Refinement and Romance

Chapter 9: Marriage & the Start of a New Life

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Edward wrote Orra this poem in 1821 about his feelings for her. It is one of several such poems Edward wrote in tribute to Orra. Image courtesy of Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Papers, Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library.

Despite his success with publishing in Silliman's Journal, Edward was still drawn to the church and became ordained as a minister after a period of study at Yale. There is no specific record of an official engagement when he and Orra came to an understanding that they would be married, but the wedding took place in Amherst on May 31, 1821. Orra was 25 years old, Edward was 28. Perhaps on that day, Edward thought about one of the poems he had written in honor of his new bride.

By mid-June, they had moved to Conway, a town in the hills just west of Deerfield, to begin their new life. A true marriage of minds and hearts, their strong bond not only lasted, but thrived, for the next 42 years as they raised a family and, in their different ways, furthered the progress of the sciences and evangelized their Christian religion.

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