Global Valley

1843.01.24 - Elizabeth Huntington to Frederic Dan Huntington, Jan. 24th, 1843

Dublin Core


1843.01.24 - Elizabeth Huntington to Frederic Dan Huntington, Jan. 24th, 1843


This was a letter from Elizabeth Huntington to her son, Bishop Frederic Dan Huntington. In the letter, Elizabeth Huntington expresses her approval of her son’s performance at the ordination. She notes her pride in his vast efforts in his parish and all he does for the poor of his community. Further, she describes how she is happy that he encourages the poor to attend religious meetings. Elizabeth also states in the letter that she included old garments and old books for her son to distribute to the poor in his parish. She then warns her son of the dangers of being a young minister in Boston who eats dinner with his parishioners. Elizabeth views this action as a conformation to the custom of living in a city and a threat to spirituality. Finally, Elizabeth apologizes for Charles sending him a letter, which found fault in his conduct.


Elizabeth Whiting Phelps Huntington


Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers (Box 12 Folder 9)
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections




Courtesy of the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Foundation
For permissions contact Amherst College Archives and Special Collections





Jan 24 1843 To Frederic Dan Huntington [1]
[box 12, folder 9]
Elm Valley Jan. 24th 1843 – Tuesday-
My Dear Frederic,
Your truly cheering and satisfactory letter, was received on the sabbath, [2] this with those to Charles, [3] and the interesting matter contained in the pamphlet, [4] with the animating services of our public worship, [5] as performed by Mr. Cranch, made it for me a high day indeed – and I think I felt in some faint and imperfect degree that the “Lord is good, and that his mercy and wrath forever.” [7] Happy for us, if in that storm as well as sunshine our faith and hope. and joy in his government may continue the part.
In this lone [8] valley,[9] in a measure shut out from frequent intercourse with the many – although surrounded by precious and beloved friends- such an arrival as we had on the sabbath given a new spring to our spirit and sends the animal fluid more briskly through the frame.[10] It opens new subjects for that, which tires by being always occupied by the same object, even tho’ these objects may be innocent and good. – I asked your father what he thought of your performance at the ordination [11] his reply was – with an emphasis, beautiful. [12]
Your letter from the beginning to end was precisely what I wished – and to begin with the odd fellows, I can say that if your only connection with them, consists in going in to pray with them as you do in the House of Reps.[13] and you then leave them, I am satisfied.[14] The account you give of your labors and success in your parish,[15] is highly gratifying [16] – Be assured, I am with you often in thought,[17] and near you and your ever on my heart before the many [feat?]. The Lord give you wisdom and zeal abundantly, from his Infinite Fullness and strengthen you as you need, both in the inner and outer man. I am happy to find that you are attentive to the poor [18] – that you take measures to encourage their attendance in religious meetings – when the Savior first preached among the Jews, he quoted from Isaiah, [19] among others, this striking passage, “to the … is preached.” So should every minister speak, and labour, that the “common people may bear him gladly-.”
The care of poverty and in which you describe has been in my thought much – and I have collected a few things to send to you for them- they are old garments, but by mending (which if the woman cannot get work she can have time enough for) they may be made useful thro' this winter. It is the saying of one wiser than we, that the destruction of the poor is their poverty [20] – their want to management, economy, economy and industry are great hindrances to their prosperity. But above everything else, is their spiritual destitution to be deplored. Thinking that possibly some of the family may be able and willing to read – I put in a few old books [21] – hoping that a blessing may accompany the truth - Perhaps you had better examine the bundle, and if anything is unsuitable, dispose of it in some other way.
You speak of dining out with a parishioner. [22] This is one of the [dangers] [23] to which a young minister in [Britain?] is exposed. [24] I have … in these occasions in general, and as they are usually conducted as unprofitable, perhaps … than this. But I have confidence in your good judgment, and sense of duty, [25] and cannot believe that you will habitually confine yourself to a dinner table hour after hour, in order to conform to the customs of society – I cannot doubt but your deep sense of the value of time, and the infinite weight of thou duties, which are [pushing?] upon you, duties which are connected with the eternal welfare of immortal spirits, will inspire you with resolution to turn away from these... and not to forget to watch against the [true?] great enemies of souls- the world, the flesh and the devil.[26] But after all I ought not to dictate to you. I do not and hope you will not regard thus what I have said. I was … that Charles [27] wrote to you as he did, and so far from finding fault, I would encourage and help you were it in my power. We who are at a distance, and ignorant of many circumstances relating to you conduct – should be careful not to condemn or wound your feelings by our suspicions.[28]
Mr. Feisher [29] leaves for Franklin tomorrow – he will probably be in Boston from after your return from New York- by him if he is willing. I send the bundle, also a silk dress, [30] which your sister B [31] – wishes you to get dyed for her at Barrett dyehouses [32]- another errand- I will thank you to procure of Arthur [33] [or elsewhere?] a … of paper like this sheet- or of about this size and send by Mr. Feisher – also the [child?] duties and devotions by Mr. Farr. Mr. Feisher will hand you a dollar to pay for these and perhaps other things I may be indebted to you.

