Helen Hunt Jackson 1-1-26 transcription
Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 1, Ms 0020, Box 1, Folder 26, Letters to Deborah Waterman Vinal Fiske (HHJ’s mother) from her cousin Timothy Stearns, 1836-41
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, June 1996
Addressed: Mrs. D.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Mr. Belding.
[Saturday] Andover, Theo. Sem. Aug. 22. 1835
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
I received a letter a few days since just marked Amherst which tho it had neither date nor signature twas readily ascribed to you. Its style & humor indicated its author quite as easily as its mechanical execution.
I really believe is it easier to preach than to obey if it were not our world would present a very different aspect from what it now does.
But I feel too sad to write just now in cheerful strain. You will recollect T.S. Wood who boarded at Prof. Hitchcock's was one Miss before in college & taught school in Alabama. He has just ended his course on earth, & gone home to Heaven. Three years in college I was intimate with him. Correspondence with him while in the south - received a very pleasant visit from him in Chillicothe little more than a year since & have been as intimate with him the last year as with any member of the Sem. I loved him very much, & feel that in addition to his naturally lonely & amiable disposition that he was a holy praying man. But alas, he is gone. He died day before yesterday after an illness of about four weeks of the typhoid fever.
During the first two weeks of his illness he was not very sick & not considered in the least dangerous. He was by accident badly salivated. For the last ten days he was delirious most or all the time. Some of the time very raving so that it required great physical strength to manage him. Last Thursday eve I went to Lynn for his sister Catharine who was teaching there. The poor girl was entirely overcome As we were returning she would repeatedly burst into tears & exclaim "I can't part with my brother, I can't have it". I endeavored to calm her by referring to the promises & the character of her Savior. She knew it all, but could not feel it. You recollect her severe affliction about one year since in the death of Brother Fiske. That seems to have been sanctified to him. On Thursday, I went to Westminster Ave Br. Wood's father but tho I went with all possible haste changing horses twice on the way he did not reach here till three hours after the death of his son. The last intelligence they had received was that he was much better. This was almost too much for them to bear that he was just gone. But grace transmitted & both father & Mother said "it is the Lord, let him do what seemeth good in his sight." They almost idolised Theodore & will feel his loss keenly. It is a very intelligent, pious family. Another student, Br. Crossman, from of our College is now quite sick somewhat dangerous.
In going to Lynn I hoped there your old school place Fangus. It is quite a wretched looking place & the people that I saw were quite in keeping with it.
I saw in a pasture near the meeting house five or six ladies driving in waggons & a little boy with them leading a horse which seemed to have been troublesome. They were just coming out of the woods. It reminded me of a long difficult walk I have heard you speak of taking while there. They seemed so much fatigued as you were.
Aug 3. Do not dear Mrs F attribute it to forgetfulness that this sheet has been so long retained after your name was placed upon it. Illness produced by fatigue & anxiety in taking care of the sick compelled me to lay aside this sheet it & retreat to bed. Thus a day or two passed & Br. Belding volunteered to take my commands for you. He was going so soon I tho't I would delay till he went. He has just said he will go tomorrow. Vacation is just here. Where I will spend it is uncertain. I have given the time to my sister & wait her direction. Some weeks since I carried her to see Dr. Gefries of Boston. He had been very highly recommended. The medicine could do her no good. But if she would follow his directions she might be able to resume her beloved employment by next Oct. One requisition was that she would spend some weeks on the seashore & bathe daily in the salt water. On trial this was found to be injurious, so much so that Dr. G said to me on reviewing the effect "remove her to the country forth with." Still he tho't the effect of his other directions so good that she might be well about as soon as he had said. I saw her a week since & received a letter from her 1/2 an hour since. She is evidently better, amending gradually. She now thinks a journey would be beneficial & wished me to try the experiment. Her plan is to make a short excursion, perhaps to Ashby, soon as I go home. If that is beneficial then take one down into Me. or "down east." She thinks she would like to see that state. She thinks we would hardly have nerve enough now to cross the hills between Ashby & Amherst at present else we might give you a call. Desirous to do what I can to promote her health I have determined thus to spend this vacation & see what can be done for it. Mother is quite comfortably well, yet I fear that cold weather will affect her unfavorably. I regret to learn that you have been obliged again to resort to "leaching & blistering." We are thus frequently reminded that these houses in which we live are weak feeble things & that this is not our home. And why regret it? Who would wish to live here always?
My health has been good this summer, very much beater than it was last winter. My lungs have been tolerably sound. This is usually the case in the summer. Then my health is good - but when winter comes my lungs begin to trouble me. I am so very well now I think I may safely try another winter on this cold hill, tho I suppose much caution will be necessary & if I find it too severe I will retreat. Rev. Dr. Skinner told me a few days since he believed I would be much better when I began to preach, said his lungs were formerly just as mine now are & that preaching had strengthened them. This was encouraging.
Prof. Fiske's brother called on me abut a week since, tho he stopped but a few minutes. He said the folks were all well. He was in pursuit of a district school teacher, I introduced him to Mr. Hall who furnished him with one.
I am pleased to here of the continued prosperity of Amherst college, & of the improvement in Dr. Humphrey's health, & to hear that Prof. Rusk is so popular. It is said he is going to Bangor, is that so? The appointment of Rev. Mr. Condit to take Prof. W.'s place is quite well received here. It is tho't he will do well.
Amherst people will not get Mr. Treat for a minister if they have been waiting for him. He is going to the West, or rather is going to start next week with D. Talcot Smith on an exploring tour thro the great valley. They will be absent some months. Mr. T. leaves his wife here, but if he likes the country intends to return there immediately. He is a strong sound man & would do well for Amherst; has some of good Mr. Washburn's mildness & would I think be a fine help to the college. I did not know til you mentioned at that Prof. P. had become an editor. He is here much of the time
I am heartily rejoiced that Mr. Thompson did not favor you with a visit. He is quite welcome to the introduction I gave him, I could give him a more full one in the same strain that would be quite in keeping with that. There seems to be some trouble in their camp, & on the subject throughout the U.S. No can tell what the end of these things will be? It is just what I had long anticipated. The South were so much exasperated when I was there that I knew there must be an irruption.
Heaven save us from this reign of riots or are we as a nation ruined? It is time for Christians to arise & let their light shine & to lay aside their quarrels & show the world that they love one another. But alas how little of the true spirit of love appears in the church? It would be well if the remarks of your girl could be sounded in the ears of multitudes of our clergymen every day of their lives, for that is just the way this earnest contention sparks the world.
Rev. Mr. Billard is a strong Taylorite. He would not let it be known in the great valley, yet I know it to be so from a conversation I had with him. He said to our students here some weeks since that "he would prefer to be the author of the influence Miss Grant is exerting especially in the great valley than of that which the Pres. of any college in the U.S. is exerting;" quite a compliment to Miss Grant.
I think your philosophy on the reason why men value so social intercourse Miss Man females is good. I would that our good ministers did not so often & so fiercely "fly in each other's eyes." But alas it is much easier to preach than to practice - especially in this superficial age when Christians have forgotten to cultivate intimate acquaintance with their own hearts. Please give me an affectionate remembrance to Prof. F. Tell Miss Helen I would like right well to accept her invitation but fear I will not be able so to do at moment. How does Miss Ann grow? Begin to creep about on the floor? Br. Chapman is very low. The Dr. thinks he cannot live thro this night. My dear friend we are hastening to eternity & will soon be there. How different then will these earthly scenes appear from what they now do? Your sincere friend,
Addressed: Mrs. D.W. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske. Amherst, Mass, Mr. Park.
[Wednesday] Andover Theo. Sem. Jan. 20. 1836
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
Tutor Park is here (as well as Prof. P.) & heads for Amherst in the morning. We have so large a supply of conversational matter just now that you ought to have a share. Besides Prof. Fiske's note in the place of your letter places me in your debt.
Dr. Mussey, Prof. at Hannover has furnished us a good proportion of the topics of conversation. Last evening he closed a course of Lectures in our Chapel on Diatetics, exercise etc. In a few of the first he gave us the outlines of anatomy, which were exhibited by a skeleton & numerous diagrams. The causes & effects of various diseases were then shown. Then followed several on food; its quality, quantity, &c. He discards the use of animal food entirely. Does not believe man was ever intended to eat it. Says God permitted its use only because of the hardness of man's heart but from the beginning it was not so. Says if we never used it we might live as long as Abraham did. He certainly advanced strong anatomical arguments against its use & many quite as strong from facts 'by the whole sale.' He is really a fine Lecturer; is rather slow, but has a good share of real wit which he understands using to advance his cause. He does not believe we should ever drink tea or coffee.
Pastry of every description in however small quantities he rejects. ente Cheese molasses sugar honey, & butter except in very minute quantities, share the same fate, together with most pies & puddings. In many cases milk goes with them. In fine coarse bread & cold water seems to be nearly the only stopping place. If we can't go that we may occasionally have a potato or an apple possibly a little rice boiled in water. We are also to be very careful not to eat too much - One medical student he said boarded himself on Indian bread & water for eleven cents a week & liked it well - the only trouble was his bread & water were so good he was inclined to eat too much!
I imagine you are wishing the effect of all this. Well just revert to the Lectures of Prof. H. when I was a Freshman & you have it. Why the world is to be turned over at once! It does not alarm me for you know it - the earth -turns over & back again every 24 hours. So I reckon things will come strait again. You begin to 'guess' the effect on me: well I reckon you will guess about right.
I amuse myself by seeing the whirlwind driving & the scrupulous exactness of error with which every thing is followed & think how different it will be six months hence, with some I fear & might say six days hence.
However I have been deeply interested & very much instructed & trust I shall profit by it. As for meat I have for sometime taken very little. Tea & coffee I take weak, but do not pledge myself to total abstinence from them, as I cheerfully do from everything that intoxicates.
The closing Lecture I wish Prof F. could have heard. It was on Phrenology, in which the Dr. is no believer & I may add I do not see how any one who heard that Lecture can consistently be. Strong as Prof. Fiske's arguments against it are - they are nothing to the anatomical arguments I intended to give you an abstract of it. But have not room except to say that the Dr. showed that Phrenologists in their divisions of the brain make 'mince meat' of the natural divisions of that organ, hence they employ only about half of its surface with faculties the rest the Dr. says is 'terra incognita'. Prof. Park took notes I saw, he can give you the whole. Besides sober argument the Dr. placed it in a most ludicrous light.
It is rather a hard case for you to give up Prof. Park. But then Amherst col. lives & grows on disappointment & neglect, besides it speaks well for her officers if they are in such repute. It is generally thought here that Prof. P. will accept. He could not be induced to preach next Sabbath. Yet far as he is known he is liked. His appointment was much better received than that of Rev. N. Adams. If he comes what will be done with Philosophy? Throw it back onto the Pres. to destroy his health again or elect another Prof.? How is Prof. Condit liked? Is he married? The health of my sister is greatly improved. She is assisting Miss Grant this winter. She teaches only three hours a day; for her health is not yet perfect. A letter from her a week since mentioned some special religious interest in the Sem. A brother received a letter last night which said they had a revival & several conversions. Probably Miss G. would not say a revival. She has 140 pupils this term. She has some new things in this changing age. Now, sister say, she encourages the ornamental brouches out of school hours, also has levees. She has two (half the school at a time) Thanksgiving week & two more at Christmas - The young ladies like them right well. A Mr. Longstroth, tutor, in Yale Col. is invited to take Mr. Bodyer's church here - He is a full blooded Taylorite.
Mr. Treat is invited they say to Amherst. Did you see him & how did the Faculty like him? He has also a call to Newark M.J. which I ama told he will most probably accept. Mr. Aretamas Sweetser & Catharine Dickinson were married here some weeks since. My mother is quite comfortably well this winter. Her only another remaining brother died two or three weeks since. My own health is very much better so far than it was last winter. I have had very little cold & less still of my common hoarseness. They say my lungs are becoming much better & my voice too, so it seems I may yet be able to preach. Certainly there is more prospect of it.
Pleas present my affectionate regards to Prof. Fiske, thank him for his note & say that no catalogue of our Sem. library has been printed since he was here. Oliver A. Taylor is preparing one. But he told me today that it would not be printed under a year if so soon. An affectionate remembrance for Miss Helen & her little sister. I would like to see them both as well their mother - Does Prof. F. visit Weston this vacation?
We have just finished in our course of study the subject of Mount Agency & given Dr. Woods our dissertations on it. I am by no means made a Taylorite by it - but further than ever from it.
Mr. Dwight tutor who boarded in your family I hear is dead. Soon we too must die. Let us then be holy & live near to our Savior on earth & labor to do something for him who has done so much for us.
At a public meeting we this eve elected Prof. Stuart to attend the Temperance meeting at Albany next month when the wine question comes up. All but 3 or 4 students of our Sem. sign the pledge to abstain from wine.
