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Samuel Gardner and Lucy Hartwell Pond correspondence

Identifier: MSS 145

Scope and Contents

The Samuel Gardner and Lucy Hartwell Pond correspondence, 1852-1860 and undated, consists primarily of correspondence between Samuel Gardner and his cousins, Lucy Hartwell Pond and Alzina Hartwell Fletcher, as well as correspondence from their extended family and friends. In their correspondence, the cousins discuss their new lives away from home and the adjustments they have made since moving away. Samuel had a particularly difficult time adapting to his new life as he had very little money and had departed from his family in Bedford on poor terms. After struggling in his studies for some time, Samuel became a schoolteacher and many of his letters to Lucy and Alzina describe his ventures into teaching. Lucy’s correspondence to Samuel, Alzina, and her parents details her easy adjustment to married life with her husband, Hannibal, in their new home in Vermont. The last of Lucy’s correspondence from late 1959 alludes to a pregnancy which is not explicitly discussed in any other letter. Samuel and Lucy wrote to each other often and their letters illustrate their profound, sibling-like affection for one another. After Lucy’s death in the autumn of 1960, Samuel took comfort in writing to Alzina about his grief over Lucy’s “murder”. The remainder of Samuel’s correspondence is addressed to Alzina and discusses her marriage, Samuel’s professional life as a teacher and superintendent in and around Kewanee, their extended family, and Samuel’s inheritance from their grandfather’s estate. The collection also includes a content summary of the correspondence.


  • 1852-1860 and undated


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

Samuel Gardner was a teacher who lived in Kewanee, Illinois. Gardner had been orphaned at a young age, and grew up with relatives in Bedford, Massachusetts. He considered his cousins Lucy and Alzina as his sisters and seemed to care for them deeply. Gardner did not have a good relationship with his aunt and uncle, and in 1859 he left their home in Bedford to move west. From his letters to Alzina and her parents, it seems as though he left very suddenly, and perhaps secretly. He did not want to take over his family’s farm, and moved to Kewanee, Illinois, to start a new life. Gardner began teaching school and attended high school for some time. He taught at several schools in the area each year, as school terms were often only four months. Gardner later became a superintendent in the area, and might have moved further west later in life. In his letters home, he stated he did not like the west, and intended some day to move back east to Bedford.

Mary Alzina (Hartwell) Fletcher was born 21 February 1839. She lived in Bedford, Massachusetts while growing up. She became a teacher at some point, then married Matthew R. Fletcher 1 January 1861. The couple lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, for some time, and then moved back to Bedford in 1884 to live on Alzina’s mother’s property. Alzina was Samuel Gardner’s cousin, and Lucy’s sister.

Lucy Webber (Hartwell) Pond was born 16 January 1837. She lived in Bedford, Massachusetts, until her marriage to Hannibal S. Pond 25 November 1858. The couple lived on a farm in Springfield, Vermont, but they may have also lived in South Bedford for some time. Lucy often wrote to Samuel, her parents, and her sister to describe farm life, home life, and local news. She became pregnant some time in 1859, but there is no record of a birth. She died by being thrown from a carriage 2 October 1860, although both Alzina and Samuel seem to think she was murdered.


0.2 Cubic Feet (/ 1 box)

Language of Materials



Samuel Gardner migrated from Bedford, Massachusets, to Kewanee, Illinois, in 1859 and later moved further west. The Samuel Gardner and Lucy Hartwell Pond correspondence, 1852-1860 and undated, contains correspondence from Gardner and members of his extended family, primarily including his cousin, Lucy Hartwell Pond. Much of Gardner's and Pond's correspondence is addressed to Pond's sister, Alzina Hartwell Fletcher, as well as other members of the family.


The collection is arranged in chronological order and maintained in the original folder divisions from the Museum of the Rockies.

Custodial History

This collection was originally housed at the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, but was transferred to Special Collections by the head of the museum, Robert Leonard, in 1985. The museum had received the collection from Michael W. Hager.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Robert I. Leonard in 1985.

Processing Information

Processed by Julia G. Westblade. Revised by Atticus Garrison, May 2016.

Samuel Gardner and Lucy Hartwell Pond correspondence, 1852-1860 and undated.
Atticus Garrison and Ariana Solis
May 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States