Jackson County, Illinois

Donated by Carolyn (Luton) Geittmann

Henry Strong WALBRIDGE6 (Eliphalet5, David4, Henry III3, Henry II2, Henry I1) born 01 Jan. 1821 in Bennington Co., VT, died circa 1895, in Washington Co., IL, was the son of Eliphalet WALBRIDGE and Sarah (ASally @) STRONG9 (Luke8, John7, Noah6, Preserved5, Jedediah4, John3, John2, George1).  Eliphalet died when Henry and his only other sibling, Egbert E., were very young.  Their mother then married Daniel Braley TUTHILL 15 Feb. 1829 in Genesee Co., NY and they moved to Jackson Co., IL by 1835 where Daniel later founded the town of Vergennes, naming it after his wife's birth place, Vergennes, VT.

Rebecca/Rebekah Johnson PHELPS8 (Clark7, Josiah6, Abisha5, Robert4, Edward3, Edward2, Henry1), born 06 Mar. 1823 in Sterling, Worcester Co., MA, died 25 Dec. 1852 in Vergennes, Jackson Co., IL, was married to Henry Strong WALBRIDGE 08 March 1841 in Jackson Co., IL.  The marriage records were later destroyed by fire but apparently had been transcribed at some point by someone who probably assumed that JOHNSON was Rebecca=s maiden name so the marriage records show Henry WALBRIDGE marrying Rebecca JOHNSON.  The official Birth and Guardianship Records of Sterling, Worcester Co., MA, where she was born, both list her birth name as Rebecca Johnson PHELPS, proving that her middle name was JOHNSON.

Rebecca's father was Clark PHELPS and her mother, Abigail ROSS3 (Josiah2, Moses1), a sister of the three ROSS brothers who came to Jackson Co., IL about 1836 from Sterling, Worcester Co., MA: Arad Lynde ROSS who married Cynthia BURPEE, Thomas Leonard ROSS who married Sally TUTHILL in Bennington Co., VT, a sister of Daniel Braley TUTHILL, and Moses H. ROSS, who married Eveline GROSS.  Since Rebecca was an orphan by 1838, she apparently came to Jackson County to live with one of these uncles, probably Arad Lynde ROSS and his wife, Cynthia (BURPEE) ROSS.

These letters were all written by Rebecca's relatives who still lived in Sterling, Worcester Co., MA and such names as not already mentioned above, are identified, when possible, with each letter.

Letter #1
Clara PHELPS, who wrote the following letter, was named Clarissa PHELPS, an unmarried sister of Rebecca's father, Clark PHELPS.   George is George PHELPS, a brother of Rebecca's and Josiah C is Josiah Clark PHELPS, the other brother of Rebecca.  Rebecca was their only sister. Dorinda is Dorinda (PHELPS) METCALF who married Alfred E. METCALF, and is also a sister of Clark PHELPS.  Helen is Dorinda's daughter.   Charlotte is Charlotte A. PHELPS, a daughter of Clark PHELPS' brother, Jonas.  She wrote six of the following letters.  Josiah is Josiah PHELPS, also a brother of Clark's.

This letter was addressed to Mr. Henry S. WALBRIDGE, Vergennes, Illinois but written to Rebecca by her aunt Clara PHELPS from Sterling, MA and dated August 23rd, 1847

Sterling August 23d 1847

 I received your letter the 12th of August and was very glad to hear from you but very sorry to hear that your family has been so unwell.  it seems from your writing you have not heard of your brothers death he died the 23rd of June just 20 years into one week since your mother died. She died the 30th of June 20 years ago 1827.  your mother and brother George and Father and Josiah C all lie side by side in the burying ground.  I have not learnt how much wealth of dollars he had but I hope he will have some grave stones.  he died very sudden.  the Friday before he died, he wed in the garden and regretted very much that it rainíd of a Saturday so that he would not finish but that was his last work      it raind untill the day he died, half past three oíclock in the morning he callíd to his uncle he had been upon the vessel.  his uncle went directly into the room.  the sweat stood on his face.  his uncle asked him what seemed to be the matter.  he told him there was a strange noise in his side.  it made a noise like a cat a yawling.  he lived until that evening at half past eleven.  he never said anything to me directly that he never should get well but when I asked him a question he would say if I live.  I hope he is happy and all will be well but he had such a desire to see you.  I felt bad to hear him express his feelings.  it seemed impossible for him to reach there when he first told me about going but this is the way with all the world.  we do not know how soon we shall follow him.

