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Meet Harriet and William Forman pictured on their 50th wedding anniversary. 

Harriet stands tall and steadfast showing compassion with her hand gently resting on her husband’s shoulder.  William is rooted in a chair, sitting erect and displaying the strength, that, combined with his wife’s attributes, would be key for the unimaginable challenges their early life had in store for them.

At the age of 34, William traveled to America alone with a dream of owning his own farm and earning enough money for passage for his family to join him.  In October of 1853, he sent for his wife and six children.

Harriet and their children boarded the ship Emma Fields from Liverpool, England.  The journey would last thirty- seven days. Upon arrival in New York, the vessel and her passengers would be quarantined for thirty-four days.  This was the beginning and end of their tumultuous trip.  What happened from departure to arrival was unforeseen and agonizing.  The manifest, filed in the Port of New York, and sworn to by the captain, shows after the names of the children Harriet, Charlotte, George and William the word “dead.”  Cholera had broken out in passage.  Harriet and Charlotte had died October 21, 1853, George on October 22nd and baby William on October 23rd.

The anticipation of traveling to America to join her husband William was now filled with an emptiness and unbearable sadness.  Harriet would gather strength and perseverance with her daughters, Eliza Ann (10) and Elizabeth (8)   on their final trek to Ohio to reunite with her husband.  How would she tell him?

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