Posts Tagged ‘Abby Locke’

Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#43 and final)

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

These are Abby’s last entries for the year 1867.

Thomas Nast's images of Santa first appeared in Harper's Weekly during the Civil War, and by Christmas 1865 had taken on many of the characteristics of the image we know today.

Wednesday December 18: Since last writing E.W.D. has been up 3 or four times. Been to ride with him once. Bob Means came up to invite me to a dancing school party at No. Andover Friday night. E.W. Donald came up to night to make a call with me but I had a cold and did not feel able to go out.

Friday 20: A large wagon carried all the Andover people to No A. It came for me at ¼ to 8. I wore my white tucked muslin, coral jewelry, scarlet sash and fan, and scarlet heels and bows on my white slippers. I had Louise’s white opera cape and lace handkerchief and looked as well as possible. Had a splendid time. Got home at ½ past 3.
Wednesday 25: Willie Donald came up in the afternoon (how nice he is) and took tea. Mother did not get us presents. She says she will New Year’s.

Friday December 27: Spent the evening at Mrs. Morse’s. Had a nice time. Mary M rode down with me. Crowley came for me at ¼ past 10. Was introduced to Mr. Tennis.

In the years immediately following the Civil War, Andover residents celebrated the Holiday Season – which stretched, as it does now, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day – in ways that were sometimes faithful to old New England traditions but also increasingly resembled the commercialism of the “Gilded Age” that was to follow.
The dance that Abby attended on December 20th was probably one of a series of holiday galas hosted by the Master Machinists of the Davis & Furber Company at Stevens Hall in North Andover. The Lawrence American described the hall as “nearly filled with gaily dressed ladies and gents” and “tastefully” decorated with “some forty streamers [diverging] from the ceiling and ‘the flag’ displayed from numerous points in the room. The venue, with music provided by various “Quadrille Bands” from the area, allowed as many as 75 couples to stand up for twenty dances each evening.
Christmas itself would not be designated a federal holiday by Congress and President Ulysses Grant until 1870. In Andover, many people (like Abby’s mother, apparently) still favored New Year’s Day as the more significant observance. But new traditions like Christmas trees and the use of Santa Claus as a secular symbol of gift-giving were becoming ingrained.
Local merchants placed advertisements in December 1867 suggesting their merchandise – books, toys, and various “fancy goods” — as suitable for Christmas and New Year’s gifts. One shop explained that “so universal has become the custom of giving to and receiving from our friends some token of remembrance during the Holidays, that all expect something. “ Another emphasized its superior customer service with the assurance that “the great annoyance and loss of time generally experienced in the selection of suitable articles for presents at moderate prices will be entirely obviated,” and further explained that all purchases were fully exchangeable.
Some Andover churches (Baptist, Christ Episcopal, and South Parish) had a Christmas tree hung with gifts for the children of their congregations on Christmas Eve. Others (Frye Village Sunday School, Free Church, West Parish,) held their “Holiday Festivals” on New Year’s Day, complete with a Christmas Tree, and in one case (the North Andover Unitarians) a visit from “Old Santa Claus” himself.
Santa himself was starting to behave in the manner to which we are now accustomed. The Andover Advertiser reported that “after the children had retired. . . the stocking operation commenced. Santa Claus, as usual, visited their abodes regardless of bolts and locks and dispensed favors. It is strongly suspected that some of the little urchins borrowed for the occasion, stockings of such prodigious dimensions that they could not possibly wear them unless they got into them altogether. They were nonetheless well filled, and the stock of the visitor was not entirely exhausted. “


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (40)

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Abby’s entries for November 1867 continue

Tuesday 5:  Went to a sort of Society at the Old South and after up to Mrs. Eaton’s.  Mr. Johnson took care of me.  There was quite a little party.  Went up and had a nice time.

Wednesday November 6: Louise had a little company in the evening.  I had a splendid time.  Mr. Spaulding, Babbitt, Dennis, Frye and Means, Ella Fisher, Clara and Georgia Ray.  And in the afternoon up to the Public Speaking at Phillips.  Seth Williams spoke as finely as he usually does.  The last time I went up I heard Dennis and they are both the finest speakers I’ve heard in school.  Played [spills], euchre, piano.  Had ice cream and coffee.

Friday 7: Chose readers for the prize reading next term.  The results will be given to morrow.  Dr. Moore and Mr. Frye came up.  Mr. F. brought a pound of candy.

