Saturday, January 17, 2015

1850s/1860s Autograph Album of Julia Sophia Barker of Nunda, New York


1850s/1860s autograph album that belonged to Julia Sophia Barker of Nunda, New York.


Julia wrote a page in her album.


The album, mostly unbound, measures approximately 7-3/4" x 6-1/4" and contains the sentiments of over 50 of Julia's relatives and friends, some of whom were apparently guests or workers at the spa known originally as "Our Home on the Hillside" when it was founded in 1858 by Dr. James Caleb Jackson.  Some referred to the spa as "Hillside House".

An alphabetical surname list and an alphabetical list of the signers, together with any personal information they offered, appear at the end of this post.

The album was printed by J. C. Riker of New York and has two hand painted illustrations, in addition to that on the title page below.


From brief online research, hopefully correct:  [corrections and additions welcome!]

Julia Sophia Barker was born May 7, 1839 at Nunda, New York, the daughter of Amos and Sophia (Tracy) Barker.  Julia had at least six siblings, at least two of whom inscribed pages in her album.  Brother James Stebbins Barker of Nunda, New York, signed a page on March 12, 1860.


Brother John Fitch Barker inscribed a page at Nunda, New York, on December 10, 1860.


On June 25, 1861 at Nunda, New York, Julia Sophia Barker married John Alonzo Merrick, son of George Washington Merrick and Zerviah (Paine/Payne) Merrick.  The album contains a three page "Poem Dedicated to Julia", inscribed by a G. W. Merrick, possibly John's father, on June 12, 1868 at Petroleum Centre, Pennsylvania.

John and Julia had, I believe, four children, at least one of whom died young:
  1. Frank Willard Merrick, born May 6, 1862 at Nunda, New York; married 1) Grace L. Gorsline; 2) Elizabeth Burns. 
  2. Mary Sophia Merrick, born October 9, 1863 at Nunda, New York; married John King Ward.
  3. Gertrude E. Merrick, born June 3, 1871 at Triumph, Pennsylvania; died there May 17, 1875
  4. Florence B. Merrick, born March 3, 1876 at Triumph, Pennsylvania; married Frank L. Scudder.
The family eventually moved to Illinois.  Julia died there in 1908 and John in 1918.  

Other signers who expressed a family relationship [and there may have been more who didn't specify a relationship - check the list below.]
  • Mrs. J. P. Gaylord; cousin
  • Nellie Gridley; cousin.  She inscribed a page at Marshall, New York, on September 25, 1861
  • Mary Sophia Tracy of Tyre, New York; cousin
Signers with the surname Barker, not already mentioned:
  • Mary M. Barker, who inscribed a page at Warsaw, New York, on August 20, 1859
  • Helen M. Barker, who inscribed a page at Oriskany Falls, New York, on September 20, 1861
  • Phebe Barker, who inscribed a page at Oriskany Falls, New York, on September 20, 1861
Another signer with the surname Merrick was Julia Merrick, who inscribed a page at Nunda, New York, on October 25, 1860.  I believe she was the daughter of John Alonzo Merrick's older brother Delos Merrick.

If you have corrections and/or additions to the information above, or information on any of the signers listed below, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

Surnames in the Album

? [13]CHO
BC ?HartOsgoodby
B ? [2]Chittenden [4]KR
BakerCosnett [2]KeelerR ?
Barker [5]CoyKingsley [2]Ross
BisbeeGKnappenbergRunyan
BremerG ?LT
BrooksGaylordLambTiffany
BumpGreenMTracy
Burgess [2]GridleyMartinW
BurrillMerrick [2]Wilcox
Murdough

