Woman of the Century/Cynthia M. R. Gorton
CYNTHIA M. R. GORTON. GORTON, Mrs. Cynthia M. R., poet and author, born in Great Barrington, Berkshire county, Mass., 27th February 1826. Her father, Samuel Roberts, died when she was but one year old. She was the youngest of a family of five children, and the young mother, feeble, burdened with sorrow, care and toil, felt obliged in her widowed condition to yield to the solicitations of relatives, and place her little flock among friends, whose tender care they shared for several years. At fourteen years of age she was left an orphan, and soon after began the supreme struggle of her life, to relieve the darkness that subsequently folded its sable wings about her. When her sight began to fail, she was a pupil in Mrs. Willard's Seminary. Troy, N. Y., where she lived with her widowed mother. Not until the death of her mother, and she began to realize the stern fact that she was alone in the world, did she yield herself to that grief which, combined with arduous application to study, produced severe inflammation in her eyes, aggravated by shedding tears. She was thereafter unable to resume her studies, her fondest hope, and the anxious desire of her sympathizing friend and teacher, Mrs. Willard. At twenty-one years of age Miss Roberts became the wife of Fred Gorton, a prosperous paper manufacturer. Six years after, during a most painful and lingering illness, the pall of darkness encompassed her, and she was blind. With the return of physical strength the natural powers of her mind became active and prolific. One of her first efforts was the successful rehearsal of an original poem, entitled "Adolphus and Olivia, or a Tale of Kansas." That she performed with great acceptance to her audience. Her oratorical powers were unusual, and her remarkable memory enabled her to recite for one-and-a-half hours a poem of historical and tragic interest. Of this Gov. Fenton said, at its second rehearsal, "One must conclude, after listening to 'The Blind Bard of Michigan,' that if we would find the best and deepest poetical thoughts, we must look for them in the emanations from the imprisoned soul." For the last twenty years Mrs. Gorton has lectured many times before large and enthusiastic audiences. She has written many serials, stories and poems for the Detroit "Christian Herald" and other papers and periodicals. She has published two books, her domestic cares and public duties having prevented her from preparing the manuscripts of her other productions for publication. Of late she has relinquished all demands of the platform, as the slight, feeble body rebels against the exhausting ordeal. Ever active, industrious and hopeful, she has not permitted the shadow of darkness to withdraw her from the duties of life. For the last fifteen years she has proved herself an expert with the type-writer. Being a member of the Shut-in Band, this accomplishment has enabled her to extend her efforts in blessing the lives of others, by sending loving words and sympathy to many lonely hearts. Her home is in Fenton, Mich. During her long literary career she has become widely known as "Ida Glenwood," this being her chosen pen-name. She has also been called " The Sweet Singer " and " The Blind Bard of Michigan."