1843 | Weybridge, VT

Deeply Personal Commitment

William Cullen Bryant profiles companions for life.

If I were permitted to draw aside the veil of private life, I would briefly give you the singular, and to me most interesting, history of two maiden ladies who dwell in this valley.

I would tell you how in their youthful days, they took each other as companions for life, and how this union, no less sacred to them than the tie of marriage, has subsisted in uninterrupted harmony for forty years, during which they have shared each other’s occupations and pleasures and works of charity while in health and watched over each other tenderly in sickness, for sickness has made long and frequent visits to their dwelling. I could tell you how they slept on the same pillow and had a common purse and adopted each other’s relations, and how one of them, more enterprising and spirited in her temper than the other, might be said to represent the male head of the family and took upon herself their transactions with the world without, until at length her health failed and she was tended by her gentle companion, as a fond wife attends her invalid husband. I would tell you of their dwelling, encircled with roses, which now in the days of their broken health, bloom wild without their tendance, and I would speak of the friendly attentions which their neighbors, people of kind hearts and simple manners, seem to take pleasure in bestowing upon them, but I have already said more than I fear they will forgive me for if this should ever meet their eyes, and I must leave the subject.


William Cullen Bryant

From an article in the New-York Evening Post. Declared by James Fenimore Cooper to be “the author of America,” Bryant began translating and publishing Latin poems by the age of ten and was admitted to the bar at twenty-one. He worked as a lawyer before becoming editor in 1827 of the New-York Evening Post, where he advocated for abolition and endorsed Abraham Lincoln for president. He wrote this account about his aunt Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake, who lived openly as a same-sex couple for forty-four years.