ItemSt. Andrews Beacon, Feb. 20, 1890
Routed by the Enemy
Mrs. Keezer is not Allowed to Narrate her Battle Experiences
Her Husband has an Exciting Experience with the Mob, and is Compelled to Seek Cover
"What means this eager, anxious throng?" was the first question a stranger would have asked if he had been in St. Andrews on Saturday night, and had seen the crowd of men and boys that surged about the entrance to Stevenson 's Hall, between 7 and 8 o'clock. The explanation of this unusual stir was to be found in the hand-bills that were posted about the fences and in the shop-windows, announcing that Mrs. David Keezer would deliver a lecture on "Experiences in the late United States rebellion." Those of the crowed who had a dime in their pockets—and there were few who hadn't that night—and who were eager to hear Ms. Keezer's thrilling war experiences hustled upstairs, dropped the aforesaid dime into the waiting hand of the lecturer's husband, who officiated as door-keeper, and then stepped inside the hall.
By 8 o'clock there were probably one hundred and fifty persons in the room, all of them of the masculine gender, and of them apparently expecting some startling "experiences." The lecturer was on hand in good time, and occupied a seat on the platform for half an hour before the lecture began. She was neatly attired and made rather a favorable impression upon those who had come to hear her. She had on a pretty black bonnet, and well-fitting black jacket, and a dress of brown material. In front of her on a small table, covered with a white cloth, reposed her back fur cape and pocket handkerchief.
When the hour came around for opening the lecture, Bradford Boone, Esq., was moved into the chair, and at once took her station on he platform. He was followed by a score of others, whose hearing appeared to be defective, and who seemed anxious to get as near the lecturer as possible in order that none of her "experiences" might be lost to them. After a little parleying, the chairman arose, and called the meeting to order. He then introduced Mrs. Keezer as "one of the most remarkablest women of the age," and intimated that the audience would hear a lecture, the like of which they had never heard before and would never hear again.
Vociferous applause followed Mr. Boone's brilliant effort. Mrs. Keezer began her lecture very nervously, but in a good voice. She used no notes. She wasted little time in useless introductions, plunging at once into her narrative. In April, 1861, her first husband, Charles Norwood, who was an American soldier, came home on a furlough. At the suggestion of the chairman, she went into particular as to the period of the furlough. It was six weeks long. At the end of the six weeks, he persuaded her to go to the wars with him. She went as a nurse, and at the same time to look after her husband.
She commenced to describe the battles she had seen, when some young scamp, in the rear of the hall, no doubt to give the battle sketches a realistic effect, began discharging fire crackers. Mr. Keezer at this juncture rushed in and threatened to "call her off" and "dismiss the meetin'" if such disturbances were not ended right there. As soon as order had been in a measure restored the lecturer returned to her narrative, and was describing with a master hand the "ghastly sights," "the terrible scenery" and "the wild demons" she had seen on the battle field, when another cracker exploded at her feet. She uttered a faint scream, assumed a tragic attitude, and then sat down, declaring she would not speak another word.
Her husband, who had reason to be justly indignant, again burst into the room, and in a voice of thunder, said that "the meetin' was dismissed." He then called upon "Mary" to come off the platform. Instantly, there was a demand from a score or more that their money be returned to them, and to add to the bedlam the cracker fusillade was renewed. The fire appeared to be chiefly directed to Mr. Keezer. There were "crackers to right of him, crackers to left of him, crackers all around him." He boldly held his ground, however, and his cash, too, and declared that if they would call upon him the next day he would give very cent back. He said he did not want their money. He could get along without it.
Finding the atmosphere was becoming too hot he endeavored to get outside the hall, and after a good deal of jostling he got to the door. By this time an enormous crowd had gathered, and the noise they made sounded as if bedlam had been let loose. To go home, with such a howling mob after them, was madness, so they both very wisely decided to seek shelter in Miss Moore's saloon, until the crowd had dispersed.
Every effort was used to coax Mr. Keezer out by the crowed, some young villains even going so far as to bring his sloven down to the saloon door, but he refused to appear. Subsequently the sloven was thrown over the wharf.
When eleven o'clock had come around, and the streets appeared quiet, they determined to start for home. A number of prominent citizens offered to accompany them as a body guard, which offer was accepted. Mr. J. T. Ross acted as advance guard, bearing on his shoulder a rusty sword, which he had fished out of somewhere. Immediately behind him came Mr. and Mrs. Keezer, hand in hand, determined to fall together if the worst should come. Mr. Arthur Moore and Mr. William McQuoid occupied the right and left wing. The rear was protected by Con. Lamb, Mr. Owen Rigby and Mr. B. F. Estes. Mr. J. M. Hanson did outpost duty with a lantern.
Mr. Keezer and his chosen band had scarcely entered upon their dangerous march when the enemy appeared, every corner and every alley yielding its quota. Despite the sturdy efforts of the body guard, their ranks were frequently broken by some bold youth, anxious to get within reaching distance of Mr. Keezer. A few of them succeeded, but fortunately without doing him any serious injury. One cowardly scamp struck him square in the face as he turned a corner. The crowd did not molest them after they got into the home.
Mrs. Keezer declared that when next she lectured it would be in St. John, where she would be protected by the law. She said there was no law in St. Andrews. It certainly looked that way on Saturday night.