Partner Sylvia Drake, buried together
Weybridge Hill Cemetery, Weybridge, VT 05753, Stati Uniti
Charity Bryant (May 22, 1777 – October 6, 1851) was an American business owner and writer. She was a diarist and wrote acrostic poetry. Because there is extensive documentation for the shared lives of Bryant and her partner, Sylvia Drake (1784 – February 18, 1868), their diaries, letters and business papers have become an important part of the archive in documenting the history of same-sex couples.
Charity Bryant was born on May 22, 1777 in North Bridgewater, Massachusetts to Silence (née Howard) and Phillip Bryant. Her mother died of consumption shortly after her birth. She was the sister of Peter Bryant (August 12, 1767 – March 20, 1820), a doctor and later a state legislator, and the aunt of William Cullen Bryant. She was a descendant of Francis Cooke through her father's line.
In 1807, she went to visit a friend, in Weybridge, Vermont and met Sylvia Drake, her friend's sister.[a] The two quickly became partners and worked together in a tailoring business, which allowed them to live together. Their community, including their relatives, accepted them as a married couple.
Drake discussed their relationship in her diaries:
Tuesday- 3 [July]—31 years since I left my mother’s house and commenced serving in company with Dear Miss B. Sin mars all earthly bliss, and no common sinner have I been, but God has spared my life, given me every thing I would enjoy and now I have a space, if I improve it, to exercise true penitence.
Also Charity’s nephew, William Cullen Bryant, described their relationship:
If I were permitted to draw the veil of private life, I would briefly give you the singular, and to me interesting, story of two maiden ladies who dwell in this valley. I would tell you how, in their youthful days, they took each other as companions for life, and how this union, no less sacred to them than the tie of marriage, has subsisted, in uninterrupted harmony, for more than forty years.
Charity and Sylvia are buried together at Weybridge Hill Cemetery, Addison County, Vermont.
Shelley Beattie (1967-2008) and Charity Bryant (1777-1851) descend from the same Pilgrims, Wybra Hanson and her husband William Pontus, Philip de la Noye, Hester le Mahieu and her husband Francis Cooke (arrived with the Mayflower).
Tony Scupham-Bilton - Mayflower 400 Queer Bloodlines
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