This letter was written by William (“Bill”) Wallace Clark (1833-1904). He married Martha Maria Fredericka Klatte in 1858.
Bill wrote the letter to his parents, Daniel Alger Clark (1805-1897) and Elvira Blossom Edson (1807-1880) of North Easton, Bristol County, Massachusetts.
Addressed to Daniel A. Clark, Esq., North Easton, [Bristol County] Massachusetts
August 19th 1855
Dear Folks at Home,
Received yours of the 10th to the 18th sending me as usual full to the brim with business & tough, rugged, and saucy as ever. Father has banished his old scruples. That is news certainly. I don’t know but he has acted the wiser part as he now has a distinct understanding with the old gentleman as to what is what, but “howsomever” nevertheless, if it had been my case, I should have said, one year ago last December something transpired between two individuals producing a wound that never can be healed. That would have ended the matter with me. I find I can get a living without the assistance of the Ames. This is a free country. Everyone is at liberty to act their mind as they please provided it interferes not with the welfare of others.
Some of your western sojourners are returning. Webster did not come far enough west to know whether he liked or not. [He] came as far as he had any desire too, I suppose. I shouldn’t have thought it possible for him to alter, so anyone acquainted with him wouldn’t have known him. Do you think you would know me were you to see me? For fear you would not, I’ll tell you what the looking glass says — just about as that picture looked I sent you last fall. [I] haven’t shaved for five weeks and am not going to till next May. When I think of coming out quite spruce, ready for anything that comes along. Tell Elisha he can have an opportunity of seeing me when I happen that way. Can’t fix the time yet when.
Please present my compliments to Elisha [and] also to Mr. Phillips. Tell them I’m doing well. Fred must be quite a boy by this time. Does he keep his end up in the hayfield? Now much hay does Grandpa cut this year? What is Billy Marcus doing? Has he grown any? Don’t suppose I should know any of those little fellows now.
Courting Edwin Pool? Why, who’d a thought it? I’ll warrant you had a grand time at his sing. Speaking of singing reminds me of musical matters here. Now, for a little fun. At the church I usually attend, they are urging me to take the responsibility of choir ester. Isn’t it laughable? Guess you’ll think we have some excellent singers that they class me among the best. I can sing as well as I ever could. When the Tenor is weak, give them a gentle touch on that sometimes as loud as I am capable of yelling. You can judge whether it is music or not. Bass, I grunt occasionally in a tone of voice as I used [to] — perhaps a little nearer.
A few more words on personal affairs versus the Ladies reports are in circulation that nearly all the young ladies are quarreling as to who will catch me, being the best looking fellow in the place. Have considerable to contend. Viz: the Beauty of Minneapolis setting caps is all the go, bah! bah! That certainly was a great loss to Lucy Sumner. Can’t she find any trace of the thief? Is she a going to resume her occupation at Pawtucket again? Charlotte wrote she thought of coming West in September. That will soon be along. How fast time flies.
Love, compliments &c. to all. As always, — Bill