General Devens Statue - My Dear Annie

General-Devens-Statue_P_08-22-1907_FR.jpg

This statue, erected in 1908, honors “General Devens and the men of Worcester County in the war for the Union.” Charles Devens, Jr. was a lawyer practicing in Worcester at the onset of the Civil War and within a week of Confederate soldiers firing on Fort Sumter was appointed major in the Union Army. Despite incurring serious wounds in several battles, Devens survived the war and later served as an associate justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and as Attorney General of the United States.

General Devens Statue: June 29, 2018

General Devens Statue: June 29, 2018

Originally located directly in front of the old Worcester County courthouse, the Devens statue has since been moved to the northeast corner of that property at the intersection of Main and Highland Streets. The courthouse itself has been vacant since 2007, replaced by a much larger, more modern structure nearby, and is currently undergoing renovation for adaptive reuse as affordable housing.

Postmark: 08/22/1907 - Worcester, Mass.

Postmark: 08/22/1907 - Worcester, Mass.

Sent to: Miss Annie M. Longwell
Address: Bernardston, Mass
Aug 21
My Dear Annie
Sorry not to be able to accept the very kind invitation from “The Longwells.” The spirit indeed is willing - another day. My love to all.
Sincerely your friend
Mr. H.

THE MYSTERY
Given the formalities of the time and a few sparse words, it is tempting to infer something about the relationship between this postcard’s sender and recipient. Indeed, the age of Miss Longwell (23) and the content of the message suggest something more than a friendship...or perhaps not. One phrase “The spirit is indeed willing…” may indicate a physical limitation that, during the month of August in 1907, could have made the 60-mile journey from Worcester to Bernardston quite arduous. At the very least, we know from further research (see below) that the two were never married.

THE SENDER
Regarding the mysterious Mr. H., a friend, we can discern, essentially, nothing.

THE RECIPIENT
Annie M. Longwell (aka Margaret Ellen Longwell) was born on March 3, 1884 and at the time of the 1900 Federal Census was working as a servant for David and Lucy E. Chapin, who lived in Bernardston. Ten years later, according to the 1910 census, she was living with her parents, Charlie and Margeret Longwell, in Leyden, Massachusetts and working as a teacher.

On September 27, 1913 she married George H. Foster and together they had three children, Herman A. Foster (1916–1982), Ralph Longwell Foster (1917–1996) & Thelma Margaret Foster (1921–1924).

Annie died in on January 21, 1967 and is buried alongside her husband (d. 1975) in
South Leyden Cemetery, Colrain, Massachusetts.

REFERENCES
(1) Worcester County Courthouse Renovation - Worcester Telegram & Gazette [ Paywall ]
(2) Family Histories - Ancestry.com

THE CARD
Made in Germany
A. C. Bosselman & Co., New York.
[ FRONT ] Card #1944