This letter was written by Orville Reed (1810-1892) to his sister, Rosella (Reed) Paige (1811-1895). They were the children of Kitchell Reed, Jr. (1782-1867) and Sally Dibble (1787-1830).
Orville Reed was married to Elizabeth Allen (1813-1879) in 1838. Rosella Reed married Leonard Paige (1801-1881), the son of Asa Paige (1756-1819) and Lydia Stewart (1767-1847), in 1829 in Barnard, Windsor County, Vermont.
Orville and Rosella’s much younger brother, Eli Taylor Reed (1826-1830), died on Friday, 19 March 1830 in Lansingburgh, New York. He was less than four years old at the time of his death. Sally (Dibble) Reed died only two months after this letter was written.
Addressed to Mrs. Rosella Paige, Barnard, Vermont
Lansingburgh [New York]
March 20th 1830
Beloved Sister & Brother,
I now take my pen in order to attempt to give you some information respecting our situation and how we have been since you left us. We have indeed been afflicted. Death has been among us and borne a beloved Brother from our side. Our little Eli has left this world of sin and sorrow and we hope gone to dwell in the mansions of the everlasting rest above the skies, there to sing the praises of the Redeemer forever. He died on Friday morning beteen 2 & 3 o’clock. I well know, my dear friends, that this will be sad news for you and cause you to mourn, yet is is from the hand of a just and merciful God who worth all things for the good of them that love him. He works in a mysterious way to such poor sinful short-sighted creatures as we are. He is the thickest darkness dwells performs his work the cause conceals and by his Saints it stands confessed that what he does is ever best.
And now, my dear sister, let us reflect on the goodness ad mercy of God in permitting us to remain together for so long a time and ask why it is that He has taken the youngest from us while the life of that Beloved Parent which he threatened has been spared. Surely we have great reason to be tankful for all the mercies we have received at His hand. I hope you will not grieve nor murmur at the chastisement of our Heavenly Father. He has chastised us in order to bring us nearer to HIm, to teach us that we too must soon lay down our lives and follow him who has gone before us, to draw our thoughts and affections more from earth and place them upon things above to lead us to that source from whence all our comforts are derived. May we be enabled to lean upon the arms of Blessed Redeemer and receive that help and strength from Him in this our time of need.
O my dear sister, cast all your troubles at the foot of your God for He is able and He only to assist you. Lean upon the arms of the Savior for strength and support. Endeavor to be resigned to the will of Him who worth all things for our good. Pray that He would sanctify this affliction to each of our hearts that we may love Him more and serve Him better than we have ever yet done.
May we all be enabled to seek the favor of Him who is able to make us wise unto salvation and profit by this solemn warning which He hath given us of the shortness and frailty of human life and make preparation for that time when we must leave this world and enter upon an endless eternity. May the God of all mercies prepare us all for that solemn hour. May we be washed from our sins and made clean by the blood that Lamb which was slain upon Calvary to make an atonement for our sins. May we be clothed with the righteousness of that great and glorious Redeemer and have about us the garments of salvation and may we hope that preparation of heart which cometh from God only that at last we may be received in mansions of the Celestial City above the skies there to dwell at the right hand of our Heavenly Father and to sing the praises the Redeemer forever and ever.
Mother is not quite as well as she was when you left here. She has been taken with a dysentery but we have been able in a measure to check it. The rest of the family are all pretty comfortable. I hope you will write to us as soon as you can after the receipt of this and let us know how you are. Do not grieve nor murmur at the chastisement of your Heavenly Father but rather seek his favor and love him more earnestly in sincere prayer and pray for us that we may be enabled to lean upon the arm of the Blessed Redeemer for strength and support in this time of affliction and may we all be enabled to set a less value upon the things of this world and to seek more earnestly the things which belong to our everlasting happiness.
Your affectionate brother, — Orville Reed