A WIFE SPENDS TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS IN SEARCHING FOR A HUSBAND.— SHE FINDS HIM IN CLEVELAND.— THE HISTORY OF HER SEARCH.
(From the 'Cleveland Herald,' November 28.) One of those cases in which women's constancy under the most trying circumstances is exhibited came to, light in this city on Friday. The story certainly hais the imprint of the romantic more than the reality,, and borders closely, upon tbo imaginative ; yet the manner in which the facts were told by the two interested parties clears the mind of all doubt, and seems to stamp it with truth. The circumstances, as related to us are substantially as follows : — In the beginning of 1840, Henry Leffingwell was a well-to do mechanic, living near to the suburbs of London. In the month of March of ! that year a larceny was committed near his residence, and circumstances pointed to him as ' the - perpetrator. He was arrested, examined before one of the stipendiary magistrates, and full committed for trial. A month after he was convicted, and sentenced to hard labor in the penal colony of Australia for a period of ten years, and in less than a week's time thereafter ho was on his way to the far-off land. His devoted wife, who all the time firmly believed in her husband's innocence, at once made preparations to follow and- remain near him daring his confinement, so that she might be the first, when his ticket of leave came, to cheer him with good counsel and comfort him with wifely love, The ship containing the convict arrived safe, and her cargo of living human beings was at once transferred to the Government workhouses. Not so, however, with the ship upon which Mrs Leffingwell embarked. When about half-way upon her journey, the vessell encoun T tered a tearful storm, and, after buffeting th^ waves for two day», foundered and went down', the crew and Mrs Leffingwell barely escaping
upon a raft hastily constructed when it was (ound that the ship could not be saved. After an exposure of several days they were picked up by the American ship ' North Wind,' bound from New York to Oh inn, where Mra Leffingwell was at length landed, only to find herself further than ever from her destination and with no immediate prospects of reaching it. After several months of patient watchinjj and waiting, she was enabled, through the kind offices of the American Consul, then residing at Yeddo, to procure a passage to Cuba, whence the prospect of reaching Australia would be much improved. Passing over a space of a year and a half, in which Mrs Leffingwell passed through many scenes calculated to try firmer resolutions than hers, but through which she clung to her resolve with true English obstinacy she finally found I herself on the shores of Australia, but as much at a loss concerning the exact locality of her husband's whereabouts as she would be of a needle for which she was hunting in a hay-mow. She persevered, however, but four long years passed away before she was enabled to obtain the slightest trace of her husbaud from the fact that when once landed from tha ship, each convict receives a number by which he is only known to his keepers. Mrs Leffingwell knew not her husband's number and when she made inquiries for him she was always baffled with the question, " His number ma'am ?" At the end of the time spoken of, during which her means had become Exhausted and she had been compelled to resort to menial labor, she one day picked up a Sydney paper, in which was an account of her husband's release, the real criminal or the larceny having been found and exported. The account pave her husband's number, and the facts which convicted him in so precise a manner that she could n.»t long doubt as to who was meant. Her course was marked out »t once. G-oing to the prison authorities of Sydney, she at length learned that " ticket-of-leave-raan No. 186," her husband's number, had left the Island for the United States of America, two weeks after his release. The next thinjj for her to .do was to follow him. Scraping together her scanty means, she found she possessed barely enough to pay her passage. She seized upon the first opportunity presented, and iv January, 1847, she found herself once more upon the ocean, bound for the land of the free, with her mission still unaccomplished. In due time she arrived in New York city, where she remained until the civil war broke out, not having in the meantime heard one word of her husband though she had made every exertion tJ find his whereabouts. When the war broke out and at the first call for nurses in the hospitals, *she responded, and until peace was declared there was none more faithful in the care of our wounded than Mrs Clara Leffingweli. While in one of the hospitals at Washington, she nursed to life and strength a man who knew her husband in the army, who had been his messmate aid boon companion, and who, in his delirium, constantly called upon her husband to come to his assistance. When the crisis was passed, and it was known that the soldier would live, Bhe questioned him concerning her husband, and ascertained that he was in a Pennsylvania regiment, having enlisted from Pittsbur? two years before. She at once addressed Leffingwell a letter, stating in full her efforts to find him, and detailing at length her disappointments and troubles. With the . usual perversity of army mails, that letter never reached its destination. Mrs Leffingwell waited and watched, but still no answer came, an! at length, when the war was over, she set out once in search of her husband. A visit to Pittsburg revealed the fact that her husband's term of enlistment had expired long before, and his identity was once more lost. She inserted advertisments in a number of the Pennsylvanian papers calling for information of his where-abouts, and then set herself again to watch and wait. Time crept slowly on, and Btill no tidings of her absent one. A week ago when she had given up all hope of ever seeing her husband again, she very suddenly received direct information of his place of abode from one who came across the advertisment of three years before. The paper containing it had very providentially escaped the destruction which usually comes upon the dailies of the different cities, and now was the means of uniting two persons who for twenty-eight years had been separated by a cruel fate. Our heroine at once made preparations to go to her husband, who lives in or near Cincinati, and who had been apprised of her coming. She accordingly left Pittsburg on Friday morning, and arrived in Cleveland in the afternoon of the same day. What was her surprise and pleasure on alighting from the cars at the Unioi depot to procure some refreshments to be confronted by her husband. For a moment they stared at each other and then with a simultaneous impulse they rushed into each other's arms, all unconscious of flhe gaping crowd, who with the usual curiousity had paused in their hurry to witness the scene. The years that had separated them, though they had silvered the head of each, and left lines of care upon their brows , had not eradicated the love they bore one another, or torn from their hearts the memory of the olden time, before relentless fate had so cruelly thrust them asunder. The trials of the past were forgotten in the present joy, and they took the train for home at seven in the evening, happy only ' hi each other's company. It was while they were waiting the departure of the Cincinati train, and through the kind offices of one of the O. and P. R. R. officials, to whom Mrs Leffingwall had revealed a part of her history that the abore was obtained.