Lydia Hamilton Smith | Civil War Women
And before long, [Thaddeus Stevens] obtained the services of a housekeeper, Lydia Hamilton Smith, a mulatto widow of great respectability with two children. Separated from her husband, Smith moved to Lancaster with her to prominent lawyer and abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, who had as to the exact nature of the relationship between Stevens and Smith. Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) kissing Lydia Hamilton Smith (S. Epatha Merkerson) in Foundation intentionally excluded of Steven Spielberg's film, Lincoln Stevens's relationship with his “mulatto” housekeeper is the subject.
She became Stevens' housekeeper inand for 25 years she managed his homes and businesses. Through their partnership she gained the skills and social contacts necessary to become a successful businesswoman after his death.
She married a free black man named Jacob Smith and bore two sons but they separated before he died in and she raised the children alone. Thaddeus Stevens was born in Danville, Vermont, on April 4, He suffered from many hardships during his childhood, including a club foot.
Thaddeus Stevens, Relationship with Lydia Hamilton Smith (Trefousse, 1997)
Stevens put himself through Dartmouth College, then moved to York, Pennsylvania, where he taught school and studied law. After admission to the bar, he established a law practice in Gettysburg in After his skillful defense of a murderer for whom he pleaded insanity, an unusual defense at that time, he quickly acquired a lucrative practice and earned recognition as the leading figure of the Adams County bar.
By shrewd purchase and by taking full advantage of sheriff's sales, Stevens became the owner of so much property that by he was the largest taxpayer in Gettysburg. During his days in Gettysburg, Stevens also assisted fugitive slaves who were traveling eastward from the city of Columbia, which was fourteen miles away and a key station on the Underground Railroad.
He paid a spy to keep watch on slave catchers in the area. And he fought the state Constitution ofwhich took away from black males the right to vote.
Blog Divided » Post Topic » How the “Lincoln” Movie Reconstructed Thaddeus Stevens
Thaddeus Stevens moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in and purchased property there in the early s. He built a small addition connecting a saloon on Queen Street and his residence, and that is where he created his law office. Stevens, whom Lydia Smith and her mother had known when he was an attorney and abolitionist in Gettysburg, offered her a position as his housekeeper in Lancaster. InLydia moved her two boys to Lancaster to work for Stevens. She learned quickly how to manage a household with staff, as well as how to manage the household finances.
Lydia served as Stevens' housekeeper, property manager and confidante for twenty years. Their partnership afforded her the opportunity to gain the skills and social contacts that helped her later become a successful businesswoman.
Stevens lived in the main house with his two orphaned nephews, Alanson and Thaddeus, whom they raised together, and who both later served in the Union Army.
Lydia Hamilton Smith
Lydia lived in "a one-story frame house on the rear of Mr. Both Smith and Stevens were believed to have been involved in the antislavery movement while they lived in Lancaster. Of course, no progressive person would have any objection if they were lovers. The movie covered less than one year's time at the end of the Civil War. To expect the movie to delve into the other accomplishments in the lives of Elizabeth Keckley and William Slade is, I believe, ridiculously unrealistic.
I think the Keckley character was played with great sensitivity and dignity, and she had some great lines, and a conversation with Lincoln.
Those of us who have extensively read of these times, are aware of the importance of these people. Harris thinks the portrayal of Smith is especially unsettling She was barely on screen for a few minutes.
I emphatically disagree with the comments of Kate Masur. She writes of the film's I regarded it as his excitingly showing a person he deeply cared about, the proof of what had just occurred, since regrettably she had not been present. Secondly, unfortunately, the vast majority of slaves indeed could do nothing but wait for "white men" for lack of a better term, to liberate them.
What did she expect most of them to do? Stevens was elected to the U. House of Representatives the following year, and Smith continued to keep the bachelor's house including his house in Washington, D.
She and Stevens also raised the latter's nephews, whom he adopted in the s. William Smith was 26 years old and worked as a shoemaker in Lancaster.Republican celebrate, Democrats Lament XIII Amendment
No evidence exists as to the exact nature of the relationship between Stevens and Smith. In the one brief surviving letter from Stevens to her, he addresses her as "Mrs. Smith", unusual deference to an African-American servant in that era.