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1832.07.05 Mary Huntington to Elizabeth W. P. Huntington, Jul 5, 1832

Dublin Core


1832.07.05 Mary Huntington to Elizabeth W. P. Huntington, Jul 5, 1832


Mary writes this letter to her parents while she is away in Troy at school. She begins the letter informing them that 12 cases of cholera have been found in New York and that she, and others, are worried about it spreading to Troy. Mary emphasizes the fact that Mrs. Willard “is perfectly willing” to allow Mary’s parents to send for her “as soon as” they receive this letter by underlining specific words. She goes on to write about how Mrs. Willard believes it to be the responsibility of the parents to look after their children and seems to be strongly hinting at her desire to leave school and return home. Mary writes this letter on the Fourth of July. She talks about the celebrations happening at school. Mary spends a few sentences expressing gratitude for “our fore fathers” and the importance of honoring “the memory of those who liberated us.” She makes a few references to spirituality when she writes about “the great Captain of Salvation” and the “everlasting and rich inheritance” that will go to followers of the Lord. She prays that she and her friends will be devout followers and be prepared for their deaths.
On Wednesday evening, Mary talks about a party at school that the “young ladies” were invited to. However, she writes that she is not in the mood to attend the party. She describes the celebrations of “canons, guns and crackers, ringing of bells and military parade.” Orations and celebrations occurred in one of the churches as well. Instead of going to the party, Mary says that she stayed at home all day and helped a friend, Louisa, make a dress. After discussing her liking of Louisa, Mary informs her parents that someone received a report about cholera in Albany which has created a lot of uncertainty among the students.
Her last paragraph is written July 5 th and says that the cholera has reached Troy. She
writes that Mrs. Willard has left it up to the girls to decide whether they want to leave or not. Mary says that although she knows she cannot escape disease just by leaving, she would “rather be with my friends if Providence permits.” She ends the letter asking her parents to pray for her and telling them that “examination will probably commence two weeks from next Tuesday.”


Mary Huntington


Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers (Box 20, Folder 13)
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections


Jul 5, 1832


Public Domain



My dear parents,
I write to let you know that the cholera is probably in New York, twelve cases having of late occurred there. We consider Troy of course as being in more danger than when it raged in Canada. Mrs. Willard wishes me to inform you that she is perfectly willing that you should send for me as soon as you receive this letter if you judge it to be advisable, and if you had rather have me with you. In case you should come for me next week, it would not make any essential difference with regard to my studies as I am not hurried at all in preparing for examination, which [commences?] a week from next Tuesday. If I do not go home, it would be extremely gratifying to me to have some of my friends present at that time.
Should you think it best for me to stay, Mrs. Willard wishes you to write soon upon this subject. I shall some expect [Pa?] Tuesday, for as he has always been very careful of me, I should think the present state of affairs would make him still more so.
As Mrs. Willard directed me what to write, you will not attribute/ consider the
circumstances mentioned above as exaggerated by me. She wishes the responsibility to devolve upon the parents and a great responsibility it is, to those who do not look for aid from on high. This is the Fourth of July, and by the appearance of people in the streets I should think they were trying hard to celebrate it. While we experience the blessing which [flow?] to us from the labours and sufferings of our fore fathers, and while we honour the memory of those who liberated us from the yoke imposed upon us by a foreign nation, how little do we do to keep in our minds a lively remembrance of the great Captain of our Salvation, who by his sufferings and death, delivered us from the galling chains of sin, and not only rescued us from this dreadful thralldom, but opened to our view a big [later?] world beyond the darkness and gloom of this, [crossed out life], where the _______ of the Lord shall receive an everlasting and rich inheritance. _____ faint an impression do these things make upon our minds. I am sure, if I know my own heart, I take some comfort in reflecting upon these things [words crossed out] though not so much as I wish I did. My prayer is that I and my friends may be followers of the Lord Jesus now, be prepared for death whenever it comes, and finally meet with the dear departed.
And form a family anew unbroken in the skies [1]
Wednesday evening). There is a party downstairs this evening and ^nearly all the young ladies are going to attend it. We were all invited but I do not think it best to attend. It would not ^ as well suit my present feelings, to sing with gay company, as to converse with my dearest friends at home.
The day has been celebrated here, by firing of canons, guns and crackers, ringing of bells and military parade. Carpenters printers and potters, in huge wagons, all at work at their different trades passed by the seminary after breakfast, and again after dinner. Orations were delivered in one of the churches, and the Sabbath school scholars had a famous celebration in one of the churches.
I have remained at home all day, and amused myself by helping Louisa make a dress for herself. [And?] here I will tell you how much I respect and esteem this young lady. She seems like a sister than anyone else here.
A report has reached us that the cholera is in Albany. ____ received a letter from her
brother who is in Schenectady college this evening, and he says that it is very uncertain whether they have an examination or not. That many of the students have left and many intend leaving soon. So you see how unsettled everything remains still. It is owing to the mercy of [kind?] Providence that we are still [persevering?] death. May God continue this blessing a great while yet to come, if it is his holy [smudged out].
I think you must have received my letter Saturday, and written an answer to send
Tuesday which should I be alive and well, I shall hope to receive tomorrow. July 5 th - We have heard this morning that the cholera is in Troy, but Mrs. Willard has sent to inquire about the sick person and heard that he rested well last night. I have asked Mrs. Willard’s opinion about taking the stage and going home immediately, and she said she would leave it entirely with me to do as I chose, that she had no objection to having the girls some of them leave so that it need not be so much crowded. I know that I cannot escape disease and death by fleeing, but I think I had rather be with my friends if Providence permits. I think (written on the side) on the whole if I am alive and well, I shall look for Father Tuesday. He may rate (?) let me know your mind soon upon this subject. Pray after for your affectionate daughter. Examination will probably commence two weeks from next Tuesday.

Mary D. Huntington

[1] Hymn 23, Hymns for Infant Minds, tract no. 34, American Tract Society, 1820 see