written by Charlotte Chapin Crowninshield, b.1868 d.1967

with notes from her daughter Sarah Eden Browne and son-in-law Carey Judson Chamberlin Sr.



The Crowninshields

C.C.B. to S.E.C 1955-57


In the spring of 1879, just before I became eleven years old, our house, the lovely old Colonial parsonage of the West Dedham Unitarian church, was burned to the ground. My grandfather Crowninshield's house in Marblehead burned also, so that possessions which would have given me a sense of roots and background were missing. Then, too, some second marriages among my father's forebears added to the sense of confusion about my family history.

However, the closeness of our immediate family and the strong enduring influence of a wonderful father helped to give us the fortitude to meet the sorrow and hardship which lay ahead.

My Crowninshield forebear was Johannes Kaspar von Richter von Kronensheldt, who came to this country about 1660 from Leipzig, bringing with him his medical certificates. You can look this up at the Essex Institute in "Early Physicians." Story had it that he had accidentally killed a person in Germany during some kind of a fray. He first came to Boston, but later settled near the Browne-Bartholemew Ponds in what is now Peabody.

Mr. Andren of Beverly said that the name was Scandinavian, probably Danish; that there, if a person had made his mark, he was given an insignia like a crown in a shield. Be that as it may.


Johannes Kaspar's son was

Clifford (b. about 1705) - his son was

William - his son was

Edward - his son was

John Brown Crowninshield (my grandfather) b. 1815

Edward Crowninshield (my father) b. 1840


My father's mother was descended from the Goulds of Topsfield who were large landholders there. A Lucy Gould married a Goldsmith, from New Hampshire probably. Her son was Nathaniel Goldsmith, the father of my grandmother, Ann Dove Goldsmith. Grandmother used to say that Dove was originally Douve from the Isle of Jersey. I don't know much about these people. A good many seafaring people came from Jersey. Grandmother had a sister Lucy Gould Goldsmith and a brother named Daniel. They could be traced through records.

I never talked with Grandmother about these things. A child never realizes their importance. Travel was difficult so we did not visit her in Marblehead very much. Her house burned down with everything in it. Grandfather, John Brown Crowninshield, was a great invalid. He must have had serious heart trouble. His mother, Sarah Brown, had first married Nathaniel Boden and had had one daughter, Hannah, an older half-­sister of my grandfather. She then married in 1817 Edward Crowninshield. She died in the fifties so I never knew her, but the family said she was an unusual person. Her mother had been an Oliver, well-to-do banking people interested in civic things. Grandfather's name was John Oliver Brown Crowninshield.

My own mother told me that when my father was a boy he spent a great deal of his time with his grandparents. I cannot tell you how much he was with them but I do know that he and his grandmother were very close. She used to call him "Good Eddy."

My grandfather belonged to a very mixed family. His father, my great-grandfather Edward Crowninshie1d, had married before and had children by that marriage, one of whom was "old Uncle Edward." His second wife, as I have said, was a widow, Sarah (Brown) Boden, who had a daughter by her first marriage, so my grandfather had a half-sister on one side, who was no relation to the half-sisters and brothers on the other side. You will be quite mixed up without some sort of chart, and, as I said, I do not know much about the older generations except from records.

I have already told you that Grandfather was an invalid. I never knew him when he wasn't. Grandmother occasionally came to see us when we lived in Dedham, but Grandfather never. Grand­mother was a very courageous woman. Pennies were terribly scarce. My father did what he could to help them. Fortunately they owned their house in Marblehead. My father built a little shop with his own hands at the back of their garden, and three old men, my grandfather one of them, all invalids, when they felt able, went there to make little children's shoes. This touched my heart very much and is, I suppose, an early example of modern therapeutic treatment. Grandmother told me that when my father was only eighteen, he negotiated the sale of an island off Marblehead for the family. She told this with pride.

I seldom went to Marblehead so I did not know my relatives there. (We had gone in the spring of 1872 to the Second Parish in Dedham - West Dedham it then was, Westwood now.) But I do remember Grandmother there, reading her "Christian Register." I remember when I was a very little girl making for her a headband of velvet trimmed with lace. I remember that she cared about it. I remember a table in her house which interested me greatly because it had a lion's head drawer-pull with a ring in the lion's nose. I remember her best Chelsea china and her teaspoons, thin and delicate, with an embossed basket of flowers at the end of their handles.

My father had a brother who was also an invalid and who died when he was a young married man. There were no children. He was a sweet person. When we went to Salem, he let me use his Marblehead library card. There was no library in Salem then. There was also a retarded sister whom we all loved, mentally about ten years old. And there was another sister whom we did not like at all.

