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The First Fete de la Federation of 14 July 1790

By Geri Walton | July 12, 2019

The first Fete de la Federation was established with a proclamation issued on 11 July 1790 by the Marquis de la Fayette. He was the military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War and was a key figure in the French Revolution and later the July Revolution of 1830. The celebration was intended to…

Gigot or Leg of Mutton Sleeves of the 1800s

By Geri Walton | July 8, 2019

Gigot or leg of mutton sleeves were first seen in the sixteenth century. They became fashionable again in the late 1820s and early 1830s (approximately 1824 to 1836) and then once again in the 1890s. Gigot is French for an animal’s leg, particularly a sheep or a lamb, and as that was what the sleeve…

French Royal Hunt of 1773 or the “Incident of Achères”

By Geri Walton | July 5, 2019

The French royal hunt of 1773, also sometimes referred to as the “Incident of Achères.” was only one of many hunts enjoyed by the royal court. King Louis XV loved hunting, as did his grandson, Louis-Auguste. the dauphin and future Louis XVI. In fact, the dauphin loved hunting so much “in preparation for his hunts…

Charles Julius Guiteau’s Plan to Assassinate President James Garfield

By Geri Walton | July 1, 2019

Charles Julius Guiteau’s plan to assassinate President James Garfield happened on 2 July 1881 as the President was walking through the Sixth Street Station of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad in Washington D.C. The assassin, Guiteau, who was an American writer and lawyer, falsely believed he had played a major role in Garfield’s election victory…

Spa Town Tunbridge Wells: Its History

By Geri Walton | June 28, 2019

The spa town Tunbridge Wells is located in western Kent and is the oldest watering place next to Bath. In the late 1700s it was known to offer pure air and healthy waters of the chalybeate type. It was alleged to have been discovered by Dudley Lord North during the reign of James I. However,…

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte: Wife of Jerome Bonaparte

By Geri Walton | June 24, 2019

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte was an American socialite who married Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte’s youngest brother, on 24 December 1803. Elizabeth, who was often referred to as Betsy, was the daughter of Dorcas Spear and William Patterson, who had been born in Ireland in 1752 and who had immigrated from Donegal to North America before the…

Thomas Jefferson’s Love Affair with Maria Cosway

By Geri Walton | June 21, 2019

Thomas Jefferson’s love affair with the Italian-English Maria Cosway began after Jefferson’s wife, Martha Wayles Skelton, died. He had married the widowed Martha in 1772 and they had several children, but weakened by childbirth, she died several months after the birth of her last child in 1782. Of the six children the couple had only…

James Austen: Jane Austen’s Brother

By Geri Walton | June 17, 2019

James Austen was the oldest child of George Austen and Cassandra Leigh. George was the rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon and nearby Deane, and it was while George and Cassandra were living at Deane that she gave birth to James on 13 February 1765. A few weeks later, on 17 March, James was…

Velnos’ Vegetable Syrup Sold by Isaac Swainson

By Geri Walton | June 14, 2019

Isaac Swainson’s famous Velnos’ Vegetable Syrup was a miraculous cure for disease based on vegetables rather than mercury and first appeared in the late 1700s. However, Swainson was not the creator of it. That honor apparently belonged to Jean-Joseph Vergely de Velnos, who then seems to have been aided or succeeded in some way by…

The 11 June 1880 Tragedy: Stonington and Narragansett

By Geri Walton | June 10, 2019

Disasters, no matter how slight, are of public interest, and the 11 June 1880 tragedy between two American passenger steamers was no exception. The accident happened between 11:30pm and midnight in dense fog. At the time, the SS Stonington was west bound heading to New York as its sister ship the SS Narragansett was sailing…