Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Life of Enos, Part 2

Ellen A. Martin was born in Philadelphia in 1829. Her mother died when she was just a toddler, and so she was sent to West Chester to be raised by the family of her uncle, Capt. William Apple, as one of their own. She was known to all as Ellen Apple.

Enos Christman and Ellen began courting as teenagers, and by the time Enos had completed several years of his apprenticeship, they pledged themselves to one another. Marriage would have to wait, however, until Enos could manage to make a good enough living to support her - not a likely prospect for a small-town printer working for someone else.

It was near the end of his fourth year at the Record when Gold Fever struck Enos. After the discovery of the precious metal at Sutter's Mill, thousands of men dropped everything and headed for California, inebriated with the desire to strike it rich. Enos saw this not just as an opportunity to flee the drudgery of the print shop but as a way to make enough money to enable him to return home financially secure enough to marry Ellen.

Of course, leaving for California was a problem. There was the matter of his bound position at the Record, and the journey there - by sail around the southern tip of South America - would be costly. Where would he get the money for that?

Much to Enos' surprise, Record owner Henry Evans shared his young employee's enthusiasm, released him from his job and advanced him $400 for the voyage, gambling on the prospect that Enos would make a fortune in the gold fields, much to the benefit of his backer.

And so in late June 1849, Enos Christman left West Chester and Ellen to begin what they both knew would be a long and perilous journey. They both realized that he would be gone for years. They could never know, however that this was also the beginning of a great love story.

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