He was a lawyer and his middle name was Beverley. As a judge he wasn’t liked by his contemporaries. He had an office in a hollowed-out tree trunk and might have written the first novel west of the Mississippi River. He is best remembered, however, not for that novel, but for one he wrote later which was so startlingly prophetic that some felt it was the blueprint for the Civil War. The closing line of that book, shouted on a theatre stage almost thirty years after it was written, is part of one of our country’s most tragic political plots.

AOWM – September 6