Newport New Hampshire Teacher, Suffragist, Civic & Club Leader, Business Woman: Mary Matilda (Putnam) Sibley (1860-1927)

Mary Matilda (Putnam) Sibley (1860-1927). Photograph from One Thousand New Hampshire notables, page 17

There was very little that Mary Matilda (Putnam) Sibley could not do. She was the daughter of Marshall & Mary M. (Carroll) Putnam, born in 1860 in Croydon, Sullivan County New Hampshire, just before the Civil War began. She was teaching in the local Croyden schools in 1880, and graduated from Kimball Union Academy in Meriden NH in 1883. In 1884 she married Frank A. Sibley of Newport NH, who was partner with his father in a successful scythe factory. She removed to Newport NH where she raised a family.

When her husband died in 1909 she ran the scythe company for a few years, eventually turning it over to her son-in-law, and then her son Homer. She was active in many local clubs and groups, including the Daughters of the American Revolution (a descendant of Caleb Putnam) on the local, state and national levels.

Stereoscopic Views of Newport, Sullivan County, New Hampshire. John Bachelder photographer. Robert N. Dennis Collection, New York Public Library Digital Collections.

She maintained an interest in women’s issues throughout her lifetime, was a suffragist, and concerned about the plight of women as they aged.  She was also a conservationist, interested in the future of New Hampshire’s forests and the creatures that lived in them.

Her interests are listed in detail in “One Thousand New Hampshire Notables” as follows: “long interested in club, philanthropic, benevolent and patriotic work; member, Newport Woman’s Club (president 1908-9); chairman, conservation committee, State Federation 1912-13; regent, Reprisal Chapter, D.A.R., 1911-13; conservation chairman, N.H.D.A.R. 1916-17; member, National Conservation board, D.A.R. 1916-17; deeply interested in conservation of New Hampshire birds and forests; president Newport Equal Suffrage League; member, board of education, 1908-1910; trustee, Newport Home for Aged Women; raised money for soldiers’ monument at North Newport; has traveled extensively in this country and Europe.”

She had four children, three of whom, two sons and a daughter, grew to adulthood. She not only worked locally to improve education for her town, but she also insured that her children had all the benefits of a good education.

—Background of the Sibley Scythe Company–

According to the Newport NH Historical Society newsletter, in 1842 Sylvanus Larned started a scythe shop in North Newport, with the shop being powered by water from a canal channeling water from the Sugar River. In 1845 Ezra T. Sibley purchased an interest in the shop, and from that time on it was known as “The Sibley Scythe Factory.” This company reportedly  manufactured the scythes that cleared jungle during construction of the Panama Canal [1903-1914]. With the invention of the mowing machine, which could handle the process of haying larger areas quicker, the need for scythes decreased. Around the Civil War era scythe production began to decrease, though there is still some need today.

Frank A. Sibley joined his father as a partner in 1873 until his death in 1909. Frank’s wife Mary Sibley ran the shop with D.K. Barry for two years, then Charles E. Winter, a son-in-law became the plant foreman. In 1912, a new building was added to produce hatchets. Mr. Barry sold his interest in 1913 to Mrs. Sibley. Mr. Winter left in 1920 to enter the shoe business with his brother. Frank’s eldest son, Homer T. Sibley ran the shop with his mother until it closed in 1929. In 1929, The plant burned down, but the Sibleys rebuilt and kept the business going for a few more years before quitting. In June of 1946, Leslie E. Badmington bought the plant and started the Sugar River Fabrics company.

[My thanks to the Newport NH Historical Society and the Richards Free Library in Newport NH]


Putnam Leaflets

The Putnam Lineage; historical-genealogical notes concerning the Putnam family by Eben Putnam

Capt. John Putnam (1580-1662) & Priscilla Gould (1582-1662)
Thomas Putnam (1614-1686) & Anne Prudence Holyoke (1621-1665)
Edward Putnam (1654-1747) & Mary Hale (1660-1749) [Edward’s brother Thomas (1652-1699) was one of the significant accusers during the Salem Witch Trials]
Deacon Edward Putnam (1682-1755) & Sarah Miles (1686-1735)

