Harriet Newell Robinson French (1828-1907) had a daughter, Harriet French Swain (1868-1958), who in turn had a granddaughter, Harriet Swain Burgin Lee (1934-).
This name – Harriet – clearly has some history attached to it, but where did that history begin? How far back does it go?
The answer is that it all began with one Harriet Atwood Newell (1793-1812), no relation whatsoever, whose much admired life runs as follows…
Harriet Newell was born Harriet Atwood at Haverhill, Massachusetts on October 10, 1793. She was part of the first wave of Christian missionaries to go overseas from the United States. She died less than a year into her journey. Following publication of her memoirs, she became a hero and role model for Christians during the nineteenth century. Many children were named for her over the following decades [emaphasis mine–LSL] including Harriet Newell Noyes who also went on to be a missionary.
She married Rev. Samuel Newell in February 1812. Along with Adoniram Judson and Ann Judson  they went off to preach in India and Burma. They were expelled by the East India Company and sailed to Mauritius, where she died November 30, 1812. At sea she had given birth to a child who died after five days. Her memoirs were published posthumously, going into a number of editions.
Harriet Atwood Newell (1793-1812)
Here is a clipping from a family scrapbook, with the lineage of names written out at right…
Above: a newspaper clipping and (old) scrap of paper outlining the succession of Harriets.
- Newell, Samuel (1784-1821) and Harriet [Atwood] (1793-1812) Pioneers of American foreign missions, a slightly more in-depth account published online by the Boston University School of Theology, available here.
- Memoirs of Mrs. Harriet Newell, wife of the Rev. S. Newell, American missionary to India, who died at the Isle of France, Nov. 30, 1812, aged nineteen years, a collection of her written works and letters, can be found here.