Friday, March 17, 2017

Aunt Abigail Kimber’s Diary: Oct. 16, 1864–Nov. 30, 1864



Today’s topic is Aunt Abigail Kimber’s diary. Before I tell you about Abbie, I’d like to thank my daughter Julia for graciously adopting Aunt Abigail’s voice featured in the YouTube video below.

Abigail Lucy Kimber was one of nine girls born April 22, 1822, to Benjamin and Keziah (Bennett) Kimber at Minisink, Orange Co., New York. My 3rd Great Grandmother Charity (Kimber) Clark was her older sister.

The diary begins October 16, 1864, with the last entry dated November 14, 1864. When Abigail penned her thoughts, she was 42 years old and unmarried.  She lived in Troy, Pennsylvania in Jane and Moses Seely’s home along with father, Benjamin Kimber. Jane and Abigail were sisters. Their mother, Keziah (Bennett) Kimber had already died by this date.

Being the spinster sister with no husband or children of her own, Aunt Abbie often found herself cast in the role of taking charge of a sick sister’s household. After the deaths of her sisters, Susan and Julie Ann, she spent time in the homes of the widowed husbands caring for the families.

Family members say Aunt Abbie was close to her parents. After Julie Ann’s death, her widowed husband Erastus Elston wanted sisters Abbie and Phebe to travel west with him to ‘keep house.' Aunt Abigail’s response was “she went where father and mother went; if they would go, she would too.” All declined the offer.

You’ll hear Aunt Abbie’s gloominess in her diary entries. One evening she writes

    “I have felt as if there is no rest for me on this side of the grave. O how long Savior before my weary soul will be at rest. O how pleasant death looks to me. It will relieve my poor throbbing heart and this poor weak body of mine that knows no rest.”



The melancholy must have troubled her in the coming years. She was admitted to the Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital May 15, 1874. This hospital opened a few weeks earlier dedicated to treating mental disorders in Middletown, New York. Unfortunately, Aunt Abbie showed no improvement being discharged March 23, 1876.

Source: I located the diary transcription at the Orange County Genealogical Society, Goshen, New York in the Kimber file housed among the Elizabeth Horton Collection. Mrs. Winifred Isabella (Drake) Ridall of Elmira, New York prepared and donated her material to Miss Elizabeth Horton in the 1930’s. Mrs. Ridall was a Kimber descendant of Benjamin and Keziah Kimber by their daughter Jane Kimber and husband, Moses Seely.

P. S.  Dear Family and Friends,
      Please share if you know when Aunt Abigail Kimber passed. I’d like to know where and with whom she spent her final years. Does anybody have photos?

Thanks for stopping by
Barb