Harriet Taylor Simmons

Harriet Taylor Simmons

1850 – 1938

Harriet Taylor Simmons. Courtesy of Richard Manchester.

Harriet Milford Taylor was born in Little Compton to George and Sarah Taylor on May 5, 1850. She became the second wife of Frank Wells Simmons on September 11, 1872. They had five children Josephine, Minnie, Hattie, Valentine, and Helena. Like many women who lived before the age of modern medicine and especially antibiotics Harriet endured the loss of two of her children. Hattie died when she was one and Helena died at three.

Harriet and Frank lived on West Main Road a little south of Meeting House Lane. Frank was a farmer, and Harriet kept house with the help of servants like Ellen Deane from Ireland. Their household also included farm laborers, first farm boys from the neighborhood and later young men from the Azores, like Manuel Gonsalves who was with them in 1880.

Frank died at the age of 45 in 1884 leaving Harriet with three small children. Harriet, Frank and their two little girls are buried in the New Wilbour Cemetery on West Main Road. They share a granite gravestone with Dr. Isaac B. Cowan’s family. Frank’s sister Anna married the doctor in 1886. He too died young, just two years after Frank. We can only imagine the bond sister-in-laws Harriet and Anna shared during their long widowhoods.

Eventually, her children grown, Harriet moved into her brother John Taylor’s home on Shore Road and lived there with her elderly mother. She made another major move around 1920 when she went to live in Baltimore, Maryland with her daughter Minnie’s growing family. By 1930 she was back in the area living in Westport with her daughter Josephine and son-in-law Lysander Manchester.

Frank Wells Simmons. Courtesy of Richard Manchester.

Marjory O’Toole

March 1, 2020

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548 West Main Road, Little Compton, Rhode Island
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