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

May Day 1876 and the Coach from Oxford to London

By Geri Walton | April 25, 2022

A new stagecoach commenced running between Oxford and London in 1876, which was the same year that Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a story set in the 1840s about a boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The Oxford and London stagecoach’s first journey was not as…

The Dangers of Eating Buns: A Delicious Delicacy

By Geri Walton | April 18, 2022

Although there were dangers in the Victorian Era and Georgian Era, some people claimed there were dangers in eating buns, at least that was what some newspapers thought in the mid-nineteenth century. These delicacies were delicious treats that people loved for breakfast or for afternoon tea. However, on 31 December 1859, an article previously published…

John Webster: Harvard Lecturer and Convicted Murderer

By Geri Walton | April 11, 2022

John Webster was born on 20 May 1793 and was from a well-connected family where his grandfather achieved success as a merchant. Indulged as a child and pampered in his youth, he enjoyed the best education and graduated from Harvard College. However, for all his advantages he learned nothing about money or how to be…

Jane Austen the Novelist: 25 Facts You Might Not Know

By Geri Walton | April 4, 2022

There may be some things about Jane Austen the novelist that you might not know. To help get you up to speed here are twenty-five facts about her.

Mary Rogers: A Sensational 1841 Murder

By Geri Walton | March 28, 2022

Mary Rogers was a noted American beauty whose body was found in the Hudson River in 1841. Her death was cloaked in mystery and much publicized by the press. There were some people who believed she committed suicide, others who thought she was an object of gang violence, and those who claimed she was victim…

Vanderbilt Ball of 26 March 1883: A Spectacular Affair

By Geri Walton | March 21, 2022

The Vanderbilt ball was an extravagant event held on 26 March 1883 by Alva Vanderbilt and her husband, William Kissam Vanderbilt. It was held as a housewarming at their newly built home located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-second Street in New York. Attendees noted that it was one of the most brilliant…

Elopement of Richard Brinsley Sheridan with Marcia Maria Grant

By Geri Walton | March 14, 2022

In 1835, English newspapers reported on the scandalous elopement of the future Whig politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Marcia Maria Grant, daughter of Lieutenant General John Colquohoun Grant. The elopement happened on 15 May 1835, around the same time that Madame Tussaud was busying establishing her wax museum on Baker Street in London and many…

Edwin Landseer: British Painter of Animals

By Geri Walton | March 7, 2022

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, known as Edwin Landseer, was a British artist well known for his animal portraits of horses, dogs, and stags. He was born in London to John Landseer (an engraver) and Jane Potts on 7 March 1802. It was reported that the young Landseer could draw animals from childhood and that he…

Soapy Smith and His Frontier Scams

By Geri Walton | February 28, 2022

Con artist Jefferson Randolph Smith II, aka Soapy Smith, gained notoriety with his “prize soap racket.” Under a gasoline flare he would sell bars of soap at night. However, to increase sales, he hid $5.00, $10.00, and $50.00 bills in some of the soap packages as prospective customers watched. Like other con men, the soap…

Justice John Byles: Some of His Interesting Court Cases

By Geri Walton | February 21, 2022

Justice John Byles studied law in Britain in the 1820s and 30s and became a member of the Inner Temple, a professional body that provides legal training, selection, and regulation of its members. The Inner Temple was also one of the four inns of the court and to be called to practice as a barrister…