Hannah's birth date is not known for certain but it most likely was in 1733, which would make her a year older than Benjamin Jr.. Hannah Church Weld died on September 14th, 1804, and so, this is probably the last likeness made of her, at the age of 71.
|Hannah Church Weld by Gerritt Schipper, September 1804|
We know nothing of Hannah Church's life until she married Edward Weld of Roxbury, Mass on April 7, 1757 when she was 23 or 24 years of age. In 1760, when Edward Weld sold out his property rights to a training field in Salem, Mass, his occupation was listed as "shopjoyner." (A "shopjoyner" was a specialized carpenter who would finish interiors of buildings by joining together pieces of wood and might also work on door and window frames and staircases and other wood pieces within a house or building.) Edward's father, Edmund, was also a joiner but was a man of some wealth whose estate, upon his death, was valued at L1614, and included substantial property to include a "mansion house"; Edmund was listed as a "gentleman." Edmund Weld, however, died some nine years before the marriage of his son to Hannah Church and one could not say that Edward's inheritance was substantial since an older brother seems to have been the main beneficiary.
On July 31, 1755 Weld bought, in company with Thomas Grant, a goldsmith, a dwelling house in Marblehead, Mass which they divided according to a plan filed Jun 15 1767. In the 1770s, the Welds moved to Andover, Mass. Later Edward Weld was a prosperous and wealthy merchant of Boston. Edward and Hannah Weld had seven children - three sons and four daughters. I find it interesting that the three sons were named Benjamin, Edward, and Giles, the names of three of Hannah's four brothers.
|Miss Hannah Weld by Gerrit Schipper, 1804. Hannah was 42 years of age at the time of the portrait and unmarried.|
Thomas spent his final days in Worcester. Upon his death in 1831, he bequeathed his entire library, his collection of early American newspapers, as well as his personal papers and records to the AAS.
Before we leave Hannah Church Weld, one final note. The AAS also has a collection of Thomas family letters in which are three letters Hannah Church wrote to her daughter. In the following, Hannah reveals her character as she gives advice to her daughter.
Depend on no other help or (illegible) but from your own Industry when we began we had nothing but by industry and prudence we made out very well. when we (illegible)then when we could not we did without we took care never to get in debt your father was never dund in his life for i never would consent to his ruining himself into dependency it is difficult to exticate one self once intangled.
There must have been some fascinating conversations at family gatherings between the older sister of Dr. Benjamin Church, Jr. and the staunch Patriot Isaiah Thomas, publisher of The Massachusetts Spy, who had to have known her brother quite well. Not to mention those between Thomas and his daughter-in-law, Church's niece.
*Gerrit Schipper (1775 - 1832) was a Dutch painter specializing in pastel portraiture and miniature portraits. After studying in Paris in the 1790s, he spent time in Brussels and Russia. He is believed to have arrived in the United States in 1802. He was active in New York, Charleston, Savannah, and several cities in Massachusetts. In about 1807 he moved to Canada and spent time in Quebec City and Montreal, where he produced many portraits of notable local people. He moved to England in 1810. He spent part of 1803 in Boston and moved in the spring of 1804 to Salem, Massachusetts, where he might have met Isaiah Thomas, Jr., who often managed the portion of the Thomas family's printing empire on the North Shore. In August 1804, Schipper took an advertisement in the Massachusetts Spy. "G. Schipper, an eminent painter from Germany, has it in contemplation to visit Worcester, in order to favor those Ladies and Gentlemen who may wish to have correct likenesses taken; he executes them in colored crayons, set in an elegant frame and glazed for Ten Dollars, and if not an approved likeness, no payment will be expected; he requires but one sitting of three quarters of an hour. Specimens of his painting may be seen by applying to Isaiah Thomas." A second advertisement, placed after his arrival in Worcester, also noted that examples of his work could be viewed on request to Isaiah Thomas, Jr. During his stay in Worcester, Schipper drew profile pastels of several Thomas family members,