Almy, Mary Gould (1735–1808)

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Almy, Mary Gould (1735–1808)

American diarist who wrote Mrs. Almy's Journal. Born Mary Gould in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1735; died in Newport in March 1808; daughter of James and Mary (Rathbone) Gould; married Benjamin Almy in Newport Rhode Island, in 1762; children.

In 1735, Mary Gould was the fourth child of eight born to James and Mary Gould of Newport, Rhode Island. The wealthy and elegant homes of Newport are renowned in New England, and schoolteacher James Gould, who had a substantial inheritance and lavish spending habits, was among the well-to-do. When he died, however, huge debts were attached to his estate, and his children saw little of the money.

At age 27, Mary married Benjamin Almy at the Trinity Church in Newport. Though a Loyalist at heart, she supported her husband's revolutionary ideals. When the British invaded the American colonies, Benjamin enlisted as a Patriot on the side of the colonies. As loyalties were made apparent, those with dedication to England were persecuted and their belongings confiscated. Jahleel Brenton was among those forced to return to England, and his mansion on Thames Street was taken over by the Almys. With Benjamin often away at battle, Mary took in boarders to help pay the expenses.

In December of 1776, British troops invaded Rhode Island and encamped in Newport, taking over the Colony House, only blocks away from the Almy home. The British seized all weapons and fishing boats; supplies were scarce for the citizens of the town. When the French allied with the colonies and came to assist the Americans, they halted their ships off the Rhode Island coast. Again Benjamin took up arms and left home. Mrs. Almy's Journal is Mary's diary, which begins on July 29, 1778, with the French arrival. Her entries detail the hardships of the Revolution, as well as her Loyalist tendencies. Still, a number of entries address her husband and her hopes that he find success and health.

After the Battle of Rhode Island in late 1779, Almy concluded her journal, sealed it, and gave it to a friend, with directions that only her sister could read it. When Almy died in 1808 at the age of 73 and was buried at the same church where she had married, her husband left the Thames Street mansion. It had several inhabitants in the succeeding years but was razed in the 1920s.


Evans, Elizabeth. Weathering the Storm: Women of the American Revolution. NY: Scribner, 1975.

Crista Martin , Boston, Massachusetts