Bacon Family Papers

Bacon Family Papers, 1807-1975

Although there were Bacons in Newton in the seventeenth century, Joseph Bacon (1782-1854), the ancestor of the Newton Corner Bacons whose papers these are, did not arrive until early in the nineteenth century. Joseph, who was born in Sudbury, married Beulah Crafts Fuller (1786-1872) in Newton in 1805, and produced seven children. Daughters Mary Apthorp, Elizabeth Fuller, and Beulah Crafts were given family names, while the sons Joseph Newman, James Munroe, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin were names of prominent historical figures.

The papers in this large collection pertain to these individuals, their spouses and descendants. They include correspondence, legal documents, receipts and business papers, photographs, and genealogical materials. Of particular interest are the four diary series from the Benjamin Franklin Bacon family.

Joseph Bacon (1782-1854) lived in a large Greek Revival style house that stood on Washington Street at the corner of Bacon. The house, built by Henry Fuller, was moved in the 1920s around the corner onto Bacon Street where it stands today half hidden by successive renovations. Old photographs, including an 1850s daguerreotype, show the house in its original form. In 1821, Joseph established a store, which stood east of his house, near the intersection of Centre and Washington streets. The Bacon store was owned and run by various family members through the nineteenth century. Successive generations, many of whom married into other old Newton families, continued to make their homes in the Newton Corner area.

Joseph Bacon (1782-1854) and Beulah Crafts Fuller (1878-1872) -- The papers of Joseph Bacon and Beulah Crafts Fuller, contain receipts for domestic goods and services such as food, fuel, domestic help, transportation; receipts for pews at Eliot Religious Society; legal materials such as deeds and probate documents; business papers and tax receipts. The papers date from 1843 to 1859.

Mary Apthorp Bacon (1806-1862) and George Murdock (1809-1847) -- Mary married George Murdock in 1824. Their son, Francis (1835-1918) became a partner with his uncle, George Washington Bacon, in the family store. There are a number of store receipts and business papers from the 1850s to the 1890s, including the partnership agreement between George W. and his nephew Francis. George W.s daughter Mary (1834- ) attended Lasalle Seminary and left a student diary.

Elizabeth Fuller Bacon (1810-1885) and Otis Trowbridge (1811-1862) -- Elizabeth married Otis Trowbridge in 1832. Their son, composer J. Eliot Trowbridge married Francis Amelia Blodgett, sister of musician and composer Benjamin Coleman Blodgett (1838-1925). Included in the collection is a 1887 program for a New American Oratorio "Emanuel" composed 1886 by J. Eliot Trowbridge of Newton to be performed at the Tremont Temple in Boston.

Joseph Newman Bacon (1831-1896) and Sarah Woodward (1827-1901) -- Joseph and Sarah were married in 1845. Their daughter Sarah (1854-1919) married Louis C. Stanton, who was for a time Professor & Director of Music, Carleton College. A large portion of this collection was donated by the Stanton family. Josephs son William Francis Bacon (1863-1937), a prominent lawyer and Judge of Newton District Court, married Bessie Sayford in 1891. William and Bessies son Frederick Sayford Bacon (1893-1966) left a reminiscence of life in Newton Corner and a short history of the YMCA. In 1973, his wife, Lenice Bacon, published American Patchwork Quilts, which includes mention of several quilts from the Homestead collections. Lenice was socially active in Newton and Boston and in the founding of The Jackson Homestead.

Beulah Crafts Bacon (1815-1894) and Thomas S. Pulsifer (1815-1845) -- Beulah married Thomas S. Pulsifer in 1837. Included in the collection are some photographs and a few pieces of correspondence from the family of their daughter Mary Caroline who was married to Albert Bale.

Reverend James Munroe Bacon (1818-1873) -- James Munroe Bacon was married first to Maria Woodward (1821-1863) and their son James Henry Bacon was a later owner of the Bacon Store. After the death of Maria, James married Ellen Manning ( -1872). It was their son, Herbert Manning Bacon (1866-1958), who put together a large photograph album of Newton and New England photographs also found in this collection. A memorial published in the Congregational Quarterly after the death of James Munroe Bacon provides information about his ministerial life.

