Friday, May 15, 2009

Character building: Elizabeth English

One of my characters/family members has me puzzled, and I'm not sure what to make of her in the world of fiction.
Joshua English is my ancestor that came from Ireland to S.C. in the mid-18th century. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, never married. Why? That's what I can't figure out. Yes, there are some people who stay single even when they didn't plan to - I should know. But this is a frontier family, in a growing town full of other pioneers. I'm thinking, more men than women here, folks! Elizabeth came over at the age of 18 and lived into her 60s. Her younger sister and all of her brothers married (whew! or I wouldn't be here).
1. Was it religion; did none of the men of Fredericksburg seem virtuous enough?
2. Was it unrequited or forbidden love: a boy back in Ireland, one of the sailors on the Whitehaven, an Indian or Negro, or a married man? (boy, my ancestors would be mad if I wrote one of those things and it didn't happen that way at all!)
3. Was her heart torn by different values? Could she have been engaged to a slave owner, and decided she just couldn't hold with that?

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