We know very little of John Winslow Whitman aside from the fact that he was, for a brief time, the husband of Sarah Helen Power. He graduated Brown University in 1818 and practiced law in Boston. It was in 1824 that he met Helen, and the pair became engaged for a lengthy four years. They married in Long Island on July 10, 1828, and Helen was able to escape her uptight home life and move with John to Boston. Outside of his law practice, John Whitman was affiliated with two different publications: The Ladies’ Album magazine as well as a newspaper called The Times. This would serve as an outlet for Helen and allow her to publish her own pieces through her new husband’s affiliations. After a short five years of marriage, John Whitman died from complications of a cold in 1833, leaving Helen a widow. She returned to Providence donning the widow’s bonnet (as seen in Cephas Giovanni Thompson’s portrait painted in 1835). John Winslow Whitman was interred at Center Cemetery in Pembroke, Massachusetts. Helen would never speak of this part of her life and would never marry again (only coming close once when engaged to Edgar Allan Poe, but that marriage of course never happened).
Below is a photo taken during my visit to Mr. Whitman’s grave. It’s almost sad to think that this once happy couple are miles apart for eternity.