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First Parish Church Women's Meal, circa 1884
This image shows an unidentified gathering of women most likely in Pierce Hall which was a common site for similar gatherings. A list of nineteen names, therefore incomplete, attends the photo which shows about nineteen women seated and four younger girls serving. All the participants who have been tentatively identified lived in the immediate area of the First Parish Church and Pierce Hall. There are several clusters of extended family members. The list of participants loosely follows the naming convention of the time based on the person’s age. An overview of the list shows:
  • Seven young unmarried girls as evidenced by the naming convention that lists their full names. There are four visible in the photo and they are serving food to the seated women.
  • Two young unmarried women as evidenced by the naming convention that lists names as “Miss” plus their last name.
  • One older unmarried woman as evidenced by the naming convention that lists her as “Miss” plus their full name.
  • Nine married women as evidenced by the naming convention that lists names as “Mrs.” plus their last name.
A speculative analysis of the names shows:

Noyes Family (Walnut St.)
  • Mrs. Noyes (1840 – 1915), wife of George Dana Noyes
  • Elizabeth (“Bessie”) C. Noyes (1873 – 1955), daughter. An existing tintype of Elizabeth bears a resemblance to the older girl standing at the rear left of the table
  • Emma Noyes (1876-1950), daughter. The roster actually names a “Eunice Noyes” but no records are evident for a “Eunice Noyes” in Brookline at this time, we are speculating that the name “Emma” was intended. An existing tintype of Emma bears a significant resemblance to the young girl approaching the table on the left side
Extended family of Rev. Howard Nicolson Brown, Pastor of the First Parish Church
  • Sarah (“Sadie”) Brown (1878 - 1955), daughter
  • Mary Louise Brown (1873 – 1947), daughter
  • Mary F. Wicks (1828-1904), mother of Inez Wicks, wife of Howard Brown
Extended Stearns Family
  • Mrs. Stearns (1824- 1904), nee Anna Maria Mellen
  • Mrs. Mellen (1803-1899), the mother of Mrs. Stearns
  • Annie Stearns (1864-1901). She married Alexander Stoddard Jenney in 1886. He, in turn, married her sister after Annie’s death.
  • Mrs. Jenney (1836-1912). Nee Mary Hannah Howes; wife of Noah Stoddard Jenney; future Mother-in-Law of Annie Stearns; lived on Walnut
  • Mrs. Cobb (1830-1911), wife of Albert A. Cobb, nee Mary Russell Candler. Lived on Walnut Terrace
  • Miss Adriana Brown (1805-1893), never married. Lived on Cypress St. near Walnut St. No apparent relation to the other Browns.
  • Mrs. Poor (1820 – 1912), Wife of Henry Varnum Poor, nee Mary Wild Pierce. Daughter of Lucy Tappan and Rev. John Pierce, former pastor of the church. Lived across Walnut St. from the church.
  • Frances (“Fanny”) G. Train, widow of Samuel F. Train. Lived on nearby Chestnut Pl.
  • Mrs. Stodder (1830 – 1921) , wife of Henry Franklin Stodder, nee Isabella Binney. Lived on Walnut St.
  • Miss Howard
  • Suey A. Brown
  • Susie Hayes
  • Mrs. Clark

[Courtesy of the Digital Commonwealth (CC BY-NC-ND). From the Brookline Photograph Collection published by the Public Library of Brookline]