Nattie Embree

Henrietta’s first daughter, Nattie, was born June 19, 1853. Her life bridges the diaries of both Henrietta and Tennessee.

Nattie Embree

Nattie Embree

Henrietta spent time in her diary wondering about her relationship with her first daughter, contemplating her feelings of love and loss for her daughter Mollie as well as her anxiety about whether she loved Nattie with the same intensity–an intensity perhaps created or at least emphasized by the loss of Mollie.

Tennie writes extensively about her own feelings toward Nattie, considering the difficulties of being a step-mother as well as contemplating the connections between Nattie and her father, Dr. John, and the differences she sees in the personalities of her “own” children.

What is clear in both diaries is both mothers’ desire to see their female children educated and independent.  Nattie does eventually attend the Salado College. Her life, however, is cut short, and her loss is deeply felt by Tennie, who writes– after the long silence–

” Dear little Nattie is with us no more on earth. . . it is useless to describe how we have sorrowed after her.”

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