If you have to steal, steal from the best…

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This week’s eleventh assignment is about the wonderful world of prose. Historians fall all along the perspective when it comes to style. Some have the ability to elevate a moment to the sublime. While others have the unfortunate ability to make even the most sublime moment seem deadly dull. Our assignment this week is to analyze and slavishly imitate another historian’s style. To this end, I have chosen David Starkey, a British Monarchy historian and author of Elizabeth: The Struggle to the Throne.

Starkey employs two distinct modes of language in this book. One is bold, sweeping language of empire, littered with recognizable mythological and literary references (pp. 60):

How quickly men forget. Henry VIII had bestridden England like a colossus and, on 31 January, when his death was finally announced to a dumbstruck parliament, everyone, led by the Lord Chancellor, wept copious tears. Were they crying for Henry? Or for fear of their own, uncertain futures, now that the royal rock on which England had been rebuilt was gone?

The other is a more intimate, quirky, and thoroughly English staccato, with phrases like “willy-nilly” and “pernickety” thrown in for good measure (pp 18-19).

When Mary [Tudor] arrived at Hatfield, she set herself to be as difficult as possible. And, since she was a Tudor, she succeeded. She spent days in her chamber, weeping uncontrollably. She fell ill. When she convalesced, her peculiar dietary requirements set the household in turmoil and greatly increased its costs. And there was one thing she would not do. She would not acknowledge Elizabeth as Princess. She was, she explained, prepared to call her sister, just as she referred to the King’s bastard son, the Duke of Richmond, as her brother. But she would never address her as Princess. And, despite Lady Shelton’s threats (rather unwillingly administered), her father’s studied neglect, the loss of her jewels and the refusal to serve her food in her chamber which forced her to dine in the hall, she stuck to her guns. Elizabeth was a highly precocious child, so it is just possible that some of her earliest memories were of Mary, red-eyed and resentful, stamping her foot as she refused to curtsy to her baby half-sister.

I will attempt to emulate David Starkey’s staccato style by rewriting a paragraph from my History 711 paper entitled, The Curious Case of Marie Glass.

Under Spanish law, women occupied an interesting position in society. Spanish society, Catholic and highly patriarchal, held women responsible for Original Sin. They, therefore, were placed in a specially protected legal category, along with children, mentally handicapped, and criminals. Their lives were controlled by their fathers, brothers, or other male relatives, until they married or reached majority at 25 years of age. This, however, did not extend to les femmes de couleur libre. Their fair complexions triggered the male urge to protect them as white women. But their negro ancestry signaled their vulnerability to be acquired for a price. Because of their negro ancestry, les femmes de couleur libre were attributed with a sultry, hyper-sexuality. They were perceived as highly seductive and a bit dangerous, just like the ancient Sirens’ song.

Gumbo Ya-Ya

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Taking Possession of Louisiana and the River Mississippi by Cavalier De La Salle (c. 1860) This color lithograph by Bocquin was printed by Lemercier & Cie. It illustrates the historic moment when the newfound territory received its name in honor of King Louis XIV of France. The Historic New Orleans Collection

For this week’s tenth assignment, we are examining historical theory, a big, unifying idea that historians use to understand trends in human events. For Frederick Jackson Turner, that unifying event was the American Frontier. For Richard White in, “Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America,” it was the transcontinental railroad. I think a more apt framework to view American history through would be “borderlands” theory. This theory is similar to the frontier theory but lacks its western biases. Whereas the frontier theory implies that The West was largely empty until white settlers arrived, the borderlands theory studies the interaction of indigenous and immigrant peoples on the edges of civilizations. Oxford Bibliographies Online defines borderland as “both a place and a historiographic methodology, although historians often combine the two uses. A borderland, in its loosest definition, is a place where two entities (usually nations or societies) border each other. As a methodology, borderlands studies question what happens when distinct societies rub against each other or contest lands in between. What do those situations tell us about both the core societies and the spaces in between?”

