I was a nerdy, history-loving child of eight when my family first took a trip “back East” to visit places like Sturbridge, Plymouth and Boston. I loved every minutes with the costumed folks, the old cemeteries, and the Freedom Trail. When I first moved to Massachusetts, fifteen years later, I was excited every time I saw a plaque on a building or a memorial statue in a park.
Over the years, though, I’ve slowly become a jaded East Coaster. The Freedom Trail is just a red stripe in the sidewalk, it’s totally normal to walk past a cemetery in the middle of the block, and every house was built in the 1800s, so what’s the big deal?
Well, we have a sale coming up in a Big Deal house on August 24th, and getting the house ready has reminded me why living in Massachusetts, surrounded by so much that’s of historical and cultural significance, is pretty amazing.
If you’re like me, you recognize the name Clara Barton. You know that she was an important figure in American history, you may know that she founded the American Red Cross. You might associate her with other influential women of the nineteenth century. Perhaps you don’t know much else, so here are a few more highlights from the life of this remarkable woman:
–Born in Oxford, Massachusetts in 1821 (a local!)
–Founded the first free school in the state of New Jersey
–Barton was a clerk in the US Patent Office, and is thought to be the first woman to hold such a government job.
–Was the “Angel of the Battlefield” as she worked on the front lines running Union hospitals during the Civil War.
–Ran the Office of Missing Soldiers in Washington, D.C. after the war’s end.
–Was great friends with Susan B. Anthony and an important figure in the fight for women’s suffrage.
–Was also close to Fredrick Douglass and became an early civil rights activist.
–She was a widely sought public speaker and lecturer who spoke about her wartime experiences, as well as the importance of humanitarian aid and volunteer efforts.
Pretty amazing lady, right? Well, yes, but what does this have to do with estate sales? Well, for most of her life, Clara Barton kept a summer home in Oxford, MA. On August 24th, we’ll be opening the house up to all of you for one of our most interesting sales yet.
Check back here in the next week for updates on the later residents of the home (hint: clock repair) and some of the exciting finds we’re uncovering. Until then, enjoy a few pictures of this gorgeous place…