Melissa J. Ganz


"[Flor the sake of the noble men and women who have stood by me through all revilings... and for his [sake] who lost his life in my behalf, I wish to tell the whole story of my life," Abby Sage Richardson wrote in the New York Daily Tribune on May 11, 1870. "When I was once advised to do so and hesitated," Abby explained, "a good woman said to me, 'Do not be afraid to tell your story once to all the world. Tell it once exactly as you would tell it to your Maker, and then keep silence forever after.' Abby listened to the woman's advice, penning a statement that spanned more than eight columns in the newspaper, six of which filled the entire front page. Abby's story began with her marriage to Daniel McFarland in 1857. Nearly twice her age, McFarland dazzled her with boasts of a flourishing law practice and brilliant political prospects, only to reveal a few weeks into their honeymoon that he had long given up the practice of law in favor of an unsuccessful career speculating in land. Less than three months after their wedding, McFarland pawned Abby's jewelry to pay their bills and sent Abby to live with her father in New Hampshire.

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