1831: Ira Andrew Parker to William Morse Parker

What Ira A. Parker might have looked like

How Ira Parker might have looked

This letter was written by Ira Andrew Parker (1781-18xx) to his brother, William Morse Parker, of Sangerfield, New York. They were the sons of Ezra Parker (1745-1842) and Elizabeth Perry (1751-1826). Ezra Parker served in the Colonial army during the American Revolution. He was at Lexington and at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He went as an orderly with Benedict Arnold to Quebec and was with him on the Plains of Abraham. Parker was also with General Stark at Bennington, VT and at Saratoga.

The letter isn’t dated, but William Parker and his father moved from Sangerfield, New York, to Royal Oak, Michigan in June 1835, so I think it’s safe to place this letter in the early 1830s when Ira was approaching 50 years of age.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mr. William M. Parker, Sangerfield, Oneida County, New York

[Louisville, Kentucky]
21 January

Dear Brother,

Some time has elapsed since I wrote to my Father and I have not received any answer. The reason I cannot assign. Most probably it miss-carried. But let that be as it may, I long to receive a letter from those who are near to me by the ties of consanquinity and love, if I am not permitted to see them face to face and converse. Still I wish to make use of the means I have in my power and I wish they would do the same of conversing by letters — the only expedient now left us. For a man to be deprived of this blessing or are friends deprived of writing, kindred souls sundred could not express their sentimentality. They would live unknown to each other tho’ at no great distance.

Thanks to the BEING who stimulated our parents to pursue a course of education with their children that has insured to show the (not too much priced) blessing of communicating thoughts and sentimentality on paper. Here, dear brother, in this western country; here in these western wilds of America, not long since the haunts of ruthless savages whose piercing yells and frantic war dances made many a bold heart ache, and many a disconsolate mother and her tender helpless children shudder at their approach, I intend to close my days. Here, sir, unknown to friends and relatives, let me die unseen, unlamented, and not a stone tell where I lie. Long have I suggested this plan, long have consulted and rejected many plans to guide me through this ___-cient scene of existence. But I have now come to a deliberate determination there is no other resource left me. Dear brother, put up a petition to our common Father for me, address the throne of Grace in behalf of your brother who is bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh, that he may receive divine assistance to pursue the path, with ardor, that he has made choice of. ‘Tis a virtuous path. ‘Tis the path only by which he can expect to see Heaven with joy. I do not know that I shall ever see Heaven with pleasure, but I have some reason to hope. Was it not for hope, the human mind would sink under the severe load it sustains. “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

You may wish to know something of the business I am in at this time but I think it is of little use for me to know about your ordinary business or for you of mine, altho’ I would as leave tell you my business as not. If we were near each other, that we might be mutual helps, it might be necessary, but the distance precludes anything of that kind. Hence, it is obviously of no use. I am employed in conducting a school with a tolerable salary. Not in want, nor do I expect to be as long as I have my health.

Let me hear from you as soon as you receive this letter. This letter will be accompanied by one to David.

Direct your letters, if you write, to Corydon, Harrison County, Indiana. Forget not my love to our parents and others. We have snow here over 2 inches deep this winter and which did not last more than two days. My eyes never beheld a winter like this — not colder than October — I have formerly known. And now I will close.

May that being who provides in the councils of “the mysteries of Godliness,” ever have us in his holy keeping.

Adieu, — Ira A. Parker, Tutor of Union School, Indiana

N. B.  I shall make it my business to write to you as often as two months at least and likewise I request the same of you. O, my brother, shall I express my sentiment to you. I cannot. It will not do, It will wound your feelings but did you feel half the weight that oppresses my bleeding bosom, “you would struggle with the martyrs for the stake” and bless God for relief. But I forbear. I have said too much. It wounds you! Does the tear trickle down the cheek of a compassionate brother? Save those tears — lament not for me? What can ____ me more. Farewell. — I. A. Parker


2 responses to “1831: Ira Andrew Parker to William Morse Parker

  • Stacy Weissner

    Thank you so very much for posting this as these are the brothers of my 4x Great-Grandfather. I never would have had the opportunity of getting a glimpse into the relationships of family long past otherwise!

  • dasndanger

    I read this out loud to my mother, and I sounded just like Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth from Pride & Prejudice. It was quite the tongue-twister! Thank you so much for posting, and for the transcription!


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