Emergence of the writer
Hearn emigrated to Ohio when he was nineteen. Without any trade, he quickly became homeless and destitute. An English printer, Henry Watkin, befriended him, provided shelter and introduced him to the world of printing and journalism. Hearn looked to Watkins for the rest of his life, as a mentor figure, referring to him as “Dear Old Dad”.
In time, Patrick became a well-known reporter, essayist and translator from French. His first short-lived marriage in 1874 to Althea (‘Mattie’) Foley, a black woman born into slavery, was in defiance of prevailing Ohio law and caused him to lose his job. In 1877 Hearn moved to New Orleans where his reputation as a writer continued to grow over the next eight years.
Hearn’s American journey is reflected through a prairie type landscape of tall grasses and trees flowing river-like across the plain. This reflects his long one-way journey, first across the Atlantic and, then down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. The rocks to the right of the entrance to this area reflect the father/mentor relationship between Patrick and Henry Watkins.