1817: Lucy (Torrey) Adams to her sisters

This letter was written by Lucy (Torrey) Adams (1771-1824), the wife of Tiffany Adams (1769-1822). Lucy was the daughter of Joseph Torrey (1732-1804) and Hannah Fisk (1728-1805). She addressed the letter to her sisters, Elizabeth Torrey (1762-1822), wife of David Copp; and Hannah Torrey (1766-Aft1817), wife of Jonathan Parker Bishop. She also mentions a brother at Salem, Massachusetts, who was probably Joseph Torrey (1768-1850).

We learn from this letter that Tiffany and Lucy Adams made the five week journey from Connecticut to Washington County, Ohio in the late fall of 1816, probably arriving in November or December of that year.   The Adams’ had at four sons who made the journey with them: John Adams (1796-1821) — who we learn was a schoolteacher in the District school; Elisha Adams (1798-1821); Benjamin Adams (1807-1821); and Nathaniel T. Adams (1811-1891). Unfortunately, the three oldest sons fell victim to the intermittent fever epidemic that struck the Ohio River Valley in the fall of 1821. All three died within a span of about five weeks. Nearly a year later, in 1822, Tiffany also died from the dreaded scourge as the epidemic reoccurred. Lucy herself would die in 1824.

Note: Tiffany Adams appears to have been the son of Edward and Elizabeth (Torrey) Adams of Killingly, Connecticut. Some on-line census records record Tiffany’s wife as Lucy Buck which seems to originate from the book, “A genealogical history of Henry Adams, of Baintree, Massachusetts, and his descendants” by Andrew Napoleon Adams. I cannot find any records to support this assertion, however.

Stampless Letter (handcarried)


Warren [Township, Washington County], Ohio
January 27, 1817

My Dear Sisters,

Page 1

How little did I think one year gone now, of writing from this wide separation is a peculiar grief to me. Not that I am dis____ _____ in this strange land; for to do these people justice, they are a very kind and obliging neighborhood indeed, and seem to do every thing in their power to render my life happy. I presume you have heard of our safe arrival here and the length of the journey (which was five weeks) by letters from Mr. Adams and John and the health of our family up to that period. Through Divine Goodness, we still enjoy the blessings of health.

John is teaching school in the District where we live. He has the charge of about fifty scholars and thinks his task is not so hard this winter as last on account of his better health. Our children seem perfectly contented with this country and express no desire to return to live in New England.

Bottom Page 1

You desired me to write my opinion of this country. The land is very cheap and of a most excellent quality. It is much more fertile than I had an idea of. It is surprising to see how well people live here from a few acres of improved land. I think any young man wishing to lay out a small sum of money for land, might do as well here as anywhere.

Page 2

We purchased a lot of land of about 90 acres on a stream called Little Hocking. It is about a mile back from the Ohio River. There is a comfortable log house with two rooms and about ten acres of improved land with 15 or 18 acres of beautiful bottom. This lot cost us 190 dollars. The improved land is well fenced. Judge [Ephraim] Cutler has lived well. In three years keeps as much stock as could be kept on three such farms as the one we left. We have bargained for another lot that joins it of an hundred and sixty acres. On this lot, there is about forty acres of bottom. These two lots will cost about 470 dollars. There are sugar camps on these two lots which have yielded 8 & 9 ___ of sugar in a season. If this season is as good as common, it is expected it will make that amount.

Bottom Page 2

We expect to move in the course of 10 days. We shall be situated about 1 1/4 mile west of Judge [Ephraim] Cutler [and about seven miles downriver from Marietta]. Mrs. [Sarah Parker] Cutler is a woman of fine accomplishments. She has been a sister to me ever since I have been in this country. We received an excellent letter from our brother at Salem, in precisely four weeks from the time we arrived here. If you knew how much joy that letter gave us, you would not delay writing immediately so that we might be joyful again. We received a letter from Rufus Davidson stating he had been to Killingly [Connecticut], found all friends well, &c., which makes me hope Lucretia has recovered her health. I want you to write particularly concerning her, and all the rest of my good friends.Tell Aunt Tamour I have not as yet had the pleasure of seeing her sisters. Friend Cutler tells me they are well married and make amiable women. We are situated six miles from Meeting, which makes it quite inconvenient for me to go often. Mr. [Samuel P.] Robbins ¹ appears to be a very candid, religious man. I think him a good preacher. Tell Aunt Anna he is Chandler Robbin’s son of Plymouth who originated from B_____ — a man whom I have heard her speak much of.

Page 3

Mr. Davidson states in his letter he thinks in the course of another season we shall see some of our N.E. friends here. Sister, often I wish, if it might be consistent with their interest, that might be the case. Do write me particulars concerning all your healths, and likewise your prosperity. I want to hear from all my old neighbors. Give my love to all you hear mention my name.

Tell Mrs. Pike I wish I had her for a neighbor for her sake and mine. If any of you write soon to our brother at Salem, please to let him know you have heard from us. He is very anxious to hear from us and I do intend to write as soon as I can make it convenient. Adieu, my dear sisters. Pray for your absent sister as she prays for you that our light afflictions which are but for a moment may work for us a far more exceeding weight of Glory.

— Lucy Adams


¹ Rev. Samuel Prince Robbins, Pastor of the Congregational Church at Marietta, Ohio died 2 September 1823, aged 47. years.


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