Christmas in Springfield, Illinois, 1862

A while back, I posted about Mary Lincoln’s close friend Mercy Conkling (née Levering). In December 1862, the Conklings’ oldest son, Clinton, was attending college at Yale, where he remained over the Christmas holidays. Accordingly, on December 28, 1862, his mother wrote to him to tell him of the family’s celebrations back home in Springfield, Illinois, …

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Happy Anniversary to Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd!

On Friday, November 4, 1842, Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd married. Sometime around the beginning of 1841, they had broken up, for reasons that still elude historians today. Having resumed their courtship (and what brought the pair back together is equally debatable), the couple made no one aware of their impending nuptials until the morning of the …

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Mercy Levering Conkling: Friend of Mary Lincoln

First, let me apologize for not posting here for such a long time. I do have a good excuse: we have spent the last few months preparing our house for sale, putting the house on the market, selling it, and (finally!) moving from North Carolina to Maryland. I’m enjoying it here, especially the easy access …

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Researching Jasper: A Guest Post by Tony Riches

I’m delighted to be hosting Tony Riches, author of Jasper: Book Two of the Tudor Trilogy, a novel about one of my favorite people, Jasper Tudor! Over to Tony: Researching JASPER – Book Two of The Tudor Trilogy, by Tony Riches Wales had become a dangerous place for the Tudors by 1471 – and the …

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Gambling on a Name: Guest Post by Sean Cunningham

I’m delighted to have historian Sean Cunningham doing a guest post today in connection with his new biography, Prince Arthur: The Tudor King Who Never Was. Welcome! Gambling on a Name? Prince Arthur, Legend and the Survival of the Tudor Crown Until very recently, political leaders have rarely been willing gamblers with their own power …

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Louis Weichmann: Boarder and Witness

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 then to Philadelphia, where Weichmann attended the Central High School. One of his classmates was …

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On the Trail of the Yorks: Excerpt from Kristie Dean’s New Book

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 is here to tell us about a castle she knew. Over to Kristie: Before Anne …

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Mary Surratt’s Loyal Daughter: Anna Surratt

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, she would be known simply as “Anna.” Though married to a non-Catholic, Mary Surratt had …

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The Schoolteacher and the Surratt Family

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. Born in 1834 (according to her death certificate), Anna Ward emigrated with her parents, William …

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