Elizabeth Clarke Hathorne

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Elizabeth Clarke Hathorne (Manning)

Also Known As: ""Betsey""
Birthplace: Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: Died in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
Place of Burial: Salem, Essex, MA, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Richard Manning and Miriam Manning
Wife of Capt. Nathaniel Hathorne
Mother of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jr.; Maria Louisa Hathorne and Elizabeth Manning Hathorne

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About Elizabeth Clarke Hathorne

Hawthorne's mother, Elizabeth (Betsey) Clarke Manning, was born in 1780, the second daughter of Richard and Miriam Manning. Richard Manning, Jr. (1755-1813), a blacksmith, was born in Ipswich, MA and moved to Salem before 1774. He prospered as the owner of a stage business in Salem, and he acquired considerable property in Maine. Richard Manning married Miriam Lord (1748-1826), also from Ipswich, and they had nine children, five sons and four daughters. The first child, Mary, was born in Salem in 1777. After her mother died, Mary inherited the Manning house at 10 ½ Herbert St. where she lived until her death in 1841. The second child, William, born in 1778, worked as stage agent of the Salem and Boston Stage Company. It was here where Hawthorne worked as a bookkeeper when he was sixteen.

After her family moved to Salem, Elizabeth (Betsey) Clarke Manning attended East Church in Salem, the liberal and Unitarian church presided over by Dr. William Bentley, and she was a participant in Bentley's singing school in 1792. Betsey Manning married Captain Nathaniel Hathorne (1775-1808) on August 2, 1801. Hathorne lived on Union St. in Salem, one street over from Herbert St. where Betsey lived with her family. Her husband went to sea as a youth and was frequently away on long voyages. Their first child, Elizabeth, was born on March 7, 1802, while Hathorne was away on one such voyage. Hathorne was again away at sea when his second child, Nathaniel, was born in the Union Street house on July 4, 1804. The Hathorne's third child, Maria Louisa, was born on January 9, 1808, two weeks after Hathorne set sail on the journey to Surinam (Dutch Guiana) from which he would not return. That spring, after Betsey Manning Hathorne learned that her husband had died at sea, she moved with her children from the house on Union St. to the house on Herbert St. where they lived with her parents and her eight siblings, who ranged in age from seventeen to thirty-one. Thereafter, Betsey Clarke Manning Hathorne was frequently in the position of accepting the favors of her Manning relatives. Her brother, Robert, for example, built houses for her and her children on Dearborn St. in Salem and in Raymond, Maine.

Thus Hawthorne's mother was dependent upon the good graces of Manning relatives all of her life. Perhaps this, and the lifelong grief over her husband's death, partly explain the demeanor which, according to Edwin Haviland Miller in Salem Is My Dwelling Place, the Peabodys referred to as "'gloomy or melancholy'" but Betsey Hathorne's daughter, Elizabeth, labelled as merely "'serious'" (32). Although Hawthorne's mother emerges as a parent who was not demonstrative in her affection, the family was close; they supported each other throughout their lives. Elizabeth, for example, helped Hawthorne with his research and checked out books for him from the Salem Athenaeum, and the children were sympathetic to their mother and her plight. Furthermore, this sympathy spills over to Hawthorne's sensitive portrayal of women in his fiction.

Although she herself was reared in East Church, it was in the First Church where Betsey Manning Hathorne had her children baptized, and it was a minister of First Church who buried her on August 2, 1849, in the Howard St. Cemetery. Her daughters Louisa and Elizabeth, neither of whom married, are also buried there.

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Elizabeth Clarke Hathorne's Timeline

September 6, 1780
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
August 2, 1801
Age 20
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
July 4, 1804
Age 23
Salem, MA, USA
January 9, 1808
Age 27
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
July 31, 1849
Age 68
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
Salem, Essex, MA, USA