Thursday, December 6, 2012

1830s/1840s Autograph Album of Miss Elizabeth Ford; many pages signed at Wesleyan Academy, Wilbraham Academy, Massachusetts


Late 1830s/early 1840s autograph album of Miss Elizabeth Ford, who I presume was a student at the Wesleyan Academy or Wilbraham Academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

The album, which is approximately 4-1/4" x 4" and contains approximately 60 signed pages, includes many autographs collected at Wilbraham in the late 1830s.  An alphabetical list of the signers appears at the end of this post.

From clues in the album, I believe she was the Elizabeth Ford from Great Barrington, Massachusetts, daughter of Enos and Mary (O'Brien) Ford and future wife of Heman Laflin.  

I hope a reader with another theory on the album owner's identity, or more information on the Elizabeth described above, will leave a comment or contact me directly.



Other posts feature pages signed by two of the signers in the album:

From online research, hopefully correct, and hopefully with the correct owner of the album: [corrections welcome]

Elizabeth Ford was born about June 1822 at Great Barrington, Massachusetts, daughter of Enos and Mary (O'Brien) Ford, who were born at Hamden, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, respectively.

Her paternal grandparents may have been Jonathan and Phoebe Polly (Bassett) Ford.  Her maternal grandparents were John and Hester [or Esther] O'Brien.

On 28 February 1844 Elizabeth became the second wife of Heman Laflin, son of Heman and Catherine (Eldredge) Heman.  He was born 17 January 1820 at Southwick, Massachusetts.  Heman's first wife was Sarah Maria Gillette, who died not long after their marriage.  I believe Heman and Elizabeth (Ford) Laflin had three children.

Elizabeth died in 1892 at New Haven, Connecticut.

Elizabeth's maternal uncle, John O'Brien, signed a page, possibly two, in her album, as did his wife Clarissa (Sanford) O'Brien.  This was the major clue that I used to identify the Elizabeth described here as the owner of the album.  I also found a reference online to the probate of John's will that identified his sister as Mary Ford of Great Barrington, Massachusetts.



The page below may also have been signed by Elizabeth's uncle John O'Brien.


Mary Jerome, who inscribed her page to Cousin Elizabeth, signed a page.


If you have corrections to the information above or additional information, please leave a comment or contact me directly.  Thanks!

The album has several floral designs interspersed throughout, in addition to that on the title page.


Alphabetical list of signers [Note: Given names within a specific surname may not be in alpha order.]

  • Emma of Hamburg, 1843
  • J.
  • Maria
  • Franklin ?, too faint to read
  • M., 1840
  • Julia of Hartford; Connectict, I assume.
  • I believe the signer was "E", of Barrington, Massachusetts, signed in 1844
  • I think the only initial present is "J" of Westford, Connecticut
  • Virginia, signed at Hamburg, in 1843; possibly Hamburg, New York
  • Deborah of Boston, Massachusetts, signed at Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1837
  • Aurelia P. Belcher of Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Frederick Bourne
  • Frances M. Bowler of Lynn, Massachusetts, signed a page in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, in 1836
  • M. P. C., not sure of middle initial; possible fiance of student and later Wilbraham teacher Isaac Jennison, Jr.
  • E. Crane, signed at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, 1837
  • Sophia Dean of Manchester, Connecticut, signed at Wesleyan Seminary in 1836
  • Sarah Fisk [or Sarah Fiske]
  • Lydia Fiske of Southbridge, Massachusetts
  • [not a signer] Miss Elizabeth Ford, owner of the autograph album, presumbly while a student at Wilbraham Academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts
  • M. A. Frost, signed at Waterbury, Connecticut, 1837
  • H. Hayden
  • I. Jennison, Jr., of Natick, Massachusetts, signed at Wilbraham Academy in 1836; Isaac Jennison, Jr., son of Rev. Isaac Jennison who taught at Wilbraham a few years earlier
  • Mary Jerome; Elizabeth Ford's cousin
  • Frances Keep of South Lee, Massachusetts, signed at Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, in 1836.
  • King could be the signer's first name, signed in 1839
  • I. H. M. of Hamburg, possibly Hamburg, New York, signed in 1843.  Not sure of the first initial
  • A. H. M.
  • M. B. Mead
  • Miner.  Miner could be an established poet whose poem was transcribed here, or Miner could be a friend of Elizabeth Ford
  • M. S. Mudge of Somers, Connecticut, signed at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, 1837; sentiment took three pages
  • A. G. Nagel, not sure of name; signed at Hamburg in 1843; possibly Hamburg, New York
  • E. Newhall of Lynn, Massachusetts, signed at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, 1836
  • Eliza Northam, signed at Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, 1837
  • J. O'Brien signed a page at Durham in 1839; he called himself Elizabeth's uncle.  He may have been the John O'Brien married to Clarissa (Sanford) O'Brien.  A J. O'Brien signed two pages
  • Clarissa O'Brien signed a page for her niece Elizabeth Ford at Durham in 1839.  She possibly was Clarissa (Sanford) Durham married to John O'Brien, who could have been the J. O'Brien who also signed a page in Elizabeth's album and called himself her Uncle.
  • W. P. of Lee, Massachusetts, signed in 1841; sentiments took two adjoining pages
  • Rev. David Patten, Jr., principal at Wilbraham Academy
  • Eliza Pelton of Middlefield, Massachusetts, signed at Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1836.  Elizabeth added a note that Eliza died at Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1838.
  • C. C. Phelps of Hartford, Connecticut
  • Y. Pratt; not sure of first initial
  • Sarah F. Putnam, 1843
  • Initials, possibly I. T. R. or J. T. R.
  • M. Almira R. of Westford, Connecticut, signed at Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1836
  • A. Richmond of Westford, Connecticut; uses term "Amicus", so I assume the signer was a male.
  • Mary Robbins; not sure of middle initial; signed at Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1837
  • I. Y. Robinson, 1843; not sure of initials
  • A. E. Sperry
  • Lucy Mary Stokes of Hamburg, Sa. Co., 1843; not sure of the County
  • F. Emily Stone of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, signed at Wilbraham, Massachusetts while at Wesleyan Academy, 1836; not sure of first initial
  • C. Strickland
  • C. T., 1839
  • Mary Taylor. signed at Lee, Massachusetts, in 1841
  • J. C. Thacher
  • Ann E. Tibbetts, 1838
  • S. Tremain of Durham signed a page in 1839
  • W. G. W. of South Lee, Massachusetts, 1840
  • C. A.Warner signed a page at Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1837
  • Joseph Whitman, Jr., signed a page at Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1836
  • E. A. Wood, signed at Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1836
Great Barrington, Massachusetts


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