“Today was my berthday my opinion being that it was my 23rd but the rest of the family insist it is my 24th which I cant believe it seems so aughfully old, I have in cousequence received quite a number of nice little presents." If turning twenty four sounded ‘aughfully old’ to Charley Longfellow (the first-born son of Henry and Fanny Longfellow), he’d probably be displeased to find out that today just so happens to be his 174th birthday! Born on this day in 1844, Charley led a life filled with excitement, adventure, and danger- to the constant worry of his father. At 18, Charley ran away from home to fight in the Civil War, and, after being wounded while skirmishing in Virginia during the Mine Run Campaign, he devoted himself to a life of travel. He visited over 40 countries, writing detailed and often humorous accounts of his experiences, covering himself in ornate tattoos, and sending home souvenirs from all over the world. Though his eccentric life choices made his family anxious, his adventures, stylish mustache, and sense of humor have made him a fan favorite (and source of amusement!) among staff and visitors.
As his sister Edith wrote of him, “He is more wild, extravagant, and childish than ever and we can hardly keep him in the bounds of propriety." Since it’s his birthday, though, I think we can give him a pass this time. Happy birthday, Charley!!! Don't celebrate too much!