I’ve dabbled at writing for years, and long thought I’d write a book. Finding a topic that kept my attention didn’t happen easily. I tried my hand at a bodice-ripper, and became bored after 20 handwritten pages (in the days when home computers were an oddity.)
A few years ago, my book found me. I was researching my family history, and discovered that my Great-Great-Great-Grandmother, Mary Howard, had a tragic, forgotten story. I knew she had lost a son in the Civil War and this loss was her “life’s great grief.” I had not known that before marrying my Great-Great-Great-Grandfather, she had an entirely different life.
In 1833 she was married to someone else, had 3 children and a 4th was on the way. When”the Cholera” struck Columbus, Ohio in 1833, her life was suddenly changed. In a short period of time she lost a sister, father, mother, husband, daughter, and a son. Another son, a brother, and Mary herself were ill but survived. Her early pregnancy also survived. By spring, the young widow was mother to two small sons, when they sickened with scarlet fever and died.
Mary Howard’s obituaries mention her grief over losing her Civil War soldier, but make no mention of her first family’s existence, raising questions about the grief of losing so many in such a short time. How could the loss of so many be outweighed by the loss of one? Why was there no record of this first family? The questions would wake me at night, until I knew I had to find out more, and tell Mary Howard’s story.
This blog will share some of my research and thoughts as I write Mary’s story, and the stories of other members of her family.