Friday, March 09, 2007

The story continues...Chapter 2

My favorite window on earth: The Dustin House in Haverhill Massachusetts.

This was the house that Thomas Dustin was completing in March of 1693 using brick from his own brick yard.
The brick work was in a style known as Flemish Bond.
It was deeply satisfying to look out the window from where my family had view the world so long ago.

March 9th 1697: There was much to do every day. Large with child, preparing meals for a family of ten over the large open fireplace must have been taxing for Hannah that day. Hannah's loom was warped, and perhaps she wove throughout the day as she felt the familiar contractions begin.

The widow Mary Neff was sent for, she being the town's midwife, as well as Hannah's husband's step-aunt.
The birth went well, and baby Martha was added to the family that day.

Why the baby was named Martha is not known. There were no immediate family members with the given name. Perhaps it was a name suggested by one of the children.

Hannah and the babe rested. Likely someone was sent to tell her parent's that their daughter had safely delivered another grandchild. Michael and Hannah Emerson were blessed with thirteen children, nine of which lived to adulthood. News of grandchildren most likely was often delivered to their ears.

Sadly, Thomas's parents no longer lived.

His father, for whom he had been name, died when Thomas was but ten years old, two years after a fire had destroyed their family home.
His mother, born Elizabeth Wheeler, soon remarried, becoming the fourth wife of the wealthy and successful Matthias Button, who then moved Elizabeth and her three children to Haverhill.

In Haverhill young Thomas was educated along with at least five of Matthias's children who were under the age of ten.
At age 20 Thomas's step father died, and provided for Thomas through his will, granting his widow one hundred acres, of which thirty were given to Thomas upon his mother's death, which occurred shortly thereafter.

Thomas and Hannah had named their first daughter Hannah after Hannah and Hannah's mother, as was the custom of the day.

The second daughter was named for both Thomas's late mother, and his sister Elizabeth.
And for Hannah's sister as well.
Little sister Elizabeth Emerson who was eight years younger than Hannah, and who had herself bore three children, and was now buried beside her dead twin daughters.

To call these children's names was always an echo of the family's past. For better or for worse, each child knew for whom they were named.

Yet it would be Baby Martha name that would echo for centuries, and touch the hearts of generations to come.
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1 comment:

Becky said...

Love the story so far! Martha, hmm, I think I should read your third post immediately. Good Saturday reading, thanks!