This letter was written by Harriet Amanda Smith (1826-1849) and her friend Serena Field of Cabotville [Chicopee] Massachusetts. The writer’s identity is confirmed by her reference to Rev. Artemus Augustus Wood, who was pastor of the First Congregational Church at West Springfield, MA, and by mention of “Cary”, who was her sister Caroline T. Smith.
Harriet was the daughter of Horace Smith (1792-1869) and Gratia Bagg (1795-1864) of West Springfield, MA. Harriet attended Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary 1843-1844. She was teaching in a sabbath school in Chicopee when she wrote this letter. See: Catalogue of the Memorandum Society in the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (1847). Harriet’s siblings were Henry, Joseph, Franklin, Margaret, William, Samuel, Carolina (Cary), and Lyman. Horace Smith was a deacon of the First Congregational Church of West Springfield. See: Encyclopedia of Massachusetts (1916).
Serena Field (1805-1806) married Consider Atherton Southworth (1805-1871) in July 1847.
Hattie & Serena wrote the letter to Harriet Prudence Atwood (1827-1882), the daughter of Josiah and Prudence (Kellogg) Atwood of Wethersfield, Connecticut. She attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary and is listed as a non-graduate for the year 1844. In 1850 Harriet was living in Wethersfield, CT, with her parents and siblings. Harriet married (1859) to John Stoddard Kirkham (1826-1918).
To see another letter by Harriet, click here.
Addressed to Miss Harriet P. Atwood, Newington, Connecticut
November 15, 
My very dear Hattie,
Ever since I received your kind letter I have been trying to find time to answer it and no time has presented itself that I could thus improve consistent with other duties. But this eve, while others are gone to meeting, I did not not think it best for me to go as I have some symptoms of the mumps about my face. With pleasure, I improve a few moments in writing to my much loved friend Hattie. About two weeks since, my brothers had the disorder of which I spoke but none of us girls took them when they did and we had begun to think we were going to escape. But it may be we may have them this week. If so, I imagine we shall have (plump & magnificent faces as some of the Newington girls). Perhaps Mr. Brace would include us in the N__? Did you ever have them? If so, you can judge with what ease we may partake of whatever may be set before us on Thanksgiving day. How I wish you were going to be here this week.
When I came from your house, I spent the night with Libbie and Saturday we came up to Doct. Tyler’s of East Bridge and dined, came on to Suffield and took an early tea and arrived home before dark.
You enquire what I have been about since I came home. It would be impossible to tell half. I have done so many different kinds of work. We have done considerable sewing and you know there is a great deal to do to get ready for winter. But it hardly seems so near, we have had so much warm weather. William, Samuel, & Cary went last week down to Hebron to spend the Sabbath. Expect them home tomorrow. Have been at church today and heard Mr. Wood preach from these words, “Whoso covereth his sins shall not prosper” in the morning. This afternoon, “But whoso confesseth & forsaketh them shall find mercy.” How often do we confess our sins with our lips while we do not forsake them. May Christ help us to forsake all sin and make us useful in his vineyard. O pray for your friend, Hattie, that she may honor her profession by living near to Christ, our Savior. I wish I could give good news of the status if Zion here but we are in a very cold state. O that this winter be the time when God will revive his work among us and we shall again see sinners flocking to Jesus.
Mary ___ was here last week and said she had received your letter and would write to send in ours if she could. I told M. to tell her if she was at meeting that we were writing and perhaps she will write. Please tell Abby I will answer her letter soon. Give her much love and also Cornelia. Wish she would write me. Tell her at any rate to write a note if no more & put into your letter. How is she now? I hope better.
I am expecting Libbie Mather and sister Friday of this week to spend some time with us. Think we shall enjoy it. Have you heard from Mr. B. of N.H. of late? And how does that gent from New Britain do? Does he call often or does he rite? Has he succeeded in waiting upon you yet to a party? Now you must tell me the whole truth & let me know who is your admirer now. How are Mary & Julia now a days? I shall love to step in & see you all. I am anticipating much pleasure in visiting Newington this winter but we must not think too much of our plans for you know they are often defeated.
And now, dear Hattie, I hope you will excuse all mistakes and receive this with a great deal of love from your own dear friend Hattie. Please remember me to our Father, Mother, Brothers & Sisters. Tell M. she must write me & I hope to hear from you soon.
My dear Hattie. Have just returned from our neighborhood prayer meeting. Rather stormy & cold; only a few present. Perhaps you recollect attending a similar meeting at the same place. Hatty has commenced a letter to you and gladly will I spend a few moments in conversing with my dear Hatty. I cannot tell you how much pleasure it gives me to hear from you but it would give me still greater [pleasure] to see you. Thanksgiving is just at hand and I wish you was to spend it with us but perhaps you will enjoy better with friends at home.
Cousin Sarah (Mrs. Hyde) is expected home to spend Thanksgiving and stay a week or two. Then I intend to return with her to Brookfield to spend a few weeks. After that, I hope to visit you. I am anticipating great pleasure in again visiting you at your home where I spent a few days so pleasantly last year but we must not forget that we are all liable to disappointments.
Perhaps you will be interested to learn that Mr. Ely has gone to New York to spend the winter. It is reported that the engagement between Elisa & Gilbert Smith is dissolved. With how much truth, I do not know. Miss Ashley is quilting. We understand Mr. Hudson is expected this week.
My dear Harriet, I am sorry you do not put more confidence in me than to suppose I should enter into any engagement in the matrimonial line without consulting your excellent judgement. Be assured I should needs “lots of advice.”
How is Abbie? Please give her much love. Wish much to see her. Don’t fail to write soon & tell how you spend Thanksgiving &c. Please remember me to your father, mother, brothers & sisters and a great deal of love for yourself from,
— your friend Serena
Joseph & Franklin with the rest of the family send kind remembrance.