Woman of the Century/Abby Hutchinson Patton
PATTON, Mrs. Abby Hutchinson, singer and poet, born in Millord, N. H.. 29th August, 1829. She is widely known as Abby Hutchinson. She is the fourth daughter and the sixteenth and youngest child of Jesse and Mary Leavitt Hutchinson, of good old Pilgrim stock. Thirteen of those children lived to adult age, but now, in 1892, only John and Abby are living. Mrs. Patton comes from a long line of musical ancestors, pricipally on the maternal side. Her mother sang mostly psalms and hymns, and the first words Abby learned to sing were the sacred songs taught her by her mother, while she stood at her spinning-wheel ABBY HUTCHINSON PATTON. When four years of age, Abby could sing alto, which seemed to the family a wonderful performance. A little later she went to the district school with her sister and young brothers. There she acquired the simple English branches of study. In 1839 she made her first appearance as a singer in her native town. On that occasion the parents and their thirteen children took part In 1841, with her three younger brothers, Judson, John and Asa, she began her concert career. The quartette sang in autumn and winter, and the brothers devoted the spring and summer to the management of their farms, while the sister pursued her studies in the academy. In May. 1843, the Hutchinson family first visited New York City. Their simple dress and manners and the harmony of their voices took the New Yorkers by storm. The press was loud in their praise, and the people crowded their concerts. The Hutchinsons, imbued with the love of liberty, soon joined heart and hand with the Abolitionists, and in their concerts sang ringing songs of freedom. This roused the ire of their pro-slavery hearers to such an extent that they would demonstrate their disapproval by yells and hisses and sometimes with threats of personal injury to the singers, but the presence of Abby held the riotous spirit in check. With her sweet voice and charming manners she would go forward and sing " The Slave's Appeal " with such effect that the mob would become peaceful. Those singers were all gifted as song-writers and music-composers. In August, 1845, Abby went with her brothers, Jesse, Judson, John and Asa, to England. They found warm friends in William and Mary Howitt. Douglas Jerrold, Charles Dickens, Macready, Harriet Martineau, Hartly Coleridge, Mrs. Tom Hood, Eliza Cook, Samuel Rogers, Hon. Mrs. Norton, George Thompson, Richard Cobden, John Bright and many others. Charles Dickens gave the family an evening reception in his home. Mr. Hogarth, the father of Mrs. Dickens and the critic of the Italian opera, after hearing the family sing, took them by the hands and said that he never before had heard such fine harmony. At their opening concert many prominent literary and musical people were present. After one year of singing in Great Britain the family returned to America and renewed their Concerts in their native land. On 28th February', 1849, Abby Hutchinson became the wife of Ludlow Patton, a banker and broker in New York City, and an active member of the New York Stock Exchange. After her marriage Mrs. Patton sang with her brothers on special occasions. At the outbreak of the rebellion, in 1861, Mrs. Patton joined with her brothers in singing the songs of freedom and patriotism. In April, 1873, Mr Patton retired from business with a competency. For the next ten years Mr. and Mrs. Patton traveled for pleasure through Europe, Asia. Africa and all portions of their own country. During her travels Mrs. Patton was a frequent contributor to the American newspapers. She has composed music to several poems, among which the best known are "Kind Words Can Never Die" and Alfred Tennyson's 'Ring Out, Wild Bells." In 1891 she published a volume entitled "A Handful of Pebbles." consisting of her poems, interspersed with paragraphs and proverbs, containing the essence of her happy philosophy. She has ever been interested in the education of women and is an earnest believer in woman suffrage, which movement she has aided by tongue and pen. Her hand is ever ready to help the needy. Her summers are spent in the old homestead, where she was born, and her winters in travel or in the city of New York.