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Episode 128 The Kentucky Tragedy

Virginia’s Southern Literary Messenger was one of the most influential literary magazines in the South. Editor James Heath wrote in the first issue that the magazine was meant to serve as “a kind of pioneer, to spy out the land of literary promise [in the South], and to report whether the same be fruitful or barren.” The Southern Literary Messenger was, for a time edited by Edgar Allan Poe. In 1835 Poe published the first installment of Politian in The Messenger. Politian was the only play ever written by Poe who had been inspired by events in Frankfort, Kentucky that made national headlines in 1825. The murder of Solomon P. Sharp by Jereboam Beauchamp is known as The Kentucky Tragedy. It’s a complicated story of seduction, politics, love and execution. 

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Episode Sources

  • Southern Literary Messenger. Encyclopedia of Virginia. Accessed May 30, 2023. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/southern-literary-messenger/
  • The confession of Jereboam Beauchamp “(written by himself) who was executed at Frankfort, Ky., for the murder of Col. Solomon P. Sharp, a member of the legislature, and late attorney-general of Ky. To which is added some poetical pieces written by Mrs. Ann Beauchamp, who voluntarily put a period to her existence on the day of the execution of her husband, and was buried in the same grave with him. Accessed May 30, 2023. https://digital.library.cornell.edu/catalog/sat1109
  • The Kentucky Tragedy in American Literature: From Thomas Holley Chivers to Robert Warren. Jack Edward Surrency, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Accessed May 30, 2023. ttps://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5389&context=utk_graddiss
  • Jereboam O. Beauchamp. Murderpedia. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/beauchamp-jereboam.htm

Episode Music

I Am A Man Who Will Fight For Your Honor by Chris Zabriske and No. 7 Alone with My Thought by Esther Abrami. Licensed under Creative Commons; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use