During my father's boyhood there were three boys growing up in Marblehead -- close friends -- who had ability and vision. My father and John White Chadwick hoped to become Unitarian ministers, and the third, James Parker, wished to he a teacher. Later, at my father's suggestion, James Parker came to Dedham to be headmaster of the school.

My father went to the Bridgewater Normal School, probably from 1860-1864. He had a kidney ailment which kept him from active service during the Civil War. He taught in Chicopee for three years or so. When I was born in 1868 he was studying at the Harvard Divinity School. After graduating in 1870, he went to Exeter, N. H. to supply the Unitarian church there for one year. In February, 1872, he became minister of the West Dedham parish, and in June, 1879, we moved to Belfast, Maine, where my father was minister until he died in February, 1883. He had married in 1860 so he had the responsibility of a young family through those difficult war and post-war years. Grandmother told me that he worked summers and vacations to help his parents and to further his education. Money was always scarce. I suppose it was while he was at the Divinity School that he became a close friend of Dr. Gannett. Dr. Gannett, like others, had a hard time getting a parish because of his Darwinian beliefs, but later went to St. Paul, Minnesota.

My father was a very great companion to his family, full of fun and ringing laughter. Of course, most of my vivid memories begin in West Dedham, where I lived until I was eleven years old in 1879. We lived near the church in a lovely old square house with a central chimney. The house was framed by great elm trees, and a white rail fence ran along its front. The house had an ell with three arches, two with doors and one open for a carriage shed. A barn, two or three hundred feet away, faced the left side of our house. When its great doors were open one could see from our dining-room windows a framed picture of meadows and woods beyond. The second floor of the ell was an ancient dance hall. “Nahattan Hall” In faded gold letters was spelled out on its far end wall. Three Palladian windows graced each long side. At the front end was a little balcony where abandoned music stands still stood. This was a place for a child's dreams and for hang­ing the family's wash during the winter cold. In the old days it must have been lovely.

Every room in the house was panelled and there was lovely carving around the cornices. The house was the parsonage when we were there and had been for many years. Mr. Gifford had been the minister before my father, and in the early years a Mr. White, who was the grandfather of Mrs. Benjamin Silsbee of Salem, an old lady when I was young. She used to visit her grandfather there when she was a child. Mr. White used to take Harvard students to “rusticate.” I remember county church conferences with colla­tions in the barn, but usually it was full of bay from the fields. I remember the grain being threshed an the floor. Off across the dipping fields and woods to the east was Great Blue Hill - ­our view.

When we were little my father used to tell us stories -­ stories of local history, of how people used to live, about Indian raids and other adventures. He would stop at the most exciting places, creating fun and protest, saying, “That's enough for tonight.” On Christmas morning we would hear a noise in the attic. We could look up the chimney beside the old oven and could bear sleigh bells ringing. I remember the first year he gave us “St. Nicholas” for Christmas. We heard a strange voice and then saw from behind a curtain the magazine with head and arms and legs -- St. Nick coming to live with us. He was a born educator, delighting in children's minds. In those days toys were few. Father punched out various constellations on cardboard which could be fitted into a box like a sliding cover. A lighted candle showed us what to look for in the sky.

Dr. Gannett, Lewis's father, used to come to stay with us frequently, one time for several weeks. At that time he was writing the life of his father. I remember he sent a croquet set to Edith. The address an the box was a drawing of a crown in a shield with a capital E and a capital D above the crown, and the destination, West Dedham, Massachusetts.

One night we had walked down to the Post Office with my father and Dr. Gannett. Still in the woods, about a half mile from home, Edith and I were holding on to their coats, fearful of the dark, when suddenly the two men slipped out of their coats and disappeared. Soon, of course, we discovered them walking quietly behind us.

One day Dr. Gannett took us to Boston, probably to a circus, and then to have our photographs taken as a surprise. I remember those pictures well. Both Edith and I had our hair cut short. At supper table that night he said, “There's something you haven't told -- Oh, yes, you promised not to.” He did this several times but we manfully held out and did not tell. When the pictures came, they were a complete surprise.

I used to go to the district school in West Dedham. I remember so well that a boy who belonged to a German family named Katzenmeier -- though why that name should come to me after all these years is a mystery -- cut his finger very badly. He went out to the woodshed and wound his finger all around with cobwebs. It stopped the bleeding, too. And I remember a boy named Henry Thompson, that he came a long distance to school and was not a very good speller. He would rise when called upon and gaze out of the window at the fields as if he would see out there how to spell the word.

