1832: Daniel Weld to Newton Jackson

This letter was written by Daniel Weld (1810-1847), the son of Daniel Weld (1781-1851) and Lydia Fuller (1784-1846). Daniel wrote the letter to his cousin, Newton Jackson (1809-1871), the son of Walter Jackson (1774-1820) and Elizabeth Weld (1779-1855), of Cornish, New Hampshire. Newton was married to Ellen M. Chapman in November 1842.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Mr. Newton Jackson, Cornish, New Hampshire

East Medway [Massachusetts]
March 16th 1832

Affectionate Cousin,

I received your letter last evening “with joy unspeakable and full of Glory.” In the first place you want to know how this long winter uses me. “By your patience, I will round unvarnished tale deliver, of my whole course.” (Shakespeare) ¹ I arrived at Medway February 13th and went to work. Everything went on as well as I could expect. No trouble in finding enough to do and I found no trouble in doing it. I went to Sherburne about one mile and a half from home with a man that Mr. Wheeler hired by the day chopping the wood — was white oak from 12 to 24 inches through. About the middle of the afternoon, I cut my foot most horribly and well it was for me that I was not alone. There was no halfway work about it for I cut to the wholes, I can assure you. Mr. Wheeler happened to be there with the horse and waggon and carried me home and went after the Doctor who after taking out two pieces of bone, he sowed it up. You must judge for yourself the pain that it caused me in taking out the bones for I can only express on my ideas. The largest piece is about as big as a large plum stone; the other is not as large.

I kept my room two weeks. I can get about now with crutches and probably I shall get about in two or three weeks. At the best, I shall lose one month’s time and cost two or three more. However, I shall not cry about it. I have thought considerable about home affairs since I have been confined [with] nothing to do but sit in my chair and think. And while I sat lamenting my situation, in came Harvey to my great astonishment for I little expected to see him. He stayed over night. He said that he must go to work by Monday at the store work if he did not find employment elsewhere. He went through Sherburne to the port. Mr. Wheeler directed him to a number of farmers in that town that he thought would be likely to want help but I have not heard what success he had.

Medway is famous for sparking. ² One man got married at eighty years of age to a young widow of forty. I went to the Lyceum the next Thursday evening after I came here. The question was this: whether is right for a man to live a single life. They said it was morally wrong for a man to live a single life. The subject was discussed and then they took a vote of the Society. March meeting I suppose was last Tuesday in New Hampshire and who is Governor.

How is politics with you? Are you all for Clay? I read three Clay papers and they day that he will be elected [President] without doubt. There is not a Jackson paper nor a Jackson man this side of ___. I suppose that Fuller takes The Patriot and if he does I wish you would tell him to send them to me after reading them. When he goes to meeting, he can carry them to the flat or when he is going to the river carry them there and do them up. Direct them to me, East Medway, Massachusetts, and I shall receive them by paying one cent apiece postage. I wish you would not neglect what I have just written. It is my opinion that Harvey has let himself in Sherburne but I do not know certain if he has it out but about three miles from me.

The girls here braid a great deal of straw for bonnets. ³ The braid is about one half inch wide. It sells for three and ¼ cents per yard and my employment is cutting out the straw for the girls and I like the business very much for I always loved to work with the girls. And if I mistake not, I told you that there was some prime ones here when I saw you at Cambridgeport which proves to be a fact. I like the place very much although I have had some bad luck to encounter with.

But I think I shall live my appointed time although it may not be far distant. I shall draw to a close soon for I can’t think of anything to write about. There is no snow here nor has not been since I came here nor have I seen more than 8 or 10 inches this winter. I do not want you should write till you receive this but immediately after. Give my love to those you think have it for me, and all others who think me worth their inquiry, and I remain your affectionate friend, — Daniel Weld

¹ This line comes from Shakespeare’s Othello, Act 1, Scene 3.

² Sparking was a 19th century term referring to courtship.

³ Apparently the braiding of straw was quite a business in Medway, Massachusetts by 1832. A history of the village says the manufacture of straw braid was commenced in Wrentham “about 1805 and it soon spread into the surrounding towns of Franklin, Dedham, Foxboro, and Medway. Straw braid was made in the families, and sold and exchanged at the stores for goods. It was about 1810 that Captain William Felt, who kept a store in the Village, employed several young women to make the braid into bonnets…By 1837, there were 33,200 straw bonnets manufactured in Medwav valued at $40,400.” [Source: The History of medway, Massachusetts]


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