Saturday November 8:  Father went to Washington.  Next to Hattie Tufts in our division, I had the most votes.  4 are to read from one division.  Hattie Tufts, Emma Eastern, Nannie Dillingham and myself.

Sunday 10:  Rained nearly all the day.  Went down to Mrs. Raymonds’s to hear Mr. Haines sing and play.  Frank Safford (?) and Edith took tea with us.

Monday 11:  Mr. Frye and Mr. Spaulding spent the evening.  Played euchre.  Mr. S. brought two poiunds of candy.  We had five or seven pounds last week.

John Wesley Churchill (1839-1900) was the elocution teacher for all three schools on Andover Hill from 1866 to 1900.

Abbot Academy’s Draper Reading Prize was awarded in the spring term of 1868 with a thirty dollar donation to the school by Irene Rowley Draper, and Abbot alumna and the wife of Warren F. Draper, an important trustee and benefactor of the school who had already established a similar contest for the Phillips Academy boys.  Sixteen to twenty Abbot readers were elected by the students for the first round of the contest, after which ten were chosen for private instruction from elocution professor J. Wesley Churchill.  The school’s relationship with Churchill, who was employed for thirty-four years by all three schools on Andover Hill (and was incidentally the brother-in-law of Abby’s friends Willy and E.W. Donald) became a significant source of pride for the school.  Principal Philena McKeen wrote in her 1897 history of the school (published by Mr. Draper) that the opportunity for lessons with churchill gave the school “one advantage over every other school or college for young women in the land.”


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (38)

Friday, October 21st, 2011

The J.C. Handley & Co manufactured "Cinderella" steam engines in Lawrence from 1857 into the 1870s.

Abby’s entries from October 1867 continue:

Tuesday 15:  Fred Taylor, Eaton & C. came up in the evening.  Had a nice time.  Next Tuesday we are going to have a small sociable.  F.T. is to invite the boys.  I and Clara the girls.

Wednesday October 16 Went over to the Pacific Mills and into one or two shops to see Steam Engines with the Philosophy class.  Was very tired on reaching home.

Thursday 17:  Went down to Aunt Abbie’s to see Grandmother and Aunt L. – they went yesterday morning from here.  Stayed to tea.  Father and Mother came in the evening. 

Friday 18:  Went after ferns at Indian Ridge with Clara Brown.  Called on Hattie and she showed me her new jewelry Rosa brought her from abroad.  Both elegant sets.

Saturday October 19called on G. Ray after school.  Virgie Houghton came to make Louise a visit.  She has been expecting her some time.  Mr. F. spent the evening.

Sunday 20:  Mr. Frye, Virgie.  Louise and I went to the young men’s lecture by Mr. Babbit in the eve.  In the middle of the prayer a cow bellowed and it sounded so funny we laughed. 

 The Pacific Mills was a Lawrence corporation with Andover roots.  The company had been established in 1853, when Mr. Jeremiah S. Young (one of Abraham Marland’s sons-in-law) transferred the worsted operation (including specialized machinery imported from England for the manufacture of delaines – a high-grade woolen fabric for ladies clothing) from its original location in Ballardvale. Pacific Mills was incorporated with The Essex Company’s Abbot Lawrence, one of the founders of the city, as President, and Young as Treasurer, and an initial capitalization of one million dollars.  The years between the company’s incorporation and the end of the Civil War were not profitable, but the company was known for the modernity of its equipment, including the first fine combing machines brought into the country and a dyeing and printing process that could turn out cloth – both cotton, wool and blends —  with 16 different shades and colors.  In 1867 (the year of Abby’s visit) the Pacific Mills won a medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris for “developing a spirit of harmony among all those cooperating in the same work, and have provided for the material, moral and intellectual well-being of the workmen. “ 

The  main operations of all the Lawrence mills were powered by water turbines turned by the mightly Merrimack River, but portable steam engines were used for internal jobs such as heating (and humidifying) the factory work areas, turning mills for grinding lead and other minerals for the dyeing process and running the elevator.  The engines Abby visited (as part of her “Natural Philosophy” or physics class) were likely some version of the “Cinderella” manufactured by Lawrence’s J.C. Hoadley Co.   The company sold 762 engines between the years 1857 and 1870 (many to the Essex Company and the Lawrence mills) and “gained a good reputation for efficiency , safety, durability, convenience and general utility, combined with reasonable economy of fuel.”


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#37)

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Thursday October 10A beautiful day.  Had a nice drive [with] Mary [Means] and Mary [Morton] and Clara.  Got some autumn leaves.  Met the boys going into the Gymnasium going and coming out as we came back.

