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Collection 2397 - Ellen Louisa Gordon Fletcher Diary, 1859-1861

Creator:Fletcher, Ellen Gordon, b. 1841

Provenance Note:The Ellen Gordon Fletcher diary was donated to Special Collections by Marjorie H. Wilson of Tempe, Arizona on October 13, 1999.

Historical Note:Ellen Louisa Gordon Fletcher (1841-1919) was one of ten children born to Fordyce Foster Gordon and Sarah Ann Smith. Ellen grew up in Rushford, New York, and attended school at the Rushford Academy. She became a teacher herself in 1858 and taught in a school near her family home. She was a devout Christian and was active in the Methodist church in both Cuba and Rushford. In 1865, she met William Ashbury Fletcher and they married in April of 1866. Immediately following the wedding they set out for Montana where Fletcher had lived before in the towns of Bannack, Summit, and Highland. Traveling with the newlyweds were John P. Townsend Fletcher, two friends of Fletcher's from the mountains (John Lefever and Dell Allen), Fletcher's daughter Ella, his younger sister Rachel (Chell), and Ellen's younger brother William Gordon (Will).

Content Description Note: The Ellen Gordon Fletcher diary from 1858 to 1861 details her life as a teacher and member of the Methodist church before she met her husband. Her father gave her the book and he wrote an inscription to her in it. In the first half of the diary (pages 41 to 62 are missing, however), she writes of school and her excitement and fears of being a teacher. She keeps track of the number of students each day, but does not describe many details of the school day. Her faith is usually the center of her entries as she writes scripture passages and expressed her spirituality. Throughout the diary, she tells of religious meetings, people she visits, and her daily routine in New York. She often writes of her family, including Blanche and Will. The diary also includes some drawings, although they are not described in her writing and some do not appear to be by Ellen. She also includes passages from the diary of a Mrs. Fletcher (it is not certain that she is related to William A. Fletcher) written in 1761. Ellen also describes several funerals she attended and family celebrations such as the Fourth of July. The second half of the diary seems to be missing pages also.

Updated: 4/20/09