A Time of Confluence

In 1847 (two years after the Anthonys moved to Rochester) Frederick Douglass settled nearby and began publishing his abolitionist paper The North Star (later called Frederick Douglass’ Paper).

Although he had established his writing and speaking career in New Bedford (near Boston), his rising fame threatened or inspired jealousy in some of the luminaries of the movement—most notably William Lloyd Garrison—so he set out in search of a new home. Continue reading

Catch my book on TV today!

The Truth About Daniel was featured today on FOX morning news. Click here to watch the newscast. I liked how they included images, but you may be confused about the picture of people standing in front of a house. It’s not Daniel’s house in Missouri, but the Anthony farm in Rochester. As far as we know, Daniel lived there with his family of origin before he moved to Kansas with the Emigrant Aid Company.

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Happy Valentine’s Day to you! I had fun writing the romance portions of this book, especially the three chapters where Daniel bumbles through a proposal to Annie and finally gets it right.

Thanks to the great people at Fox news. They have also filmed our Tool Thrift Shop and our English country dancing group. (Dancing and romancing go hand in hand in The Truth About Daniel.)

 

 

Penning a (Love) Letter

Valentine’s Day’s coming up, and I will be on Rochester’s WHAMTV31 at 8:50 AM to discuss The Truth About Daniel, which is among other things, a love story. (Plese note: earlier, the channel was listed as 13. The correct channel is actually 31)

Let’s consider this romantic painting, which I love for for many reasons. First of all, my husband and I nurtured our long-distance romance with letters for two years. Snail mail made for difficult delays in hearing from my heart-throb, especially since the post office near my Toronto residence often went on strike for a couple weeks. Now, though, I consider myself fortunate to have corresponded with Jon before email because I still have every letter he sent me tied up with a neat bow.

The second reason I love this painting is that the woman looks the way I picture Annie Osborn, heroine of my book, right down to the strawberry blond hair that won’t stay put. And the inkwell reminds me of one I saw in an Anthony collection somewhere. Memory fails me at the moment.

And my third reason is that the letters of Annie and Daniel play a pivotal part in the novel. Like my husband and me, these lovers sometimes experienced lapses in snail mail—and their lapses almost led to romantic disaster.

Just for fun, here’s a picture I took of post office boxes at Alley’s Store on Martha’s Vineyard, near the 19th century home of Annie Osborn.

I highly recommend this post on letters in literature. And don’t forget to watch the news at 8:50 on TV13 WHAM on Valentine’s Day!

Post office box photo by Jeanne Gehret

The Anthonys in Rochester

I have blogged extensively about the Anthony family in Kansas and Martha’s Vineyard because those two areas were the focus of my first book in “The Dauntless Series.” In the process, I’ve slighted one of the most obvious places anyone should mention when discussing the Anthony family: Rochester, NY, where all of Susan’s nuclear family lived at various times between 1848 and 1907.

So here’s my commitment: I will include the Rochester connection on a regular basis from now on. Not only am I currently researching Rochester sites and people that the Anthonys knew, but I have also created a program entitled “All for Suffrage: the Kin of Susan B. Anthony” where I will share my findings in person with a Powerpoint program. Several libraries have already booked this presentation, in addition to costumed appearances, to celebrate New York State’s centennial of woman suffrage.

If you want to share some Rochester historical tidbits or old photos, please scroll down to the bottom of this page and use the comment box.

I am excited that tomorrow I will be getting a private tour of the Talman Building on Rochester’s Main Street. It was the home of Frederick Douglass’s newspaper The North Star and also a site on the Underground Railroad. Watch for upcoming entries and photos from that visit!

About the photo on today’s post: I never stop puzzling over it. It was taken on the Anthony farm near Rochester, and none of the people in it are identified. Do you find their poses as curious as I do? I like to think that the man on the extreme right is Daniel Read, but have no way of knowing other than that he seems to be copping an attitude!

This is the home where both Daniels–Susan’s father and brother–lived, as well as Merritt. None of the men in the family ever lived on Madison Street, where the famous Susan B. Anthony House stands today. Two chapters of my book take place in this farm home.