New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Natchez historically functioned as an interrelated system

My research focus and my heart lies with New Orleans and South Louisiana. This region is an amalgamation of five distinct cultural influences: Native American, French, Spanish, Senegambian Africans, and after the Louisiana Purchase in 1804, Anglo-American. It is a veritable gumbo ya-ya, an expression meaning, everyone talking at once, or less traditional, a mixture of different cultures. New Orleans was founded in 1699 by brothers, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville and Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville on a high natural levee at the furthermost point an ocean-going vessel could safely navigate the Mississippi River. For the first 100 years, the European influence (first France, then Spain) mixed somewhat peacefully with Native populations, the Natchez, Choctaw, Bayougoula peoples. About 1726, slaves from Senegambia region of North Africa began to be transported to Louisiana. For the most part, these four cultural groups co-existed simultaneously with only a handful of half-hearted attempts at cultural dominance by the Europeans. These attempts were mostly directed at the Native American populations and led to several brief “wars” with the Natchez Indians in the 1720-30s. The slave and gens du couleur libre (or free people of color) communities kept their African culture and traditions fairly well intact throughout both the French and Spanish Period. It was not until the American period where this trend was forcibly reversed.

Two Mardi Gras Maskers

Louisiana during its colonial period was never more than a backwater post. France never made much investment into its infrastructure. The intent was to make Louisiana into a supply hub for raw materials to support France’s other Caribbean colonies but the other colonies had little need of the abundant supply of furs that Louisiana produced. For a time, France used Louisiana to rid its own population of prostitutes, criminals, and destitute. Frontier borderland conditions and a lack of guaranteed survival created a lessening of societal constraints imposed upon colonists. Native American, African and European populations were able to mix and cohabit with complete disregard to the desires of European metropole and colonial authorities. Its inhabitants were reliant on the Native Indians for survival and food, since the colony was nearly always on the verge of starvation and prone to outbreaks of yellow fever. Because of the close contact and a lack of suitable European women, single male colonists took Indian women for wives and concubines. The same occurred once African slaves were imported to Louisiana. Civil and religious authorities were divided on European-Native American unions and debated the practicalities and harm the offspring of these unions caused. However, there was no debate on European-African unions. They were adamantly opposed and banned by law. But despite official disapproval, both practices continued.

Congo Square, a gathering place for slaves and free people of color. Its now the site of Louis Armstrong Park, home to Jazz Fest.

Buried in the archives of the French Superior Council and the Spanish Cabildo, are the daily records of the Louisiana Colony. The cultural mash-up described above is clearly visible in the files. There are many defamation of character suits brought about by people intent on maintaining (or re-establishing) good characters, which was vital in a region infamous as dumping ground for undesirables. There are many wills and probates, which stipulate how property was to be divided. A careful reading of these documents will give the researcher information on the racial makeup of the offspring in question. *hint* “Natural” children refer to offspring of a plaçage relationship, between a wealthy European man and a femme du couleur libre (or freeborn woman of color). There are trials for assaults, theft, and murder where you can clearly see the effects of color, class, and gender being played out.

Several Mardi Gras Indians paraded through the streets. These costumes are all handmade and hand-beaded by the men themselves each year.

This cultural mash-up is still present today. The Mardi Gras Indians and Zulu are two great examples. The Mardi Gras Indians are African-Americans who claim that their ancestors mixed with the Native Americans and have adopted traditional (with a twist) Indian apparel. Zulu pays homage to several different traditions: Native African culture and black-face minstrelsy. The Zulu king wears a grass skirt and is followed by A Witch Doctor, usually distinguishable by the bone in his nose. The Jazz Funeral and the Call and Answer songs go back to Africa as well. And speaking of Jazz,  Louis Armstrong Park the current location where Jazz Fest is held every year, was once the site of the Famous Congo Square, where slaves and gens du couleur libres gathered on Sundays to dance and sing in traditional African ways, and to market their wares. The Vieux Carré, better known as the French Quarter, is actually Spanish in architecture. And who could forget Mardi Gras?

