CHAPTER VI
PRELUDE TO LIFE

1. COURTSHIP AND LAW BOOKS

AS civilian, it became Burr's first duty to recruit his shattered health. This, however, was not to prove an easy task. It was to be over a year before he was sufficiently recovered to pick up the threads of his interrupted career. To the anguish of body there had been added another torment, no less keen because of its purely psychological character. He had fallen in love.

In 1777, while stationed at Ramapo, he had made the acquaintance of Mrs. Theodosia Prevost, who, with her younger children, her sister and her mother, resided at Paramus, but a short distance away. Her husband, Lieutenant-Colonel Jacques Marc Prevost, of the British Army, was then in the West Indies on duty with his regiment. Technically, therefore, she was an enemy, and to be treated as such.

But the American officers of the immediate vicinity did not consider her in that light. In spite of her marriage, she was herself of American birth and lineage. Her father, Theodosius Bartow, had been a lawyer in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Her mother, Anne Stillwell, could trace her descent from Nicholas Stillwell, one of the earliest settlers and tobacco planters in the Colony of Virginia.

Theodosius Bartow died in 1746, immediately before the birth of a daughter, Theodosia. The widow, Anne Stillwell Bartow, shortly thereafter married Captain Philip de Visme of the British Army, by whom, at the date of his death in 1762, she had given little Theodosia five half-brothers and sisters.

Theodosia Bartow herself, at the tender age of seventeen, was married to Colonel Prevost, also of His Majesty's Forces. The young wife bore, in fairly rapid succession, five children to him -- three daughters, Sally, Anne Louisa and Mary Louisa; and two sons, John Bartow and Augustine James Frederick, who, though but mere lads at the time of the Revolution, followed in their father's footsteps and were serving as ensigns with the British forces.

So that, during the entire course of the war, her position continued to be one of great delicacy and apprehension. In spite of

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Aaron Burr: A Biography
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