The identity of both writer and receiver of this letter are yet to be confirmed. Louisa Rowe may have been the 21 year-old only child of James Rowe (1786-1870) and his first wife, Sally Sayward (1787-1812) — daughter of James Sayward and Elizabeth Witham. After Sally’s death in 1812, James married Pamelia Sayward, Sally’s sister. James was the light house keeper at Gloucester, Massachusetts.
The author of this letter — who only signed his name ‘William’ and calls Louisa his sister — is otherwise unidentified.
Addressed to Miss Louisa Rowe, Gloucester, Massachusetts
My dearest Sister,
I received your very affectionate epistle of the 14th with the most pleasing emotions that you can imagine, but it really pained me to learn that my last had given you so much pain. It never entered my mind that there was anything in it that could hurt your feelings until I had finished it, when I just looked over it to see what was in it and found I had dwelt longer than I was aware of on that subject. I had a good mind to burn it but I thought I would send it as I should not have the time to write another and I thought that would be more acceptable than none. Have you not received my last? I sent it Monday last. I should have written ‘ere this had I not sent that for I thought the folks would think it a pitty that I could not find something better to do than to keep writing to you. Did they not cry out upon you when they saw the last one coming? I was afraid they would, but you will say why should we care for what folks say? Why, I say I do not care but do not mean exactly so, for you know it is natural to respect publick opinion and customs, is it not?
My dearest, you say you will return to Salem with me. You are a very good girl and I will try and do everything I can to make your visit as pleasant as possible. I hope you will not feel badly about coming. You know I conquered my feelings about visiting the Island. I never gave you the reason I had for feeling so, but I will tell you now. I dreamed a dream and in the course of it, I was down somewhere near the Fort or on the beach and Grandfather came in his boat to take me over to the Island, said he in a joking way. There, I shall make too long a story. I will tell it next time I see you.
Louisa, I intend coming down on Monday the 28th day of this present month (I take this time to accommodate sister Hannah on account of her school. She is not the luncheon one that was Mary. Oh, what did I say a word about her nonsense for I am afraid you think strangely of it. You must not. Do not say a word to anyone about it, will you? Will it be convenient for you? If not, please let me know in your next and I will try and accommodate you dear. I intend to take you as far as Rowley and perhaps to Newberry-Porte [Newburyport]. I shall stop in Essex a few hours. I shall calculate to leave Gloucester directly after dinner so that we may get to Rowley before dark. It will be a very pleasant ride, I think, and I hope there will not be anything happen to make it disagreeable, don’t you?
My dear, I want you to find out what days the Ipswich Stage leaves Gloucester and let me know in your next, will you? Because sister Hannah is going in it to Rowley to spend her vacation. Don’t forget it, will you? I think of coming down quite early — 4 o’clock is the hour appointed for starting. I suppose you may expect me between six and seven unless you think it too early. If you do, please let me know in your next, will you? If it is too early, I can stop at Essrx an hour or so, but I want to have as much time as possible at Gloucester for I shall have quite a number of calls that I shall want to make. Do tell me if your Father has got home or if you have heard anything more from him. I wish I could see him when he passes through town.
I think of nothing more to say at present. If I do, I will put it on the other side.
Yours very affectionately, — William
P.S. Write so that I may get it next Wednesday, will you?
Sister Eliza says give my love to her and tell her I shall depend upon her making me the intended visit. All the folks send their love. Hannah D. Phelps says she shall not like it if you do not answer her last soon and to ___ H. too. You must write them soon, won’t you dear? Louisa, I feel dull. What do you suppose makes me? I know. I guess if I could see you, I should not feel so. I have got the a___ in my right cheek. What is good for it? Give my love to Grandmother and Father and your Mother and S. E. __ G and all those that enquire. E.S. Band her sisters L.E. &C. I shall write again before I come. I think a good long letter would make me feel better. Yours, — W.