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April 2016

 —  In 2009 when the “College of Life” began the process of transferring photographs from their archives to the State Archives, the State Historic Site helped with the process and thus the State Historic Site was allowed to copy many of the photographs for local interpretation and use. It was exciting since most of the photos had never been seen before, at least not by the Park staff. In this sample, Dr. Teed is seen posing with Annie Ordway, a.k.a. “Victoria Gratia”.

Dr. Teed and Victoria

Dr. Teed and Victoria

It appears they are on the porch of the “Founder’s Home”. Comparing this with other photos, Teed doesn’t look too healthy, or perhaps just not happy. It is always difficult to determine attitude in these old photographs. Victoria certainly looks hapy though. The “Doctor” may have been very warm in his attire and it may have been a hot day. Or, perhaps he had other things to do besides posing for pictures? No one could really know. The nice thing is that we get yet another glimpse of life in Estero more than 100 years ago. ((Dr. Cyrus Reed Teed, founder of the Koreshan Universology, with Koreshan Unity president Victoria Gratia at his Estero home. Between 1903 and 1908. Black & white photoprint, 5 x 7 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. .)) The Koreshan Unity (College of Life) collection at the State Archives can be viewed in the Florida Memory Project

Virginia Harmon Andrews

Virginia Harmon Andrews

April is the month of the Lunar Festival, (celebrating “Victoria Gratia“) as well as many other important dates in the Koreshan calendar. April 4th marks the 170th birthday of Virginia Harmon Andrews, the wife of Dr. A.W.K. Andrews. ((Portrait of Koreshan Virginia Andrews. Not after 1921. Black & white photoprint, 3 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.
)) She and her husband were one of the first followers of Dr. Teed. A visitor to this website sent us transcripts some years ago, of letters that Dr. Andrews wrote to his wife Virginia’s mother, Margaret Harmon explaining why he and his wife had come to believe in Dr. Teed’s mission. They give us some valuable information about followers of Dr. Teed. [See AM-0153]

We also remember the marriage of Cyrus Teed and his wife, Fidelia M. Rowe, on April 13, 1859. For all intents and purposes Teed left his wife, even if the official Koreshan line never admitted this. Teed never divorced her and there are indications that he made sure she was cared for as she became an invalid. There is some discussion about what exactly happened, but it is widely believed that Teed got caught up in his own beliefs and chose to become celibate and carry on with his work. His wife is found in the 1860 census living with her parents and Arthur Teed, their only child, although it is said that Teed moved his family to New York City in 1862.

Teed’s parents, Jesse Sears Teed and Sarah Ann Tuttle also celebrate their 180th wedding anniversary this month.

And so it goes…

Categories: Monthly Feature.

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