To Betsy Crocker Page 2
Born in South Carver, Massachusetts, Betsy (Bessie) was the youngest child and only daughter of Elkanah and Susan Davis Shaw. Although there were three older brothers, Augustus, Alfred, and Alonzo, it was said that Betsy brought a special joy to her father in his last years ... that she was the beloved child of his old age. Twenty years older than Susan, Elkanah died when Betsy was in her early teens. She appeared a quiet, rather solitary person, at least in her later years.
As a child Betsy contracted scarlet fever, which affected one of her eyes and left her with a severe hearing loss. While still in her teens, she began teaching school, although she had no special preparation.
The young man who would soon begin seeing Betsy Home was Lemuel Crocker of West Barnstable, Massachusetts. As a young man of 12, he went to sea, returning home at 17. After a few years of working for his father, he moved to the Carver-South Plymouth area to work in the cranberry harvest. He met and finally married Betsy Ann Shaw in November 1881. Lemuel was 23, and Betsy, 25.
They lived with Betsy's mother, and during that time Betsy taught Lemuel to read, write, and work with numbers. Their first child, Susie, was born April 18, 1883. Their first son, Theron, died at one year of age of the "grippe," now known as flu. Their second son also died at about one year of age. Percy was born about eleven years after Susie.
Years later, Betsy nursed her mother through three years of "dropsy," now known as edema, an illness that finally took her life in 1903. Lonesome for their now-married daughter, they moved to Washington State. They made one more round trip before they moved permanently to 2726 Franklin Street. Two years later, 1932, Lemuel died and Betsy moved in with Solon and Susie. She remained there until her death on April 23, 1940.
Betsy Ann Crocker rests at Greenacres, in Bellingham: facing the sunrise. Read excerpts from her journal on the following page. I especially ask you to consider the quality of her writing, considering her education.
Copyright Judy Vorfeld.
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