From the Mansfield Historical Society Newsletter, Vol. 46, No. 4, November 2010
During the summer we received a large gift of Mansfield materials from the estate of Lucille Storrs Manning of Lebanon. Included were the wedding outfits worn by Louisa Jane Chase and George L. Rosebrooks when they wed on January 1, 1872. The bride was the housekeeper for Augustus Storrs, who gave part of his property to the State to found the Storrs Agricultural School (now the University of Connecticut). The groom was his farm manager. The beautiful wedding gown is made of robin’s egg blue silk trimmed with white silk fringe. Mr. Storrs purchased the silk fabric in New York and gave it to the bride as a wedding gift. Mrs. Manning had loaned the wedding dress and groom’s outfit to the museum on two previous occasions and we are thrilled to now add them to our collection.
Another interesting item included with this gift is an attractive “log cabin” quilt made by Maria Waldo Mattoon (1823-1899). Mrs. Mattoon was a resident of the Mansfield Poor House during the last years of her life. Lucille Manning received the quilt from her grandmother Edith Rosebrooks, whose parents, William H. and Emma Jane (Barrows) Gardiner, ran the Poor House from 1876 to 1918. Mrs. Manning’s grandmother had married Frederick Rosebrooks, son of George L. Rosebrooks and Louisa Jane Chase.
From Washington Society To A Poor House
A newspaper clipping from The Hartford Courant, dated November 16, 1895, accompanied the quilt. The article, “Poor House Folks,” describes some of the residents of the Mansfield Poor House. The excerpt below tells the sad story of Maria Waldo Mattoon, the maker of the quilt:
Perhaps the most interesting case in the poor house and one that most perfectly marks the extremes in social life is that of Mrs. Maria Waldo Mattoon. Mrs. Mattoon is a pleasant faced old lady of 72. She is the widow of Calvin S. Mattoon and her life experience includes the extremes in social life. She first saw the light in Mansfield in the old Waldo homestead in the northwest part of the town which is still standing. Her father’s name was Roger Waldo, a man of prominence in his day. While on a visit to Ohio, when about twenty years old, she became acquainted with Mr. Mattoon, who lived in Blindon, about 10 miles from Columbus. She married him in 1843 in Mansfield and went to Ohio to live. In the early part of Lincoln’s administration, her husband secured a clerkship appointment in the interior department at Washington. They moved to the national capital where they prospered and soon owned a fine residence. Mr. Mattoon’s service during the eight years previous to General Grant’s election as President were such as to point him out as worthy of higher honors, and early in President Grant’s administration he was appointed United States consul at Honolulu, H.I. He accepted the position and with his wife resided there four years.
It was during his residence there that reverses in fortune came. Through the dishonesty of an agent in Washington with whom he left his business affairs his fortune was swept away, and he was compelled to assume the duties of his old place in the Interior department, where he remained until his death about four years ago. His wife was left without money or friends, and as though to run over her cup of misfortune a stroke of paralysis rendered her partially helpless. She drifted back to the home of her childhood, where among its green hills and wooded valleys she hoped to find some friend to steady her tottering steps in her last days. But although a brother still occupied the home of her childhood she soon found there was no corner there for her and about eighteen months ago the doors of the last place on earth any true American ever expects to call home were opened to receive her.
She left Mansfield a beautiful young bride and with her husband had enjoyed the society of the cultured in the national capital, had held positions of honor and trust, accumulated and lost a fortune and 50 years afterward she returned to the house of her childhood only to become an inmate of the poor house. The frosts of 70 years have whitened her locks, but aside from that time has dealt gently with her. The wrinkles of age have not yet marked her clear cut features, and in every voice and movement she clearly shows the lady of culture and refinement, and yet there is no complaint and among them all she seems the most contented and happy.