Our latest book, entitled Lakeville Crucifix, is now available from Amazon.
It’s local history about a subject area that has gone largely unstudied in the part of Northwestern Connecticut that was considered to have an iron industry that was second to none for much of the 19th century. A number of people have written thorough, careful, and fascinating books about the iron industry itself. But Lakeville Crucifix takes a different tack.
Basically, Lakeville Crucifix is about the people who made the iron industry function and how they interacted with each other when you add nativism, Irish immigration, changes in the Roman Catholic Church, vestiges of New England Puritanism, and electoral politics to the mix.
In 1882, the Roman Catholic priest in Lakeville erected a 12-foot crucifix on the lawn of his parish church. The following summer, the local Protestants, offended by this structure, petitioned him to remove the Lakeville Crucifix. His parishioners retaliated by boycotting the Protestant merchants, and the merchants retaliated for that by calling on the local iron magnate, William H. Barnum, who also happened to be the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to ask him to fire all his Irish Catholic workmen. It also happened that an ally of the aggrieved merchants was a former Governor of Connecticut, Alexander H. Holley.
The story of the Lakeville Crucifix does NOT end there! The New York Times ran the story on page 1, it was covered in depth by the Hartford Courant, and the relatively new Associated Press spread the story all over the United States. And, the tensions continued to mount as the local ladies organized with the intent of firing all of their Irish Catholic household help. There are many other elements in the story, and we would be poor salespeople if we let all of the surprises out of the bag here.
At any rate, Lakeville Crucifix is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com, and we suggest that you have a look at it there.