OBITUARY OF ALMIRA DUTCHER CARPENTER OF BELOIT, WI

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THE BELOIT FREE PRESS
Thurday, February 13, 1890

THE LATE MRS. A.B. CARPENTER

Almira L. Dutcher was born in Rensselaer county, New York, Dec. 25, 18141; the eldest child2 in a large family3. Upon her devolved the care and bringing up of her brothers and sisters, as her mother had died when she was 14 years of age.4 Thus early was begun her own life in the care of others.5 In 1839, at the age of 25, she was married at Troy, N.Y., to Alvin B. Carpenter, of Strafford, Vt., who had recently gone to the then far west, Indiana, and taking his bride to Evansville, of that state, they there resided for 6 years. In 1845 they moved to Beloit, Wisconsin6, with their children, James and Mary, and for nearly forty-five years have lived and been a part of Beloit--helped in its early progress, prospered in its later growth, and known by all. Four children, Hattie, Annie, Addie and Cornie, were born and brought up in Beloit, and the whole family have been almost continually together. For her, the husband bountifully provided, adding to her comfort and that of her children as the family grew. A beautiful and elegant home was theirs in the northern limits of the city for nearly 30 years. Few of our townspeople have failed to enjoy her hospitality7, and many are the pleasant remembrances carried in the hearts of those who were often her guests. The sympathetic mother of a beautiful family brought with it many social and household cares and full well were they assumed by loving and faithful hands, and though at times the burdens were almost too great, yet never was complaint heard from her lips. Happy in the happiness of her husband and children no work for them was drudgery or care.8 As the years grew on her children, one by one, married and went out of the home with bridal days that long will be remembered. Then the old home was too large and lonesome, and five years ago the still generous husband and companion of her life built another home in the city with all the comforts his liberality could provide. Here in her new abode the devoted mother, within almost a stone's throw of many of her children and grandchildren, and this the one delightful place for all to gather. Here the bounteous hospitality was continued, and though she in later years was somewhat less vigorous, still home and children were always on her mind. Here less than a year ago their golden wedding anniversary was celebrated, with friends and neighbors almost innumerable. Her last sickness was almost her first, and on February 9th, 1890, after walking hand in hand with her loving husband for more than 50 years, she calmly and serenely, in the presence of her husband, children, grandchildren and two brothers, quietly passed to that other home in which she had believed and of which she so beautifully spoke as her sickness drew slowly to its close.

Her funeral was from her house, conducted by the pastor, Rev. Cyrus Hamlin, of the First Congregational church, of which she had long been a member, Prof. Blaisdell, of the college, and Rev. Dr. Royce assisting. Her brothers, sons-in-law and two oldest grandsons lovingly bore her to the grave, and a beautiful mother-life had passed in the body away --;

"The blessing of her quiet life
Fell on us like the dew
And good thoughts where her footsteps pressed
Like fairy blossoms grew."

It is seldom allotted to any family that both parents live together fifty years with no death or serious sickness in their home, and it is still more remarkable that at the death of the mother, the husband and brothers, all her own children&emdash;six in number, and eleven grandchildren are present and permitted to care for and help the dying hours to a more tender and loving close.

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Footnotes and opinionated observations:
1Actually August 19, 1815. Not knowing Almira's exact birthdate, the Free Press's panegyricist chose Christmas symbolically to honor his subject.
2That is, putting aside her long-departed twin sister Sally Dutcher See (d. 1865).
3Known siblings were Sally, John and Norman, probably Gilbert (res. Dane Co. WI, d. 1880), and possibly a James found in Evansville IN in 1860. There were probably others.
4Fifteen or sixteen, actually. Her mother Johanna Conklin Dutcher died 1831, buried in Castleton, NY.
5If Almira's reputation for motherly generosity is projected sentimentally back into her youth, it may be because the Carpenters looked after many of their less fortunate nephews and nieces so well over so many years.
6This account skips over brief residences in St. Louis MO and Dane WI.
7I would think it would be hard to find that in a modern biography! Beloit was a fast-growing steel town in the latter part of the century.
8There is considerable tension within these two sentences, as if the ideal of the saintly society matron was to accept life's heaviest burdens nobly while in the same breath denying their existence.