Friday 11:  Amy Charnley, girl [?] and Lottie M(orton). went from Andover to day to Chicago.  Lottie is to stay till Spring.

Saturday 12:  Rained very hard.  Went to the Old South at ten to hear Mr. Hall.  The school was obliged to go.  Academy boys and theologues.  Most of the girls had on their best.  I wore my old brown hat and did not look very well.   I did not know any one would be there but our school.

Monday 14Grandmother, Grandfather and my Great Aunt came to day.  Found them at the house when I got home from a nice long walk with MM and MM. 

The two Marys – Means and Morton – are two of Abby’s closest friends throughout the two years of the diary, and the trio would remain close for years to come.  In July 1880, Abby and Mary Morton would bring sons for baptism on the same day at Andover’s Christ Church, with Mary Means standing sponsor for little Arthur Whitreau, Mary Morton’s son. 

Mary Hoppin Morton was the daughter of Judge Marcus Morton.  He had represented Andover in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the 1850s, and had been a respected town leader during the Civil War.  In 1867, he held a position in the Superior Court of Suffolk County, and would be named Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 1869.  Mary attended Abbot Academy and married Mr. Clarence Whitreau and lived as an adult in Staten Island and Katonah, New York. 

Mary McGregor Means was the daughter of William G. Means, who was the treasurer of the Manchester (NH) Locomotive Works, manufacturers of locomotives, stationary steam engines and tools.  She was the cousin of Emily Means, the Andover teacher and artist who later became the straight-laced principal of Abbot Academy, and the grand-niece of Mrs. Jane Means Appleton Pierce, the wife of President Franklin Pierce, who spent several summers in Andover.  Mary Means died in 1906 at the age of 57.


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#36)

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Abby’s entries from late September and early October 1867 continue:

Thursday 26Phenie went to Exeter to day.  She is coming back in a week I believe.

Monday 30:  Monday it rained very hard and at noon snow flakes were mixed with the rain.

Wednesday 2:  Went up to Mrs. S. to bid the Goldsmiths good bye and good riddance.  Eliza had some company and part of the evening I played with them. 

Thursday 3Met F. Taylor going up to school.  Said he was coming down Sat. and play euchre with Mr. Eaton.

Poison sumac (another name for poison dogwood) is a smooth-barked American swamp shrub whose leaves turn bright red in the fall.

Saturday 5:  Yesterday Louise went with G. Ray to get leaves.  Got some dogwood and brought it to the house and to day my face is poisoned.  I only looked at it.

While it is possible that Abby had a sensitivity to the flowering dogwood tree (cornus  florida), it is much more likely that she was using an old-fashioned Americanism (1815 c. according to for the plant that we now commonly call “poison sumac”  — (toxicodrun vernix). 

It’s too bad that Louise and Georgia Ray didn’t have access to the advice of Caroline Creevey in her “Harper’s Guide to Wild Flowers.” (which wasn’t published until 1912!).  Mrs. Creevey describes the plant as “the most poisonous plant of our country and it possesses, moreover, the fatal gift of beauty, often alluring unsuspecting persons in the autumn to fill their arms with its brilliantly colored leaves.  With the swamp maple, it adds, most of all plants, to the glory of the swamps.  Insanity and even fatal results have been known to follow the handling of its branches.  Many people are wholly immune to this plant’s evil effects, while others are poisoned simply by passing the shrub. “


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#35)

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Abby’s entries continue to be sporadic in September 1867.

Tuesday 17Clara had a Surprise Party and they had a delightful time.  Merriam was there.  I thought it strange and ever so many nice boys.  The girls weren’t quite so jolly.  Mary Stevens came over.  Sam went home with Belle Ray.  Eddie Roberts was real sick.  Clara is going to set one for him soon.

Thursday September 19:  Coming home from a drive we found Mr. Raulson on the steps.  We called on the Goldsmiths in the evening.  He gave us each a little knife.

From the lofty perch of her sixteen years, Abby appears to find the social lives of her younger sister and brother quite amusing, as well she might.  Clara was 13 in 1867 and Sam was only 11. 

Clara was the only other of the Locke siblings (besides Abby) to marry.  After teaching in Andover for many years (and living with her parents at 70 Elm Street),  Clara married Francis Jordan Thomsen of Baltimore in 1885, when she was 31 years old, and went on to raise 4 children. 

