A few descendants of Capt. Richard Sackett #CaptRichardSackett

Ted Smith #55

While researching descendants of Capt. Richard Sackett, I finally reached James Hulme Canfield (1847-1909) [see https://www.sackett-tree.org/getperson.php?personID=I25409&tree=1 ]. James was the son of Rev. Eli Hawley Canfield, LL.D. (1817-1898). Eli Canfield was a well-known Episcopal clergyman, rector of Christ Church in Brooklyn, New York and one of a long line of Canfields from Arlington, Bennington County, Vermont.


Eli Canfield married Martha Crafts Hulme (c1819-1855), and they had three children: James, Mary Almera (b. 7 Oct 1848, probably died between 1850 and 1860), and Martha Hulme Canfield. Martha was b. 12 Apr 1850 in New York City and died, unmarried, 30 Dec 1919 in Arlington, Vermont.


Eli’s son, James Hulme Canfield led an interesting life. Born in Delaware County, Ohio, he was sent to Vermont when his mother died in 1855. At age 14, he began college in Brooklyn, earning a degree there in 1864, then moving to Williams College in Massachusetts to earn another degree in 1868. After that, he served as superintendent for a railroad construction company in Iowa and Minnesota. Subsequently he studied law in Jackson, Michgan, earning a LL.D. and was admitted to the bar. He opened a law office and began practice in 1872. In 1877 he began teaching English, literature, history, and political science at University Kansas. In July 1891, he was appointed Chancellor of University of Nebraska, where he is credited with being “the most consequential leader of the early university,” according to University officials. Four years later, he was appointed President of Ohio State University, serving there four years.


On 24 Jun 1873, James married Flavia A. Camp (1844-1930) In Clear Lake, Iowa. They had two children, James A, (1874-1959), who founded Canfield Paper Company, and Dorothea Frances (1879-1956). Some of the younger James’ descendants would go on to work in and become president of the paper company.


Like her father, Dorothea also led a very interesting life. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Ohio State in 1899. In 1904, she earned a Ph.D. in French from Columbia University. During this time, it appears that she began her writing career, eventually authoring 38 books of note; some were novels, some short story collection, and some academic tomes. A list of her works is included in the notes at https://www.sackett-tree.org/getperson.php?personID=I66301&tree=1


In 1907, Dorothea  married John Redwood Fisher (1883-1959), and they had two children: Sarah (1909-1978) and James Canfield (1913-1945). When John went to France as an ambulance driver in World War I, Dorothea followed him to Paris, raising her children and going to college there.  While in France, she worked to found a Braille press for blinded veterans and created a home (the Bidart Home for Children) for refugee French children. After the war, she continued her relief work, served as the head of the U.S. committee that led to the pardoning of conscientious objectors in 1921, sponsored financial and emigration assistance to Jewish educators, professionals, and intellectuals, and earned commendations from Eleanor Roosevelt, the government of Denmark, and Madame Chiang Kai-shek.


While in France, she became interested in the Montesorri method of raising children, translated the Montessori manuals into English, and is credited with bringing that method to the United States. In 1919, she was appointed to the State Board of Education of Vermont to help improve rural public education. She spent years promoting education and rehabilitation/reform in prisons, especially women's prisons.


Writing under the name Dorothy Canfield Fisher, she was a best-selling author in the early 20th century,  presided over the country's first adult education program and shaped literary tastes by serving as a member of the Book of the Month Club selection committee from 1925 to 1951. Some of her books still are available in print on Amazon.


She strongly supported women's rights, racial equality, and lifelong education. Eleanor Roosevelt named her as one of the ten most influential women in the United States. She was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Dartmouth College and received others from the University of Nebraska, Middlebury College, Swarthmore College, Smith College, Williams College, Ohio State University, and the University of Vermont.


Like Dorothea/Dorothy, daughter Sarah , also became a writer--of children’s books. She married John Paul Scott and wrote 18 children’s books under the name Sally Scott.


Son James “Jimmy” Canfield Fisher would go on to become a doctor, serving with the Alamo Scouts in the Philippines. He lost his life in a raid to free 500 prisoners of war. That story of that raid is presented in the movie “The Great Raid” (2005, Miramax), with Robert Mammone playing Captain Dr. Fisher.  Dorothy Canfield Fisher arranged a fellowship at Harvard Medical School for the two Philippine surgeons who tried to save her son’s life.

Elizabeth W Knowlton

Oh, Ted, the moment I saw the name Canfield, a flash went off in my head.  And when I saw Dorothy Canfield, another; and when she married a Fisher, then I knew I had read something by her.  Anyone who has ever been a little girl should read Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.  [This is not to say some men might not enjoy the book too or enjoy reading it to a granddaughter, but you know how boys are not supposed to like girls' books.]  I smiled when I learned Dorothy's middle name was Frances because in the book orphaned, frail Elizabeth Ann lives with her aunt Frances, a very anxious and controlling (in a kind way) urban aunt.  Through an emergency outside their control, Elizabeth Ann gets sent to live with her cousins in the Vermont countryside.
      Although this book was published around 1916, it is still a wonderful read today.  And by a Sackett descendant too!
      I think I may have read The Bent Twig also.  You are right about the Montessori influence:  "First published in 1915, The Bent Twig is the first of Dorothy Canfield's novels to give fictional form to the Montessori method and to reflect the insights into education and human development that she gained in Rome while visiting Maria Montessori."