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? Cause I sure do!

New Orleans Celebrates Mardi Gras

More that just a Cup o’ Joe

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Krimmel's The Quilting Frolic (1813)

This week’s eighth assignment pertains to objects and material culture. No offense to Freud but sometimes a cigar is more than just a cigar. Objects can tell us a lot about its parent culture: what they thought or believed; what they memorialized or celebrated; and some objects could have covert or subversive meanings which could be hidden in plain sight. For this assignment we are examining objects in a painting by John Lewis Krimmell entitled, The Quilting Frolic (1813).

I chose the coffee mill in the lower right corner of the painting. The object is a box mill coffee grinder which received its first United States patent in 1798 and was the twenty-six patent issued by the Federal government. In 1832, the second U.S. patent for box mills was granted to the Parker brothers, who manufactured their mill until 1932. The box mill consisted of a small box with a brass or iron hopper, where the roasted coffee beans would be placed, a crank burr grinder, and a drawer below the hopper to catch the ground coffee.

London Coffee house 17th c.

Coffeehouse satire

There has been some scholarly debate about the role coffee played in the revolutionary period and the early republic. One side claims that American’s love of coffee stemmed from a rejection of all things British (i.e. tea) and that drinking coffee was a way of showing support for America’s independence. Coffee was subversive and the stimulant of choice after the self-imposed ban on British tea which American patriots dumped into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party. The other side rejects this notion by citing the proliferation of coffee-houses in England starting in the late 1600s. They claim that the drink itself had nothing to do with revolutionary forces but that the culture that sprang up around coffeehouses offered intellectuals a public forum to discuss the issues (social, economic, and political) of the day.

Krimmel’s completed his painting in 1813 one year into the War of 1812, which pitted America against Britain in what some claim to be the Second American Revolution. British blockades of U.S. ports created a shortage of tea, which was probably a better explanation for Americans’ preference for the dark, seductive beverage. Coffee from Brazil was closer and cheaper to import than tea from Ceylon and India. America was also experiencing a love affair with all things French and the French were avid coffee drinkers. By 1830, Americans consumed about three pounds per person a year. It soared to five and a half pounds by 1850 and to a whopping eight pounds by 1859. The Civil War cemented America’s love of coffee as soldiers on both sides received coffee bean rations. By 1900, Americans drank nearly half of the world’s supply of coffee annually.

Coffee has always been a communal activity. It’s not surprising that Krimmel chose to represent it in his painting. Whether you agree or disagree on its subversive properties, coffee is usually enjoyed in groups and it leads to an exchange of ideas. It has been celebrated for its stimulating properties: socially, physically, and intellectually.

Allen, Stewart Lee. The Devil’s Cup: Coffee the Driving Force in History. (New York: Soho Press, 1999).

Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our Lives. (New York: Basic Books, 2010).

Wild, Antony. Coffee: A Dark History. (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co, 2004).

The Trouble with Maps

Barrow Plantation Map

This week’s seventh assignment deals with maps; their usefulness and their ability to be misleading. In this assignment, we examining the 1860 and 1881 maps of the Barrow Plantation in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. The original use of these maps was to show how a southern plantation when from being a consolidated system prior to the American Civil War to an atomized series of tenant farms during the Reconstruction.

