February 1866 – Abby Locke’s Diary continues
The first entry is for February 21.
Wed. Frye came up in the evening and he and Father both agree “to commence to leave off smoking the first of March and the one that smoked first has to give me five dollars.”
Fri. Did not go to school in the afternoon. We had Saturday exercises today and they will call tomorrow Friday
Sun. Went to church in the morning. Text Jer 48:11-12 Mr. Frye and Bates came up in the afternoon. Frye stayed to tea.
Fri. warm but cloudy. Stayed at noon without any dinner. Miss McKeen told us that many had been converted over to the house the day before and he has hopes that all the school will be Christian before the end of the term.
Sat. School. Went over Phillips Academy with Edie and J. Grant, was not introduced to him. He is a silly goose. I think they have some very fine statues, engravings and etc. W. Frye came up in the evening. Father has smoked and refused now to give me the V. Perhaps he will do so some other time.
While not considered as urgent as the prohibition of alcohol, the anti-tobacco movement gained steam in the 1860’s as part of the Clean Living movement brought on by the religious fervor that swept across the country. The Rev. George Trask in Fitchburg, Mass in “Thoughts and Stories on Tobacco for American Lads” urged young girls to exercise their influence over boys of their acquaintance and encourage them to give up the noxious weed. Was Abby exposed to this thinking by Principal Miss Philena McKeen and the religious reformers at Abbot Academy? Probably. Rev. Trask was an 1829 graduate of the Andover Theological Seminary, and toured the state frequently, speaking to Sunday schools and groups of young men. He spoke at Phillips Academy at least once, in 1859. The Bible text Abby cites was a favorite of the Temperance reformers, referencing the coming time when the Lord shall “empty his vessels and break his jars to pieces.”
Abby’s father Samuel Locke was the owner of the S.B. Locke & Co. Iron Foundry in Somerville, Mass, and had interests in several ventures in coastal shipping. Abby wrote much later in her life that he was a genial and fun-loving man belonging to a small card club with a few other Andover men “who did not think that cards belonged to the Devil.” He was also a life long member of the Democratic party, and was later elected to the State Senate. William Frye was 26 years old in 1866, and was employed as a clerk in the Marland Manufacturing Co’s woolen mill, where his father was the company president. He appears from Abby’s diary to be a business (or card playing?) protégé of her father’s, but also spends a great deal of time with Abby and her older sister Louise.
Sources: “Thoughts and Stories on Tobacco for American Lads or Uncle Toby’s Anti-Tobacco Advice to His Nephew Billy Bruce” by George Trask, published for the author, Boston, 1852.
“Rev. George Trask, the Anti-Tobacco Apostle” read at a meeting of the Society, Sept. 21, 1896, by Atherton P. Mason MD, Proceedings of the Fitchburg Historical Society, vol. 2, 1902.