It was challenging for America after the war against the British. The five-year-long war did so much damage to not only my family, but also families across the thirteen states. I remember very clearly when a young teenaged Charity Burbank's sweetheart was captured, tortured and drowned by the British… the young girl was so distraught that my beliefs were that she were to mourn herself into her own grave.
Poverty had struck certain areas of America, though my family was barely affected. A feeling of strong patriotism brought every street in every town of every state to life, and a smile was brought to all faces. Even old and widowed Goody Sarah Hawthorn had a smile on her withered face as the thirteen stars and stripes paraded through the streets. Every home played host to a flag on the day of the surrender at Yorktown, and cheer had filled the streets. Every person in the town of Philadelphia, my home, was in the midst of singing songs like 'Yankee Doodle' and 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' in vast choruses.
My family stood in the in the doorway of our two-story home waving small handheld flags and singing along with the crowd. My name is Temperance Rose Wilson, but normally, my friends and family call me Rosie. At the start of the war in 1776, I was fourteen, and the young boy who later became my sweetheart was a drummer. Upon his return, he was a soldier, fighting alongside many other gallant patriots under the infamous General Washington. It amazes me, the thought of being so young and able to shoot at another man. I certainly couldn't do it.
I was born with blonde hair and very deep brown eyes, though there isn't any reason to go into detail about myself. At the start of the war in 1776, I was young enough to wear my hair down beneath my bonnet. I hate those bonnets, and I've hated them for as long as I can remember. They're dreadful things, bonnets are. My young daughter, Roseanna, is very much the same. She looks very much like myself and she is the thing I hold dearest to my heart. I was nearly eighteen when she was born, but I shall go a bit more into that story later.
I come from a family of six children, myself being one of the youngest. My two elder sisters, Lilian and Abigail, were always on me about things, normally something about my hair or my clothes. I also had two elder brothers named Christopher and William, both whom had gone off to fight the British redcoats. Unfortunately, neither of them returned. The only one of my siblings who had been younger than myself was my youngest sister, Minnie. My father, Cuthbert Wilson, brother to James Wilson – a signer of the Declaration of Independence – worked as a shopkeeper in town, while my mother, Prudence, was a seamstress.
In 1776, Abigail, the eldest, was twenty and two years, already two years into her marriage to a local blacksmith who had gone off to join the Yankees in fighting against the redcoats. Abigail, like our father, had dark hair and dark eyes. She was one of those women who felt as if they had to enforce every rule that society had to offer, and reminded me and my sisters every day of how to dress, act and speak properly. Abigail had delivered two children, both girls named Ruth and Anastasia, that had not lived to see a day.
In 1776, Lilian was eighteen and engaged to a local farmer, who, like my brothers, never returned home. Lilian's appearance was unlike our own, as her hair was an auburn color. Our father has surmised that she possessed the appearance of his Scottish mother. Lilian was a very studious young woman, though she did her studying in private and told none but me of her interests. Those who can guess say that she is too intelligent for a woman her age, though none dare mention it to Mother or Abigail.
In 1776, Christopher was nineteen and old enough to join the fight against the British, much to Mother's dismay. Christopher did not last long during the war, and Mother had barely spoken since. Christopher was a tall young man with messy dark hair and light blue eyes. He enjoyed sporting, and as a child, was often batting metal rings with sticks around the town with many of the neighborhood boys. He was mischievous and often found himself in trouble. He would also often tease Lilian and myself and often steal our toys and hide them, though as he grew out of it, we began to miss it.
In 1776, William was twenty and one year, and a brave young man was he. Rumor has It that he had pulled three British redcoats from a burning barn, much to his companions' dismay. William, like myself, had light blonde hair and dark brown eyes. He was tall, strong and loved hunting and sporting. Many times while he was still alive, he and Father would go out together and return with dinner. Unfortunately, William was wounded roughly a week before the surrender at Yorktown, and did not live to see the victory of our nation.
In 1776, Minnie was only eight. She was born as Minerva Hadley Wilson, but ever since she were an infant, we had called her 'Minnie'. Also like myself and like William, Minnie had blonde hair, but what were different were her bright blue eyes. Father had always said how she was like a miniature version of Mother. Minnie loved exploring, and often, was caught playing with the neighborhood boys in the forest. This angered Abigail and Mother, as they wanted Minnie to be a perfect young lady. Though Minnie never listened.
The war for independence began in the year 1776, and ended in the year 1781. I was nineteen when the war ended, and waited with a heavy heart for my sweetheart to come home. My fears in early 1781 were that he had died, but one could only ever guess. And now, I presume that I shall begin my story, starting with my fourteenth birthday in early June of 1776…