Anna Hale Buckingham’s engagement valentine

This valentine was created in 1819 by Anna Hale when she was 24, for her fiance, Alvah Buckingham. Somehow the delicate folded paper snowflake cut-out has survived all these years — almost 200 years. I acquired it from Uncle George. It was tucked away in a plastic sleeve in his family history notebook. A poem with 18 verses is written within each fold, front and back.

Young Alvah Buckingham, pioneer settler in southeastern Ohio, took a trip to Glastonbury, Connecticut in 1819 and met Anna Hale, leader of the village choir. Romance ensued along with a hurried wedding, and one week later they rode horseback together to Ohio to start their new life.

The Powers above cannot pretend
To say I’ve a false story pen’d

In the inside sweet turtle dove
I’ve wrote a Moral of my love

These pretty hearts which you behold
Will break where these leaves unfold

Like a lovesick lover full of pain
Love wounded is and breaks on twain

My dearest dear and blest devine
Those pretty hearts like yours and mine

‘But Cupid has between us set a Cross
Which makes me to lament my love

The little birds sing on each tree
To show happiness and how blest they be

Each one chase his own mate
What pleasure they in such a state

But now to let our hearts have ease
Let them both be joined like these

For mine as true as is the Sun
Set both our hearts be joined in one

When very birds did grace the spring
And tune Alphra Buchanham they sing

Liked these sweet birds let us agree
Nor be so cruel unto me

Blessed the day happy the time
That should cause you to be mine

When first my eyes did you behold
I prized you more than precious gold

If you take it in good part
I shall be glad with all my heart

But if you do the same refuse
The paper burn and me excuse