“Charity and Sylvia”

Rachel Hope Cleves’ Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage In Early America¬†paint what life was like for two women who fell in love. The book provides history of the women’s families with incorporation factors like economic status. Charity’s family was of higher status than Sylvia, but deadly illnesses ran in Charity’s family. When Charity first met Sylvia, Charity had a lover back home who was waiting for her return. Unfortunately for her lover, Lydia, Charity would come to love Sylvia and spend the rest of her life with her. Charity and Sylvia’s relationship and marriage survived by Charity taking on the husband role and Sylvia taking on the role of the wife. Charity would be the one to sign the documents and stay in charge of the finances while Sylvia would do more domestic work. The two women were tailors and would often take in young women as apprentices. The women that lived and worked with Charity and Sylvia came to appreciated them for their motherly care they provide. The two women were loved among their nieces and nephews even though Charity had doubts about her family’s love.

I really liked this book and found it to be very informational with how the communities of this time would perceive a same-sex relationship or companionship. It is upsetting that the couple could never get married and had to keep their relationship a secret, but it was nice to know that they were well respected in their community. I also enjoy knowing that the two were buried together. I am glad that their families allowed them to eternally rest together.

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