Your letter I do not know how long it laid in the post office.  I have been to Worcester to see aunt dorinda.  Helen was born before you left Sterling.  she enquired for you.  Dorinda would be very glad to have you write to her.  direct your letter to Alfred E METCALF, Worcester Massachusetts if you do write to Dorinda.  I hope you will write as often as you can to me.  Charlotte tells me your are not stationary.  your husband is a busabeaver.  write be sure as often as you can and tell where to direct a letter.  uncle Josiahís wife thinks of going home to see her father this fall.  he lives in Canada.  you can think you are a great distance from there but I wish to hear from you more than as if you lived within a dozen miles then I should think I could go any time.  Charlotte sends her love to you all and would be glad of a letter any time when you can write.  it is growing towards night.

Tuesday 24.  it is a beautiful morning and I enjoy good health.  I am making coats what I followed before you left Sterling.  I suppose I should not know you if I should meet you.  Josiah told me you had weighed 150.  you was a little bit of a girl when I saw you last.   Rebekah I wish you would tell me what your childrenís names are the next time you write I should like a letter as often as you can find time to write.

The friends are all well and I hope these lines will find you so.

If you could come here and see the changes you would not hardly know (smudge) you was.   there is three meeting houses and was not but one when you left and go into the grave yard and there you will see a change it is enlargíd.  they go into it at the foot of Mr. Holcombs hill.  I suppose you remember that there is a change in every thing but it is a beautiful day to all that feel well and pleasant. Give my respects to your husband and children.  before I write again I hope to have some better ink. Good bye,

Your affectionate aunt,

Letter #2
There were several named Lucretia in the various families so the compiler has not been able to determine
which Lucretia is mentioned in this letter.  George is Charlotte's brother, George PHELPS, son of Jonas PHELPS.  Grandmother is Catherine (CLARK) PHELPS.

No address is indicated but the letter was written to Rebeccah (PHELPS) WALBRIDGE
From Charlotte A. PHELPS, Sterling, Mass.
Dated Sept 12th, 1847

Sterling Sept. 12th, 1847
My dear cousin Rebeccah
  We received your letter of the 25th of August this morning, and as the day is so rainy I could not go to church, I thought I would answer it directly. You say you did not expect I thought enough of you to send you anything. I was very sorry I had nothing more valuable to send you that would have done you more good, and as to thinking of you--I have thought of you more a great deal, and I remember how you looked the last time I remember seeing you. I believe mother was sick and you came here with Uncle Clark, one night. I guess you wouldn't know me if you should see me now.  I shall be 16 years old next Oct. And I am pretty tall.  You say Lucretia says she did not see any little boy. If she had seen my brother George she would have seen a great boy. George was 13 years old last July, and is almost five feet high. He has a head as red as a red headed woodpecker. You ask if Josiah said anything about you in his last sickness. The day he died he was so troubled for breath that he did not say only what he was obliged to and we did not say much to him. I know he loved you very much for he often spoke of you. We very often used to get into a talk about you and then he would say that, Ahe believed there was never a brother and sister think so much of each other as he and Beck did.@  Dr. KENDALL said he would not live as long out there as he would here.

I will give you a history of the whole PHELPS Family.
First I will give the names of your Uncles and Aunts: Catherine, James, Jonas, Clarissa, Dorinda, Lucy, Calista, Josiah. Since you went away, two have died: Mary Anne, Elizabeth.

