This blog began its life as a way to mark this week in U.S. history, particularly the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, and the week in which Lincoln was assassinated four years later, 15 April 1865. Somewhere along the line, however, it took a turn toward the work of George Gordon Byron DeWolfe, “The Wandering Poet of New Hampshire.”
According to Bela Chapin’s The Poets of New Hampshire, George G.B. DeWolfe was born in Canada in 1835. He left home at the age of twenty to come to the United States where he started his career traveling from place to place, writing verses on people and events. Many of his verses were printed as broadsides, and Dartmouth holds eight of them, including this one on the assassination of President Lincoln.
DeWolfe’s poetry documented a wide range of topics, from murder and disaster, to visits by famous people. Dartmouth’s collection of his broadsides is fairly representative of his work, including a beach gathering in Salisbury, a celebration in Londonderry and President Grant’s visit to Nashua… along with a murder, an assassination and a fire.
Sadly, the College does not own his last broadside, published three years after his death, the verse composed by DeWolfe from beyond the grave through the mediumship of Miss Lillie.
Ask for Broadside 000099 to see the original.