Collection number: MS 280
Size: (1 item)
About Mary Merrill (Weeks) Cleasby (1815-1885)
Mary Merrill (Weeks) Cleasby was born in 1815 in Warren NH and died 12 May 1886 in neighboring Wentworth NH. Her death certificate notes the cause of death as “Fite”. She was the eldest child of Enoch Reed Weeks (1787-1866) and Sarah “Sally” Kimbell Merrill (1793-1888). She married Ezra Welmarth Cleasby (1809-1886) of Warren NH in 1833.
The various Merrills mentioned are likely relatives of Sarah Merrill/Weeks. Mary’s younger sister Hannah B. Weeks (1819-1857) married Ferdinand Columbus Kezer (1815-?) in 1840; several individuals with the last name of Kezer are included. Others are likely neighbors, such as the Batchelders, and “Mrs. Jason [Sally] Bixby” who died in 1842 after being bedridden on her return home from her husband’s missionary posting.
About the Mary M. Cleasby Notebook (ca. 1830-ca.1870)
Cleasby’s single notebook is filled with poems commemorating deceased family members and neighbors, many of whom were children or infants. There is also material related to the Bible (specifically scripture passages, a sermon, and a poem for remembering the books of the Bible), and a section of autograph book inscriptions she copied from another volume. Three pages in the middle of the book list the Civil War draft roll for the towns of Warren, Wentworth, and Rumney NH. Other notable events include the departure of “Brother [Samuel?] Merrill and his family for the far west” (undated, likely 1840-1857), and an essay entitled “Death”, listing the 11 deaths in her family and community between March 18 and October 11 of an unknown year.
Most of the poems are by Mary herself, her sister Hannah, or Cordelia Weeks, who may have been a cousin.
The flyleaf of the book is inscribed, “Mary M. Cleasby, Wentworth, NH”, indicated that she may have began using the notebook after her marriage in 1833. The last death recorded is 1855, although the draft records date from the Civil War, which points to a closing date in the 1860s.
The deaths recorded are as follows:
- Esther Weeks, 16 May 1829 aged 6 years (Sister, born 1823)
- Esther S. Weeks, 30 June 1843 (Sister, born 6 June 1829)
- Cordelia T. Weeks, 2 Aug. 1852 aged 17 (Sister, born 10 January 1835)
- Elizabeth Ann Weeks, 16 Nov. 1852, aged 31 (Sister? Cousin?)
- Mary Cordelia Kezer 13 Feb. 1855 aged 16 months (Probably a niece)
- Frank M. Weeks, only son of Enoch R. Weeks, died 29 May 1855 of whooping cough, aged 1 year 7 months 2 days (brother?)
- Henry Fredrick [Batchelder], only child of Jonathan J. & Hannah Batchelder aged 15 days (probably neighbor)
- Sally Bixby [wife of Jason Bixby], died 1842 after a long illness
This collection is open.
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Cleasby Notebook, Folder 10, Box 26, Mary M. Cleasby Notebook, 1830-1870, MS 280, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.
Purchase from Carmen Valentino Rare Books, unknown date.
Collection is in original order as received.