Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | June 14, 2014

June 14, 1860

Mary Brewster did not make a journal entry for this date in 1849. Mary Brewster’s remaining journal entries for this month were made for June 15, 17; 21-27; 29-30.


Finally, after a voyage that lasted nearly four years, Mary Lawrence’s husband’s ship arrived at New Bedford at daylight on June 14, 1860.

Much had changed since the Lawrence’s left their homeport in 1856; the United States was teetering on the brink of Civil War, which began just ten months after the Lawrence family returned home to Massachusetts. Ladies fashions had undergone drastic changes – the hoop skirt, at the height of fashion when Mary left in November 1856, was no longer fashionable. In an effort to draw attention away from her curious hoop skirt, Mary bought a stylish new hat before sunset the day of her return to New Bedford. However, poor Minnie had to endure curious stares at her old-fashioned dress. And in answer to Mary’s last entry in her journal, she soon learned that Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin were the Republican nominees, opposing the Douglas-Breckenridge-Bell tickets for the upcoming November 1860 election.

The national conflicts facing America by 1860 served as pre-cursors to America’s economic, political and social changing landscape. While away at sea, Samuel and Mary Lawrence had missed several historical events: the Dredd Scott case decided in 1857, Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. 1859 brought the first drilling of oil wells in Pennsylvania and, the arrest and hanging of John Brown at Harper’s Ferry. And just months after the Lawrence’s return, Lincoln would win the presidential election and the Southern states would secede from the United States confederation.

By 1861, Mary was collecting stockings, blankets and quilts for the men, including several Lawrence relatives, who left to fight the Civil War. Mary’s husband Samuel took command of government steam transport vessel, carrying men and supplies south for the Union Army.


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