|About the Book|
CALABOOSE begins in 1835, the year the Great Fire in New York City swept through the financial district in lower Manhattan, burning down 674 stores. It ends in 1858, the year the settlers in the Kansas Territory voted down a slave-permiting stateMoreCALABOOSE begins in 1835, the year the Great Fire in New York City swept through the financial district in lower Manhattan, burning down 674 stores. It ends in 1858, the year the settlers in the Kansas Territory voted down a slave-permiting state constitution. During the entire twenty-three year period in between, the New York stock market was locked in the longest bear market in Americas history.It was a time of turmoil and transition in America: there was no central bank- there was no national currency- the size of the country doubled with the territory acquired in the Mexican War- immigration surged- epidemics flourished and gold was discovered in California. While the Norths stock market languished, the Souths slave-driven cotton economy boomed--the stage was being set for the Civil War.It was in this setting that John Paul Byers, a Pennsylvanian, emigrated in 1838 with his Swiss-born wife, Wilhelmina, from New York City to the lead mining center, Galena, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. There, on the countrys western frontier, he became a lawman for the city and county. His life as city marshal, county jailer, and captain of the city watch is told.To give the reader a sense of being there, the author, John R. Byers, ties together events at the national, state and local levels. He endeavors to recreate for the reader a feeling of what life was like in mid-nineteenth century America, including everyday life on the frontier and in the nations mining capital.