1851: Samuel Archer Eveleth to John Marshall Eveleth

What Sam Eveleth might have looked like

What Sam Eveleth might have looked like

This letter was written by Samuel Archer Eveleth (1826-1856), the son of John Eveleth (1786-1859) and Rebecca Merrill (1791-18xx). Samuel graduated from Bowdoin College in 1847 and earned his A.M. degree in 1850. He was employed as a teacher after college while he studied law. He practiced law in Windham, Maine from 1854 until his death in 1856. He was married to Ellen White (1830-1895) in June 1855.

Samuel wrote the letter to his younger brother, John Marshall Eveleth (1828-1894). John married Lucy Ellen Douglass (1833-1881) in November 1855. John became a physician.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to J. M. Eveleth, Livingston, Maine

Windham [Maine]
Last day of March 1851

Dear Brother,

Image 3I write not because I have anything to say nor because you deserve a letter, but because I suppose you would like to hear “what’s in the wind.” We don’t have much wind lately but there is something in what little we do have that is carrying off the snow at a tremendous rate. Rumors have been almost entirely dispensed with. The ground seemed to soak it up as fast as it melts, and then we have dry ground.

Alexander P.W. came home Saturday sober, and well, as far as we could judge from appearances. Next Thursday we shall make a watchman ¹ of him, if nothing turns up to prevent it between now and then. He seems ready and willing, and waiting to become such. We are in hopes also that “Liah the living” will conclude to join also.

Image 4Our Singing Association has met twice and we are to have a third meeting this evening. At the first, there were between 70 & 80 present and we had a little quite good singing, but the greater part of the time was spent in organizing. Mr. Perham Prex (but I believe I have written all about this before). At the last meeting they voted to purchase the Dulcimer, ² which you are somewhat acquainted with, and Mr. Daylty was instructed to purchase 4 doz. which he accordingly did and they were to have been here according to the agreement with Sanborn & Carter last Friday evening. For some reason, they did not come then but will probably be here tonight so that we shall have the use of them this evening. I hope we shall have that pleasure for in my humble opinion, we can not do anything till we do have them.

Image 1As for using the other three kinds at the same time, I do not believe it can be done. I compared the Carmina & Psalmist together and could find but very few times that were at all alike, and none in which there were not some changes. Even good Old Hundred was different in the two books. In some cases, I found the same name in the two books but applied to entirely different tunes. In others, whole measures were inserted in the new books which were not found in the old. We soon found that would not work and I think the wish was universal to have new books. And when it was decided that the Dulcimer should be the book, I will not deny that I felt a good deal of pleasure. I hope we shall do something but I fear that it will slump through.

Image 2There will be one object attained worth the effort, if nothing else. You know we have been trying to get a supply of the Dulcimer or some other book into the Gallery but could not raise steam sufficient for the object. Now, however, we shall have a good supply to draw from in the different families about us, which we could not have had from an effort to supply the Gallery simply, and not half so much groaning either. Besides, from what I have heard Dr. Houghton say. I think he was not over favorable to the Dulcimer though he said he liked it. Now he must come to it.

Caroline N. & Isabella have requested their names to be erased from the paper for some reason unknown to your humble servant, but I think the sun will soon shine as usual, notwithstanding. I tried to persuade them not to do anything of the kind, but they seemed fully bent in their own minds to do so as they plead about it, so let them went.

Father met McArthur in Portland last week who, of his own accord, said  that you were getting along capitally, so I guess you don’t have any trouble. Doughty is moving out of his house to give room for Davis who says he is coming up right away. I don’t believe he will come, but Doughty says he won’t bother with any longer. Mrs. D. will stay at G____ and Portland till June.

South Windham, Maine

South Windham, Maine

Harriet Kingman told me that Mr. Douglass had lost their child who was sick before you left Waterford. They thought she was getting better but she (I think it was she) grew worse and died. I did not hear the particulars.

I sent up to you last Saturday a Gloucester paper containing the account of Sarah Smith’s death that contains all we know about it, not having received any communication from them. It was very sudden I should think.

I want you to write to H.D.W. He asked me the other day why you had not done so. I could not tell him any reason of course, but told him you were intending to do so as I had you say, and now I want to put you up to it, Don’t fail, Also, if you can get time, write to John M. White. I want you to do so as soon as you can.

The sleighing is so bad, we shall be obliged to put off our visit to you till good wheeling. I intend to go if I have my health some Saturday and shall carry somebody with me if I can get anybody to go. There is a petition in circulation for a daily mail from Portland up. If it is not obtained, the Sentry will run down. There is a petition for a P.O. at Great Falls but I hardly think it will go for they have one at White Rock/Gorham.

But must stop.

Your brother respectfully, — Sam


¹ The Watchmen was a Temperance organization.

² The Dulcimer (or The New York Collection of Sacred Music) was one of the best-known collection of Christian hymns of the mid 19th Century. It was published by Isaac Baker Woodbury (1819-1858).


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