Kate Sloan Gaskill


Source: Robert Murphy, West Roxbury Historical Society

Kate Sloan came to Brook Farm in 1843 at age 15 with her mother and brother. Her grandmother had been a friend of George Ripley and R. W. Emerson. Kate worked as a seamstress and was fond of participating in plays and dances. In November 1845 she was the second victim of the smallpox epidemic that struck the community. She was among the very few early members who made the transition to the Fourier-influenced phase and remained at Brook Farm until several weeks after the Phalanstery fire.

In February 1849, while living in Cambridge, she married 30-year-old James Scott, born in Scotland, a weaver by trade. They moved to Andover where James worked in the Ballardvale Mills. During the Civil War, James joined the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment at Brook Farm.

After James’s death in 1868, Kate and her two daughters went to visit family in California where she met and married Silas E. Gaskill, “a man well known in the early history of California.” In 1900 they moved to San Diego where they were active in the Pioneer Society. She was asked to write an account of her time at Brook Farm which she entitled A Girl’s Recollection of Brook Farm. The article was accepted by the Overland Monthly on December 12, 1917, the day that Kate Sloan Gaskill died.

Learn more about the Women of Brook Farm.