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ElizaBTweetin: April 1-8, 1872: Money helps

Posted on April 8, 2013

Eliza B. Wheaton diary Apr. 3-8, 1872

Eliza B. Wheaton's diary Apr. 3-8, 1872.

The first week of April was busy for Mrs. Wheaton. Work continued on her house, she made trips to Boston and Rehoboth, Wheaton Female Seminary began its Summer Term, Mrs. Beane fell ill, and  the Trinitarian Congregational Church approved a new minister.

Wheaton’s Archives benefits by having on deposit the historic records of the Trinitarian Congregational Church, wherein we find that, on April 2, 1872, an informal vote was taken in reference to inviting Rev. Mr. Atkinson to supply our pulpit for one year.  Affirmative 9.  Neg.t. 1.

It was then voted unanimously that we invite the Rev. Timothy Atkinson to become our acting pastor so long as agreeable to both parties. This arrangement to be terminated by either party giving three (3) months notice of such desire + we recommend to the Society to pay $1000. a year and the parsonage with a vacation of two weeks. (Trinitarian Congregational Church Collection: Church Records II, 1852-1881.)

Who voted against Mr. Atkinson and then changed his mind?  We’ll never know.

The Church's Treasurer was instructed to pay the minister on a quarterly basis, with authority to “hire money (if necessary)” for the purpose (Trinitarian Congregational Church Collection: Society Records II, 1850-1877).  For an entire year, payments to poor Mr. Atkinson fluctuated between $20 and $50 every month or two.  In fact, he served from April until July with no payments at all, finally receiving $180 on July 4. By the end of his first year as pastor, Mr. Atkinson had received only $855.  (Trinitarian Congregational Church Collection: Treasurer’s Records I, 1863-1901).

Lowell Daily Courier, April 11, 1872

Lowell Daily Courier, April 11, 1872.

We cannot blame Mr. Atkinson for leaving this temporary position after less than three and a half years, especially as he seems to have married on the prospects of his position in Norton!

The day after the church meeting, Eliza Wheaton and Mrs. Beane took the train to Boston.  Mrs. Wheaton deposited $2200 of her income from rents and dividends into accounts at the Suffolk Savings for Seamen and Others Bank and the Five Cent Savings Bank. After conducting this business, they went shopping. Eliza bought a bag, pins, boots and hose for herself; 13 yards of calico as a gift for Mrs. Beane; checked aprons; curtain cloth, corduroy, and "enamel cloth" (oilcloth); plus additional paper hangings.

Nye & Robinson receipt, April 3, 1872

Nye & Robinson receipt, April 3, 1872.

For all these items, lunch ($1.15,) and ten Boston Rail Road tickets, Eliza spent only a total of $24.16.


A few days after Mrs. Wheaton's shopping spree, on April 5th, Wheaton Seminary’s Summer Term began.  In this era of Wheaton's history, there were three terms per year, of 14, 12, and 13 weeks.  During the 1872-73 academic year, students came from as far west as Necedah, WI, as far north as Halifax, N.S., and as far south as Jackson MS. Although many things have changed in regards to Wheaton, its wide appeal to students from across the country and around the world has not changed.

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