I talk more about Dedham than Belfast because I was there at an impressionable age. Life at Dedham was very happy. As I look back I realize that we were emerging from an agricul­tural state. This farming population was interesting. For in­stance, Mr. Allen's home made an impression upon me -- not conscious­ly at the time -- because I remember seeing Shakespeare, George Eliot, etc., on the bookshelves. I suppose I loved hearing Mr. Allen's violin. I am interested that as a child of ten I re­member these things. Another farmer, a Mr. Sumner and a relative of Charles Sumner, owned a large strawberry farm. He had two daughters. The older, Abby, had gone to Boston University, one of the first institutions of higher learning to take women. She then had gone to college in Cambridge, England. She taught the district school and I could hear her tell the upper classes about England. I remember picking up an arrowhead of white quartz, while walking behind Mr. Sumner's plough. It thrilled me to think that Indians had been on that very spot.

Mr. Sumner gave my parents a cup and saucer which had belonged to old Dr. Putnam who had been minister in West Roxbury. That was the parish which later could not decide which candidate to call to its vacant pulpit, Mr. James DeNormandie or my father. It was voted to have them come back for several Sundays each. Aunt Lydia Gardiner told me this when I became engaged to your father. She was on the Standing Committee at the time, I think. It was the letter asking my father to do so which was received the day after his death.

1876 stands out strongly in my mind. It was a cen­tennial year and I was grieved not to be able to go to Philadelphia with my father, mother and Edith. They and Dr. Gannett brought me gifts, one a little Scotch doll. This makes me think again of my grandmother. She it was who told me about the great colosseum which stood in the vicinity of Park Square. It was built after the Civil War as a jubilee building and it was there, Grandmother said, that many bands and choruses assembled to give concerts of martial and peace music under Gilmore and other famous leaders. In the same vicinity was the Providence Station facing Park Square. One could see it from Boylston Street.

No, I don't remember the days of the Great Fire In 1872, but I remember people talking about it. My father brought back a china head of a doll which had gone through the fire. This doll had a body which did not belong to it. Its lead was stained with fire marks and I loved it more than any doll because it had gone through so much. I was given a doll carriage. I remember little Mary running off into the orchard, spilling the doll from the carriage and chipping its neck. She was three and a half years younger than I. Little Ann died before I was born. Margaret came years later in '82 only six months before my father died.


Edith                                         b. January 1862

Ann                                          b. October 1863 -- d. 1865

Charlotte                                   b. May 1868

Mary                                        b. December 1871

Rebecca                                   b. April 1875

Margaret                                  b. August 1882


We moved to Belfast in 1879 when I was eleven years old. I have told you many times about the lovely West Dedham house burn­ing to the ground just at the time that we had all our things packed and ready to move. I was spending the night at Hattie Fisher's house, (later Lady Fisher-Smith whom you met several years ago) and Edith was away at school, but Father and Mother and the younger children were there. The fire started In the ell. No one knows what caused it. The beautiful old house and all our possessions were completely destroyed. This is one reason why there seemed to be such a complete break between our former life in Dedham and our life in Belfast. In Belfast we had to start afresh, and for a minister's family that was very hard, especially in those days. My father lost all his sermons and his books. My mother lost a beautiful old Spanish comb and shawl and fans. I lost my most treasured possession, a small thin white tea set decorated with a red band with smaller black and gold bands near its edges. It was Chinese and had been given to me by a Unitarian minister named Mr. Edows. I thought that it was very beautiful. I also lost the doll given me by Dr. Gannett. Down through the years, and even today I remember certain possessions so clearly that I have found myself wondering where I had mislaid them.

Our life in Belfast was interesting. My father felt that every child should have a hobby, so I fostered my mineral collection. By the time I was twelve I had collected a lot of minerals. A Mr. Alden was interested in silver mines in Colorado. He brought back to me some little specimens of silver and copper and other ores. Father said that as soon as I had five hundred specimens he would have a cabinet made for them. Governor Crosby, a friend, had a remarkable collection and when he heard I was in­terested in minerals, he gave me some. Father died and I never reached the five hundred goal. I was nearly fifteen then.

I must have been an independent little girl because as early as the autumn of 1880 I used to go to Castine alone to visit the Locks, the Unitarian minister's family there. Mr. Lock married the sister of Ruth Babson Kirkland's mother. He had been a prisoner in Libby Prison and never had gotten over the effects of that terrible experience. He was something of an invalid. The Witherleys were his parishioners. Mrs. Witherley was the first person I ever saw who wore bloomers. The Witherleys used to go into the wilderness for a month each year. Bloomers were her woods costume. Of course, bloomers were used long before that. Miss Mary Weld told me that Reverend Theodore Weld had married a Grimke sister, one of the Bloomer Girls who had astonished Milton and Boston with bloomers and ideas.

