a collection of gambling houses, dance halls, saloons, and brothels that moved from place to place in the 1860s as it followed the army of Union Pacific railroad workers who were constructing the First Transcontinental Railroad in North America. It also formed mushrooming municipalities and…

Pug Collectibles and Trinkets in the 1700 and 1800s

By Geri Walton | September 7, 2020

Pug collectibles and trinkets were plentiful in the 1700 and 1800s because at the time pugs were a popular dog breed having been introduced beginning in the seventeenth century into Europe from China. “Pugs at this time looked somewhat different than today. They had fewer facial wrinkles, longer legs, and clipped ears, a practice that…

Elisha Perkins: Eighteenth-century Metallic Tractor Inventor

By Geri Walton | August 31, 2020

Elisha Perkins was a United States physician and inventor who created a fraudulent medical device to cure inflammation, rheumatism, and pain. His story begins when he was born on 16 January 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut to and Mary Bushnell II and Joseph Perkins, who had graduated from Yale College in 1727 and practiced medicine in…

Midwinter Fair: California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894

By Geri Walton | August 24, 2020

The California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894, referred to as the “Midwinter Fair,” was a World’s Fair, like the U.K.’s Great Exhibition or Paris’ Exposition Universelle. The Midwinter Fair came about after U.S. President Benjamin Harrison, grandson to the ninth U.S. President, William Henry Harrison, appointed Californian Michael H. de Young as a national commissioner…