1834: Mary Ferry to Orpha (Benham) Ferry

This letter was written by Mary Ferry (1807-1881), the unmarried daughter of Charles L. Ferry (1763-1825) and Mary Moody (1767-1846) of Granby, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. Mary’s other siblings (still living at the time) included Elijah Chapin Ferry (1790-1856), Justus Ferry (1793-1858), Lucy Ruggles Ferry (1802-1850) and Thomas M. Ferry (1810-1880).

Mary wrote the letter to her sister0in-law, Orpha (Benham) Ferry (1803-1867) — the widow of Adolphus Ferry (1797-1832) of Chester, Massachusetts. Prior to her husbands death, the couple had three children: Mary Ann E. Ferry (1828-1834), Charles B. Ferry (1829-1900), and Orpha DeEtta Ferry (1832-1896). Several years later (1847), Orpha remarried to David McElwain (1789-1853) in Chester.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mrs. Orpha B. Ferry, Chester, Massachusetts

Sabbath Evening, March 16, 1834

Respected Sister,

This has been a solemn day to this church as it is the first time we have met at the communion table since the death of Deacon Taylor. He, who has for several years taken a deep interest in the concerns of this church, is to meet with us no more; and while we deplore his loss, without doubt he is engaged in more exalted service than when here below. But we must speak of mercies as well as judgments.

Cousin Lowman Moody and wife have come forward and united themselves with the church here today. Oh may they be burning and shining lights in the world and pillars of the church of Christ. We have for a long time been in a very stupid state, but I do hope that we shall from this time awake from our stupidity and engage heart and hand in the service of God. I hope and trust, dear sister, you have no occasion tomorrow on account of your own lukewarmness, but that you are daily walking in the light of God’s countenance.

Wed. afternoon. Once more I am seated to converse awhile with you by way of letter, as that is all the way at present, by which I can communicate my ideas to one whom I should be glad to see. I am all alone in the paternal mansion, and how it would rejoice my heart to see you enter with your dear children as they must accompany you now, instead of him who has ever been your companion when visiting us. Do not think he can never come with you again. Do not think you are always to stay from us. No, dear sister, if you have had such thoughts, banish them and come as soon as convenient. I am very glad you anticipate visiting us should your life be spared.

Perhaps you would like to know where the folks all are. Mother is at brother Elijah’s assisting sister in taking care of the sick. They took the school teacher to board this winter and after having kept [her] but few weeks, was taken sick and has been confined to her room most of the time since. She is now gaining very little. Soon after she was taken, a tailors who was boarding with them was taken and is now able to sit up but little. So you see, they need Mother’s assistance at present. Their complaint is the lung fever.

Brother Justus and wife have gone to Whately on a visit and left Thomas and I to superintend affairs at home.

I suppose you would like to know where Thomas will spend the summer. He goes to Amherst next week to work at his trade and if he likes, will probably stay for the present. He wishes you to direct your letters there till further orders. He has received no letter from you this winter and wishes you to write soon.

As it respects myself, my health is so much improved. I expect now to return to Amherst in about four weeks and commence school again in the place where I was last season. I hope you will not think me imprudent for I do not mean to be. I cannot think there is any danger in undertaking it. But if it does prove to be too hard, I shall give it up at once for I dislike to be in school when feeling unwell.

Our friends are all well excepting Aunt Preston’s youngest son. He has been unwell some time and to human view appears to have almost done with earthly things. But alas, I fear he does not realize his situation. he has thought until recently that he should recover but I understood yesterday had about given up the idea. How important to prepare for death while in health, but what multitude neglect it. I hope you will write soon and let us know when you go to Hartland.

Yours in bonds of affection, — M. F.

Present my love to your brother and sister and the children. Tell them Aunt Mary thinks of them everyday and wants to see them very much.


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