THE VERMONT GAZETEER
ABBY MARIA HEMENWAY
She knew of many who had written Poems worth preserving, and the result of her efforts to collect these treasures was "The Poets and Poetry of Vermont," published in 1859. The collecting of materials for that book introduced her to the prominent men and women of that time, interested her in almost every portion of the State and made her many lifelong friends. The keepers of local anecdotes and traditions of the early settlements were rapidly passing away; each year death decreased their numbers.
Miss Hemenway had shown such fitness for the particularly difficult task of finding interesting material for literary work where none was expected, that at the earnest request of many eminent men, she began her Vermont Gazetteer, thinking to complete it in a few numbers, published in a magazine form.
The work grew on her hands, and has proved to be the labor of a life-time, and so valuable to the State and every lover of Vermont, and indeed to every historical student, that we might feel that she earned for herself a fitting monument, if that were all the record she had left of her residence on earth.
At intervals, while waiting for publisher of copy, she has written several volumes of poetry and some books of prose, which prove her an enthusiastic Christian woman, and attest her warm love for the friends she found wherever she resided. Her work as Vermont historian led her to various localities of the State, in order that she might personally superintend the collecting of material for her Gazetteer.
About six years ago, thinking by the report of friends that there was a better opportunity in Chicago for finishing Vol. V., she went there, where she resided until her death. A fire destroyed a large part of what was done on that volume.
A less determined nature than hers would have sunk under the discouragement. But she rose to the emergency and went bravely to work, recovered the lost manuscript and had nearly completed it, when death came swift and silent.
From whichever standpoint we view her life, she was a remarkable woman. In this age, when woman has taken a position in all professions, not one deserves a stronger need of praise from the present generation, or has bestowed a greater obligation on those that shall come after, than Abby Maria Hemenway.
Abby Maria Hemenway died Feb. 24, 1890, aged 61. She earnestly
worked for Vermont up to the last day of her life, and died suddenly
with apoplexy; she was brought to Ludlow, her old home, for burial.