Lesson 4 - Name, Background, Important Event - JamieBJ


Name: Her full name is Abigail Faith Lucas Madison; her parents were Nathaniel and Grace Lucas; Grace named her after her very good friend. In her late teens, she married Dr. Madison. I specifically chose her name because it sounded very much to my ear like a name for a Revolutionary War era woman. I’ve lived with this name rattling around in my head for a long time, and her name IS her to me.

Early Childhood/Background: She was born in Boston, but the family moved out of the city limits as the war heated up. Her father wanted to keep them safe and be sure that he had unimpeded access to his work. Her father is a professor at Harvard, the chair for mathematics and natural philosophy. H is very learned, very patient, and kind-hearted; he doesn’t side directly with either patriots or loyalists in the war. He has 5 daughters to protect, so he doesn’t want to do anything to upset either side; plus as an academic, he can see both sides. Abigail is #4 daughter of 5. Her closest friends are her sisters, though other girls who live nearby are also friends of the family. All of the girls do well making their own amusements; for instance, since it is hard to get new sheet music from the continent, they have great fun improvising on the same set of sheet music over and over. Abigail is bright and inquisitive; her mother is her first teacher, and her father takes over her informal education when Grace is killed. Nathaniel encourages Abigail to study what interests her and is secretly pleased to see his daughter take an interest in the very unladylike topics that he teaches. Abigail is especially close to her father because of this. Abigail’s personality did change after her mother’s death; she became more withdrawn and quiet.

Character-Forming Incident: She only has a few memories of her mother, as her mother was killed when Abigail was 7 or 8. In fact, it was a defining moment of her young life. Soldiers had been moving in the roads near their home. Mother and Father determined this to be dangerous and so set about gathering the children inside. Abigail was playing in the barn with her sister but becomes petrified when she hears the sounds of the fife and drum. (I took this from some family notes about a distant GGF doing something similar when he was 10 years old.) Her younger sister runs out of the barn when their parents call them to the house, but Abigail can’t bring herself to move at first because she is so scared. She sees her mother hit by a bullet as she tries bring the recalcitrant youngest sister to the house. Abigail carries guilt for this because she was the one who had convinced her sister to play outside with her that day. Because of this and other incidents that happened in the war, Abigail has what we would call PTSD today, which can strike her suddenly in the current storyline. (Let’s say she doesn’t do well when seeing masses of redcoats.) Further, on an unconscious level, this has made Abigail fear forming lasting relationships; those she has loved have been taken from her without rhyme or reason. (Mother from a stray bullet, husband from a fatal, sudden disease.) While friendly to those outside her family, she doesn’t people actually get close to her emotionally.

Jamie BJ