Do let me hear from you soon - then I will write you in less haste than I have done this. Prof. F. said you had no girl - you have a good one I hope before this, have you not? Very affectionately,
Addressed: Mrs. D.W. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Andr, MS, FEB 4
[Friday] Andover Theo. Sem. Feb. 19. 1836.
Dear Mr. Fiske,
You have one letter since you wrote me, but you say I must return good for evil (tho I fear it will be evil for good i.e. an "evil" letter for a good one), so Prof. Park must have a few lines at least for you. Real excellence in letter letter writing very few possess. [---] & life make a good letter. I would gladly 'become your pulpit man in my "advanced old age" for one term if you would leave me your act in this. I was really growing rather old & infirm in body the day I received your letter but I grew young & cheerful forgetting all my pains quite soon.
Your occasional messengers which, alas, are 'few & far between' usually excite very visibly, but none more so much the last. There was some truth in the fact as well as in imagination. I was seated in my great warm chair by a great fire, for it was a cold day (nothing uncommon honors this winter) with my glasses on, & especially there is it that I 'cannot hear the voice of singing women,' they are a sore article here. It is also difficult to distinguish between good & evil especially in Dr. Woods' Lectures on native depravity where some of our students press him with questions.
What do you think Prof. Park is here for? Merely to see Dr. Woods? There is a rumor that he's acting on the motto 'kill two birds with one stone if you can.' Thus he comes to see the Dr. & is '[Ceoclabs] in search of a wife!" He puts in with Mrs. Cornelius. She has a Miss Edwards visiting her that attracts some of his attention. I give you merely the rumor here. Whether he is proposing to accept his appointment we cannot learn. On the whole I hope he will not. For Amherst needs him. It would hardly be right to take him away. I reckon too he is quite as well qualified for that place as this. It will be difficult for him to take the place of Drs. Skinner & Porter while so young. His appointment is liked by the students much better than that of Mr. Adams, yet some rather think he is too young. But Dr. Woods says "Oh, he must come." I hope he will decide soon. If he does not come I know not who will be obtained. There is a rumor on float here that Tutor Park is tho't of for Prof. of Latin at Amherst. Is it so? Said one to me today who has been Tutor there 'they might just as well knock the college in the head at once.' Others think so too.
Do you go out to any of Dr. Mussey's Lectures? What says Prof. Fiske re them? Is he making as much noise as Prof. Hitchcock did? The people in Ashby have the last season built a new meeting house & intend to convert the old one into an Academy.
Rev. Mr. Tinker has been here this week to try to obtain me to go & teach it a year. I said no. But as Dr. W. does to Prof. P he said, 'that wont do, you must look again.' To get off I suggested that possib[missing paper] six months from the first of Sept. He[missing paper]it would do for me to do that pursuing [missing paper] time my studies & then return & finish [missing paper] my class. Would not the year be nearly as valuable spent thus 1/2 of it with the family with a good Rev. [missing paper] any more ministerial labor & securing some pecuniary aid as it would to spend it all here? I do not wish his advice for a general rule; but for this specific case. I have not decided by any means yet how I shall act. In relation to any future course it is the same as was when I saw you. If the Lord spares my life till my couse course in this Sem. is completed I must at once set my face Westward and return to the 'land flowing with milk & honey.' It is most probable I may labor in [missing paper] or the southern part of G.eo. or Alb as a region as far South as that would suit my health better than one farther North. As I look at that field & view its destitution I long to be prepared to enter in & labor. To labor for the salvation of souls seems to me to be a responsible, but delightful work. Aside from the fact that I feel that duty calls me there, I would prefer that field to N.E. Here sinners know all that you can tell them & have heard it so often that it is an old story & they are prepared with their excuses. Ther a man can build on his own foundation. Sinners will listen much & oftener the spirit reaches their hearts - Yet I know there are many peculiar trials in such a field. A log hut with one room only must often be the abode of a minister in that country. I wish you would come & see men when I get settled there.
Mrs. Fisk -
I am taking a great liberty in adding my pertinence in your correspondence. But Br. Stearns invited me. So please to imagine [missing paper] respectfully making my bow & apology. I am most hupp[missing paper] the continuance of yr interest for the welfare of Sea[missing paper] the tribute of yr prayers. My Dear Madam [missing paper] are few who care for the soul of poor. I ack. Pl[missing paper] must affect & respect to Mr. F. -- I should like to sit at yr talk once more -- and trust in providence yet to enjoy this. Prof Park this evening told me of his decision to come to it. Doubtless he has acted as the Christian should -- tho I must feel that it is full as important to make thorough philosophies as to finish half formed thelograms - Respectfully yrs, with [enter] T. Thayer
Br. Thayer has just called & added a postscript. He says Prof. Park has this evening decided told him that he has decided to come here. So the matter is settled. For Andover I am glad. For Amherst I hope the duties will not be thrown back again on to Dr. H. to kill him. It is said Prof. Condit is invited to Northampton. He will decline I trust, will he not? My Mother enjoys good health this winter. I saw her a few days since. She desired her love to Prof. Fiske & family & would be much pleased to see you all at Billerica. She often speaks of you & always with affection as tho she had seen & enjoyed an acquaintance with you. I hope you will visit her at some time when Sarah & I are at home --
Sarah is still with Miss Grant. Her health is not quite as good as last autumn, tho it is much better than it was last summer. She esteems Miss Grant more & more & her plan of governing a Sem. the more she knows & sees of her. How many ministers do you suppose in the U.S. are doing more prominent good than Miss G now is? I think very few. They have not a revival tho Christians are awake & 3 or 4 have indulged hopes.
My own health this winter has been for me remarkably good - notwithstanding our cold weather. I have not had a permanent cold or cough during it. I have certainly cause for gratitude. I have been more cautious in some important respects than usual & have found the beneficial effects resulting from it. But last winter I found the Spring i.e. March & first of April more trying than the winter months. If my health remains so good thro the the Spring I think I shall dare to spend next year in this Sem. tho I had thought I should seek a warmer region.
I cannot say when I will be able again to visit Amherst. Our class voted as we left to meet at Amherst when we took our A.M.s i.e. next commencement, if possible. Several of the Class will probably be there & I would like to be - but it is uncertain whether I will be able to as it comes one week before our term here closes, I do not say before Anniversary for I do not believe they will have any this year.
There are only eleven seniors now & probably some (if not all) of them will leave before that time - Eight of the eleven are Amherst graduates & tho quite as good as the others I reckon. Prof. Fiske if he would look over the catalogue would not be very proud of them
Feb. 22. This was written to be sent by Prof. Park but he's just gone to Newburyport tho I believe he is to return thro this town tho I know not when & must no longer keep it for him.
I wish you should write me very soon I would like soon to act on the advice I have asked of Prof. F. in relation to Ashby
Your affectionate friend
An affectionate remembrance to Prof. F. & for Miss Helen Does she ever remember "Tousin Timmie" as well as the "p[paper missing]
The coming Thursday the annual Fast for Colleges is looked to with deep interest by the brethren in this Sem. We are hoping to hear good things from Amherst. How many important young men there are in our colleges!
Addressed: Mr. D.W. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Mr. D. Eastman
[Thursday] Andover Theo. Sem. April 14. 1846.
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
Our long term of seven months is almost gone. Vacation is just at hand. If you could look into our recitation rooms & our morning & evening prayers & see our many vacant seats that were filled at the commencement of the term I reckon you would think it time to give up & start anew. The fact is the term is too long, & what is worse the Students know it, & know that the Faculty & others think so, therefore when the last five or six weeks approach we of course begin to be sick from sympathy if from nothing else. Two or three weeks since a brother came in to my room & remarked that half of our Class were sick. To decide the point we took a catalogue & out of about 50 in the Class counted up to 27 who called themselves sick, without including the dozen of 20 more who intended to be sick soon so as to get off before the term closed & thus have a longer vacation. True Theo. Students as well as "great men are indeed earthen vessels, & a miserable sort of earth too."
April 19. I must dear friend give you a few of the passing events this morning in haste. As the bearer is about ready to leave & I must soon be on my way home. Yesterday we were examined. Good old Dr. Church was present at the examination -- he had a catalogue & in seeing difference between the No. there & in the room he quite pertinently remarked that he supposed most of the class had been examined & left before he arrived. Dr. Woods hardly knew what to say but blundered out "Yes sir."
You have heard I presume that my classmate B. Morse is dead. He died two weeks ago yesterday quite suddenly. Only the Friday previous he rode out & said to a man that he met that he was better & would be well soon as warm weather came; he wished to ride out Sunday again the day before he died, but was persuaded not to. I had been down to Oldtown a part of Newbury to spend the Sabbath & conduct the services of the sanctuary & returned that way so as to call on Br. Morse - but his spirit had taken its upward flight two or three hours before. I have never seen a more agonized family. They could only weep. The following Sabbath another beloved classmate Br. Gibbons died here of the same disease consumption. He was brother to Gibbons in the class before me in college but of a very different spirit. He was a very good man. Each of these were intending to go on a Foreign Mis. But the Lord has taken them to himself while we are left to toil on a little longer. Let us live for God & watch & pray & work while we may. Death has also visited Amherst college & taken Br. Rowell I hear.
One of the Teachers in the Ipswich Sem. a Miss Lord of Portland, Me. died at Miss Grant's boarding house Ipswich a week ago last Sabbath. She was engaged to a Mr. Dale of the last class in this Sem. who is going on a Foreign Mission. Thus the messenger of death is busy at every point. We know not how soon we may be his victims & it matters not if we love Jesus, for it would only be to us an entrance into that rest which he hath prepared for all that love him. It would only be going home.
I believe you take the N.Y. Observer. If so look in a few of the next Nos. & see if you find an article headed, 'A field demanding Culture' or Female Seminaries at the West; if you do just read it. Perhaps you will be interested in the facts because they come from 'cousin Timothy'. It was prepared for our Society of Inquiry here and afterwards at Miss Grant's special request read to her Sem. At her urgent request united with that of Hon. W.B. Banister of Newburyport who also heard it, I consented to prepare an article from it, for publication, for I would not consent to let it appear as originally prepared. They thought the N.Y. Obs. the best place for it & I have today sent it there. An extract from it Miss Grant has already had printed in a circular which is addressed to the friends of that Sem. & of female education of the West. I received from her a copy a day or two since, perhaps she will send you one, or certainly Prof. Hit Hitchcock where you can see it. I will probably act according to Prof. Fiske's advice about Teaching tho I have not fully decided yet. I have agreed to spend this vacation in Farmington N.H. a place 20 miles above Dover, where they have no minister. Rev. Mr. Willey, Sec. of the H. Mis. Soc. for N.H. has engaged me to labor there as a minister for as I can. If you will write me by some of our students as they come back or by mail so as to let me received it the first of next term five weeks hence I will then tell you how the vacation has passed & what I have been about &c. My health is good & has been much better this winter & Spring than it was last.
Sister if here would send much love. She very often thinks of you & would like again to see you. Her Ipswich term closes today. Whether she will spend the summer there or at home will depend on her health. My mother is quite well. My brother at home I expect will be married this vacation. My brother in Boston soon takes a tour thro the Western States to be about 2 or 3 months.
The good people in Bedford tell Prof. F. have a Rev. J. Leavitt an Amherst valedictorian preaching for them, whom they will probably settle. My affectionate regard to Prof. F. Where does he spend the his vacation? Love for Miss Helen & Miss Ann Scofield. Very affectionately T. Stearns
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.Fiske, Care of Rev. Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: ANDr.
[Tuesday] Theo. Sem. Andover, June 28, 1836.
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
Your "good for nothing letter" was at least good to make me laugh heartily & to bring your very image before me. Your letters need neither signature, date or mail mark to prove their author or genuineness. But you wish to know about my "making believe minister" at Farmington. Well that it is a pleasantly located town 20 miles N of Dover - has over 1700 inhabitants & never had settled minister of any denomination. There is a Congregational Church of 12 members; 4 of them over 80 yrs old & the rest over 50. Four or five more good people belong to other churches. Then there are all manner of ites and ums - the worse of them are Free Will Baptists. They reject all human 'larning' & speak when & as the Spirit moveth. Their preaching is mostly performed by females. I preached there on a Saturday. A F.W. Baptist was to preach for them the next day for the last time. That Sabbath I was only a hearer. But such yelling & murdering of the King's English I never heard even by Methodist ranters in Ohio. It was absolutely impossible for me to hear for he screamed so as to drown his voice & gave me a 'right smart' headache. The following Sabbath after I had talked in the A.M. & P.M. a female volunteered her services & the instant I closed the prayer began to scream, wring her hands, pound the bench & cry out "glory to God.' I remained standing with the hymn book open ready to preach the instant she stoped. It was only because I was more expeditious than some half a dozen old ladies that we were not edefied by several more similar harangues. I said nothing but tho't much. Our grand people said that was the way there & it could not be remedied. I remained silent, but the following Sabbath morn morning said, on announcing the exercises, I Tim. 2. There was no mistake as to what was intended & they could say nothing, as the controversy would not be with me, but with Paul. I was never after favored with such unasked aid. The Sabbath following I was furnished with aid which I valued quite as brightly. The Free Willers finding that their craft was in danger determined to [savit] an opposition team. But they could find no one to drive it, except one of their ministers who had then two wives living & had never been divorced from the first; of course living in open violation of the seventh commandment & guilty of a states's prison offence - he was also an occasional drun drunkard & his character otherwise quite in keeping. They were so antimormian as to allow all this to be right. They knew however that our people would not go to hear him. So they decided to get him privately into our school house on Sunday thinking I should not have independence sufficient to neglect him & so should ask him to preach & our people would then have to sit & hear him.
