An Astronomer's Wife The Biography of Angeline Hall
AN ASTRONOMER’S WIFE
ANGELINE HALL IN MATURE LIFE
|Chapter I.||A Grand-daughter of the Revolution||13|
|II.||The Fatherless Child||20|
|V.||The Next Step||33|
|VIII.||Asaph Hall, Carpenter||54|
|IX.||Courtship and Marriage||59|
|X.||Ann Arbor and Shalersville||66|
|XII.||Love in a Cottage||80|
|XIII.||Washington and the Civil War||86|
|XIV.||The Gay Street Home||96|
|XV.||An American Woman||104|
|XVI.||A Bundle of Letters||116|
|XVII.||Augusta Larned’s Tribute||127|
|Angeline Hall in Mature Life||Frontispiece|
|An Old Daguerreotype||Opposite Chapter V|
|The Gay Street Home||Opposite Chapter XIV|
|Photograph of 1878||Opposite Chapter XV|
Dear Peggy: As I tell you this story of the noble grandmotherwho, dying long before you were born, would otherwisebe to you a picture of the imagination, I am going tolet the public listen, for several reasons:
First. The public will want to listen, for everybody isinterested in true stories of real folks.
Secondly. While your grandmother was not the mostwonderful woman that ever lived, she was a typical American.Her story possesses the charm and fascination of aromance, for she was a daughter of the pioneers—those ill-fedand ill-clothed people who, in spite of their shortcomings,intellectual, moral, and physical, have been themost forceful race in history.
Thirdly. This story vindicates the higher education ofwomen. Your grandmother, dear Peggy, was a Bachelorof Arts. Now it is maintained in some quarters that womenbecome bachelors so as to avoid having children. But yourgrandmother had four sons, every one of whom she sentthrough Harvard College.
Finally. This story will demonstrate conclusively thatcollege-bred women should not marry young men who earn12less than three hundred dollars a year. When you marry,dear Peggy, insist that your husband shall earn at least adollar a day. This precept will bar out the Europeannobility, but will put a premium on American nobility.
Signed and sealed this 1st day of November, in the yearof our Lord 1908, at Annapolis, Anne Arundel County,Maryland.
SONS 0F MARS
The Halls of Goshen
Qui transtulit sustinet.
MOONS OF MARS 1877
A GRAND-DAUGHTER OF THE REVOLUTION.
One fine winter morning a little more than a hundredyears ago the sun peeped into the snow-clad valley of theConnecticut, and smiled cordially upon the snug homes ofthe sons and daughters of the American Revolution. TheYankee farmers had long been stirring. Smoke curled upfrom every chimney in Ellington. The cattle had been fedand watered. Pans of new milk stood on the pantry shelves,breakfast was over, and the family was gathered about thefireside to worship God and to render Him thanks for peaceand plenty.
At Elisha Cook’s, on this particular winter morning, thesimple Puritan rites were especially earnest. The motherhad gathered the children into her arms, and the light ofhigh resolve lit up her face; for this day the family was tobegin a long, hard journey westward—away from the townof Ellington, away from Tolland County, away from Connecticutand New England, beyond the Dutch settlements ofNew York State to Lake Ontario and the Black RiverCountry!
I will not attempt to describe that journey in January,1806. Suffice it to say that Elisha Cook and his wife Huldah,setting their faces bravely westward, sought and founda home in the wilderness. They went to stay. No turning14back for those hardy pioneers. Children and householdgoods went with them. With axe and plough, hammer andsaw, spinning-wheel and loom, they went forth to enlargethe Kingdom of God. There was no Erie Canal in thoseearly days. The red men had hardly quitted the unbrokenforests. Not many years had passed since Fort Stanwixresounded with the warwhoops of St. Leger’s Indians. Indeed,Huldah Cook herself—she was Huldah Pratt then, alittle girl of ten years—had been in Albany when Burgoynesurrendered.
