1835: Abby Gould to Lydia Beede Hoag

Lydia Beede Gould (in later years)

Lydia Beede (Hoag) Dillingham (in later years)

This letter was written by Abigail (“Abby”) Gould (1812-18xx), the daughter of William Gould (1783-18xx) and Hannah Bean (1784-1863).

Abby wrote the letter to her relative Lydia Beede Hoag (1814-1905), the daughter of John Hoag (1776-1847) and Elizabeth Jillson (1783-1816) of Sandwich, New Hampshire. Lydia married Abram Dillingham (1810-1876), son of Joseph and Esther Dillingham, on 18 October 1837.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Lydia B. Hoag, Friends Boarding School, Providence, Rhode Island [forwarded to Lynn, Massachusetts]

Sandwich [New Hampshire]
3 Mo. the 26th 1835

Dear Lydia,

As thy time at the school is nearly expired, I believe I can do no less than fulfill my promises, although I have not received one word from thee since I left, neither can I account for it unless thou hast consigned me entirely too cold forgetfulness. I have thought much about thee! Yet thou hast been the companion of my mind during solitary hours and is it possible I am holy forgotten by thee. If so, pray let me know the reason.

Lydia, may I claim enough of thy friendship to tell thee the present state and condition of my feeble mind thinking thou canst in a small degree sympathize with me. As thou has heard me often say, I know nothing and am one of the most miserable of the human race and have no prospect of seeing better days, it seems to me at times and seasons as though I should sink into despair. However, I am too well aware it will never do for me to give up to these things. Then for a moment I imagine myself seated by the side enjoying the greatest of privileges. I have a very great desire to go back to the school again but whether I shall or not is uncertain. If I could go to school six months more, I should be in hopes I might know something what in this world can make one feel worse than to have a great desire to obtain learning and no privilege of attending school. It grieves me to the very heart every day I live to think there are so many children at that Institution who have parents able to keep them there years while they take so little interest in their studies and as it were, throw their money away. I, poor child, am obliged to get along as I can. Oh, Lydia, I expect by this time thou art sufficiently qualified for a teacher at the Institution and expect thou will be yet. Am I not the only one who thinks so? Lydia, what art thou going to do this summer — return to Lynn or keep school? I suppose a little of my advise would not affect either way so I will just say if I was in thy case, I should like to become a member of cousin Moses Beede’s family and should want to keep school as much, so do as thou please. I was much pleased with them all and had a fine visit there with others of the Lynn folks. Said much about thee.

Doubtless thou wilt readily remember our last conversation which I shall dwell upon for a few moments.  Since I parted with thee, I have had sufficient time and chance to learn the minds of people thy relation as well as others respecting thyself which are as follows. Thou has no enemies; all wish thee well and pleased with account I gave them of thee. Thou art considered to be possessed of good abilities and trying to do all in thy power to satisfy thy friends for the privileges thou art now enjoying. They wish thee prosperity and happiness through life and Lydia, I can truly say thou art bound to my heart by the tenderest ties of nature and if we never meet more in this life may we endeavor to be prepared to meet at the Tribunal where separation is unknown and the weary are at rest.

We have had several parties this winter. they are and have been composed of Moses J. Enoch, Huldah & Mercia, the three Hanson girls, Mr. Cogin, Louisa & Hannah, Maria Varney, Daniel Hoit, Uncle Stephen’s girls and myself. I have not had mine but expect to tomorrow evening. Oh that these and Mary Breed, E. Collins, Catherine Cornell, and several other station girls could step in; there is nothing but what I would do for you, cousin Moses J. will collect the company. He is one of the best of fellows. Enoch calls sometimes everyday, at others two or three times in a week, at others once in two weeks. Sister Abigail’s health is better. Brother is well. They send their love to thee in strong terms. Cousin M. J., likewise, I heard from home about 3 weeks since. Mother was very unwell. Sister Mary’s wrists are both very lame. The rest were well.

I don’t know when I shall go home. Moses J. returned from New York a week ago last seventh day. He found his folks better than he expected to. They talk some of coming here next fall. Uncle Cyrus Beede is very low. Uncle Richard P. is some better. Aunt Mercia Sinkler is about the same. Thy father’s family are well as usual. I have been there only once. They say much about thee and want to see thee very much. Huldah and Mercia often speak of thee. They are not offended with thee.

I don’t know whether I shall keep school this summer or not. Abigail and M___ think of it. Abigail & Ma___ dined here on fifth day in company with their father and Timothy Varney. Timothy says thou walks behind all the rest of the girls. How comes that whose table does thee set at who are table waiters and so on  who sits, walks and sleeps with thee and I want to know all the rest about everything how does Cynthia Jane come on and didst then pay her all that money. Do the scholars kiss her well as ever or how.

Hannah Varney and myself are going over to Tryo next sixth day after some sugar. Moses Hoag’s wife is very unwell but I guess she will get better sometime. Paul Jenness is not married. He has popped the question to Sarah Houg, Huldah Hoag, and Betsy Watson, so folks say. Daniel Varney is courting John Varney’s Huldah.¹ Beede Varney has gone over to Mother Varney’s to live. Moses J. is courting no person in this world that I know of. Folks kinder think that Daniel Hoit and Louisa will strike up a match. Hannah W. is convalescent. She calls on me every few days and I guess if we don’t have some good  times. I go down there sometimes every day. Well, I guess I have told all thou will care about hearing so I guess I will get up and sweep the hearth for it needs it bad enough.

Now don’t fail to write next week without fail. Tell all the news — everything. Please direct thy letters to Abby S. Gould, Sandwich Center, Care of E. Gould.

My best love to Eunice Jones, Huldah Hussey, Martha Winslow, Hannah Trip, Sarah Goll, Mary Br__d, E. Collins, C. Cornell and all others. Likewise to the Teachers, Superintendents, Hannah Sisson and Sister Phebe Clapp. Lydia, let no one read this for thy life. Now don’t tell Eunice Jones to write a line in thy letter. Martha Winslow, Huldah Hussey likewise. So farewell from thy true friend, — Abby S. Gould

¹ Daniel Varney  and Huldah Beede Varney were married on 2 November 1837 in Sandwich, Strafford, New Hampshire. Huldah (b. 1812) was the daughter of John Varney and Anna Beede.


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