Fortunately I learned on Saturday the plan - I consulted some of our good men & was prepared for him. Tho he took my seat unasked I could not see him, & went thro the exercises as if he were not there each part of the day. Soon as the exercises were closed at night one of them came to the desk & took my hand asking if I had not slighted their minister. I said nothing about my advice or any ones name - but said asked if he had not two wives both his own still. When it was said yes, I said, then, he is living in open violation of the seventh command in the Decalogue & could I in conscience ask such a man to preach? or could you wish to hear him? This was a little too direct to be evaded & flying upon the wings of the wind stoped compelled silence. After this I was left to do my work in my own way & notwithstanding my obstinacy they came out to meeting in greater numbers I was told than they had done for years. You begin to 'guess' you know what kind of crit beings live there, or will when I add that in making a morning call I found two women washing dishes each in one vessel each with a pipe in her mouth & found the same A.M. six more females with their pipes in their mouth - none of the eight laying them aside because 'the minister called to see them' but continuing to puff & perfume him usually as long as he staid remained. But hold dear friend, a moment before you form a decided judgement. Let me first introduce you to my boarding place. I will make you acquainted first with the gentleman of the house Hon. Mr. Eastman - frequently a member of his state legislatures, & recently of Congress - a man of large property - who has travelled over the Western country - is very intelligent - a minute observer of man & thing - & an extensive reader & a celebrated lawyer - not. Pious but amiable man who respects religion. Shall I make you acquainted with Mrs. E. his lady a sister of Hon. Levi Woodbury formerly gov. of N.H. now Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. She is an excellent pious amiable intelligent lady. Has spent a winter in Washington City & moved in the first Circles there as well as in the most fashionable in Boston - is about 50 yrs old yet reads French as readily as English - keeps pace with the literature & benevolence of the day - keeps her house which is large & furnished in first rate city style neat & in order. Not by her own hands but by her servants. Let me make you acquainted with her daughter, a pleasant lovely Miss of 19. She will talk French readily as English & read Italian & Latin with the same ease. She has read a host of novels & plays finely on her piano with which she charms me very frequently - Of the remainder of her education not much can be said. This bright little boy is their youngest child. The next older brother is a member of Dart. Col. & the oldest one owns a store in the village & boards with his father. You have now the whole of the family proper. There is of course a number of domestics. I receive the kindest attentions in the family - felt myself quite at home & happy - I could not be otherwise. I have given you the extremes of society there - Your imagination must fill up the picture. I arrived there April 23 & left May 23. This included five Sabbaths. The first however I did not conduct the exercises. In the time I talked or did what they called preached 21 times - organized & superintended a S. School, & made 145 calls on different families in that town. So you see I was busy. I enjoyed it much. In the calls I always inquired into the spirit and state of the family & gave such religious instruction as they needed & often closed with prayer. I was usually treated with kindness - gratitude expressed & desired to call again. The town is large in territory. I talked in five different schoolhouses & one Sabbath in a crazy old decaying large meeting house. With all this talking my lungs were sound instead of troubling me in the least evidently strengthened all the time! Is not this encouraging? I do praise the Lord for it.
I endeavored to lead them to feel that they might & ought to support the gospel among them. The effort was not in vain. They are now desiring to support a minister & build if they can find one, & are ready to build a meeting house - They tried to induce me to stay (half prepared as I am) & preach for them -- I think I should like pastoral labor well - I was really delighted with it.
Perhaps you have heard Prof. Fiske say we have relatives in Fryeburg & Lovell, Me. I was within 50 miles of them & as I had never visited them I improved that time. I left Farmington on a Monday P.M. & returned the Friday following having taken a circuit of 158 miles more than 100 of which I walked & visited in the two specified towns 12 families of cousins. I thought that a real 'cousinig visit' but they said I must see the whole. Of course I merely saw them. Two or three families of them are very good pious intelligent people. The heads of the families in every instance I believe were professors of religion & most of them consistent Christians. I could not but feel that the prayers of my good pious grandfather & his holy example had done much to produce this happy result. I enjoyed the tour finely. During it I saw vastly more rusticity poverty & boorishness than I ever did among the same number of inhabitants at the West. None of this last remark however applies to our relatives there -- For I was interested to see that they were with but one exception living in a neat general prosperous respected manner. As I went to Farmington I went thro Newburyport & Dover & returned thro Concord their capital so that the vacation tour gave me an opportunity to see something of the country & I hope, to do a little good & got some also.
My brother after letting his moderation be known till about 40 years is really married. I witnessed the ceremony last Thursday even, rather a wet day to be sure which some of the old grandmothers would say portended 'dreadful things' but it was pleasant within. It was a social time - the company was small. If Prof. F. would visit dear mother now he would not find the house quite as much in confusion as he did. I do wish you would ride up there when you come to Boston. Mother & sister spoke of you with much interest & would rejoice to see you. Miss Helen told sister she loved Cousin Timothy but should have loved him much better if he had not made so much of a baby of her! So to get back into her good graces when I called at Mr. Vinal's to see her & Prof. F. when she came to the door I made one of my most polite bows with "How do you do Miss Fiske? Did she tell you of it? That did not entirely succeed. I must get you to speak a good word for me to her. Give me a remembrance to her & tell her if she minds mother & is kind to little sister & acts properly I will not any longer make a baby of her but consider her a lady. As to visiting you at commencement I cannot now say. I wish to very much. It is our time to take the second Degree & we voted as a class to meet at this commencement. I might there meet many old friends. But it comes in term time here & is so far that it would require a week's absence. Sometimes I think I will come & then I think I cannot.
How happens it you are so mighty wise about the writers in the N.Y. Observer? Did I say anything about it in my last? If I did I did not tell you when the article would come. As to your suggestion about consistency I like it & mean to act on it. You see if I don't. However if any body acts differently; that is one of the ways in which those young ladies can do so much good - by aiding & comforting your poor disconsolate missionary. As for my signature you are so good at 'guessing' you need it not. Whenever any thing more goes there from me I will endeavor to let you know if you can't 'guess.' Look at the S.S. Visitor of May p.102. The article "Why don't you go to the heathen" is from the same source. But the other articles there are signed S. that is the only article I ever wrote for the visitor or to its editor.
Miss Grant has just been in town making a visit of a week to rest. I saw her. She says her health is pretty good -- the school flourishing -- applications from the mail for teachers constantly increasing & also applications for admission to her school.
This wet weather & East Wind affected my lungs somewhat but I am now better, pretty well or almost quite well. Is not this letter long enough to require a speedy answer? If it is let me have it & if this is not long enough I will take a larger sheet the next time. Who is thought of for Prof. Park's place? I have heard Edward Humphrey named? Is it probable he would come? We are passing on here quietly in the old track. It seems Prof. Hitchcock is again on a geological survey. Will it not take his time from college duties? Let me hear from you soon.
We can do something for Jesus. May we have much of his meek benevolent holy spirit & like him go about doing good & meet at last in heaven to be like him.
Your affectionate friend,
My plan to labor at the West is still the same. If the Lord spares my life I intend to return there soon as I am thro here.
I hope Helen has recovered. I regret to hear of another attack of your cough. You must be cautious. Let me know when you come to Weston & I will try to come & see you there. Cousin
Sarah (not my aunt) is with you then. I am glad her health is so comfortable. Give me an affectionate remembrance to her & if she has patience to pick this out or you to read it to her she may hear it. Br. Tyler it seems is back to Amherst. His reputation her was good - both as a scholar & judicious consistent Christian. What is Rev. Mr. Hooker doing in Boston? I did not see Miss Abby Tufts. I am glad to hear that your cousin Martha is pious.
The appointment of Dr. Edwards as our Pres. is very well received here. It is very confidently expected that he will accept.
Sister is now at home but will soon return to Ipswich. My Brother & his wife of Boston have not yet returned from their tour at the West. I heard from at St. Louis. They were delighted with the country.
Br. Thayer wished to add a P.S. when I wrote & was to come to do it but has neglected it till the mail is just going. So you must have this without it. He proposes to attend commencement at Amherst this year.
Please give me an affectionate remembrance to Prof. F. I am quite obliged to him for visiting my mother. I regret that I was not at home - George I hear is at Hadley teaching. Will he come here this fall? Give him a remembrance from me as soon as you see him.
Addressed: Mrs. Deborah W.V. Fiske Care of Mr. David Vinal, Boston, Mass, Postmarked: ANDr, JUL 21
[Wednesday] Theo. Sem. Andover July 20. 1836.
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
Your letter was received a day or two since on my return from Ashby where I had been spending a week. I regret to hear of your ill health -- That cough I know how to sympathize with you on account of it. I wish you & Prof. F were as much interested in the West as I am. For I do believe that climate would affect you as Dr. Beecher told one of our students yesterday whose health is somewhat like yours "I have no doubt but a Western climate would ac cure you & lengthen your life many years." The Dr. is here & made us a speech last eve on the West & another this morning. He is Dr. B. yet - only that he has grown some 20 years younger since he left Bodoin Bowdoin A. church.
He is full of energy & boldness - has much of the real 'go a head' of the West & with all a good share of wit. I would like to give you some specimens of it if I have time. But I am not going to write a long letter.
I regret that I cannot visit you at Boston - especially as I must relinquish the idea of attending Commencement this summer. The reason is in brief this. I have just been absent over a week & it will not do for me to be absent much more this term - lest I forfeit my good name for being always in my place & on the ground. With your letter I received one from Br. E. with request to visit him immediately in Charlestown as he & his wife have just returned from their Western tour. But I feel constrained to deny myself that visit also for the reason just assigned. But do you say, why is cousin Timothy off to Ashby in term time? Do not be too suspicious - You shall have the true & only reason. Well then, the Spirit of God is there. Br. Tinker has an interesting revival among his people. Several of my old pupils have we trust become Christians. He wrote me an account of it a few weeks since with an earnest request that I should come out & labor with him a short time as he was nearly worn out & much labor was necessary. I was in doubt what to do. I knew the influence on myself would be good. It would do my heart good - & would give me just the experience that I shall need. Then experience of that kind with so judicious prudent a man as Br. Tinker would be very valuable. But if I went I knew I must give up my intended visit to Amherst commencement. I thought duty said go to Ashby & do good. Dr. Woods thought I ought to go & spend a week. So I went. Now you must pardon me (will you not?) for deferring nay visit both to Boston & to Amherst. Br. Thayer will go to commencement.
Mr. Tinker & his people are still very desirous that I should go & teach their academy a part of next year. They offer good wages. I have not yet decided as to duty. But owing to the state of my pecuniary affairs the temptation to go is strong. You shall know the result when I decide.
You say you shall journey with your father after this week. Why can you not come here & let me help you & Martha do nothing. By the way great minds will run in the same channel as someone has said. Hon. D. Webster's father on leaving home once told his son E. to do some work & D. to help him. On his return the work was not touched. To the censure E. could say nothing but D. said 'Father I have been doing just what you told me to "helping E." Well what has he been doing? 'Nothing Sir & I have been helping him!' The last part of fixing the time & pay I reckon ought to be credited entirely to you.
But to your journey. We have a fine prospect, a handsome town, & something beside young gentlemen worth looking at about here. Why not come? Just find me & I will show you all there is to be seen.
We have seven weeks next vacation. Br. Tinker wants me there & I have received an urgent application to go to Farmington again & labor during the next vacation.
Do you know what Dr. Beecher is in N.E. for? Yankees you know will 'guess'. So they do now - As he is a widower & growing so young some here 'guess' he wants a wife. Do the Bostonians 'guess' so to? Rev. Labaree, Pres. of Jackson Col. Sem. & Rev. T. Brainard of Cincinnati are both widowers also & both here. Neither of the three have any particular business, so we 'guess' what they are after. A rare chance for somebody! Br. Brainard said to us in an address this morning that he tho't the West had a right to demand of N.E. 16,000 of her daughters! Rather a moderate demand - tho enough to supply some schools & some 'disconsolate lonely widowers' & 'poor missionaries.'
