Looking Backward - The Curious Case of Charlie Blake

In his 1835 poem, "Locksley Hall," Alfred Lord Tennyson penned the immortal words, "In the spring a young man's fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love." I respectfully disagree. Spring has no monopoly on our emotions. And, Charlie Blake is a case in point. Lovesickness hit him right in the midst of the holiday season.

Charles W. Blake was born in 1859 to John and Angenette Drum Blake of South Hannibal. You'll find his last remains in the Ira Union Cemetery, where the counties of Onondaga, Oswego and Cayuga converge about a mile northwest of the hamlet of Lysander. He's buried next to his wife, the former Ida Terpenning, a widow. Her first husband was Addison Van Auken. Ida outlived them both. When she died at 102 in 1960, the Fulton paper referred to her as "probably the oldest resident" in the city. Charlie married Ida in 1901.

Charlie had been married before, too. Next to Ida, you'll find Charlie's previous wife, the former Mary Quade, who died in 1900. Charlie married her in 1884. Nearby, their two children lie buried. Both died very young. Their markers provide poignant reminders of the fragility of young life back then. Young love was fragile, too, just as it is today.

But Mary Quade wasn't Charlie's first wife, which brings us to Charlie's curious case. As the year 1880 came to a close, Charlie's case only became (to quote Alice after she fell down the rabbit hole) "curiouser and curiouser."

Delanson Foster, Jr., was born in 1818 in Warners, over in the town of Van Buren. He moved to the town of Lysander and married Clarinda Russell in 1841. They lived on the east side of the Plainville-Lysander Road, just south of Church Road. There they raised two children, Albert and Bettie, born in 1848 and 1857, respectively. Albert married Rosa Burr in 1869 and moved into the house right across the road.

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