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Anne Royall - Susan Higginbotham - 04-01-2024 10:27 PM

In her publication The Huntress, Washington, D.C. journalist Anne Royall included pen-portraits of new members of Congress, including Stephen Douglas, whom she described as "rather under middle height,” before assuring her readers, β€œIn his manners, Judge Douglass [sic] is polite, and urbane, and to crown the whole, he is in the market. Ladies look out!”

Does anyone know if she met Congressman Lincoln? I tend to think not, as her biographer Bessie Rowland James doesn't mention it. (She did meet Jefferson Davis, whose manners she described as "extremely winning.")

RE: Anne Royall - RJNorton - 04-02-2024 04:33 AM

Susan, Anne Royall is not mentioned in Lincoln Day By Day.

RE: Anne Royall - Gene C - 04-02-2024 06:36 AM

Wikipedia indicates she died in 1854 at the age of 85.

An interesting item in the Wikipedia article
"She arrived in Washington in 1824 to petition for a federal pension as the widow of a veteran; under the pension law at the time, widows had to plead their cases before Congress. She remained unsatisfied until Congress passed a new pension law in 1848. Even then, her husband's family claimed most of her pension money."

"While in Washington attempting to secure a pension, Anne caught President John Quincy Adams during one of his usual early morning naked swims in the Potomac River. It is commonly recounted, but apocryphal, that she gathered the president's clothes and sat on them until he answered her questions, earning her the first presidential interview ever granted to a woman."

The caustic observations in her books and public stances on issues caused a stir and earned her some powerful enemies. She was derided as an eccentric scold, a virago, and (in the words of one newspaper editor) "a literary wild-cat from the backwoods". In 1829, Anne Royall returned to Washington, D.C. and began living on Capitol Hill, near a fire house. The firehouse, which had been built with federal money, had been allowing a small Presbyterian congregation to use its facilities for their services. Royall, who had long made Presbyterians a particular object of scorn in her writing, objected to their using the building as a blurring of the lines between church and state. She also claimed that some of the congregation's children began throwing stones at her windows. One member of the congregation began praying silently beneath her window and others visited her in an attempt to convert her, she claimed. Royall responded to their taunts with cursing and was arrested. She was tried and convicted of being a "public nuisance, a common brawler and a common scold". Although a ducking stool had been constructed nearby, the court ruled that the traditional common law punishment of ducking for a scold was obsolete, and she was instead fined $10. Two reporters from Washington's newspaper, The National Intelligencer, paid the fine. Embarrassed by the incident, Royall left Washington to continue traveling.[3]

Back in Washington in 1831, she published a newspaper from her home with the help of a friend, Sally Stack. The paper, Paul Pry, exposed political corruption and fraud. Sold as single issues, it contained her editorials, letters to the editor and her responses, and advertisements. It was published until 1836, when it was succeeded by The Huntress. Royall hired orphans to set the type and faced constant financial woes, which were exacerbated when postmasters refused to deliver her issues to subscribers, until her death at 85 in 1854, bringing an end to her 30-year news career."

RE: Anne Royall - Steve - 04-02-2024 08:19 AM

I found this article from 1907 about Royall:

On page 32 of the article it briefly mentions that Lincoln was one of the members of Congress who was kind to her. Unfortunately the author, Sarah Harvey Porter, doesn't elaborate or mention where she got that information. So I don't know if she is just name-checking Lincoln or if she has an actual source for this. Regardless, I think it's very likely that she and Lincoln at least met because she was lobbying members of Congress for a pension bill while he was a congressman.

Gene, there's more stories like the one you shared above in the article if your interested.

RE: Anne Royall - Susan Higginbotham - 04-02-2024 01:42 PM

Thanks, all!