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Of the residents of Mary Surratt’s boardinghouse, the best known–and the most controversial–is Louis Weichmann, whose testimony would help send his landlady to the gallows. Weichmann was born in Baltimore in 1842. His father, a tailor, moved to Washington and …

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I’m delighted to be hosting my friend Kristie Dean on her blog tour for her latest book, On the Trail of the Yorks! Today is the anniversary of the death of Anne Neville, future queen of Richard III, and Kristie …

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The second of John and Mary Surratt’s three children, Elizabeth Susanna Surratt was born on New Year’s Day, 1843, and was christened on December 10 of that year at St. Peter’s Church in Washington, D.C. For most of her life, …

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The failed conspiracy to kidnap President Lincoln in 1865, and the conspiracy to assassinate him which grew out of the first, drew a host of disparate people into their orbit. Among them was a Catholic schoolteacher named Anna F. Ward. …

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The Christmas Shopping Trip that Never Was

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On December 23, 1864, Louis Weichmann left his Washington, D.C., boardinghouse to do some Christmas shopping for gifts for his sisters. Instead, he was waylaid by history. Weichmann, age twenty-two, was employed in the War Department. In the fall of …

 

Sarah Slater and Her Souvenir Spoons: Her Last Will and Testament

As those who are familiar with the goings-on at Mary Surratt’s boardinghouse know, one of the more intriguing characters to pass through its doors was a veiled lady named Sarah Slater, a courier for the Confederate government who traveled on …

 

It’s Easy as Pie (Chart) to Write Wars of the Roses/Tudor Fiction!

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Inspired by this pie chart about how to write a novel about Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, I decided to post a few of my own helpful pie charts on my Facebook page. As not everyone hangs out there, I’m …

 

Mary Surratt’s Boarders

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In the fall of 1864, Mary Surratt, a widow from Prince George’s County, Maryland, moved to Washington, D.C. and opened her property at 541 H Street (the light-colored house below)┬áto boarders. Mary’s late husband, John, had acquired the house years …

 

Two Letters from a Grieving Daughter

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Whatever one believes about the guilt or innocence of Mary Surratt, her daughter, Anna, is surely deserving of our sympathy. On July 6, 1865, she had been given the horrifying news that her mother would be executed; the following day, …

 

July 6-7, 1865

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On July 6, 1865, General John F. Hartranft, who had been placed in charge of Washington, D.C.’s Old Arsenal Prison, went from cell to cell, informing Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell (known at the time by his alias of Lewis Payne), …