Helen Betty Tufts Kreger

Helen Tufts was born November 10, 1896, in Exeter, New Hampshire. She was the youngest child of Professor Tufts and his wife Effie. She lived her entire life in Exeter and documented it in detail. There are diaries from her life preserved at the Exeter Historical Society and scrapbooks and pictures have recently been preserved which tell her story and give a wonderful glimpse into our town, Exeter, New Hampshire.

It appears her name was not decided upon when it was recorded. I am not aware of any middle name, but we all know she was known as Betty her entire life.

Betty was probably educated in her father’s home, as was likely for all the Tufts children who preceded her. Irving, Miriam, Delmont, Theadora, and her closer brother Jim all got the benefit of their father’s command of English at home and probably more. James A Tufts  was establishing himself as a professor of English and other studies at Phillips Exeter Academy. They lived in a fine home on Pine Street. Later, Betty attended Robinson Female Seminary and possibly The Berkley School of Music. She learned to play the piano and organ and continued for her entire life playing the organ at the Unitarian Church in Exeter and giving piano lessons from her home. Many period news articles indicate she played the piano and organ for numerous occasions in Exeter. One I found from April 1933 lists the baritone for the event as Robert Kreger. She and Bob were married in 1936. (Note added 4/18/23: Professor Tufts also taught the Classics in his first year at PEA. He taught the Greek and Latin necessary for boys to enter Harvard and other schools.)

An interesting story caught the eye of Exeter Historical Society historian Barbara Rimkunas when she first read Betty’s diaries. She never told her father she had married Bob and did not live with him for nearly a year. She finally does tell her father and it is announced in the Exeter Newsletter soon thereafter.

Notes from Betty’s diaries: 1937, May 16 (Sunday) “Bob says to tell father of our marriage tomorrow am” May 17 (Monday) “Confessed my marriage to Bob in Jan 1936. Told Father of Bob’s & my marriage on Jan 27 1936. He broke down at the blow. Sent R to check him [Ruth-his new wife]. Very sorry to hurt him….Waited for Bob & all had supper together at 7. Out with him in evening to see cemetery lots, then to get his clothes, etc. from Bow St. Spent first night together in this house using my room, top floor.”

The Historical Society in Exeter mentions Betty and her diaries at least ten times in their “Historically Speaking” articles or “History Minute” videos. They are in the process of transcribing the entirety of her diaries from 1908 to 1990. (Support them if you can.) One of the recent stories is completely centered on Betty and her entry into driving a car, including a story about a wild ride with brother-in-law Nat Burleigh and chauffeuring her father around Exeter.


Betty’s nieces and nephews and their children were an important part of her life. She saw many of them grow up in Exeter and at the Unitarian Church and gave most of them piano lessons. Aunt Betty was an important part of the family, like an extra Grandmother, she always attended the family events. Many pictures exist of these get-togethers, including weddings and holidays. There was also a part of Betty’s life many of us did not know about. Her diaries and scrapbooks show how full a life she led. She was active with numerous associations, including the Unitarian Women’s Alliance where she held the State director post. She loved the outdoors and went canoeing, horseback riding (and competing), and trips with her father during his retirement years. Betty loved her time and association with the Robinson female Seminary and organized their reunions. She must have been devastated when the old school burned to the ground. This list is just a small amount of her life. For a full description one should read her diaries and enjoy her scrapbooks when they are donated to the Historical Society. There are also many old Tufts pictures which have been donated as negatives to the Historical Society. (See below). They are also available to be seen in a cloud drive. Contact me for more information.

Thomas Tufts


Betty and Bob outside their Ash Street home
Betty and her father on a vacation in the White Mountains
Betty and Gyp at Pine Street circa 1911

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: https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/2021/06/02/historically-speaking-nat-bettys-wild-ride-exeter-nh/7514284002/

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

Delmont Tufts family of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

I am trying to find the family descendants of this family who ran this farm called Unkamet Farm in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Delmont Locke Tufts, Sr. was born in Exeter, New Hampshire December 6, 1888. He was a twin; his sister was named Theodora. They were the third and fourth children of James A Tufts I and his wife Effie (Locke) Tufts. Delmont married Florence Spencer Stevens and had 2 children, Katherine and Delmont. The name Delmont derives from Effie’s adoptive father Benjamin Delmont Locke of Arlington, Massachusetts. This is one of those stories where the vital records were scant, but the newspaper articles told the story. The clip below is from the October 4, 1929 Exeter Newsletter found in a collection of the Tufts family.

The article details Delmont’s life before Pittsfield and that he had 2 children while working in Connecticut. From what I can determine Delmont retired in 1962 and moved to Florida. Katherine Keyes husband Ted Keyes ran the farm for some time but the barn burned in 1968 and I have found no evidence of remaining buildings as the area has grown up into homes and a golf course. I would like to connect with any Keyes descendants.

Delmont and Florence children:

Katherine Tufts was born in 1913. She married Edwin Keyes and had a family there on the farm in Pittsfield. They are detailed in some part in the articles below.

Berkshire Eagle Jan. 30, 1971
Springfield Republican. 30, 1972

From these I can determine the family on the farm with husband Edwin Keyes including sons Clyde Keyes, and Delmont Tufts Keyes and 3 daughters. (Katherine, Linda-Kay and Barbara.) The picture below was dated 1947 with a question mark. Katherine’s children were born from 1934 to 1950. The description on the back of the photo is below

These color images from 1947 are really amazing. Color was new then. I have had the black and white version for a while and these2 horse team shots. I never knew who the family was or who and where the horses were. Through close examination it looks to me like they were probably taken the same day. The man in back with the white t-shirt seems to be Clyde Keyes. I believe the other man in the picture is Delmont Tufts Jr. It compares to his Navy picture below. The two women on the right of the picture would probably be Katherine (Tufts) Keyes, and Delmont’s wife Mary (Beebe) Tufts. I haven’t figured out the kids yet, but likely a mix of the two families.

Please contact me if you have any information on the descendants of this family.

Delmont Locke Tufts Jr. was born in Pittsfield in 1915. “Del Jr”, went to Pittsfield schools then University of Iowa, then joined the US Navy. He married, in 1942, Mary Beebe. She was a local schoolteacher and had traveled abroad for education and teaching. They lived in Florida while he served in the Navy. The newspaper record indicates they had a son Peter Tufts in 1944 but I have found no further records of him.

Berkshire County Eagle August 29, 1943
clip from The Story of The Bannion

There is probably a lot more to discover here. Stay tuned

Berkshire County Eagle Aug. 23, 1944
Springfield Daily Republican May 24, 1932
The Springfield Union Sep. 30, 1968