by Kristin Holt,
USA Today Bestselling Author
set in the Victorian American West
Victorian-American humor at its finest... another quip in a Victorian newspaper that pokes fun at the relationship mother-in-law and all those who dare wed her progeny.
One more, just for a smile.
Happy Mother’s Day to all women: moms, mothers-in-law, daughters, sisters, friends.
I am the blessed mother of four wonderful adults and mother-in-law to one. In just a few days, I’ll become a mother-in-law once more. I’m incandescently happy.
I love this daughter-in-law-to-be and she gives every indication of liking me in return. My mother-in-law happens to be a remarkable woman, a dearly loved, valued, and important part of my extended family. (I’ll share Victorian-American attitudes that show I’m not alone. Don’t miss the ending!)
Yet we all know someone who had a nightmare experience, a mother-in-law who nitpicked and divided and destroyed. In the nineteenth-century United States, people had the same set of challenges...
Capable of Murder
Oh yes, married men were absolutely capable of murder. Especially upon their mother-in-law. (Let’s not turn a blind eye toward long-misused daughters-in-law. Read on!
My Mother-in-Law the Confidence Woman
Transposed from The Vicksburg Herald of Vicksburg, Mississippi on January 4, 1870:
LOVELY woman perpetrated a most astonishing swindle with a New York physician the other day. A few years ago Doctor Cyrus Ramsay, an eminent physician, in the practice of his profession in New York City, was called into a miserable tenement house to see a woman quite ill therein. He attended her during her entire illness, and a few months after her recovery married her. She had a mother, wives often have, consequently the Doctor was blessed with that luxury, a mother-in-law. After a season the Doctor sought safe investment for several thousand dollars which he had in bank. The sharer of his joys and toils persuaded him to buy the house in which they resided, and the one adjoining. She also persuaded him to make the deed in her name to save him, from any disastrous speculation in which he might engage. Soon after the partner of his bosom persuaded the physician that her health was impaired, and that a change of climate could alone restore her. A voyage to Cuba was arranged. Mother and daughter departed ; the business of the husband would not permit him to go. In a short time information came to him that his wife was dead. He sent for the body and had it interred. Then came the mother-in-law and a lawyer with a will of the deceased, in which it was shown that the daughter had bequeathed one-half the property in her name to her mother. The suspicions of the Doctor have been aroused, and he intends to have the body of the dead woman taken up. He does not think his wife is dead.
(I made every effort to retain formatting, spelling, punctuation, and create a precise copy. As you see from the original image, it’s difficult to decipher.)
My Mother-in-Law the Center Breed Hog
|Original image deteriorated beyond easy reading; transcribed with care.|
Outlaw the Mother-in-Law!
A fellow known as Hugh Murr wrote a humorous article noting that Adam (of Eden fame), without a mother-in-law, deserved to be envied.
Through various chuckles and examples he proves his point: brides, upon their marriage, should be legally separated from their parents. After all, what man in his right mind wants a mother-in-law? NO ONE, he asserts. Hugh demands that the role of mother-in-law be banished. Note publication date: 1870.
My Mother-in-Law the Angel
Remember when I wrote earlier, that I have an angel of a mother-in-law? I’ve had four or five years of good experience, and am told I’m far from a wicked mother-in-law. Just in time to add another member of the family by marriage. I’m not alone in this optimistic viewpoint.
The following article was published in Burden, Kansas (isn’t that a fantastic town name? Unfortunately, the name didn’t come from some fantastic struggle-against-nature, man-against-storm early pioneer tale. Nope. The man who surveyed and laid out the town was named Robert F. Burden.)
Without further ado, from the Burden Saturday Journal of Burden, Kansas. Publication date: September 25, 1879: “Honor Thy Mother-in-Law,” or: “She’s Usually Quite Useful.”
What do you think?
Do you have a mother-in-law story to share?
Have you read a really good book with a mother-in-law character that made you feel something? (laughter, anger, love?)
Please scroll down and contribute to the conversation!
Copyright © 2020 Kristin Holt LC