Taylor, Carrie P.
Collection of incoming Correspondence to Carrie P. Taylor, Teacher and Dairy Farmer, of Sanbornton, Belknap County, New Hampshire, 1876-1892

256 letters, 1021 pages, written in ink and pencil, in legible hands, dated 9 April 1876 to 23 February 1892. Of the 256 letters, 38 are not dated, but are from the same time period. All of the letters are written to Carrie P. Taylor, of Sanbornton, New Hampshire, and are written to her either at Sanbornton, or when she was away teaching at Newport, New Hampshire (18 April 1878 to 25 January 1880). Six of the 38 undated letters are addressed to Carrie at Newport, thus they were written during the 1878-1880 time period. After her time spent as a teacher, Carrie lived at her family home, taking over the dairy farm after the death of her parents (mother in 1890, father in 1900).

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Taylor Family of Sanbornton, New Hampshire

      Among the early settlers of Sanbornton, New Hampshire, was Jonathan Taylor, who moved with his father from the town of Stratham, and settled upon Lot No. 9, in the Second Division, in 1773. This has been the Taylor homestead since, descending to Thomas, the son of this Jonathan Taylor, who married Sarah E. Jewett, by whom he had a large family, the sixth son, Jonathan M. Taylor (1822-1900), was the father of Carrie P. Taylor, the subject of this archive.

      Carrie’s father left home at an early age, after some attendance at the district schools and the Sanbornton Woodman Academy, to learn the trade of a blacksmith, and, having acquired the skills, set up a stand for that business at Sanbornton Square, where he established his home, and practiced his craft for more than fifty years, and at the same time took an active part in all the business affairs of the town. He was known as a superior blacksmith.

      Taylor began early to acquire and cultivate land as an incidental pursuit, as a matter of health, recreation, and profit, till he owned about one hundred acres altogether. The land produced two tons of hay, or more, per acre as a first crop, while a large second crop was usually secured. He raised and trained fine steers, his cattle being generally high-grade Herefords, and he had been a most successful exhibitor at state and local fairs both in this line and in dairy cows, as well as vegetables, in the production of which he had had remarkable success. His corn also had been widely noted for years for its excellence, it being a beautiful eight-rowed variety, improved from the original "Brown" corn of Lake Winnipiesaukee. He had won many premiums on this, and received a medal and diploma for an exhibit of the same at the Chicago World's fair, in connection with which exhibition he had an appointment as a representative from Belknap County in the World's congress of agriculture. His home was a commodious farmhouse, and in 1879, he erected a fine “modern” barn.

      Mr. Taylor was a charter member and first master of Harmony Grange, Sanbornton, which at the end of two years had one hundred and seventy-one members. As a deputy of the State Grange he was instrumental in organizing most of the subordinate granges of Belknap county, and also effecting in 1887, the organization of the Belknap Pomona Grange, of which he was master in 1894 and 1895, it having then attained a membership of over nine hundred — the largest in the state. In 1885, he was elected treasurer of the State grange. For several years he was treasurer of the Grange State Fair association, which he was active in organizing the Belknap County Agricultural Society, of which he was for two years president. He was a director and vice-president of the Grange Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and also a director and president of the Sanbornton Fire Insurance Company organized in 1871, largely by his influence, as was also the Sanbornton Town Fair Association.

      For more than forty years Taylor was chairman of the Democratic town committee. He had served his town repeatedly as moderator, was for seventeen years town clerk, and had been postmaster, representative, and county commissioner.

      On November 19, 1846, Taylor married Huldah Lane, daughter of Joseph H. Lane (1793-1843) and Mary “Polly” Lane (1793-1832). Huldah is listed as doing housekeeping in the 1870 and 1880 Censuses. Huldah’s father was a tavern owner in Sanbornton. Huldah died on April 22, 1890.

      Jonathan and Huldah’s three children, all daughters, became successful teachers. Sarah, the eldest, became the wife of Rev. G. W. Patten; the second, Carrie P. Taylor, is the subject of this archive, and Mary H., the youngest, became the wife of H. J L. Bodwell of Sanbornton.

      Sarah Taylor was born 5 January 1848, at Sanbornton and died 14 October 1934, at Sanbornton. In 1870 she was living with her parents and siblings and working as a teacher. On 28 December 1875, she married the Rev. George Wilbur Patten (1843-1910). Together the couple had a daughter, Mary Carita Patten (1892-1987).

      Mary H. Taylor was born 9 October 1855, at Sanbornton. She died 9 December 1904, at that town.  In 1880 she was listed as a school teacher. She married Herbert James Lovell Bodwell (1849-1927) and together they had four children: Marguerite Bodwell (1882-1882), Joseph H. Conner Bodwell (1889-1963), Jonathan Moore Bodwell (1891-1942), and Catherine Hildah Sykes Bodwell (1894-1987).

      Carrie P. Taylor, was born 8 July 1853, at Sanbornton. She became for a time a school teacher at Newport, New Hampshire, at least for the years 1878-1879. Earlier, in 1870, she was going to school, living in Sanbornton and in the 1880 Census she was listed as a school teacher. In 1900, she was listed as the head of the house with a woman named Hannah Taylor, age 70, a widow, who is living with her. Both her parents had died and she had taken over the family farm. Carrie is listed in 1900 as being 46 years old. She is listed as a farmer. She has a male farm laborer boarding with her, a 19 year old man by the name of Dennis C. Daudlett, of New Hampshire. In 1910, she is still listed as living at Sanbornton and now is listed as having a milk farm, and has taken two boarders again, Lucy Kelly, a 74 year old widow, with her other boarder being a 26 year old man John Pickering, of New Hampshire, who helps her on the farm. By 1920, Carrie is now listed as 66 years old, still single, and now apparently retired, living alone, and with no occupation listed. She owns her own home, free of a mortgage. She is still at Sanbornton. In 1930, she is living with her nephew, Jonathan M. Bodwell, at Sanbornton. He is a general farmer. She is 76 years old, single. She died on 23 January 1934, and was buried at Center Cemetery.

     The correspondence offered here consists of incoming letters written to Carrie. At first she was living with her sister Sarah (“Sadie”) and her husband, the Rev. G. W. Patten, at Newport, New Hampshire, where she had a job as a teacher. As her parents aged, she moved back to the home to help care for them. Her mother died in 1890, her father in 1900, at which point she took over the farm. The correspondence dates between the years 1876 to 1892, with the bulk between 1878 and 1886. At least 75 of the 256 letters were written between 1878 and 1880, when she was a school teacher and living away from home.

      Carrie’s correspondents are mainly women, including her mother, sisters Sarah and Mary, cousins, and former and current students. Her sisters Sarah (“Sadie”) and Mary are the main correspondents. The letters contain much on the social history of the family, domestic life. The correspondence is essentially a woman to woman conversation about health, family, and news on their loved ones, friends, and neighbors.