Annie C. Nearman Hart
1860 – c. 1925
Annie C. Nearman Hart was born in Maryland in 1860.She remained single and worked as a nurse. Sometime before 1900 she moved to Fall River, Massachusetts and met William Hart of Tiverton. The couple married on April 28, 1900 and moved into their Adamsville home on the road between the village and the city of Fall River. William was 50, and Annie was 40. By 1915, William’s brother Isaac had joined the household.
Annie Hart came to the attention of the Little Compton Historical Society in a photograph in the Patten family photo album. Someone in the family labeled it “Annie Hart – Faithful Nurse.”
Are we sure the two Annie Hart’s are the same person? Honestly, no, but we are making an educated guess and invite anyone with helpful information to please share it with us.
Census records prove that an Annie Hart lived in Adamsville from 1900 until at least 1920. Her marriage record to William proves that she was a nurse, and so does a Maryland City Directory from 1892. The Patten’s photo album indicates that they knew and admired a “faithful nurse” named Annie Hart, and the style of her dress suggests that the photograph was taken sometime between 1890 and 1900. Perhaps, she had her photograph taken before she left Maryland, or perhaps it was an engagement or wedding portrait. (We’ll have to check the back of the portrait, the next time we are in the archive.) With this limited information, we can only intuit that the two women are the same.
Census records never show an Annie Hart living with the Pattens either in Little Compton or in Brookline, MA, their winter residence. Nor does Annie appear to live with Mrs. Patten’s family members, the Isaac C. and Amelia Wilbours on West Main Road in Little Compton. Annie may have stayed with the Pattens or Wilbours for periods of time when her services were needed, but these periods never corresponded with the census takers visits. The 1915 RI State census lists Annie’s occupation as “None.” She would have been 65 by this time and may have retired from nursing to focus on her housekeeping responsibilities and the Hart’s small family farm.
Neither Annie nor William appear in the 1930 census for Little Compton. It is likely they passed away by that time. They may also have moved away, though that is less likely. According to the RI Historic Cemeteries Database and Find-a-Grave, they do not have inscribed gravestones in Little Compton, Tiverton, or Westport. Once we can visit the Town Hall again, we’ll search for their death dates or property sales.
Marjory O’Toole, LCHS Executive Director
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