There were some interesting people in Belfast. I spoke of Governor Crosby who gave me some minerals from his collection. Near us was the lovely estate of Mr. James P. White. Mother never lacked flowers which were brought to her from his garden. His colored coachman, Alexander Jackson, was devoted to our black Rebecca Peters (we had so many Rebeccas In our house we called her "Mary"), courting her in our kitchen. They were fine people and were my friends. When they married I used to go to see them at their house and frequently would stay to supper with them.


(The next few paragraphs are taken from letters Mother wrote Betsy, Carey and S.E.C. in 1957.)

To Betsy: "I wrote in Mother's letter this morning that our house in Belfast was the fourth on Church Street, counting the big white house in the angle as the first. Next to the large house was a white house in which lived the editor of the Republican Journal, whose name was Simpson. Once when he was ill for some time, I used to read the papers to him. I knew him well. He was one of our parishioners. He would talk to me about what we were reading and this made it interesting for me. My father told me that if Mr. Simpson offered me money for reading to him to refuse it. That was natural because a minister and his family expect to be of service. But Mr. Simpson would not have it so and paid me two dollars a week -- really high pay for those days and to one so young. My father, well pleased that I had done a good job, matched the sum. I marched to the bank where another parishioner put it on a savings account, making out the book to me. I was nearly twelve and a half.

In the next house lived an uncle of Mr. Simpson. He was an excitable Democrat. He would not subscribe to the Journal but took the Progressive Age. Mr. Colburn -- that was his name – was campaigning and arguing for Hancock. Of course my editor and I were for Garfield; so was my father. We did not seem to say the things against Hancock which Mr. Colburn seemed to find necessary to say about Garfield. Garfield won. That made our side right all along, of course. But soon poor Garfield was shot and that seemed to make Mr. Colburn come out on top. Well, as a thirteen-year-old drops the inexplicable, she turns to other things, but she never will forget the campaign of Garfield and Hancock -- the torch-light processions, the Republican editor, and the Democratic uncle.

To Carey J. C. she wrote: “There were two busy shipyards owned by two brothers, Cottrell by name. There were two other brothers who carried on coastwise trade and who owned schooners built in the Cottrell yards. It was on one of these that I was launched - The Charlotte Thorndike. My playmate was Charlotte Thorndike Sibley, the daughter of the owner. I was Invited to be on the schooner when she was launched and to take its first trip up the river to Bangor, and to stay there while she was loaded with ice to be taken to Jacksonville, Florida. We were dropped off at Belfast on the way back from Bangor. She brought hay and grain back from Jacksonville. That must have been seventy-seven years ago.

My father died on February sixth, 1883. We had had a lovely Christmas. Right after that he came down with what was called typhoid fever. It was a terrible time, sad to remember. My father died on Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday came a severe blizzard. The snow drifted up to the middle sash of the kitchen window. No one could get through. His funeral was on Friday. On Tuesday, the day he died, I remember going to send telegrams. My feet felt like rubber and I could not manage them very well.

We had private services at the house for just ourselves. Edith played the piano and I sang, “Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh.” Then he was carried to the church for the service for the parish. My very dear father.

We immediately moved to Salem because the schools were excellent there. Rebecca was about eight years old and Margaret only six months. We moved in June. In the fall I went off to Greenfield to the Prospect Hill School, sent on a scholarship because it was chiefly a Unitarian school. Beatrice Herford, the daughter of Brooke Herford, minister of the Arlington Street church, and Alice Barbour, daughter of another Unitarian minister, were students there. Dr. Moors was very good to us three girls. He had known my father. He occasionally took me on his trips to funerals and marriages through the lovely Connecticut River countryside, as my father used to take me in Maine.

You asked about the Marblehead relatives. It was not that we did not like them; we had not known them. Marblehead was inaccessible. There were no street cars until 1885 or 1886. Only a few of our numerous relatives there had interest in us. Of course we had our own way to make and we shunned any role of liability to them.

Mother had a brother whom I liked but avoided because he swore on occasions. This was foolish on my part, but I was young and sensitive. Finally one day he swore in front of one of my friends. I complained to Mother and after that shunned him. His swearing was harmless, never vicious. I wish that I had understood. He had been a soldier in the Civil War and had been badly wounded in the leg. His father went south in time to prevent an amputation by the argument that a man with two legs could serve his country better than a man with only one. The leg was saved but Uncle Stephen always walked with a cane. I never knew the time when he was not Town Clerk. I remember large garden of flowers, and below it were terraces of grapevines and fruit trees. His father, the Spanish emigre, had laid out the garden. This uncle was named Stephen Chapman Felton.

