Surprising Consequences

For a few months I did not write much. I was having trouble finding the story in between the lists of dates and events. The break has been productive – looking at the transcribed letters with fresh eyes if helping me find the stories.

I’ve written, in the past, about Horton’s entrepeneurial bent, yet I’d not noticed his interest in transportation, especially construction of the Miami-Erie Canal. He was writing to politicians to promote the work on the canals and to enlarge the powers of the Canal Commissioners. He was also friendly with some of the engineers.

He did not predict a personal effect from this interest. His daughter, Sarah, developed a warm friendship with Samuel Forrer – one of the leading engineers on the Canal. Although Samuel was not a member of the Society of Friends, Sarah soon agreed to marry him, and Samuel wrote to his new father-in-law:

“With feelings of gratitude and pleasure on account of my peculiar good fortune I hasten to inform you that your daughter Sarah is now my wife – All that is now wanting to make my situation all that I can wish it is that yourself and your family will excuse the step I have induced your daughter to take in opposition to the rules of your society and without the consent of her much loved parents, and that you will permit me to address you by the endearing name of Father in any future correspondence – this would relieve my dear Sarah from all doubt of your feelings in regard to our union – We were married on Wednesday evening Feb’y 8[i]  by the Rev. William Burke, at his dwelling house, and passed the evening at our good friends W. M. T. Williams where we had the pleasure of the company of a most agreeable little party of our friends, all of whom seemed to congratulate us with much pleasantness and sincerity of feeling.”

The couple were warmly celebrated by friends, before relocating for Samuel’s work on the Miami-Erie Canal. Despite their friends’ acceptance, they must also have felt anxiety while waiting for a response from Sarah’s family. I’ll share that in my next post.


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