Here is the second installment in the historical romance-in-progress. The first was posted yesterday.
William Miller not only knew his times. He knew his own heart and mind and he knew that there would never be another like this princess and he stayed in Austria, learning the language and customs and attending concerts and balls with the nobility while his business in the new world continued to grow and prosper.
After a year in the courts of Dorothea’s father, Martin approached the prince to ask for Dorothea’s hand. The old man, who had grown to like the young American businessman, told Martin that in another time he would never consider letting his daughter leave the country and the continent. But these were unusual times, he said. Unusual and uncertain, particularly for the nobility in Austria. As was evidenced by the American’s phenomenal success, the economics of the world were changing. Money was now being made in production and manufacturing and the old wealth of the von Bayrens would continue to diminish relative to the wealth of the world and to the point where the day would come – it might not be that far off – that the family would be unable to maintain the estate and would have to sell it and move on.
The prince wanted to assure that Martin would keep his daughter in the style to which she had grown accustomed. The prince was convinced that Martin had the wherewithal to do so, but when Martin asked for the princess’s hand the prince challenged Martin to build for her first a fitting residence.
Thus the first idea of the Martin house was born. Martin asked the prince for the names of the finest architects and craftsmen and then hired them all – masons, glaziers, blacksmiths, and carpenters; twenty men in all – and sent them to the United States and to his land on Raccoon Creek in West Virginia where they established their own brick and glass works, all for the purpose of building the castle for Princess Dorothea.
The small industries they began there on Raccoon Creek dried up soon after the house was completed in 1922, but the house has stood ever since.