EMERSON IN HIS
RUTH HASKINS EMERSON (1768-1853)
68. Photograph of Ruth Haskins Emerson in old age, from
Emerson family photograph album. Album from the estate of Amelia Forbes
“My mother was born in Boston, 9 November 1768, & had therefore completed 85 years, a week before her death. Her father Captain John Haskins whose distillery on Harrison Avenue was pulled down not many years ago was an industrious thriving man with a family of thirteen living children. He was an Episcopalian & up to the time of the Revolution a tory. My mother was bred in the English church, & always retained an affection for the Book of Common Prayer. She married in 1796 and all her subsequent family connexions were in the Congregational Church[.] At the time of her marriage her husband was settled in Harvard, Masstts. In  they removed to Boston on his installation at First Church. He died in 1812 and left her with six children & without property. She kept her family together & at once adopted the only means open to her by receiving boarders into her house & by the assistance of some excellent friends, she carried four of her five sons through Harvard College. The family was never broken up until 1826, when on the death of Dr Ripleys daughter (my fathers half-sister) she accepted the Doctor’s earnest invitation to make her home at his house. She remained there until my marriage in 1830, when she came to live with me. After my housekeeping was broken up in 1832, and on my return from Europe in 1833, she went with me to Concord, & we became boarders in Doctor Ripley’s family, until I bought a house & took her home with me in 1835. This was her permanent home until her death. I hardly know what to add to these few dates. I have been in the habit of esteeming her manners & character the fruit of a past age. She was born a subject of King George, had lived through the whole existence of the Republic, remembered & described with interesting details the appearance of Washington at the Assemblies in Boston after the war, when every lady wore his name on her scarf; & had derived from that period her punctilious courtesy extended to every person, and continued to the last hour of her life. Her children as they grew up had abundant reason to thank her prudence which secured to them an education which in the circumstances was the most judicious provision that could be made for them. I remember being struck with the comment of a lady who said in my family when some debate arose about my Mother’s thrift in her time, the lady said, ‘Ah, but she secured the essentials. She got the children educated.’ ”—RWE to Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham, December 3, 1853.
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