Eliza Vanderveer was related to the Dutch Quakers who found refuge from religious persecution on the land in Long Island Sound. They sought out quiet uninhabited areas to be alone to practice what they believed. The islands allowed them to separate themselves from mainstream. New Bedford and the area along the shores of New England and New Jersey became enclaves and the movement spread inland to Pennsylvania.
One belief they held that caused much trouble for them was that holding slaves was not Christian. Their anti-slavery views were at the core of the Abolitionist Movement in which the Hathaways were active. The Colonial colony of Germantown on the outskirts of Philadelphia was the location of the first formal protest against slavery in 1688. That was where Eliza had a family home which became a second residence for herself and her husband Nathaniel Hathaway. She lived there until her death at which time the property was turned into a large apartment complex and named the Hathaway House. Both Nathaniel and Eliza returned to their roots on Long Island where they were buried in the town of Cutchogue.
Eliza and Nathaniel had two daughters, Susan and Sylvia. Sylvia married Attorney Harold Evans whose own family were Abolitionists during the days of the Underground Railroad. Their daughter Susan married Edward Day Thurston in Germantown with whom she had a son and named him after his father and grandfather. Sadly he died in his third year and the grief-stricken couple moved to Sharon in Litchfield County Connecticut where they buried him at Hillside Cemetery and lived out their days.
There is a portrait of Allen taken in his studio, probably about 1920 judging by the eighteen sculptures around him. On the wall behind him seems to be a family grouping of bas-relief portraits. If that is so, then some of the work may be identifiable. In the center are two double portraits one of which is the little Evans girls. In the second the children appear to be a little older, so probably the children of Dr. Swift (1919).
On either side of them are portraits of two different women and below the woman on the right is a small round portrait of a baby. Without photographs for identification, one must make an educated guess. The woman on the left is older than the one on the right, so that may be Nathaniel Hathaway’s wife Eliza. The one on the right is a younger woman and below her is the baby, presumed to be little Edward Day Thurston who was sculpted by Allen in 1919. Because the baby is below the younger woman, the guess would be that Allen hung them that way because he was the woman’s son, or Susan Thurston. In his list of work, there is a Thurston relief dated 1919 for $500. No relief of Susan Thurston is mentioned specifically. The Thurston Baby Boy is recorded.
SUSAN SHOEMAKER HATHAWAY THURSTON
SYLVIA HATHAWAY EVANS
EDWARD DAY THURSTON III
Portrait reliefs cast in plaster
Baby Edward may have been cast in bronze.