A Bigamist in the Bunch
Orville Wilbur and Nettie Drake: How their 19th century secret affected one of New England’s oldest families.
Who knows why no one in the family wanted to admit that Orville Wilbur was a bigamist? Shame. Embarrassment. Or maybe they did not want to reveal the real story? It was a different era when the author’s grandfather was born in 1894. Divorce was scandalous; as a single mother, one can only imagine how Nettie Drake would have been treated at the market, the dry goods store, and—gasp—the church. Not to mention the financial complications of how a woman could raise children alone. Whatever the reason, Nettie finally gathered her courage and sent shockwaves that rippled from a small Boston, Massachusetts suburb as far north as Maine and west to the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. A Bigamist in the Bunch untangles the myths about Nettie and Orville and paints a vivid snapshot that shows how a single genealogical anecdote changed the generations that followed.
The official publication date is November 11, 2014, but pre-publication copies are now available.