Edward Putnam, son of Edward & Sarah (Miles) Putnam, b. 21 June 1711 Salem Village MA, d. 17 Feb 1800 Sutton MA; m. 3 Dec 1734 in Middleton MA to Ruth Fuller, daughter of John & Phebe (Symonds) Fuller. She b. 30 Sep 1715 Middleton MA, and d. 22 May 1780 in Sutton, Worcester Co. MA
Children of Edward & Ruth (Fuller) Putnam:
1. John Putnam, b. 1735, d. 1809
2. Stephen Putnam, b. 1739, d. 1756
3. Ruth Putnam, b. 1741, d. 1811
4. Archelaus Putnam, b. 1742, d. 1809
5. Phoebe Putnam, b. 1745, d. 1794
6. Sarah Putnam, b. 1747, d. 1789
7. Mary Putnam, b. 1750, d. 1796
8. David Putnam, b. 1752, d. 1840
9. +Caleb Putnam Sr., b. 27 Oct 1754 Sutton MA
10. Peter Putnam, b. 1757, d. 1827
11. Lucy Putnam, b. 1760, d. 1841
12. Asa Putnam, b. 1763, d. 1827

Caleb Putnam Sr., son of Edward & Ruth (Fuller) Putnam, b 27 Oct 1754 Sutton MA, d 1808 [or 31 July 1815][or 1824] Croydon NH; m1) 21 Aug 1776 in Sutton MA to Judith Sibley, dau of Capt. Samuel & Abigail (Parks) Sibley. She b. 6 June 1756/57 in Sutton, Worcester Co MA, d 27 March 1811 in Croydon NH. She is buried in Putnam Cemetery, Croydon NH. He m2d) 21 Nov 1811 in Croydon NH to Freelove Elliot. She was b. 12 Dec 1786 in Croydon NH and d. 11 Feb 1813 in Croydon NH; He m3rd) 24 Jan 1814 in Southborough, Worcester Co MA to Submit Fay, dau of Robert & Elizabeth (Joslyn) Fay. She was b. 8 March 1758 in Southborough MA and d. 30 Jan 1844 in Southboro MA. During the American Revolution he responded to the Lexington Alarm as a private in Capt. Bartholomew Woodbury’s company, Col. Learned’s regiment. He is listed in the DAR Patriot Index. He was one of the early immigrants to the town of Croydon, Sullivan Co, NH and settled with David Putnam on the south-east slope of the Pinnacle, in a locality long known as the “Salt Box.” [Book: Croydon NH 1866] They were noted for a handy constitution and great industry.
CALEB PUTNAM, page 860 Vol XII Mass. Soldiers and Sailors. “Private. Cap’t Bartholomew Woodbury’s Company; Col. Lerned’s reg’t pay abstract for billeting to and from camp; Company marched from Sutton, Douglas and Northbridge, Dec. 9, 1775; also Capt. Bartholomew Woodbury’s Co., Jonathan Holman’s regiment. Service 1 month 13 days; Company marked from Sutton to Providence RI, alarm of Dec 10, 1776.
Massachusetts Spy, Wednesday, Feb 6, 1822, page 3
DIED: At Sutton, on the 26th ult, [26th Jan 1822] while on a visit, Mr. Caleb Putnam, aged 66. [Printers in New York, New-Hampshire, and Vermont, are requested to insert this]
Children of Caleb & Judith (Sibley) Putnam:
1. Mehaleth Putnam, b. 6 April 1778 Croyden NH, d. 13 March 1840 Croyden NH; m. Reuben Winter
2. Caleb Putnam, b. 24 Feb 1779 Croyden NH, d. 8 Sep 1862 in Wilton NH; m. 16 Sep 1800 in Croydon NH to Susannah Hayward
3. Judith Putnam, b. 22 Dec 1780 in Croydon NH, d. 1806
4. Ruth Putnam, b. 18 Oct 1782 in Croydon NH
5. Luvinia “Lu” Putnam, b. 24 Sep 1783 in Croydon NH, d. 1854
6. Samuel Putnam, b 28 March 1786 Croydon NH, d. 29 Feb 1860 in Cuttingsville, Rutland Co. VT; m. 13 Nov 1808 to Susan “Sukey” Gibson. They had at least one child, Austin Putnam, M.A. [b. 6 March 1809 in Croydon NH]
7. Edward Putnam, b. 13 Dec 1786 in Croydon NH, d. 29 July 1866 in Benton Lake IL; m. Lydia Melendy.
8. Sarah “Sally” Putnam, b. 26 Jan 1789 in Croydon NH, d. 16 Dec 1865 in Claremont NH; m. Nathaniel Cowles, son of Timothy & Sarah (Stilson) Cowles. He was b. 1784, and d. 1856. 6 children.
9. +Hiram Putnam, b. 5 March 1791 NH
10. Peter Putnam, b. 16 Aug 1795 in Croydon NH, d. 17 Dec 1881 in Croydon NH; m. Martha Winter
11. Mahala Putnam, b. 1797 in Croydon NH, d. 23 Feb 1853 in Grantham, NH