David C. Barrows Jr

The Barrow Plantation map as it is traditionally shown has an error. From its current orientation, most readers will assume incorrectly that the plantation is situated on a river with a north-south flow. However, the Little River actually flows east-west. The map is sideways. It was first printed by David Crenshaw Barrow in a Scribners Monthly magazine article in 1881, entitled, “A Georgia Plantation.” In my search for the actual location of the plantation, I searched the census records for the author of the above article. David C. Crenshaw, (Jr.) was born on his father’s plantation, Syll’s Fork Place, on October 18, 1852. He became the Chancellor of the University of Georgia in 1905 and he was honored by the State of Georgia by having a county (Barrow County) named after him. On the 1860 census, the post office was listed as Lexington, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. I entered that location into Google maps. I zoomed in as much as it would go and turned on the terrain feature, which gave the names of all the rivers, creeks, and bodies of water and dragged the map around until I found the Little River which was about 16 miles southeast of Lexington, Ga. The Syll’s fork (map) is currently called Slys Fork; Branch Creek is Andrew Branch; Wright Creek is White Creek; Little River is North Fork Little River and the unnamed road is Jackson Place Rd NW, just off of GA-22/Lexington Road NW.

Satellite view of Barrow Plantation

From an extreme close up satellite view, I was unable to determine it the plantation house still existed. There were large roughly cleared areas which were not smooth enough for farming. The next patch to this one appeared to contain juvenile pine trees planted in neat rows. If I had to venture a guess, I would say that this was now some sort of sustainable timber business and not a working farm.

Terrain map of Barrow Plantation

Location relative to other Georgia cities

From the 1860 Slave census, David C. Barrow, Sr. was reported to own eighty slaves; of which four of them were above 70 years old and six were fugitives from the state (runaways). They lived in twenty slave cabins on his plantation. He owned $95,670 in real estate and $240,000 in personal property. By the 1870 census, he owned $100,000 in real estate but only had $20,000 in personal property. The significant drop in wealth shows us in real terms how much slaves were intrinsically worth. Barrow Sr’s household contained 19 domestic servants; of which twelve were mulattos and 7 were black. Their surnames are Tucker, Payne, Smith, Morton, and Pope. On the 1880 census, I was able to locate a few of the names listed in the 1881 map of Barrow Plantation. (i.e. Tom Thomas, Ben Thomas, Reuben Barrow, Isaac,  Tom Wright, Lem Douglas, and several Popes, but none with first names that matched the map)

David Barrow Sr will:

http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/clarke/wills/barrow.txt

And Speaking of Photographs….

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Apparently Slate.com ran an online article about a “taboo” 9/11 photograph with five Brooklyn people seated in front of the freshly fallen towers in the background.

Frank Rich of The New York Times claimed that these people were lounging about already having put the 9/11 tragedy behind them.  The people in the image tell a different story. See what you think?

 

(from the article) Ask yourself: What are these five people doing out on the waterfront, anyway? Do you really think, as Rich suggests, that they are out for “a lunch or bike-riding break”? Of course not. They came to this spot to watch their country’s history unfold and to be with each other at a time of national emergency. Short of rushing to Ground Zero and digging for bodies, how much more patriotic and concerned could they have been?

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2006/09/frank_rich_is_wrong_about_that_911_photograph.html?nav=tap3

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/culturebox/2006/09/its_me_in_that_911_photo.html?wpisrc=obinsite

Getting dressed by committee: 1860s style

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I found this great sequence of images but could not manage to incorporate them into this week’s blog post. They are too tasty to pass up though, so enjoy!

The first four images are of London ladies demonstrating what it is like to dress in the wide steel cage crinolines popular in the 1860s.

This image (below) is of a young boy wearing a cage crinoline around his neck, circa 1860.

The next two images are from a Maison Close, which is french for “whorehouse”. Presumably, these images are of ladies of the evening dressing for their potential clientele.

How far would you go for fashion?

