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Was the Relationship Between Thad Stevens and Lydia Hamilton Smith Common Knowledge in 1865?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Bryan_C, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Bryan_C

    Bryan_C Sergeant

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    I wasn't sure where to post this since my question is about a relationship and not politics.

    I saw Lincoln last night. Great film.

    The realtionship between Congressman Thaddeus Stevens and Lydia Hamilton Smith was featured in the film. The movie suggests they sought to keep their relationship a secret. But was their relationship common knowledge to people at the time? In other words, did Thad Stevens live openly with a Black woman?
     

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  3. diane

    diane Colonel Forum Host

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    As I understand it, she was mulatto - white father, black mother - who was born in Gettysburg and was a free person of color. I believe she lived in a separate house behind Stevens' place and worked as his housekeeper for many years but his relationship with her didn't seem to be that. He took her to social events, gave her a goodly sum in his will, had her portrait done and introduced her to influential people. She was a very accomplished lady - she seems to have been part of the Underground Railroad, and was quite a good businesswoman after Stevens died. As Stevens remarked when questioned about their real relationship, no children had been raised under his roof! (Which didn't answer anything, of course...)
     
  4. Rebforever

    Rebforever 1st Lieutenant

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    [​IMG]

    A sharp looking lady.
     
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  5. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    I'd read years ago (no clue where) that he actually lived with 2 colored ladies who travelled with him.
     
  6. diane

    diane Colonel Forum Host

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    I wonder if one was her mom? I'd heard somewhere that Lydia took good care of her. She had a couple sons by a free black man who disappeared - don't know if she was a widow or got divorced or what - but one was in the Union army.
     
  7. Dave Wilma

    Dave Wilma Sergeant Major Forum Host

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    I'm shocked, shocked, that there's gamboling here.
     
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  8. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    Yes, I believe it was common knowledge among the people in DC or those who worked with him or knew him socially
     

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