Abigail never knew that a quilt she created when she was 20 years old would be featured about 150 years later in the New Hampshire Historical Society's "Quilts in New Hampshire" exhibit. According to the New Hampshire Historical Society's WEB page, a team of volunteers reviewed over 1,000 historical quilts before selecting the 30 quilts which were included in this exhibit.[i] What an honor! Thanks to the New Hampshire Historical Society who gave permission to include this photo of her quilt which is also included in the book "The Quilt: A History and Celebration of an American Art Form. This book explains that the entire quilt is one large star and this type of quilt is often called the Star of Bethlehem.[ii]
Abigail Adams Shackford, was born in Newmarket, Rockingham, New Hampshire April 1, 1819[iii] to Seth Ring Shackford and Martha Boardman. She was their sixth child and the fourth great granddaughter of William Shackford. Her ancestry is: Seth Ring (6), John (5) , Samuel (4), William (3), Samuel (2), and WILLIAM (1).
Abigail's father, Seth Ring (1783-1848) was an attorney at law[iv] a Justice of the Peace[v], and a well known surveyor[vi] who kept a diary of a jouney he took in 1810 from Newmarket to the Sciota river on foot[vii]. Her mother was Martha Boardman (1789-1863) who also kept a diary in which she described the church they went to and girls working in the local mills[viii]. (I'm dreaming of a future trip to New Hampshire to read these diaries!!)
I haven't found any information about Abigail's education, but assume that she received a similar education as her younger sister, Ellen who attended the public schools and then had a private tutor[ix].
Abigail's father died in April 1848 and she remained in the same home as her mother in Newmarket until at least the summer of 1850[x] but moved to Lowell before 1852.[xi]. After her marriage in March 1852, she returned to Newmarket where her husband George was a farmer, postmaster, stayed involved in business in Newmarket, served as a state representative, was on the Board of Selectmen[xii], and was involved in the formation of the local mason's Rising Star Lodge[xiii]. Abigail gave birth to six children between 1853 and 1864 and must have ensured they had a quality education since two of her children were teachers in the Newmarket area by 1880..[xiv]They were pretty well off in 1860 and 1870 as the home they lived in was valued at $6,000 and they had personal property valued at $4,000[xv]. Abigail remained in Newmarket until she died at the age of 70 on Jan 7, 1890.[xvi] Her husband died ten years later.
While we know a lot about the role of Abigail's husband George in the community, the only information we have about Abigail are the dates that she and her children were born, married, or are mentioned in a census. We are very fortunate that the New Hampshire Historical Society kept Abigail's quilts for so many years as provide us with a perspective as to one aspect of her life, her quilting skill.
Mary Shackford Bennett (1853-1930) - married Charles William Morse
Robert Goodwin Bennett (1854-????) - married Mary A Buzzell
Annie Leighton Bennett (1856-1927) - married Charles Bourne Edgerly
Helen Champion Bennett (1859-1939) - teacher
Harriet Boardman Bennett (1862-1926) - married Leslie W Cate
Abigail Shackford Bennett (1864-????) - married Frederick Milton Hodgdon
If you know more about Abigail, her descendents, or other Shackford's, please send me a note!
[i]Quilts in New Hamsphire: Piecing the Story Together, New Hampshire Historical Society; http://www.nhhistory.org/quilts.html, accessed Feb 13, 2013
[ii]Roberts, Elise Shebler, Jennifer Chiaverini, and Sandra Dallas, The Quilt: A History and Celebration of an American Art Form, Voyager Press, April 3, 2010; Google e-book, http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Quilt.html?id=p1qH8_lpTHUC, accessed Feb 13, 2013
[iii] Getchell, Sylvia Fitts, The Tide Turns on the Lamprey, Vignetts in the Life of a River, A History of Newmarket, NH, (1984).)
[iv] 1828 Farmer's New Hampshire Annual Register
[v] New Bedford Mercury, Date: 1838-05-18; Vol XXXI; Iss: 48; Page 1
[vi] Boardman, Samuel Lane, A family memorial, Augusta, 1876, p. 39-41
[vii] Boardman, Samuel Lane, A family memorial, Augusta, 1876, p. 39-41
[viii]Getchell, Sylvia Fitts, The Tide Turns on the Lamprey, Vignettes in the Life of a River, A History of Newmarket, NH, 1984
[ix] The Granite Monthly, Vol XLI, No 7, July, 1909, New Series, Vol 4, No 7, p. 240
[x] Year: 1850; Census Place: Newmarket, Rockingham, New Hampshire; Roll: M432_438; Page: 158A; Image: 306
[xi] New-York daily tribune. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1842-1866, April 15, 1852, Page 5, Image 5
[xii] Boardman, Samuel Lane, A family memorial, Augusta, 1876, p. 58, http://memory.loc.gov, accessed Feb 4, 2013
[xiii]Law of the State of New Hampshrie passed June Session, 1867, Manchester, NH: John B Clarke, State Printer, 1867, p. 86
[xiv] Year: 1880; Census Place: New Market, Rockingham, New Hampshire; Roll: 767; Family History Film: 1254767; Page: 255D; Enumeration District: 218; Image: 0514
[xv] Year: 1860; Census Place: Newmarket, Rockingham, New Hampshire; Roll: M653_679; Page: 1045; Image: 430; Family History Library Film: 803679
[xvi] New Hampshire, Death and Burial Records Index, 1654-1949