This letter was written by Elizabeth Eliot Vose (1782-1864), a daughter of Brig-Gen. Joseph Vose (1738-1816) and Sarah Howe (1741-1824). Elizabeth’s sister, Nancy Vose, was the mother of Union General Edwin Vose Sumner.
Elizabeth wrote the letter to her niece, Sarah Osgood (1804-1850) upon hearing of the death of Sarah’s father, Dr. George Osgood (1758-1823) who died on 4 October 1823 in Andover, Massachusetts. Dr. Osgood served as a military surgeon during the American Revolution. He was married (1802) to Elizabeth Otis (1760-1802), the daughter of Joseph Otis and Rebecca Sturgis. His second wife was Sarah Vose (1762-1812), Elizabeth’s sister. His third wife was Mary Messer (1773-1854), the daughter of Asa Messer.
Sarah Osgood married James G. Tracey in November 1836.
Addressed to Miss Sarah Osgood, to be forwarded to the house of the late Dr. G. Osgood, North Parish, Andover [Massachusetts]
Monday morning, November 3d 1823
My dear Sally,
Last evening I heard of the melancholy event of the death of your dear Father. Sally Savage is with us. She received a letter from Margarey which contained the sad tidings. We do not see the papers. If we had, I suppose we should have known it much sooner.
Og my dear Sally. My heart aches for you. You have lost a beloved parent, and in a sudden and unexpected moment. The scene through which you were called to pass must have been distressing indeed. I could not sleep last night, I thought so much of you. And I felt so strong a desire to see you and your dear Mother that I formed a resolution to set off directly for Andover. But this morning was so cold and my health not very good, that my courage failed me. And that was not all. I had some domestic affairs that made it almost impossible for me to leave home just at this time. It is possible I may come before winter. I shall make every exertion to in my power.
Ever since I heard of your Father’s sickness, I have wished very much to visit him and fondly indulged a hope that I should see him again. Sally Savage told me she did not think when she saw him that he was immediately dangerous. She said he appeared very feeble but she thought he might live some years. But Alas! How vain is human calculation. It would have afforded me unspeakable consolation to have seen your Father once more. But Providence has ordered it otherwise and I will not murmur. He is gone, I trust, to a better and happier world, where the inhabitant will no more say I am sick.
You have been highly blessed, my dear Sally, in kind, affectionate and good parents. It has pleased your heavenly father to deprive you of them in early life, but you have much to be thankful for. You have been favored in no common manner in a second Mother. I pray heaven her life may be spared. Your dear Grandmother and myself in talking of you last evening said we could not feel thankful enough that you had a good Mother. I hope her health is restored. Margaret mentioned her being sick at the time of your Father’s death. Please to offer her my most affectionate regards in which my Mother joins me — and assure her of our united sympathy in her great affliction.
Your Uncle and Aunt Sumner were much gratified with their visit at your house and I know that they will now feel peculiar satisfaction in reflecting upon their visit. Mr. Sumner was here a few days since. His health is very much improved. Mrs. Sumner was very well.
I shall feel very impatient to hear from you and your Mother shall be much obliged if you will write soon and so be particular. Everything that concerns you will be highly interesting to me. Do, my dear Sally, be very careful of your health, and if possible, do not suffer your spirits to be dropped. Though you have lost an earthly father, you have a father in heaven who will never leave nor forsake you. Put your trust in him, my dear young friend, and you will find that comfort and that support which the world cannot give; neither can it take away.
Please to give my kind love to your sisters and offer them my sympathy. Your Cousin Sally Savage sends love and respects. She will leave us in a few days for Boston where she expects to stay till the latter part of winter. She bids me say she shall write to you very soon.
This letter needs many apologies which you will have the goodness to excuse. It has been written in haste. I did not feel waiting that one day should pass before I assured you of my sympathy and condolence in your severe affliction. I must again request you to write soon.
I hope I shall see you ‘ere long. In the meantime, believe me to be your truly affectionate, — Aunt E. E. Vose