Saturday, February 7, 2015

When Assassinations Fail

We've all seen the clips on TV of presidential assassination attempts. My mind goes back to my all time favorite president Ronald Reagan. The Secret Service men surround our president so quickly a second bullet can't make it through the armor of bodies to reach the most powerful man in America. They hustle him into a car and whisk him away to safety.

                          By Michael Evans - Public Domain,
But not if it is the 19th century and not if you are Andrew Jackson. It was January 30th, 1835 and President Jackson had been attending a funeral for a member of Congress in the US Capital. He was making his way out of the building when Richard Lawrence stepped from behind one of the pillars, taking the president by surprise and firing a flintlock pistol at him.

Instead of sending a deadly piece of lead into Andrew Jackson, the gun misfired and only a loud noise came from the weapon. Stunned bystanders stood by as Lawrence reached in his pocket and pulled out a second pistol and proceeded to pull the trigger. This gun, too, misfired and again no projectile came from the gun only a loud bang.

Andrew Jackson was very familiar with violent attacks, one of which had left a metal ball in his body. Jackson who was known for not backing down, did not turn and run when Lawrence shot him. Instead, the President flew in to a rage and attacked his would-be-assassin, hitting him with his cane. 

Onlookers who had gotten their wits about them dashed over and grabbed Lawrence wrestling him to the ground. Once rescued from President Jackson, Lawrence was arrested. Richard Lawrence would spend the rest of his life in a mental institution. 

By used in article at, Public Domain,

One hundred years later the Smithsonian Institute did a study on Lawrence's derringers. Both guns fired properly on the test's first try. With a little bit of math, it was determined that the chances of both guns misfiring during the same assassination attempt were 1 in 125,000. 

So what do you think? Was Andrew Jackson brave, foolish, or hot tempered? What do you think of the misfired guns? Coincidence or providence?

Debbie Lynne Costello is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve
Laube Agency. She attended Heritage University, where she studied Journalism and worked in the editing department.

She has a short story in Guideposts 2014, Christmas Cup of Cheer. She has completed five full length novels set in Charleston and Savannah areas in the late 19th century along with one Medieval that releases this month.

She and her husband have four children and two grandbabies. They live in upstate South Carolina with their family. Debbie Lynne has been raising Shetland Sheepdogs for 18 years and her and her husband enjoy their Tennessee Walkers and Arabian horses.

Releases in February.

     After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father’s estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn’t enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution.
     Royce of Hawkwood returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin’s wise and kind nature begin to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim


  1. Fascinating story, Debbie. I could just picture feisty Andrew Jackson attacking his assailant with a cane! As far as I'm concerned, providence gets my vote!

  2. I love his feisty demeanor! And I agree with Rebecca - God's divine providential protection.

  3. I don't remember reading about the attack on Jackson, but seeing the statistics, I believe it was either the man was such a bumbler and so nervous that he didn't get the guns loaded properly OR that God stayed his hands. I wonder if Andrew Jackson ever recognized that he was quite possibly saved by God.

  4. Enjoyed your post,Debbie! I admire Jackson for going after his attacker and it was certainly not his time to go. What a tale to tell!

  5. Reading your novel right now and enjoying it. Andrew Jackson probably did the right thing for his circumstances. Today we have Secret Service who take care of these jobs. Sm. Wileygreen1( at)yahoo(dot)com

  6. I agree that God must have stayed the mans hand. Melanie, my husband is always saying, when its your time to go, its your time to go. LOL> And obviously it wasn't Jackson's. Sharon, I'm so glad you're enjoying SOF. as to the SS I'll have to look into when they came into being. I wonder if it was an assassination or an attempt that brought them about.