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This week’s sixth assignment is all about the use and power of images. To that end, I have chosen to examine the absurdity of ladies’ apparel in the mid-nineteenth century. I have chosen to narrow the focus to elite, Western (United States, which drew heavily from French and English fashion) women’s clothing. There are numerous historical images both celebrating and ridiculing fashion in the Crinoline era, an era where fashion and technology collided. Even a (seemingly) trivial subject like fashion can tell us a great deal about the society that produced it. What was the society’s technical level? How was clothing used to distinguish between nations, ethnic groups, and economic/social status? How was clothing used to define the body politic? How repressive/permissive was the society?  How did the restrictive nature of clothing affect people and lead to the creation of rules of etiquette? How is the fashion represented visually? Since there is a considerable amount of satire surrounding crinoline hoop skirts, how did the society feel about their clothing? And yes, while its technically possible to wear a dress that could encompass a small planet, what are the practical considerations involved? What about mobility or doing small everyday tasks?

How far would you go for fashion?

Godey's Ladies Book- December 1859

The crinoline period in historical fashion occurred between 1845 through 1865-70. It period was an age of increasing domesticity, middle-class values, and conservative morality. This was reflected in the restrictive nature of upper and middle class ladies’ fashions. In 1830, Louis A Godey published a magazine called Godey’s Lady’s Book, which contained fashion plates, advice, engravings, poetry, and articles geared towards women, and became an early standard-bearer for the Victorian Age. The fashion plates featured in women’s magazines depict demure, modest, well-kept young ladies in domestic situations and homogeneous group settings.  Women’s silhouettes, beginning in the 1840s and continuing through the 1860s, became more feminized and flattering to the figure. Bodices were close-fitting with round to slightly tapered waistlines at the center front. Shirts were floor length and pleated into the waistband over glue-stiffened petticoats in the 1840s, By the 1850s, a minimum of 10 yards of fabric were used in skirts and petticoats but could be increased to as much as 20-25 yards depending on the width of the skirt. Multiple, heavy petticoats were used for support until the introduction of steel cage crinolines. Skirts, then could reach enormous proportions, became bell or domed shaped and reduced the weight and number of petticoats needed for support. However, the unwieldy nature of the steel crinolines and their tendency for them to flip-up indecently increased the popularity and wide-spread use of pantalettes, long underpants trimmed with lacy frills.

Godey's Lady's Book- January 1859

This same period was also an era of greater mechanical and scientific advancement. The Industrial Revolution began several decades prior in the textile industry. Before the I.R., most of the cloth-weaving, spinning of yarns, and making of clothing was done inside the home or on small-scale production loom. With the invention of power looms, spinning frames, Spinning Jennys, and the cotton gin, suddenly, fabric was available in larger quantities and inexpensive. Elias Howe and Isaac Merritt Singer both invented functioning mechanical sewing machines and fought bitterly over the patent rights to manufacture their products. The sewing machine-made clothing construction easier and led to ready-to-wear apparel. Before this wondrous machine, all seams in every garment were meticulously hand-stitched together requiring many people and man-hours to produce an article of clothing. By the 1850s, Henry Bessemer patented his process for making steel in larger quantities and therefore reduced the price of steel. In 1856, steel was introduced into women’s fashion through the “cage” crinoline, which allowed for the fashionably wide shirts of the 1850-60s. Steel was also introduced as a cheap alternative to whalebone in corsets. With the advent of the mechanical sewing machine and cheaper steel, women’s clothing was revolutionized. Suddenly, women’s clothing was not restricted by gravity and the number of petticoats a body could support but could (and did) reach absurd proportions.

Imagine trying to do simple tasks like riding a bus/train/taxi/car wearing easily 30 to 50 lbs. of fabric and steel with circumference of 6-8 feet. Could you manage that without indecently showing an ankle? Or how about sitting? Could you do that without tipping your skirt up? The satire to the right shows the various pitfalls that could occur while wearing crinolines: women could trip and fall to the ground, exposing their lower bodies. their skirts were so wide, they could knock people down/off stairs and chairs; women’s skirts could easily catch fire if they got too close to flame; be used as umbrellas; and if a person was being attacked by lions or a mob of women, the steel cage makes an excellent barrier to danger!