Signers in the Album    [Note: Given names within a specific surname may not be in alphabetical order.]
  • Half a page of handwriting, but unsigned.
  • John; could it be her future husband John Alonzo Merrick?
  • Ellen, signed at Nunda, New York, on October 25, 1860
  • Johnson, signed at Nunda, New York, on May 24, 1861
  • Ette, signed on October 24, 1858
  • Mary, signed on September 10, 1857
  • Oznola; wrote Esnola, Ville Ohio, September 20, 1835. This was presumably Oznola's birth date, or a mistake, as it was before Julia's birth, let alone before she started collecting sentiments.
  • Two page sentiment by Minnie, signed at South Warsaw on July 4, 1860
  • ?, signed on October 16, 1858
  • Full page of sentiments that seems to end with a sad reflection on the Civil War: "Oh American, why did you cherish and nurture the plague spot in your bosom until it could be washed away only by the heart's blood of your noblest children"
  • Lily, signed in September 1859 at Mount Morris
  • Fronia, signed at Ossian, New York, in March 186x, possibly 1861.  Nickname for Sophronia, perhaps?
  • Oznola, signed at Dansville, New York, on October 22, 1860
B
  • Cort B., signed at Oriskany Falls on September 21, 1861; not sure of given name, but surname is likely Barker.
  • S. B.
  • Mary M. Baker, signed at South Warsaw, New York, on August 20, 1859
  • Julia Sophia Barker of Nonda, New York; album owner. "Dedicated to Vacuna, the Goddess of the idle". Very faint handwriting: "Charlie", perhaps the person who gave the album to Julia.
  • Helen M. Barker, signed at Oriskany Falls on September 20, 1861
  • James S. Barker, signed at Nunda, New York, on March 12, 1860; presumably James Stebbins Barker, Julia's older brother.
  • John F. Barker, signed at Nunda, New York, on December 10, 1860; Julia's older brother John Fitch Barker.
  • Phebe Barker, signed at Oriskany Falls, New York, on September 20, 1861; middle initial J or I or ?
  • Arvilla F. Bisbee, signed on June 23, 1859 at Ossian, New York.
  • Miss Jennie Bremer, or Jennie Brenner, signed on Sunday, October 25, 1860
  • Hettie A. Brooks of Brooklyn, New York, signed at Hillside Home on September 3, 1868
  • Carrie Bump, signed on September 6, 1859
  • Sarah Burgess, signed at Nunda, New York, on May 28, 1865
  • J. F. Burgess, signed at Nunda, New York, on May 28, 1865
  • Hattie Burrill of Clinton, New York, signed on October 9, 1861
C
  • M. I. C., signed on July 26, 1861
  • Lina Chittenden, signed at Woodland [presumably New York], on July 28, 1861
  • Aline Chittenden, signed at Nunda, New York, on July 28, 1861
  • O. E. Chittenden, signed on February 16, 1860
  • Mary Chittenden, signed at Ossian, New York, on February 15, 1860; middle initial possibly I or P or ?  Shared the page with Allie Runyan
  • W. J. Cosnett, signed at Nunda, New York, on January3, 1861; presumably William J. Cosnett
  • Sarah Cosnett; shared the page with Cornelia E. Keeler
  • Alvira C. Coy, signed at Sunfield on May 18, 1860
G
  • Mattie G.
  • Mrs. J. P. Gaylord; Julia's cousin
  • H. Green, signed at Scipio, New York, on February 16, 1860
  • Nellie Gridley, signed at Marshall, New York, on September 25, 1861; Julia's cousin
H
  • Anna M. Hart, signed at Sherman, New York; refers to their meeting at the "Home on the Hillside".
K
  • Cornelia E. Keeler, signed at Sherman, New York; mentions "Our Home on the Hillside".  Shared the page with Sarah Cosnett
  • A. J. Kingsley
  • A. J. Kingsley of Wayland, New York, signed on April 18, 1861 at Nunda, New York
  • Katie M. Knappenberg of Dansville, New York, signed at Hillside Home on August 31, 1868
L
  • Marion S. Lamb, signed at Nunda, New York, on February 28, 1858
M
  • Eliza A. B. Martin, signed at Oxford [presumably New York], on September 8, 1859
  • 3 page "Poem Dedicated to Julia" by G. W. Merrick, signed on June 12, 1868 at Petroleum Centre [presumably Pennsylvania]. Presumably the father of Julia's husband John Alonzo Merrick.
  • Julia Merrick, signed at Nunda, New York, on October 25, 1860. Presumably the daughter of Delos Merrick, older brother of Julia Sophia Barker's husband John Alonzo Merrick.
  • Mrs. M. A. Murdough of Oramel in Allegany County
O
  • Mrs. Electa L. Osgoodby of Nunda, New York, signed in 1860
R
  • L. R. R., signed at Petroleum Centre, Pennsylvania, on March 7, 1866; not sure of initials.
  • William E. Ross; beautiful handwriting; sketch of bird, covering facing pages. An acrostic, with the message "Kiss Me For My Mother".
  • Allie Runyan of Ossian, New York, signed on February 15 [no year written].  Shared the page with Mary Chittenden
T
  • S. S. Tiffany of Gainesville, New York, in Wyoming County, signed on March 3, 1859
  • Mary Sophia Tracy of Tyre, New York; Julia's cousin
W
  • B. Wilcox, signed at Ossian, New York, on January 28, 1861
Nunda, New York


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