In March, 1998, I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely lady, Nancy Weare at Stevens Memorial Library, as she introduced
“Anne Dudley Bradstreet
America’s First Poet
Selections from Her Works”
the chapbook she had edited to bring Mistress Bradstreet out into the public once more after decades of being ignored.
Nancy discussed the life and words of Mistress Bradstreet, a founding mother of Andover Parish and America’s first published poet in 1650. She told the audience that in 1995, she had heard Anne’s poems read and had no idea of the poet or her lovely poems written so long ago. Even with a major in literature, Anne was a complete surprise to her.
The quiet passion with which Nancy spoke of “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” demonstrated Anne’s deep devotion to Simon as his wife since they wed back in Lincolnshire, England in 1628.
That Sunday afternoon in Spring changed my life completely as I meet two of the most cultured, gentle women ever.
Nancy, I must thank you for sharing your love of Anne with the world and with me.
Now, here is a brief overview of your very successful life of 92 years . . .
Nancy Virginia Weare of Exeter, formerly of Newburyport, Boston and Ipswich passed away peacefully at RiverWoods in Exeter, New Hampshire on December 12th at the age of 92.
She was born at home on Ashland St. in Newburyport, the daughter of Laurence Weare and Helen Rodigrass Weare.
An only child, Nancy graduated from Newburyport High School, Class of 1943. She went on to earn a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts at the Massachusetts College of Art and spent 20 years as an art editor for Ginn and Company in Boston.
She received a Masters Degree in Special Education and then taught at the Brown School in Newburyport for 17 years.
After retirement Nancy decided to write “Plum Island, The Way It Was”, about her favorite place in the whole world, her family’s summer camp at the Knobbs. She enjoyed sailing, swimming and teaching her dog Nicki to dig for clams. Her fondest and most vivid memories were created on this special place, Plum Island.
The Federal Government reclaimed the land when Nancy’s Mother passed on and she was able to find a home on Great Neck in Ipswich overlooking her beloved Island, where she lived for 33 years.
She took it upon herself to edit and publish a second book on American’s First Poet, Anne Dudley Bradstreet after hearing a presentation about her life and enjoying some of her poetry recited at Stevens Memorial Library, North Andover, in 1995. Nancy had never known of Mistress Bradstreet during her school years and believed this Puritan woman deserved much more recognition.
Jill Barker, librarian at Stevens Memorial Library, recalls; “Nancy, who compiled and published the chapbook, Anne Bradstreet: America’s First Poet, was an ardent champion of Anne and her poetry.”
A memory of former North Andover Poet Laureate, Karen M. Kline; “Anne Dudley Bradstreet was a woman admired by Nancy, who understood both the difficulties of Anne’s life and her amazing poetic talent, ignored by too many.”
As an author, Nancy was often invited to speak at meetings of local organizations and libraries in MA and NH.
Nancy enjoyed traveling, especially to Ireland, which she visited five times.
She was a member of many organizations, including
The Ipswich Historical Society
The Museum of Old Newbury
The Maritime Museum
The Sons and Daughters of Old Newbury
The Friends of Plum Island Light
The Museum of Fine Arts
The Peabody Essex Museum
The Whittier Home Museum
The Friends of Anne Bradstreet
The Belleville Improvement Society
The Red Hat Society
She was a descendant of Susannah Martin, one of the accused Salem Witches (1692).
A devoted animal lover, Nancy rescued many dogs and cats over the years, including Liza, Ringo, Sugar Van Fleet and Murphy Brown, a white German Shepard who found her Ipswich home a safe haven in a snowstorm. Charlie Brown and Trevor, the Beagles, enjoyed living with her at RiverWoods where they received lots of love from other residents.
She leaves her second cousin, Sally (Blake) Lavery, also of RiverWoods, plus many, many friends and fans.
She was predeceased by her close cousins, Barbara Lagasse of Amesbury, Cary Plummer of Newburyport and Thomas Knowland of North Carolina.
Following Cremation she will be buried in the family plot at The Belleville Cemetery. The date of a Memorial Service, planned for early in the new year, will be announced soon.
Arrangements are by Paul C. Rogers and Sons of Newburyport.
Again, Nancy, I cannot thank you enough for your passion for a woman neither of us ever met, but knew, very well.