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A family letter to Sarah Tarbox, 1838

Contributed by Westport Island History Committee

This letter was written to Sarah Tarbox while she was attending Mrs. Elizabeth Fields School in Topsham from two of her older sisters, Abaline and Louisa, and Louisa's husband, William Greenleaf. In the letter Sarah's sisters tell her about life at home, her other siblings, tease her for attending a dance and send love from Wilmot Greenleaf (Sarah Tarbox's future husband), among other topics.

Sarah Tarbox was born January 7, 1823 in Westport Maine. She was the eighth of 12 children of Mary "Polly" Brown and Samuel Tarbox, a gentleman farmer of Westport Island.

Mrs. Fields' School, which was located in Topsham, was operated by Mrs. Elizabeth Fields from 1831 to 1844. The school was quite small, operating with 12 boarding scholars, and 12 day students. The school taught young women basic French, decorum and social etiquette. According to Wheeler's History of Brunswick, Topsham and Harpswell, Fields was progressive in her approach to educating young women by advocating exercise and an appreciation of the outdoors as well as academics and sewing. Fields also taught social entertaining to include music, dancing, and conversation with guests who called on the school.

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Other Information


  • Title: A family letter to Sarah Tarbox, 1838
  • Creator: Tarbox, Abaline R.
  • Creation Date: 1838-08-05
  • Subject Date: 1838-08-05
  • Town: Topsham, Westport Island
  • County: Lincoln, Sagadahoc
  • State: ME
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 29.5 cm x 19 cm
  • Local Code: TarSar.Doc.5-1.1838
  • Collection: Sarah Tarbox Letters
  • Object Type: Text

For more information about this item, contact:

Westport Island History Committee
6 Fowles Point Road, Westport Island, ME 04578
(207) 882-8477
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