SCUA

Obear, Clark H.

Clark Hopkins Obear Diaries
1845-1888
4 vols. (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 601

A resident of New Ipswich, N.H., Clark Obear was an ardent supporter of the temperance and antislavery movements, and was deeply involved in the affairs of his church and community. A teacher in Hillsborough County schools, Obear also worked as a farmer and insurance agent, and served in public office as a deputy sheriff, a Lieutenant Colonel in the militia, a fence viewer and pound keeper, and for several years he was superintendent of schools. Obear and his wife Lydia Ann (Swasey) had two children, Annabel and Francis.

The four diaries in this collection contain brief, but regular entries documenting Clark Obear’s daily life in New Ipswich, N.H. during the middle years of the nineteenth century. Despite their brevity, the diaries form a continuous coverage of many years and offer details that provide a compelling sense of the rhythms of life in a small New Hampshire village. Of particular note, Obear carefully notes the various lectures he attends in town and the organizations of which he is part, including reform movements like temperance and antislavery.

Background on Clark H. Obear

A life-long resident of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, a small town perched on the border with Massachusetts, Clark Hopkins Obear was born on Feb, 25, 1811, the youngest child of the shoemaker Josiah Obear (1747-1820) and his much younger second wife Abigail. Josiah had emigrated to New Ipswich from Wenham, Mass., in the 1780s, eventually purchasing the Daniel Foster house on Main Street in the central village, just north of the graveyard. According to local historian Charles Henry Chandler, Josiah, like his son, was known for keeping “a daily journal with a record of public events, especially deaths.”

Clark Obear was raised in New Ipswich, educated at the New Ipswich Appleton Academy, and apparently never strayed far from his family home. He made his living from a diverse range of occupations. For many years, he was a public school teacher in Hillsborough County, but at various points he was a farmer, insurance agent, fence viewer and pound keeper, deputy sheriff, and superintendent of schools. On June 8, 1848, Obear married Lydia Ann Swasey (born 1820), a public school teacher, writer, and historian. The couple raised two children, Annabel Clark Obear (born 1852 and later wife of the civil engineer George F. Conant) and Francis A. Obear (a letter carrier, born 1857, who married Sarah Jenkins).

Reformist in spirit, Obear and his wife were supporters of the temperance and antislavery movements, and were deeply involved in the affairs of his church and community. As a member of the militia, Clark rose to rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and although he was too old to serve in the Civil War, he supported the cause by raising funds for the Freedmen’s Aid Society and serving as Secretary of the town’s Freedman’s Education Society. Clark Obear died in New Ipswich on April 11, 1888, aged 77.

Contents of Collection

The four diaries in this collection contain brief, but regular entries documenting Clark Obear’s daily life in New Ipswich, N.H. during the middle years of the nineteenth century. Despite their brevity, the diaries form a continuous coverage of many years and offer details that provide a compelling sense of the rhythms of life in a small New Hampshire village. Of particular note, Obear carefully notes the various lectures he attends in town and the organizations of which he is part, including reform movements like temperance and antislavery.

Collection inventory
Obear, Clark H.: Diary
1845-1851
252 p.
Vol. 1

Obear, Clark H.: Diary
1871-1877
280 p.
Vol. 2

Obear, Clark H.: Diary
1878-1883
280 p.
Vol. 3

Obear, Clark H.: Diary
1884-1888
203 p.
Vol. 4

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English

Provenance

Acquired from Benjamin Katz, April 2009 (2009-064).

Bibliography

Details on Obear’s family and life are available in:

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, July 2015.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Clark H. Obear Diaries (MS 601). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Acquired from Benjamin Katz, Apr. 2009
Subjects
  • Abolitionists--New Hampshire
  • Antislavery movements--New Hampshire
  • New Ipswich (N.H.)--History
  • Temperance--New Hampshire
Contributors
  • Obear, Clark H.
Types of material
  • Diaries

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