This letter was written by Mary (Fowler) Steere (1791-1873), the wife of Shadrach Steere (1779-1870) of Burrillville, Providence County, Rhode Island. We learn from the letter that Shadrack and Mary’s son, 23 year-old Robert Steere (1816-1880) was seriously ill in Westport, Massachusetts, at the time this letter was written. Robert survived his illness and married Abbie Elizabeth Wilbor (1832-1878) in December 1853. Robert and Abbie settled in Little Compton, Newport County, Rhode Island.
Addressed to Shadrack Steere, Burrillville, Rhode Island
12th Month 26th 1839
When I got to cousin Spragues it seemed rather difficult for them to convey me to Providence the next morning. Furthermore, the boats did not come down yesterday. They advised me to stay there and rest myself to be more able to perform the journey. This morning, Thomas conveyed me and see me safe on board, requested the Captain to take the necessary care, and direct me on board the stage. He accordingly did.
I arrived safe here about sunset, found Robert more comfortable than when thou left him although he is very weak and low, not able to sit up much more than to have his bed made, not able to talk but little in a whispering voice. Neither can he bear much talking in the room, has been more rational for three or four days, is allowed to take a little chicken broth and wine whey for his nourishment. The Physician attends him the same as he has done. Robert requests me to tell thee not to be over anxious about him; he seems encouraged about himself.
A part of the family have returned, the watchers have come to take care of him through the night. I understand Thomas watched last night for one. It is growing late. Think best not to write any more this evening so remain thine, &c.
— Mary Steere