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1831.11.29 - Elizabeth Huntington to John Huntington, Nov. 29th, 1831


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[November 29, 1831]

My Dear Whiting[1],

Your father[2] [received] ... (torn)[3] ... sheets of paper from William[4] last ... (torn) ... a full account of this exercises [of] ... (torn) ... busy "journeying", as he says, "slowly ..." (torn) ... He has made up his mind to become a preacher[5] ... (torn) ... faith which he once would have destroyed - he seems not to have determined on the particular courses which he shall pursue- and I am almost afraid (crossed out) he will start some wild scheme as he has formerly done. One thing gives me encouragement, he seems earnestly seeking Divine direction[6] - and if he is really willing to take advice - and follow the [course set] of his friend I shall think it a token for good - and have strong hopes that his character is indeed changed -. Your father wrote him a long letter in answer, and urged him to come home. May the Lord direct him in the way in which he should go -. in this petition I know you will join -. We have had two letters from Theophilus[7] since he left us - the first was written the day after he begun [sic.] his school; in that he appears to be heartily sick of the [business] - in the last written a week after he seems to be more satisfied; he intends to walk home the day before Thanksgiving said he should be at the Post Office in Leverett[8] at eight o'clock in the evening - where some one [sic.] I hope will go to meet him and help him on his way homeward - We expect Charles[9] and Helen[10] to be with us at that time and little Frances[11] of course - they will go back next morning and perhaps some of us go over and attend meeting - Our little society[12] met at your uncle's'[13] [sic.] today for the last time this season, and your Pa preached himself -. Doct. Brown[14], from the account Francis[15] gave of his sermon last sabbath, has become rather harsh in delivering his sentiments - and I hope we shall be able, instead of hearing him, to hear Mr. [Heams,][16] this winter -. A week ago last Thursday we received your concluding numbers to your brothers [sic.] T. & T. - enclosed in one to Frederic[17] - hope to hear again soon. as to your school[18] (illegible symbol) - We had a letter from Elizabeth[19] about a week since they were all well -. Mr. F- [20] and others making arrangements for the formation of another society. that they may have a man of talents [underlined]. Though we may not be together in person next thursday, we shall I trust in spirit - and may the Divine Spirit inspire us with that gratitude which shall make our offerings acceptable to God, thro' the intercession[21] ...

(written vertically) ... of his beloved Son - we have more mercies than we can possibly [reckon] up - and I feel as if my ingratitude was enough to deprive me of all - how wonderful is the long suffering of our God -. may it lead us to repentance, that we may enjoy the light of his countenance[22]. -

Your affectionate mother, EWH .

[1] John Huntington (1809-1832), sixth child of Dan and Elizabeth was often called by his middle name, Whiting.

[2] John's father is Dan Huntington (1774-1864)

[3] This letter is torn a bit on the upper right hand portion of the page so some of the words here are missing. The beginning is a little hard to comprehend fluently.

[4] William Huntington (1804-1885), third child of Dan and Elizabeth

[5] William attended Harvard College and at the time of this letter he was working on acquiring his M.D. He later fulfilled his desire to become a preacher by attending Hickman Seminary

[6] It is interesting to see Elizabeth discussing religious topics letter. The docent at the Porter Phelps Huntington Museum described how Elizabeth's religious direction bounced around from Protestant to utilitarianism. At the time of this letter, it is clear she is still very religious.

[7] Theophilus Huntington (1811-1862), seventh child of Dan and Elizabeth

[8] Leverett, Massachusetts in Franklin County

[9] Charles Huntington (1802-1868), first child of Dan and Elizabeth

[10] Helen Sophia Mills, first wife of Charles - married in 1827

[11] "Little Frances" could refer to a son of Charles and Helen (grandson of Elizabeth)

[12] What is this society of which Elizabeth writes? My guess would be a church/religious society.

[13] "Uncle" most likely refers to (Moses) Charles Porter Phelps, Elizabeth's only living brother and thus John's uncle

[14] Who is Doctor Brown?

[15] Different spelling from "Frances" previously mentioned. This could possibly be a local family friend or another extended family member

[16] Who is Mr. [Heams]? My guess would be another local preacher

[17] Frederic Dan Huntington (1819-1904), eleventh and final child of Dan and Elizabeth

[18] John is studying at Harvard College at the time of this letter. He will actually die before he graduates in 1832.

[19] Elizabeth Huntington (1803-1864), second child of Dan and Elizabeth

[20] Who is Mr. F-?

[21] "Intercession" is the action of saying a prayer on behalf of another person

[22] "Countenance" is a person's face or facial features

Tags: Elizabeth; Whiting; John Huntington; William; preach*; Divine direction/ religious guidance; Theophilus; Charles; Helen; Frances; Francis; Doctor Brown; Heams; T. & T.; Frederic; little societies; God; suffering of God; intercession;

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