Sophia Foord Timeline

Grave marker at Dedham Cemetery

Grave marker at Dedham Cemetery

1802 – June 8, Sophia Foord born to parents James and Hannah Foord of Milton, MA

1820 – Nov 12, Admitted into membership at First Parish Church in Dedham. (Harding article)

1822 – Sept 26, father, James Foord dies at age 60  (Grave marker)

1828 – March 22, sister, Hannah Foord dies at age 30  (Grave marker)

1829 – April 3, sibling, Waitstill Foord dies at age 34 (Grave marker)

1831 – First depositor of the Dedham Institution for Savings in the sum of $50. (records, Austin Meredith)

  • Oct 18 – sister, Jane Foord dies at age 27 (Grave marker)

1833 – Teaches at the First Middle School in Dedham, MA (Dedham historical Register, 50)

1842 – Donating member of the New England Non Resistance Society

1843 – Arrives at the Northampton Community for Education and Industry (May)

  • April 15 – Signs register as Sophia Foorde. (Austin Meredith)
  • May 8 – writes letter to friend about the “Railroad Underground” from Northampton, MA
  • Aug 1 – slated to speak at the celebration of the emancipation of the West Indies (Liberator July 23)
  • Oct 3 – mother Hannah Foord dies at age 79 (Grave marker)
  • Nov 9 – part of a business committee that adopted several resolutions for the Norfolk County Anti-Slavery Society (Nov 17 Liberator)
  • Dec. 8 – signs notice for Social Reform in New England along with David Mack of Northampton (Liberator)

1844 – Still at Northampton

  • Jan/Feb -Amos and Abigail Alcott visit Northampton and Hopedale Communities looking for a place for their family. (Eden’s Outcasts pg 165)

1845 – Moves from Northampton to Concord to live with the Alcotts

  • April 1 – Alcotts move to Hillside house (The Wayside). (Eden’s Outcasts)
  • June 12 – Withdraws from the Northampton Community. (Austin Meredith)
  • Sophia and Charles Lane along with Bronson Alcott begin teaching in Alcott’s school. (Document from Alcott house, dated 1846)
  • Sept 5 – Abigail Alcott writes in her journal that Sophia Foord has decided to leave before the winter. Sophia also judges Abigail’s parenting skills as impotent and desultory, the children as indolent. Abigail states that she is not ready for associative life. (My Heart is Boundless)
  • Sept 14 – AB Alcott has left to visit his brother Junius who was suffering a mental problem (My Heart is Boundless)
  • Sept 19-22 (est) Louisa May Alcott writes to Sophia Gardner about Miss F, her governess, taking the girls and children wading in Flint’s Pond one day as well as climbing trees in an orchard. (Louisa May Alcott: An Intimate Anthology).
  • Sept 19 – Abigail comments on the favorable influence of Miss Ford on Louisa. (My Heart is Boundless)
  • October – Charles Lane leaves the Alcott house and returns to his Quaker community.
  • December – Abigail writes to her brother Sam that the girls are attending the District School. (My Heart is Boundless)

1846 – Still living in Concord, moves in with Emerson to tutor his children at some point.

  • Feb 4- Thoreau speaks at the Lyceum on Carlyle. (
  • April 15-16, attends the annual meeting of the Norfolk County Anti-Slavery Society, Treasurer (The Liberator April 24)
  • April 20 -trimmed the May pole in preparation for May Day (Harding Article reference)
  • May 1 – celebrates May Day with the Alcotts at Emerson’s home (Journal of Bronson Alcott)
  • July – The Alcotts, Emersons, and Mrs. Brooks go to Dedham (Sophia’s hometown) for the day. (My Heart is Boundless)
  • Early Oct. – Abigail takes in Elizabeth Stearns whom she calls a totally irresponsible being.
  • Oct. Sophia takes ill
  • Nov. 29 – Louisa’s 14th birthday and also Amos’s birthday is celebrated. Louisa receives a pen from her mother, Amos a ½ ream of paper. (My Heart is Boundless)
  • Dec 4 – Eliza Stearns still with Alcotts (My Heart is Boundless)
  • Dec. – John, a fugitive slave takes up residence with the Alcotts (My Heart is Boundless)
  • Dec. 31 – The girls are attending no schools. (My Heart is Boundless)

1847 – Sophia Leaves Concord

  • Jan 31 – Abigail writes to her brother about a fugitive slave (John, probably) who stayed with them for two weeks. (My Heart is Boundless)
  • Feb 2 – A fugitive slave stays with the Alcotts for a week. (Journal of Bronson Alcott)
  • March – Sophia Leaves Alcott home
  • Nov. 14 – Thoreau receives a letter from Sophia Foord proposing marriage (Published letter to Emerson)

1849 – Sophia is discussed in a letter by Thoreau’s Aunt Maria about Sophia considering suicide over Henry’s rejection of her. Henry won’t speak of it and received a letter that upset him and he was determined to put a stop to it. (Harding Article, Canby book)

1850 – Living in Dedham with Esther Foord (1850 census record, 23 Aug. 1850)

  • Oct. 23 -24, Attends the National Women’s Rights Convention at Worcester, MA (

1854 – Governess for Elizabeth Buffum Chase children in Valley Falls, RI

  • Confides to Elizabeth Buffum Chace or her daughter Lillian that Thoreau is her soul’s twin and that in the Other World her spirit and his would be united. (Elizabeth Buffum Chace, 1806-1899. by Lillian Buffum Chace Wyman and Arthur Wyman, pg 130-131 quoted in Walter Harding’s “Thoreau’s Feminine Foe”)

1861 – April 22, brother, Enos Foord dies  age 64 (Grave marker).

1862 -May 6, Henry David Thoreau dies.

  • May 11 -Louisa May writes to Sophia Foord of Thoreau’s death. (Louisa May Alcott: An Intimate Anthology)

1885 – April 1, Sophia Foord dies on  at age 82 (Grave marker)

  • April 3- Obituary appears in Boston Transcript. (Harding Article)
  • April 11-“In Memoriam Sophia Foord” is published by Louisa May Alcott in Woman’s Journal. (Louisa May Alcott: An Intimate Anthology)

1890 – Dec 12, sister Esther Foord dies on at age 90 (Grave marker)

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