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The Great Absquatulator

One hundred years before the Hollywood film The Great Impostor, Alfred Thomas Wood roved through the momentous mid-19th century events, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to New England, Liberia, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Canada, the U.S. Mid-West and the South. He is the great “absquatulator.”rnrnPosing as an Oxford-educated preacher in Maine and Boston, he claimed to be a Cambridge-educated doctor of divinity in Liberia. He spent 18 months in an English prison, then in Hamburg in 1854, he published a history of Liberia in German.rnrnSpeaking in Montreal, he claimed to have been Superintendent of Public Works in Sierra Leone. Wood served the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois as an Oxford-educated Doctor of Divinity, then toiled in post-Civil War Tennessee during Reconstruction as a Cambridge-trained MD.rnrnPerusing the life of a resourceful but dubious “absquatulator,” Frank Mackey wittily casts new light on vital mid-19th century events.

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