The biography of the woman who penned this sympathy letter in 1846 and signed her name as Catharine Rogers is not yet known. The 1810, 1820, 1830, and 1840 census records all show a woman by that name as the head of household but she does not appear in the 1850 census.
Rogers wrote the letter to Temperance Bull (1792-1879), the widow of Col. William Bull (1789-1846). Two of the Bull children are mentioned in this letter: Eunice Williams Bull (1811-Aft1846) and Ellen Maria Bull (1822-1846), whose death preceded her father’s by one day. Ellen was married in 1843 to John R. Freeman. William, Temperance, and Ellen are all buried in Centerbrook Cemetery in Essex, Connecticut.
Addressed to Mrs. William Bull, Essex, Connecticut
New London [Connecticut]
March 5, 1846
My dear Mrs. Bull,
I would not intrude upon your sorrows but I cannot refrain from expressing the sympathy I feel for you and yours in this time of deep affliction, and (if it were in my power) to offer some consolation, which I can do only by referring you to the precious promises of the gospel, and by presenting your case to the Father of Mercies and the God of all comfort praying that you may be comforted of him in all your afflictions.
Very many promises are now your own which were not yours before and they are not only yours but extended to your children also. The Savior says “he is the Widow’s God and portion and the father of the fatherless” and he directs you to cast all your care on him believing that he careth for you and to leave your fatherless children with him. He will preserve them alive, and then as if thinking we should feel as if our sorrow was greater than we could bear, he says “my grace is sufficient for three.” This is the tenderness of his compassion promising not only to do for us all that we need but also to give us grace and strength to hear all that he in wisdom shall see best to lay upon us.
What a comfort it must be to you to feel that you mourn not as those who have no hope. You have hope for the departed that they are now freed from sin and sorrow and suffering and are peace spirits in the presence of their redeemer, washed and sanctified and saved, and you have hope that when you have borne and suffered all that it is the will of our heavenly father that you should bear and suffer, that you shall meet them again where all tears shall be wiped away and all sorrow shall forever cease and where he assures us that in the review of life we shall see and know that all his darlings with us are right and good.
I should be very glad to hear the particular circumstances attending your affliction. I have seen by the newspaper that Ellen died one day and Col. Bull the next. That is all I know as I have not heard from Essex since Col. Bull was here last summer. He told me the Ellen was suffering from scrofula. Little did I think that was the closing interview on earth but such it has proved though I cannot realize that it is so. I think much of Eunice and the other members of your family. Hope this dispensation may prove for the good of all. I presume those that remain seem now bound to you more closely than ever.
My sisters express much sympathy and desire to be affectionately remembered both to Mrs. Bull and Eunice. My brother remains much as he has been for years. He has been at home with us the past year, sometimes pretty comfortable, at others not as well.
Uncle Frederick Richards who has been in the Retreat at Hartford for some time died in February. It was undoubtedly a happy release to him from a world of suffering. He had been deranged ever since he graduated at Yale. He was looking forward to the ministry but he preached only by his sufferings.
It would be a pleasure to me to see any of my friends from Essex or to hear from them. I feel that I have many strong attachments there, and the remembrance of your kindness and also that of the friend we shall see no more in this world, is still fondly cherished. Please remember me to those of my friends whom you may see and let me still have a place in your affectionate regard.
Yours truly, — Catharine Rogers