Gallop Across the Dance Floor, Anyone?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgcUhQyAJlo

This is a wonderful video of a 19th century dance. Read more about it below.

I first learned about a dance called the gallopade (or “gallop”) at a concert given by pianist Jacqueline Schwab, whose piano music was featured on Ken Burns’ documentary of the Civil War. Intrigued to see how it was done, I tracked down this video.

The gallopade, a very energetic dance, takes place at a ball in The Truth About Daniel. In this contemporary video, you can hear the laughter that naturally arises from this kind of happy exertion. Notice also that most of the dancers are young! When preparing to dance the gallop, Daniel Anthony, who is 40, searches the room for a young and fit partner.

Notice women dancing with women—this was often done when there were not enough men, which could certainly have been the case on Annie’s island during the Civil War, when many young men were serving on battlefields. In fact, just before a dance recital, Annie asks her best friend to save her a dance so she will not have to partner with a predatory man named Richie.

In this contemporary video, the style of gowns is appropriate to the mid-19th century when Daniel and Annie fell in love. You can see the outline of hoops beneath many of the full skirts, which bob along as the women move energetically across the floor.

Despite the fact that these dancers learned the nine movements of this dance that same day, they make it look effortless, don’t they?

Big Money from Horses

This is a copy of a portion of a large lithograph made by D.R. Anthony in 1888 of his prosperous stock farm in Huron, KS. In the upper left, note the train, which enabled him to get his horses and cattle to market. Subsequent generations of Daniel Read Anthonys continued to enjoy this farm and also recreational property in the vicinity of Martha’s Vineyard, MA where Anna Osborn Anthony was born and raised.

Image courtesy of the Leavenworth County Historical Society.

Today we continue with our guest post about Anthony’s farm, as follows:

In 1893, an apple orchard of 5000 trees grew on 80 acres of the ranch and a herd of thoroughbred Holstein cattle provided product for the Anthony’s “Huron Creamery”.   Both a school and the Presbyterian Church were constructed on Anthony’s land.  In 1883, Col. Anthony donated a new organ for the church as well.  DR Anthony Jr. had a cabin here where he could come to relax and hunt quail and pheasant.  Ball games and corn plowing contests, fires and a tornado are part of the history of the farm.   The tornado of 1891 caused $3000 in damage.

By 1910 there were 300 residents in the town of Huron, which included a bank, schools,  several general stores, a blacksmith shop, lumber yard, grocery store, hotel, drug store, hardware and implement house.

The Anthonys hired managers for the ranch over the years with the Starnes family providing the longest service, totaling 75 years over 3 generations.  D.R. Anthony III rented out the farm in 1962 and the Anthony family management  of 105 years came to an end.  In 1963, the main barn, long known as a local landmark, burned to the ground while D.R. III was spending the summer in Edgartown, Massachusetts on Martha’s Vineyard.  A 1959 aerial view showed the barn as the centerpiece of the farm.

In 1973, the Anthony property was sold.  The Huron post office closed in May, 1992 and the once thriving town seems but a mere dot on the vast Kansas prairie today. The current population of about 50 can be found among long-ago closed  or abandoned businesses and schools, many of which harken back to better days.  Little is recognizable on the expansive ranch west of town and many do not now know the Anthony name, so prominent many years ago.

Guest post by Mary Ann Sachse Brown of the Leavenworth County Historical Society

 

Rustling Horses in Huron, KS

D.R. Anthony had many financial irons in the fire–early investment in Kansas land, political appointments, the insurance business, and a newspaper business that became a family dynasty. But more than once he was accused of horse stealing, and he openly told family that he had “liberated” steeds during his jayhawker raids on Missouri.

This guest post discusses his large stock farm that adjoined lands owned by his sisters Mary and Susan.

The Anthony Stock Farm in Huron, Kansas

For many years The D.R. Anthony family owned the property known as the Anthony Stock Farm or Ranch west of Huron, Kansas, north of Leavenworth County, in neighboring Atchison County. Originally, the property was part of a land grant from U.S. President James Buchanan to Col. Daniel R. Anthony, who purchased it at a sale of the Delaware Indian lands in Osawki, Kansas, in May 1856.  He paid $1.75 per acre and agreed, as did other buyers, to improve the land, build a house and live there a certain number of days each month.  Col. Anthony bought four quarters for himself and one quarter each for his sisters, Susan B. Anthony and Mary S. Anthony.  Years later, the Anthony family noted that all three built cabins and resided on their farms the required amount of time.