I would really like to spend my senior year under Dr. B. at the Lane Sem. They have a little more steam on board there than we have here. Dr. Edwards has decided to accept the Presidency of this Sem. It is expected that he & Prof. Park will be inaugurated Anniversary day. My sister has I suppose gone to Ipswich this week. She made her vacation longer than the regular one. Her health is pretty good tho not firm. She has recently received a good offer to go to Kingsville, Ten, & teach in a Female Sem. there. Everything about it is as she would like - her health is the only cause of hesitation, & on this account rather discouraged her going as I returned from Ashby & saw her. She will decide very soon & seems somewhat inclined to go.
If you cannot visit Andover let me hear from you soon & know where & how you are.
My regards to your cousin Miss Martha Vinal -- she must enjoy helping you do nothing right well. I am glad you have so pleasant an assistant U trust you will & trust you will find the employment & society beneficial to your health. I suppose you have left Miss Ann Scofield at Amherst else you wd not be doing nothing. Has Helen recovered from her cold? Your affectionate friend
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass. Postmarked: ANDr, Ms, DEC 14
[Tuesday] Theo. Sem. Andover Dec. 13. 1836.
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
I know you have not forgotten your old friend 'Cousin Timothy', but it is not easy to imagine why he has received no letter from you this long while. I thought I would certainly find one when I returned at the beginning of this term & have been looking for one daily for the last six weeks. Possibly you have forgotten that you are in debt, but so my note book declares & memory corroborates the fact. I was about inclined to fold this sheet with only my name in it & send it to you. But that would be hardly fair when you always write such good long letters, even if they are like Milton's angels 'few & far between.'
If it were not so long a time since, I should tell you something of my last vacation. You know I spent it in Farmington again, notwithstanding the smokers & snuff takers & enjoyed myself right well. By the way I longed for an opportunity while there to say a word to these good folks & had the favorable time just before I left. There was a Temperance meeting in the village at which the President of the society gave a long tolerably written address. Soon as he had closed closed he called on me to make some remarks. To me that was unexpected; but as there was a good audience & all eyes were on me I arose determined to reach the conscience of some of the smokers. It was a good opportunity, for that society were pledged to abstain from 'all intoxicating liquors'. After some general remarks & a few anecdotes to avert attention I told them their pledge was very good, but it would be still better if it was to abstain from 'all intoxicating substances'. I then, as the Weston folks would say, 'Let on in earnest.' I really enjoyed visiting & conducting meetings much. It was also of great benefit to me, & I trust the feeble efforts were blessed to the conversion of one man of considerable influence. I spent the seven Sabbaths there. It surprises me when I think how rapidly the time has passed since I entered this Sem. Here I am in the Senior year & just about to be licensed to preach the gospel. It seems but a few days since I was in your family pursuing my college studies. Now if life is spared in a few days I shall be in the ministry laboring in the great West.
I suppose you have heard of the sudden death of my uncle John Stearns. He was instantly killed in Woburn Nov. 5, by the railroad car crossing over his body & literally dissevering it.
A Mr. Myrick, of Charlestown, whose wife was sister to my brother's wife & who lived in the house with brother was scalded so badly on a Steam Boat on the Ohio river Nov. 17. that he survived but two hours.
We have had three funerals in our Chapel this term besides one of a daughter of Dr. Woods at the close of last term.
None of these were students, but each heads of families in our little community. Two of Prof. Stuart's daughters have been quite sick but are now better. Such events remind us that earth is not our home, that life is short & uncertain. But that should never disquiet the Christian. He would not live always. He would only live to glorify God & work for him. If He sees it best for us to be removed to another & more delightful sphere of action shall we murmur. Let us live so that for us to live shall be Christ's & to die gain to our own soul.
From all the sources I hear that Prof. Fiske is becoming popular in his new department. I am rejoiced at it. How does he like the place? When the appointment here was announced here it generally made a favorable impression, but some (especially Br. T. Thayer) were quite displeased with that of Prof. Tyler. I understand he begins "to take well." Prof. Park is extremely popular here. My class to a man are delighted with him. He introduces new notions - not theological - but such as inviting 6 or 8 of my class to visit him weekly in rotation to pass a social evening with other company that he invites.
Sister is spending this winter with mother. They were each well at Thanksgiving time. Do let me hear from you very soon. Yours affectionately
P.S. I am really very much obliged to you for visiting my dear mother. I regret that I was not at home to see you & minister to your comfort & point out to you some of the scenes of my childish sports. I also regret to that I was unable to see you while in Boston. Will you not visit this part of the State again soon?
My kind regards to Prof. Fiske & Miss Helen. How is your health now?
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: ANDr, Ms, JAN 5
[Monday] Theo. Sem. Jan. 2. 1837.
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
This eve was reserved for you; & a long letter to be written during it. But my fire was scarcely kindled after tea before company called & one after another till now 9 1/2 o'clk is the first moment I have had alone. Yet I would not complain as two of them were brethren who come to ask advice in relation to their duty to labor at the West; & with each of these & one other I have enjoyed during the eve precious seasons of prayer. I fear your letter must be hasty if filled tonight. To me this has been an interesting day - set about as it is for special prayer. Our public meeting at 2 o'clk which took the place of the monthly concert was a good one. Yesterday A.M. Rev. Mr. Bird mis. at Beyroot preached for us & in the P.M. Rev. Mr. Armstrong one of the Sec of the A.B.G.F.M. In the evening (yesterday Rev. Mr. & Mrs. Holiday & Mr. & Mrs. Stocking destined to be associated with Perkins in Persia & Rev. Mr. & Mrs. Leyman destined to Scio received their instructions here from the Board. Dr. Anderson gave them. His remarks were excellent. He allowed to a debt we owe Oriental Christians by or as we received the gospel from them & that we should pay our debts. After more definite directions he directed them 1. not to labor to promote Secessions from the Oriental Church but to labor to purify that church. On this point some of our modern declaimers would object to his doctrine of expediency. But it was the dictate of common sense & the bible. 2 He questioned the expediency of missions directly to Mahomedans at present. 3. He questioned the expediency of our mis. physicians practicing so much for nations. 4. Cautioned them not to expect too much from the desire of the Nestorians to receive the truth. 5 Exhorted them to be very prudent in their expenses & 6 to be holy & trust in Jesus. Each of the points were ably & clearly illustrated. After this Rev. Bird gave the mis. an address. The exercises were full of interest. It was the first time I had heard public instructions given to missionaries. I trust it will lead more to look at the question of personal duty to the heathen & then I trust that some who look at the subject will decide that it is their duty to leave N.E. even if they get no further than the West. I have felt today like consecrating myself anew to Jesus. I would sit at his feet, grow in holiness & labor & wear out in his service. Is it not a privilege to labor in such a course? Let us then work while we may.
Jan. 3. It was too late dear Mrs. Fiske to finish your letter last eve. So it was laid by in my porte folio till this eve.
Well, Catharine shall have your best respect in due time with an introduction on paper to your identical self. Here I might stop & fill up this sheet with other matters & if any other of my correspondents had sent a similar message I would stop here & let them become wise as they could. But I cannot will not try your patience so. Your past kindness & frankness demands a different requital. Your present knowledge it seems is quite limited on this point. Not extending to the whole of the name or the place of abode, is it so? Then you may laugh a little & see if "Cousin T." has not some of that "shy way" still.
But to proceed Let me introduce you Mrs. Fiske to Miss Catharine G. Taylor of Athens, Ohio!! "I guess I know now why you are so much interested in the West." Not too fast. Yet I will make another confession to you. She has been expecting to be the future companion of your cousin T. for nearly two years. "Have you not then told me on paper a naughty story?"
I reckon not. In the first letter I wrote you after I entered this Sem. there was a remark of this kind "I can say what probably few members of the Sem. can that I am entirely free." My note book book says that was under date of Dec. 8 1834. It was then straitly & literally true. I did not say it would always be so, for I did not then expect it would be so long. No letter more recent of mine has refered to the matter. When I visited you almost two years ago you commended me for sailing free from this subject. "Thinks I to myself," Mrs. F. would not commend if she knew the whole story. But I was silent - not feeling obliged to tell everything that I knew (I believe it is fated that this letter shall not be finished at present. For as last eve I had but just taken my pen before company obliged me to lay it aside till this moment (ten o'clk) One of my visitors this eve was a son of Rev. Harding of Waltham, member of the academy here. He came to inquire specially about Amherst Col. Of course I spoke a good word. But I must return & say a little more tho I cannot now finish this eve) You see that I have said little about this matters as two brothers & their wives know nothing of it before you. You saw the other brother's wife knew it. Did she tell you aught of C.? I am not certain as you saw her. If you did & I was to see you I would just ask silently what you tho't of her. Her mother who was ill perhaps you knew was in the Insane Hospital. She is now better & is at home but not cured. My good sister Hannah is her daughter. This may explain some curious strange things you might perhaps notice if you saw her long. Do not name any guess as to this. Tho it may possibly explain 2 or 3 things to you. It is for you only. I told Hannah of it over a year ago as circumstances were such that she would soon get hold of it. But she was quite troubled that she did not know it sooner & more so still that I would not prefer a special friends of hers. Hence she has never liked my plan. Now to see how you like it you shall have some facts.
Miss Taylor was a member of our Sem. in Chillicothe about nine months while I was there & most of the time roomed with my sister - all of it boarded in a family with us. You see I had a tolerably good opportunity to become acquainted with her. I was pleased with her at first & became daily more so, but neither she or any one else while I remained in Chillicothe supposed me particularly partial to her, or even imagined any such thing. I tho't a little about it -- Before I went there you know I tho't of the West as a field of labor. I did still more while there & fully decided to do it while there or very soon after I returned home. That point being decided partly as to my field of labor with the fact before me that very many N.E. ladies soon loose their health or die there it occurred to me that other things being equal a Western lady would make me a better companion than a N.E. one. The people would hence infer that I intended to become one of them. We had 6 or 8 very fine ladies in our Sem. (Take special notice this is the process of reasoning after I came to this Sem.) Miss T. pleased me much the best, much better than any lady I had ever met. Delay is dangerous, especially when you wish to purchase more valuable articles & purchasers are numerous. After deliberation & prayer I named the subject to my dear sister. She was rejoiced - had often wished it might be so. Said there had been no one in Chil. F. Sem. during four years she was in it that on all accounts would make me as good a companion & that she and never known any young lady that she would prefer as a wife for her brother T. to Miss Taylor.
Jan. 4. So you see my dear friend, this is not finished. But let me this eve go right on from the place where I stopped. Well, Athens is 50 miles from Chillocothe. I had never been there - never seen Mr. or Mrs. T. & sister tho't it best to secure a good prize when you could, ere it was too late. I remembered that Dr. Humphrey had told us that tho nothing of this business should happen in college, yet after we were out it was best to be on the lookout & if we saw a good tree 'mark it' so that it should be safe yet be in no haste in cutting it. Still I did not like haste. I was intimately acquainted with Rev. J. Spaulding now Sec. of Education Soc. in the valley. He had been Miss T. pastor five years & boarded much of the time with her father. So I after this talk with sister wrote him - frankly & asked advise. I had never written her or[paper missing] in any way to understand my feelings. I will give you some abou of extracts from his letter under date of Dec. 13, 1834. "Miss C.G.T. is by no means perfect, she fell according to A Catechism in Adam. & I doubt not has some of his blood still in her veins. But tho C. is not perfect nor any of the daughters of Eve she possesses a combination of excellences which I have often admired & which promise her a life of usefulness. She was among the first fruits of my ministry so that sufficient time has elapsed since my first acquaintance with her to convince me that her traits of character are prominent." In specifying some points of excellence he says "1. Piety. Hers has ever appeared to me to be ardent & uniform. 2. Perseverance. She carries thro what she undertakes. 4. She is amiable. Her sweet disposition has endeared her to all her acquaintances. 4. She understands well domestic affairs - how to make a pie or a pudding &c, &c, how to economize. 5. She is industrious. Were you to drop in as I used to do you would always find her usefully employed. 5. She has a good share of common sense - rather a rare commodity. 6. She possesses a good mind - as you have had an opportunity to know. Then what more shall I say? I will only add that in my own family we have often expressed the desire that C. might have a place of usefulness -- to her ability & desire to do good. In a word we (he & his wife) know of no young lady we could recommend in a manner so unqualified as we would speak of C. With regard to her parents I can safely say they rank among the first citizens in Athens. As for Mrs. T. her price is above rubies. She is truly a mother in Israel. If I were to advise you I would say with David Crocket "Go a head." What say you to these extracts? In accordance with the closing advise I did soon go a head. Soon after I told my dear mother the whole story. She cheerfully & heartily said Amen. She said if I had decided to labor at the West she would much prefer that I would select a companion there if I could find one to suit me. No one but mother & sister in N.E. knew it for about a year - When I told sister in Charlestown she told some of it yet it is not known here except to 3 or 4 students. Of course I was not going about telling of it. I always drop letters to Athens into A. P. Office myself & often take out the return ones myself. I just marked A tree & made it safe tho the understanding was I would not return to Ohio till thro this Sem. There was a strong temptation besides my health to go to the Lane Sem. but I did not yield. I have explained the matter frankly & fully to you. Of course it will not go out of your family. May the way you hoped the writer of a certain article in the N.Y. Obs. would be consistent & let Miss Grant's pupils remain teaching at the West. I told you to wait & see if he did not. How is it? Our students here very often seriously say to me "Br. Stearns, it is really time for you to apply to Miss Grant for an assistant to labor at the West with you. You are quite dilatory in this matter." I am always ready for a pleasant [---] perhaps admit A truth or tell them that it is about time & I must look around or tell them when I get time I must do up that business in a short time." Thinks I to myself "you do not know quite everything. But enough of this tho I must add you see the decision to labor at the West was prior to this matter. It is some proof of regard for you that you have wrot no one nor yet had or will soon have on paper an account of this subject.
