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[p. 150]

‘Maria del Occidente.’

[A paper read before the Medford Historical Society, Nov. 21, 1898, by Miss Caroline E. Swift.]

BUT little is known of the early life of ‘Maria del Occidente.’ She was a daughter of William and Eleanor (Cutter) Gowen,1 and was born in Medford in 1794. Her father was a man of cultivated tastes; he had many literary and professional friends, and held various public offices in Medford. He was a goldsmith by profession, and seems to have been in reduced circumstances the last years of his life. The family moved to Boston while Maria was an infant. Her father died when she was fourteen, and at the age of sixteen she became the second wife of John Brooks, a merchant tailor of Boston, who had previously married Lucretia Gowen, an older sister, and had educated Maria. The marriage took place August 26, 1810, about three years after the death of his first wife. Two children were born to them: Edgar, Nov. 25, 1811, and Horace, Aug. 12, 1813. Mr. Brooks met with reverses in business, and at his death, in 1823, left his young wife of twenty-nine and his children almost penniless.

The year of her husband's death she removed to Cuba, making her home with her brother, William Cutter Gowen. By his death, a few years later, she came into possession of considerable property, and was able to devote herself to literary pursuits and to travel.

She passed the years 1826-7-8 and 9 mainly in Cuba. In 1829 she was in Hanover, N. H., interested in fitting her son Horace for Dartmouth. In a letter to

1 Her father, William Gowen, was a son of Hammond and Mary (Crosswell) Gowen, of Charlestown, and a grandson of Capt. Joseph and Elizabeth (Ford) Gowen, of Charlestown.

Her mother, Eleanor (Cutter) Gowen, was a lineal descendant of Richard Cutter, who with his mother, widow Elizabeth Cutter, was one of the early settlers of Cambridge.

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