1842: Jeremiah Tuck to Jesse Garland Tuck

What Jesse Garland Tuck might have looked like

What Jesse Garland Tuck might have looked like

This letter was written by Elbridge G. (b. 1815), Caroline (b. 1817) and Jeremiah Warren (b. 1823) —  the children of Jeremiah Tuck (1780-1875) and Ruth Woodman (1785-1855) of Fayette, Kennebec County, Maine. They wrote the letter to their brother, Jesse Garland Tuck (1808-1843) who had recently relocated to Fulton County, Illinois.

I have learned that a letter was written on 18 August 1843 by George Bamford in Marietta, Illinois (Fulton County) to Jesse’s father (Jeremiah Tuck) in Fayette, Maine, announcing the death of Jesse G. Tuck on 15 August 1843. It gives a very detailed description of the young man’s illness, how he was treated by a “Thompsonian doctor” for fever and got somewhat better and was moved to the home of Mrs Hobbs. But he got sick again and they sent for an “old fashioned stamp” who said the Thompsonian doctor treated him for the wrong thing… and his issue was bowels. Unfortunately, despite intense medical care, Jesse died. The writer describes his last days, his burial and then discusses his estate, how he will rent out the farmland until the economy improves and then sell it. He asks for the parents to give him some direction and acknowledges how long it takes mail to travel between Illinois and the east coast…lamenting that it takes 7-8 weeks to get a reply on matters like an estate.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mr. Jesse G. Tuck, Frontier, Fulton County, Illinois

Fayette, [Maine]
24th November [1842]

Beloved Brother,

We received your very welcome letter the 21st inst. and was happy to hear that you had enjoyed and were still enjoying good health. We had become very uneasy about you, it had been so long since we had heard. We dreamed of all manner of calamity that might have befallen you. I should have written to you long ago had I known where to have directed.

But I think you would like to hear about family affairs by this time. The state of the family is much as it was when you left home. We are all enjoying tolerable health. Jane is teaching school in Livermore — commenced last week. It will continue 12 or 14 weeks. She taught last summer in Chesterville — the same school she taught before. I taught in our district last summer as I engaged before you left. They had a school meeting a short time since and all voted to have me keep this winter. I expect to commence my school the first Monday in December three months long, I shall board at home.

Jeremiah attended school a quarter on Kent’s Hill this fall. He expects to attend school at New Sharon this winter. When we last heard from Mr. Does folks, they were all well. Emily Frances spent several weeks with us this fall. She continues to be as interesting as ever and the boy is just as pretty. We are preparing some for Thanksgiving which will be tomorrow. I should like to see your Thanksgiving supper. What do they have — a roast turkey, chicken fixings, or common doings?

Mother says I must write from her that she cannot feel willing to have you settle there so far that we can never visit you. She thinks you will not be so happy there as you would to settle in your native state. Life is short and I think it is desirable to spend it in good society near friends. I do not [know] what the advantages are in living there — only that they have more to eat and we always have enough. Our folks are breaking up today. Jeremiah drives the team, Elbridge holds the plough. Father follows after.

Mary Jane Tilton was married with Thomas [Francis] Palmer about the middle of October [and] live at home the same as ever. Jacob Tilton was married a few weeks since to Caroline [Mann] Howard. I expect that Lucinda Palmer & Richard Tilton will be married tomorrow. Almost everybody is married or going to be. Mary Kenison is married. Old Harvey Josselyn is out published. He was published to Mrs. Clifford and David Batchelder is married to Widow Huse.

Ann Celia Anderson was married last summer to Charles Munger. Old Mrs. Buswell at the Mills died in September. I forgot to say that Almira Badge was married to a Mr. Ford — a Methodist preacher that was on the Wayne Circuit last year.

Charles Dane is very low. I called to see him yesterday. He is evidently in the last stages of consumption. He cannot live but a short time, He can speak only is a low whisper. He seems to regret exceedingly that he has lived in the neglect of Religion that he put off the great work of repentance to a sick bed which he says is a poor time. He needs the consolation of Religion to bear him up in his distress.

— Caroline

Dear Brother,

I take this opportunity to let you know about the horse. He has got well of his lameness. He has not got so fat as I expected he would. As for money, have notified some of them, but they say they will try to pay but money is hard to be got. I want to know what interest for what percent on the different notes, What shall we do with ___’s note? He is gone down to the lines with seventy oxen and Mr. O. Lane has gone to Bangor with about thirty oxen. We want you to write all about the money and the ____ foxs. Do they all live in log cabins or do thy not for we want to know for they say that you do. Mr. Bamf__’s folks are all well. I do not know of anyone coming on in the spring. THe traveling is poor. For that reason, we have not seen Mr. Does folks but Mother says she should not give her consent to let her come out there. I want to know what kind of traveling in November, December. Is the land cleared on now/ Is there a log cabin on the land that you think of living?

Fanny Thomson is dead — she that was Fanny Lane. We have wrote the most of the news of the day so farewell.

— E. G. Tuck

We have put up  pump house. We have got ahead opened and it works well. You must write often or send a paper and write on it with skim milk on the wrapper.

I must say that I am well as common and your Mother too, I want you to write what advantages there is in the set that we have not in the East, how much wheat they raise on it and how much corn and what it is per bushel, and what pork and beef is per hundred and salt is per bushel and other things in that country. And how far it is to a gristmill and sawmill and what boards are worth. You said that you had thought of buying a tract of land there. I want to know how much of it is wooded or is it still wooded? I would have you satisfied that you would be satisfied to spend your days in that Country, Before you purchase, you must look at the advantage and disadvantages.

Elbridge and Caroline have wrote before me and I may write it over again. This is Thanksgiving day. It is a general time of health with us but sickness and death is in our land. Joseph French, Esq. of Chesterville died the sixth day of November. I want to know where you attend meeting on the Sabbath or not. You must consider you are in a land of death. Sooner or later we must try the realities of Eternity. You must not have your mind too much on this world but try to live as you will wish you had when you come to die and leave the world in peace. Charles Dane says it is a poor place to prepare for death on a sick bed.

You may say to that Old Brother Whig President Tyler is a Virginian and I do not like all of his movements but we must put up with it as well as we can, I am in hopes Congress will try and do right this winter. Tell him to stick to liberty and equality and we shall conquer our enemies at last, After all of the Locofoco lying and cheating of the Publick money.

Lane and Dalton have gone East with cattle. Lane has been to Bangor once before and they say done well. Weeks keeps driving and Braddock to Beef to Broton is from 3 dollars to Six. And now I must here stop.

With respect, — Jeremiah Tuck


One response to “1842: Jeremiah Tuck to Jesse Garland Tuck

  • eileen gloria pelletier

    What grand letters. We read history books, but when we read letters like these, people become real and we can see into their personalities.

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