Uncle James and Grandmother keep house together, in part of his house. I suppose you remember where that is.  Uncle Josiah married a Vermonter, named Alice Adelia GOULD, and lives in the other part, they have been married almost five years and have two children: Charles Edward, 4 years old; James Louis, aged 20 months.  Calista married Dr. Jonas BALL, and lives in Nashua, N. H. She has had five children, and buried 2. Those living are: Albatine, 9 yrs; Elizabeth Adela, 7 yrs; Harrietta Josephine, 4 yrs, she has buried a boy and girl.  Lucy married Oliver STILES, and lives in West Boylston. She has had 2 and buried 1   Her living one is Harriet Newell, aged 20 mo.  Dorinda married Alfred Emmons METCALF, lives in Worcester; has three children:  Helen Maria, 13 years; Delia Constantia, 11; Mary Anne, 4 yrs; and she has buried a son.  Clarissa lives in Sterling and works for a tailor.  Elizabeth married Francis MORGAN, she lived 2 years; had 1 child, Harriet Elizabeth, her little girl is 4 yrs old. Uncle Francis died last March, and gave little Lizzie to Aunt Catherine who lives in the house with Aunt Lucy

Mrs. Abby FITCH's name before she was married was Abigail BURPHY and she lived with Mrs. Dea HOLBROOK not far from Mr. BUSSes where you used to live. I suppose you recollect Mr. OSBOODís family who lived on the hill.  Mr. Tyler OSGOOD is still living and Mr. Samuel OSGOOD is married to Miss Harriet KENDALL, he has five children. I donít know whether you were acquainted with Susan HOSNER or not. She is married and has had one child and buried it last week. I donít know but I share with you all the news that I can think of I hope you will write as often as you can, and tell me how you live. I wish you would write every time you change your residence. Please excuse this bad writing. Father, Mother and George send their love to you.
From your aff. Cousin
Charlotte A. PHELPS

P.S. Grandma is well and sends love to all.

Letter #3
Addressed to Mrs. Henry S. WALBRIDGE, Jones Creek, Randolph Co. Ills
From Charlotte A. PHELPS, Sterling, Mass
Dated Jan. 8th 1848

Sterling Jan. 8th/48
Dear Cousin

 I fully intended, the last time I wrote to you, that it should not be long ere you would hear from me again, but I think I have realized the truth of the old saying A Procrastination is the thief of time @ for as each week came in, I would put it off until the next, and so on till now. I suppose you have not heard from here since I last wrote, that is, from any of your uncles or aunts.  Aunt Calista was down from Nashua, N.H. last week with two of her children, Albatine and Elisabeth; she had been visiting all around for nearly three weeks, and last of all came here. Grandma went home with her, and staid a week. Her husband, Dr. Jonas BALL, is a dentist, and has a flourishing business; he is called the best in the State of N.H. She has one other child; Josephine, and has buried her two youngest. You may expect a letter from her soon, for she says she is going to write to you.

Aunt Catherine has been quite sick this fall, or rather last fall (you see I am not broke into the new year yet.) and so I went over to West Boylston, and staid a week with her. She thought her sickness was caused by working so hard, when Uncle Frank was sick, and taking care of Lizzie last summer, when her eyes were sore, but I think she is almost worn out. She has been the one in the PHELPS Family, to nurse all the sick and take charge of all the orphan children; and a heavy charge she has now in the person of Elisabeth MORGAN. Poor Lizzie, her mother lived but two years after she was born, and all that time was a helpless invalid; and two years after her motherís death her father died also. She herself is an unfortunate; she inherits her mothers scrofula; and it has settled in her eyes. She has lived through many months of suffering, unable to endure the least rays of heavenís light and shut up in the house, from the fresh air, she has never known but few of the pleasures of other children and it makes Aunt Catherine very unhappy to think she is so different from them. She is so well now that Aunt thinks she shall endeavor to get a small tenement next spring in some village and take boarders. I hope and trust that she and Lizzie will both continue so, that her plans may not be frustrated. Aunt Dorinda, Mrs. METCALF lives in Worcester, and is I believe very well. She has three daughters, Helen the oldest is almost fourteen years old, is quite a smart little girl. I say little, for she is very small for one of her years; Delia and Mary Ann are very pretty girls of the ages of 11 and five. Aunt Lucy, Mrs. Oliver STILES, has one little daughter the most delicate little creature you ever saw, she is almost two years of age and is almost idolized by her parents.  Aunt Clara, works for a tailor, and boards in the middle of Sterling, she is well. I believe I have given you a history of all the family excepting Uncle Josiah; and he is so near us I had forgotten him; he has two little boys one in his fifth year, the other almost two years old, he lives in part of Uncle James' house and Uncle James lives in the other, with Grandma for his housekeeper. We laugh at him sometimes about getting married, but he does not show any sign of it as yet. Mother says she thinks he will sometime, but I donít. I suppose I donít need to say anything about us or our family as we jog on in the same track that we have for four or five years past. I canít see that father grows old much, but he certainly grows larger if you recollect he used to be quite slender like Uncle Josiah, but he is quite bulky now and he never enjoyed better health. The other night Uncle James came in our house and buttoned himself and my brother George into one of his coats, and George is by no means a small boy, for he will soon be fourteen years old, I wish you could see him. He does not remember you, but I do The last time I remember seeing you, you came to our house with Uncle Clark, when my mother was sick. You were not more than fifteen or sixteen, about as old as I am now.

