Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Wicked Domain

Tonight I had the pleasure of talking with Alex Matsuo on The Wicked Domain.  Missed the live show?  Don't worry, because the show is online!

If you like what you heard tonight and want to "I Would Still Be Drowned in Tears": Spiritualism in Abraham Lincoln's White House the book is available in paperback and Kindle on!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lincoln vs McClellan

Attack ads, smear campaigns, dire predictions of the destruction of the county.  Are we talking about mid-term election of November 2014?  Nope, we are talking about the presidential election of 1864.  While today we are in the process of decompressing from the mid-term elections held earlier this week, 150 years ago today Americans (okay white males) where heading to the polls to vote for the next president.  At stake was the very future of the United States, would Americans support the continuation of the Civil War to end slavery and restore the union as championed by Republican President Abraham Lincoln? Or would they vote for the Democratic candidate George B. McClellan who favored peace at any cost by letting the Confederacy become an independent country at the expense of the freedom of four million slaves?  The election was perfectly illustrated in the political cartoon reproduced below.

(Image courtesy of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site)

I don't think there has ever been an presidential election with so much at stake for the future of the country.  It was a tough and ugly campaign and due to political and military set backs even Lincoln at times doubted that he would win a second term.  For the first time, soldiers were allowed to vote in the field, and those whose states demanded that they had to return to there homes where actually granted furloughs by their commanders to return home to vote.  But timely military victories and the loyalty of the Union soldiers Lincoln won a resounding victory.  Now secure, Lincoln's goals for the country could be completed and the bloody Civil War was now in its last final months.  But much bloodshed was still to come.


Lincoln Funeral

Next year marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's assassination and funeral.  There had never been an American president that had been assassinated, though there had been three previous presidents that had died in office.  The next two weeks witnessed the largest state funeral this country had ever seen (or likely to see again) as President Lincoln's body was returned to his home in Springfield, IL.  To commemorate this solemn occasion, the Lincoln Funeral Coalition is staging a re enactment of the Lincoln funeral in Springfield on May 1-3,2015.  I will be attending as a mourner.  Please consider attending either as a re enactor or just as a spectator as we say good bye again to a great American.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Blue & Grey Christmas

I am so thrilled about this upcoming event!  I am on the planning committee for a new event, a Blue & Grey Christmas to be held in Gordonsville, Virginia on Saturday, December 20 from 4:30 pm to 10:00 pm.

We are planning a Civil War Church service at the historic Presbyterian Church with a special guest General Stonewall Jackson!  There will be a Civil War Santa, children's games, and more.  I will be telling ghost stories at the Gordonsville Library.  To conclude the evenings festivities there will be a ball, conducted by the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Dancers with music provided by the Shenandoah Valley Minstrels.

For more information: 

Local Author Reception

On Tuesday, November 11 (Veterans Day) I will be participating in a reception for local authors at the Central Rappahannock Library Porter Branch from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Over 30 authors will be attending and they will be selling copies of their works.  I will be selling my book "I Would Still Be Drowned in Tears"!

Central Rappahannock Library Porter Branch
2001 Parkway Blvd
Stafford, VA 22554

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Facebook

My book "I Would Still Be Drowned in Tears": Spiritualism in Abraham Lincoln's White House has its own Facebook page!  Like it and you can get exclusive updates and pictures.  Join today!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Love is Eternal

On this date in 1842 Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd where joined together in holy matrimony.  The couple where married in the bride's sister's home in Springfield, IL.  Mary's sister, Elizabeth Edwards, had objected to the match and had played a role in the couple's separation.  In this battle of will, Mary Todd was determined to get what she wanted--and she wanted to marry Abraham Lincoln.  With the help of sympathetic friends, the couple resumed their courtship in secret and got engaged.  In fact, Elizabeth Edwards was only informed of the engagement when Mary announced on the morning of November 2 that she was going to marry Lincoln that evening!

Realizing that she had lost, and worried that it would look bad that Mary was married elsewhere--as Elizabeth had been charged to look after her younger sister and act as her chaperon--Elizabeth declared that Mary would marry in the Edwards' mansion.  It was a rushed wedding, Mary had to borrow the white muslin dress she wore from another married sister.  Legend holds that when the wedding cake was cut it was still warm from the oven.

Historians like to debate about the background of the wedding.  Some insist that Mary lured Abraham into a marriage that he did not want.  I strongly disagree with that, my research into Lincoln's character shows a man that could never be convinced to do something that he did not want to do.  He had already extracted himself from an engagement when he realized that he did not love Mary Owens.  Those who see Mary as the villain like to point out a statement Lincoln made before going to his wedding.  The son of his landlady spotted him leaving his lodgings and seeing the usually sloppily dressed Lincoln dressed in his best suit asked him where he was going.  Lincoln responded that he was going to hell.

My interpretation of this statement is that Lincoln was nervous before his marriage, and was likely concerned that Elizabeth would try to prevent the wedding.  Besides the meddling of Elizabeth, Lincoln had also broken his first engagement to Mary because he felt that he was unworthy to have the wealthy and cultured Mary Todd.  The Todds' were wealthy and Mary had been raised in the lap of luxury.  Lincoln worried that he could never support Mary in the style that she had become accustomed too.  After all he was only a poor country lawyer with only the promise of a successful political career.  But Mary did not care!  She loved Abraham and would have no other man but him.

The couple was married that evening, a hundred and seventy years ago tonight, in the parlor of Elizabeth Edwards with only thirty guests in attendance.  And when it came time for Abraham Lincoln to slip the wedding ring on the fourth finger of Mary's left hand the ring carried this inscription, "A.L to Mary, Nov. 4 1842.  Love is Eternal."  Mary would wear this ring on her left hand for the remainder of her life--in fact Abraham was holding Mary's left hand when he was shot by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865.  Upon her death on July 16, 1882, Mary was buried wearing her wedding ring and the ring still rests with her in the Lincoln tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

(As a side note, Abraham Lincoln never wore a wedding ring as men of the time did not wear wedding rings--this tradition would only come into fashion around World War II.)

Happy 172nd Anniversary Abraham and Mary Lincoln!


(For more information and great images related to the wedding of Abraham and Mary Lincoln visit:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Famously Haunted Podcast

Missed my appearance on Famously Haunted? Don't despair the podcast is now available!

The Wicked Domain

I am pleased to announce that this Sunday, November 9, at 9:00 est I will be on The Wicked Domain hosted by Alex Matsuo on  I had the pleasure to meet Alex at ParaAmericon and besides sharing a love for the paranormal and history, we are both graduated with or MA's from San Diego State University!

For more information visit:

Join the Facebook invite page, I will be there...will you?