Woman of the Century/Anna Hanson Dorsey
DORSEY, Mrs. Anna Hanson, author, born in Georgetown, D. C, 16th December, 1816. She is descended on her mother's side from the De Rastricks of Yorkshire, England, from the noble house of Vasa of Sweden, from the MacAlpine MacGregors and the Lingans. On her father's side she descends from the McKenneys. John Hanson became a distinguished colonist in Maryland, rose to the rank of colonel, and founded a race which stands second to none in the annals of the country. His grandsons, Samuel of Samuel and John Hanson, were two of the most earnest supporters of the cause of independence, the latter being one of the signers of the Articles of Federation. His great-grandson, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, signed the Constitution. His great-great-grandsons, Thomas Stone and John H. Stone, were respectively a signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of Maryland. The Lingans were among the early colonists from Wales, and held positions of trust in Maryland as early as the reign of William and Mary. Their noblest representative, Gen. James Lingan, the brother of her grandfather, after brilliant Revolutionary services, was murdered by the same mob in Baltimore, in 1812, that wreaked its savagery on Light Horse Harry Lee and Musgrove, his comrades in arms. Mrs. Dorsey's grandfather, Nicholas Lingan, was educated in St. Omers, France, where his kinsman, barrister Charles Carroll, had been sent in his youth, and he was the first man in the District of Columbia to issue manumission papers. His objection to slavery extended down his line to his latest descendants. Mrs. Dorsey declined to answer "Uncle Tom's Cabin." because, as she said in response to the demand made on her by public and publishers, "with the exception of the burning of the slaves hinted at" of which she had never heard an instance I, "everything represented as the inevitable result of the system of slavery is true, however kind and considerate of the slaves the masters might be." She was brought up under the influence of the old emancipation party of the border States, who were conscientiously opposed to slavery, but never made themselves offensive to those who were not. Her father, Rev. William McKenney, belonged to an old Eastern Shore family, which has been represented in the Legislature, the courts and on the bench for generations. In politics her race were all Federalists and old-line Whigs, and she was an ardent Unionist during the Civil War. Her oldest brother was one of the last men in the Senate of Virginia to make a speech against secession. Her only son served in the Union Army and got his death-wound while planting the Stars and Stripes on the ramparts at Fort Hell. In 1837 she became the wife of Lorenzo Dorsey, of Baltimore, a son of Judge Owen Dorsey. She and her husband are converts to the Catholic faith. She has devoted herself exclusively to Catholic light literature, of which she is the pioneer in this country, with the exception of two ringing war lyrics, "Men of the Land" and "They're Coming. Grandad," the latter dedicated to the loyal people of Fast Tennessee, who suffered such martyrdom for their fidelity to the old Mag. She began her literary career by a touching little story called " The Student of Rlenheim Forest," and this was followed rapidly by "Oriental Pearl," "Nora Brady's Vow," " Mona the Vestal." "Heiress of Carrigmona," "Tears on the Diadem," "Woodreve Manor," "The Young Countess." "Dummy," "Coaina. the Rose of the Algonquins." " Beth's Promise," "Warp and Woof," "Zoe's Daughter," "Old House at (llenaran," " Fate of the Dane." "Mad Penitent of Todi." "A Brave Girl." "Story of Manuel." "The Old Grey Rosary." "Ada's Trust," "Adrift." "Palms," and others. Her books have brought her the friendship of whole religious communities, prelates and authors, and across the seas the venerable Catholic Earl of Shrewsbury and Lady George Fullerton were among her warm admirers. "May Brooke" was the first Catholic book published in Edinburgh since the Reformation, and "Coaina" has been twice dramatized and translated into German and Hindustani. Pope Leo has twice sent her his special blessing, first by the Cardinal Archbishop James Gibbons, and the second time by her granddaughter. Miss Mohun, at a recent special audience She has also received the gift of the Lætare medal from the University of Notre Dame for distinguished services rendered to literature, education and religion. Mrs. Dorsey is now an invalid, and is living with her children in Washington, D. C.