Milford's fortune teller remembered

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:40

    MILFORD - Charles Saunders Santiago Peirce spent many years living in Milford around the turn of the 19th century and made many contributions to the disciplines of physics, chemistry, logic and psychology, as well as accomplishing ground breaking work in mathmatics and philosophy. Known as the father of pragmatism, his statement of the pragmatic standard was: “Consider what effects, which might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object.” What? How did Charles perceive his wives? Both of them were strong minded women, not easily swayed, and not afraid of thinking the unthinkable or treading on new ground. His first wife was Harriet Melusina Fay. They married in 1862 and divorced in 1883. Divorce was not a problem for Harriet, she went on to become known as a feminist organizer and writer, paving the way for the women’s movement of decades to come. His second wife was Juliette Froissy. Their marriage fared better than his first, as they remained married until his death in 1914. But Juliette probably could have told you that... Mrs. Peirce was known in and around Milford as “Madame Peirce” due to her fortune telling expertise. She was said to possess a deck of cards with which she foretold Napoleon’s downfall. She used these talents (and cards) in 1923 to raise money for The Community House Foundation as a memorial to her late husband. Life alone after Charles’ departure was not easy on Madame. Charles’ mis- handling of money caused Juliette to live in squalor in the latter years. The house they built together, known as Arisbe, (named after a Trojan city in Homer’s The Iliad) had fallen into disrepair and the plumbing no longer was functional. One winter the milkman found her lying in the garden, near the water pump, nearly frozen after she slipped on the ice. A proud woman, she never complained, she simply accepted her life as it was, with no reference to the fact that she had sprung from French nobility. In the ruins of Arisbe, she maintained her dignity and distinction until her death, alone with her memories of Charles and his “flashes of brilliance and light relieved against cimerian darkness.” In the tradition of Madame Peirce, the Pike County Historical Society will host a day of Tarot Card Readings, courtesy of our own lady of fortune, Gailmonica. The day of readings will be held on May 26, 2005 and the donation will be $20 for a 15 minute session. Appointments will run from 1-4 and 6-9 and reservations will be taken on a first come first serve basis. All proceeds will go towards the Columns’ roof replacement fund. To schedule your reading, call 570-296-8126.