Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cary-ing On With Alice in NCH

Alice Cary (1820-1871)
There was a young gal from Ohio
She wrote poems that made folks sigh "oh!"
She moved to New York
and I have to report
She inspired this post in Gehio.*

Cincinnati area born poet Alice Cary died on this day February 12, 1871, at the age of 51.

Alice and her sister Phoebe were well known 19th-century poets and attracted quite a following of celebrities including Edgar Allan Poe, Horace Greeley, and PT Barnum. In fact, Barnum was one of her pallbearers (and PTB happens to be my 4th cousin 6x removed, not that it matters).

Alice was born on April 26, 1820, in the Mt. Healthy OH area but grew up with her sister on Clovernook Farm in Cary Cottage built in 1832 by Robert Cary. The tidy white cottage still stands to this day on the property of the Clovernook Center for the Blind and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973Clovernook Farm eventually became the city of North College Hill, OH, the place I call home. They give tours of the house by appointment only. I'm ashamed to say I have not done that yet.

Cary Cottage in NCH
The Cary's newfound literary stardom eventually took them away from NCH to NYC in 1850 where in addition to their poetry they wrote for periodicals such as Atlantic Monthly and Harper's. Their liberal Universalist reformist upbringing led them to become involved in the women's suffrage and abolitionist causes as well.

Poe called Alice Cary's 1855 Pictures of Memory"one of the most musically perfect lyrics in the English language".

In 1871 the sisters died only five months apart, Alice from tuberculosis and Phoebe from hepatitis. They are both buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn NY.

As a person who fell in love with local history because of my hobby of geocaching, I felt it was appropriate to create a geocache based on the history of Cary Cottage.

*My apologies to Alice Cary for the limerick

Click here for more info on the Cary sisters.

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