Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Hazards of Research

The very worst thing about writing and researching is that my cuckoo clock keeps singing the hour every five  minutes, and then the day is over, and I find myself deep up some side creek and far from the stream I should be following. Today it was the simple act of looking into who this man Albert Deane Richardson was, the fellow who wrote such an interesting account of his journey west--including the Columbia and Willamette rivers--in the mid eighteen sixties.

It turns out that he was a Union spy, a Secret Service agent, who was captured and spent a year and a half in a Confederate prison. As a journalist he ended up living in New York City where he fell for a woman who was married to a rich Irish man who abused her greatly. Finally she separated from her husband, and during this time period the husband--blind with jealousy- attempted to kill Richardson. When a divorce was finally granted the husband showed up at Richardson's office and shot him, giving him a wound that would shortly kill him. Before Richardon died he managed to marry the lady he loved. The Irish boys at Tammany Hall made sure that the husband got off lightly, being acquitted on grounds of insanity. etc. etc.

The murder of Albert Deane Richardson

This man's life would make a good subject for a book. Maybe if I live as long as my father who turned 100 on November 3rd of this year I will get around to it. I am afraid this book would have to wait in the queue, lately I have bumped into a whole passel of interesting characters.