As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. So must the end come for the wide bell skirts. The skirts were completely impractical and most of the steel (at least in elite Southern women’s crinolines) wound up being melted down to make cannons balls and weapons during the American Civil War. The high fashion that squeezed female bodies, restricted movement, and limited healthy activities and exercise led to increased in female health problems. The Women’s Dress Society and Reform Movementwas formed in 1881 in England. The movement sought to emulate Amelia Bloomer (1818-1894), an early leader in the Women’s suffragist movement and a proponent of eliminating restrictive and deformative clothing for women. Bloomer advocated a bifurcated, ankle-length, baggy trouser outfit that was nicknamed “bloomers” by her critics. This baggy trouser was adopted by the Rational Dress Reform Movement but did not become popular until after Amelia Bloomer’s death and only then because of the popularity of the bicycle. Bloomers were a safer alternative to wearing long skirts when cycling. The increased popularity for sports and exercise in the 1870s and 1880s, helped change the restrictive nature of women’s clothing.

One of the delightful results of bloomerism--Ladies will pop the question

Crinolines taking flight

A few of my favorite things….

excerpt from: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, by Jon Meacham. page 37-8.

“[Julia Ann] Conner detected something in her few days under his roof that many of Jackson’s foes never did: that he was far more than a frontier soldier. His enemies never quite saw that the largest fact about Jackson was not a problem with his “passions”–the contemporary sense of the word was “temper”–but his ability, more often than not, to govern them and harness the energies that would have driven other, less sophisticated men to political ruin. “Sophisticated” is not a word often used to describe Andrew Jackson, but it should be. The number of scandals that threatened to consume him between his admission to the bar and his election to the White House–martial law in New Orleans, the execution of mutineers in the field, invading Florida arguably without proper authority, killing British subjects, his murky marriage, his slaying of Charles Dickinson, the gunfight with the Bentons– would have ended most political careers.”

“Yet Jackson endured and conquered. He knew how to make amends when he had to and possessed enough charm to turn longtime enemies into new friends. Jackson could. of course, lapse into alarming violence, but he also had a capacity for political grace and conciliation when the spirit moved him. …”

(Emphasis is mine. It denotes my favorite portion of the paragraph.)

Wicked step-mothers and red-headed step-children

For this week’s fifth assignment, we turn our attention to a criminal court case, Territory (Montana) v Rehberg, 1885. This unusual case revolved around the brutal beating and subsequent death of a ten-year old Montana girl named Clara Rehberg.

On Sunday August 9, 1885, the Rehberg family was going about their workday. Sometime during the early evening, Clara exhibited severe pain and was unwell. Edward, the girl’s father, decided to take her to Helena, the nearest town, to see a doctor. Joe Tiebow, the hired man, hitched the horses and placed Clara in the wagon. Dr Von Holzschuher noted the child’s condition, but she was in so much pain that she refused the doctor’s examination and medicine. He sent her to the Sister’s hospital for the night. When the doctor finally examined the girl the next morning, a horrifying discovery was made. Clara’s skin was red and blistered as if she had been doused with scalding hot water. Upon further examination, the doctor’s discover she was also covered with bruises inflicted by a heavy object and deep scratches on her neck and head. Clara, already a sickly child, died of septicemia and piemia, less than a month later on September 5th.

During the subsequent trial, blame for Clara’s death had to be assigned. Both Emma and Bertha, Clara’s older sisters, account her whereabouts throughout the day of August 9th. They testified that Clara spent most of the day helping their stepmother, Louisa, in the house and cooking dinner for the family. Edward was outside with Joe Tiebow and their little brother, Emil, working on the haystack. Both girls state that Clara and her father had little interaction throughout the day. The prosecution seemed determined to blame Edward for the crime, even though they could not establish opportunity. The more likely culprit was the stepmother, Louisa, but she was not allowed to testify, do in part with the nineteenth century ideals of masculinity and femininity. Women were supposedly not capable of child abuse. They were nurtures and protectors of children and considered too physically weak to commit abuse. I did not find the outcome of this case per se, but from the subsequent appeal and separation of trial, I can assume that Edward was convicted in this first trial. He was also granted an appeal and a separation of the charges from Louisa’s charges.

