Paddy is a story about family life in Somerset, Michigan during the first year of the American Civil War. It's a novel of adventure, intrigue, romance and comedy set in a background of historical places, many of which you can still see today as you drive along the Chicago Road from Jonesville through the Irish Hills to Clinton.Christmas 1860 is far from joyous. Clouds of war hover above a nation in disarray, and a break up of the Union seems inevitable. In a few months, president-elect Abraham Lincoln will be inaugurated. Continuing unrest among the southern states has emboldened slaves to flee north with bounty hunters in pursuit, and life in Somerset is about to change. Paddy O'Toole is the owner and driver of a stage coach that makes shuttle runs along the Chicago Road between the towns of Jonesville and Clinton. Paddy's favorite stop is the Somerset Inn where Shella Heflin, its famous cook, works with young Mary Bunday in the kitchen. Ransom Foster, Paddy's dear friend and frequent passenger, is extremely fond of Mary Bunday. Whenever Ransom is on the stage, Paddy times his arrival at the Somerset Inn for just before dark so the young lovers can be together. Paddy, the optimist, loves everyone dearly and is always willing to help. At home in Jonesville, he spends most of his spare time with his friend Chauncy Coolahan, the town's only undertaker. With hilarious results, Paddy often helps Coolahan. In the summer, Ransom Foster's life is in grave danger when he becomes secretly involved in a covert government assignment that puts him on Paddy's stage for a suspense-filled trip through the Irish Hills. As the war escalates, each side tries to outmaneuver the other by inventing new methods of offence. In the fall of 1861, the Federal Army developed and launched a manned aerial observation balloon, and the U. S. Balloon Corps was born.