Teachers

July 5, 2019

 

 

Featured are several descendants of George Abbott and Hannah Chandler, all single women, who worked as teachers. 

 

For the first 200 years of New England, the majority of teachers were young men.  This began to change in the early- to mid-1800’s when growing numbers of teachers were women, until the teaching of young children became almost entirely a female occupation.  There was a corresponding change in educational culture.  The early Puritans were focused on the innate sinfulness of all persons including young children.  By the 19th century, there was a developing sense of the role of nurturing in education.   This shift in education occurred around the time Horace Mann proposed educational reforms that resulted in schools being universal, free, and not affiliated with religious groups. 

 

One factor in the feminization of the teaching profession was economics.  Here is an excerpt from a Littleton, Massachusetts school committee.  Basically, women did it better and would work for a pittance.

 

"God seems to have made woman peculiarly suited to guide and develop the infant mind, and it seems...very poor policy to pay a man 20 or 22 dollars a month, for teaching children the ABCs, when a female could do the work more successfully at one third of the price." -- Littleton School Committee, Littleton, Massachusetts, 1849

 

Not all women teachers were single women, but many of them seem to have been.  Women were drawn to teaching as it was one of the few opportunities for them to establish an independent life.  It also provided them an opportunity to participate in the world of ideas and they seemed to relish opportunities to participate in summer workshops.

(Public Broadcasting System n.d.)

 

Abigail Abbott (1816-1892) is a 7th generation descendant (Jeremiah6, Jeremiah5, John4, John3, John2, George1)

Abigail was the eighth oldest of ten children of Jeremiah Abbott and Eunice Blanchard.  She was born in Wilton, New Hampshire.  She worked as a teacher for her whole adult life, first in several communities in New Hampshire but for many years at a private school in Andover, Massachusetts.

 

Edith M. Abbott (1869-1910) is an 8th generation descendant (John7, Benjamin6, Benjamin5, Dorcas Abbott Abbott4, Benjamin3, Benjamin2, George1)

Edith was the only child of John Abbott and Betsey Abbott.  John and Betsey were from two separate Abbott lines and so were not related to each other.  Edith’s parents were married for 15 years before Edith was born and then her father died when she was seven years old.  Edith’s mother remarried to a man 30 years her senior and she had no more children.  Edith worked as a teacher in Douglas, Massachusetts and remained living with her mother until her mother died in 1902.  After that, Edith lived as a boarder in a small boarding house.  The date of her death is not certain but was after 1910.

 

 Charlotte Helen Abbott (1844-1921) is an 8th generation descendant (Henry7, Nathan6, Nathan5, Job4, Jonathan3, Benjamin2, George1)

Charlotte Helen was the oldest of three children of Henry Russell Abbott and Lydia Liscombe.  She was born and lived her entire life in Andover, Massachusetts.  She was a member of the first graduating class of Punchard High School in 1859.  She worked as a teacher and a dressmaker.  But her real love was the genealogy of the families of Andover.  She completed typewritten manuscripts documenting 200 Andover families and these are held in an archive at Memorial Hall Library in Andover and are available online.  She wrote a genealogy column for the Andover Townsman for 25 years.  Her typewritten family histories contain many anecdotes and reflect her intimate knowledge of the community.  Also, note the outfit; she did work as a dressmaker but perhaps she saved her best work for her customers.

 

 Florence Lunde Abbott (1874-1946) is an 8th generation descendant (William7, Benjamin6, Benjamin5, Jonathan4, David3, Benjamin2, George1)

Florence was the third oldest of five children of William Otis Abbott and Mary Helen Campbell.  She was born in Manchester, New Hampshire and lived there her entire life.  In the census record for 1940, Florence was the head of household living with her younger sister Frances.  Florence worked as a primary teacher at the Wilson School in Manchester.  Frances worked as a secretary.

 

 

 

 

 

Public Broadcasting System. n.d. Only a Teacher. Accessed June 27, 2019. http://www.pbs.org/onlyateacher/about.html.

 

 

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