The Bacon Family Diaries

Benjamin Franklin Bacon (1828-1911), Adeline Elizabeth Learned Bacon(1830-1911) -- Family diaries, including those of Benjamin Franklin Bacon, Adeline Elizabeth Learned Bacon, and sons Charles F. Bacon and Edward L. Bacon constitute a large portion of this collection. Benjamin and Adeline were married in 1852 and lived to enjoy their 50th wedding anniversary. Photographs and an album of cards and well-wishes from the celebration are included in the collection. Benjamin, son of Joseph (1782-1854), was vice-president of the Newton National Bank and a devoted member of Eliot Church and Newton Congregational Club. Adeline, also a faithful church member, did some pencil sketches in the 1840s of Newton Corner and the Bunker Hill monument. Benjamins 15 diaries cover the years 1864-1923 (with gaps); Adelines 15 diaries cover the years 1860-1905 (with gaps). Both Benjamin and Adeline comment extensively on the weather along with illnesses, family, church, and local activities. There are a few pieces of correspondence for this part of the family, including a letter from Henry Wiswall to Benjamin regarding preparations for dedication of Eliot Church June 23-24, 1845 and report cards for sons Charles and Edward 1872-1877 from the Bigelow Grammar School and Newton High School.

Charles Franklin Bacon 1858-1944 -- Charles F. Bacon, son of Benjamin and Adelaide, lived in Newton Corner all his life. After graduating from Harvard College, he went abroad for a time with his cousin, composer and musician Benjamin C. Blodgett, and studied music at the New England Conservatory. He worked in the Newton National Bank and served as organist and choir director of the North Congregational Church for 48 years. He was also member of the Eliot Church and active with the local YMCA. Among the testimonials after his death was a letter to brother Edward from former Mayor Ned Childs 1943 and a biographical sketch by his brother Edward. Charles had a particular interest in the railroad, which ran in front of his house, and knew the names of the all the engines, their schedules, etc. Much of this information was recorded in Charless diaries, written between 1882-1924.

Edward Learned Bacon (1861-1956) -- Edward Learned Bacon, second son of Benjamin and Adelaide, also kept yearly diaries. Edwards 31 diaries are from 1882-1934 (with some gaps). Edward also worked in the Newton bank and was member of the Eliot Church. Both brothers were members of the Eliot (Church) Singing Band organized 1868. Membership cards from the Singing Band and YMCA ephemera are included in the collection.

Other diaries in the collection include three early twentieth century diaries from a cousin Lillie J. Learned (1866- ) and 19 from Richard C. Merrill 1871-1903, whose family association is unknown.

Bacon Family Photographs 1870-1950s

Numerous family photographs in varying formats, including some early daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, are found in this collection. An early daguerreotype, from about 1850 shows Joseph Bacons Greek revival house on Washington Street.

The earliest photograph, The Deacons Party from about 1870, is of Joseph N. Bacon (1813-1896) and his family.

There are a few small photographs in original frames and several albums including one that contains a number of members of the Eliot Church and an early view of the church.

An album by Herbert M. Bacon (1866-1958) contains a large collection of Newton and New England views. A number of the images are identified as being from the 1870s; they appear to be copies of earlier photographs. Most of the images, taken 1890s-1910s, are identified. There are views of Concord, Lexington, and Littleton, along with family summer homes in Essex and Magnolia. There are views of the interior of the old Newton Bank and the Woodward house (Fairlee Road), and views of the Newton and Chestnut Hill reservoirs.

Copies of many of the photographs from album were made in 1982. They include family homes at 37 Channing Street, 17 Fairview Street, the Bacon house Washington Street, and the Henry Fuller house on Centre Street; views of Farlow Park and Cabot Woods summer and winter, as well as gathering ice on Bulloughs Pond, views of the Charles River at Upper and Lower Falls and Riverside, and the Eliot Memorial with fields and Strongs pond in the distance.

No. of boxes: 7
Finding Aids: Partial

References:
Vital Records of Newton, Collection files and news clippings