There are GIVEAWAYS EVERY DAY as well as a gift basket for the grand prize! Today Kathy is giving away an Irish collection and her debut novella, Bachelor Buttons. (See below for details)
Katherine Meehan lived in Manhattan’s lower east side and was a girl during the War of the Rebellion, as her contemporaries up North called it. My mother always told the story the way she remembers her great grandmother recalled it. Katherine walked with her mother through Washington Square Park on the week of July 13, 1863 and described seeing men hanging from the lampposts. And well she might have, since it is reported that over 11 freedmen were lynched during that terrible week of lawlessness and violence. The draft riots have been called the only Civil War battle fought in New York.
In my story I have changed Katherine’s name to Rose, and used the name Kate for a fictitious sister who is bound for the convent. Rose’s personality is purely a figment of my imagination, because I do not know what the real Katherine was like. But I can well imagine she might have been feisty and perhaps as flirtatious as Rose, given the actual story of her unusual courtship. The dates of her courting age have been manipulated a bit to fit with my Civil War story. Katherine wouldn’t have come of age for another decade, but the rest of the story is based on truth.
Katherine was a beautiful young lass, and in love with two men—a fine Irish doctor, whose name I do not know, and an Irish violin teacher named William Lee. It is rumored among at least one of my ancestors that William Lee was a distant relative of Robert E. Lee, but that may well be blarney. I have not researched the matter enough to confirm or deny. ;)
Apparently, Katherine Meehan was so besotted with both gentlemen that she couldn’t make up her mind which one to marry, so she proposed a contest and the victor would win her hand. She told them to run a foot race.
From earliest childhood I remember my grandmother telling me this story, corroborating with my mother’s version later in life. The doctor and the violin teacher were in love with Katherine, and both intended to marry her. But being gentlemen, they agreed to Miss Meehan’s wishes and settled the courtship rivalry in this unconventional way. They ran a foot race. Presumably through lower Manhattan, probably though the tenement streets or allies with dogs barking and chasing after them, clothes lines flapping in the breeze from the bay, and neighborhood women gawking and gossiping. No telling how long the course or even what time of year it might have been, but for the purposes of my story, I put it in July, just two days before the riots erupted over the draft.
The draft was the common name for Lincoln’s Enrollment Act, which had been signed in March. All eligible men from 20-45 years of age were registered, and exemptions were given if a man was married with children or if he could pay a $300 commutation fee for a substitute. It was subsequently accused of being a rich man’s war but a poor man’s fight. The immigrant Irish, being too poor to buy their way out, opposed the draft, and on July 13, crowds moved uptown to protest. Demonstrations quickly turned to looting, burning, and worse as tempers flared and the flames were fanned by Copperhead rabble rousers exploiting the socioeconomic inequalities. Targets of the violence included clothing stores like the Brooks’ Brothers which was looted, and Republican papers such as the Times and the Herald and freedmen who were exempt from the draft were attacked. Even the colored orphanage was set fire, though no children were harmed due to the bravery of Irish firefighters and other heroes. Innocent black men were lynched, businesses burned, and in all, over 100 died and thousands were injured. It was a very dark moment in history.
To offset the darkness, I give Rose’s story a happily ever after. A foot race, one winner. But will it be a happily ever after for both bachelors? I won’t spoil the outcome of my story, but I can tell you that Katherine Meehan’s violin player won her foot race, and my great, great grandmother married William Lee. In the true story of Katherine and William Lee, the doctor is a rather tragic and noble figure. He never marries, apparently remaining in love with Katherine his entire life. According to family history, every winter Katherine and William’s struggling family received a ton of coal, compliments of a mysterious benefactor. And when the good doctor died some years later, the mysterious gift ceased to come.
Kathy will be on Giovanni's radio show on Tuesday at 10:00 A.M. Be sure to tune in and listen! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gelatisscoop/2013/04/30/kathleen-maher-cry-of-freedom-v3-bachelor-buttons
Kathleen L. Maher is a historical romance writer, represented by Terry Burns of Hartline literary Agency. Her Civil War novel took first place in the 2012 ACFW Genesis contest. She lives in upstate New York with her soul mate and their three children, plus two Newfoundland dogs.
Bachelor Buttons can be purchased on Amazon on May 1st.
Kathy's giving away this fun Irish collection, including an Irish soda bread mix and a pdf of her debut novella, Bachelor Buttons. Tell us a little about your heritage or ask Kathy a question about hers to be entered into the drawing.
Don't forget to leave your email addy. 5 possible entries! If you follow this blog, you get an extra entry. Follow CFHS (Christian Fiction Historical Society) and you get another. Share on fb or twitter for two more. That’s a total of five possible entries. Good luck! And be sure to let me know what you've done so I can give you the entries.
GRAND PRIZE: Trader Joe's bag filled with goodies. Tea cup with strainer, tea bags, loose tea, coffee, cake candle, decorative candle large Better Homes and Garden Candle, 2 pads of paper, pen, Family Guardian by Laurie Alice Eakes, and a pink necklace and earrings from Dressbarn! Everyday you leave a comment gives you one entry. A possible total of 7 entries! Grand prize drawn May 6th. AND a pdf copy of Bachelor Buttons!
DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING by following my blog with Powered by FEEDBURNER on the right, and don't miss any giveaways (the button with the flame). If you already follow my blog go ahead and follow by FEEDBURNER so you can be entered twice. If you're not getting an email telling you I have a new giveaway you're not following through Feedburner. Just mention that you follow through Feedburner when you leave a comment with each giveaway and you'll be entered twice.Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Tuesday, April 30th at 8:00 A.M. EST. Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.