This letter was written by Jonathan Fiske (1809-1872), the son of Moses Fiske (1764-1847) and Hannah Batchelder (1770-1854) of Waitsfield, Washington County, Vermont. Jonathan was married to Mary A. Imlay (1813-18xx). Siblings mentioned in the letter included Moses Fiske (1794-1853), Joel Fiske (1796-1856) and Horace Alonzo Fiske (1811-1851).
Note: The family name is sometimes spelled Fisk in historical records.
Addressed to Mrs. Mary A. Fiske, Allentown, Monmouth County, New Jersey
July 17th 1839
My Dear Wife,
The letter that I wrote to you from Essex I am nearly ashamed of. I intended to have prepared my letters to you during this journey with more care that there might be some pleasure on your part in perusing them. But contrary to intention, I was obliged merely to scratch you a line at Essex and I am fearful that this will not be much better as I am writing it in the store half the time listening to conversation around me. I left Essex Monday evening and came to Burlington and yesterday morning early started for this place and reached here about one o’clock. Found brother Moses & Horace and all the family well. Father & Mother have been here on a visit and Moses went home with them on Friday last.
I came this way rather expecting to find them here as Joel thought they would not return till this week. Horace expected to go and take me to Waitsfield tomorrow or next day. I feel quite anxious about Father as Moses informs me that he is very feeble. I have not seen him but I am fearful from the description of his case that he is approaching rapidly to the close of life. Mother’s health is as good as usual. She is quite well. I have thus far taken all by surprise, none expecting to see me. Joel’s wife said she was not more than half as glad to see me as she would have been if you had come with me. And the first enquiry of all is why I did not bring you. So you see that you are not forgotten among the mountains.
My journey as to weather has been rather unpleasant. It has rained every day since I started until today, and it may rain yet before night, but thus far it has been quite pleasant. My present calculations are to leave Essex Wednesday evening today week, in which case I shall not reach Allentown until Saturday noon. If convenient, I should like to have someone meet me at Hightstown.
There is a new church going up in Waterville and some other improvements. The place seems rather to be going ahead. Moses is very anxious to quit store-keeping altogether and go to farming and I have been trying to persuade him to sell out and buy a farm in New Jersey but he does not seem inclined to leave this part of the country.
I have been uncommonly well since I left home and I feel very much in hopes that the change and relaxation from business will be of service to me. I have thought a great deal about you since I have been away. I hope you will not be worried or anxious about me. I am now enjoying tolerable health and I trust in Providence that I shall be returned in due time safely to my home.
Montpelier, July 19th 1839
I have just arrived in this place, the Capitol of Vermont. Horace and myself left Waterville yesterday afternoon for Waitsfield by way of this place. We staid at Morrisville last night and found there one of the best country taverns that I ever was at. It is now 11 o’clock and after dinner we expect to go out to Waitsfield. I thought I would mail the letter here as it would reach you much sooner. I find this place all that has ever been said of it — romantic, picturesque, & beautiful.
The State House is an elegant building and does great honor to the state that built it. I have no time now to add more. I must reserve my principal descriptions to give you by word of mouth when I return. I think I need not caution you to burn these letters as no doubt you will be inclined to do it as soon as read.
Love to all. And accept of my fondest affections as a husband. In haste, as ever, — Jonathan Fiske