I have been provoked at myself many times, to think what a good opportunity I let pass of inquiring about you and your family, but Mr. and Mrs. GROSS staid so short a time and were so occupied in talking with Josiah and mother that I did not say much to them, however I can ask you myself now.  In your last letter you spoke of your little boy, is he living and well? I should like to see all your children.   you must tell them that although they have no uncle in the East they have a cousin who thinks of them very often as well as their mother. I donít know but I shall come out there and see you sometime but if I donít you must come here. You need not expect me however till I send you word that I am married, and I canít tell when that will be. I want you to write me a long letter and your husband too and tell us about the country out there. Tell Aunt Cynthia that her nephews and nieces are all well. I see Mrs. FITCH once a week at least at church. Father and Mother send their love to you as well as George. You must excuse this letter, fore I have written at school since recess this fore noon and of course I could not write very well. Good bye.  Be sure and write soon.

Your affect. Cousin
 Charlotte A. PHELPS

I suppose it is late in the day to wish you a happy new year but I hope you had one. I did here at school.

I am not fond of quotations but I saw some pretty verses the other day that I think were very pretty.

A0 thou who dryíst the mourners tear
How dark this world would be
If when deceived and wounded here
We could not fly to thee

The friends who in thy sunshine live
When winter comes are flown
And he who has but tears to give
Must weep those tears alone

But thou wilt heal that broken heart
Which like the plants that throw
Their fragrance from the wounded part
Breathes sweetness out of woe@

I was looking over Josiahís letter the other day and I saw one with a lock of your hair in it. I wish you would send one to me and some of your childrenís. You need not send it all at once time but sometime do.

Letter #4
Addressed to Mrs. Henry S. WALBRIDGE, Jones Creek, Randolph County, Ills, then at the bottom of the envelope also addressed to Mr. M. H. ROSS
From Charlotte A. PHELPS, Sterling, Mass.
Dated May 28th, 1848

Sterling May 28th 1848
Dear Cousin

I suppose you ought in justice to have had a letter from me some time since but as you say, I am not going to fill a half page with excuses and apologies for not writing for you know I have not written. I was very much interested in the letter which you wrote me as well as the rest of the family. George was very much pleased with your account of calling the cows up, I suppose your George would like to be here, and hear us call ours. I really wish he was. I was sorry to hear such an account of your health. You must take good care of yourself and not overwork or expose yourself or you may never recover your health. I read your letter to Grandmother.  She seemed much interested in it. You wondered if she is fleshy as she used to be. I should think she was &. she still retains her pleasant look, although her eyes are not as bright as they were five or six years ago, & her chin twitches all the time She had a sort of a fainting fit about a fortnight ago but I believe she has got almost entirely over it now. She was seventy four last Nov.  Aunt Lucy, Mrs. STILES has been over here about a week lately. Uncle Oliver has moved his house off the Worcester and Nashua R.R. track, so Aunt Lucy came over here while they were doing it. She is very well. I wish you could see her little Hatty; She is the most delicate little creature you ever saw, and is as still as a mouse. Aunt Catherine is very well. She has moved from Aunt Lucyís to Sawyersí Mills in W. Boylston and taken a boarding house with ten or twelve boarders. Lizzie is quite well.  she is going to school this summer about a mile from the Mills. She has had the measles this spring but it did not affect her eyes much. Aunt Dorinda, Mrs. METCALF has met with quite a misfortune, she stuck a needle into her foot and broke it off in it. The Dr. said he might cut her foot all to pieces and not find it, so he did not try. The rest of family are well. Mrs. BALL, Aunt Calista we have not heard from since she was here last winter - presume she is well or we should have heard