Sammy worked for his father in the family’s iron salvage business, but his life appears to have unraveled a bit after his father’s death in 1901.  He moved away from Andover, apparently without maintaining contact with his family.  Abby’s descendants remembered only that he was said to have “[gone] West and disappeared. “  He appears in San Francisco, California county voter registration directories in 1914 and 1916.  He is listed in the 1920 Federal Census as a patient, age 64 years, in the Fresno, California County Hospital and died on March 29, 1920 of “pernicious anaemia,” a disorder now easily treated with vitamin B12 shots.


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#34)

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Abby’s diary entries were sporadic in September, 1867. 

Wednesday September 4:  We finished a white tucked skirt.  15 small tucks.  It is very pretty indeedHattie Baker came tonight.

Thursday 5:  School commenced:  Miss McKeen gave me Algebra, Nat. Philosophy & physiology.

no entries Sept. 6 – 9

1867 was the first year that Abbot Academy required examinations for admission.  Enrollments in the school do not seem to have been affected; the Andover Advertiser reported this week that the boarding houses for the young ladies were again full to the brim. 

Abby is again (at the age of 16) taking a full course load in the rigorous curriculum intended to “finish” female students and not to prepare them for college.  Math offerings in 1867 were arithmetic, algebra and geometry.  Natural philosophy was the 19th century term for the study of the laws of the physical universe and was the precursor to the study of physics.  Both natural philosophy and physiology were part of the school’s curriculum from the school’s founding, despite the lack of laboratory facilities. 

Abbot principal Philena McKeen was dogged in her efforts to improve the school’s resources and equipment.  One of her most wanted educational aids (finally obtained in 1879) was a papier-mache model of a woman, with detachable limbs and organs for use in the anatomy and physiology classes.  But earlier students (like those in Abby’s era) had to make due with “the grim outlines of the skeleton which aided in their instruction.”  Miss McKeen further wrote, “It may interest [old scholars] to know that in the days of his flesh this osseous personage was a warrior. That he was a mercenary who grew very sick of his bargain must be inferred from the fact that he was a Prussian in the British army, and was shot for desertion in Canada. What remained of him came into the possession of a Vermont physician, who found his bones useful in the tuition of private students of medicine. From him, after he retired from practice, the skeleton was purchased for Abbot Academy.” As of 1979 (and the publication of Susan McIntosh Lloyd’s history of Abbot Academy) the skeleton was still in the possession of the Phillips Academy art department.


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#33)

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Abby’s entries from August and September 1867 continue:

Monday August 26:  E.W.D. called in the evening and we went to ride a little way.  Aunt Hartwell & Mary came to night to stay until Wed. morning.

Tuesday 27Father went to Portland to see about the Gov (?) case.  Mother didn’t sleep any all night for fear of Burglars.

Wednesday 28:  Went to Boston with the Goldsmiths.  Had a nice time.  Spent all day [?].  The Academy boys came back Tuesday.  I met Mr. Sawyer in Andover Depot.  He had been up to sell his things.  He rode down with me, promised to call when he comes up to Andover which he intends to do often.  He is going to try for Harvard.  22 of his class go there.  Only 2 to Yale. 

Thursday August 29:  Mother came out to night.  Brought me some Pique for a sack.  They have caught the Burglars that have been troubling the towns people.

Saturday 31Had a nice drive with Louise, Clara & Eliza.  We all went to see the boys.  I didn’t see many that I knew.  Saw Maxson to make up.  Oliver Perry came to take me to ride in the afternoon.  I was out riding.  We saw him at the depot at six.  He is going back Tuesday

Sunday September 1Went to church with Louise in the morning.  A very unpleasant drizzly wet day.

Abby’s mother was not the only resident of Andover to be unnerved by the spate of burglaries – the selectmen had offered a $100 reward for the apprehension of those responsible, but the arrests that Abby refers to (reported in the Andover Advertiser in the August 30 edition) must have been less than completely reassuring.  “There is little doubt that the recent burglaries in this town were committed by a portion of quite a large gang, and that their operations extended over a considerable distance.”  Arrests had been made in both Billerica and Lowell, in which a “large quantity of [Andover] loot” had been recovered, including “a fruit basket, silver spoons, butter knives and valuable clothing” belonging to the Nathaniel Swift family.  Others of the gang, “among them the notorious Three Fingered Jack” were arrested in Boston. 

