Monday, July 8, 2013

Emilie (Grant) Wilkinson (1851 – 1912)

I’ve done surname studies on most of the WILKINSON families of northern New England.  This helps me to keep straight who is a cousin, and who isn’t.  I’ve gotten to know some of the other WILKINSON lineages very well.  Some of those “other Wilkinsons” have actually married some of my ancestors, their siblings and cousins. 

When I first read about Emilie G. Wilkinson of Nashua, New Hampshire, I was hoping she was one of the “New Hampshire Wilkinsons”, descended from the immigrant Thomas Wilkinson (about 1690 – before 1739) of Portsmouth.  It turned out that her maiden name was Grant, and that I was actually more closely related to her first husband, Edward Morris Temple (1848 – 1912) than I was to her second husband, George Ware Wilkinson (about 1827 – 1913).  George W. Wilkinson was descended from the immigrant ancestor, the widow Prudence Wilkinson (about 1595 – about 1655) of Malden, Massachusetts.

Emilie, also known as Emily, was born in Nashua, New Hampshire.  She was a self-taught musician who studied to be a church organist in Boston. She went abroad to Europe to learn more about organ music and returned to Boston to play at several prominent churches.  According to one book, see below, she even filled in for the famous Arthur Nikisch, director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, one night in 1892 when he became ill at the last moment and could not conduct.  I don’t know how many women have conducted the BSO, but she must have been one of the first!

"Emilie Grant has been a favorite name in musical circles for many years.  A native of Nashua, Miss Grant spent her childhood in Rhode Island, but returned to her birthplace at the age of eleven.  She had a natural ear for music and played the piano intuitively.  She studied the organ with Eugene Thayer and George Whiting, now of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, in Boston.  Meanwhile her education in other directions was complete at Stanwix Seminary, Rome, N. Y.  In December, 1870, she went abroad, remaining fourteen months, studying the organ in Berlin, with the noted August Haupt, and piano with Robert Radecke, director of the Royal Opera; later with Mademoiselle Schuller and Carl Baerman.  She had before been a pianist with the Nashua Choral Union, and continued after her return, serving in that capacity at the second great "Peace Jubilee" in Boston, as she had previously done at the first.  She was the pianist of the celebrated "Orpheus Club" of Nashua during its entire existence, and was for several years organist at different churches in that city.  Removing to Boston, she has filled extended engagements at prominent churches, including the Dudley St. Baptist and Union Congregational, Columbus Avenue; but for some years past has been organist at Berkeley Temple.   Meanwhile she has continuously and successfully given instruction upon piano and organ, both in Nashua and Boston.  She excels as an accompanist, and has marvelleous power and reading and mastering the most difficult music at sight.  This was demonstrated in a notable manner, when, in February, 1892, she substituted for Arthur Nikisch, director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, at the presentation of Brahm's great historical cyclus, "Zigeunerlieder," for which weeks of preparation had been made, being called in at the last moment through his sudden illness and winning a brilliant triumph.  In November 1894, Miss Grant was united in marriage with Mr. George Ware Wilkinson of Boston."

from  New Hampshire Women: A Collection of Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Daughters and Residents of the Granite State, Who are Worthy Representatives of their Sex in the Various Walks and Conditions of Life, The New Hampshire Publishing Co., Concord, NH, 1895, page 129.   Via Google Books

So who was her husband, George Ware Wilkinson? He was born, raised and died in Boston,.   Except for a brief time in Minnesota and his service in the Union Army during the Civil War, he spent his whole life in Boston as a surveyor.  He was a member of the “Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company”, and I found him listed in several Boston City Directories as an officer in that fraternal organization.

Emily G. Wilkinson died in Boston at age 61 at the Massachusetts Homepathic Hospital (now the Talbot Building at the Boston Medical Center).  Her occupation was listed as “organist & music teacher”.  She was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashua.  Her husband, George W. Wilkinson, died in 1913 at the Home for Aged Men in Boston.   Their records, 1861 – 1916, are kept at the Joseph P. Healey library of the University of Massachusetts in Boston.   For some reason, he is buried, not with his wife in Nashua, but at Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston.  I couldn’t find any children for Emily by either husband in census records, vital records or in compiled genealogies. Nor could I find any children for George W. Wilkinson by his first wife.

The “other” Wilkinson lineage:

Generation 1: Unknown Wilkinson, married about 1615 in Bedford, England to Prudence Unknown.  She was born about 1595 in England and died between 9 January 1654 and 26 July 1655 in Massachusetts. She was a resident of Charlestown and Malden, Massachusetts.

Generation 2: John Wilkinson, died 12 December 1675, married Joanne Skelton

Generation 3: John Wilkinson, born about 1647; married on 10 October 1675 in Salem, Massachusetts to Elizabeth Read, daughter of Thomas Read.

Generation 4: John Wilkinson, born 25 January 1678 in Providence, Rhode Island, died 24 January 1725 in Attleborough, Massachusetts; married about 1700 to Raches Fales, daughter of James Fales and Anne Brock.

Generation 5: Joseph Wilkinson born 21 March 1705 in Attleborough;  married on 17 October 1733 in Dedham, Massachusetts to Hannah Warren.

Generation 6: David Wilkinson, born 15 October 1740 in Stoughton, Massachusetts; married on 5 May 1763 in Wrentham, Massachusetts to Abigail Ware.

Generation 7: Elijah Wilkinson, born 1772 in Massachusetts, died after 1850, married about 1798 in Townshend, Vermont to Mindwell Rawson, daughter of Stephen Rawson and Silence Ward. 

Generation 8: Ware Wilkinson, born May 1801 in Townshend, Vermont, died 1 September 1867 in Dedham, Massachusetts; married first on 2 December 1830 in Boston to Eliza Dennis, daughter of Charles Dennis and Sarah Endicott Ford of Beverly, Massachusetts; married second on 19 February 1852 in Newburyport, Massachusetts to Hannah E. Pressell.

Generation 9: George Ware Wilkinson, son of Ware Wilkinson and Eliza Dennis, born about 1837 in Boston, died 29 December 1913 in Boston; married first to on 23 June 1870 in Charlestown to Emma Janetta Colbath, daughter of Charles Granderston Colbath and Elizabeth Moulton; married second on 26 November 1894 in Boston to Emilie J. Grant, daughter of Erastus C. Grant and Lucie C. Stone of Rhode Island.


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely writeup about Emilie Grant! I do believe a "natural ear" for music is in the DNA. A nice story.

    Do you suppose the "other Wilkinsons" are related to yours, somewhere back there in England? For me, the natural stopping place is "first immigrant," and I don't know if I'll ever get further. You've probably gone further . . . you have so many long lines!