 Aunt Clara is in Sterling village working at her trade, she is well for anything I know. I believe I have told about all the folks except those right about me and they are all well.

I wonder if you have such warm weather as we do, last week it was as warm as July, we had very heavy thunder showers, last week and this week too. I hope it will be cooler now.  It has been fine growing weather for two weeks although it was rather wet the last of April and first of May. Our apple trees blossomed quite full but the warm weather and thunder sent the blossoms off very quick, we shall not have many cherrys this year but an immense quantity of currants. I wish you and your family could help us pick them.

Is it a healthy season with you; it is tolerably so with us but there have been 17 cases of small pox in Holden but they were all among the Canadian French who have lately moved into town. I hope it will not spread any further I trust it will not.

Oh there is one thing I should like you to do. I should like to have you send me a lock of your hair if you have enough to spare and can conveniently in a letter. I believe you sent some in a letter to Josiah once. It will soon be a year since Mr. GROS and wife called to see him. I can hardly realize the fact. I should like to see them again very much. I thought they were very interesting people. Father laughed well to think that you thought he had blowed himself up and said he was not quite blowed up yet. He says he should like to see you very much indeed. But you say you will let us know when when you are coming so donít forget it. Give my love to your husband and children and give each of the children a hearty smack for me, donít forget that. Write me as soon as you can and let me know how you are.
I remain your affect. cousin
Charlotte PHELPS

(P.S.)  Aunt Lucy & Catherine told me to give their love to you as do Father Mother & brother George

Letter #5
Addressed to Mrs. Henry WALBRIDGE, Jones Creek, Randolph Co., Ills.  Then at the top of the envelope is a notation AFor'd from Jones Creek Jan. 29th.@  (The next letter is addressed to Thebes, Alexander Co., IL so apparently the WALBRIDGEs had moved from Randolph Co., IL to Alexander Co., IL before Jan. 29, 1849)
From Charlotte A. PHELPS, Sterling, Mass.
Dated Nov.  4th, 1848, then continues on Dec. 29th

Sterling Nov. 4th 1848
Dear Cousin.

Your truly welcome letter was received a few days since and I think you cannot accuse me of negligence in replying to it. You write that you have been very busy for some time past; I might have the same excuse as a reason for not writing to you if I needed any, but that is not the case. I am attending school at the Sterling Seminary; an institution which was established this fall under the supervision of Miss Adolphia RUGG, and Miss Lucinda L. KENDALL. There are nearly 70 pupils connected with the establishment, more than one half of whom are females.

 They are all ages from five to twenty. My studies are not very numerous; I only attend to Arithmetic, Grammar and History, and write composition every week. I should like very much to take lessons in drawing, but it is impossible at present. The term closes in two weeks; after that I expect to spend Thanksgiving at home, and then go to Westminister where I shall probably remain all winter. I suppose I shall be homesick at first as I have never been long away from home and am acquainted with only a few persons there but I expect to attend school and shall soon make acquaintances. Please write soon and if after Thanksgiving, direct your letters to Westminister, Mass.

