This letter was written by Frances Susan (Moody) Rood (1795-1875), the wife of Congregational minister, Rev. Herman Rood (1794-1882). Herman Rood was one of the early biblical scholars of this country and was for many years a Professor of Hebrew at Dartmouth College. Frances was the daughter of Stephen Moody (1767-1842) and Frances Coffin (1767-18xx) of Gilmanton, New Hampsire.
Frances wrote the letter to her younger sister, Rebecca Marquand (Moody) Crosby (1798-1867), the wife of Nathan Crosby (1798-1885) of Amesbury, Massachusetts. The couple had several children and settled in Lowell before 1850. Nathan was an 1820 graduate of Dartmouth College and became a lawyer and judge.
Addressed to Mrs. Rebecca M. Crosby, Care of Nathan Crosby, Esquire, Amesbury, Massachusetts
New Milford [Connecticut]
February 9th 1834
My dearest Rebecca,
I should write you more frequently than I do, if your husband was Post Master but when I think one of my scrawls cost you a shilling, I think I had better not write generally more than once a month. The calls from benevolent operations are this year so numerous & pressing that Christians must save all their sixpences & then the contributions will undoubtedly fall very far short of the demand & urgent wants of the various duties.
We are highly privilege, my dear sister, to live in this day when a call for thousands can be answered & when old operations go on with increased interest altho new ones are constantly arising. We are collecting contributions for foreign missions now here & our subscriptions will probably be $50 or $75 more than last year. Still it is not what it should be. This town stands first on the grand list for death in Litchfield County & yet we often are $100 or 200 behind other towns of half our wealth in our contributions. Thanks be to God our people [are] coming up more & more to the duty of giving. You know husband can plead, give, give, when it is for the Lord Jesus Christ even if it is unpopular. Our society give him two to three times yearly what they did when we came here & faith looks forward to a day when God will have an abundance from this people. O! It is the high & peculiar privilege as well as duty of a Christian to deny himself, to cast into the treasury of the Lord, & I believe we usually pray much more for an object that has with us some self denial. “Deny thyself” is a command positive and binding.
Your last letter was a cordial to me. I hope I am thankful you are all well & the dear little ones improving. I feel in some degree, I hope, the responsibility of a Mother. Awful indeed must be the account an unfaithful Mother has to render to God. We have less in the multitude of good books which are now in this country on this subject & of course our quill will be increased if [we] do not avail ourselves of all those good rules & instructions. I am aware that my darling children will practically show what kind of a Mother I am & that not only for the present, but to the latest hour of their lives. The Mother’s Own Book is very good but it does not do me as much good as the Mother at Home. The Mother’s Magazine is very excellent. I think I shall send the no.’s of this coming year to Mary Jane if she does not take it. I wrote to her to take it & do not know yet whether she does or not. I wish you would send her the Mother at Home if she has not seen it.
My dear Rebecca, do you not feel as if you could leave your older children & come here with Father & Mother in the Spring? We wish it very much indeed. You know I may be, if I live far, far from this place & from you in years to come & we shall not probably meet in future very often. A minister’s stay in one place is always so uncertain than I hardly feel as if I had an abiding place. Not that I know any reason why we may not end our days here; only it seems the order of the day will expect to minister that they should go. Everything is pleasant & harmonious in our Society & towards us, & we have never received such generally expressious & favors of kindness from our people as we have this winter. I want you to know our people. It could not hurt you or Miss Maria to take the journey & I dare say Aunt Titcomb would go & stay with the little ones you leave behind.
I am afraid Pa & Ma will hardly get started without you or Mary Jane however much, much as I want to see you, If it is incompatible with duty, don’t come. We ought in all our daily concerns to seek to know what is the path of duty & then walk on realizing the path of duty is the only path of happiness. I wish you had a good minister & I can not feel as if the Lord would have led you on thus far & then leave you without a shepherd. I have thought that Mr. [Charles G.] Safford of Gilmanton [New Hampshire] might please your people, but perhaps I don’t know enough of either to judge & it would be a sad thing to call him from his people. I should think he was remarkably prudent & he is a very pretty writer, I am told. Mr. Steenes who I saw at your house reminded me of him in his conversation, not his looks.
I shall write to Aunt Susan in a day or two. I have many hindrances that I can’t accomplish half I wish. I think a great deal of her with our other friends. Aunt Betsy you said has though she has had an old fashioned consumption for a long time. Her cough has always seemed to proceed from the bottom of her lungs. Give my love to her when you see her. I was very sorry not to see her when I came on here.
I suppose you have had your visit from dear Father. Imagine yourself 200 miles farther from our dear parental home & then think what such a visit would be worth to you. But Rebecca, I often thank God I am just so far from you all because I believe I am when it is best for me to be without. O! I have loved home & friends there with a devotion of feeling I ought never to have had, the separation from which, alone could have effectually convinced me of my selfishness. Mr. Rood sends best & kindest love to all. He has given Mary a bright description of little Beck’s beauty. Tell the dear little ones we all long to see them. [My daughters,] Susan Hooper & Mary Jane talk daily about them. Mary Jane says she is hurrying to get Grandmother’s quilt done & then she wishes to make one for Stephen Crosby so he can mark her handkerchief for her. She & Susan are very well this winter. Mary Jane spells very well but I presume will not read this two or three months. I do not think my children get along very fast altho I think the school very good indeed. I should a thousand times prefer home instruction as you have. They walk every morning as far as they choose.
Who has failed in N. P. [possibly New Preston?] ? I noticed by an New York paper there had been 9 failures for a large amount in N. P. That town seems fated to be poor. You will miss the Cutler’s very much indeed. Will they sell their house in N. P.? What will Susan Hooper do about keeping house & where will Aunt Susan go of she does not? I wish Aunt could be with me. I know I could make her comfortable & I should require to do it, Write soon. I love to hear from you so dearly.
Your own, – Frances Susan