Author: Genevieve Wallace
A secretary, and eventually vice president, of the Industrial School for Girls, Miss Emeline Augusta (E.A.) Everett lived a life shaped by death and wealth. She lived with her mother her whole life, and died single at 66. The second of five children born to Nancy Barnard and Francis Everett, Emeline and her sister Mary Caroline were the only two to survive to old age. Ann, born a year before Emeline in 1821, survived only a handful of days. Emeline and Mary were born just two years apart, and must have relied heavily on each other to weather the deaths of their younger brothers. Emeline was only 10 when her brother John passed away at the age of 2, and the following year bore witness to the death of her brother Francis at the age of 6. Two years after the death of Francis, her father, Francis Everett, passed away when she was only 13 years old.
The Everett family was prominent in the first parish of Dorchester in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is likely that Emeline grew up under the influence of the parish. Francis’ father, Emeline’s grandfather, was Reverend Moses Everett. Rev. Everett, a Harvard graduate, served as minister at the First Parish Dorchester for nearly twenty years, between 1774-1793. Emeline’s father, state senator from Norfolk county, and cousin to Edward Everett, was involved in community activities at the church until close to his death. An issue of the Boston Patriot and Daily Chronicle indicates that Frances Everett participated in the dedication ceremony of a new schoolhouse at the parish by reading a poem.
When Reverend Everett passed away in 1813, Francis inherited his estate. Emeline would have lived in the residence until the house was sold to the Appleton family at auction after her father’s death in 1835.
The items included at auction, like “a good sleigh” and “buffalo skins,” highlight the family’s wealth. The house was eventually demolished in 1909, and is now the site of the Edward Everett Elementary School.
An assuredly welcome bit of good news in the Everett household occurred in 1854 with the marriage of Emeline’s sister Mary to William Page Barnard. However, only four years later, Mary was widowed and once again living with Emeline and their mother Nancy. Perhaps it was the death of her brother-in-law that pushed Emeline to volunteer her time at the Industrial School two years later, when she was 37 years old. There is no way to know for sure, but one can imagine close bond between Mary and Emeline after enduring the deaths of so many loved ones. Despite their presumed closeness, one imagines a tendency to dwell on the past, and perhaps Emeline decided to take up volunteer work to divert her energy and attention elsewhere.
Emeline served on the board of managers of the school, and also as an officer in the role of secretary. In 1872, while living in Upham’s corner on Glendale Street with her mother and sister, she ceased to be listed as secretary, but continued to serve as a manager. During her next (and last) three years at the school Emeline served as the vice president.
Emeline finished her tenure with the school at the age of 53. In 1880, at age 57, she lived at home in Dorchester with her mother and sister, her occupation listed as “at home.” It is likely that Emeline and her sister were taking care of their mother, who passed away in 1883. This must have been another difficult time for the sisters, who one can imagine continued to live together until Emeline’s death six years later. Mary passed away two years after Emeline.