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Literary men and women of Somerville.

By David Lee Maulsby.

Three persons remain to be briefly considered. Mrs. Mary A. Pillsbury, the daughter of Edwin Leathe, and connected by blood with the Weston family of Reading and the Brooks family of Medford, was born in Lynnfield in 1838. She was married in 1863 to L. B. Pillsbury. Of the four children, Harry N. Pillsbury, it is safe to say, is known as a chess player throughout America and Europe.

Mrs. Pillsbury early began to write poems, ‘for her own amusement and for the gratification of her friends.’ In 1888, shortly before her death, a volume of her pieces was published, called ‘The Legend of the Old Mill, and Other Poems.’ The title poem is a story of Mallet's old wind-mill, still looking down upon us from the Nathan Tufts Park, perhaps the most venerable landmark of our city. An Acadian maiden, fleeing from one who would have tarnished her honorable name, takes refuge, disguised as a man, in the old mill, by permission of the old miller. Her pursuer finds here there, runs up the steep ladder after her, but by a misstep falls through a hole in the floor, and meets a horrible death. The poems in this volume include rhymed anecdotes, verses suggested by the children, reflections of natural beauty, and thoughts on religious themes.

Mrs. Katherine B. W. Libby, who died within a year (March 7, 1902), was born and educated in Chelsea, but lived in Somerville since shortly after her marriage. Mrs. Libby was remarkable for her patriotism, as well as her predilection for poetry. A ‘Daughter of the Revolution,’ a member of this society, and of several social and philanthropic bodies, she bore her part in practical affairs. Her writing, however, was to her of supreme importance: she would drop instantly whatever she might be doing when a thought came to her, that she might not lose its appropriate expression. Her writings have not been collected into book form. They include poems of nature, patriotism, and religion.

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