Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nathaniel Hawthorne - Not so Wordless Wednesday

This statue of Nathaniel Hawthorne is located in front of the Hawthorne Hotel, on Washington Square in Salem, Massachusetts.  He was born in Salem on July 4, 1804 and died in Plymouth, New Hampshire on May 19, 1864.  According to my Family Tree Maker software data base he is a 4th cousin 5x removed from me.   However, I feel closer to him because he worked at the Salem Custom House as an inspector just before the Civil War, and my 2x great grandfather (Abijah Franklin Hitchings) was the deputy custom inspector there, too.  His wife, Sophia Amelia Peabody is related to me through her Towne ancestors.

At the beginning of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, in the introduction, he describes a custom inspector finding a letter in the archives of the Custom House.  This letter formed the basis for the story of the Scarlet Letter.  I'd like to think perhaps this was a true incident.   Can you imagine, during a quiet moment, two young custom's officials digging through the musty documents looking for something interesting?  Perhaps my ancestor was in on this bit of mischief with Mr. Hawthorne?  It's fun to imagine!

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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