Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Page in Autograph Album signed by Isaac Jennison of Natick, Massachusetts, at Wilbraham Academy

Page in the autograph album of Miss Elizabeth Ford signed by Isaac Jennison, Jr., of Natick, Massachusetts, while a student at Wilbraham Academy, founded as a Wesleyan academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

Some of the signers named their institution as Wesleyan Academy or Wesleyan Seminary.  A complete list of approximately sixty signers appears at the end of this post.  There are more signers but the ink on some pages has faded into near oblivion.

See other posts that feature the owner of the album, Miss Elizabeth Ford, and the first signer in the album, Wilbraham Academy principal Rev. David Patten.

Below is the title page from the album - there are other floral designs interspersed throughout.  The album is approximately 4" x 4-1/2" and relatively thick, though the pages are composed of a thick stock.  Most are signed.

From online research, hopefully correct: [corrections welcome]

Isaac Jennison, Jr., was born 1 September 1815 at Natick, Massachusetts, the son of Isaac Jennison, Sr., and Mary (Felch) Jennison, who were born at Natick, Massachusetts, and Needham, Massachusetts, respectively.

Isaac Jr.'s paternal grandparents were Lott and Susanna (Coolidge) Jennison.  His maternal grandparents were Asa and Lavinia (Newton) Felch.

Isaac Jennison, Sr., was a Methodist Episcopal preacher who taught at Wilbraham Academy for two years in the 1820s and helped construct and repair buildings there.   I found a reference online where the students joked that Rev. Jennison was so tall he could work on construction without the use of staging.

Isaac Jr. attended Wilbraham Academy for the two years his father taught there.  In 1833 he again entered Wilbraham Academy; it was during this stint that he signed the page in Elizabeth Ford's album.

In 1837 he entered Wesleyan University at Middletown, Connecticut.  Between terms, he taught and preached.  In 1840 he was reluctantly persuaded by Brother Raymond of Wilbraham Academy to leave Wesleyan to teach at Wilbraham, which he did only because of his fondness for it.  He preached in the area on Sundays.

In October 1840 he contracted a cough, which eventually worsened and led to his death on 13 June 1841 in Natick, Massachusetts.  

For more information on Isaac Jennison, Jr., particularly his religious life and and protracted final illness, read The Christian Student, Memoir of Isaac Jennison, Jr., Late a Student of the Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut: Containing his Biography, Diary and Letters, by Edward Otheman, published in 1843 by G. Lane and P. P. Sandford for the Methodist Episcopal Church, at the Conference Office in New York.

Some of the letters in this book were written to a Miss M. P. C., to whom Isaac Jennison, Jr., was apparently, according to one reference in the book, affianced.  She tended to him in his final illness.

Could the page below have been signed by Miss M. P. C.?

If you have corrections and/or additions to the information above, or if you can further identity Miss M. P. C., please leave a message or contact me directly.

Alphabetical list of signers: [note: Surnames are in alpha order, but given names within specific surnames 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
  • 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

Natick, Massachusetts

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