Monday, December 3, 2012

Page in Autograph Album signed by Rev. David Patten, Principal of Wilbraham Academy 1834-41, Wilbraham, Massachusetts


Rev. David Patten was principal at Wilbraham Academy from 1834 to 1841.  While there, he signed a page in the autograph album of Miss Elizabeth Ford.  

Some of the signers named their institution as Wesleyan Academy or Wesleyan Seminary.  An alphabetical list of approximately sixty signers appears at the end of the post.  The ink on some pages has faded to the point of illegibility.

See other posts featuring the owner of the album, Miss Elizabeth Ford, and Wilbraham Academy student Isaac Jennison, Jr., who later became a teacher there.


Shown below is the title page.  The album is approximately 4" x 4-1/4" and rather thick for an album of this size, though the paper stock is itself thick.  Most pages are signed.   Floral illustrations are interspersed throughout.


From online research, hopefully correct: [corrections welcome]



The photograph above was taken from the History of the Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, 1817-1890, by David Sherman, published in 1893, which includes a section on principal David Patten.

David Patten, Jr., was born 15 October 1810 at Boston, Massachusetts, the son of David and Sarah Hazelrigg (Colburn) Patten, who were born at Billerica, Massachusetts, and Roxbury, Massachusetts, respectively.

David Patten, Jr.'s paternal grandparents were William and Rebecca (Brown) Patten.  His maternal grandparents were Levi and Rebeckah (Strobridge) Colburn.



David Patten, Jr., graduated as a "medal scholar" from English High School at Boston, Massachusetts and then entered Wilbraham Academy, a Wesleyan academy, in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, to prepare for college.  While at Wilbraham Academy, he converted and began preaching to his fellow students.

He then entered Wesleyan University at Middletown, Connecticut, from which he graduated in 1834 as valedictorian.

After graduation, he served for seven years as principal at his former alma mater, Wilbraham Academy, during which time he signed the page in Elizabeth Ford's autograph album.  

In 1841, he resigned his position at Wilbraham Academy and moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where he became Presiding Elder of the Providence District of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  He was there during the Dorr Rebellion, a difficult time for his congregations and all Rhode Islanders.

On 31 August 1841 at Greenwich, Massachusetts, David Patten married Marsia Ann Marcy, daughter of Senator Laban Marcy and wife Fanny (Howe) Marcy.  Marsia was born 20 June 1822 at Greenwich.

In 1854 Rev. Patten became a professor of theology at the Biblical College at Concord, New Hampshire.  In 1866 the family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where Rev. Patten took a position as professor of homiletics and pastoral theology.

In 1873 he became Registrar of Boston University, a position he held until his death on 26 March 1879 at Boston.

He and his wife Marsia had three sons:

  • Charles H. Patten, born 12 October 1845
  • Randolph M. Patten, born September 1852; died young
  • Frederick Marcy Patten, born 19 November 1856

Below, a short biography of Rev. David Patten, D.D., Jr., in the Year-book of the Annual Conference, published by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1871:





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

Alphabetical list of signers [note: Surnames are in alpha order; given names within a specific surname may not be in 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
Thanks for stopping by!

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