In his old gambrel roof house hung portraits of my grandfather, the Spaniard, and of my grandmother. The Spaniard was very handsome. He had come to Boston from Manila with a Captain Hooper of Boston. His name was Juan Alva, but he took the name of John Alvin Felton because a friend of the family had that surname, which he liked. He married a young Marblehead widow, Elizabeth Chapman Grant. I do not know why he changed his name. He probably had to leave Spain. Mother said that he used to carry messages in his mouth in order to swallow them if captured. He never would tell of his background except to speak of an aunt who had been kind to him and whom he called “Madame Elizabeth.” I do not know how safe he had been in Manila. Mr. de las Casas' father also came by way of Manila, married a Marblehead woman and never would tell about his background, either. We talked of this several times. There were struggles going on between Catholics and Protestants (Grandfather was a Protestant) and there were the upheavals of Napoleonic times. Mr. de las Casas said that there was no opportunity for young people in Spain. Anyway, at that time there was a great exodus much like the present exodus of refugees from Hungary and East Germany. If these young people were revolutionists working for liberation, there would have been a price set upon their heads. I have often thought that I might have found out more if I had been aware of its interest. He was born probably about 1800 and I think was still in his teens when he came to this country. I do not really know. (Revolt of Spanish liberals in 1820 was crushed by 1823. Many were executed. Others fled. - C.J.C.)

My grandfather died before I was born. My mother said that he was always quite moved when he spoke of his childhood. He had lived with Madame Elizabeth, but she had died or he had had to leave her. My father said that he was a fine singer and a lovable person. He always called my mother, "Dono," and Edith, "Donny." That is why you children called your grandmother, "Dono."

My mother loved pretty clothes. I remember how pleased and excited she was when my father gave her a beautiful silk dress. This was quite an event in our family since silk was costly. It was easy for her to be on the extravagant side, and sometimes she was. I remember a gay little bonnet which we all loved. She had a mantilla which came to her from her father. She would occa­sionally take this and an embroidered fan out of their boxes for us to see. These were burned in the Dedham fire. She also had some gilt hair ornaments which she and we admired. I think she did as well as many minister's wives. She put on operettas and managed singing groups. I remember a double quadrille particularly, in which I was in costume. She would enter in to all these things. When the parish room of the Belfast church was dedicated, she made an Indian costume for me and I recited Hiawatha's wooing. She had an unusual voice and sang very well. In the early days at Putnamville,  before pernicious anemia developed, she used to sing old songs with Mr. Watts, much to everyone's delight. She had a large family to care for, so I don't suppose there were many minutes which were free. She was a wonderful cook. And always there was so little to do with. She had married when she was eighteen.

Yes, the grocer delivered things at our house, after first making the rounds for the orders, just as you remember at Putnamville. In fact the difference in our mode of living between my childhood and yours was slight compared to the difference between the early nineteen hundreds and the present. We ordered sugar and flour by the barrel, and in winter a side of beef hung in the cellar.

Before I go on, I wish to say that my grandfather was only one of several Spaniards who finally made their way to Salem or Marblehead.  They were all literate men, gifted in different ways, but usually musically. Among them were the ancestors of Manuel Fenollosa; of Margaret, Jose, Dorothy and Barbara Harris, whose mother was Mary Magarti; of Machado Warren and Machado Osborn of yours and Harrie's generation; and of the large gifted Machado family of my generation. Mr. Machado was a Cuban. The others came by way of Manila, I think. In Salem I remember the Machados as a musically gifted family, who attracted young people to their house for group singing.

Luis Emilio was captain in Robert Gould Show's famous 54th colored regiment and wrote its history: The Brave Black Regiment. Mr. de las Casas you remember as a charming summer neighbor and a member of the then distinguished Metropolitan District Commission. His father married a Marblehead woman. The William Fenollosas were my special friends in Salem, and very musical. William's brother, Ernest, was the authority on Japanese and Chinese art. What a marvellous contribution these people made to our New England community!

Dono's mother was the daughter of Stephen Chapman whose background was Ipswich, England, and Ipswich in this country. An aunt or cousin married Samuel Rhodes who wrote the history of Marblehead. A pleasant memory of mine, as a six or seven-year­-old girl, was that of spending the night with Aunt Ruth Lane, Dono's aunt. I slept in her bed with her -- a bed which came down from the wall. She was a pretty woman with flaxen hair and brown eyes. There had been no room for me in Uncle Stephen Felton's house -----­Only a few hours out of a lifetime yet a real and pleasant memory. I don't remember anything more.


(Summer 1958)

Before I go on to our life in Salem I want to tell about a terrible trauma which I experienced in Belfast. Eleven to fourteen is a sensitive age and children may suffer during these years without their parents knowing.

