1840: Francis Hall to John Hall

How Francis Hall might have looked

How Francis Hall might have looked

This letter was written by Francis Hall (1822-1902), the son of John Hall (1783-1847) and Sophia Kingsbury (1789-1829). Francis married Sarah Covell (1828-1848) in October 1846. Francis Hall eventually settled in Elmira, New York, was engaged as a bookseller, and was mayor of the city in 1858. He went to Japan and engaged in business at Yokohoma in the firm of Walsh, Hall & Co. He returned to Elmira in 1866, never remarried, and had no children.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to John Hall, Esq., Ellington, Connecticut

Coventry [Connecticut]
December 1, 1840

Dear Father,

I suppose you are anxious to hear how I succeed in my school. I had an unpleasant day to commence with & had only 24 scholars; but they have since come in to the number of 45. 40 is the most that I have had at once. I don’t know how many more I shall have, but I presume that it will count up some more than 50. When I got here, I found that some of the district were anxious to hire Mr. [Ralzamon] Belknap who was formerly steward at the Retreat [for the Insane in Hartford]. And some were very much opposed to him. Had I known this, I think that I should have availed myself of the chance I had at Chicopee. Capt. Dow, the committee man, said that he was determined “to have some one of our family if he could.” And if I had not come, they would have written to [my brother] Edward. I find that Wells was very much liked and if they could have had him, they would not have cared about Mr. Belknap or anybody else.

I spent the first Sabbath with Charity & was there again last evening. She says the people think that I have got a “pretty keen eye.” I have not  quite weaned myself from home yet. I feel so anxious in regard to my success in my school, it [is] so large and there are so many large scholars that I don’t feel quite contented yet, but I hope that I shall be. The school thus far has been quite orderly & I have not been obliged to punish any. I have one scholar nearly as large as William Pease. He is a Methodist and says he is going to be a missionary. I am no hand to originate any new thing in a school; I can only copy from others. I shall be pretty well pushed for time, I fear, unless I get the knack of running off the recitations.

My school is to be visited today. Dunham, who teaches at the center, is one of the visitors & the principal one who examined me. The Locos had a majority in the school meeting & turned out Mr. [Chauncey] Booth & the other visiting committee. One of the teachers here in town is Mr. Swift who taught in Rockville last winter. I spent the last Sabbath at Esq. Huntington’s, His mother told me that she was in hopes “that I looked just like Wells.” Quite a compliment to W. His son — one of my scholars — carried me in the evening over to Andover to a singing school. I did not see any of Capt. White’s folks. Mr. Weston is going to have a singing school here this winter. He commences on Thursday evening of this week. I think that I shall attend his schools.

I took dinner at Mr. Booth’s the day after he came from Ellington. He seemed quite confident that the people would take hold and do something about a school there. He also brought me word that Edward had purchased Mr. Whiton’s place & that possession was to be given next April. He did not know how much he gave for it. He gave me the bundle which Elisha sent. I think the sleeves of my shirts are rather too long, otherwise “O.K.”

My school for today is just out. The visitors were in & spoke very well of the school. I suppose that I have the best readers in town. Mr. Boynton has offered a prize to each of the six best readers in the parish, to be given near the close of winter. The visitors told my scholars that they would be _____ed if the did not behave: no need as yet of any threats. Mr. Booth was in also. I always feel well after my school is out at night and if I am only successful in my school, I can make myself contented out of it. I don’t like this traveling all over town for my board. It is too much like working extra for it. I am sure if this town was not so covered with rocks, it would blow off in such a wind as we had last evening. I consider my flute quite a help to me here. I hope that I shall be able to learn to sing this winter.

I expect to write to [brother] Junius the next week. I have not written to him since last Spring. He must think me quite affectionate. In regard to my going home this winter, it is uncertain. Charity told me that I might take their horse and carry her up sometime. Perhaps I shall about the middle of winter. I am rather too much afraid of being blocked up. I wish you would send this letter to Wells on Saturday. I should like to have him write me any instructions that he deems necessary in this land of rocks and hills. I have not become acquainted with the Porter girls he thought so much of. The Sewing Society commences operations this week but it is out of my way. I have had one invitation to a wedding but did not attend as no one expected but relatives.

I have a new scholar today by name of John Hall. He is from Columbia. I don’t think teaching quite as pleasant as being a clerk but there is money to be made by it. I hope for an answer. Love to all. From your affectionate son, — Francis


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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

%d bloggers like this: