Watertown Gazette, 03 05 1914
Death of Miss Carlotta Perry
Word was received from Chicago Wednesday afternoon announcing the death in that city of Miss Carlotta Perry, a former resident of Watertown, but for a number of years residing in Chicago. Miss Perry came to Watertown with her parents when a little child and grew up to young womanhood here, making many warm and lasting friendships among our people.
For a time she taught in our public schools and she early developed a talent for writing short stories and poems, many of which were published in the current magazines. In 1888 a collection of her poems was published in book form. Of a bright, sunny disposition she endeared herself to all who were fortunate enough to come in close, personal contact with her.
Her view point of life was optimistic as will be seen by a quotation from one of her poems:
“I would not even bid the bounty back,
And if I died tonight it would be mine
To feel no bitter, no empty lack
In life, my cup has had its wine.”
The funeral services will be held in Chicago Friday morning and the funeral party will reach Watertown at 3:11 p.m. over the C. M. & St. P. Ry. and the interment will be in Oak Hill Cemetery, beside her parents. The short service at the grave will be conducted by Rev. N. Carter Daniell.
Pen name of poet Charlotte Augusta Perry
Watertown Daily Times, 04/12/2000
Carlotta Perry was the pen name of poet Charlotte Augusta Perry, who lived on the corner of Jefferson and Second streets many years ago. In 1850 when she was 11, her father and grandmother died of cholera. Between 1850 and the end of the 19th century, Perry became a nationally known and much published poet. Although she was almost forgotten even before her death in 1914, she was recognized for many years as a noted woman writer and has left a legacy of rich, poignant poetry.
She was a teacher in Watertown, but her writing career began in earnest in the 1860s when she began having pieces published in a La Crosse newspaper. In the 1870s, she began to work and write for the Watertown Democrat. Sometime after she started writing, she took the name Carlotta and was ever after published and referred to by that name. Poetry was popular in her era and the Watertown Democrat printed many of Perry's poems as did other state newspapers and national literary magazines. She also wrote essays and children's literature, as well as news stories.
Recognition of her poetry began to grow after she moved with her mother to Milwaukee sometime before 1880. She wrote for the Milwaukee Sentinel and was the center of a well known group of women writers from Wisconsin. After her mother died, she moved to Chicago and again taught. A book of her poems was published in 1888. She did not write for about the last 15 years of her life.
She died on March 4, 1914, and was buried in the family plot in Oak Hill Cemetery, but no headstone marks her grave.
Watertown Wisconsin Centennial, 1854-1954, booklet
Carlotta Perry was born in Union City, Mich., in the early forties. Her father's name was William Reuben Perry, her mother's maiden name was Louisa M. Kimball. The father was of Quaker descent; the mother of Scotch ancestry.
In her early youth she taught school in or near Watertown. Later she left this employment for a field in which she had a greater interest. She began to write poems, essays, sketches and stories. They were sought out as she was herself as subject matter for readings before schools, Literary Clubs and Societies.
Her earliest writings were published anonymously in the LaCrosse Republican and Leader. She at once won recognition and later wrote for the Milwaukee papers. In the 70's she was a well known contributor to Harper's, Lippincott's, Scribner's and the Galaxy. When she had gained a marked degree of success she and her mother moved to Milwaukee where she spent nine years writings and in caring for her invalid mother.
She died in 1914 after a lingering illness. Her remains were brought to Watertown where without ceremony she was buried at her own request beside that of her mother in Oak Hill cemetery. On one of her visits previously to her mother's grave she composed a poem which is entitled "Her Happier Lot." In it she refers to Oak Hill cemetery as "that strange city on the hill." Then she describes a scene from the cemetery which is thought to be that of Watertown. It follows in part:
Afar the river, like a thread
Of silver, poured and farther down
Lay fields that had been harvested;
And Autumn leaves, red, gold and brown,
Made earth a crown.
And farther still, a city
Men go about with smiling eyes,
The while their smiles great burdens bear;
And mingled moans and songs and sighs
From pale lips rise.
Perry, Carlotta, 2/5/1915, Death, 1900-1949_A-Z_V5, pg 121.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin