Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Unexpected Blog Story

William Wetmore Story- American Sculptor (1819 -1895)

Yesterday I posted a photo of the “Weeping Angel” or “Angel of Grief” on my blog for Tombstone Tuesday. All year I’ve been thinking about posting this photo, since it is beautiful, but I always had other genealogy stories to blog. Yesterday, I wanted to do another story, but we’ve been having a two day snowstorm here in Londonderry, and I couldn’t get outside to take the photo I wanted to blog about. I was snowbound again today, and then this story fell into my lap…

I received a few emails about the “Weeping Angel” photo. I’m not surprised because the sculpture of the Angel is very striking. Any photo of this tomb would look great! The Angel graces the tomb of Maria Hooper in Hingham, Massachusetts. One of the email messages I received was from John Hooper Dean, a descendant of Mrs. Hooper, asking permission to post my photo on his website and Facebook page.

We began an email conversation back and forth as this gentleman read my blog. He asked me about genealogy, and he was very interested in learning more about the family history of William Wetmore Story, the sculptor. By coincidence, I had done a little research last night on William Story, because I was wondering if he was related to the Chebacco Parish, Essex County, Massachusetts Story family. It turns out that the sculptor’s Story family was from Boston, and unrelated. But I was glad that I kept my research notes for John Hooper Dean.

John had been moved by a poem written about a Story daughter, Caroline, who had died at age six. The poem was lovely, and I’ll print it below. The sculptor’s father, Joseph Story, had written the poem, having lost five of his seven children in childhood. Two of those little children were named Caroline. I was able to find four generations of this family online, with help from the NEHGS vital records data base, several books from my library and other books available on the Google Book search, I could see that Joseph’s father, Elisha Story, had sixteen children including another Caroline who doesn’t appear to have survived childhood either!

A little bit of history, a little bit of fine art, and a little bit of literature… The sculptor had probably experienced his parent’s grief at the loss of his five siblings. He was born the same year that the second Caroline died. It is no small wonder that his sculpture is so realistic.

This was an interesting, unexpected bit of research for a snowy day!


For Caroline
By Joseph Story

Sweet, patient sufferer, gone at last
To a far happier shore,
All thy sick hours of pain are past,
Thy earthly anguish o'er.

And yet, if aught or fair or bright
Might hope to linger here,
Long, long had shone thy modest light,
And never caused a tear.

In temper how serene and meek!
How touching every grace!
The smile that played upon thy cheek
Might warm an angel's face.

A heart, how full of filial love!
How delicate, how good!
Thy feelings served intent to prove
The bliss of gratitude.

So quiet and so sweet they death,
It seemed a holy sleep,--
Scarce heard, scarce felt, thy parting breath
Then silence fixed and deep

Who can the utter wretchedness
Of such a scene portray,
When the last look, the last caress
Is felt, and dies away?

I kissed thy faded lips and cheek,
And bent my knees in prayer;
Bent--but there was no voice to speak,
It choked in still despair.

Ah! never, never, from my heart
Thine image, child, shall flee--
'T ’is soothing from the world to part,
'T ’is bliss to think on thee.

Gen. 1. William Wetmore Story, son of Joseph Story and Sarah Waldo Wetmore, sculptor
b. 12 Feb 1819 at Marblehead
d. 7 Oct 1895 Vallambroso, Italy (Wikipedia)
m. 31 Oct 1843 to Emelyn Eldridge b. abt 1820 , d. 1895 age 74, in Rome, Italy
1.) Thomas Waldo Story b. 1855 d. 1915
2.) Julian Russell Story b. 1857 d. 1919
3.) Edith Marion Story (the Marchesa Peruzzi de’ Medici) b. 1844 d. 1907

