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Wesley W. Dow (1841-1863) Diaries

Wesley W. Dow (1841-1863) Diaries

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WESLEY W. DOW (1841-1863) DIARIES, 1858-1863

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Dow, Wesley W., 1841-1863
Title:Wesley W. Dow (1841-1863) Diaries
Quantity:0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The Wesley W. Dow Diaries consists of two diaries of Wesley W. Dow of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Collection Number:MSS 351

Series List

Scope and Content Note

The Wesley W. Dow Diaries consists of two diaries of Wesley W. Dow of Lawrence, Massachusetts. The earlier of the diaries has entries from August, 1858 to September, 1859, during which time he worked as a farm laborer in Weare, New Hampshire. There are detailed descriptions of his daily tasks on the farm. The later diary (1862-1863) is larger and more complete with daily entries from January 1, 1862 to January of 1863. Mr. Dow was a religious man, spending much of his free time going to prayer meetings and other religiously oriented activities, though the diary does not specify the denomination of the congregation or parish. Dow also describes his social activities: visiting, an occasional party, picnics, and swimming. After enlisting in the Army, his company was sent south to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There is some description of that city, which was largely destroyed by fire as a result of military actions. There are detailed descriptions of his life and activities in camp. After the final entry, dated January 15, 1863, there are several pages of personal accounts.

Biographical Sketch

Wesley W. Dow was the eldest son of William M. Dow, a Lawrence, Massachusetts, machinist and Mary Jane (Goodale) Dow. He was born on March 8, 1841. For much of the period from 1858 to 1859, at age 17 and 18, Dow worked as a farm laborer in Weare, New Hampshire. The later diary (1862-1863) indicated that for a short time he was "keeping school." Afterwards, for most of 1862 until the time of his enlistment in the Union Army, he worked at a variety of odd jobs including clerking in a store. In August of 1862 he joined the Union Army. According to his diary entry, he was inducted into the 35th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers Infantry. However, an entry dated December 8th, 1862 indicates that he was in the 41st Regiment, Company B. He died, unmarried, on March 11, 1863 at the age of twenty-two, only 3 months after his last diary entry. The cause of his death is not readily available but it seems he died on the battlefield.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment
United States. Army--Military life
Agricultural laborers
Agriculture--New Hampshire
Farms--New Hampshire--Weare
Baton Rouge (La.)--Description and Trave
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Wesley W. Dow (1841-1863) Diaries, MSS 351, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The 1858-1859 diary was purchased on October 14, 1999 (acc. #1999.052). The 1862-1863 diary was purchased on December 20, 2000 (acc. #2000.029).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Frances Malamy, June 2005. Updated by Nicholas Long, April 2015.

Related Material

Adjutant General. Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War. Vol. III and IV. Norwood: Norwood Press, 1932.

Dow, Robert. Book of Dow; Genealogical Memoirs. Claremont, NH: Robert P. Dow, John W. Dow and Susan F. Dow, 1929.

S. Davenport and Company. Lawrence (Mass.) Directory for 1866. Boston: J. C. Dow and Company, 1866.

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