Thursday, March 8, 2012

Adopted by a New England Minister – Sophia Lyman

B. 21 Sep 1800 in Charlotte, Vermont
M. 28 Jan 1824 in Nelson, New Hampshire
Husband: Abel Kittredge
D. 2 May 1838 in Nelson, New Hampshire

Sophia was born on September 21, 1800 in Charlotte, Vermont to Medad Lyman and Anne Clapp. Sophia had an older sister Minerva, but Sophia's mother died in childbirth in 1802. Medad Lyman remarried in 1805, and had another daughter, Anne, born in 1806, but he died in 1813. Sophia was sent off to her uncle and aunt, Reverend Gad Newell and Sophia Clapp in Nelson, New Hampshire, and they adopted her into their family. Reverend Newell was the minister of the Congregationalist church in Nelson and an important man in town. Young Sophia became a member of the church in 1820.

Sophia married a fellow member of her church named Abel Kittredge on January 28, 1824. They had a daughter Sophia, born in 1824 and a son Edward born in 1827; it's unknown whether she had difficulties with either pregnancy. Then with the birth of Samuel in 1830, Sophia became so physically weak, she was an invalid for many months.

A letter she wrote to her sister Anne in 1830 has been passed down through the family. In it, she expresses concern for her health and feels she may not have a long time to live:

"[You] must not think my affection in the least abated because I have kept so long in silence. Ah no, my sister, my affection for you is strong, and my love is true and sincere. Since we parted I have passed through some trying scenes. On the 14th of March, I became mother of a fine healthy son; before its birth my strength was very low and since that time until within a few weeks, I have been extremely feeble, more so than I ever was before. I have written no letters at all, not even to sister [Minerva].… Oh, my sister, permit me to entreat and beseech you to become reconciled to God. Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve, delay no longer; recollect your future eternal happiness is depending."
Letter from Sophia L. Kittredge to Anne Lyman, November 21, 1830

In 1831, Sophia's adopted sister (and actual cousin), Ursula Newell, married a man named John Emerson, and the couple left Nelson to work as missionaries in Hawaii. It was hard for the family to say goodbye; Sophia's autograph book with their farewell messages has been handed down in the family.

Note written by John Emerson in Sophia L. Kittredge's autograph book, October 25, 1831

Sophia gave birth to a son in 1835, and she never recovered from it. The boy died at one year-old. Sophia knew she was dying, and worried about who would take care of her three surviving children, so she asked her husband Abel if he would marry her half-sister Anne. Sophia died in Nelson on May 2, 1838. Abel married Anne six months later, and they had a marriage that lasted over 40 years.

1. Sophia Newell Kittredge – B. 22 Nov 1824, Nelson, New Hampshire; D. 22 Dec 1900, Los Angeles, California; M. James Riddle French (1810-1857), 7 Aug 1849, Nelson, New Hampshire

2. Edward Lyman Kittredge – B. 14 May 1827, Nelson, New Hampshire; D. 16 May 1906; M. Deborah Lewis (1822-1906)

3. Samuel Farrington Kittredge – B. 14 Mar 1830, Nelson, New Hampshire; D. 24 Nov 1907, Boston, Massachusetts; M. Marietta Prudy Fillebrown (1835-?), 24 Nov 1853

4. Charles Stone Kittredge – B. 15 Dec 1835; D. 1 Mar 1837

A History of Nelson, New Hampshire, Parke Hardy Struthers, 1968
The Kittredge Family in America, Mabel T. Kittredge, 1936
Letter from Sophia L. Kittredge to Anne Lyman, Nelson, New Hampshire, 21 Nov 1830
Death certificate of Sophia Kittredge, Nelson, New Hampshire, 2 May 1838
Family bible of James Riddle and Sophia Newell French
Letters of James Riddle French (1849-1852)
Death certificate of Sophia French, 22 Nov 1900, Los Angeles, California

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