Over the next few weeks, the newspaper reported additional arrests, including three women in Lowell (for receiving stolen goods).  On September 20, the paper described the appearance of one robber , Charles E. Mayberry, in front of Justice Poor.  Mayberry was a one-armed Army veteran from Biddeford, Maine who told the court that he had been already jailed a year for larceny since he left the army.  He was freed for lack of evidence, when the chief witness against him failed to appear in court.  Federal tax records from Maine – showing that he paid excise taxes on items of pewter (in 1866) and glass (in 1867) — suggest that he had been fencing items continuously.  He entered the U.S. National Home for Disabled Soldiers in Togus, Maine on December 16, 1867, but was again arrested “by civil authorities” just a few days later, and not readmitted until February 1869.


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#32)

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Abby’s entries from August 1867 continue: 

Saturday 10Eva Sawyer went home to day.  She came Monday.  She is very stupid and I do not miss her much.

Monday 12Louise’s birthday.

Tuesday 13Willie Donald called in the afternoon.

Wednesday August 14:  A little boy came to the Mortons  to day.  Amy claims him.  Mr. C has an (?)

Thursday 15:  Louise got home to day.  We were so glad to see her back.  She was disappointed about going up the St. Lawrence.  Had her tickets and was all ready to go.  I had a letter in the morning saying she was going.  It was provoking not to go though she had a delightful trip as it was.  She brought home the set Mother got for me.  It is as lovely as it can be – beaded coral of a lively shade.  The Goldsmiths came tonight (Sat.) and to morrow spend the day with us. 

Eva Sawyer was probably 18-year-old Eva Oaksmith Sawyer from Brooklyn, New York  — the daughter of lawyer Benjamin Sawyer who had lived and practiced in Boston before moving to New York, and was likely a business associate of Samuel Locke’s. 

The little boy who was born on August 14 was William Charnly, Jr., the son of the Amy Morton Charnley and her husband William Charnley.  Amy was the older sister of Abby’s friend Mary Morton, and had been married in Andover the previous October. 

Abby’s sister Anne Louise Locke turned 20 on August 12, 1867. She later became a teacher in Andover’s public schools, and never married.  According to Abby’s granddaughter, Louise was considered an invalid by the family, suffering from a painful hand ailment.  She died in 1907, and is buried with her parents in the Christ Church Cemetery.


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#31)

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Abby’s entries from July and August 1867 continue:

Tuesday July 30:  Willie M. came up in the evening and we laughed so that I got tired.  Sammie was full of fun.

Wednesday 31:  EWD 19th birthday.  My hair has commenced to fall out.  I shan’t dare to comb it at all.

Thursday August 1Mr. F. spent the evening with us.  When he came Clara and I were singing as hard as we could upstairs.   We thought it is not (?) and so sung harder.  How we laughed afterwards.

(no entries Aug. 2 – 9)

Most of Abby’s friends (girls as well as boys) were members of Andover’s “mill” families – children and grandchildren of the town’s prosperous mill owners – and Elijah Winchester Donald was no exception.  He was the son of William Donald, a Scottish immigrant who owned an ink factory in Andover’s Frye Village.  And while most of Abby’s friends grew up to become (or in the girls’ cases to marry) industrialists themselves, Winchester Donald took a different path. 

The Donald Family (1854 c.). Elijah Winchester is the middle of the three brothers.

Born on July 31, 1848 (and named after Elijah Winchester, the rector of Andover’s Free Church of which his father had been one of the original members), E. Winchester Donald graduated from Punchard Free School in 1865.  In the summer of 1867, he had just completed his sophomore year at Amherst College.  The Andover Advertiser reported that he had won a prestigious speaking prize at the college.  Around this time, he (like Abby and her sister Louise among other young people in Andover) developed an attraction to the Episcopal Church. 

After his graduation from Amherst in 1869, he attended the Union Theological Seminary in New York City which had been founded by Presbyterians, but was even in the 19th century decidedly ecumenical.  Donald couldn’t have chosen any place more ideologically different from Andover’s “Brimstone” Hill.  He served (from 1882-1892) as the rector of New York City’s fashionable Church of the Ascension on Fifth Avenue in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, before accepting a call to Boston’s Trinity Church, where he was the successor of the famous (North Andover native) Phillips Brooks.

E. Winchester Donald (1848-1904) as the rector of Boston's Trinity Church

Abby was friendly with the Donalds well into adulthood, long after they had all married and had children.   As a young mother, Abby lived next door to Mary Jane Donald (who had married John Wesley Churchill).  Photos of E. Winchester Donald and his brother Willie (dating to the 1890s) are included in her family’s albums that are now in the Andover Historical Society’s collection.