1839: E. A. Clark to Elizabeth Frances Brown

What E. A. Clark might have looked like.

The identity of the author of this letter who signed her name E. A. Clark, has not been confirmed. She was probably single, born in Connecticut — perhaps Tolland County — between 1805 and 1810, and from the contents of the letter we learn that she taught a select school in Morristown, St. Lawrence County, New York in 1839. Nothing more is revealed in the letter that might help with her identification.

This letter was written to Elizabeth Frances Brown (1808-1893), the daughter of William Brown (1780-1856) and Elizabeth Trumbell (1781-1824) of Gilead, Tolland County, Connecticut. Also mentioned are Elizabeth’s siblings: Natha Perthenia Brown (1810-1883), David Trumbell Brown (1813-1891), Cynthia Anne Brown (1815-1893), Euclid Fayette Brown (1818-1868) and James Asaph Brown (1821-1899).


Addressed to Miss Elizabeth F. Brown, Gilead, Tolland County, Connecticut
Care of William Brown, Esq.

Morristown, [New York]
December 8th 1839

Dear Elizabeth,

With sincere pleasure I improve the first leisure moment since my arrival at home in writing a few lines to you, and as my time for conversing with you is limited to one hour only, you must be charitable and make all necessary allowance for poor composition, bad writing, mistakes, &c. No more apologies at present.

And now for my story and for a commencement, I presume you would like to hear the particulars of our journey.

The last adieu’s were spoken a few minutes past ten Tuesday eve as you will remember, and away we went ____ like. Our feelings were none of the most enviable, I assure you. Eliza, I have said goodbye to friends and acquaintances without number heretofore, but never with such a feeling of regret as I experienced on pronouncing the word to you and your friends. Pardon this digression from my subject and I will resume the description of our journey. We arrived at Albany about half past six Wednesday Eve and were too much fatigued to take the cars for Utica that evening. Accordingly, we staid in Albany all night, took the cars at half past eight Thursday morn, arrived at Utica about 3 o’clock, P.M.

Saw Miss Tuttle, her sister, and Mr. George Chapman there. Took the stage at half past 4, rode all night, arrived at Denark next morn, breakfasted there, and arrived at Antwerp about 5 o’clock, P.M. Sent our [calling] cards to Miss Ellen Church, and had the pleasure of her company at the Hotel in the evening. Enjoyed ourselves very much indeed and started at eight o’clock the next morn for good old Morristown, but did not arrive there until half past six in the evening. we had very good sleighing some few miles after we left Boonville and altogether the roads were better than we expected to find them, and we had good company nearly all the way, which made it very pleasant for us.

It is impossible to describe the manner of our welcome home. Suffice it to say, it was pleasing and satisfying to us in the highest degree. John & Cynthia staid with me Saturday night and did not go over to Brockville until Sunday P.M. We had as much as we could do to receive calls from our friends. The house was full of people a great part of the time as has been the case up to this time.

You remember what I told you respecting my having to tell the particulars of the wedding to all enquiring friends. Well my prognostications have all proved true. I have talked myself blind almost (as the old woman said). Jerome Church and myself have been to Brockville and staid all night. We had a good visit. Cynthia is keeping house all alone as crank as you please. She appears to like her ne home very much indeed. I have distributed the wedding cake far and near and everybody pronounces it to be first rate cake. So you see, you and Parthena have established your reputation for making Wedding Cake beyond a doubt. Mr. & Mrs. J. Lewis were over and attended church today for the first time since our return. As for myself, this is the first moment of leisure I have had as yet and I fear every moment I shall be interrupted and obliged to leave off scribbling for I do not pretend to call it writing.

The weather is very unpleasant. No snow and the roads are all mud. Often in the course of the day I find myself contrasting our roads with the good old roads of Connecticut. The weather is very uncommon for this time of the year. To al appearances now, we shall have a very open winter.

I have not commenced my school as yet and shall not, I think, before next Monday. They were very much out of humour at my staying so much over the time allotted for my absence. But I do not regret it in the least. No Eliza, those few weeks spent with you and in the society of your friends will remain as a bright and beautiful star in my memory. Those pleasant hours are past and gone. But they have left a relish and fragrance upon the mind and the remembrance of them is sweet. How much I enjoyed myself while sojourning with you. I can hardly reconcile myself to the idea of not seeing you for a long time — perhaps never. No, it cannot be this. I shall cherish the thought of seeing you here ere many months have passed, and then what good visits we will have together. Give my love to Parthena and Mrs. Peters and tell them I want to see them very much and that I shall fulfill my promise of writing to them as soon as I can find sufficient leisure for so doing. Remember me kindly to David and his wife, and likewise Mr. Goodell and little John & Elizabeth. I intended to have sent them some books by their mother but it slipped my memory when I bid her goodbye.

Tell Asaph I shall send him some papers. Does he hunt squirrels yet? Or has he commenced going to school?

Give my love to your mother and Electa, and what shall I say to your father? O! Tell him I shall ever remember his lively jokes, and that I miss the apples and cider but have plenty of pumpkin pies &c. Tell him he must certainly come and see us next summer. And now, Eliza, I shall make no apologies for this letter for you know I write in great haste. My next shall be more worthy of your attention. You must write as soon as you receive this and tell me all about yourself and friends for you know it will be interesting to me. The doctor was much pleased with his bottle of Grape Sauce. He says he is much obliged to you and it is set aside for his especial benefit.

Every night when I go to my room, I think how lonely you must feel in yours. Last night I dreamed I was with you. I, how I should like to realize that dream, but it is impossible. Now write immediately and let it be a good long letter. Adieu for the present.

Your affectionate friend, — E. A. Clark

Tell Fayette I expect he will come see us.


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