Sunday, July 04, 2010

Is this Mrs. Wood?

Happy 4th of July !!!

Chrispy wondered, as he trolled the ancient documents of Da Google, if this was the Mrs. Wood? There are uncanny matches. There is also a minor disagreement that she was 100 in 1895, and lived in Worcester, MA at her end days. Foster, RI is some miles (more than Providence is to Foster, I think) from Worcester. However, HPL's recollection seemed to be her canned spiel to curious folks. Holmes' memory matches Lovecraft's closely. See specifically the bold sections of the two memories below.

However, an alternate interpretation is that Foster was but one stop on the "1896 vacation" tour and that the Lovecrafts also made it into Worcester? Alternatively, Mrs. Wood might have been carted about receiving various honors?

HPL to August Derleth 9 September 1931

In 1896, when I was six years old, I was taken to visit in the Western Rhode Island region whence my maternal stockcame; and there met an ancient gentlewoman - a Mrs. Wood, daughter to a rebel officer in the late unfortunateuprising against His majesty's lawful authority - who was celebrating with proper pride her hundredth birthday. Mrs. Wood was born in the year 1796, and could walk and talk when Genl. Washington breath'd his last. And now, in 1896, I was conversing with her - with one who had talked to people in periwigs and three-cornered hats, and had studied schoolbooks with the long s! Young as I was, the idea gave mea tremendous feeling of cosmic victory over time.

From: On the lineal descendents of William Wood who settled in Concord, Massachusetts in 1638. Compiled by Clay W Holmes of Elmira, NY (1901)

Nancy Wood, born Westminster, July 12, 1795. Married Nov. 12, IHIG to William Kilburn, son Calvin Kilburn of Princeton, born Sept. 29, 1789. He died in Holden, Oct. 21, 1867. She died July 4, 1898. To Nancy Wood belongs the distinction of having outlived any other member of the Wood race, so far as is known. Her early years were spent in Westminster. Immediately after her marriage they settled in Chaffinville, Holden. Here her married life was spent, seven children born. After nearly half a century her husband died and the remainder of her life was spent with her children in Michigan and Worcester, the last eight years with her daughter Myra Davis in Worcester. She celebrated her one hundredth birthday in 1895, and her portrait herewith presented is from a photograph taken on that day. At that time she retained her faculties to a wonderful degree. While her hearing and sight and powers of locomotion were impaired to a considerable degree, they were quite as good as with many of less years. Her memory of past events however was phenomenal, and conversation with her on early times was extremely interesting. She had lived under every president and remembered distinctly the impression produced on the country by the death of Washington, also the fact that her father and others wore crape at that time. She and her husband were passengers on the first railroad train from Worcester to Boston in 1835. At the period of her centennial, her direct descendants included eleven grand children and seven great grand children. Up to her 96th year she could walk comfortably on the street. She joined the Congregational Church early in life and continued a faithful member to the day of her death. She lacked but eight days of being one hundred and three years old at her death, which occurred at the home of her daughter Myra, in Worcester, July 4, 1898.

So, she was born in 1795 and Lovecraft met her at six years old. It has now been 120 years since he was born! Dear Heavens! It's surrealistic! Have a Happy 4th of July, dead US compatriots. To all others, pray that our old red, white, and blue will strive to act more honorably in the future than we have in our past.

No comments:


Blog Archive


Google Analytics