Ca. 1866–1888 manuscript collection kept by the White Family of Massachusetts.
“Her imagination was the most vivid and Oriental I ever knew…”
Eight handwritten notebooks kept by Dr. Edward Young White recording family memoirs, religious and scriptural notes, and genealogical research.
The White Family were Scottish immigrants who settled in Worcester and Middlesex Counties, Massachusetts in the 1730s. Dr. White’s genealogical notes record data going back to the 17th century. Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, biographical information, and a family tree linking his father and mother, Samuel White and Susannah née Young White, are recorded.
In one notebook, White records his own memoirs, e.g.,
“I once in Littleton (about the year 1850 it might have been earlier) in the old burying ground asked the old Sexton John Pushee as he was digging a grave, in which as the yard was old and full he threw up many bones and nearly a whole cranium, I say I asked him…if he knew or remembered anything of Charles White. ‘Know him, yes. I guess I did he was the first man I ever buried.’ What kind of a man was he? A very nice kind of man ‘well spoken of and respected.’ ‘I remember the funeral well.’ … My impression from all I have traced of Charles White born in Scotland 1720 is that he was dark complexioned black eyes rather slight built but medium height. ... He probably came to this country at 14 years of age lived in Lunenburg 28 years in Littleton 21 years.”
“Margaret Woodward born in Reading Mass. had dark reddish black eyes (in old age with dark spots in the iris) auburn hair, was rather tall strongly made of great endurance a great worker very capable doing all kinds of work weaving, spinning, & distilling. I remember her tin still with which she used to distill from fragrant herbs the odorous oils, spearmint, Peppermint, Golden Rod &c. Her imagination was the most vivid and Oriental I ever knew and belief in and apprehension of spiritual existence was remarkable and melted into her common life and thoughts as Harmoniously as Hawthorne’s supernatural ones in his ‘twice told Tales.’”
“Margaret (Woodward) White died in Lowell Mass. July 3, 1840. I was living in Lowell at the time, was clerk in a store the corner of Central & Middlesex Sts. She had been very sick and Father came down from Groton to see her. She knew him — she could only breathe out this word in a whisper ‘Gone’. I remember father coming to the store after she died & said ‘she is gone.’ ... I remember her Baptism in the Mill Pond near Warren’s Mill by Rev. Oliver Ayer and that coming up out of the water she broke out in a wonderfully clear singing sustained voice ‘Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless and praise his holy name.’”
Dr. White’s religious notebooks are mix of notes on salvation history, typology, and doctrine. One notebook is more unusual, examining Greek religion, stoicism, “Evil Powers,” magic, exorcism and epicureanism, especially in comparison to the writings of St. Paul. Another notebook treats salvation history and has illustrated timelines showing the dispensations of the Old and New Testaments.
Dr. White studied dentistry under Dr. Thompson of Groton, Massachusetts, and later practiced in Amherst and Milford, New Hampshire and Littleton, Massachusetts. He worked in Leominster, Charlestown, and Cambridgeport after marrying Agnes Thompson in 1853. One notebook has a stamp for White’s office in Cambridgeport and a label for Edgar F. Hunt & Co., a bookstore and stationery store in Cambridgeport. Another marks his election to the New England Historic-Genealogical Society in 1868.
Description: Ca. 1866–1888 manuscript collection kept by the White Family of Massachusetts.
[Charlestown and Cambridge[port?], Massachusetts, ca. 1866–1886]. Eight wrappered notebooks, the smallest measuring 5 x 3 inches, the largest 6¾ x 4 inches. The notebooks are largely unwritten in; collectively, there are approximately 150 pages in manuscript. In very good to near fine condition.
Refs. Green, Groton Historical Series…Relating to the History of the Town of Groton, Massachusetts, Vol. III (Groton, 1893), p67. The New England Historical & Genealogical Register…for the Year 1868. Volume XXII (Boston, 1868), p369.