Martha May Guild Kimball (1803-1898)
The daughter of Jacob and Chloe May Guild, Martha May Guild was born on September 10, 1803 and attended the Sanderson Academy in Ashfield. She was a classmate of Mary Lyon, who went on to found Mount Holyoke in 1837.
In 1844 Martha Guild taught in South Dedham’s first private school.
The school house was 15 ft wide and 30 ft long with four windows on each side. The school consisted of one large school room and the central door faced Washington Street. It stood at the southwest corner of Washington Street and Walnut Avenue (opposite the old Norwood Press building – now a storage facility). It became known as “The Old Frog Pond School” because a brook ran under Washington Street and formed a pool or pond on the west side. Share certificates were sold to those interested in having a private school in Tiot village.
Miss Guild was an exceedingly good teacher. Pupils came from the “best” families and from out-of-town to attend. She was the head mistress of the school from 1844-1854. She had taught for 20 years at other private schools in the area.
After teaching, Martha Guild married Caleb Kimball, a minister living in Medway. Reverend Kimball was blind. Martha Guild Kimball died in Medway on December 9, 1898 at the age of 96. Her body was returned to the Old Cemetery in Norwood where she was interred in the family lot belonging to her brother, Jacob Guild (1782-1870). According to the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (SDAR), Martha May Guild Kimball was the only “authentic” Daughter of the American Revolution buried in Norwood. Her father Jacob had served in that war.
When the Old Parish Preservation Volunteers began work, Martha Guild Kimball’s stone was in three pieces – two of the pieces were in the basement of Highland Cemetery’s administration building. They had been transported there decades ago. The stone was repaired and made whole in the spring of 2021. The plaque placed on the site by the SDAR in 2012, was relocated to the front of Martha’s repaired gravestone.