These are Abby’s entries from July 3 and 4, 1867.
Wednesday July 3: I went up to Mary Morton’s this morning. She went to ride with Seth Williams last night. He wants to know me. Willie Donald came up in the evening.
Thursday 4: Went to a picnic at Haggetts Pond. Had a glorious time. Danced all the time. Went out in a boat once with Amasa Clarke. He invited me to ride home with him and of course I accepted. It rained while we were there a little and then after I got home walked down to Aunt Abbie’s. I should have thought I would have been too tired but my feet were as light when I got home as when I started. Coming home met a large cart of A. boys going over for a bath I suppose.
Regular readers of Abby’s diary excerpts know that it is not unusual for her to write enthusiastically about boyfriends and dance partners. But capturing the attention of Amasa Clarke, even for an afternoon, seems to be an especially significant social coup. Clarke was 23 years old, an Army veteran and a member of one of the richest and most influential families in town.
Amasa Clarke was born in Andover in 1844, the son of Francis Clarke, a physician and Sarah Fisher Marland, a daughter of Andover industrialist Abraham Marland. The boy was orphaned at the age of 8 years old, and afterwards made his home with his maternal aunt Mrs. Martha Punchard who was the wealthy widow of Benjamin Punchard. Amasa attended Phillips Academy and was one of the first graduates of St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH. Shortly after his graduation in 1862, he enlisted at the age of 18 in Andover’s Civil War company, the Massachusetts 44th, and served nearly a year before mustering out in June 1863. Four years later, in the summer of 1867, he was just embarking on his own career in manufacturing. The Andover Advertiser reported on June 14 that the young man “connected to the well known Marland family” had been engaged to supervise the reorganization of a Boston business whose principal George W. Ryley had been killed in an accident.
Clarke would go on to a long and successful career in the wool industry. He and his wife Frances Sturtevant would leave no children, but one of the items they bequeathed to a nephew was the handsome portrait of his grandfather Abraham Marland that he had inherited from his aunt Martha Punchard. The 1847 portrait, by the artist Edward D. Marchant is now in the collection of the Andover Historical Society.