Gen. 2. Joseph Story, son of Dr. Elisha Story and Mehitable Pedrick
b. 18 Sep 1779 Marblehead, bap. 26 Sep 1779 Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
d. 10 Sep 1845, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
buried Mt. Auburn Cemetery (statue sculpted by his son)
m. 1. 9 Dec 1804 to Mary F. Lynde Oliver d. 22 June 1805,
d. of Rev. Thomas Fitch Oliver and Sarah Pynchon
m. 2. 28 Aug 1808 at Boston to Sarah Waldo Wetmore, daughter of Judge William Wetmore, born 24 May 1784 at Salem, d. 22 Aug 1855 at Boston
Seven children:
1. Caroline b. June 1810, died Feb. 28, 1811
2. Joseph, b. June 1811, d. 19 Oct 1815
3. Caroline Wetmore, b. 4 Apr 1813, d. 1 April 1819
4. Mary, b. 9 April 1814, d. 28 Mar 1815
5. Mary Oliver, b. 10 Mar 1817, d. 28 Apr 1848
6. William Wetmore Story
7. Louisa, b. May 1821, d. May 10 1831

(children listed in Genealogical and Personal Memoir Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Vol. 1, by William Richard Cutter, pages 30-32 for the Story family.)

Gen. 3. Dr. Elisha Story , son of William Story, participated in the Boston Tea Party
b. 3 Dec 1743 at Boston
d. 27 aug 1805, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
m. 1. Pub. At Boston 14 May 1767, Ruth Ruddock, b. at Boston 5 Mar 1745/6, d. 21 Mar 1778 Marblehead (Marblehead VR) (d. the late John Ruddock, Esq, a. 32 y GR) and Tabitha Drinker
m. 2 Mehitable Pedrick, 29 Nov. 1778, Marblehead (Marblehead VR), d. of John Pedrick and Mehitable Stacy of Marblehead.
Children by first wife:
1. John
2. Tabitha, married 4 Nov 1792 to Nathaniel King Devereaux of Marblehead
3. Abiel, d. 12 Dec 1829, m. 2 Feb 1799 to Huldah Clough
4. Elisha
5. William, m. 6 Aug. 1797 to Betsey Patten
Children by second wife:
6. Joseph, b. 18 Sep 1779
7. Isaac bap. 2 Mar 1783 Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
8. Betsey, bap. 5 Dec 1784 Marblehead (Marblehead VR), m. Capt. Joseph White
9. Charlotte, bap. 19 Oct 1788, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)m. John Forrester
10. Carolina, bap 31 Oct 1790, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
11. Horace Culen, bap 4 Nov 1792, Marblehead (Marblehead VR), Horace C., died at New Orleans, rec. 1 Sep 1823, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
12. Franklin Howard, bap 22 Mar 1795, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
13. Frederick Washington, b. 5 Apr 1797, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
14. Eloisa Adelina, bap. 20 Oct 1799, Marblehead, (Marblehead VR) m. John Tucker Mansfield
15. Hitty m. Capt. William Fettyplace
16. Harriet, m. Capt. Stephen White

Gen. 4. William Story, son of Elisha Story
b. 25 April 1720 at Boston, d. 24 Nov 1799 at Marblehead
m. 1. 13 Aug. 1741 Elizabeth Marion
m. 2. 11 April 1747, Joanna Appleton
m. 3. 29 Feb. 1776 Abigail Marshall

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Heather, very nice and always a thorough blog. And your photo was simply beautiful. I've never been to Hingham, but I am so glad you have and thought to post your photo yesterday, thanks to the snowstorm.
    Mr. John Hooper Dean must be so thrilled. Guess you never know who is reading these blogs!

  2. Barbara, the cemetery is behind the Old Ship Church which is absolutely wonderful! If you like colonial architechure it is a must see.

  3. I enjoyed reading your write up. I descend from Joseph Story's younger sister, Eloise Adeline Story Mansfield John Tucker Mansfield.
    Bonnie Austin Tegen

  4. Joseph Story, father of the sculptor William Wetmore Story, was a Justice of the United States Supreme Court, appointed in 1811 by President Madison. A sculpture of Joseph Story by his son William is in the entrance to the Harvard Law School Library.