John Brown

Shopping with Francis J. Meriam

On October 13, 1859, 21-year-old Francis J. Meriam left Barnum’s City Hotel  in Baltimore to go on a shopping trip. The grandson of Francis Jackson, a prominent Boston abolitionist, Meriam had read of John Brown’s exploits in Kansas and may have even gone out there to join him, although he never caught up with Brown. …

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Another Boardinghouse, Another Conspiracy

In 1865, a widowed Washington, D.C., boardinghouse keeper named Mary found herself at the center of a conspiracy: to kidnap President Lincoln. When the conspiracy plot turned into an assassination plot, Mary Surratt paid with her life, being hanged on July 7, 1865. Nearly six years earlier, however, another widowed boardinghouse keeper named Mary was …

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A Stop by the (First) Washington Monument

A few days ago, my family and I stopped by Maryland’s own Washington Monument–the first such structure erected to honor George Washington. In 1859, John Brown’s son Owen, fleeing with others after the raid at Harpers Ferry, stopped by the monument as well. In an interview by Ralph Keeler published in the March 1874 of …

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What’s New?

Recently, I added this nifty carte-de-visite to my modest collection of Lincoln memorabilia–a memorial photograph that’s a composite of photos taken during his presidency. Aside from what’s new in my collection, what’s new in my writing? While awaiting publication of The First Lady and the Rebel (coming in October!) I’ve been busy working on another …

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