Theodora Tufts

I recently sought out the graves of Grand Aunt Theodora Tufts and her husband Nathaniel Burleigh in Hanover, New Hampshire. Here’s my short story of their family. Please add any stories and forward any corrections.

Theodora Tufts was the second daughter of James A Tufts I and his wife Effie (Greene/Locke) Tufts. She was born in December 1888. She was a twin, with her brother Delmont Locke Tufts. The family lived on Pine Street in Exeter, New Hampshire, where her father was a professor of English, Latin and Greek at Phillips Exeter Academy. She was likely instructed in the basics in her home and attended Robinson Seminary(?) She married Nathaniel Burleigh in 1914. There was a long engagement period and there is mention of the preparations in Effie’s diaries from around 1910. Nathaniel was from Franklin, New Hampshire and a 1911 graduate of Dartmouth so he was in school when they were engaged. His mother was a Burley from the Epping/Newmarket branch of the Burleigh family. Much more information is available about this family in The Genealogy of the Burley or Burleigh Family of America by Charles Burleigh 1880. Also, The Historical Society of New Hampshire has some archives with letters and historical items.

There are letters listed in that collection from Thea Tufts Burleigh dated 1888-1948. There are likely many insights into the history of these families contained in these archived letters, diaries, and ephemera.

Nathaniel and Theodora had a son in 1915, Nathaniel George Burleigh II, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The record states he died from spinal meningitis at three months of age. The family then moved to Connecticut. In 1917 Nathaniel registered for the draft, which reveals that they lived in New Haven, and he was an industrial engineer for the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. They had a daughter Barbara with them, born in 1916, in New Haven. She would be the only child to live to adulthood. Two other children were born in 1919 and 1927. James Arthur Tufts Burleigh lived until 1925. He died from Polio. A daughter Jane, born in 1927 lived until 1939, suffering from cerebral hemorrhage at birth. They are buried in Hanover with small stones near the family headstone. (It’s likely Nathaniel Jr. is buried in Exeter with no headstone. His Massachusetts death records states; place of burial: Exeter. There is no stone for him in the Tufts plot in Exeter, but Miriam Tufts was buried there in 1903 and Effie Tufts’ parents B. Delmont and Sarah Locke buried there in 1905.The cemetery has no record of his burial, but it is described in detail in Aunt Betty’s diaries at the Exeter Historical Society.) The family left Connecticut when Nathaniel started teaching at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. He held several positions there and records are available online and other places. He supervised some fraternities, wrote the alumni notes for his class, etc.

Helen “Betty” Tufts (Aunt Betty to all of the cousins in my generation) grew up admiring her older sister who left home when Betty was a teenager and enjoyed the visits from her family including when cars were new as written about in Barbara Rimkunas’ “Historically speaking” article:

Betty was especially close to Barbara (Burleigh) Hewitt. Theodora’s daughter. I remember her mentioning her name often. Barbara married John Hewitt in 1942 in Hanover and lived in Massachusetts where they raised a family with a son John (1951), and daughter Nancy (1943). Nancy married Sam Swanson. I had an address for her but have not had a response to my letter in 2020. It’s likely they had children. Her brother John D Hewitt also had a family, I believe. Let’s get the social media going and see if we can find these second or third cousins.

James A Tufts jr, Theodora, Delmont, Betty
Theodora Tufts, James A Tufts II, Helen Betty Tufts, Effie Tufts
Professor Tufts, Effie Tufts, Dr. Merrill, Theodora Tufts
Professor Tufts, Effie, Irving, Betty, James A Jr, Theodora, Delmont
Hanover, NH

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