In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I am working on book #3 in the Winds of Freedom series, a teen adventure series set in the 1850s in North Danville, Vermont. My 1852 Vermont adventure THIS ARDENT FLAME is scheduled for June 2021 publication with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you updates and early order information as soon as I know! I'm also writing a memoir; revising a mystery; in the midst of a novel about a grandmother and her granddaughter; and always writing poems. Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Every Postcard Tells a Story -- This One, in Vermont in 1907


One of the mysteries I'm now writing is set in 1899 -- which makes this 1907 postcard "close enough" in terms of noticing how people write to each other. I find it particularly intriguing because of the sender's signature. But that's getting ahead of the story.

Charles Augustus Choate Jr., known to his friends as "Chubb," lived and farmed in Barnet, Vermont. He was born in 1871, and on August 19, 1903, he married a "girl" 10 years younger than himself, Pearl May Field (born May 9, 1881, in Brookline, Vermont). In the records that refer to his wife, she's always called "Pearl M. Choate" -- very reasonably.

But on this postcard -- showing a photo of the stream near her farm home --which she sent to her somewhat older friend Mrs. Jessie M. Titus (b. 1862) in Springfield, Vermont, with Christmas greetings in December 1907, she signs herself "Pearl Field Choate." Why?

The suggestion is that her friend Jesse may know the Field family in a meaningful way. Some confirmation comes in looking up where Brookline, Vermont -- Pearl's birthplace -- is. It turns out it's a small town south of Springfield. Good backing for this guess!

Finally, one more curious note about this card: It's easy to find Pearl M. Choate's marriage, and the years that belong with her husband Charles (1871-1930) -- but the Choate family trees online don't show Pearl's date of death, and neither do the Vermont records. It took some searching to figure out what happened: In 1949, the long-widowed Pearl May (Field) Choate married Joseph Devins of  nearby Ryegate. Her Vermont death certificate is under the name Pearl Devins, October 17, 1962, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

I hope some of the keepers of the Choate family trees will ink in this detail; I think it's sweet that Pearl had another marital chapter, and hope it was a very happy one.