I am a fan of Nixon and Dovey and love your character development. Just curious, did you find anything on ancestry.com that helped you write the novel?
When I was researching Nixon and Dovey there was no internet so the vast majority of information came from traveling to North Carolina and the best genealogical sites such as the LDS holdings in Salt Lake. After the Ancestry.com came along I used it mostly to confirm what I pretty much already knew and then to post information about Nixon’s family for others to have. Ancestry.com is a wonderful tool as are the internet search engines.
Was Baldy Henderson a real person? If not, is he based on an historical character?
Indeed, the Judge ‘Baldy’ Henderson character was based upon a real person. Not only was he a real person but he was a great lawyer of some fame himself. Archibald ‘Baldy’ Henderson died shortly after defending Nixon Curry in the murder case where Nixon was charged with killing Ben Wilson and it was ‘Baldy’ who argued successfully, as in the book, against a negro testifying against a white man. Although Nixon Curry was considered his most famous case he had many other successful, well known trials. His reputation was impeccable. Like Nixon, there are several articles about Judge Henderson which were written in the early to mid-1800s. In one article his client, having just been acquitted of stealing was asked if he actually did it. He responded something along the lines of “Well, sir. Before my lawyer Mr. Henderson, esquire spoke I surely did think that I was guilty of the charge, but after hearing Mr. Henderson’s summary, I can now can say I am having serious doubts.”
Upon his death, ‘Baldy’ Henderson was widely acclaimed as one of the finest lawyers ever produced in early America. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall who ruled the US Supreme Court for almost 35 years called Henderson the best attorney ever produced by North Carolina. Henderson argued several cases before Chief Justice Marshall and was said to never have lost a case to that esteemed court. Also Judge Henderson is the only lawyer for which the state organization of lawyers (I don’t remember their title) actually placed a tall monument on his grave with words of praise never since used to describe one of their own members in such an open forum.
Yes, Mr. Hughes, Judge ‘Baldy’ Henderson was a famous and highly regarded lawyer in the Mecklenburg County area. I only hope Nixon and Dovey does him justice.
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