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Revolt at Levant Penitentiary with 14 Boys Roasted Alive

By Geri Walton | October 25, 2019

On 3 October 1866 14 boys were roasted alive because of a revolt at Levant Penitentiary, a juvenile facility, located on the Île du Levant, sometimes referred to as Le Levant. It is a French island in the Mediterranean off the coast of the Riviera, near Toulon and is the largest of the four islands…

Philadelphia Austen Hancock: Eliza de Feuillide’s Mother

By Geri Walton | October 21, 2019

Philadelphia Austen Hancock was born on 15 May 1730 to a not so successful surgeon in Tonbridge named William Austen and his wife Rebecca Walter née Hampson, who had been married before and had a son, William Hampson Walter. In addition, three other children were born to William and Rebecca: Hampson in 1728 (who died…

Napoleon Bonaparte Portraits: Important Historical Moments

By Geri Walton | October 18, 2019

There are many Napoleon Bonaparte portraits that provide important historical moments in his life. Yet, it is somewhat surprising that any portraits of Napoleon exist as he almost never willingly sat for any painter. In fact, he was notorious for disliking to sit and even believed that portraits should demonstrate his character rather than capture…

Parliament Fire of 1834: The Night it Burned Down

By Geri Walton | October 14, 2019

The same year that Madame Tussaud established her Chamber of Horrors, was the same year that the parliament fire of 16 October 1834 began. Apparently, the Exchequer needed to dispose of an obsolete accounting system that had not been used since 1826. The system relied on elongated tally sticks described as follows: “[A tally is…

Joachim Murat: The Flamboyant “Dandy King”

By Geri Walton | October 11, 2019

Joachim Murat was a handsome successful man who became King of Naples despite beginning his life in a humble way. He was born in Guyenne, France, on 25 March 1767 and was the eleventh child of Pierre Murat-Jordy (an affluent innkeeper and postmaster) and Jeanne Loubières. His parents wanted him to serve in a church…

Edward Austen Knight and His Fairy Tale Life

By Geri Walton | October 7, 2019

Edward Austen Knight’s fairy tale life began after Thomas Knight II* and his wife, Catherine Knatchbull of Chilham in Kent, adopted him. “Neddy,” as Edward was affectionately called, was the son of George and Cassandra Austen and born on 7 October 1768. He was their third son and described as a sweet, lovable, easy-going blond-headed…

Rutherford Birchard Hayes: America’s 19th President

By Geri Walton | October 4, 2019

Rutherford Birchard Hayes is considered the first of the five presidents to be elected during the Gilded Age, a period that involved serious social problems masked by a thin gold gilding and generally recognized as existing from the 1870s to 1900. Hayes won the presidency in 1877. His victory was highly unusual as he was…

Hetty Green: The Witch of Wall Street

By Geri Walton | September 30, 2019

Born on 21 November 1834, Hetty Green was nicknamed the “Witch of Wall Street” probably because of her miserly and frugal ways, her severe Quaker dress, and the stiff competition she brought against her male counterparts. Henrietta “Hetty” Howland Robinson was the daughter of Edward Mott Robinson and his wife Abby Slocum Howland. She born…

Rotten Row Accidents in Hyde Park in the 1800s

By Geri Walton | September 27, 2019

How Rotten Row acquired its name seems to be shrouded in controversy what is not controversial is the fact that it became a popular meeting spot for London’s upper classes, who in the eighteenth century frequented it on weekends on horseback. In addition, the adjacent South Carriage Drive also soon began to be used by…

John Paul Jones: Pirate, Sailor, and Hero

By Geri Walton | September 23, 2019

John Paul Jones was the son of John Paul Sr. and Jean McDuff. He was born on 6 July 1747 at the estate of Arbigland near Kirkbean on the southwest coast of Scotland and was christened John Paul, but later added Jones as his surname. At the age of 13 Jones began his maritime career…