Yours truly Charlotte A. PHELPS

Dec. 29th

I have not gone to Westminister, and probably shall not. Winter is so far advanced and we have such a good district school teacher, Mr. Samuel OSGOOD. Perhaps you will remember him; he is an old married man now, and has three children big enough to come to school

When I wrote the first part of this letter, I was attending school at the Seminary and wrote it for a composition, and read it, but I thought it too bad to have such a good one! go for nothing so I will finish it and send it to you. We were all very much pleased with your fish story, and George wishes you would write often. I read it to Uncle James, and he laughed and said it was all Clark. After I had read my composition, Miss RUGG came to me, and inquired whose daughter you were. I told her, and she said she knew your father and mother both, and had him to school with your uncles, Arad and Thomas. She seemed quite surprised to find I had a cousin who was married and the mother of four or five children. I donít know as your friends will remember her, but I know that she remembers them.

I have been down to Boylston this fall visiting Aunt Catherine; perhaps you do not know that she is keeping a boarding house in a factory village but such is the fact. She has 7 or 8 boarders usually and sometimes more. It is not very profitable business and she will only remain until spring. Lizzie is quite well this fall, and I hope she will not be troubled again with weak eyes. Aunt Calista was up from Nashua a few weeks ago, with her husband and children.  she has only three now, having buried two.

The other aunts and uncles are all well, as far as my knowledge extends and I presume they would any of them be happy to hear from you at any time. Aunt Calista said she should. If you do write to her, please direct to Mrs. Jonas BALL, Nashua, N. H.

Grandmother is very well, and wishes to be remembered to you. I do wish you could see her. She is so fair and handsome for a lady of 75 which age she attained last Nov. She still keeps house for Uncle James, and no doubt he thinks no one else would do as well as she does.

Father says he don't know anything about black walnut, but I believe it is considered better than mahogany.  It is rather too hard and costly for him to deal in. Tell cousin Henry I hope he will come to Mass, with all his family.

Write again as soon as you can. Much love from all.

Your affect. cousin,
Charlotte A. PHELPS

Letter #6
Alice Wilhelmia is a daughter of Rebecca (PHELPS) WALBRIDGE and Henry Strong WALBRIDGE who was born 08 Jan. 1849.

Addressed to Mrs. Rebecca WALBRIDGE, Thebes, Alexander Co, Ills
From Charlotte A. PHELPS, Sterling, Mass
Dated Mar. 11th, 1849

Sterling Mar. 11th 1849
Dear Cousin
 I was very glad to see you on paper once more, although I was sorry you had not received the letter I wrote to you last fall, however I suppose you have since received it. You tell me you donít know but I am fixing to be married; I can assure you, that is not the case, for I have not even got a beau yet, and I donít know as I ever shall have one but I donít care, and I know it is better to wait a few years. However, if I get tired of waiting Iíll go out West there I shanít have to wait long.

I suspect the reason for your being so anxious to hear from me was, because you wanted to tell me of your new acquisition, and receive my congratulation. I do congratulate you most heartily and I assure you that your cousin George is perfectly willing, and very happy to acknowledge the relationship between himself and the little Alice. I like her name very much. Alice is one of my favorite names, and Wilhelmina is a sweet German name, a little too long, perhaps but very pretty. I think from your description she must be a very remarkable child, & I expect one of these days, youíll be making a show of her. I wish you would come East and show yourself, your husband and all your children, to us.

You say the Yankees are great-hands for sleigh-riding, and I guess you are a bit of a yankee yourself, though you have lived so long in the West.

We had the best sleighing anybody could wish for through the months of Jan & Feb and some terrible cold weather besides, but the sleighing is all gone now and on the bare hills and pastures, the snow is scattered in little patches, which makes the country look very checquerd. Since March came in we have had some real March weather, The wind blows so it draws the wood out of the stove through the fume right up  chimney, and it whews and whistles round the north-west corner at a terrible rate. George was out doors chopping all last week and his face is as brown as a berry it is so freckled, his hands look as far as regards color, like a ham just taken out of pickle.

I suppose your sugar times are over now, but it is the time that ours usually begins, but I believe father is not going to tap his trees this spring, it is so much trouble for we do not make a business of it, and have a camp and all conveniences for making sugar as I suppose you do, but father or George brings it, the sap, from the trees, half a mile off, in tin strainer pails and we boil it in the house on the stove or out in the shop in a great brass kettle.  We made about two quarts last year.

