A CHILD OF ROMANCE
transcribed by Patti McDonald
 
Submitted By Frankie
 
From Morgantown WV Paper May 20, 1876

  A letter dated Eldred Pa, May 8th 1876, has the following:

  Among the young people of the bests circles of  Eldred, "Blessie" Cookton, aged sixteen, adopted daughter of Jerome Cookton, a rich farmer, was an acknowledged leader.  She recently returned home from a Philadelphia boarding school, where she had been a pupil for four years, making occasional visits home.  On one of  these visits about a year ago she met Alva Evans, the son of an iron founder of London, Canada.  He was visiting this section with a party of other young men for purpose of tout fishing.  Evans fell in love with Miss Cookton.

  The result was that a correspondence was opened and kept up between the two and a marriage fixed upon; to be consummated when Miss Blessie should have reached the age of eighteen.
 The roommate and particular friend of the young lady at school was Frances Peters, of Petersville, NY.  She was two years the senior of Blessie, and left the school some time before the lafter.  Miss Peters is a blonde, exceedingly attractive, and of a dashing and reckless nature.  At the house of a friend in Philadelphia, she met Isaac Bell, a young man, represented to be of an old family and wealthy. The young people formed an attachment for each other - at least Miss Peters fell deeply in love with Bell.  As her parents had other matrimonial prospects marked out for her at home, she kept her acquaintance with young Bell, a secret from them, but it seems promised to marry him at some future day.

Not being able to have her lover visit her at home, Miss Peters made an arrangement with Miss Cookton by which she was to pay the latter a visit, when Mr Bell was to go also and stay a few days.  To add to the completeness of the arrangement Blessie wrote to her Canadian betrothed, and he was to join the visiting party.

Miss Peters came to Eldred about the middle of April and in a few days thereafter, Isaac Bell made his appearance.  Miss Blessie  liked him from the first.  It was near the latter part of April before Mr Evans came from Canada.  During the two weeks that had elapsed, since the coming of Mr Bell, Miss Cookton had transferred her affections to her friends's betrothed, and his love toward Miss Peters had visibly grown cold.  It did not take the jealous eye of Miss Peters and the young Canadian long to notice the change as it affected  them respectively, but they had no idea that it was anything more than a temporary flirtation.  On the arrival of young Mr Evans, Blessie planned a May day party for an excursion to the mountains.  On Wed morning the party started in accordance with previous arrangements.  Miss Cookton and Mr Evans in one carriage, and the visiting couple in another.

On reaching the woods the party strolled at random.  They naturally got somewhat separated, but while Miss Peters and the Canadian were always in hallooing distance of each other it seemed that the other couple strolled further away. The occasion seemed to be one of no pleasure to Evans and Miss Peters, and they, after an hour or so, met near the edge of the woods, and sat down to await the return of the other couple.  They sat there talking for an hour or more, and as there was yet not sign of either Bell or Miss Cookton, both Evans and Miss Peters betrayed evidence of uneasiness and alarm.  The Canadian told his companion to remain in her seat, and he would walk back over the hill and look for Blessie, as he was fearful she had lost her way.  He was absent a longtime, and finally returned, looking pale and anxious.  He had seen nothing of either of the missing young folks.  Miss Peters was greatly agitated over the result of his search, but neither she nor Evans at that time entertained the slightest suspicion that the prolonged absence of the two was by design or that they were together. 

They returned to the farm house where the carriage had been left, in order to give an alarm and have a thorough search made. They found the conveyance in which Evans and Blessie had come was gone.  For the first time a terrible suspicion crossed their minds. A farmer told them that a young man and woman had come off the mountain about noon, and getting into the carriage had driven rapidly off in the direction of Minot station. Evans would not believe that the conduct of Blessie and Bell was anything more than a girlish prank, and was confident that they would find them at home. On reaching the farm they found they were still absent. Miss Peters hastened to her room to hide her emotion.  In a few minutes she sought and found Evans walking in the yard and placed a note in his hand. It read as follows:


DEAR FRANK -So greatly do I love Mr Bell that I have given up all for him.  I hope you will be brave enough to bear up and think of me as the most cruel creature in the world.  Tell Alva I have not the courage to write to him, nor to father and mother.  We are going to be married and intend to return to Eldred when the gossips are through with us.  Farewell Frank. Bid Alva farewell for me. I hope he has learned to hate me before this. B C Evans cooly handed the note back to Miss Peters, and remarked quietly:  "I am glad to have found the young lady out before it was too late."
The same evening he was driven to the railroad and returned to  Canada.  The farmer's family took the mater very calmly.  Miss Peters, however was found lying in her bed, about seven o'clock the same evening, covered with blood.  With a small penknife she had severed the large arteries of both arms and was nearly unconscious from loss of blood.  But for the timely discovery of her situation, she would soon have been past all aid. Her wounds were bound up and a doctor summoned, who now has her in charge. Her parents were sent for and arrived here this morning.  They will removed their unfortunate daughter to her home as soon as they can with safety.

Blessie Cookton has a remarkable story. She was found, in the summer of 1860, on the doorstep of Farmer Cookton's house in a basket.  Accompanying the infant was this note:
  "This child's father is the son of a Senator of the United States.  Its mother is a gipsy girl, who has been converted to Christ, and cannot bear the thought of this innocent creature growing up in ignorance and vice.  Is there room for it her?  Its little wings are wary, and like the dear Jesus, it has no place to lay its head.  Turn it not away, but keep it, for the love of Christ."
  The child was a bright little thing, and as the farmer had no children, he and his wife concluded to adopt it as their own. It came to be such a sunshine in the house that they gave it the name of  Blessing which was subsequently turned into Blessie. 
 

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