Tuesday, May 04, 2010

DRACUT HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Presents the first New England Lecture about "Write Quick"

A BOOK THAT EXPLORES LIVES OF TWO UNION INFANTRYMEN

The Talk will include material about the Fox Family and Marsh Hill Farm in Dracut not covered in other presentations and not covered in the “Write Quick” book.

Two women with New England roots have completed a popular history; the story of two New England infantrymen. The book-which includes photos, company rosters, regimental activities, maps and family trees- will be published by Winoca Press of Wilmington, N.C., in early April.

The authors are Ann Fox Chandonnet of Vale, N.C., and Roberta Gibson Pevear of Exeter, New Hampshire. Chandonnet was born in Lowell, Mass., and grew up in nearby Dracut. Pevear grew up in Maine. The women's families have ties with New England that go back for centuries.

Eliza Bean Foster and Daughter The infantrymen are Henry Charles Foster and Andrew Jackson Bean. Foster was born in Vermont and later lived in Lowell, Mass. He enlisted with the 26th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and died after being wounded at the battle of Third Winchester, Virginia. He was stationed for many months in New Orleans, and one of his letters is a dramatic play-by-play of the Battle of Sabine Pass.

Andrew Jackson Bean was born in Maine, where the national economic downturn made life difficult. He enlisted in the 5th Maine Volunteer Infantry, a regiment known for taking prisoners and battle flags. Bean survived the war, and became guardian of Foster's children, after Henry's wife Eliza (Andrew's sister) died of consumption - probably due to work in textile mills.

"Write Quick": War and a Woman's Life in Letters, 1835-1867 explores the extended kinship network of the Foster, Bean, Lynch, and Fox families, which included Gustavus Vasa Fox, Assistant Secretary to the Navy under Abraham Lincoln. Chandonnet is a fourth cousin of "Gus."

Chandonnet is a magna cum laude graduate of Lowell State College (now University of MA, Lowell), majoring in English and minoring in history. Her master's degree is from the University of Wisconsin (Madison). She lived and worked in Alaska for 34 years, where she was adjunct faculty for the University of Alaska Anchorage and worked as a newspaper reporter.

Co-author is Bobbi Pevear of Exeter, New Hampshire, who is descended from Eliza Bean Foster, the main "character" of the book. Bobbi and Ann are third cousins, once removed. Pevear, 79, grew up in Eliza's home town of Bethel, Maine. She served five terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and had a 35-year career in business administration and law. Bobbi's mother, Thirza Estelle Hickford Gibson (1893-1986) saved the documents on which the book is based.

Chandonnet is the award-winning author of many books including the Fodor travel guide, Alaska's Inside Passage, and the food history, Gold Rush Grub.

This is Pevear's first book.

Chandonnet and Pevear will tour New England in May. Their first appearance will be a lecture at the Dracut Historical Society at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 16. On Monday, May 17, at 7 p.m., both Pevear and Chandonnet will lecture at the Hampton Falls Historical Society.

In connection with a larger exhibit about Lincoln and Emancipation, Chandonnet will lecture at 7 p.m. on May 19 at the Pollard Memorial Library in Lowell. A lecture is also scheduled for Saturday, May 22, at the Bethel Historical Society. On the afternoon of May 23, Chandonnet will give a presentation about Andrew Bean and the Fifth Maine Infantry at the Fifth Maine Infantry Museum on Peaks Island near Portland.

Date: Sunday May 16, 2010
Time: 1 PM
Place: Harmony Hall, 1660 Lakeview Ave., Dracut, MA
(next to the Dracut Historical Society)

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