One Colonial Woman's World
The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
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List of Illustrations
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To begin, I want to express my deep appreciation of the scholars who have enriched the field of early American women’s history through their dedicated and innovative efforts. I have been particularly inspired by the work of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and Mary Beth Norton. ...
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Despite the great strides made in the field of early American women’s history over the past few decades, only a small number of primary sources written by women have yet been made widely available. It is true that few women in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries left behind written records of any kind, and fewer still of these writings have survived; ...
A Note about the Diary
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Statement of Editorial Method
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The text of the diary and letters included in this book reflects a near-literal transcription, maintaining as closely as possible the authors’ original spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, none of which were standardized in colonial America. ...
1. The Years before the Diary, 1673–1688
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To paraphrase John Milton, as morning shows the day, so childhood shows the woman. While few facts are available regarding Mehetabel Chandler Coit’s early years, it is clear from her later writings that the events and circumstances of her childhood and adolescence played a major role in the formation of her identity. ...
2. Coming of Age, 1688–1693
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Mehetabel’s move to New Roxbury not only launched her on a new life course, but it also seems to have motivated her to begin keeping a diary. Such dislocations and major life changes have often impelled people to take up diary writing. Mehetabel’s age at the time of the move may also have played a role; ...
3. Marriage and Motherhood, 1694–1696
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Mehetabel noted the exact date of her arrival in new London in her fifth chronological diary entry: “novembr 2: 1694 I came to new london with my brother John Chandler & his wife.” She did not disclose why she accompanied John, his wife Mary, and their one-year-old son, John, to New London, or whether she had ever been there before. ...
4. Establishing Roots, 1697–1706
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Mehetabel had married into one large and established new London family and was related through her mother to another. nonetheless, it may have taken her some years to set down her own roots in the community. her involvement with the Puritan church, which she seems to have attended regularly ...
5. Comings and Goings, 1707–1711
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For whatever reason, the highest concentration of dated entries in Mehetabel’s diary falls in the years 1707, 1708, and 1709.1 (This does not take into account the other, undated material in the diary: the recipes, medical remedies, and quotations, which she may have recorded over several decades.) ...
6. Mistress and Matriarch, 1712–1725
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After Sarah’s death, her children by William Coit—twelve-year-old Daniel and nine-year-old William—likely moved into Mehetabel and John’s home, as John had been appointed their guardian after their father died.1 by late that year, then, Mehetabel’s household would have been a full one, ...
7. Letters from Martha, 1726–1730
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Mehetabel and John sent Martha on a visit to friends in boston the spring following the death of her sister. The trip is documented by a series of six letters, which have miraculously survived, that Martha wrote to Mehetabel between May and July 1726. during this time, Martha stayed with John Slaughter, a sea captain, ...
8. Transitions, 1731–1744
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Prior to their marriage in the summer of 1731, Martha received at least two love letters from Daniel, who at the time was in New Haven finishing his tutoring obligations at Yale. Like his earlier letter to Mehetabel and John, whom he here refers to as “ye tender & dear arbiters of my fate,” ...
9. Endings, 1745–1758
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John left behind a detailed will, which he had drawn up in 1741. Since it was customary for a couple to discuss the terms that would be established for a wife’s maintenance in the event her husband predeceased her, it is likely that Mehetabel and John did as well. John’s will contained provisions that were similar to most other men’s wills of the time: ...
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Mehetabel’s children, like their mother before them, lived long, eventful lives. John, perhaps, experienced the most personal misfortune, but he also displayed an ability to try to move beyond his troubles. in the single year after his father’s death, he lost his twenty-five-year-old son John, ...
Appendix: Full Text of Mehetabel Chandler Coit’s Diary, 1688–1749
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Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 14 illus.
Publication Year: 2012