Mary Parke McFerson (known as Parke), a childhood friend of Louisa Wylie Boisen’s, married John W. Foster who served in the Union Army during the Civil War and went on to become U. S. Minister to Mexico, then Russia and finally to Spain in the 1870s and 1880s. He served as U. S. Secretary of State under President Benjamin Harrison. Parke’s mother was Mrs. Eliza J. McFerson who served as principal of the Monroe County Female Seminary and then went to Glendale Female College in the 1850s to take up the post of assistant principal. Parke and Louisa kept up a correspondence for many years, and Parke’s letters to Louisa are now part of the Wylie House Museum archive. Her letters from Mexico in the 1870s are particularly interesting.
Cyrus Morris Dodd graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1855 and spent most of his professional life teaching at his alma mater. However, during the year or two that he spent teaching mathematics and Latin at I.U. in the 1860s, he formed a firm friendship with T.A. Wylie. Likewise, Mrs. Dodd and their three daughters, Alice, Agnes and Grace became very attached to the Wylie family. This closeness was reinforced when Louisa Wylie Boisen and her husband Hermann moved to Williamstown in late 1880 so that Prof. Boisen could teach at Williams College.
They only stayed one year, and when they moved away Mrs. Dodd and her daughters took up an affectionate correspondence with Louisa that lasted at least through 1901. These letters to Louisa are part of the Wylie House Museum archive.
I often think, while transcribing letters from the Wylies and their many friends and relations, how thrilled genealogical researchers might be to discover that we have a significant number of letters from their ancestors in our collections. And yet they would never know to inquire here if we did not somehow make them aware of the fact. It occurred to me when we began to think about a blog, that this might be the perfect spot to place a notice of a few of the families from whom we do have a fair number of letters.
Anna Thankful Ballantine was a good friend of Louisa Wylie Boisen’s and corresponded with her over many years. Anna’s father was Elisha Ballantine who taught mathematics and languages at Indiana University. Elisha Ballantine and his wife Betsy Anne Watkins had seven children, Anna being the fourth:
1. Mary Osborn Ballantine (b. 1837, d. 1905) – Married Henry Lewis Brown
2. Henry (Hal) Watkins Ballantine (b. 1838, d. 1919) – Married Mary Elizabeth Loomis
3. Mildred Morton Ballantine (died in infancy)
4. Anna Thankful Ballantine (b. 1842, d. 1915)
5. Elizabeth Morton Ballantine (b. 1844, d. 1866)
6. Frances Wood Ballantine (b. 1846, d. 1868)
7. William Gay Ballantine (b. 1848, d. 1937) – Married Emma Frances Atwood
Anna received her early education at the Monroe County Female Seminary and graduated from the Ohio Female College at Glendale in 1861, receiving the degree A.B. She taught Latin at Glendale after graduation and later returned to Bloomington where she taught Latin in the Preparatory Department of I.U. Upon her father’s death in 1886, Anna left Bloomington and went to Fisk University in Tennessee where she served as principal of the ladies department for 20 years.
We have in our archive letters written by Anna T. Ballantine to Louisa Wylie Boisen dating from 1874 until her death and a few from Mary O. Ballantine to Louisa written in the 1860s. Contact the museum for further information about these letters.