Col. Anthony donated part of his land for the town of Huron (named after the Huron tribe of Indians), platted in April 1882 and later deeded 20 acres to the railroad, which made Huron an important shipping and supply community.

Initially operated as a livestock farm, horses and cattle were kept on the ranch.  The Anthonys came often to ride the horses, first by horse and buggy and later on the train from Leavenworth.  The property was also utilized by the Cavalry from Fort Leavenworth, on their way to Fort Crook, Nebraska.

In 1888, Col. Anthony had a lithograph of his magnificent farm distributed to Kansas newspapers.   One commented that the bird’s eye view of the ranch showed “that the colonel knows how to lay out and improve a farm –and make it pay, too—as well as conduct a first class newspaper.  If ‘Farmer’ Anthony gets the nomination for the governorship, he will be enthusiastically supported by his fellow farmers.”  DR’s desire to become Governor of Kansas was never realized.

(The lithograph will appear in the next post along with part two of this article.)

This post courtesy of Mary Ann Sachse Brown

 

Susan B. Anthony and the Freedom of the Press

From the time she was a teenager, Susan B. Anthony hated writing. Early in her public life she lamented, “Whenever I take a pen in hand I seem to be mounted on stilts.”  It is ironic, therefore, that she left behind a literary legacy that included two years of a weekly newspaper, the four-volume set of The History of Woman Suffrage, and her three-volume authorized biography.

Despite her struggles with writing, she also became famous for giving thousands of speeches on antislavery, the restriction of alcoholic beverages, and the necessity of women’s rights.

To overcome her aversion to writing, Anthony collaborated.  From the beginning of her friendship with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anthony gathered materials for her silver-tongued friend to turn into prose. Then Anthony had the speeches and articles published and circulated. As time went on, Stanton mentored her friend so well that Anthony was able to make and deliver her own speeches, as well.

It’s likely that Susan learned about publishing when she visited her brother Daniel (D.R.), who owner a newspaper in Leavenworth, KS. During that period D.R. needed time to run his mayoral campaign, so Susan stepped in to run his newspaper, “limited only by his injunction ‘not to have it all woman’s rights and negro suffrage.’” (Harper, 243) (Below, here I am in costume in Atchison, KS trying out the printing press.)

While visiting Kansas two years later, an admirer named George Francis Train offered to fund a newspaper published by Susan and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

As always, Anthony left much of the writing to Stanton and others, focusing her efforts instead on fundraising, office management, and the actual production of the issues. From 1868 to 1870 their publication gave them the freedom to voice their support of women earning their own money and the necessity of women getting the right to vote. Called The Revolution, its motto was “Men their rights and nothing more, women their rights and nothing less.”

Radical as it was, The Revolution could not support itself through subscriptions and advertisements, especially after George Francis Train fell on hard times and stopped contributing. D.R. advised Susan to publish less frequently or print on cheaper paper, but she refused.

Eventually, the money problems of The Revolution grew critical and they had to cease publication with a $10,000 debt. In her journal Anthony lamented, “It was like signing my own death-warrant.”

When Anthony  “crashed” the U.S. Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia in 1876, she owed her strategic place on the speaker platform to D.R., who obtained a coveted press pass for her to sit there. From that vantage point she interrupted the proceedings to make a brief speech before distributing tracts in the audience and announcing her own meeting.

Nevertheless, the loss of The Revolution must have nagged at Anthony because when she received a bequest several years later, she spent it to fund a several-volume work entitled The History of Woman Suffrage. Although she embarked on this venture with Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage, she ended up buying them out.

Visitors to Anthony’s Rochester home can see early pictures of a two-story house followed later by those of a three-story dwelling. That’s because Susan and her sister Mary added a third-floor workroom to accommodate the History.

Writing and publishing takes time, energy, and cash flow. Alongside her many accomplishments promoting human rights, Miss Anthony marshalled her resources in such a way that she was able to leave her literary mark, as well.