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

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…

The Beecher-Tilton Scandal of 1875: A Shocking Event

By Geri Walton | May 17, 2021

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…

Being a Jane Austen Sibling: Her Brothers and Sister

By Geri Walton | May 10, 2021

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…

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

By Geri Walton | May 3, 2021

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.…

Ferris Wheel: The 1800s Invention and Its Inventor

By Geri Walton | April 26, 2021

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…

Children of Marie Antoinette: A Brief History of Each

By Geri Walton | April 19, 2021

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…

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

By Geri Walton | April 12, 2021

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…

Josiah Henson and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

By Geri Walton | April 5, 2021

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…

Madame Rachel: A Victorian Era Con Artist

By Geri Walton | March 29, 2021

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…