1839: Susan G. Poisson to Ann Marie Ells

Written during the Aroostook War  — a nonviolent confrontation between the United States and Great Britain brought on by an international boundary dispute, this letter describes the war fever in Orono, Maine and also relates an incident in which the author had sulphuric acid (vitriol) accidentally splashed in her face, causing skin burns and temporary blindness.

The author’s name appears to read Susan G. Poisson but a search of census records for Penobscot County, Maine did not reveal any families by that name.

Susan addressed the letter to Ann Marie Ells in Camden, Knox County, Maine. I feel pretty confident she is the same woman enumerated in the 1860 Census as Ann Ells (b. about 1827) residing and working as a servant in the Henry and Susan Colburn residence in Orono, Maine. The Colburn family, you will notice, is mentioned in the first paragraph of the letter.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

TRANSCRIPTION

Addressed to Miss Ann Marie Ells, Camden, Maine

Orono [Maine]
February 26, 1839

Dear Ann,

I received a paper from you a short time ago which gave me much pleasure, for I began to think that you had forgot your old friends at Stillwater and should have sent you one had I not met with a sad accident about that time by having my face badly burnt with oil of vitroil [vitriol]. I was keeping school one day for Maria and Elizabeth Colburn came in to see me & noticed that she had something in her hand and curiosity led me to examine the paper to see what it had in it taken so, and behold a bottle of vitroil discharged its contents in my face and besides robbing it of its hide, liked to have put out both of my eyes. I was entirely blind for about a fortnight but have recovered my eyesight. My face is very red at present but I am in hopes it will leave in time and I shall be myself again & see Susan and Mary quite often. They are quite well.

I told Mary that you wished to know if she was sure were never a going to write. She said she was a going to learn you to be a better girl about writing in which I hope she will be successful.

Oh, Ann, I wish you were here for everybody is having such a time about WAR — the old women are crying, the young girls a sighing, their lovers a flying, and sweethearts a dying. The bells are all ringing, the drums are beating, the fife is separating, the Indians a sneaking, the soldiers a meeting, the British retreating, and there is nothing but _____; such ___ all for the wars. 5000 people has gone through Shit__ntes during the last week. I suppose you have your share of it down in Camden. Has there any troops gone from there.? Hold on to yours beau, and do not let him go is all I can say to you. There is scarcely a young man left in Orono and but a very few old ones.

Martha Hall watched with me while I was sick. She sends her love to you as well as all the rest of the gals. Do write as soon as you receive this. If you do not, I shall think you have forgot us all.

Yours in haste, — Susan G. Poisson


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Civil War Letters of George Messer

Company F, 107th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Jeff's Prayers are as Effective as Abe's

The Civil War Letters of George S. Youngs, 126th New York Vols

Soldiering is a Very Uncertain Game

The Civil War Letters of Lemuel Glidden, Co. K, 145th Indiana Infantry

Tough as a Pitch Pine Knot

Letters of John Whitcomb Piper, 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery

An Honorable Peace

The Civil War Letters of Frank B. Knause, 6th Michigan Infantry & Heavy Artillery

Looking for a Rebel to Give him a Pop

Letters to & from Sgt. John Henry Ward, 93rd PA Inf

Civil War Letters of William H. H. Kinsey

Co. H, 28th Illinois Infantry

Spared & Shared 14

Saving History One Letter at a Time

The 1863 Diary of Thomas Wilbur Manchester

A Rhode Island Soldier in the American Civil War

The Daniels/Stone Digital Archives

A Collection of Family Civil War Era Letters & Ephemera

Spared & Shared 13

Saving Civil War History One Letter At A Time

Spared & Shared 12

Saving history one letter at a time

Dear Nellie

Civil War Letters of Thomas L. Bailey

Homefront Letters to Mark Rankin

Co. B, 27th Massachusetts Vols.

These Troubling Times...

The Civil War Letters of William H. Walton, Co. B, 3rd New Hampshire

Reluctant Yanks

The Civil War Letters of Joseph F. & B. Franklin Orr, Co. F, 76th Ohio Infantry

Hunting rebels as a dog would a fox....

The Civil War Letters of George W. Scott of Co. I, 46th Massachusetts (Militia)

The Civil War Letters of William Hunt Goff

Company H, 24th Massachusetts

The Charles Wetmore Broadfoot Letters

Aide de Camp to Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes

Spared & Shared 11

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Billy Yank & Johnny Reb Letters

Civil War Letters Transcribed by Griff

To the Front

The Civil War Letters of David Brett, 9th Massachusetts Light Artillery

Dear Jack

Letters received by Dr. John William Crapster O'Neal

For the Union

Civil War Letters of William Freeland, Co. F, 132nd New York Infantry

I shall be Willing to Suffer

The Civil War Letters of Marquis Lafayette Holt of the 3rd New Hampshire Infantry

"Shall the Union be Preserved?"

The Civil War Letters of William Henry Hodgkins -- Co. B, 36th Massachusetts

The Civil War Letters of William Busby

A Private in Co H, 20th Iowa Vols

Diary of Henry Knox Danner

The Civil War Experience of a Private in Co. K, 30th Pennsylvania Infantry (1862-1864)

%d bloggers like this: