My Date with Carrie Welton

A little bit about the making of my soon-to-be-published novel, Carrie Welton.

Anyone who grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut, as I did, is familiar with Carrie Welton’s name, mainly because of the presence of a large drinking fountain for horses, humans, birds and even cats and dogs (topped by a bronze statue of her beloved stallion, Knight) located at the east end of the Waterbury Green. Carrie left the money for that fountain in her will, and it stands today as a lasting testament to her good name and her love for animals (and possibly her dislike for her own father, who was said to have been kicked to death by Knight). So, yes, indeed, Carrie Welton, the subject of my soon-to-be-published novel, was a real person – and a real enigma. If you want to look hard enough, you can find a few surviving paragraphs regarding her early life, along with several hints at her intriguing personality. In contrast, much was written about her foolish death while climbing in the Rocky Mountains and, later, even more was reported about the disposition of her will, which was vigorously contested by family members.

But what about all those in-between years?

My aim in Carrie Welton has been to imagine – to completely make up – her life during the

CarolineWelton(Hi-Res)

There are only two known images of Carrie Welton – one very fragile old photograph and this gorgeous portrait, by Abraham Archibald Anderson, which hangs in Waterbury’s Mattatuck Museum. 

25 or so years between her mid-teenage years and her death. The story is a blend of fact and fiction. The life I have given Carrie in Waterbury, New York, Boston, Saratoga Springs, the White Mountains and elsewhere – her words and actions – comes from my imagination rather than the written record. Some of the people I have put into her life, such as her own family members and the Kingsburys across the street, are based on real people, but the words they speak and the specific actions I ascribe to them are made up, or, as they say in Hollywood, dramatized. The same goes for the events in the book. Some, such as Jane Welton’s glorious Thanksgiving Ball at Rose Hill in Waterbury, are pure fiction; others, such as the cataclysmic Barnum Museum fire in Manhattan that I have Carrie witnessing, really did happen. I even took some actual events and twisted them to my purposes. Anderson’s portrait of Carrie, for instance, is real but it was painted after she died, not, as I have it, from life. I guess I was a bit like a chef rummaging through ingredients and existing recipes but mostly his own imagination to come up with something original and appetizing.

How did it turn out? You can decide for yourself when Carrie Welton is published in April.

 

23 thoughts on “My Date with Carrie Welton

  1. A beautiful woman with a big heart! I am looking forward to reading the book! I have always lived the statue of Knight and the fountain!

  2. Your book should fill in some of the missing pieces that I have often wondered about Carrie and her life in Waterbury.

  3. Looking forward to reading about this mysterious woman . She had an unusually adventurous life for a woman in that time.

  4. I am sure it will be an intriguing read…….. I, too, grew up in Waterbury in 1933, and always adrmied the “Carrie Welton Fountain”…… a true landmark on the GREEN …… the only story i was ever told, was the Fountain was erected as a HORSE WATERING fountain, in the days before Automobiles, and people used HORSE and Buggy as one means of transportation.. and the horses needed water……. it was used more for that, rather than as a monument……..

  5. I look forward to the book coming. Should be an interesting read. And when you finish this Charlie think about doing a book on your father’s life he was also a very interesting and accomplished man from W
    aterbury

  6. Very excited to read this book… moved to FL 3 years ago for work as a cancer research scientist but I am a born/raised Yankee. I lived in Waterbury for 15 years prior to leaving New England and LOVE hearing about the new Prospect Street renovations. My father in law lives on Prospect street however the neighborhood is not as safe as it used to be so we are doing our best to get him out of there. Whem we visited a few weeks ago we saw construction underway for the “Waterbury Move” coalotion. They are really doing a great job cleaning Waterbury up, and the new expansion of highway 84 through the city looks great (so far) as well. I NEVER thought I would have seen Holy Land from my father in laws house on Prospect street, but now we do! I am VERY excited to read more about Rose Hill since my mother used to attend school there. Was this location the OLD Wilby highschool at some point in history?

  7. A fascinating read for someone who was born and raised in Waterbury. I attend the Immaculate Conception Basilica which borders on Prospect St. Now, I look at Rose Hill and the “Horse” with new appreciation.

  8. I must admit,i rode Knight naked for my 40 th birthday. That was my only goal in life and i did it. What a rush!!

  9. i am related to Carrie Welton but not completely sure , probably a cousin. How can I find out more?? Frederick T Welton is my grand father.

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