1832: Abigail Clark to Harriet (Taft) Mallory

Henry Charles Haskell, oldest child of William and Abigail (Clark) Haskell

This letter was written by 23 year-old Abigail Clark (1809-1855), the daughter of Enoch Clark (1777-1831) and Abigail Kirkland (1778-1843). In March 1835, Abigail became the second wife of William Haskell (1780-1852) — a man who was almost as old as her father. William’s first wife was Lydia McLellan (1783-1828). William and Abigail resided in Somerset County, Maine until about 1850 when they relocated to Lorain County, Ohio. Their oldest son, Henry Charles Haskell, graduated from Andover College, and became a missionary in Turkey and later in Bulgaria.

Abigail wrote the letter to Harriet Taft (1800-18xx), the wife of Russell Mallory (1800-1834). Harriet was the daughter of Cheney Taft (1771-1838) and Chloe White (1775-1816). Russell was the son of Ebenezer Mallory (1762-1816) and Eunice Judson. After Russell’s death in 1834, Harriet married James Northam and relocated to Lockport, Niagara County, New York.

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mrs. Harriet T. Mallory, Lyons, Wayne County, New York

Westfield, Massachusetts
July 29, 1832

To my very dear friend Mrs. Harriet Y. Mallory,

As you requested me to write to you after having been at home a short time, that request I will now cheerfully attempt to comply with. It is now nine weeks this day since I spent the last Sabbath with you in Lyons and we know not but it was the last I shall ever. I suppose you would like to hear a little about my journey so I will begin back to the time of my leaving Lyons.

Had a very pleasant journey on the [Erie] Canal, there being but few passengers — just enough to make it agreeable — and a very pleasant Capt. who rendered me all the assistance which I needed. When we arrived in Albany, which was Saturday P.M. 5 o’clock, and I was therefore under the necessity of spending the Sabbath in Albany which was not very agreeable to me. Took the stage 1 o’clock A.M. for Westfield [and] arrived 4 P.M. Found our family all very well. They had been expecting me every day for two weeks and would have been very much disappointed if I had not come. I think I can see that it was for the best I left Lyons when I did for had I staid another term, my feelings would have been very much excited on account of the Cholera which I have learned was now in Lyons. Is it so?

My health is now and has been very good since I left you. O how gratifying it would be to my feelings if I could see my friends in Lyons (for I trust I have some there who are certainly very dear to me) and enjoy their society. We have had two letters from sister [Caroline] Mason ¹ in Ohio since I have been home. Her health is no better. We fear how it will terminate with her.

Sister [Very Ann] Swan ² I suppose is in Northfield. Have not heard a word from her since I left Lyons. I have written to her twice since but she seems not inclined to answer them. The last time I requested her to send me a newspaper if she did not feel disposed to write. Yesterday I received a paper. I suppose it was from her and from that I conclude she is well. Where he is, I do not know. Brother and I intend making them a visit in a week or two and then I hope to know something about them. I sometimes think I will not write another letter to anybody for they seem to pay no attention at all to my letters — some of my friends, not all of them.

It is now three weeks since I wrote a letter to Clarissa Thurston and I think it will be the last I shall trouble her with at least for the present. My eyes are very weak and trouble me very much. Am in hopes to hear from sister Swan before I finish this, so adieu for the present.

August 9, 1832

My dear friend,

I will begin on this paper for if I do not, it may be some time before I finish a letter; that is, if I am as long about it as I have been about this. Brother and I went to Northfield and spent the Sabbath with sister Swan. You have probably seem him since he has been in Lyons. Sister said he had been gone about 4 weeks. Her health is good. I imagine that she does not enjoy herself as well as when she was in Lyons. She feels that she has some friends in Lyons and I trust I have many. I feel very anxious to see them. Had I the wings of a dove, how soon would they waft me to Lyons, but no that cannot be and I will content myself with writing, hoping to receive an answer soon. Please to remember me to my friends in Lyons if you think I have any. Say to Mrs. McCoon that I found no newspaper printed in this place, therefore I did not keep my promise with her. Remember me more particularly to Mr. and Mrs. Hubbell, dear Taft’s family, Mrs. Andrews, Mrs. Harrington, Mrs. Adams, and Mrs. Whitney, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick, Susan Brown and her mother, and any others who take the trouble to enquire after me. Give my love to Mr. Hubbel and say to him that I sometimes wish I had accepted of his offer which he made me that was to go and make it my home with him as Susan did and he would do by me as he did by her; and by the way, have you heard from Susan since I came away?

My health is very good and my friends are all well. You wished me when I wrote to state how affairs stood between Mr. _____ and myself. I will therefore say his health is poor and we probably shall never be any nearer connected than we now are. You will probably feel disposed to doubt my assertion but it is the truth. How little we know what is before us or what will take place in the course of a few weeks. That band-box of things which I left with you, you may still keep as I know they will be safe with you. If I can persuade my friends here that it is best, I shall start for Ohio sometime in October or November and shall endeavor to spend a week or more in Lyons if I think my friends there would like to see me.

How is the state of Religion now with you? Are sinners anxious to know what they shall do to be saved? It seems to be a very solemn time now — a time when each should ask himself, am I prepared for death? Hundred and thousands are daily called to give up their accounts to God and are we prepared to do the same? I feel that it is a loud call for us all to be prepared as we know not but our turn will soon come. Oh that we may be in readiness.

I never enjoyed my mind any better than I have for a few days past. I know that my Redeemer liveth and that I can put my trust in him and that he will order everything for the list to those that love and serve the Lord. Although friends may change and the ties of friendship be broken, how sweet is the thought we have one friend who never changeth, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. To him we can go. His ear is ever open to hear our prayers and he has promised to give us that consolation which we need. My prayer is in what way Lord can I be most useful. Do with me as it shall seem good unto thee and in whatever situation I am in, may I learn therewith to be content. I do desire to be wholly swallowed up in the will of God.

Helen A. Swan, oldest child of John and Orry Ann (Clark) Swan

I am very much obliged to you and Mr. Mallory for your kindness towards me when in Lyons and hope I feel grateful to you for it. Also to Mrs. Hubbel and wife, Mr. Harrington and wife, and pray that the Lord will reward you for it for I am sure I shall never be able too. You cannot think how much I want to see my friends in Lyons but when I shall, I cannot tell — perhaps never.

Adieu, your friend, — A. Clark

Please to thank Mr. Mallory for those few lines he inserted in my album. I did not know he had written until after I returned home. I remain your sincere friend, — Abigail Clark


¹ Abigail’s sister, Caroline Clark (1804-1892), married Orville Lucius Mason (1808-1878) in 1830 and resided in Elyria, Lorain County, Ohio.

² Abigail’s sister, Very (Orry) Ann Clark (1805-18xx) married John Adams Swan (1798-Aft1840) in 1824 and resided in Northfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts.


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