I like to check out the “This Day in History” tidbits every now and then, and I came across an interesting one today. Did you know the first US couple to take a honeymoon by train did so on this date? It occurred in Charleston, South Carolina in 1831. This caught my eye because 1) it is interesting history, and 2) since I write historical romance, it seemed appropriate.
I couldn’t help wondering what the bride was feeling that day. To put it in better context, the first US passenger train running on tracks (and using steam as opposed to being horse-drawn) only started a few weeks earlier in Charleston, in December 1830. So steam-powered locomotives were still very new and were probably terrifying to many people. Unfortunately, with the early trains and early tracks, accidents were not uncommon.
Now imagine you are this young bride. Planning a wedding is nerve-wracking enough. Can you imagine what she thought when her husband-to-be announced they were taking the new-fangled train for their honeymoon? For us, it would be like being one of the first people on a shuttle to Mars. I don’t know about you, but I would be petrified. She must have really loved her husband to go along with his crazy idea!
The early sections of track were very short. From what I can gather, that first train track in Charleston was only six miles long, and the train had a speed of 21 miles per hour. So luckily for our new bride, she probably wasn’t on the train all that long. But even so, I suspect those were the longest minutes of her life. Perhaps she was thinking that if she could survive the trip, anything else which occurred during the course of her married life would be a piece of wedding cake.
I also can’t help thinking that a young woman with this much spirit and courage would make an interesting heroine for a romance story. But then, maybe she already was living a great romance. I hope she lived a long and happy life in Charleston. She certainly had at least one wonderful story to tell her grandchildren one day.
When you think about it, all of us are living through history right now. Perhaps our experiences aren't as dramatic as this young woman's was, but we have interesting stories to tell our grandchildren. What are your stories?
I write historical romances, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.