Dromgoole, Twice-Murdered: Unraveling a Southern Legend of Duels, Disappearance, Seminole Wars, Secret Societies, Mystery, Castles, & Flagler's Millions
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Author: E. T. Malone, Jr.
Genre: History, folklore
Dimensions: 8" wide x 11" tall
Binding: Paper, perfect bound, Ecopaque pages
Pages: xii, 276
Publication: 2017; second printing, with minor revisions, 2018
Illustrations: 87 photographs, maps, and drawings, including cover and rear
Price: $29.95 (includes tax and shipping)
This book is the most extensive treatment of the Dromgoole Legend ever written. Most of the action is set in Brunswick County, Virginia, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and St. Augustine, Florida. The disappearance in 1833 of Peter Pelham Dromgoole, a student at the University of North Carolina, was conflated with the fact his uncle Virginia Congressman George Coke Dromgoole killed an opponent in a duel in 1837. On campus, a legend evolved that Peter had been slain in a midnight combat on Piney Prospect and buried under a boulder, from which his bloodstains never faded. Repeated to every generation of new students, this story inspired poems, short stories, novels, and later many newspaper articles, radio, television, and internet features. The book discusses the literary influences of the legend, which also inspired formation of the Order of Gimghoul, a secret society that constructed a stone castle on Piney Prospect in 1925-1926. The book traces the history of the Order, its most famous members, and describes the building of Gimghoul Castle. Two chapters report on restoration of the 1798 Dromgoole plantation, Canaan, by a Methodist historical group, the Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation. Peter's grandfather was a pioneer Methodist circuit rider who hosted Bishop Francis Asbury and other notables of early Methodism in his home. One chapter analyzes the many variations of the folk tale. Finally, the author returns to the true detective story of what actually became of Peter Dromgoole, the real person, tracing him to St. Augustine, Florida, during the Second Seminole War, where he met with a bizarre fate. An afterward relates the involvement of Gimghoul charter member Robert Worth Bingham with Mary Lily Kenan, widow of Florida millionaire Henry Flagler, including novelist Thomas Wolfe's parody of the Bingham family and a hint of connection to - of all people - Harry Potter!
$29.95 (includes tax and shipping)