Dora Deane is a sweet romance set mostly in the idyllic countryside of New York. Though the year is 1858 and the United States would be engaged in a bloody Civil War in less than three years' time, the outside world rarely intrudes into Dora's. But there were plenty of big news stories gracing the pages of the country's newspapers that year, and here's a sampling:
May: The Marais des Cygnes Massacre occurs, and is considered the last significant act of violence in Bleeding Kansas prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War. "Bleeding Kansas" was a series of violent political confrontations between anti-slavery and pro-slavery factions in the Kansas Territory and the neighboring towns of Missouri beginning in 1854, many of which involved fanatical anti-slavery proponent John Brown. At the heart of the conflict was the question of whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free state or a slave state. On May 19, 1858, thirty men led by Charles Hamilton, a Georgia native and pro-slavery leader, raided into the Kansas Territory from Missouri. They captured eleven free-state men and led them into a narrow gorge, where Hamilton ordered the men shot and fired the first bullet himself. Five men were killed and The incident horrified the nation and inspired John Greenleaf Whittier to write a poem, "Le Marais du Cygne." Hamilton was never brought to justice, and residents of Kansas and Missouri would continue to fight a bloody guerilla war during the Civil War.
June: Donati's Comet is discovered by Italian astronomer Giovanni Battista Donati on June 2, and remains visible for several months afterward. Abraham Lincoln, then a candidate for a seat in the U.S. Senate, sat up on the porch of his hotel in Jonesboro, Illinois to see the comet on September 14, the night before the third of his historic debates with Stephen Douglas.
July: A party of miners led by William Greeneberry "Green" Russell finds gold deposits along the South Platte River at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in the northwestern Kansas Territory and kicks off the second great gold rush, though the majority of fortune seekers don't begin arriving until the following year, earning themselves the nickname of "Fifty-Niners" in the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.
October: Macy's department store, founded by R.H. Macy, opens for business in New York on October 28. On the company's first day of business, sales totaled $11.08, equal to $297.09 today. From the very beginning, the Macy's logo has included a star in one form or another, which comes from a tattoo that R.H. Macy got as a teenager when he worked on a Nantucket whaling ship, the Emily Morgan.
POSTED BY: Jenny Q
Dora Deane by Mary Jane Holmes
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