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Nathaniel Bouton. Memoir of Mrs. Elizabeth McFarland. 3rd ed. (Boston, 1839), frontispiece.


Elizabeth McFarland was born in Boston, in March of 1780, and moved to Concord, New Hampshire, in 1803, after she married the Rev. Asa McFarland, pastor of the First Congregational Church. During her husband’s ministry in Concord and following his death in 1827, she taught Sabbath school and participated in several charitable societies. She became ill during the winter of 1837 and died in November, 1838.

The Rev. Nathaniel Bouton, her husband’s successor at the First Congregational Church, published Mrs. McFarland’s memoir a year after her death. In it he details her involvement in the various local benevolent societies and her popularity among the poorer classes:

Her only fault was that she loved others better than herself. But by her charitable efforts she was known as the friend of the poor, and much beloved by them. Instances would frequently occur in which they would show their gratitude to her personally. Once she engaged a man of Irish family to saw wood. When he came to do the work she said, ‘For what can you afford to do it?’ ‘O ma’am,’ he replied, ‘as cheap as any body.’ She repeated the question; but he still replied, ‘As cheap, ma’am, as any one.’ After he had finished, she offered him pay, which he refused to take, saying, ‘My woman told me not to tax you any thing, because you was so good to us.’” (p. 196)



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