You say your husband has bought a plantation or an improvement. I suppose you mean a farm but when I first read it I thought he had got an improvement on his horse power. It seems to me you western folks must be real Tartars, you know they live, in a place till there is nothing to live on then they move away, & that is the way you manage. I suppose your husbandís business is such he cannot do other wise.

I believe all the friends are well though I have not heard from some of them for some time.  Grandma has been much better this winter than she was last & I canít see that she has failed much but
they all say she has. Her chin trembles all the time, and I suppose it will continue to grow upon her. She was 75 years old last Nov. but she still does uncle James work for he is not married yet, and I hardly think he ever will be.

I have never been introduced to cousin Henry but I wish you would tell him from me to write something as often as you write. I should be very happy to hear of the state of the country, the crops, the markets, politics or anything, no matter what if he will only write. Its no use making any kind of excuse for I have seen his writing before this day. Now you tell him that his cousin George joins heartily in this request. Love to that baby & nobody else. Write again soon and believe me to be

Yours aff,
Charlotte A. PHELPS

Letter #7
 Harmon is Daniel Harmon TUTHILL, son of Daniel Braley TUTHILL and Sarah (STRONG) WALBRIDGE TUTHILL, who later married Sophia B. ROSS, daughter of Moses H. ROSS.
Addressed to Mrs. Henry S. WALBRIDGE, Thebes, Ill, and a notation on the bottom of the envelope says APlease forward@.
From  Charlotte A. PHELPS, Sterling, Massachusetts
Dated Thanksgiving Nov. 29th, 1849

Thanksgiving Nov. 29th/49
Dear Coz

-Here we are in the very midst of a good old-fashioned New England Thanksgiving,  and right good times we have had, are having and expect, to have. We have had dinner or supper but if you would only just pop in, you should have some cold baked chicken, potatoes, squash and onions and a piece of plum pudding with lots of raisins in it, and if you will wait >till evening, some mince pie with squash and apple pie if you like, Cousin Henry can indulge in a drink of cider, new cider, with father if he is not a very strong temperance man. Then we have some very fine apples, and nuts, not hickory nuts but chestnuts -- and our parlor is large enough to hold you and all your children. There is a grand fire on the hearth made of oak logs so you need not fear the frosty air out of doors, although the moon now shines brightly enough to warm it, if that luminary were in the habit of dispensing heat. There is no snow on the ground, but the roads are as good as in the month of July, so if you donít come in Mother Gooseís egg-shell, you can come in a wagon. I would give four bits if you were here. a large sum certainly, for such a poor poverty stricken girl as I am.

I have been at Westminister this fall attending the Academy.  I went up there the first of Sept. and did not return until last week, so your letter was not received by me until that time. I was very sorry indeed to hear of the death of Mrs. GROSS. She appeared to me to be a very amiable and interesting woman and I should think her friends would feel it very sensibly, her husband especially.

I was very much obliged to that old gentleman for his good opinion of me, but how did he know that my heart was my own? Besides, I am very much afraid that his son Harmon would not fancy me as a personal acquaintance so well as he appeared to.-- It would be a very sad affair if I should go out there in the expectation of obtaining a husband, and not get the one I went for, would it not?

I saw a young lady the other day, who came alone from Wisconsin. She said she was acquainted with many people in southern Illinois but not with any of your family. Her name was Caroline FOSTER.   Her parents reside in Bloomfield. I cannot find it on the map so I do not know what county it is in.

I have seen Aunt Clara to-day, she came up to dinner at Uncle Jamesí her health is very good for her. She sent love to you. We expected aunt Dorinda and family but they did not make their appearance. The rest of the friends are well, as far as my knowledge extends. I must write a little to cousin Henry, as he is so good a correspondent. Write again soon.

Your affectionate Cos., Charlotte A. PHELPS

Dear Cousin H

-I was very sorry that I did not receive your letter when it was first written. As I suppose you expected a letter in reply some time ago.