With the kind salutation to yourself and the dear girl, also to Arthur and Francis [34] from all of us. I am … most surely your affectionate mother. Elizabeth

Saturday evening Jan 28, 1843 – Your father began a letter last week to send you by Mr. Cranch – but the weather and the start of the ground being such as to make it favorable for going into the woods, he has occupied himself then nearly every day this week [35] – this will be to you a sure evidence of his health and strength … ever since our pleasant excursion to Boston [36] and the pleasant circumstances attending our visit with you- we both have enjoyed an unusual … of health and strength. I hope your journey to New York will do as much for you. It is too bad that you should come [after?] us and not let us see you. I have read Mr. Ware’s Piece on Peace [37] with delight, it is beautiful. [Mr Gamuth?] change to Mr. Smith [38] too is excellent. It would be well for young ministers to read over their service occasionally -. Mrs. Clarke [39] has had a … from Mr. Ellis [40] lately in which she did not find quite so much ardor on the subject of his selling at Northampton as the … this might be owing to the state of her health. she is timidly nervous – sometimes nearly deranged. As Mr. Feisher was going round by Franklin [41] I did (third page crop) not send by him. Charles [42] talk of going to Boston next week; if he can take it I shall send this package by him. the money also will go on here very quietly - Little Walter [43] visits us often with Samuel [44], who takes good care of him. he has learned to … going to East .. soon if the travelling will do … found your books and shall try to send them by Mr. Cranch. Theophilus [45] wrote you by … you will not forget it. The spirit of Jesus be with you.

Rev. Frederick D. Huntington [46]
Rev. Mr. Cranch [47] Mr. J. Hote [48]
By Feisher Logan [49] Boston
1 Son of Dan Huntington and Elizabeth Whiting Phelps Huntington
2 Sunday
3 Son of Dan and Elizabeth Huntington. Brother of Frederic Huntington.
4 According to the Five College website, Bishop Huntington (Frederic) published numerous books and pamphlets throughout his lifetime.
5 The 1820’s saw religious revival in which Unitarians, Methodists and Baptists joined the once popular Congregational Church. Elizabeth Huntington joined church at 19 and married a reverend, but in 1828 she was excommunicated from Hadley Congregational Church after stating that she didn’t believe the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were united in the trinity.
6 Referred to as Reverend Cranch on front of letter. Was he the town reverend?
7 Most likely quoting the bible, but I was unable to find the exact quote in the bible.
8 Elizabeth seems to imply that she is lonely. This implication probably comes from a motherly motive to try to persuade Frederic to visit.
9 Connecticut River Valley
10 Energizes them
11 Ceremony of consecration to the ministry.
12 Demonstrates proud feelings for son. Could Dan Huntington not write himself?
13 What House of Representatives is she referring to? The United States House of Reps?
14 Elizabeth seems to be concerned with whom Frederic is praying with.
15 Pastor of South Congregationalist Church in Boston. Would later enter priesthood of Episcopal church.
16 Again, she is proud of her son.
17 Elizabeth seems to express maternal and caring instincts.
18 Christian values involve helping the poor.
19 Book in the bible