The following is the story of Glorianna Folsom's romantic marriage as told by her brother's granddaughter, Mrs. E. F. Norris, of Glens Falls, N. Y. Mrs. Norris was brought up in the family of Rev. John Folsom, of Glens Falls, a younger brother of Lady Stirling, and was well acquainted with all the circumstances connected with the marriage.
It was kindly contributed to Clan Stirling Online by Harry Folsom, Family Genealogist, Folsom Family Association. Please see more Folsom family information on the Folsom Family Association Web Site
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ROMANCE IN REAL LIFE
About 1768 the only son of the Baronet, Sir John Stirling, : (descended from Sir John Stirling who was knighted in 1430, and was armor bearer to King James I of Scotland) Scotland, was sent to one of the West India Islands to look after some property belonging to his mother. He was well supplied with clothing, etc. He was to write home for money, if he should need it, putting a private mark upon his letter. After a while he was taken very sick of a fever. When he wrote he forgot about putting the private mark upon his letters, and so received no answers to them, and was in a pitiable state among strangers, without funds or good health. Providentially a sea-captain, from Stratford, Ct., came to board at the same house where he was staying. He took pity on him, and kindly offered to carry him home, in his vessel, without any money. He told Stirling he could write to his father from Connecticut. He gladly accepted the offer, and sailed with him to a more healthful climate. Some time after he left, a letter came from his father in Scotland to some person in the town or near the place where he had been, inquiring for his son, John Stirling. The answer returned was, that he had been there, had been very sick, and they could not learn what had become of him. They supposed he must be dead.
When the young man had reached the home of his benefactor, refreshed by the sea voyage, he did not "travel incognito," nor assume any other name. He had no money to expend in traveling; he had given up hope of receiving aid from home. But he determined to make an honest living by the proper use of what he had kept during the days of disappointment, poverty and sickness. The education he had received in Scotland now became his means of support, for the people of Stratford were glad to pay him for instructing their children. Among the pupils under his care was Miss Folsom, who, though about 18 years of age, was more anxious to acquire an education than to secure a husband.
It is not known whether he wrote home from this place or not, but he heard nothing from home. It is not strange that under these circumstances, when he had become acquainted with her moral character and intellectual abilities, he should be captivated by her beauty, and find his affection reciprocated. They were married in 1771, and he continued in his office as teacher. After the birth of their first child, Mary, a young minister who, according to the custom of the Episcopal church, was going to Scotland to be ordained, having made the acquaintance of Stirling, offered to hunt up his father and family when he reached Scotland, and inquire why they did not answer their son when he wrote to them. Stirling seemed to think it was of no use. But the clergyman, having become interested in him, insisted upon his giving him the means of proving to them that he was their long lost son, still living. He was furnished with a list of the supplies which his parents had put up for him when he left home, such as clothing, etc., evidence to satisfy them of his identity.
His clerical friend sailed for Scotland. But he had deeply stirred up the recollections of home in the mind of the quiet teacher. He dreamed one night that he was again with his parents, in the home of his childhood, and of that private mark which he was to put upon everyone of his letters, and which he had forgotten. When the young clergyman reached Scotland, he soon found the family. The mother and sister were dressed in deep mourning. When he asked them if they had a son who went to the West Indies, they commenced weeping, and said he was dead. He at last convinced them that their son was alive, telling them his circumstances. They were overjoyed, and at once wrote for him to come home on the first vessel, without waiting for his wife and child to get ready, and in due time they would send for them. He did so. It is very possible, and even probable, that the gossips, when he took leave so suddenly, concluded that he must have been an imposter, and lamented the sad condition of the deserted wife and her little daughters, for she had a second daughter, Jane, born soon after the departure of her husband.
But there is no proof that she heard nothing from him for two years, as the story says. It may have seemed a long period to the neighbors, but, after he had had time to prepare a home for her, and a large quantity of beautiful clothing was made up for his wife and children, the ship left and arrived safely in New York. She received the request to embark immediately. She left Stratford with her children, and found in the vessel everything which she needed, provided for their comfort and convenience, and a servant maid to aid her in the care of the children.
She reached Scotland in due time, and her husband, as only son, succeeded to the estate and the honors of the Baronet Stirling, and she became Lady Glorianna Stirling. I have in my possession a long letter from her husband to her brother, John Folsom, Esq., merchant in Albany, and afterwards of Glens Falls, N. Y., an elder and a preacher in the Presbyterian church; and another written just after her death by her oldest daughter, Mrs. Mary Achison. She was not only a beautiful woman, but a woman of remarkable energy of character.
They lived for a time near Stirling Castle, afterwards, by the request of his father, in Edinburgh, near his father's residence. They had eighteen children, of whom sixteen lived to be old enough to attend the Parish church, at the same time with their parents, one Sabbath. Though she only saw one of her father's family, a brother, after she left, she never forgot the happy days of her early life, and used to tell her daughters of the scenes through which she had passed in childhood and youth, perhaps the happiest days she ever knew, for with wealth and honor came many trials, which she endured with Christian patience and fortitude.