It’s a Cape Ann Story that’s not uncommon. Look through the genealogical tables in the Cape Ann Museum’s archives and you soon discover the names of many of the original settlers still fill the phone book; still comprise the tax records. You will also discover that many of these families have intermarried. By now, 12 or 13 generations later, if your family’s lived here long enough, practically everyone’s related to everyone else.
So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to learn I was related to my favorite painting in the collection: Alfred Wiggin’s engaging portrait of four year old Nathalie Duley Clough, painted in 1868. On my Docent highlight tours, I unfailingly pointed her out, to the delight of all visitors who readily saw the child’s impish, merry personality that Wigging had skillfully caught –a rare characteristic in portraits of that era.
However: this is only half the story!
When Nathalie’s portrait was given to the museum in l973 by Alice E. Babson, the painting carried a different middle name: Nathalie Diamond Clough. It wasn’t until 2012 that Curator Martha Oakes uncovered the error in her research, and corrected the attribution label to read Nathalie Duley Clough. That’s when I realized we were related!
My first cousin, Marcia Duley Babson Rogers, who retired last year after serving thirty years as secretary of the Babson Historical Association, carries the Duley name in our generation. This I had always known which is why I recognized the name Duley and made the happy connection.
Nathalie Duley Clough’s maternal aunt, Marcia Lee Duley, married Osman Babson in 1864. She was my great grandmother. One of their three children, Elmer Warren Babson, was my grandfather and one of his three sons, William Warren Babson, born in 1905, was my father.
Alice E. Babson, born in 1893, who gave the portrait to Museum was also a grandchild of Marcia Lee Duley and my father’s first cousin.
See the published account in Cape Ann Museum News and Views, April-June 2012, p. 6.
For more information on Marcia Duley and Osman Babson and their descendants, see Thomas E. Babson, comp., Riverdale Story: a Family Scrap-book of the Forebears and Descendants of Osman and Marcia Babson (Gloucester, Mass.: 1950).
Written by Anne Babson Carter in 2012. She has been a docent at the Cape Ann Museum since 2008 and is currently a trustee of the Babson Historical Association.