Yesterday I was looking for information from my CD-version of an Encyclopedia. I couldn't find what I was looking for, so I did a search for "Billerica." One of the articles I found was about .. Elizabeth Palmer PEABODY .. and it turns out she was born in Billerica in 1804.
According to the article, she was an American educator and scholar, best known as an early advocate of the kindergarten school system in the U.S. ... In 1860 in Boston, Miss PEABODY founded the first, English-speaking kindergarten in the U.S.
Being very curious, as I hadn't remembered spotting the PEABODY name in the "History of Billerica," I took out the book. There is a section on the PEABODY surname, and it discusses Nathaniel PEABODY, M.D., who was born in Topsfield in 1774. He spent his early years in New Boston, NH, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1800.
In 1802 he married Elizabeth PALMER, preceptress of Andover Academy, and the first preceptress of any academy ever elected in MA. (Note: The closest I can come in my dictionary is ..preceptor; one of the definitions is headmaster or principal of a school.)
In 1803 Nathaniel PEABODY came to Billerica to study his profession. While here, Nathaniel and Elizabeth had their first child, Elizabeth Palmer PEABODY.
The book goes on to say that Miss PEABODY taught a private school in Lancaster from 1820 to 1822, in Boston in 1823, etc. She was also active in literary labors, and published many books. ..... "The name of this daughter of Billerica is sure of a very honorable place in the educational history of our country."
FYI: Other children of Nathaniel and Elizabeth PEABODY were:
Mary T. PEABODY who married ....... Horace MANN.
Sophia A. PEABODY who married ....Nathaniel HAWTHORNE
Nathaniel C. PEABODY .. lived in Concord, MA (60+ yrs?)
George F. PEABODY (d. 1839)
Wellington PEABODY (d. 1836)
Catherine P. PEABODY ....?????
.. Dr. Nathaniel PEABODY was an eminent physician in Salem and Boston. However, this book does not discuss his parents; only says he was born in Topsfield.
It does say that both Dr. PEABODY and Mrs. PEABODY died on Jan. 1, 1855, in Perth Amboy, NJ. But, there are other references to Mrs. PEABODY dying in 1853.
... Perhaps someone can discuss the PEABODY .. family which Nathaniel came from, and the PALMER family which his wife came from.
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