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Elizabeth Huntington to Frederic Dan Huntington, May 5th, 1844


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Northampton May 5th 1844 Sabbath evening- Dear Frederic,

I came here yesterday with your father [1], who was going to Deerfield to preach for Mr. Blodgett [2]. You knew perhaps that when he was ordained, his health was not firm; he has been more unwell of late, and is advised to suspend his labours for a time. So your father’s service was a deed of charity.

We found Theodore [3] at Palmer, on our way from Boston, and reached home about four o’clock. Eliza and Walter [4] were there to welcome us. Indeed it was quite a time of rejoicing.

My thoughts of you and Hannah [5], have been frequent since we left you; it would grieve me to find that any unpleasant consequences had followed our long visit- I hope soon to learn that Hannah sleeps soundly thro' the night, without distressing dreams.

Today the christian feast has been celebrated, and your brothers and their wives came over. Mr Ellis [6] gave us an excellent sermon in the morning. This afternoon the ordinance of the supper constituted the service. He is truly engaged in his work; may he find the spirit of god working with him, and raising to spiritual life, those who are Dead in trespasses and sins. Charles [7] has nearly recovered from his illness tho’ he has still a little soreness found in his throat. He is very thin - I wish he would take a journey. Bethia [8] seems to be in good health and the children. Let us be thankful.

I am writing by the side of Mrs. Fisher [9], who is likewise writing - not to you but to her husband [10]. She had a letter from him last week, which informed her that he had bought the house, and was to take possession of it the middle of May. He proposed that Lizzie should go on to Oswego with him and commence housekeeping the last of May with the young children- and Mrs. Fisher stay and get her health done and follow on when she should be ready- but there is nothing decided about it. I feel sorry to have them go; I had hoped something would transpire which might make it expedient for them to remain near us. [11]

Bethia has lately had a letter from William [12], written Feb. 25th sent by Doct. Haskel [13], and Charles has also had one- he speaks of coming back to New England as a thing to be desired if he could dispose of his farm.- Who knows but we may yet meet again on their mortal shores.

Monday morning - Mrs. Fisher wishes me to say that she has not yet determined to go to Boston. If she does, she hopes to give you as little trouble as possible. She would be glad to see you and your wife before she leaves the circle of her family friend. You know what a warm heart she has, and how dearly she loves her brothers and sisters. We regret exceedingly that we must part with her.-

To your friend with whom we became acquainted you will remember us with the kindest and most grateful regard. Especially Mr. Sargent’s family [14]- I hope by Mr. Ellis to learn something of “your affairs and how you do”- and how your people do.. The best possible information will be that the truth is believed and loved and practised. That the spirit of Jesus is present with you always. Take care of your health and of Hannah’s- and may our Heavenly Father have you ever in his merciful keeping.

Most truly and ever your affectionate mother Elizabeth

[1] Frederic's father was the Reverend Dan Huntington. Dan left his Church in Middletown, CT to move to Hadley with Elizabeth. He made his living as a farmer and shopkeeper. He also preached on occasion when he was needed. An example of this is him preaching for Mr. Blodgett who was in poor health.

[2] This is likely referring to the Reverend James Blodgett. A graduate of Harvard in 1841 and the Harvard Theological School in 1843, Blodgett was ordained minister of the Church in Deerfield on Jan. 17th, 1844. Not soon after, he became in poor health and lost his voice. As a result, he was dismissed as minister on June 16th, 1845. Following his dismissal, Blodgett moved to Lexington where he died the following month.

[3] Elizabeth's 8th child. Theodore lived from 1813-1885

[4] This is likely Theophilus' wife, Eliza Fitch Lyon and their son Walter who was born in 1842. After this letter was written, the couple would have two more children (Maria, b. 1845 and Edward, b. 1857).

[5] Frederic's wife was Hannah Dane Sargent (1822-1910). The pair married in 1843. They would have seven children together.

[6] Reverend Rufus Ellis was ordained pastor in Northampton on June 7th, 1843. Reverend Ellis preached in Northampton for ten years before his dismissal and move to Boston.

[7] Elizabeth's first born son. He lived from 1802 to 1868.

[8] Elizabeth's daughter who lived from 1805 to 1879.

[9] Mrs. Fisher must be Elizabeth's daughter, also named Elizabeth. She lived from 1803 to 1864.

[10] Elizabeth's husband is George Fisher. She met him on a stage coach journey to New York. They were married in Hadley in 1824.

[11] Elizabeth Fisher's family moved to Oswego, NY where George Fisher was the president of the North West Insurance Company. It is unclear who Lizzie is here because it does not refer to Elizabeth. Was it simply their housekeeper, or did Lizzie (whomever she was) have a larger role in the Fisher family life?

[12] Another child of Elizabeth's. William lived from 1804 to 1885.

[13] Who was Doctor Haskel, and why did he send this letter for William? Perhaps Haskel was William's peer because William was a doctor too.

[14] Frederic's wife is Hannah, the sister of Epes Sargent, an editor, poet and playwright. Epes had no children and did not marry until 1848. So in wondering about Mr. Sargent's family, perhaps Mr. Sargent refers to Hannah's father (whose first name was also Epes) since he had a wife and kids at the time of this letter. Either way, Elizabeth is wondering about the affairs of her daughter in law's family.

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