1845: Flavel Bartlett Sprague to Harriet (Sprague) Dascomb

How Flavel might have looked

How F. B. Sprague might have looked

This letter was written by Flavel Bartlett Sprague (1801-1875), the son of Vine Sprague (1772-1813) and Mary Sherwin (1768-1813). He was well-educated and held numerous offices in the community in addition to the Dead Letter Office at Washington under Grant and Johnson. He was County School Commissioner and had charge of the Montgomery County Normal School; Town Clerk of Northampton 1831-1833. In 1857 he was a member of Fish House Lodge F. & A M, which was organized originally in Northville and afterwards moved to Fish House.

Sprague wrote the letter to his sister, Harriet (Sprague) Dascomb (1803-1877), the wife of William Dascomb (1796-1857), who resided in Perry County, Ohio. The Dascomb’s had at least nine children, one of whom — Leander Dascomb (b. 1827) — is mentioned in this letter, is living with relatives in New York state, and who adds a note to his mother at the end.

We learn from the letter that Flavel and Harriet were born and raised in Mayfield, Fulton County, New York.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter


Addressed to Mrs. Harriet Dascomb, Perry, Lake County, Ohio

Kingsboro [New York]
December 5th 1845

Affectionate Sister,

I received your letter four days ago and was thinking about writing or sending your letter to Leander when I was saved the trouble of doing so by his appearance in person at my house last evening on a brief visit, and is now sitting by my side reading one of my newspapers waiting for me to give him a chance to write some to you after I have done.

I shall not be able to write you as longa letter as I promised you since I wish to give him all the time and space he needs to write for himself. Leander is in good health and spirits and is doing well. I have been to cousin Wheelers the past summer and learned from him and Aunt Wheeler that Leander was very industrious and trustworthy, and exemplary in all his habits. They all appeared to think much of him and Paschal informed me that he did not know to do without him. So long as he continues to do as well as he has done, he can have a good home there, and be well dealt by.

Our brother Horace has written to Leander offering to give him his board and tuition if he would come and live with him [in Gloversville], but Leander tells me he shall stay with Paschal another year. He will go to school this winter in Galway and I shall give him what books he needs to take home with him. He read your letter and in addition to the good advice contained in that, I have also advised him as well as I know how in regard to the course of conduct to be pursued through life to secure to himself respectability, prosperity and happiness. I feel confident that he intends to strive to be a man, and I hope he may. I feel a deep interest in his welfare and promise you that I will aid him all that is in my power. At present, his prospects are fair, and I think you need borrow no trouble on his account.

In relation to my own affairs, I shall be brief at this time. If you will write me another letter on the receipt of this and tell me all about what you think would be of interest to me in relation to yourself and family and Irene and her family and Mary and her family, &c. &c., I will then give you a history of my life, or at least as much of it as you would like to know.

Leander and myself started this morning for that dearly remembered spot in old Mayfield where you and I were born, and spent our earliest and happiest days together. I pointed out the spot to him where you and I were born, and the house where our father and mother died, the graveyard, and tombstones that mark the place where their bodies sleep, and many other objects which were once familiar to you and I introduced him to persons you once knew and related to him, some anecdotes of our family when we were all young. I pointed out to him the pinnacle which he had heard you mention and many other objects too numerous to mention, though I did not forget the famous Dug Hill between our house and Mr. Ingraham’s where you and I and others have spent many happy hours playing in the sand. I must close else I shall have no space for Leander.

We are all well and wish you to enjoy not only that but every other needed good. It would afford me unalloyed pleasure to see you all but I do not know when that will be. Give my best respects to Dascom Curtis and the children of both families, and last, though not least, to that good kind-hearted sister of ours Irene and my youthful playmate thyself.

Truly your friend & brother, — F. B. Sprague

My dear mother,

I now take my pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and doing well. As Uncle Flavel has filled the largest part of the paper, I shall address but a few lines unto you.

I went to school last winter to Topnock and I am going to school this winter. I am well pleased with Aunt Wheeler’s folks.

I am now at Flavels and I want to see you and all the rest of the family. Uncle Horace wrote me a letter and he said that if I was amind to come and go to him to school it should cost me nothing but I must hasten to close this short paragraph. I send my best respects to my cousins. All you expect a long letter from me soon. From your affectionate son, — Leander Dascomb


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