             I was very grateful indeed for your kind offer and am very sorry that I cannot accept it at present. Ten dollars per month is much more than a common school teacher can obtain here. Old and experienced female teachers sometimes, but not usually I believe get $8 per mo. and board, while young ones do have more than $6. So your offer is more liberal than any I can hope for here. I may go out there sometime, indeed it is probable that I may make you a visit in the course of a few years. The most I think of is the journey, and the fever and ague after I get there. I have thought more about it since I saw Miss FOSTER. She gave such a description of the shakes and the fever. Said she suffered more with it than with any other disease, and she has been quite an invalid. I should like to take a school next summer but do not know whether I shall or not if my life is spared so long. I have some thoughts of going into the coach lace factory at Clintonville, a flourishing manufacturing village in the adjoining town of Lancaster, but am yet undecided. If I go I shall not remain only until spring.

Now cousin if George were here I presume he would have some-what to say to you, but he is gone to a Thanksgiving Ball and is very much engaged. I did not wish to go--preferred sitting by this bright tire at home. Write again, all send love, yours truly, Charlotte A. PHELPS

I have been telling mother some of the contents of my letter and she laughed. Said she thought I should be a smart hand to go West.  I should be homesick before I should reach my journeyís end. Encouraging, isnít it? I am getting weaned from home without much trouble.

I just asked father what I should say to you Cousin R for him and he said he didn't know. but I know he would like to see you very much indeed. He never expresses much Mother has just been giving him a curtain lecture about it. I donít think he cares much about it however.

Letter #8
Addressed to Mr. Henry WALBRIDGE, Thebes, Ill.
From  Jonas PHELPS, Sterling, Mass
Dated Dec. 16, 1850

Sterling Dec. 16, 1850
Dear Nephew & Niece

We rec'd yours of the 15th, Nov. two days since, and we are very happy to hear from you so often and feel that we have been very negligent in not writing to you before this date but as my time and mind has been very much taken other ways I hope you excuse me and others of my family for we are entirely unaccustomed to letter writing and may be you can image the task it would be for a beginner especially after living as many years as I have, but as George is not quite willing to show his hand writing yet, I thought I would try and write a few lines to you to inform you that our Dear Charlotte is no more among the living.  Died Oct. 16th with consumption.  I will give you some information about her sickness. Took cold, some time in March taken bleeding at the lungs and very much alarmed at first but after her fright was over she was comfortable for some time as to pain accept in mind and finally settled in to a gloomy state and remained in that way for sometime, refusing to take any or but very little medicine anything of the apothecary kind. We got a bottle of cod liver oil that was recommended very highly but after taking a few times we thought it best to omit it a few Days, and took nothing but a little batrom of honey or cough Drops.  She was able to ride out until about ten days before she Died and said she felt no pains accept that her feet and limbs felt heavy at times. She was got up and had her hair comb that morning before she Died which was about half past 11 oíclock Wednesday 16th of October.

 We recd the papers you sent some few weeks since and also a letter I think since her writing to you. I do not know of her writing to you since last Thanksgiving eve.  She has not been inclined to write or talk with any one since She came home unwell.  By the way she had been to her Uncle Ebin HOSNER some few weeks before she was taken bleeding. We rec'd many letters since she has been at home, has answered none, no not one, I believe. & as for Geo. he is large enough to write I am very sure for he is nearly as large as any body that runs along here I assure you but I have got my hand in a little now and I expect to go along some for a time but if I should fail to do so, I hope you will not wait long before writing again or give me the pleasure of seeing your faces here. I can look back and see Rís face as she was when about ten or twelve years old but I expect you are some older by this time for I am sure that my hair looks very different from what it did when you left and I shall soon be up to the age that I once thought was very old. I am not as old as my Mother but my hair is turning white very fast. Perhaps you would like to hear from him but I can say but little about him or Brothers and Sisters except that they are all well but Lucy and she is getting better.

P.S. Dear R. if you will write one letter to George, I think he will answer it soon.
Yours truly,

Diaries & Memoirs Index

Home Page