WFP Historical Society

Contributed from the 1973 Audubon Pilgrimage Booklet
by the WFP Historical Society

In 1811 "a brick house in an airy part of town" was advertised for sale in the local newspaper. It was the property of the widow of John H. Mills, who, in the closing years of the 18th Century, had established the trading post at the river that grew into Bayou Sara. Mill's namesake, John H. Johnson, developed the town of St. Francisville, laying squares of twelve lots each and naming the streets early in the 1800's.

After renting for some time at forty dollars a year, the house became the property of William C. Wade, the great-grandfather of the present owner.

In 1822 German-born Dietrich Holl turned house into store, aided in his business by his young and handsome nephew, MaxMillian Nubling. Holl, late in life, fell in love, ordered fancy waistcoats and flowered vests and won the hand of his much younger lady. Married bliss was brief; Holl died before his first wedding anniversary, leaving his widow and posthumous daughter in the thoughtful hands of his nephew. Max comforted and then courted, for he and the young widow were soon wed. She had been the ward of Mrs. Percy of Beech Wood, where both the Audubons taught, and through this connection Audubon and Nubling became close friends. The artist found the young European "well-educated and sensible of the arts." When Audubon returned after his trip abroad, he arrived in Bayou Sara disheveled and threadbare, "looking," he said, "altogether like the wandering Jew." He found the town deserted because of yellow fever, walked up to this house, and borrowing his friend Nubling's horse, rode anxiously to Beech Wood, where he found his beloved Lucy in good health.

Still "airily" situated, with a splendid view of the river, the brick house has been named Propinquity because of its closeness to street, town, history, and the hearts of its owners.

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