A Story of a Farmers Daughter and a Traveling Salesman
It is early spring 1845, before the railroad's came to the area, when a peddler drove his horse and wagon up to the farm house door of the Johnson's family farm between Milton and Georgetown. Traveling peddlers were popular and most welcome as they brought news, stories of the out side world, items needed for house keeping and farming, and just plain company. This peddler was a fine example of the trade, young, good looking, and looked honest enough to allow in the house.
Upon entering the house with his wares to sell, he immediately noticed the beautiful only daughter of the farmer and his wife, a young twenty year old, who held his attention throughout the most of his visit. It was a case of love at first sight. Before the peddler left he had the opportunity to speak with the young beautiful girl in private and told her he was William Spaudls and that her charm had drawn his attention. When the peddler proceeded on his journey he and Kitty Johnson were betrothed. It was several months before William was able to return to Kitty and after the remonstrating of the elderly mother and father, the lovers were married. During the year following the marriage the Spaudl's gave up peddling and took up the management of the family farm. William,nor Kitty, being real farmers, the farm eventually passed into other hands and Spaudls started a tin shop which barely was able to make business.
One morning in 1857, William Spaudls left Milton on a vessel bound for Philadelphia to make a semiannual trip to purchase items for his tin shop business. After a week or so the vessel returned to Milton but William Spaudls was not aboard. The ship's captain had told the family William has spent most nights on the ship in Philadelphia but he had not seen nor heard from him upon sailing on the return trip. Days, weeks, months, then years passed, Kitty waited for the footsteps of her husband, but they did not come. She became a deserted wife.
In 1867 Kitty started west with the two children and settled in Illinois where they lived comfortably and happily for years, enduring an end to her heartache. Many years later in Delaware, a broken hulk of an old man , dusty from travel, passed through the gate of his former home, asking for assistance. The local farm folk at once knew this was William Spaulds who had returned for a once more glance upon his family. He was told the story of Kitties heartbreak and leaving for the west, of her death, and news that the children now lived far away. The old man wept, bent to pick up his meager little bundle, turned and passed through the gate without a word. How and why he disappeared and what will become of him remains a mystery.
Source: 21 August 1883 San Francisco Chronicle.