I am more interested in our studies this term than I have ever been. I like writing sermons or trying it well. I have just finished one from 2 Sam. 24:24 & must soon commence another. You will write soon. You did not quite promise I presume. The next time I will write less & plainer.
The circumstances of uncle John's death were these. His son Onslow had just come home fr N. Jersey - was coming that morning on the cars here on some business & to see me. He asked his brother to walk with him to the willow a mile distant which he did - just before they reached it cousin had occasion to stop a moment - uncle went on - reached the road & turned to walk down toward Boston on the track a few steps. He knew it was nearly time for the cars from Lowell to be there & that they came on the track on which he was walking as there were two tracks there. He had walked but a few steps before a car came up behind which from his deafness he did not hear till just by him. Probably he remembered he was on the track for the regular car & he instantly sprung on to the other track 6 or 8 feet distant but that was a train of extra cars on that other track, so he would have been safe where he was but he had scarcely reached the other track before a car struck him, crossed over his body & nearly dissevered it so that the two part scarcely adhered together. Cousin who had not yet come up heard the noise & ran thither - was there in about one minute - yet so sudden was his death that even then life was extinct. How sudden! A letter was sent to me to attend the funeral but did arrive seasonably. His friends feel it.
I suppose you have received our Catalogue which I sent you last week.
I presume Prof. Fiske has seen the notice of the [Mound] in the Jan N. A. Review. It seems he has not labored in vain. I saw a letter from cousin George today. He says that Dr. Humphrey will have the class in Mor. Phil. next term. Is this to allow Prof. F. time for study & for revising the Manual. I am quite obliged to Prof. F. for his threefold remembrance please give him a cordial affectionate one from me.
I suppose Miss Nelson will be quite a large young lady before I come to make you that visit before I go West and Miss Ann Scofield quite a girl
I reckon you will admit this letter is long enough to have a speedy answer. Is it not?
Can you read it? I fear you cannot.
Your affectionate friend
Addressed: Mrs. D.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Mr. Humphrey.
[Monday] Theo. Se. Andover, April 17. 1837.
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
You know I am not in debted to you on the score of letters but I cannot let so favorable an opportunity to write you pass. But you must have a few hasty lines for this is examination day. Since that was over I have had some letters to write before this. It is 10 1/2 o'clk P.M. & I am to leave town early in the morning. Still my dear Mrs. F. must have a line. Last week I was licensed by the Andover association to preach the gospel. Alas how unworthy am I of such an honor & privilege. Pray for me that I may never be unfaithful in this high & holy work. I remember the pleasant visit I enjoyed with you two years since. Hope I may yet see you again before I go West, tho I can hardly promise myself the time to visit Amherst again. Do you not visit Boston & the region this Spring or summer? If so I will come & see you if you let me know where you are. I preach this vacation in N. Reading only six miles from here. Shall be there on the Sabbaths and spend most of the weeks with my friends. My health has been god, this better than it was two last winters. My voice & lungs are better. I am not now subjected to those colds which you remember I always took in riding from Boston to Amherst. Mother & sister are each pretty well.
All things here go well. Occasionally we have a breeze as we did a few weeks since in Pro. Park's Lecture room. By the way he is still very popular but not quite as universally so as he was. Some of us who like Dr. Woods' theology think Prof. P. rather heretical on some points. I would value an hour's talk on this subject with Prof. Fiske right well. Br. Burgess read a sermon before our class some time since which raised a great brouhaha. It had two much old schoolism in it for Prof. Park. Prof. Stewart is still unable to do any thing or thinks he is, & so does nothing.
Do you take Prof. Andrews' Religious Magazine now? The April No. contains a most contemptible article on the Mt. Holyoke Fem. Sem. or rather on the Ipswich Fem. Sem. Prof. Emerson directed my attention to the article this P.M. asking me to read it saying at the same time "Keep as cool as you can." I confess I did not keep very cool. I am astonished that he would write or admit such an article one so indecorous, so uncivil to the ladies. It has some true things in it, & what has not. But the whole shape & impression of the thing is false if Prof. A. does say it. I presume he will hear from it & from some of the knowing ones too. Do write me soon. I want to know how your health is, how Prof. F. is & how the children are. Helen I suppose is really a great girl & Miss A. Scofield quite a Miss. If you would write me this vacation Billerica will be my head quarters but I shall be here soon after. The term commences five weeks hence. A kind remembrance to Prof. F. Am glad to hear that the students like him in his new place so well. Wish they liked Prof. Tyler as well. Tutor Park then marries Lucy Humphrey & not too when Prof. Tyler could not obtain her? He (Tutor P.) is not to be made Latin Prof, our students hope. Yours very affectionately,
Don't you wish you could steal into N. Reading meeting house some Sabbath this vacation & hear Cousin Timothy preach without his knowing it? I should really like to see you among my hearers.
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Andover, Ms, JUL 21
[Wednesday] Theo. Sem. Andover, July 19. 1837.
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
I must try you once more as you seem so persistent, & have atoned for your long silence by so long a letter. But I am really sorry that your head is so much scorched, tho it will be nothing new for you 'to wear caps' as I believe you have done it ever since I knew you. I had excused you on the score of ill health. I had occasionally heard that you were still ill; & I know by experience how unpleasant it is to do anything even for one we love when we are ill right sick or half sick. Hence I will give you a certificate of good behavior for remembering old friends tolerably well & for paying them up very well whenever you happen to take a seat at your writing desk. I should like to have seen some of those 'misc cautions' & 'sage advice' which you were 'looking in your fire' after. As to that 'list of recommendations' I have not spent very much time in thinking of them. For myself they are not worth a 'brass copper' as I have other evidence amply sufficient. They are only for two or three of my special friends who would naturally wish some knowledge of the subject of them; which I was & am incompetent to give, as you know Cupid was blind.
You have had a sad affair among the students in College. We have had all sorts of versions of the affair. I have seen some six or eight. Several of those written by students made me blush to think what pious students will do. Alas for poor human nature! What a queer thing it is! And partially sanctified human nature is a poor affair. Can you believe that some of the Alumni in this Sem. tried to uphold the rebellious students. I talked over an hour this P.M. with one such with my waterpail in my hand. Not to throw water; for there was none in it as I was going after some. His course was, "Oh, but the students are certainly right, for the best men are in it & they have prayed over the matter. I heard them the last vacation." (helped them of course, prayed with them!) Then he read me a letter which denounced the Faculty to perdition & told me of several others. That letter & others, (most contemptible), represent the Faculty as divided among themselves - as saying one thing as a body & the opposite thing as individuals, & (more contemptible still) as having yielded to the students who have triumphed. I think the hour was well spent for before I left he took back all - said "well the Faculty are right & I will write to fellow & tell him so". But I question whether some wrong views do not go in the letter. This Br. was Thompson of Woburn. Banister has the same view & even Thacker Thayer does not quite know whether the Faculty were not hasty. He liked well Prof. Fiske's appointment last fall, but could not endure that of Prof. Tyler & has not liked Amherst so well since. Most of the other men here stand nobly decidedly with & for the Faculty. Thompson confessed to me that he had felt sore ever since the Abolition difficulty which is the secret I presume of a strong influence which in this thing he has exerted against the Faculty. Prof. F. will recollect that affair. I should really have liked to have seen you in the N. Reading meeting house - I preached there three Sabbaths & exchanged two, one of which I preached in Billerica & the other to a congregation of over 600 hearers. I also preached a 'preparatory Lecture" for Rev. Bennett in Woburn. He has an excellent wife. While I sat talking with Mr. & Mrs. B. he stopped short & turning to his wife said "Mary Lamson, do you see how much Mr. Stearns looks speaks & acts like cousin Nathan"? (i.e. Prof. Fiske) Bro. Thayer told me the other day that I had many of Prof. F's ways & expressions & intonations of voice. How this has happened, if there is anything in it, I do not know. I have long had a high regard for the Prof. which with the force of imitation, even when we are not aware that we do imitate, might account for the fact if it had happened four or five years ago.
Last Sabbath I preached in Bedford for Rev. Lewitt who is quite ill, has been bleeding at the lungs. I found my friends all well excepting my mother who had an ill attack last week. She is much better. I do like spring right well. My lungs are becoming so strong that I find very little difficulty in using them. I shall not probably be able to attend commencement this season as it is the week before our anniversary. But unless you will visit this part of the state I must come to Amherst before I go West. I have engaged to visit Ashby & spend a Sabbath after this term closes, but I do not believe I will obtain a Sabbath to spend at Amherst. If consistent I would like to gratify your curiosity to hear "cousin Timee" preach. If I come to Amherst it will be in the vacation. Shall you not be away at that time? Will you not visit Boston & Weston? If so I could see you much easier. It is rather probable that my sister will go out as a teacher again this Fall. Perhaps go with me. I have invited her to visit Amherst with me but she thinks that if she goes West she will not have time to do it. You do not know quite all that is said in Amherst. The fact that Prof. Tyler could not succeed where Park did has long been common property in college quite to the injury of Prof. T. Yet it may not be so. I regret that Prof. H. [---] for Prof. Andrew is not to come to the light. B.B. Edwards told me a few days since that it had not. Said it had been in Boston & some of the wise head tho't it wd give Andrews more notoriety than he deserved. I fear too many will believe him if he does not get a sound scourging. The July No contains a wholesome answer relative to the Ipswich Sem, tho more might be said there.
I take it John Humphrey has at least a touch of fickleness tho there is some foundation for his opinion as Prof. Stuart is sick & absent & the Juniors are under Dr. Woods on middle studies & Prof. Stuart may not be here next year. Why will you & Prof. F. not come to Anniversary this year? We have a good class of 32 or 35. Preparations are making to have a good anniversary. I shd like to see each of you. Please write & let me know your plans for vacation. I regret that your health is still so ill. The Lord restore you to perfect soundness & spare you yet these many years to come - to bless your family & friends.
Yours affectionately Timothy Stearns
In a letter received some months since my dear Catharine after acknowledging your love says, "Give your good friend Mrs. Fiske a kind remembrance from me. I love her for your sake & am certain I shd for her own if acquainted with her."
July 20. Br. Thompson has been to my room today with a letter which he has written to Barrows & one who wrote a letter he read me yesterday. He came to convince me of his orthodoxy by a sound scolding he had given. I told him it was orthodox & I was glad of it. So my talk yesterday did some good it seems. Of course I shall be off West soon after the term closes tho not for four or five weeks. We are at liberty to preach now as we have opportunity.
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Andover, Ms, AUG 10
[Wednesday] Theo. Sem. Andover, Aug. 9, 1837.
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
Your letter of the 1inst. made its tour hither in the usual time & I hasten to answer it just as soon I could tell you who of us will attend Commencement.
And first in relation to myself. I like your 'grand plan' right well; but after the half hour's consideration I cannot see how it can be accomplished. Seniors may do as they please if they please to do right, & then sometimes do it when they please to do wrong. Just as some of our abolitionists have this evening decided to publish an article which the Faculty have unanimously & decidedly advised them not to do. But they will do as they please. Probably their consciences compell them. -- But the conscience of students now a days is like Sambo's who explained it as something in him which said 'I will' or 'I won't' -- As to the 'sort of a cannot' in this case, it is probably a moral one, but as it often happens is as real as a physical one. My time till anniversary is precious. I preach nearly every Sabbath - wish to write a sermon or two more - prepare my anniversary piece & read & write much besides -- all of which will keep me very busy. Besides we have a host of extra Lectures at this season. Last week Mr. Catherwood who took the sketches for the Panorama view of Jerusalem now exhibiting in Boston gave us a course of Lectures on Egypt & Palestine. This & next week Mr. Russell the distinguished Elocutionist is Lecturing us every evening. Tho for the two last he could have no time to begin till nine o'clk P.M. Every moment of my time is occupied & if we live till anniversary we shall do well & shall hope then for a moment's time to breathe. You will not wonder then if I say as I must I cannot leave before the close of the term.