Hiram Putnam, from The Putnam Lineage; historical-genealogical notes concerning the Putnam family by Eben Putnam, page 293.

Hiram Putnam, son of Caleb & Judith (Sibley) Putnam, b. 5 March 1791 NH, d. 15 May 1864 at Croydon NH. The Putnam genealogy states he married twice [can’t find another wife] and had 9 children. In his youth he was an unrivaled athlete, successful farmer, and was honest and kind-hearted. He m) 16 Aug 1812 at Croydon NH to Rachel (Barton) Chapman, widow of Warren Chapman. She b abt 1786, d. 3 Feb 1859 age 73. She had m1st) 5 May 1805 in Croydon NH to Warren Chapman. Buried Four Corners Cemetery, Croydon NH.
Children of Hiram & Rachel (Barton-Chapman) Putnam:
1. Stillman Putnam, b. 1813, d. 25 Jan 1834
2. Proctor Putnam, b. 8 July 1814; d. 2 Apr 1892 Waukegan IL; successful business man and member of society. He m. Rosilla Sargent. She was b. 3 February 1813, d. 31 May 1895 at Waukegan IL. Their daughter Ella Putnam m. William George Morris.
3. Judith Emerline “Jemerline” Putnam, (daughter) b abt 1815, d. 23 June 1832, aged 17
4. Caleb Putnam, b. 11 Jan 1818 Croydon NH, d. 20 Jan 1881 Croydon NH
5. Martha Putnam, b. 21 July 1820 Croydon NH, d. 22 Aug 1876 in Williamstown, Orange Co. VT; She m. — Hall. She is buried in Four Corners Cemetery, Croydon NH.
6. Harrison Putnam, b. 1822 NH; d. 13 March 1861 in IL. Farmer who settled in Illinois in 1850.
7. +Marshall Putnam, b. 30 July 1824 at Croydon NH
8. Hiram Putnam, b. 2 Feb 1827 in Croydon NH; d. 5 Aug 1890 in Pomfret, Windsor Co. VT
9. Rachel Putnam, b. May 1829 Croyden NH, d. 31 Aug 1859

Marshall Putnam of Croydon NH. Likeness in Putnam leaflets, page 1244

Marshall Putnam, son of Hiram Putnam, b. 30 July 1824 at Croyden NH, d 18 May 1902 North Newport NH; m. 16 Jan 1848 in Croydon, NH to Mary Matilda Carroll, daughter of George & Elizabeth (Nichols) Carroll. She b. 13 Aug 1829 in Croydon, Sullivan Co. NH, d. 11 July 1906 in North Newport NH. Farmer.
1870 US Census > NH > Sullivan > Croydon
Marshall Putnam 45
Matilda Putnam 40
George Putnam 19
Frank Putnam 18
Fred Putnam 15
Edd Putnam 13
Matilda Putnam 10
Nellie Putnam 1
1880 US Census > NH > Sullivan > Croydon
Marshall Putnam 55 Head Farmer NH NH NH
Mary M. Putnam 50 Keeping House NH NH NH
Frank Putnam 28 Grocer NH NH NH
Mary M. Putnam 20 daughter single School teacher NH NH NH
Nellie A. Putnam 11 at school NH NH NH
Barton, De Walt C MW M 14 servant works on farm NH NH NH
Croydon NH – Putnam
Children of Marshall & Mary M. (Carroll) Putnam:
1. Emeline Elizabeth Putnam, b. abt 1849 Croydon NH; m. 20 Jan 1867 in Croydon NH to George H. Jacobs, son of Paul & Mary (Soverin) Jacobs
2. George Edson Putnam, b 9 Feb 1851 Croydon NH; m. 27 Oct 1874 in NH to Mary R. Hurd, daughter of Peter & Ruth (Howe) Hurd
3. Frank Edwin/Elwyn Putnam, b 27 May 1852 at Croyden NH; m. 10 May 1884 Lowell MA to Louisa A. Rediker, dau of Henry & Mary L. (?) Rediker [Also see History of Lowell NH], p. 393
4. Fred Wilbur Putnam, b 13 December 1854 Croydon NH; m1) 28 Nov 1878 in NH to Mary E. Codman, dau of Joshua A. & S. Ann (Loverin) Codman; He m2) 24 Nov 1890 to Alice E. Forehand, dau of Oliver C. & Charlotte (Phillips) Forehand.
5. Edward Marshall “Ed M.” Putnam, b 25 January 1857 Croydon NH, d. 1927; m. 21 May 1883 in NH to Bertha P. Humphrey, dau of Baldwin & Salona (Brown) Humphrey. Buried Croydon Flat Cemtery, Croydon NH
6. +Mary Matilda Putnam, b. 27 March 1860 Croydon, Sullivan Co. NH
7. Nora Belle Putnam, b January 1864; d. 4 Aug 1866 Croydon NH
8. Nellie A. Putnam, b Dec 21 1868 Croydon NH; m. 16 Oct 1890 in Newport NH to Lawrence F. Cutting, son of Alfred & Susan L. (Davis) Cutting

