“My face is so plump & fresh...”
~ 1839 ~
Montgomery County Tennessee
Page © TNGenNet, Inc. 2005. All Rights Reserved.
Transcription: © Jim Greve 2005


Stampless folded letter sheet.
Circular black postmark:
       CLARKSVILLE TENN. JAN 11
Manuscript rate:
       25
Addressee:
       Miss Hannah Smith
       New Gloucester
       Maine

Clarkville postmark.
Letter:
Clarksville Jan 2nd 1839
Dear Sister
  Three weeks ago today, I received a short letter from you, dated at Boston, in which you make some bitter complaints against me for not writing oftener, & express some fears lest sickness or misfortune may have been the cause of my long silence. But a letter long & tedious was then on the way for you, which you have doubtless since received. I promise not to tax you so severely this time however, for if you succeeded in puzzling out all that was crowded on that sheet, your patience & ingenuity both deserve great credit. In the first place I must tell you of my good health, for I know you will all join me in gratitude for this best of life’s blessings. My face is so plump & fresh that I can hardly recognize my former self. Oh how I wish I could just bounce in upon you & surprise you all with my ruddy countenance & merry shout, for I suppose you are now at home seated with our dear father & mother, by a snug warm fire, plying the busy needle & counting over your well earned treasures, & now & then bestowing a thought and perhaps a word upon the absent & distant. But no, I must not wish to return, I am happy here, & discontent shall be a feeling unknown to my heart, while I have, as I now have, every necessary of life, nay, more, some of its luxuries, & these well earned & paid for, & above all, shared by a friend of all others earthly the nearest.
  Yes Sis, we have much here to contribute to our present happiness, though our prospect for making a fortune is small. Yet I will recollect, that to get along square with the world, is more than every body does in New England. We must be willing to pay for the first stepping stone, & we hope by our united industry, economy, & perseverance, to lay the foundations for a competency, when age or sickness shall have deprived us of the power of labouring for our daily bread. Our first session of five months closed four weeks since. We had an examination of two days, which was met with a general expression of approbation from the spectators, who were about one hundred in number. We sent several Clarksville papers containing some remarks upon our school since its close, one of which was directed to our father. If he has received it, will he please to acknowledge it, as we sent a number when we first came here, which we fear have never been received, as their reception has never been acknowledged. And what do you suppose I have been doing, during this long vacation? Why to go backwards I will tell you - the last two days I have been using up some the paints which you gave me, & previous to that, dined out two or three times, made a few calls, did a little needle work for the fair, which the ladies are getting up here, & the rest of the time have been as busy as I could be in my chamber, doing a variety of work which you will readily understand by the word “mending.” Next week our school commences again, & feeling as we do that happiness is inseparable from active employment, we shall cheerfully enter upon its duties. Owing to the badness of the streets during this season of the year, the distance in which some our pupils reside from the Academy, & the delicate health of others, we expect our number will be small, consequently, our compensation will be so too. But the summer session we have reason to think will be much better. We have no fixed salary, but receive just the amount of tuition, be it much, or little. We have not yet commenced housekeeping, but hope to do so in a few weeks, then I would like to give a family dinner, that you may all partake of my first roast turkey. Say, will you come? Please to invite Lynda & Otis, not omitting brother John & Oliver, in the mean time I will fix on the day & let you know. Please not to bring any work with you, for I can employ you all in making quilts & comforters, for although I am in a more southern latitude than you are, I have found a few days & nights when we have had N.E. frosts, & have needed N.E. clothing. We have had but one snowstorm, & that covered the ground with snow several inches in depth. It was followed by a rain storm however, & the streets are now resuming their dirty & blackened appearance. Oh how did you all spend Thanksgiving, & who ate the “Plum Pudding” for me? A Thanksgiving really, I suppose, at least, I hope it was, with you, for I presume you have one cause of Thanksgiving which you have never had before, that is, you find yourself free from the toils of business, & in possession of a snug little fortune. And now Sis, what do you intend to do, & where do you intend to spend the remainder of your days?
  Is it possible that you are going to be married? If you are, be candid now & tell me the truth, & the whole truth. I am anxious also to know how much your property is, for I suppose that by this time you can tell to a farthing. I hope you will feel yourself able to come & see us next spring, your traveling expenses will be something less than one hundred & seventy five dollars coming & going too & that, to a lady of fortune, will be but a trifle, & then you can have the advantage of seeing something of this western world. Will you come? You will not like the manners & customs of the people here, so well as you do, in your native North, but variety you know is the spice of life, & let this serve to spice yours. At any rate let me know what you intend to do with yourself. My box has not yet arrived, owing to the lowness of the river, which is now rising. We shall probably receive it in five or six weeks. We have not received a letter from any other individual but yourself, since we have been here, which is six months, with the exception of one from father Whitman, for which we very much thank him & if that box does not contain some, I shall conclude that friendship with the [illegible] indeed but a name. Have I in truth one sister who cares hear from me? If father and mother do no feel disposed to write themselves, they must at least say something for you to write. Our mirrors come regularly but they bear the sad news of the death of some of my former acquaintances. I lately saw that of Jane Caruthers, shall I say with regret? Ah no. I cannot regret. Had she lived, her active piety would have enabled her to share largely in that happiness designed for mortals here below, but now, I doubt not, she is a participant of that happiness which is [illegible] glory. If you know the particulars of her last sickness & death please to communicate them to me. I was going to ask you to remember me to some of my friends, but I do not know where to begin, I am certain I should now want to stop short of one hundred, so I will particularize none, save our own family & that of father W’s, to all of whom we desire to be remembered with much affection. If you have not written do write as soon as you receive this, & as you have time enough now, a short letter would be inexcusable.
From your Sister,
Angelia


Note:
  Angelia Smith married Edwin Whitman in New Gloucester on 4 June 1838. They moved south to Clarksville, Tennessee, where they operated a school.



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This page last updated on Sunday, May 08, 2005