Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Postmarked Washington, DC, this envelope from LoC's collection is addressed to a Rossville, NY wife and mother. Understandably missing from History's pages, we hear nothing of her- just this envelope and a census or two. Any envelope postmarked ' Washington, DC ', to her, could have been from her husband, Seems Caleb spent a good amount of time during the war infesting public office.
There could be a reason we know not-much of this poor woman- acute embarrassment. You just know it was not what she signed up for.
So you know those war era envelopes we see, printed images of soldiers, sweethearts left behind, Lady Columbia and patriotic quotes ? LoC has a ton, we have threads on them. Had an idea it would be intriguing ( nosy.... ), following some. Love stories there, be sure. Have an interest in how this war impacted we girls, across the board so ' followed ' envelopes addressed to women.
HOLY cow. You never know what's behind this stuff. Not a lot about the addressee- Mrs. Caleb Lyon, once Mary Ann Springsteen. She probably went back to her maiden name, fled to Alaska and found an obscure hide-away.
Here's a first sighting of Caleb Lyon. " A conceited, peculiar man who made many enemies and misappropriated much of the government funds ", a journalist. " Always appearing in flaming necktie and curiously grotesque clothing " ( from his county's history, 1894 ), Lyons was Lincoln's appointee to Bolivia- who did not go. We've seen other er, troublesome characters banished in this way. It seems Lyons was not playing or Bolivia said " Thank you but no ".
Attracting fingers made sticky by deep dips in government funds, Arlington House was a victim. The Lees were able to send wagonloads away, despite what we hear. There were enough enticing items belonging to someone else around, when Union troops took control, to attract a weasel. It appears Lyons was responsible for vanishing property at Arlington. Transpires he was an art collector and weasel.
Looks like one of the Brady portraits although haven't tracked it back- wish it were in color so we could see the necktie. It is he, Caleb Lyon, 2nd Governor of Idaho, 1864-1865. Short term!
He collected a lot of things. Bouncing between scandals, Caleb Lyons variously ended up in California's Gold Rush and as once of the worst governors Idaho ( or the country ) ever endured. Among scathing write-ups exists the information he took credit for creating the state seal. The real artist had no say in anything other than providing the governor with swiped work.
" Lyon was not a popular governor. Noted as a lecturer, poet, author, and foreign traveler, he was rather conspicuous in a roughshod Wild West territory populated mostly by miners. He referred to himself as "Lyon of Lyonsdale," a habit that led some critics to nickname him "Cale of the Dale." Another stance that did nothing to endear Lyon to at least some of the population was his support of moving the territory's capital from Lewiston in the north to Boise in the south. The matter proved important enough that some settlers persuaded a local judge to get an injunction against the move and keep Lyon under observation. Under the guise of a duck hunt, Lyon escaped the territory in a canoe on the Snake River. The territory's seal and archives were later moved under armed guard. "
We get the idea. Attached to too many scandals to list here, the son he seems to have been too busy to raise redeemed his father- or his name. Somewhere, back in New York, a nearly anonymous woman was raising children- pretty well, too. In a wonderful twist of fate we see namesake son dying an elderly, respected physician with apparently spotless reputation.
Envelopes hold stories. Some are pretty good.