About This Blog

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Jea @ Abrigados

My reason for writing this blog is to share fascinating details that make up the backstory for my novels in The Dauntless Series. These include the activities and personalities of Susan B. Anthony and her family–especially her gun-toting brother Daniel and his wife Annie:

  • To view them in the context of the culture of the states where they settled: Massachusetts, New York, and Kansas.
  • To spend a few moments with the people who inspired them, from Quakeress Aunt Hannah Hoxey (who defied early Victorian custom by speaking in public) to Frederick Douglass (an Anthony neighbor who burst the bonds of slavery) to feminist Clarina Nichols (who established an abolitionist newspaper that preceded D.R.’s  newspaper dynasty).
  • To learn how they were affected by the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, and the waves of reform that swept upstate New York with such fire that the area became known as “the burned-over district.”

Since 2012, I’ve been writing historical fiction about the Anthonys. While the tone of this blog differs from that in The Truth About Daniel (the first in the Dauntless Series), these online writings give a view of the scope and breadth of the research that underpins my book-in-progress.

Writing can be a lonely profession. So imagine my excitement when I discovered other historical authors using the term “cultural biography” to describe a similar literary process. Here’s David Reynolds, author of John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights (Alfred A. Knopf publisher):

The special province of the cultural biographer is to explore this relationship, focusing on three questions: How does my subject reflect his or her era? How does my subject transcend the era-that is, what makes him or her unique? What impact did my subject have on the era?

Quoting Emerson, he continues,

The ideas of the time are in the air, and infect all who breathe it. . . . We learn of our contemporaries what they know without effort, and almost through the pores of our skin.” The cultural biographer explores the historical “air” surrounding the subject and describes the process by which the air seeped through the pores of his or her skin.

What was in the air surrounding the Anthony family that made them so noteworthy? That’s what I’m exploring in my twice-a-week posts.

On the trip of my dreams, with Martha's Vineyard in the background.

On the trip of my dreams, with Martha’s Vineyard in the background.

 

 

10 thoughts on “About This Blog

  1. Hello Jeanne,
    I came across an old steamer trunk that belonged to Elizabeth Haven Anthony, wife of Daniel Read Anthony Jr. (I believe). It looks to be what she used when moving to Leavenworth KS.
    I was just wondering if you may know of family, museum, etc. that may be interested in it. I bought it because I thought it would be some cool decor…but I’d gladly donate it to any family or the right interested party.
    Thanks.

  2. Hello Jeanne, A couple f years ago my wife and I visited Susan B. Anthony’s home and were told that her two brothers left there to follow John Brown to Kansas. We live in Leavenworth County, Kansas and are interested in two questions. 1) We were told that one of Susan’s brothers was an author of the Kansas Free State Constitution (the Topeka Constitution?). But I can not find any data to back this up. 2) There is a small battle field and nature park near Baldwin City, Kansas called Blackjack Battle Field. This area is also not far from Osawatomie, Kansas where I think Merritt lived. Do you know if any records show that either of Susan’s brother would have been with John Brown at the Blackjack Battle? The battle took place June 2nd, 1856. The battle was between Pro-slavery union forces from Missouri, who were trying to arrest John Brown due to the Pottawatomie Massacre, and John Brown and his followers. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Thanks for two great questions, Dan. I have visited the city of Leavenworth twice and always have its images in mind when I write. I am quite familiar with Daniel R. Anthony’s life and only a little conversant regarding Merritt’s. As for question 1, I doubt that D.R. would have been involved in the Topeka Constitution for these two reasons: 1. D.R. wrote quite a few accounts of his contributions to Kansas, and he never mentioned such a significant fact. 2. D.R. stayed in Kansas only a few months in 1854 and then did not return to KS until 1857, so it is unlikely he could’ve contributed to such a document from a long distance. Pertaining to question 2: Again, D.R. was not in Kansas in that year. Merritt, however, was. I have no information about the Blackjack Battle in June, 1856, but do have record of Merritt’s involvement on August 30 of that same year. Merritt later wrote to his parents about the overwhelming odds in the Aug 30 battle and how the slaying of Brown’s son Frederick seemed to have made Brown “fight like a tiger,” even though he was wounded. I found the historical park at Osawatomie very informative.

  3. Do you have any information on either D.R.’s or Merritt having at least one illegitimate son? DNA is a secret revealer! I am a ‘cousin’ to Susan B. and have had some really interesting DNA connections recently.

    • I have little information about Merritt at this point. There were repeated accusations of D.R. along those lines. That is the subject of my next book. Possible names are Matilda Smith and Fanny (Frances) Armes or Ames.

  4. I am a Read descendant of Eliphalet who came to Canada from Massachusetts, US. I believe that I am a cousin of Susan B. Anthony and am interested in your findings to help confirm some information on this family and am happy to have found the blog.

    • When you speak of the Read connection, you are no doubt referring to Susan’s brother Daniel Read Anthony’s, who was named after his maternal grandfather. Susan B. Anthony in her authorized biography by Ida Husted Harper, devotes many pages to her ancestors in her opening chapter. I am curious about your Eliphalet reference, since I have not come across person before.

    • Hi Jeanne. I believe I am related to Susan B Anthony’s brother, Daniel Read Anthony.
      I’m trying to find out all the connecting descendants from my relatives, Isaac Cady Howe, Joseph Howe, Ira Burch Howe, Clark Howe, Amy Louise Howe Burnett, & William Ross Burnett. It would be wonderful to be able to pass this inheritance onto my own grandchildren.
      Please let me k is if you have any clues or direction I could go in seeking these details.
      THANK YOU
      Judith Lynn Burnett
      Aasheim

      • Hi, Judy,
        At this point, I do not recognize any of the names you mention, but I am not a genealogist, either!
        I can tell you this much: Daniel and Annie had two surviving children:
        –D.R. Anthony II, who had a son D.R. Anthony III, who was a KS state senator. They lived in Leavenworth and had descendants.
        –Maude Anthony Koehler (Lewis), who had no children and moved to Pasadena, CA.
        I’m sorry I can’t be of further help. It is a very large family, and the first traceable ancestor dates back to 1495.
        Jeanne

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