A woman accuses a powerful man of manipulating and taking advantage of her for years in a secret relationship. Sensational accusations emerge, causing a media frenzy. Lawyers on both sides prepare a protracted case which is followed in its every detail by the press and public. A popular Congressman faces a fall from grace. But this isn't a modern scandal—it happened a century ago in DC, and the woman at its center wanted only to see justice done.
It started with a rumor. D.C. police were planning to spy on members of Congress. But within weeks, many Washingtonians weren't just asking if they could trust law enforcement. They seemed ready to scrap the city's government altogether.
On the morning of February 27, 1859, Philip Barton Key was shot multiple times by the deranged Daniel E. Sickles in the middle of Lafayette Square. Sickles’ motive? ... The discovery of an intimate affair between his wife and good friend.
Now Washington, D.C., has had its fair share of scandals, political pandemonium, and secret trysts over the years. But the Sickles tragedy provided a particularly scandalous dance between sex and politics even by Washington standards. After all, it’s not every day that a Congressman commits cold-blooded murder in broad daylight on a city street.
Garrett's book tells the story of a (until recently!) largely-forgotten quarry in Seneca, Maryland, which provided the stone for the Smithsonian Castle and a host of other local landmarks. As he explains, the quarry also proved to be a source of scandal for President U.S. Grant in the 1870s.