Robbie White ~ Artist

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


----An excerpt from the journal of Mrs. Jonathon Whittington circa 1851---

You know I was betrothed against my will to a man I really didn’t know or love. Being from one of the most proper families in Pennsylvania had no affect on my expected servitude to Mr. Winthrop H. Williams, and neither had my distain for him or his family. Apparently this prison cell was arranged at my birth in order to merge two family businesses into one major conglomerate. I was to have none of it you see.

But, that wasn’t because our school Headmaster had been sweet on me and I had like feelings. No you see, but rather that he had taught me well, the yearning and desire to be adventurous and independent through the mountain of books required of our studies. Much to his avail I’m afraid. Old Headmaster Thomas would shower me with his little drawings of reward when I excelled in my studies. There were numerous frakturs of hearts, vines, urns, and such, but my favorite was a special bird. What an inspiration, though he never knew, and reminder that I had wings too if I wanted.

So, in secret, I answered an advertisement in The Philadelphia Inquirer for a mail order bride, posted by a farmer from the Northwest wilderness. Yes indeed I did! Tansy, my sister, argued for a week over my wild notions of running away to the wilds of Oregon, but she was afraid herself of the same plight I was facing, and so we sat by lamplight one night, and she carefully drew my silhouette, to be sent to this woodsmen, along with my answer to his advertisement.

Old Headmaster Thomas had taught our small class well in the rendering of likenesses, and so little did he know that his instruction would be used to help make my escape from him and Mr. Winthrop H. Williams. If I had to be a prisoner, best to spend it somewhere adventurous and far away from Philadelphia.

Tansy and I worked out all the secret details and managed to avoid being exposed or caught. Then silently we made our way to the train station early one morn before the household was awakened some months later. You see back then mail was a very slow process! With small valise in hand, Tansy helped me onto the train car. With tears of joy and sadness we parted, and she slipped my wings into my hand, the small bird fraktur, as the train pulled away.

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