I was twelve years old. I had never heard of the murder of Captain White in 1829 in Salem or of his Crowninshield murderers. I was asked to read in school before my class Daniel Webster's speech to the jury. My teacher was a Baptist, later becoming a Baptist minister. He probably resented my being the daughter of the Unitarian minister, as was not unusual in those days of theological controversy. I was overwhelmed with fears. I was too afraid to ask my father about it, thinking perhaps these Crowninshields had been close relatives. I could not bear to hurt him. What a weight I carried on my mind and spirit! My father never know. It was not until we moved to Salem after his death and when I was about sixteen that my fears were ended. I used to read to a dear elderly blind man, Mr. James Waters. His brother bore the middle name of Crowninshield.  I learned from him that he and we were descended from Clifford Crowninshield and that the way­ward boys were descended from Richard. Then, of course, I began to ask questions for myself.

Perhaps you do not remember the circumstances of the murder. A Captain White lived in what is now the Pingree House on Essex Street. The facts seem to be that a young nephew by the name of Knapp hired two wayward boys named Crowninshield, from a well-to-do family in Danvers, to murder Captain White. Young Knapp's aunt, a Mrs. Bickford, was Captain White's housekeeper and also a relative. Suspicion fell on her as an accomplice because someone in the house had left unlocked windows which were usually locked.

Needless to say, this murder racked the Salem community. “Uncle Doctor,” Dr. Benjamin Cox, your grandmother's older brother, had a close friend who was young Knapp's s cousin. His name was also Knapp. Uncle Doctor was studying medicine at Harvard at the time. He came to Salem immediately and with his friend was involved in trying to learn what had really happened. They were aghast to learn that Knapp's relatives were involved. Daniel Webster was engaged to prosecute the cast. It became a famous trial.


September 1959 (In answer to some questions from Elizabeth.)

Uncle Vincent Browne was your great-grandfather's oldest brother. There were also George, grandfather of Belmore Browne, and Charles, the father of lovely Cousin Rebecca Greene, and John White Browne, friend and classmate of Charles Sumner and father of Laura. Only your great-grandfather and Belmore's s grandfather left any descendants. Uncle Vincent, known as Uncle Vince, was respons­ible for proposing to a group of influential men in Salem a plan for establishing a bank for small savings. He considered it very important for people of small inome and for children to save what pennies they could. This was the origin of the Salem Five Cents Savings Bank which shortly after funding had deposits of $28,000.



I can remember when we were in Salem we took the Boston Post, then a fine paper with international news. It used to report the Gladstone regime with news from various parts of the British Empire. Mother was interested in foreign news, and we all used to talk about it. Also we had great interest in domestic politics. Grover Cleveland became president, and I remember how avidly we read the news. This was 1884-85.

When I went to Greenfield Edith went to a fine school in West Bridgewater, the Howard Seminary, run by the McGill sisters, five daughters of President McGill of Swarthmore. Edith was there for two years. It was at the time of the Turkish wars. I remember that she wrote an excellent paper on this subject. Miss McGill, principal and oldest sister, married Andrew D. White as his second wife and was in Russia with him when he was Ambassador.

Later, I went to this same school for nearly two years. Edith was then teaching in the grammar school at West Bridgewater. When she was called to Salem to teach, I took examinations and stepped into her place. I did not stay long because in the spring I was invited to go south by Mrs. Emmerton, who paid all my expenses. This was an opportunity not to be missed.

Mrs. Emmerton, her daughter, Kate, and I were to leave on the day of the great blizzard of March, 1888. We were delayed for two days. I have never seen so  much snow. Tunnels were dug through mountainous snowdrifts for people to pass through. But we finally left on Wednesday, instead of Sunday, on the first train which ran, and on the following Sunday we were in Nashville amid bees and flowers.

We visited the Hinds family. Professor Hinds taught at Cumberland University at Lebanon, and also taught German at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. His step-daughter was Cousin Bashie, then twelve years old, whom we have loved through the years and who was related through her father to the Stevenses of North Andover and to Mrs. Emmerton. Her half-sister is Kate Hinds Steele, whom you know -- vigorous and very southern.

I saw the destruction caused by the Civil War, the de­serted plantations, quantities of the most terrible looking negroes. The houseman, Lafayette, called “Fette,” had no use for “those black niggers.” Fette came in one day and said, “Miss Bashie, go get your gun and practice with your target.” Professor Hinds was going away for the night. This brought their problems very close to me.

