Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Life of Enos, Part 1

Life was good for the Christman family in West Chester, a village just a day's journey by carriage west of Philadelphia. George, the grandson of German immigrants, had become a successful miller and millwright, and he and his wife, Sarah, had three sons who would one day follow him in the business. Then in 1843, everything changed.

When George Christman died that year, childhood ended for his eldest son, Enos, not yet 15 years old. While still attending public school, Enos found work as a clerk and did farm chores to help support his widowed mother and younger brothers. That being not enough, a year later he was bound into a five-year apprenticeship at the West Chester Record to learn the printing trade under the supervision of its editor, Henry Evans.

The position was a fortunate opportunity for the Christman family, made possible when apprentice Bayard Taylor left the Record. After publishing a book of poetry, Taylor would go on to wander Europe on foot and to write about his experiences for the New York Tribune, and would wander the globe as a journalist, poet and lecturer of great fame, but that is a story for another day. This is the story of Enos, whose life's journey was launched by the death of his father.

Enos took well to newspaper work and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of his fellow apprentices. He might have been content to finish out his indenture and stay on at the Record as a career, as meager the income might be, if it were not for one significant distraction. Her name was Ellen Apple.

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