No doubt as the emigrants entered the Mohawk Valley,little Electa Cook heard from her mother’s lips somethingabout Arnold and Morgan and their victorious soldiers.Perhaps she saw in imagination what her mother had actuallyseen—soldiers in three-cornered hats, some in uniformand some in plain homespun, every man armed with powderhorn and musket, hurrying through the streets of thequaint old town to the American camp beyond. Perhapsshe saw the fiery Arnold himself, mounted on his fiery warhorse.Perhaps she saw Daniel Morgan and his men—ofall the heroes of the Revolution none was braver and truerthan he, and of all the soldiers in Washington’s army nonecould shoot straighter than the men that magnanimous generalsent to Gates—Morgan’s riflemen.
Moses Stickney was a crack shot, too. I have seen a long-barreledmusket of fine workmanship which he carried in theRevolution, and have listened to tales of his marksmanshipstill preserved in the Vermont valley whither his sonstreked westward from their New Hampshire home. Between15that snug little valley and the Connecticut River is ahigh ridge, from the top of which Mt. Monadnock is clearlyseen. And it was by the side of that grand old mountain,in the town of Jaffrey, that Moses Stickney, late of Washington’sarmy, provided a home for his bride, Mary Hastings,whom he loved and cherished for sixty-nine years,lacking four days. Tradition says this lady was descendedfrom an English earl. Certain it is she bore her husbandfour noble sons and four fair daughters.
But who was Moses Stickney? Why, he bears the samerelation to the heroine of this story as does Elisha Cook.He was Angeline Stickney’s grandfather—her paternalgrandfather, of course. No child could have wished betterforebears than these—Moses Stickney and Mary Hastings,Elisha Cook and Huldah Pratt. It is recorded of MosesStickney that he yoked up his oxen on the day he became onehundred years old. A nonagenarian of Gill, Mass., by thename of Perry, who resided in Jaffrey, N.H., from 1837 to1847, used to tell me of this Revolutionary ancestor, withwhom he became well acquainted during those ten years.The old soldier was fond of telling war stories, and traditionhas it that he carried his long-barreled musket at BunkerHill. Though his eyes were bloodshot, like the Moses ofScripture his natural force was unabated. He was aboutfive feet, ten inches tall, rather slender, and a good walkereven in extreme old age.
Now Moses Stickney had a daughter Mary, who wascourted and won by a gay young man of the name of DanielGilman. Just what the virtues and vices of this gallant mayhave been I am unable to say; but he vexed his father-in-lawto such an extent that the old gentleman declared no16more young men should come to woo his daughters. “Ifthey come,” said he, “damn ’em, I’ll shoot ’em.” Being acrack shot, he simply needed thus to define his position. Hisdaughters Lois and Charlotte lived out their days at home,maiden ladies. The oldest sister, Susan, had escaped theparental decree, presumably, by marrying before its promulgation.
Young Gilman shortly left for parts unknown—thoughshrewdly guessed at. The War of 1812 was going on, andthe Black River Country, home of Elisha Cook, was thescene of great activity. Thither, then, went young TheophilusStickney, brother to Mary, in search of her runawayhusband. Tradition says he unearthed him. Howeverthat may be, young Stickney, himself a gay and handsomeyouth of four and twenty, found the country pleasant, andits maidens fresh and blooming. Moreover, his skill in carpentry,for he was an excellent workman, was much in demand.So instead of returning home to New Hampshire, hewooed and wedded Electa, daughter of Elisha Cook.
It would be agreeable to me to record that they livedhappily ever after. But they did not. No couple could havestarted life under more favorable auspices: the bride, a dark-haired,rosy-cheeked maiden of eighteen years, daughter ofa prosperous farmer; the groom a handsome, curly-hairedman of twenty-six, of proved ability in his calling, and aprize for any country girl. They were married on Washington’sbirthday, 1816—at a time when this country had finallydeclared her emancipation from the tyranny of foreignkings, when the star-spangled banner had been vindicatedby Old