Kate Emnerton and I liked dandelions. We picked some one day and carried them to Cook. Cook was sure we should be poisoned, so she mixed a lot of mustard plants in with the dandelions to make them safe to eat. Needless to say we did not eat very much. The peach trees were in lovely bloom those days of our visit. I could not believe I had been snowbound a few days before. I rode a horse which was frisky and a mule which was balky. One day the mule carried me under a thorn tree. I lay flat on his back and just escaped a bad scratching. We visited the Hermitage, Jackson's home, going by train. At this time Cousin Bashie was twelve and Kate was four. Happy memories of these trivial things linger on and on.

A strange thing happened while I was at the Hinds'. A young Dr. Buchanan could hypnotize people. Professor Hinds invited him to dinner one night and Dr. Buchanan offered to demonstrate hypnosis. A student went out of the room while we designated certain things for him to do. When he came back his whole expression was different. He wandered about and finally took out of the bookcase a book we had chosen. That did not prove very much so we decided to have him lift a chair. Dr. Buchanan said, “You will not be able to lift the chair.” The strange thing was that he wrestled to lift it. The veins stood out on his forehead. Later Dr. Buchanan told him that the chair was light. Immediately the student lifted it easily. Then Dr. B. tried to hypnotize Kate and me, but I was obstinate and the only thing I felt was a numbness in my arm. Kate began to feel heavy and decided not to go on.

After our visit with the Hindses we went to Highlands, North Carolina, going to Walhalla by train. We started for Highlands from there about four o'clock in the morning, driving in a mountain wagon. Successive valleys brought us up higher and higher. Sometimes the wheels had to be tied far brakes. Some­times there were cracks or gullies in the road over which the out­side wheels bumped. After a memorable drive we reached Highlands, a beautiful place. We stayed with a Mrs. Davis who could accommo­date thirty or forty people. Her boarding house was long and white with double verandas running across the first and second stories. (C.J.C. and I found this house as Mother describes it, on one of our trips to North Carolina.)

There were two botanists staying at Mrs. Davis's, a Mr. Harbinson and a Mr. Boynton. They used to go on expeditions to collect specimens of flowers and plants. There were a doctor and an artist and several other guests. Each group would tell tall tales of their experiences each day. One day we had been to Cashiers Valley and had gotten some specimens of vaseyi azalea. I was riding ahead of the others and decided to go back to meet them. I found them killing a rattlesnake. Mr. Harbinson put the snake in his specimen can. My horse smelt the snake and reared and ran. Needless to say I went home apart from the snake.

At home we told our snake story. Mr. Harbinson said, “We have some lovely specimens of vaseyi azalea,” and emptied the can of the snake on the lawn amid great commotion. The young doctor offered to dissect the snake's head and showed us how its fangs worked. Mrs. Davis offered to cook the snake for breakfast but too many boarders objected, so the man went off and cooked it over a fire in the woods. Our snake skin in Salem was from a snake Mr. Boynton killed and gave to me.

Every evening we played cribbage, six or seven tables of us. The game was progressive and me changed partners after each game. At the end of many evenings' contests I had won the series and was presented with a cribbage board and a pack of cards, which I used for many years. There was a charming Southern couple there named Allen, who used to sing a song I liked particularly, called, “Love's Sweet Song.” They sent for a copy for a gift to me.

All these days were a very happy memory for me all my life. We went home in June. We were met at the train by the Emmerton's coachman who told us that Mr. George Emmerton's funeral had been that morning -- Mrs. William Emmerton's brother-in-law. Uncle Frank Cox had been at Mr. Emmerton's funeral when his wife, Aunt Ellen, had a stroke.      She had been preparing for a musicale at her house for Miss Helen Smith. Uncle Frank said he could not bear to see Miss Smith “because his Ellen would not have had a stroke except for her.” His grief was great as was that of the whole family. Aunt Ellen had been much beloved. Her nephew, John Pickering, and Anna Varney became engaged in 1888 and were planning to be married at this time. The Pickering wedding was postponed. Both Aunt Eliza and Aunt Marianne died that fall, also.

I became engaged to your father in 1890 and was married in June, 1891. The two previous years I had been teaching in Mary Cleaveland's school -- English history and first year Latin. I taught Elizabeth Barker, Catherine Wardwell, Bassie Fabens to read. Gertrude Ropes, later Mrs. Dr. Simpson, was too affectionate, bring­ing me a flower every day. I had to be wise with her, but it was obvious she needed affection. I also taught Jaunita Machado. Anne Noyes, though an older girl, came to me for special work. Aunt Rebecca Putnam told me something recently which interested me. A person in Salem, now very elderly, told her that she always had been very grateful to me because when she was young I had pointed out to her the value and pleasure of reading. I do not remember anything about when this could have been unless she had been a member of the Bentley Club I organized at the Last Church where we went when we came to Salem.

