1837: Alpha Rockwell Campbell to Charles Rude

This letter was written by Alpha Rockwell Campbell (1803-1883), the son of Allen Campbell (1749-1829) and Sarah Kinne (1760-1832). He married Clarissa Cook (1802-1873) in 1822. She was the daughter of John Cook and Patty Clark of Preston, New London, Connecticut.

The letter was addressed to Clarissa’s sister, Polly (Cook) Rude (1800-Aft1860), the wife of Charles Rude. Other siblings mentioned were Clark Cook, Fanny Cook, Betsy Cook, Roxanna Cook, and Avid Electa (Cook) Bailey who wrote the last portion of what they called a “company letter.”

Polly was married to Charles Rude (1801-Aft1860) in 1824. He was the son of Zephaniah Rude (1734-1805) and Betsey Meech (1770-18xx). We learn from this letter that Charles and Polly Rude had recently relocated to Locke, Cayuga County, New York. They later moved to Sandusky, Erie County, Ohio.

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mr. Charles Rude, Locke, New York

Preston [Connecticut]
February 26th 1837

Dear Brother and Sister,

Having received your letter, we are glad to hear from you and to hear that you are well & hope that these lines may find you enjoying health. We have but little to write except Clarissa has a little son about two weeks old added to her noisy family. We are all well. It is a general time of health, Capt. Rude is dead. [He] died very sudden. The rest of the family are well. We stay here another year. We, one and all, send our love to you.

— Alpha R. & Clarissa Campbell

Dear Brother and Sister,

Though we are separated by hills and valleys and the mighty deep, I do feel thankful for the privilege of uniting with some of the friends you have left behind in writing a few lines. Though it is not the only privilege we enjoy, we still think of and remember you. I have not spent but a little time at Preston since you left there November. [I have] seen but few of the people but those I have enquire about you. There [were] two sudden deaths since brother Campbell wrote — the wives of Esqr. Stephen Meach and Mr. James Treat. I am under the necessity of being short and must leave it for someone else to fill. I was to brother Sanders’ a few days since. They were well. Little John grows and is a very fine boy. They expect to stay another year on the Samuel Woodard place. They wished to have their love remembered to you. I must leave of writing and start for Esqr. Avery Brownings to do some sewing and expect to be gone about a fortnight. — Fanny Cook

Dear Charles and Polly,

It affords us much satisfaction to know that you are living nearer us. This is a company letter and I shall not be able to write you that long one I promised this time, but I shall go to Preston City before long and go to Rev. Erastus Morgan’s and some other places & then I shall be able to send you all the particulars.

I was at Alpha’s this spring and stayed there a fortnight. Mrs. Dewey came there for a visit. We spent a part of the afternoon in your chamber. She said she had rather stay in that chamber than anywhere else for you and she had been there so much.

Polly, you can easily imagine our feeling while viewing the few things you left behind. Everything looks just as it did the day you left. The little box you gave Rowena stands on the table and some other notions you left there. The children talk a great deal about you. Clarissa says if you and Charles was living there, she should be very glad. There is not much news stirring now. Nothing that you would care about hearing. Betsy lives alone and gets along very well. Her boys are as bright as ever. Our folks at home is well and all want to see you very much. Sarah has not forgotten you. Whenever she sees your likeness, she says that is Polly. We have a little Clark Robbins that you never see. He is a mischievous child. I think a good deal like you. Poor little James. Aunts are well. The neighbors are well and all seem to care a great deal about you yet. Polly, I hope it will be so that you will come and see us before many years. I think if you remain where you are a year or two that we shall some of us come to see you if we are all well.

Clark and Sally send their love to you and Charles and will write to you some other time. Father and mother wish to be remembered to you, &c. I shall write to you again in the course of the summer. — Martha Cook

June 22

Dear Brother and Sister,

You doubtless will perceive from the first date of this some time has elapsed since we commenced writing our company letter. I suppose the reason our folks did not send it before was because they had no opportunity. I have not seen any of them but Fanny since last winter. She stayed here about four months. Clark and Sally was here and stayed three nights last winter. It is most a year since I was at Father’s. We have a large family to confine us at home. Dwight has three journeymen, two apprentices steady [and] others that work for him a part of the time. He has a plenty of work but hard times for pay. I suppose you remember Grandison Phillips. He improves Esquire Frinks farm this year. Mother Bailey’s health is very poor this summer. Phebe E. is quite feeble. The rest of our family are well at present.

Alpha, since he wrote you, has had a relapse of the Illinois fever. He thinks he shall visit that place this fall himself and move his family in the spring.

I think you would like to hear how Patty and Fanny get along. I think from what I hear, much better than they used to. Our folks say she appears as she did before she got into that state of mind. I hope it will be lasting.

There has been a number of deaths among your acquaintances that our folks have not mentioned. Miss Hewitt, Mr. Israel Bru__ly with consumption, Miss Bill . Mr. Nathan Brown very suddenly being sick but a few days. One of Dr. Campbell’s daughters with the canker rash. Mr. John Frazier, Stephen and Millman Huchinson. The three last deaths were caused by hard drinking. She that was Lucy Barton also is dead. So you see death has been here and cut off many of our former acquaintances. Truly it calls loudly to the living to prepare to die and to stand in judgement before God.

Dear sister, I hope you are daily striving to lay up your treasure in heaven and to gain a bright crown in glory. For this watch and pray, and when it’s well with you, hold fellowship with friends and sweet communion with their Maker. Dear brother, permit me though unworthy to exhort you to seek an intreating Christ. Do not slight offered mercy and free pardon. Religion is designed to make us happy amidst the ills of life. It will prepare us for death and a happy heaven. It is my prayer that we may apply our hearts to true wisdom and meet where parting is no more. Do write soon. We all want to hear from you. Elizabeth sends love to you. Jane Mo___ is a fine healthy girl and one of the pleasantest you ever saw.

— Avis E. Bailey


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