According to the 1880 census for Little Prickly Pear Valley, Lewis and Clark county, Montana, Edward (aged 45) was living there on his farm with wife, Amelia (39), and their seven children: Emma (13), Paul (12), Bertha (10), Edward (7), Albert (6), Clara (4), and Emil (3). So already we know there are several children missing from the court transcript: Paul, Edward, and Albert. Since I tracked them down on the 1900, 1910, 1920, & 1930 censuses, my best guess would be that they were either hired out to other employers or were placed with other families. I did find an obituary on October 15, 1963, for Albert that said he left home after his mother died when he was 6 years old to work on ranches in Havre and Great Falls. I found a genealogical site where family members were trying to find Edward Sr.’s family. There was some confusion though as the family attributed the abusive second wife erroneously as Amelia, instead of Louisa. A descendant oF Emil recounted the family lore that Emil ran away from home to escape his stepmother. He later died in 1919 in a railroad accident on the Northern Pacific RR.

And after a dismal newspaper search, I only found two references to Clara on September 10 and 15, 1885. Both articles were short recounts of the horrible abuse, her death, and the arrests of Edward and Louisa. I did, however, find one gem of information. On May 16, 1885, the Butte Daily Miner had an article featuring Louisa and Edward. Apparently, Louisa had brought Edward to court on seduction and paternity charges. She had been a frequent visitor to his ranch during the previous year and he drove her off through mistreatment. The judge asked Louisa what she wanted in compensation and she replied, marriage. Edward agreed, paid the court fee, and married Louisa on May 15, 1885.

On a side note: my google search was made more tedious by the repetitious articles about Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg. Hmm, I wonder if he knows about the skeletons in his family closet?

addendum:

Though now that i looked at the article again. It’s a reprint from Helena Independent. So Edward and Louisa got married sometime in May before the 15th.

Louisa sues Edward for seduction and paternity-Butte Daily Miner May 16, 1885

Its All About the He-Said/She-Said Bull****

(I apologize for the tardiness and the brevity of this week’s post. My personal life had a nuclear meltdown this weekend.)

This week’s fourth assignment is all about the consequences of a hasty marriage and a tumultuous D-I-V-O-R-C-E. We looked at the North Dakota civil court records for Hershfield-vs- Hershfield.

Della Hogan and Aaron Hershfield married in Chicago in November 1893 after a whirlwind courtship that left Della in the family way. It appears that the honeymoon did not last for long. After residing with his bride at a fancy hotel in Helena, Montana for a few months, Aaron decided that fatherhood and husbandry didn’t suit him. So he left his wife short before she was due to give birth. Aaron left Montana altogether for North Dakota and after a suitable period (mainly to establish N.D. Residency), he filed for divorce.

Aaron claimed that Della had forced him into marriage with a false pregnancy and threats of violence for the sole purpose of extorting money out of him and his family. He also claimed that his wife was of an extravagant, lewd, and licentious character and therefore his marriage to her should not be upheld as legal in a virtuous society. Della objected to Aaron’s portrayal of her person. She avidly denied his claims of immorality, admitting only to illicit sexual relations she engaged with him that resulted in their daughter. Della also had initiated a countersuit against Aaron’s brother and sister-in-law for alienation of affection to the tune of $75,000 (in 1894 dollars). She claimed that Aaron had willingly lived with her as husband and wife and was through (primarily) her sister’s -in-law negative influence that Aaron decided to rid himself of his new bride. Della maintained that Aaron had left her alone, destitute, and without means to support herself with an infant in arms.

Aaron vehemently denied his wife’s accusations, stating that he had left instructions with his bank for he distrubution of $15/week

(more to come….class is starting)

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