Peggy Eaton

Peggy Eaton was the wife of John Eaton, President Andrew Jackson’s Secretary of War. Rumors of an extramarital affair caused other cabinet wives to shun her. The resulting scandal, the “Petticoat Affair,” brought about the resignation of Jackson’s entire cabinet and changed the direction of the political careers of two powerful men: John C. Calhoun and Martin Van Buren. Margaret Peggy O’Neill, born December 3, 1799, was the oldest of six children born to William and Rhoda Howell O’Neill. Peggy’s father was the owner of Franklin House, a popular Washington, DC boarding house and social center for politicians. Peggy was well-educated, and was known for her ability to play the piano and her “vivacious” temperament.

Marie Laveau by New Orleans artist Dimitri Fouquet

Marie Laveau

Voodoo Queen of New Orleans Marie Laveau (1794–1881) was a Louisiana Creole: descended from the colonial white settlers, black slaves and free people of color of southern Louisiana. For several decades this ‘Voodoo Queen’ held New Orleans spellbound. She staged ceremonies in which participants became possessed by loas (Voodoo spirits); she dispensed charms and potions, even saving several condemned men from the gallows; told fortunes and healed the sick. The first white settlers of Louisiana were French, usually the second born sons of aristocrats who left France to seek adventure in the New World. These Frenchmen came to be called Creole, and made up the upper crust of New Orleans. The word was later used to refer to white Frenchmen…

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Lydia Gilbert

The Year: 1654 Colonial Witches In the mid 1600s, Thomas Gilbert and his wife, Lydia, lived with Henry Stiles in Windsor, Connecticut. Mr. Stiles was about 52 years of age, which was considered old at the time. Lydia performed many services for Mr. Stiles, such as mending his clothes and tending him when he was sick. How this living arrangement came about is unclear, but from all outward appearances, it was a satisfactory one. Artist’s Conceptualization of a Witchcraft Trial In the autumn of 1651, in Windsor, Connecticut, an accident took place during training exercises by a group of local militiamen. Thomas Allyn was carrying his musket in a cocked position and inadvertently hit it against a tree causing it…

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