Crossing the River: 1849–1850

Joan D. Hedrick

in Harriet Beecher Stowe

Published in print July 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096392
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854288 | DOI:
Crossing the River: 1849–1850

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Memories of Charley Stowe's death may have been intensified by the presence of her wet nurse. “Irish Catharine” gets little mention in Harriet Beecher Stowe's letters and is sent away as soon as her function is past, yet in the absence of Calvin Stowe, father, and sisters, Harriet was inevitably thrown on the companionship of her help. It is suggestive that “lonesome” is the one word of Catharine Beecher's that made its way from her speech into Harriet's letters, first self-consciously, then without remark. It would not have been surprising if, as they sat by the stove in the darkened house, they shared heart secrets. Harriet's removal from the West and her painful tendering of Charley from this world to the next marked an epoch in her consciousness. She had piloted one of her children through the breakers of life, and at the age of eighteen months he was safely on the other side of the river.

Keywords: Charley Stowe; Irish Catharine; Harriet Beecher Stowe; Calvin Stowe; Catharine Beecher; the West

Chapter.  8721 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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