Friday, April 4, 2008

Life of Enos, Part 9

It was cholera that had decimated the passengers on the steamer that brought Enos Christman back from the gold fields. And it was cholera that would cast its shadow on the door of the Christman home on West Chestnut Street in Washington two years later.

Ellen had given birth to her first child, Mary Elizabeth, on Aug. 15, 1853. Just 13 months later, the dreaded disease took the baby's life. She was buried in Washington Cemetery when there were but few graves there. As years went by, other members of the family would join her in that plot. There are no stones or markers there today. She lies beneath a grassy patch in the shade of a giant fir, overlooking the south and east of the city.
Not quite nine months later, the Christmans' second daughter, Sarah, was born in the house where they were then living on West Beau Street.

Enos and George Stouch managed to do well with the Commonwealth, despite the split and turmoil in the Whig party since the election of 1852. Their partnership came to an end, however, when Stouch died of tuberculosis on Dec. 28, 1855.
"He was a gentleman of fine social qualities - of generous impulses and a fine sense of honor," the obituary in The Reporter stated. "He has left a partner and one child with a large train of devoted friends to deplore his early call from the walks of life.
George Stouch was 28 years old.

Enos needed an editor and partner and found a capable one in William Moore, a 1848 graduate of Washington College. But following the 1856 election, the Whigs, once championed by Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln, were reduced to an ineffective third party and dissolved, leaving the Commonwealth without cause or readership. By 1858, about the time the Christmans' son William was born, the Commonwealth merged with The Reporter, and Christman and Moore shared ownership of latter with Robert Strean.
Later in 1858, the Christmans left Washington and returned to West Chester, where Enos went to work as foreman for his old employer, Henry Evans, at The Village Record. Curiously, Enos did not sell his interest in The Reporter, a decision that would have a significant impact on Washington's future.

Ellen gave birth to another daughter, Elizabeth, in 1859, and she was pregnant with Ella in April 1861 when the darkest days in America began, when Enos would be pulled away from her again, not to return for years.


Anonymous said...

What a small world! I was trying to find some information on my great grandmother, Clara Frances Neff Christman, and ran across your blog. Clara Frances married Charles Francis Christman, son of Enos and Ellen. As far as I know, the marriage produced only one daughter, Maybelle, my grandmother. Clara Francis went on to marry an additional four more times. Do you have any knowledge from what Enos died?

Best regards -- I have bookmarked your blog. So interesting to read your accounts of my ancestors.

Park Burroughs said...

Enos died in 1912 at age 83, of no particular cause but old age. You'll have to keep reading the story to find out more - I don't want to be a spoiler for other readers.
I'm glad to know someone is reading this story!

Anonymous said...

Of course I will continue to read this story and will advise my sister, Ellen Ann, to also read this story. She has possession of the book, "One Man's Gold" and probably is more knowledgeable about the Christmans than I. Thank you very much.

Brant said...

It's a wonderful story. It's the first thing I read when I fire up the computer in the morning. Great job telling a great tale.