Looking Backward: The Curious Case of Charlie Blake -- Part II

This week we conclude "The Curious Case of Charlie Blake," whose lovesickness hit him right in the midst of the holiday season. After courting Bettie Foster for six months, Charlie married her on Dec. 30, 1880. About 45 guests witnessed the wedding on that cold and windy day at the home of her parents, Delanson and Clarinda Foster, just south of Lysander hamlet.

But, the New Year began badly for the Blakes. According to the Syracuse Courier, "Their honeymoon was brief. After the elapse of a few days, he returned his bride to her home, and told her that he should see her never more. In tears she implored him not to forsake her, but he was obdurate, and left her a blighted life." Then Charlie returned home to his father, John Blake, in the town of Ira. The Foster family was bewildered by Blake's behavior.

The very next day Delanson wrote in his diary, "I have been to church and up to J. E. (John E.) Blake's." The two fathers met five times over the next two weeks, ostensibly to break down any barriers to connubial bliss between Charlie and Bettie. Delanson's only other noteworthy entry during that time was on Jan. 8, 1881. "Pleasant and cold. I and Bettie went up to Mr. Upcraft's," (the father of yet another girl).

Born in England in 1835, Charles Upcraft immigrated at age 10 to the town of Scriba. He married Mary Ann Hadden and moved to the town of Sterling, where their oldest child, Anna was born. Later, they relocated to South Hannibal, where by all accounts, Anna's appearance turned many heads. Charlie Blake's was no exception, as he had grown up there, too.

According to court documents, Charlie came to court Anna frequently from the time she turned 16 on Jan. 12, 1880, six months before he first visited Bettie Foster. The two often exchanged their "attention and affections." Charlie asked her to marry him on April Fool's Day. Anna agreed and "it was mutually understood that they should be united in marriage." Charlie "continued to visit and wait upon" Anna all year. That should have stopped when Charlie married Bettie on Dec. 30, 1880. But according to the Courier, it didn't.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment