Collection Title: Lavinia Passmore Yeatman Papers

Collection Number: 151

Dates of Collection: 1843-1904

Box Numbers: 1

RepositoryChester County Historical Society

Project Archivist: Shannon Steel


Lavinia Marie Passmore was born in Philadelphia on January 30, 1817 to parents Carleton Passmore and Mary Mather Passmore. She was the third of five children, with brothers William, Carleton, and George and a sister, Sarah. Her family moved to the family home in Kennett Township in 1828. Lavinia is a descendent of Thomas Carleton, a Quaker preacher and friend of George Fox. Lavinia belonged to the Society of Friends, and was strongly involved in the temperance movement. Lavinia was also a gifted poet and writer. Her first poem entitled “To a Robin” was published in the West Chester Village Record when she was twelve years old. In 1882 “Edith,” Lavinia’s 3000 line poem that captured her Quaker faith was published. Poet J. G. Whittier applauded the poem for its beauty and Quakerism.

On January 24, 1841, Lavinia married John Marshall Yeatman. In 1855, the couple’s three young daughters became ill with Scarlet Fever. On March 30, 1855, four year old Sarah Eloise passed away, followed quickly on April 8th by six year old Susan and on April 17th by eight year old Maria Florence. The couple had two surviving daughters, Gheretein and Florence. On March 8, 1888 Gheretein married Dr. Joseph Pennock Pyle. After a troubled marriage, the couple divorced. On August 12, 1903 Gheretein married Idaho Senator Weldon Brinton Heyburn.
John Marshall Yeatman died in February 1897 after a short illness. Lavinia Passmore Yeatman passed away on January 26, 1908. Gheretein, the last remaining member of the family passed away on February 26, 1934. Florence died just a few years before Gheretein.

Resources Used:
CCHS Newspaper Clippings
Village Record 1855 CD

Collections Scope:

The collection consists of letters written to Lavinia Passmore Yeatman, unless otherwise indicated through the years of 1843 to 1904. There are few letters and a paper written by Lavinia.

Collection Arrangement:

Alphabetical by sender and then chronological within author.

Related Material:

For more information on Lavinia Passmore Yeatman’s written works, please see the diary collection.

Collections Contents:

Folder 1: 1843-1904 Letters
Beuty, Sarah W. L1978
– Undated. Letter speaks of gaining strength from one another. Regrets she will be unable to attend a meeting with Yeatman.
Biddle, Gertrude. L9177
– July 30, 1879. Letter concerns Yeatman having children from London visit her for the summer. Initial plans are made for the children.
Chiniquy, C.
– March 28, 1892. L9180. Writes of the books he has written and their price and sending a few to Yeatman.
– July 26, 1892. L1982. Thanks Yeatman for her letter and the money for the book she bought.
– January 24, 1893. L9179. Letter concerns the sender’s pilgrimage in Canada.
– March 1893. L9181. Letter concerns a house fire that destroyed sender’s library and possessions. This is the sender’s fifth fire, and he lists the monetary damages to each fire.
Cope, Gilbert. L1983
– September 20, 1894. Yeatman is interested in the Battle of Brandywine and the Army’s movement. Cope asks her about Peter Mather and if he was her grandfather.
Durfee, Elihu. L1984
– April 29, 1875. Letter first concerns the health of family and friends. Dunfee cannot attend the yearly meeting. Letter turns to answering Yeatman’s religious questions. Focus is on questioning divinity and the difference between Catholics and Protestants.

Heyburn, Gheretein.
– November 1, 1893. L9202. Writes about the convention she is attending and the living conditions. She comments on the women there, the elections, and who is backing the nominated. [Married to Dr. Joseph Pyle].
– May 12, 1904. L9201. Letter is addressed to Florence. Writes of travels with her husband, Wheldon Heyburn.
Hoopes, Lavinia C. L1985
– March 1, 1895. Letter concerns arranging correspondence between different leagues of women.
Marshall, Lizzie McFarlan. L9188
– June 22, 1888. Writes about her poetry and the poetry of others. It seems there is a book of writings and poetry to be put together. Writes of the lack of a Chester County Book of Poetry. Would like copy of Anne Preston’s “May Havest.”
McClees, Cassandra
– February 13, 1883. L9186. Letter seems incomplete. Writes of helping “poor, blind, colored man” that needs clothes and shoes. Paraphrases a sermon by Elias
Hicks [?]. Mentions that she would like to see the “Friends Journal.”
– February 27, 1884. L9187. Writes that she received the “Journals.” She includes a quote from a preacher about Friends.
Passmore, C. L9213
– April 21, 1827. Addressed to Grandfather William and Jackson. The letter concerns his house and friends.
Passmore, Carleton J.
– September 2, 1849. L9212. Writes about his time in Boston.
– February 11, 1863. L9214. Written while in the Army at Union Mill. Writes about camp life and about the five cents per month they will have to start paying in order to receive mail. Complains about superiors drinking. Writes of the Keystone Battery defending Washington. Mentions escorting gentlemen around and their fear of “pickets.”
Passmore, Mary Mather. L9204
– November 2, 1862. This is a transcribed copy of the original letter. The copy is dated March 2, 1886. Letter is addressed to “My Dear son” (Carleton J. Passmore) when he was in the Army of the Southern Rebellion in 1862. Writes of family and friends and sickness. Asks how he is and if he received his boots and if he needs potatoes. Writes of the draft and Ben Sharpless who gave up his oath and was drafted the next day.
Preston, Anne
– May 20, 1843. L9210. Asks Yeatman to come to West Grove and writes of reading her poetry.
– November 8, 1843. L9211. Writes of outward and inner beauty. Writes of wishing Yeatman was an abolitionist so she could see her at anti-slavery meetings.
– October 27, 1860. L9190. Sends sympathy for the death of a loved one. Hopes she can trust God and invites her to stay with her in Philadelphia for the winter so she does not grieve too long and will be able to perform her duties.
– July 19, 1868. L9189. Advises on a medical issue. Thanks Yeatman for her “beautiful words in regards to the speaking life of nature.” Expresses the beauty of the county and the natural world’s effect on the soul.
Price, Rachel L.
– Undated. L9191. Letter is regarding the circulation of petitions.
– February 15, 1894. L9193. Writes of Temperance and the Keeley movement. Respects the rescue work the Keeley movement does, but values preventive work the most. Mentions attorney Bingham’s alcoholism. Mentions an anti-cigarette movement.
– February 27, 1900. L9192. Writes that she is sorry to hear of Yeatman’s being sick. Recounts a funeral and writes of the fight for Temperance.
Roberts, Louisa J. L9194
– November 24, 1882. Writes a book notice for Yeatman’s book Edith.
Smith, Benjamin
– August 11 1893. L9195. Asks for a response to a paper in the Denominational Congress. On the back of the letter is written Yeatman’s confusion with the request.
– August 18, 1893. L9195.1. Further explains the response he wants her to send. It is to be read before a discussion of the paper to which she responded.
Turner, Wm. Ed. L9196
– July 21, 1894. From Britain. Discusses the difference between British Friends and American Friends.
Webb, Sarah. L9197
– January 29, 1874. Comments on a letter sent to her by Yeatman. Writes of speeches at meetings.
Wharton, Deborah J. L9198
– September 30, 1874. Writes of plans for monthly meetings.
Wharton, Susan D.
– July 14, 1879. L9199. Letter is sent from London and concerns the children that will potentially be spending the summer with Yeatman.
– July 25, 1880. L9200. This letter concerns sending a mother and two children to spend some time in the summer with Yeatman, if the mother can get off work.

Yeatman, Florence. L9205
– September 15, 1878. Addressed to “Dear Sister.” Letter switches between Gettie (Gheretein) and Florence. Writes of Gettie’s illness due to food she had eaten. They tell of visiting the Bosworth family.
Yeatman, Lavinia P.
– Undated. L9207. This letter is sent to J. Ellen Foster. Writes that she agrees with Foster’s non-partisan ideas. She writes of the convention for temperance and wishes Foster could be elected National President of the WCT Union. She believes people must put aside jealousies so they can succeed with temperance.
– March 25, 1851. L9209. Addressed to “Dear Sis” (Sarah Webb). Majority of letter is written by Yeatman and she writes of visitors and ends in the middle of a sentence. Last part of letter is finished by “Mother” because Yeatman could not finish it due to having “another daughter to take care of.”
– 1880. L9208. This is a short essay about a mother’s duty to guide her children in religion and toward a good, faithful life.
– 1894. L9206. This is a draft of a letter and is addressed to Wm. E. Turner. The letter features edits to be made. She writes of searching Bible records for God’s truth because of her deep pain. She questions the difference between British and American Friends and does not understand why people must stand on points of divergence. She writes of the history of Quakers and her ancestry.
Unsigned. L9203
– September 4, 1881. Letter is addressed to Susanna. Writes of time in Chicago and meeting Wm. Price.