Monday, March 9, 2015

Mary Elizabeth (Clarke) Newton: Women's History Month Post #8

Dear Grandmother Newton,
Yesterday we were asked if one of our female ancestors left a diary, journal or collection of letters. Your grandson Charles Newton Cone (my grandfather), named for your husband Charles Shepard Newton, gave me your journal shortly before he passed in 1988.

Cover of Mary (Clarke) Newton's journal
in possession of 2nd great granddaughter Cecily Cone Kelly
Time has taken a toll on the journal, you began May 25, 1865. It appears to have been written in a lined book that was probably the precursor of the black and white speckled theme books we use yet today. I do not know if there was a special occasion for which you received the journal as a gift or if it was a self purchase.

Title page reads: Mary E. Clarke, White Lake
May 25, 1865 and to the side is added Newton
below is written again Mary E. Newton, White Lake (Michigan)
dated Nov. 16th 1865. What looks like it may have been
an additional line below is illegible.
Your first entry begins:

"Detroit, Mich May 25,
Dear Friend, In this idle hour, I will address myself to you... You will be dearer and more trusted that any of your predecessors. You will hear the records of the most eventful close of my girl hood, the beginning of my wife hood. My life now is so full of richness and family and it seems as if my capacity for happiness and appreciation, was unfolding day by day. Why is it that such rich blessings are heaped upon some while so many, so very much more worthy, are denied all joy?"

Beginning page of journal.
I love that you were concerned for others. According to your first entry, you kept other journals. Perhaps another family member has one of those. We can hope.
Mary Elizabeth "Molly" (Clarke) Newton
24 January 1847 - 29 January 1929
photo from the collection of
2nd great granddaughter Flora Long
I am working on transcribing your journal. It is slow and tedious work especially for those entries that were written in pencil. The last entry was made May 31, 1889 in Worthington, Minnesota on the occassion of the marriage of your daughter Helen.

"Our daughter Helen was married to Frederick N. Cone here before the vine orchard window at nine o'clock May 29th, 1880, by our well loved Pastor Franklin S. Fiske assisted by our cousin and friend Hastings H. Hart. Our little brown darling looked very sweet and womanly in her white (?) and white flowers and her large brown eyes glowed with a lively light from a faithful heart. We love and trust our Fred but Mother's heart will always miss her child."

Rereading this entry, makes me realize that though the marriage certificate for Frederick Naaman and Helen Brown (Newton) Cone says they were married at the First Congregational Church in Worthington, they must have been married at your home.

Thank you for leaving a record of your thoughts and times.


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