Thursday, August 16, 2007

It Followed Her to School One Day

The birthplace of nursery-rhyme heroine Mary Sawyer in Sterling, Massachusetts, burned to the ground on Sunday morning. According to "descendant" Diane T. Melone, Mary really did have a little lamb.

The lamb became attached to Mary, crying when she left it. One day her younger brother, Nathaniel, urged Mary to take the lamb to school with them. Once there, the lamb lay under Mary’s desk and she covered it with a cloak. But when the teacher called Mary to the front of the room, the lamb followed — and the children laughed.

A boy, John Roulstone Jr., ... was visiting Mary’s school when the lamb incident happened.

John wrote a poem about three verses long about Mary and the lamb and gave it to Mary. [Link]
Sarah Hale gets the writing credit by some accounts. The school where the events were supposed to have occurred now stands on the grounds of the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Mass., moved there by Henry Ford in 1925.

By the way, Mary Elizabeth Sawyer and her husband, Columbus Tyler, seem not to have had descendants. They married in 1835 and settled in Somerville, Mass., where Columbus was for many years steward and Mary matron at the McLean Asylum for the Insane. The census records give no indication of children. She died in 1889, and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.


The only question I have: is Mary Sawyer related to Tom.

Steve Danko

The first of my Niedzialkowski relatives to immigrate to America owned a farm in Sterling. Alas, they didn't know Mary. They arrived in the United States at about the time Mary died. They are, however, quick to point out the "Mary Had a Little Lamb" monument in the center of town, should anyone decide to visit them.


The lamb was allegedly a ewe who lived about four years, and had three lambs of its own. No word on whether Mary had her little lamb for dinner.


Are any of the lamb's descendants alive?

Wool from Mary's lamb's great-great-great-grand-sheep might be worth something...


I have been unable to obtain any further information on the lamb's descendants. Not even here.

As often happens, I've thought of a better title for this post: "Mary Had a Little Lamb, but No Little Kid."

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