This Vermont resident with the feminine-sounding name is Mr. Pearl Castle Abbey, a clergyman and farmer who served one term in his states House of Representatives in the early 20th century. Information on Abbey's life is sorely lacking, but enough resources have been located to aid me in writing a small biography for him.
Abbey was born in the town of Essex, Chittenden County, Vermont on February 6, 1842, the son of Ira and Emily Cilley Abbey. As a youth, Pearl Abbey attended the Essex Classical Institute and later graduated from the Hampton Institute in Fairfax, Vermont. In March 1863 Abbey married in Jericho, Vermont to Ms. Martha E. Weed (1842-1916), and they were married for fifty-four years, her death occurring in 1916. Two children were born to the couple, Bert Wood Abbey (1869-1962) and daughter Pearl May Abbey (born 1871.)
The majority of the available sources on Abbey's life mention him as a clergyman, with one explicitly stating his position as Deacon of the Baptist Church at Essex. Religion continued to play an important role throughout Abbey's public life, and in 1892 he was appointed as chaplain of the Vermont State House of Representatives. Research also indicates that Abbey was regarded as a fairly prominent figure in Essex, and besides his service to the church, he was also entrusted to hold a variety of other posts, including town selectman, justice of the peace and Essex County Superintendent of Schools. Later in his life, Abbey was named as a member of the board of trustees of the Essex Classical Institute, serving in this post for fifteen years.
In November 1901, Pearl C. Abbey won election to the Vermont State House of Representatives, representing Chittenden County for the 1902-04 legislative session. His term in the legislature concluded in 1904 and he died in Essex on February 7, 1918, one day after his 76th birthday. He was subsequently buried alongside his wife Mary in the Mountain View Cemetery in Essex Center, Vermont. Abbey's son Bert is also interred in the family plot.
The portrait of Pearl Castle Abbey shown above (very likely the only picture of him available online) was discovered in the book Vermont, A Souvenir of its Government, 1902-03, which was published during his tenure in the legislature.
Abbey's name as it appeared on a 1902 roster of Vermont state representatives.
Another state legislator with this odd feminine name is Mr. Pearl Tenney Haskell of Sanbornville, New Hampshire. Born on March 10, 1868, in Deering, Maine, Haskell was one of six children born to the Rev. William Haskell and his wife Ellen Cary. He was bestowed his unusual name in honor of a family friend, a Captain John Pearl Tenney. The Haskell family relocated from Deering to the city of Falmouth when Pearl was an infant and he is recorded as attending the Newtonville, Massachusetts Grammar School as a youth. He later went on to study at the Phillips Andover Academy as well as the Sheffield Scientific School.
Once in his early twenties, Haskell decided to embark upon a career in medicine, enrolling at Bowdoin College and graduated from this institution in the class of 1893. His years at the college also saw him excel at sports in addition to his medical studies, and he is listed as being "devoted to football and other sports" by the Journal of the Maine Medical Association. Haskell married on October 28, 1896 to Ms. Marietta Blake (born 1875) a native of Wakefield, New Hampshire. The couple is recorded as being childless throughout the duration of their marriage.
Haskell and his wife removed to Union, New Hampshire during the mid-1890s and shortly after his arrival opened a medical practice. His stay in Union lasted from 1894-96, whereafter he relocated his practice to Sanbornville, New Hampshire, operating here from 1898 to 1905. Haskell relocated once again in 1905 to Concord, where he became a visiting physician at the Margaret Pillsbury General Hospital from 1908-1911.
While residing in Concord Pearl T. Haskell was elected as a Republican to the New Hampshire State House of Representatives. He served one term in this body from 1911-1913 as a Republican, and he is remarked by the Journal of the Maine Medical Association as "suggesting useful medical improvements" during his service. Haskell also chaired the House Committee on Public Health during this legislative term.
Haskell as he looked during his New Hampshire legislative service, circa 1911.
In 1914 Pearl Haskell relocated to Bangor, Maine to accept the position of assistant physician at the Eastern Maine State Hospital, and after three years service was promoted to Superintendent of that hospital. The Journal of the Maine Medical Association notes that Haskell utilized new techniques in medicine during his time at this hospital, and is recorded as organizing a "minstrel entertainment and a band" to amuse the patients, and also "for concert purposes as well as for noting the effect of music on the insane."
Haskell suffered from health problems during his later years, being mentioned as "disease of the sacro-iliac joint" as well as typhoid. He continued to practice medicine until his death at age 50 on April 13, 1919, when he was found dead near his car, due to a probable case of myocarditis. He was survived by his wife Marietta, and a burial location for both Haskell and his wife is unknown at this time.