After that I hope to see you either in Amherst or in this part of the state. Let me know where you will be to be found & I will endeavor to find you. As for a Sabbath I am not certain whether one can be spared for your region. But if you will find me a place where they wish a supply I reckon I will spend a Sabbath in the vicinity provided you will go & hear me.
I gave your message at once & in full due form to Br. Peabody. He could not decided till his friends came up yesterday to the exhibition which closed his school. He desires his best respects to you & will be happy to accept your invitation -- but if you have much company prefers you should not reserve for him any sleeping place as he could lodge with some of his friends in college if you are full. He is much obliged for the invitation. He is an excellent man & I think will make a first rate man. Br. Thayer desires his respects to you & thinks he will attend Commencement & if he does will be happy to accept your invitation. I need not say it would give me great pleasure to accompany them. You know it already . And I am, as much obliged to you for the invitation as tho I could accept it & so will sister be when she receives it. At that time I should meet many old friends whom I may not soon see - perhaps never.
I have preached each Sabbath since I wrote you - one in Salisbury three miles from Newburyport - one in Chester N.H. where I had ex-Gov Bell & the family of the Chief Justice of the state for hearers. The last I spent in S. Reading. I do love to preach. But I never expect to make a great preacher - tho I would hope & aim to be a good one & to do good. A good lady where I preached last Sabbath hoped the Lord wd be with me, that I might do much good, & do it constantly in little things. I regarded it as a much more desirable prayer than one which would wish that I might be a great man. I would like so much of the world's esteem as shall enable me to do it the most good but mere applause I do not expect or wish.
It seems like a privilege to be permitted to preach Jesus. Let me share your prayers that I may not labor in vain.
If sister were here I know she would send her love to you & thanks for your kind invitation; as she always leaves a supply of both with me to deal out for her as I please I will send you a large portion from her. As she may go to N.C. I fear she will be too busy to visit you with me. My best respects to Prof. Fiske. Helen & Ann Scolfield are not forgotten. Why will not Prof. F. attend our anniversary the next week after Commencement & take his wife with him & visit my mother & sister & friends. This I reckon will be a 'grand plan'. Why not adopt it? Is not this the year for a Triennial Catalogue of Amherst? If it is will you not send me one soon as they are printed?
Probably you noticed by the Recorder that my Col. classmates Abbott & Mansfield are ordained. May the Lord bless you & restore your health perfectly. With the kindest regards of
The Panorama view of Jerusalem is worth a journey fr Amherst to Boston to see it.
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Amherst, Mr. Thayer
[Friday] Theo. Sem. Andover. Aug. 18. 1837.
My Dear Mrs. Fiske,
I do wish I was to accompany the brethren who start for Amherst this P.M. As I cannot you shall have a line. Tho in the bustle of approaching commencement you will rejoice to have it brief. Am quite obliged for the Triennials & the note accompanying them. Why are they dated 1836? & why are not the graduating class of this year on them? Perhaps the Faculty mean by it to be safe if the class should get provoked again & refuse to speak. In that case they could not refer to a printed Triennial to prove themselves regular graduates. If so the idea is a good one.
I cannot yet say when I can visit you. Probably I may next week see my sister & then I shall form some plans. She was decided to go to Lexington, N.C. Possibly we may take Amherst on our way after our Journey is commenced, tho probably not.
Do not remain at home any of the vacation on my account. I will as you request write you just before I come, & shall be at Billerica so as to receive a letter if you write me.
I wish you would persuade Prof. Fiske to attend our anniversary. Give him a remembrance from me. Very affectionately yours,
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Boston, Mas, NOV 6
[Thursday] Billerica, Nov. 2, 1837.
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
I regret quite as much as you possibly can to say that it is out of my power to visit you this autumn. When I saw Prof. F. I felt quite certain I should see you before I went to Ohio, & when Sarah received your letter I was still more confident of it. For I expected to be in your region on my agency. But you know we lay our plans & devise our ways but the Lord directh our steps.
I expect to be on my way to Ohio next Monday. Since anniversary I have been on the constant drive. Take one week as an example. You may have heard of my preaching in Newburyport. I preached three time there on the Sabbath in the large Federal St. Church. In the eve it was said I had 1500 hearers by the pastor. Next day I rode to Salem & made a speech to Prof. Worcester's people in the eve. Next day I rode thro Boston to Marlboro (almost to Worcester) to a conference of churches. Next A.M. made a speech on Home Missions to a large audience including 23 clergymen. Same day returned to Boston. Rode up to Billerica & back to Charlestown the next day & in the eve preached for Dr. Fay. Next day went to Marblehead & preached in the eve. Next day to [Wenhaur] where the next day Sabbath I preached twice & a third time in Beverly. Is not that doing tolerably well for my weak lungs? But I have grown fleshy on it they all say & my health is certainly fifty per cent better than at anniversary. My lungs are sound & do not trouble me at all.
I have been repeatedly urged to stop in N. E. & preach as candidate in pleasant villages. But you know I am bound to the West & perhaps have more credit for perseverance from some of my good brethren than you will be disposed to give me.
I have now nearly completed the business of my agency & as it is becoming so cold & the attraction about Athens is becoming so strong & as I have already delayed so long I must hasten off West without a moment to visit. I know it is not right to pass you by. I told Eunice Broker I would visit you & most certainly intended to call on your uncle Vinals' family in Charlestown. But I have not had a moment to visit my brother there. I just called occasionally but have never known before what it was to be in haste & to be obliged to relinquish neglect dear friends. Please give my affectionate regards to the family & say I did mean to call but they know how much an agent has to do if he is faithful. You will excuse me on a similar score. Next year perhaps I will come & see you & bring along Mrs. Stearns with me. It is possible that I may visit N.E. that soon. My friends wish me to do it & I am wished to come as agent again for the Granville Sem. If so I will not then forget you. After I reach Ohio & look around a little I will write you again & let you know my prospects.
I expect to leave home next Monday & hasten strait to Athens. I have been more successful on the agency than I expected in these hard times.
Sister has gone to Lexington N.C. We have heard from her since she arrived there. Her journey was pleasant & the her first impression of the place quite favorable. She wrote the next day after her arrival. Mother is in quite good spirits about my going & seems quite reconciled to the idea of have two children far away. She desires her respects to you & Prof. F. Sister before she left desired a very affectionate remembrance to you. If I had visited you this fall I really believe sister Lucretia (Br. Sewall's wife) would have come with me. She desires to be remembered to you & to say that she has talked of visiting you & thinks she will do it sometime. She would enjoy it right well. She makes br. an excellent wife & mother a kind good daughter. I passed by our friends at Weston & stopped fifteen minutes about two weeks ago. They were all well. Last Sabbath I preached for Br. Bennett, Woburn. In six days about five weeks ago Mrs. Bennett bled three pints of fresh arterial blood directly from the lungs & now she is almost well again. You would not imagine her much ill to be with her all day. What say you to that? It is strange yet true. When your catalogues are printed please send me one at Athens, Athens Co. Ohio.
My health is good. I shall never be an agent for life. I dislike begging at least in these hard times.
The Lord be with you restore your health, give you his present & constant joy in communion with him. Much Love to Prof. F. & Helen & also to to Ann Scoffield -- In haste your affectionate friend
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Athens, O, JAN 19 with note: answered January 25th
[Thursday] Athens, Ohio. Jan. 18, 1838.
While I was a boy under tutors it would not do to be thus familiar, but you know how proud a boy is when he first appears in jacket and pants. It would not be wonderful if a little of the same spirit should reach into the breast of one who for 10 or 11 years had been under strict laws when suddenly ushered on to the stage of action a clergyman with a wife (hush, has Uncle Sam told you of this?) & a good congregation including the Faculty & students of a college looking to him as their spiritual guide. But my dear Mrs. Fiske you need not much fear I am cousin Timothy (or Tousin Timmee) still. But strange things happen you know in this strange world. Your catalogue came safe with "Phil. 4:5" I think I did let my moderation be known to all men for more than three years! Rather a long time for such matters. How well I have since you will judge when you have the sequel of the story. But be patient & take things in exact chronological order. I left my poor mother as your letter said I would Nov. 6 Monday A.M. & the next Saturday eve I was in Marrietta Ohio. 800 miles in six days! Is not that going a head! I came thro Providence, N. York, Philadelphia & from there crossed the mountains to Wheeling, VA where I met James Humphrey going East. Thence I went down the Ohio in a Steamboat. That Sabbath I spent with Pres. Lindsley, formerly pastor at Park St. Monday after a hard effort I chartered a team to bring me here 10 miles but so bad were the roads that I did not reach here till Monday night.
"Now Cousin Timothy how do things look when you first reached Athens?" They looked well, very well. My dear C. looked quite well & all things were as I wished. I wished to visit Chillicothe, Granville & Cincinnati before locating as it was growing late in the season. No time was to be lost & I left here Thursday the second day after my arrival, on that tour. I was absent four week into two days & rode on the time 450 miles on horseback thro this state. Found my Chillicothe friends quite well & enjoyed my self there again very much. But ah what havoc three or four years makes among young ladies? Twelve of our girls there that were in my school are married besides two of them teachers & five or six more of the girls have gone to their long home. On one of the Sabbaths I preached in the country a few miles from Granville. On the Saturday night I was obliged to sleep in the family room where the parents & two or 3 children did & had to use in the A.M. with all of them in the room. Sunday night at another house I was put into a room as large as your nursery & soon as I was in bed three girls from 18 to 24 years old came in & all together took a trundle bed half under mine!! This is a specimen of what ministers in the country have some times (not always you know) to endure.
Let me give you one specimen more not very uncommon. The day I reached here on my return after crossing a crick 14 miles from this I had to dismount - take off my boots & [---] my socks & ride on here without going near a fire. 5 or 6 miles further on I was a worse crick which I was told could not be forded, & if I had not been within 5 or 6 miles of Athens perhaps it could not have been! The only way was to go up it 2 or 3 miles then I found a man who rowed me across in a skiff I leading the horse. But when over I was two miles from any road. The day previous I had traveled a piece by marked trees. There I had not that poor guide. I had to pick my way thro a bad swamp - jumping logs & fallen trees almost constantly - & then picking my way thro thick brush & trees - three times being obliged to tear down fences, & did not get into the road till after dark!
I reached here the eve of Dec. 12. I suppose Uncle Sam has informed you that I was married the next eve. Yes the Buckeyes have their own way of doing such things, better than to be 'posted up' or 'cried' three successive Sabbaths. No body out of our family saw me when I was here the first time or knew that I had returned till they received an invitation to a party & began to imagine what was on foot. The eve was pleasantly & lovely as the day had been. The Rubicon was crossed at seven o'clk in the eve in presence of about 50 substantial witnesses including four Revs besides myself - the Pres. & four Profs. of the Ohio University here & several of its students besides the first class of Citizens. Besides that eve five more parties were made especially on our account within the next ten day each nearly as large, taking the first class of society in town. During the first three days after we were married we received over 60 calls from the good people. So you you see we raised quite a breeze among the good Athenians.
The society here is quite as good as in Chillicothe, & in some respects superior. The people are very intelligent - most of them originally from N.E. One lady I met in some of these parties was a Miss Lalla Jewett formerly a member of Park St. Church. She knew your Uncle Vinal's family well & you was acquainted with you. Do you recollect her? She was delighted to find that I knew you & An. Vinals's family. On asking if she would like to send you a message she said "Oh yes, give her my love & tell her I know she would approve the choice her friend Stearns has made for I do very much. Besides tell her I think Catharine looks just like her." She however is not quite correct nor so wild as she might be. C. is just about your size & has your form is perhaps a little smaller. The shape of her face too is nearly like yours & some of her features remind me occasionally of you. So you see they say my wife looks like you & I talk & act just your husband. But now as to where I am. I had decided to locate in Covington, KY, opposite to Cincinnati but just as I was leaving here I was stopped by a unanimous vote from the Session & Trustees of the Presbyterian Church here to supply them six months with a salary of $450 the year. While visiting I had aided Rev. Dr. Wilson (not the fighting Dr. another better man) & Rev. Prof. Andrews who were supplying the pulpit, but had not any idea of being wished to remain. I consented to change my plan & remain. Because my labors will not be so very arduous as in many places. They do not require of me but one sermon a week as the Col. Faculty cheerfully give one sermon a Sabbath. This will afford me a fine time to study & to commence preparing sermons with care which is very important as the style & standard of sermonizing is fixed usually for life in the early part of a Rev's course in the ministry. I shall also have the Stimulus of all the Col. Faculty & most of the students, besides an intelligent congregation to induce me to prepare my sermons with care. All which for such indolent creatures as we are is very well. From the specimens of Faculty preaching that I have heard here I do not apprehend suffering very materially in the comparison. Besides the Church were very much united in their wish that I would remain. As is common some in it are old & some new school -- Each party claim me. The Col. both students & Faculty were urgent that I should stay & most cordially cooperate with me. The people talk of settling me, but I do not believe it will be my duty to do that. But I have decided to remain the six months. A dozen of 20 other places were pointed out to me before I was located. This place & people seem pleasant. The church has over 100.