My middle name is Chapin because for some reason I was named by Dorcas Chapin, whose husband later became governor of Massachusetts. She was an enthusiastic Unitarian. She had started a small savings account for me because she had named me. It was she who sponsored my going to the Prospect Hill School. All this enabled me to go there. She was Mrs. Chester Chapin of Springfield. My roommate at school was Frances Augusta Lord, who married her cousin Augustus Lord. He became the Unitarian minister in Provi­dence. She went to Radcliffe and hoped that I could also, but I had neither time nor money, She told me that her father bad been engaged to Lizzie Bourne, who lost her life on Mt. Washington. This seemed to make a deep impression on her because she realized that if it had not been for Lizzie Bourne's death there would have been no Frances Augustus Lord -- as was.

From there I went to the Howard Seminary for a year and a few months when I took Edith's place teaching in the West Bridge­-water school, as I have already told you. This was In 1886-1887.

I think I worked in the Registry of Deeds twice, before I went to Bridgewater and for a short time afterward. Mr. Charles Osgood, the father of my good friend, Bessie, and the son of the portrait painter, Charles Osgood (who painted all the family por­traits except the one of your father), was Registrar there and was my friend. He was a descendant of Edward Holyoke, president of Harvard College. He recommended me for the position at the Registry. Mrs. Emmerton had invited me to go abroad with her in March, 1889 but I could not leave my family any longer. By t then I had left the Registry of Deeds, had had my wonderful Southern trip, and was working for the future public library of Salem.

I was put in charge of collating material from gifts for a nucleus for a public library. We had space in the Kingsman Block next to City Hall. I was under the trustees of the library: Frank Lee, Mr. John Robinson, Dr. James Emmerton (Kate's uncle), Mr. Frank Hunt -- an authority on the China trade. Also Mr. Mahoney, a lawyer and a dear man, Mr. Osgood  the mayor of Salem, ex officio and others who did not appear often and whom I have forgotten. I was there for many weeks alone. Great stacks of books had to be sorted out as to subject matter. The trustees then decided which ones were suitable to keep. I had to list them all and keep track of all donations.

Soon the work became more than I could handle alone, and I was assigned a helper. In December the Trustees decided a librarian was needed. A Mr. Hill, librarian from Brooklyn, came, also two assistants. One was a Hiss Smith about my age. Mr. Hill was not very satisfactory. Meanwhile the Captain Bertram residence on Essex Street was being put in order for the new library building. Captain Bertram had left it for a public library and had endowed  it. His widow lived in the Assembly House on Federal Street until she died.

Mr. Jones soon followed Mr. Hill. He and his wife  became my close friends. He taught me how to catalogue books and then trusted me with that responsibility. In the winter of 1889 we moved to the new location. When the librarians came, all the new purchases arrived also. We were nearly swamped. We had a grand opening with receptions all through one week. Then the library opened for public use. I was put in charge of the read­ing reference room.

In September 1889 I left the library to become a teacher in Miss Cleaveland's school. Miss Catherine Aggie had become ill and Miss Cleaveland needed someone badly. I taught there until I was Married in June of 1891.

You ask when did I first know your father.

Kate's uncle, Dr. Emmerton, was a good friend of your father. They used to trip around together studying the history of Boston Harbor and such subjects of interest to them both. I remember meeting your father in Dr. Emmerton's study. When we went to Salem Mr. George Herbert Hosmer, the brother of Jamie, was minister of the East Church. We attended his church. He  had been a good friend of my father and was a good and kind man. He had come to Belfast when my father died. But after Mr. Hosmer left the East Church,  we all went to the North Church, probably because I knew the Willsons. There I saw your father often.

Mr. Hosmer's sister was Mrs. Savory, whose husband was settled in Canton. They were the children of the eminent George Homer. Mrs. Austin, at whose house on Linnaean Street in Cambridge I had spent the night with my father when I was a child, was a friend of Mr. Hosmer. When she came to Salem to see him one time , site brought us all little gifts. I have told you how open the view was from the Austin-Cooper house then – with cows grazing in the fields between Linnaean Street and the Shepard Memorial Church.

Perhaps you would like to know why I chose your father over two other men who were attentive to me, one for six years. The latter was a graduate of Harvard College and of the Harvard Law School. He was a rather orthodox Congregationalist and he tried to convert me. The other was an Episcopalian. My religion was so simple and so free that I could not have my mind shackled in these ways. Religion, it seemed to me then and it still seems so, should free the mind. It should be flexible to seek Truth. Truth is shackled if the conception of it is not large enough.

When your father asked me to marry him, I told him that my family needed me to help them. He said, “If you marry me I will stand by.” He was sympathetic, comforting, loving and a Unitarian.

And so I did marry him. And so begins another chapter.