Christmas Day 1852

Benjamin and Elizabeth Hart raised Caroline with seven of their own children at the LaGrange farm they called “Heartsease.” Home to what grew into an international apple business over three generations, they created a culture that was ambitious in business, art, and society, but compassionate, humble, and nurturing. Also living at Heartsease was Elizabeth Hart’s mother, Elizabeth (1780-1858) and her sister, Louisa Adelia Nichols (1818-1892), whom Caroline called “Miss Nichols.”

It was Miss Nichols who had a vital role. A skilled artist herself, Nichols gave Caroline a gift of five drawing books for Christmas of 1851. Caroline wrote to her sister of the gift, “I hope I shall soon learn to draw well…”