St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Friday, May 11, 2012

1849 Letter- Love is a Diamond in the Mud

Today seems like just the perfect day to sit and go through some of the thousands pieces of papers I have collected over the years while on the hunt for my past.

In my findings today, is a letter from July 1849 in which my 3g-uncle, the Rev. Robert W HENRY (1827-1869) writes to his first cousin, Margaret D FORSYTHE (1831-1919).

To set the scene, Robert is off studying to become a Presbyterian minister, and in his own words, "spent nearly all the day in digging out theology."  This is how he explains his lack of writing to his loved ones.  Robert tells us he has been preaching, or trying to preach, for almost every Sabbath.  He tells us he is happy.  His letter quickly turns to theology before he realizes it and changes the subject.

I find the third paragraph interesting---

...But, you will say, "I hate sermon letters" if I continue thus, and therefore, I forebear, I do not wish that my letters should be a bore in any particular.  Well, Cos, how is Mr. Fletcher?  Is he still paying such close attention to you? Has he still a claim upon your affections? And has he laid his heart and hand and fortune and all, an offering upon the altar of your will, and at the shrine of your beauty? Has he inquired of you?........ This love is a strange thing, it seems like the enchantment of the Sorcerer, or an influence of the evil spirit, it is always brooding over the hearts and frequently crosses the roses that are blooming there, to wither and die away, like the beauty of the setting sun, for its fruits are mostly disappointments and cares.....Loving is a dangerous thing. But it may not be so with you. I would not discourage you in the least. My own experience, in part, should not be taken as an infallible index in love.....I have looked for too much perfection where there could be no hope of finding it. For to look even for comparative perfection in a lady, would be to look for a diamond in the mud........

Wow.  Sounds like Uncle got burned!  I wonder by whom?

While I will never know the answer to that question, I do know he did find his perfect lady in the form of Mary Emma MATTHEWS, who he married in Allegheny Co, PA, in 1851.  Their time together was cut short when he died in Alexandria, Egypt, while on a voyage to the Holy Lands.  His lady died of a stroke while taking a bath and drowned in 1918.  They had no children.

As for Margaret, it is safe to say that the Mr. FLETCHER mentioned did not inquire of her as she married Joseph RYBURN in 1858.  They had four children and died in McLean Co, IL.

Ahh, genealogy.  These glimpses in to the lives of our ancestors remind us that they, too, lived, laughed and loved.  So much for just the name, rank, and serial number.  I need them to "come alive."

©AS Eldredge 2012

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