Nearly all of my people are in the town, within 1/2 a mile of the church. I have commenced visiting them. This week have devoted my P.M.'s to it. Shall commence a bible class Saturday eve. Yesterday I received an invitation to go out 25 miles & aid a good N.E. brother at a communion sermon. He will have preaching in connection 3 or 4 days getting quite into the work. It was only last week that I decided to remain here. This is a county seat. I do hope Mrs. F. that next season I will be ale to introduce you to my good wife & then you may judge of my taste & fortune. Of one thing I am already quite certain one is much superior to early expectations notwithstanding that long list of recommendations. I know you would love her.
My good wife feels quite acquainted with you, she desires her affectionate regards to you & anticipates much pleasure from a personal acquaintance with you if you will just drop in & make us a visit she will treat you in true Buckeye style. We are boarding with her parents.
I do not believe Mrs. F. but your health would be much better in this region than in cold N.E. We have had no winter here yet. All of Christmas was right pleasant. We often sat with doors open & windows up. Now it is a little cooler, but still quite as warm as your Oct. or last of April weather. We have not had as much as an inch of snow yet. While sister says in Lexington N. Carolina they had three or four weeks ago six inches of it, more than had ever been known there before. Have you much in N.E. this winter?
Sister is quite pleasantly situated & I should think doing good & securing a good share of confidence from the good people. In a recent letter she desires an affectionate remembrance to you & says "ask our good Mrs. Fiske to remember that if I am not in N.E. nor at the "far West" I am where the least remembrance from her will be forthfully transmitted & highly valued. Is not her heart large enough to love you & that other better half of you & me too? If it is not, I shall ever love her, for her kindness to you. Heaven reward her many fold therefor." From her writing I should think her health pretty good. Mine is quite good. How is yours? Are your uncle Vinal's family well & your father? Is Prof. F. & Helen & Ann well? Is Helen growing fast as ever? Are Prof. F. relatives well? Is Cousin George still in Hadley?
Has Rev. Mr. Bennett's wife of Woburn recovered her health do you know? You see I am a Yankee still by asking questions tho over half Buckeye & Catharine says she going to make me all Buckeye. Now if you wish to prove yourself really benevolent just sit down the next day after you receive this & write a good long letter to your true affectionate friend
Give me a kind remembrance to Prof. F. I would value a few hours conversation with him right well now & would engage to interest him one half day on two of three subjects as much as it would interest him to detect the rogues in some college scrape. By the way I have been in some College Faculty meetings here that would amuse him not a little. Tell Miss Helen I would like to see her out in this region. Ask here if she would care to go this far from her mother? I reckon if she would her mother would not like to have her. How are the Faculty & students getting along? Is there any special religious interest in College now? Dr. Humphrey was in quite a hummerous strain when turned to France. I did not know he had quite so much hummor abut him. What are you Yankees about? I have not seen a N.E. paper for over a month, yes over six weeks. I take the N.Y. Observer & that is as near N.E. as any paper that comes to this town.
Do not forget to make an immediate exhibition of your benevolence.
Item is the flyer for Ohio University, Exhibition of the Athenian Society, Wednesday Evening, April 11th, 1838. Order of Exercises.
Prayer, Oration, Music, Colloquy, Music, Dialogue in Greek, Music, Essay, Music, Oration, Music, Benediction.
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Athens, O. MAY 1
[Tuesday] Athens, May 8, 1838 only ninety days since the arrival of yr. letter.
My very Dear Mrs. Fiske,
It is too bad thus to requite evil for good. You wrote the next day after mine arrived & I have delayed 90. Pardon me this once. Time passes so pleasantly & is so constantly occupied that I did not imagine it half so long. Perhaps you will imagine paper is scarce here - so it has happened that more than a week has gone while I have been waiting for this sheet merely to please Morrill who is exceedingly anxious to have Prof. F. know what he is doing here. If I cd possibly avoid it I wd not now write on such a sheet. So set it to his credit that it did not come one week sooner & that it is so short when it does come. Your letter was almost half as good as a visit. It was so characteristic. It seems your humor is not quite gone! I have thought twenty times since I received yr letter of things to tell you - but so many have happened that I know not where to begin or what to say. My health has generally been quite good. My situation is pleasant. We board at father Taylor. I devote my A.M. regularly with very few exceptions or interruptions to study. Write one sermon a week out carefully in full. If I preach twice I prepare a skeleton for the other. My Bible class which probably I mentioned continues interesting. I have over 80 names on my list - average nearly 70 every Saturday - Monday P.M. I devote to preparing that lesson. Tuesdays & Wednesday P.M. to pastoral visits. The other P.M.s to miscellaneous reading & writing &c. We observed the Concert of prayer for Colleges. It was a day of deep interest & commencement of more than ordinary interest in college among christians, which continued till the close of the term; tho there were no cases of conversion. There was also more than usual interest in our church. But just when there was most I was absent a week to attend Presbytery & there has not been since any special interest. The college here is looking up in earnest. The Board of Trustees have recently elected three new Prof. one of them is to act for them as agent in this region one year. He has entered on the business. He is to raise funds, but especially make a noise to get students. So they have to do here. The old Pres. has resigned but acts till commencement. Another is soon to be selected. Some how I happen to be in the confidence of the Faculty quite as much I suspect as ever Rev. Mr. Washburn was in Prof. Fiske's. Prof. Reed, "A main spoke in the wheel," has frequently talked with me about the man for a Pres. Sometime ago I gave him a circular Prof. F. sent me relative the 'Manual'. When he returned it said he, "I believe we shall have to go to N.E. for a Pres. & if we do I will tell you who I wish & that is Prof. Fiske." He did not know that he was my cousin & had scarcely heard me speak of him any manner - but had purchased a Manual & became very much pleased with it & concluded fr that & because he was now transferred to another department that he knew more than one thing. He mentioned the subject to me 8 or 10 times after, & questioned whether he cd be obtained - but spoke in such a manner of him that he was very desirous he shd be obtained if possible. He talked with several Trustees about it & I presume had they not decided that a Western man must be selected that Prof. F. wd have heard from them. Prof. Stone, Pres. McGuffy of the Cincinnati college & Pres. Young of Danville Col, Ky are talked about by the Com. on nomination. The two last have been written to on the subject. Two or three others have been mentioned. I will send you a circular (which they recently issued) round a newspaper. They have tho't a little of sending an agent to N.E. to raise funds & if they do they wd like me to act there a year for them. But I think I shd like about as well to drive a stage a year. Besides the state of the times, there have so many agents teased N.E. to sustain Western college that I think there wd not be much sport in such business. Yet the Lord willing I am certainly coming East this summer. It will be so much easier doing it before I am settled. We shall probably leave here early in July. I really hope we will be able to visit Amherst. I wd like quite as well to have you see Mrs. S. as you wd like to see her. Possibly we may be with you at Commencement, tho it is quite uncertain. Where I shall be after our return is quite uncertain. The good folks many of them say of course we shall be here. The probability is we shall not. My situation has generally been quite pleasant tho this has long been a divided church but old & new school profess to be satisfied with me, & they are harmonized better than for a long time. But the congregation is small & the energy less. All things have passed pleasantly except one or two cases of discipline like that of Morrill. I read Prof. F.s letter to him to my two elders who knew about the matter. I also wrote Rev. Billard of Cincinnati about it, & learned that he knew nothing definite about it. The Elders tho't best to say nothing of the matter only to admonish him to be more circumspect in his walk than he had been & not quite so forward in religious meetings. It is only known to a few persons here. He is rather an anomalous character & I cannot form any satisfactory opinion of this present persistence. He is most cordial to me & ready to oblige me everything. He certainly loves to be esteemed & regards himself as worthy of such. He is a Senior in college & in a class of two he is probably first of which he is "mighty proud." The Greek dialogue on this order of Exercises he prepared. His oration went off well here and have been respectable at Amherst. It was rather bombastic. Ask Prof. F. what kind of a scholar he was at Amherst? & tell me in your next. Have they erected any building on the ground in Amherst where the great fire was? Did J.S. & C.Adams' loose much by that fire? Where are they now? I was rejoiced to learn that the college papers were preserved. How are the Faculty now, all well? How Does Prof. F.like his new Department? Well I presume. Prof. Condit I see is going off. Why is that ? Who will take his place? Has there been any special religious interest in college or in the town this spring? Do write me just as soon as you did before & tell me all the news. All about my friends & N.E. in general.
Your affectionate friend
Sarah is pleasantly situated in Lexington, N.C. Enjoys pretty good health. Mrs. S. is truly a helpmeet & wd have helped me write this letter but she has just now a bad headache. She desires her affect kind regards and send a message if her head did not ache so hard.
My best regards to Prof. F. Hellen & Ann.
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Worthington, O. JAN 19 -- with notation: answered Jan 22. 1840.
[Thursday] Worthington Ohio, Jan. 17. 1839.
Dear Mrs. Fiske,
I presume you have more than once wondered what has become of cousin Timothy. I too have often wondered how you were, & wished for one of your good letters. In hope of receiving one I will come out from my place of concealment & look at you a moment & tell you how to find me. You would as soon expect to hear of me in La, Ala, Geo, or Ill, as anywhere, as I think I told you of my plans & ideas of Teaching if a door should be opened. But here I am in the Buckeye Land still - only nine miles from Columbus the Capital of the State. We had rather a pleasant tho very fatiguing tour from N.E. to Ohio. We reached Athens Oct. 3d. When we reached Pittsburg the water was so low no steam Boats were running on the Ohio. So we took stage to Wheeling Va. There we took a Keel Boat (a relic of early times) as steam Boats could not run, & were rowed by twelve men 70 miles down the Ohio. There Sunday overtook us, & we went on shore & found a good Methodist family with whom we spent the Sabbath. I preached in a Methodist church to a good congregation. Monday the only way we could get to Marietta sixteen miles was to be rowed down in a little open skiff with our baggage. From M. we hired a carriage to Athens.
After remaining about two weeks there I was invited to visit this place & preach.here. As no good opportunity for Teaching had presented itself, I had concluded to relinquish that plan, & to preach. I spent two Sabbaths here & was then invited to spend the winter with the expectation that if we were mutually pleased the church would give me a call at the meeting of the Presbytery early in April. They do not give a call for settlement here as soon as in N.E. They usually preach six months first which I like well. This is a remarkable pleasant & healthy place. The people almost all come from N.E. & are intelligent & agreeable. The church is small only about 60 & not quite able to support a minister & wished me to open a school to aid in my support. And I now have 41 boys & young men under my care besides the church & have no assistance in either. Do you wonder that I am nearly worn out? It is too much. I must relinquish one or both soon. The school is very popular as much so as I ever had a school, the pupils are doing very well. The church seem pleased & the knowing ones say I must stay here. I hope to have in a few days a brother of Mrs. Stearns to aid me in school. He is now a member of the Lane Sem. If he does not come & I cannot obtain an assistant elsewhere soon I shall relinquish the school. To be in school all day - write Sermons in the night & preach them Sundays is too hard. You have heard of Old School Presbyterians - those stiff hard Calvinists despised by all N.E. What would you say if I should tell you that I was one? Well it is even so. I am an old schoolman. Tell Prof. F. so & then tell me what he says about it. I shall send him with this a printed letter prepared by Dr. Hoge of Columbus. I wish he would read it carefully. Then he will see that we old school folks have some reason & justice on our side. Besides if Prof. F. were here - were in the Presbyterian church I have not the slightest doubt but he would be with his theological views, be old school, & yet I suppose his sympathies now are with the new just as nearly all the rest of the Yankees are. Because they do not see or know our state. For the fact is, however much Dr. Beecher & co. have tried, & are trying to produce in N.E. a different impression - the Presbyterian controversy is mainly a controversy about doctrines. Between Taylorism on the one side, & N.E. Calvinism on the other; & in measures between Bu[paper missing]chardism & co, & biblism. I know even the N.Y Observer which is entirely with the New school, tries to give another view of this matter. We have no fears in this region but that our Law Suit in Feb. will go in favor of the Old school. So much I have written for Prof. F. which from his geographical position even tho far from New Haven he may think incorrect. But I came out here prejudiced decidedly in favor of New schoolism. Have till I returned this season acted mainly with the New, & been mainly with them. But found their doctrines, views & practices so unlike mine that I could not go with them & now think I have found out 'a more excellent way.' But enough of this. How are you doing in Amherst? I have seen no catalogue this year but saw by some paper that your Freshmen class was almost a minus quantity - Is it so? If so why? How are the students? Full of their pranks, or sober? Is there any religious interest in college? How are the Faculty? Does Prof. Fowler do well? How go matters in the village & in the region & all thro the Yankee land? & your friends, are they well? Is your father well? He spoke of visiting Ohio next season. He will of course wish to visit Columbus. We are only nine miles from that if we remain, & have a prime road there. I should like very much to have him visit us.