Mary Matilda Putnam, [this story is about her, SEE photograph at top of page] daughter of Marshall & Mary M. (Carroll) Putnam, was born 27 March 1860 on Croydon, Sullivan Co. NH and died 30 May 1927 in Newport NH, aged 67 yrs, 2m 3d [at the Carrie F. White Hospital]. She was buried North Newport NH Cemetery. She married 19 June 1884 in Meridan NH to Frank A. Sibley, son of Ezra Taft & Lydia D. (Gay) Sibley. He was b. 28 January 1851 in Newport NH, and d. 26 Oct 1909 in Newport NH. He was a graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music, and was sometimes rated as one of the finest organists in the State of NH. She was a member of the DAR, #46792, a descendant of patriot Caleb Putnam (1754-1808).
Ezra Taft Sibley arrived in Croydon NH in 1845. A scythe-maker by trade, he removed from Massachusetts to New London NH, where he married, and then moved to Croydon. His son Frank joined him in the scythe business.
1900 US Census > NH > Sullivan > Newport
Frank A. Sibley 49 Head W M Jan 1851 married 15 yrs NH MA NH Prop Scythe Factory
Mary M. Sibley 40 wife March 1860 married 15 yrs 4 ch 3 living NH NH NH
Homer T. Sibley 13 son March 1887 single NH
Helen Sibley 10 daughter Aug 1889 single NH
Dean S. Sibley 5 son Oct 1894 single NH
—living next door—
Sibley, Ezra T. Head W M Feb 1817 83 married 62 yrs MA MA MA Farmer
Sibley, Lydia wife March 1820 80 married 62 yrs 7 ch 2 living NH NH NH
Children of Frank A. & Mary M. (Putnam) Sibley:
1. Plummer Putnam Sibley, b. Jan 1886 Newport NH, d. 21 Apr 1887 Newport NH; buried North Newport Cemetery, Newport NH
2. Homer Taft Sibley, b 1 March 1887 Newport, Sullivan Co., NH; d. 31 July 1951 in North Newport, NH. He m. 1923 to Golidina DeWolf Lewis, dau of Sam. D & Maude Lewis of Newport NH. They had one son Lewis Sibley who was killed Europe during WW2.
3. Helen Sibley, b. Aug 1889 NH, d. 1960; m. 1912 Charles Winter
4. Dean Sheridan Sibley, b. 25 Oct 1894 NH; d. 15 Feb 1956; buried North Newport Cemetery, Newport NH. Was Chief Ordnance Inspector at the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady.



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9 Responses to Newport New Hampshire Teacher, Suffragist, Civic & Club Leader, Business Woman: Mary Matilda (Putnam) Sibley (1860-1927)

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  2. Amy says:

    I am so impressed with how much research goes into each of your posts!

  3. Martha A Hunt says:

    Wow – this was my great grandmother! Nice job!

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  7. Kevin J Main says:

    I believe I have in my collection of family pictures, 3 photographs of her when she was 10 and under. Please let me know if you would be interested in copies.

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