The Short Story

The Havens were a well-to-do family from New York, NY, who lived on the Hudson River near the foot of what is now the George Washington Bridge. Google maps Haven Avenue, New York, NY; look toward the Hudson River to the left and you'll see the area where they lived.

Thomas Pugh had architect Henry Howard build Madewood Plantation Napoleanville, La.

Ellen Haven met David Pugh (Thomas' son) in N.Y. when David visited Ellen's father on business prior to the Civil War.

Ellen and David fell in love, and married in July of 1859. No one knew that a terrible Civil War would wreak havoc on everything.

Ellen's sister Fanny remained at home, caring for her parents. Fanny was Ellen's support system, and an outspoken woman who nonetheless lived a life constrained by the times. Unable to work, or even to travel alone, Fanny advised, sheltered and supported Ellen's children over the years.

The heartbreak of war and economic devastation are intertwined with heartaches occasioned by personal losses: the death of their parents, the deaths of some of Ellen's children, the nightmare of mental illness.

Over the years, Ellen visited Fanny and Fanny visited Ellen, and after David died Ellen came home to N.Y. where the sisters shared the remainder of their lives.