Br. Eckley & his wife are in Ill. or were a few weeks since when I heard last from them. They like there & may probably settle there. Sister is in Lexington N.C. was well two weeks since & Mother. She was well - My dear wife is not well - her health has not been good for some time. If well she wd be a helpmeet in writing this letter, she desires her kind regards to you - remembers her visit with you with interest & often speaks of it. She as well as I wd like to have visited Amherst. But we could not. Your sincere friend.
Much love to Prof. F. & to Helen & Ann Scofield. Do write me very soon & tell me all the news you can think of. Direct to me at Worthington, Franklin Co. Ohio. I learn that my old friend Rev. G. Tinker of Ashby is dead. He was at Andover anniversary in good health.
We have had no sleighing here yet, very little snow & not much what you would call cold weather -- Write soon.
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst College, Mass, Postmarked: Worthington, O. MAR 17
[Monday] Worthington, Ohio, Mar. 16. 1840.
My Dear Mrs. Fiske,
Your letter of Jan. 22nd reached me on the 5th. It received a most cordial welcome as did the messenger, sent to announce its arr coming. It gave me great pleasure to see once more something recently from your own hand with the impress of authorship so strongly marked as to prove its authenticity even if it had been without signature or date. I intended a more speedy answer. But I have not waited a year to answer. & would not have waited a month unless compelled by a pressure of duties. One who is a pastor & school teacher has not much spare time if he does those discharges his duties faithfully, to each of these & to his family. From your letter it seems I wrote you last in Jan. 1839, had a school with 40 boys. Well I took care of them entirely thro that quarter. Then employed an assistant, a young Welshman - a Pres. Rev. - a good little social pleasant fellow who staid with me till Sept. when he was ordained over a Pres. church within five miles of me.
April 5, 1839 our little Son Myron Taylor was born. We tho't for some time to call him Heman Humphrey, but did not like the first name. He is a fine healthy active boy. Stands alone - walks by chairs & a little without them, & is full of play & has about as many playthings as Hellen used to have when she would say 'Why'. July 2. I was ordained over this church. In Oct. my brother in law Mr. Taylor became my assistant in school & has succeeded well. During the last Session we had 70 pupils. I have sent you & George Stearns a catalogue of our Academy. By that if received you will see I have relinquished the charge of the school. It is too much to Teach & preach regularly. At least it is too much for me. I cannot do it. I was obliged to neglect pastoral duties, & could not secure as much time for study as I needed. Tho I had my A.M.s for study generally. Since I had an Assistant I have not been in school much in the A.M. Besides my health suffered. Tho I am now pretty well & have been since I saw you, quite as well as I used to be & even better. My lungs grow stronger & sounder. We continued boarding till Oct 26th when we commenced housekeeping. I like this better than boarding. In Aug. my dear C. & Myron went to Athens with Father Taylor. Probably you heard of their Providential deliverance from a watery grave. They were suddenly plunged 15 or 20 feet into a river with three feet of water with the horses & carriage on them. But the Lord mercifully preserved them so that not a bone was broken. During this winter brother Taylor has boarded with us & a sister of Mrs. S a young lady has been with us. It is now vacation - And they have gone to Athens. The sister will not return at present but in her place a little sister ten yrs old will come. You wish the Journal of a day. It is not exactly like Johnson's Journey of a day with Obidiah for the hero. But take it as it is. Take then almost any week day during the three winter months just past. Remember it is you that makes cousin T. the hero. So pardon the egotism. Rose at from five to six oclk A.M. Made the fires, put the teakettle & potatoes & soon the coffee in a state of preparation for breakfast. The cooking stove working very well this was soon done & the table laid with things ready sometimes for me to call the folks up to breakfast - tho sometimes they were up to finish the preparation. Mrs. S. had no girl much of the time, except to do her washing & ironing. Breakfast & devotional services over by candle light usually. Then one hour devoted to sawing wood & errands etc. In my study standing at the desk pouring over some book or scribbles from 9 to 12 oclk A.M. 12 to 1 Dinner & little matters. 1 to 4 o'clk in school hearing lessons. From that till dusk doing various things. Seeing & being seen, hearing & having heard, besides attending to all sorts of household matters which belong to man & boy. Two evening in the week had religious meeting, one a [ ] meeting & one a lecture. Two evenings in a week heard a class of young ladies recite in French. The other evenings had to go & see somebody or stay at home with company. Perchance once in an age could stay with my good wife without company. Thus you see the time was occupied closely. I can & have the P.M. to my self - to visit - see the people read - study &c. & to preform more week day preaching.
There has been some interest in the church of late. More Our su-sacramental sermons are quarterly. In Oct. one united with us by profession - a merchant & the head of a family. In Jan. two united also for the first time. One our family M.D. the other a young lady. Since that time three young ladies have indulged hopes & some few more are now enquiring. There is a miserable quack college in this medical college in this town that has caused much excitement here this winter in consequence of the frequency with which they open graves to procure skeletons for traffick. It has caused divisions & alienations.
How long or how little time we shall remain here is uncertain. Our people are very kind - often presenting us some little token of their kindness - but the field is limited. The church cannot support me. Now that I relinquish the school they have to ask missionary aid. And that old college makes so much exertement I sometimes get almost discouraged. May the Lord direct me in the path of duty. That I should wish to take & sit at the feet of Jesus & learn of Him.
My mother enjoys very good health for so aged a lady. I wd love to visit her. She & all the folks at home were well when I heard last, a little time since. Were you not very much astonished at the course of Dr. Fay?
I am glad to hear that your health is improved. But regret to hear that Prof. Fiske has been so ill.
So then my cousin (not my uncle) Jesse Stearns has another son in college, this sister has made you one of her short visits. I regret to hear that Miss M. Vinal is so ill. Mrs. Stearns has not been well this winter. But she has now recovered Myron & since her health is better.
The humor on her neck is still some what troublesome - has increased a little in size.
Thank you for the Wish that I might have a good parish on the banks of the Ct. That is a pleasant region. It wd be pleasant to be so near my Alma mater - especially while you are there, but Ohio is pleasant & Providence seems to have directed my steps here & I am content. I like the country & enjoy better health than in N.E. The people here are not any more nor generally as anxious to here the gospel as in N.E. But they need it the more.
My dear C. desires a kind remembrance to you. She often speaks of you & would love to see you. When we visit N.E. again I hope to visit you at your own home.
I would love to see your daughters. I cannot think of Hellen as a great girl. Her image is in my mind as the little playful creeping prattler on the floor. She will pardon me for this when she remembers how much I regard such a little prattler now by my side. Give them & Prof. F. a kind remembrance. It would give us great pleasure to see you here in Ohio. If Prof. F. is still in feeble health, why not take a journey thro the valley.
Dr. Humphey's gleanings were the sensible correct letters of the valley I have yet seen from any flying to visit thro this valley. I am out of patience with the Home Missionary it so sadly misstated & exagerates facts. The Boston Recorder too. West either ought to know more of us old school Pres. or be silent.
Received a letter from Sarah last week. She is in Lexington N.C. but expects to return to Mass in April to remain with dear Mother for a time. Her health is not very good. Br. Eckley & his wife are in Illonois. He has just written me that they will visit me in April on their way to N.E. where they will spend the summer.
I am as ever your affectionate friend
Addressed: Mrs. D.W.V. Fiske, Care of Prof. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Columbus, O. APR 2
Note on letter in other handwriting [Deborah's?]: Miss Mary Ann McCarthy. Greenfield. To the care of Uelles Alvord, Esq.
[Wednesday] Columbus, Ohio Mar. 31st. 1841.
My Dear Mrs. Fiske,
Your letter of the the 11 inst gave us much pleasure - Sympathy is never more agreeable than in affliction, & none can administer it more appropriately than those who have known by trying experience its value. Were it not for the precious consolations of our holy religion I know not where we could look for support in our affliction. For our sorrow is great. We loved our dear Myron tenderly - we loved him too much. He was a forward interesting child & excessively fond of his parents as well as they of him. He was at such an age as to interest & amuse at least his parents - he was daily learning something new. Tho naturally possessed of strong feelings he was easily governed & had learned some important lessons of obedience. At family prayers he would sit as we did divining the reading & kneel at his little chair soon as we did & remain quiet till we rose. When I came from school he was almost always waiting at the window & ready for a kiss. But a kind Father has removed him from our fond embrace. This disease was scarlet fever of the malignant form. I first had a short attack & Just as I began to amend Myron was seized violently. He lived six days.
He suffered severely, especially during the two last days when he had frequent & distressing spasms. He had his reason perfectly till a few hours before his death, but was too sick to do more than look at us, & say yes or no. From the first of his attack we had very little expectation of his recovery - did not think nature could endure as long as it did. He died very easily - without the slightest struggle or groan. Last summer while he was "teething" & had what is here called the "summer complaint" we often feared for the result. But when winter came we fondly hoped all was comparatively safe. I was scarcely able to go to the grave at his funeral, but have now entirely recovered. Mrs. S. was exhausted with anxiety & watching; but has since recovered. While we weep we have reason to rejoice that God, our Father, reigns in wisdom & love. We would not repine. With Jesus at grave of Lazarus we often weep, but I trust we are enabled thro grace to say 'Not our will but thine O Lord be done' - I never before understood the value the richness, the fulness of the consolations of the Bible. Now admirably are they suited to our circumstances. Jesus & heaven seem far more precious. I can but rejoice that God reigns. For he will do right. Yes & I will trust in him for ever more.
I am still Pastor of the church in Worthington 8 miles distant. But have been teaching a select school of young ladies here since last Oct. I have no school Saturdays. That day I go out to W. preach twice on the Sabbath & return that evening. I find this too laborious. But the church cannot support us, & yet are unwilling we should leave. I shall not do this long. May do it thro this summer. In school I have advanced Studies with Latin & French. Besides one lad studying with me Latin & Greek for college, & two Theological students (one of them a son of Rev. Dr. Hoge of this place) studying Hebrew with me. All these studies with writing sermons &c. Prof. F. will admit will keep me busy if well done. Perhaps he will not wonder that for the first time since leaving Andover I was confined to my room a week or two. The most unpleasant part of the matter is that I cannot secure time for study except on the daily subjects demanding attention. Besides no man can teach so much, & preach regularly without a stock of sermons ahead & do both well. We board in a very pleasant family. Our situation is pleasant, or would be if I had time to enjoy it. The society is good here. Mrs. S. since Myron's death is in school with me part of the time. She prefers it, she is so lonely when I am away. Her health is pretty good at present. The swelling on her neck is somewhat troublesome tho not as much so as when you saw it. I can hardly say when I will visit N. England but I hope in a year from this to do so. I am still a Western man, & a sound thorogoing old School Presbyterian even if the ignorant prejudiced Boston Recorder does think us so outrageous.
By the way if Rev. Mr. Hooker writes for that still & says any of those bitter things about us, you tell him to quit or I shall imitate Dr. Humphrey in letter writing. Ignorance is a poor excuse for them. For if they do not know the whole truth they should be careful not to say so much which is without truth. I am sorry my Alma Mater is still so poor. The good Mass. folks ought not to let it be so. It is nigh time this should be otherwise. I am sorry to learn that your health still remains so feeble. I had hoped to hear of its improvement.
Where & how your good cousins Martha Vinal & Eunie Bowker & give them my kind regards when you write them. Your Father & Uncle Vinal how are they? And our Weston friends are they all well. I have heard nothing from any of them this long time.
Mrs. S. desires her kind regards. She often speaks of you & with her husband wishes you would write us oftener. Our afffectionate regards to Prof. F. & the girls.
Helen is now almost a young lady. Does she remember her playing with "Tousin Timmee"?
Miss Ann too I should like to see & know.
Write soon. As ever with warm affection.
Helen Hunt Jackson
Special Collections Home
maintained by Special Collections; last revised 4-02, jr