1842: Susan S. (Mansfield) Gibbs to Mary Elizabeth Gibbs Hazen

What Mary Elizabeth Hazen might have looked like.

Though there is no year in the dateline of this letter, I have determined that it was written in August 1842.

The letter was written by Susan S. (Mansfield) Gibbs (1823-1880), the wife of Newton Peter Gibbs (1818-1888), of Bridgton, Cumberland County, Maine. Susan and Newton were married in April 1842 — a few months before this letter was written. Susan was the daughter of Asa Mansfield and Susan Stickney.

Susan wrote the letter to Mary Elizabeth (Gibbs) Hazen (1811-1876), the daughter Theodore Gibbs and Lucy Kendall. Mary was the wife of Dr. Samuel Stimson Hazen (1813-1847), an 1841 graduate of Bowdoin Medical College, who practiced in Readfield, Maine.

Stampless Cover


Addressed to Mrs. Mary E. G. Hazen, Readfield, Maine

Bridgton [Maine]
August 4th [1842]

Dear Friend,

Page 1

You have probably expected to hear from before this time and I shall be under the necessity of begging pardon for my negligence; which I think will be readily granted. It is with some reluctance that I write knowing that I am addressed one far superior to me in talent and education, but think your goodness will forgive all imperfections I have resolved to give you a short account of our journey and the news of the day.

It was quite foggy for a few miles. Our view of the country was not perfect in consequence of the fog, which was not quite so pleasant as it would have been if it had been perfectly clear. We first stopped at Turner, took dinner on Parris Hill — not first rate entertainment. We were obliged to stop on Scibner’s Hill two hours in consequence of a very heavy shower. bot to the head of the pond about dark. The darkness was almost impenetrable through the woods; was obliged to walk the horse the most of the way for the last 5 miles. We reached home about 10 [and] found all well and comfortably asleep.

Page 2

Mrs. [Joanna] Littlefield left yesterday morning for Washington [and] expects to meet Mr. [Nathaniel Swett] Littlefield ¹ in Boston. She will probably stay at Washington until Congress rises. Fred and Charles are with us. Mary Smith and Elen Freeman are with the girls. Your brother Heman, wife and children have visited us. [They] came Tuesday night [and] left Friday morning; all were very well. [They] left best love for you and yours.

One week ago last Tuesday, we had a violent hail storm which destroyed almost every thing before it. There is about thirty panes of glass broken out of the north windows. The cherries were all beaten off [the trees]. Our barn and wheat is half broken down and every thing in the same proportion. It injured the crops here more than at any other place. The hail did not extend far. There was not any thing very much damaged only here at at Mr. Bennett’s. The wind broke the limbs off from the large tree before the house so that it is almost a stump. Your father feels so poor since the hail storm. He says it is uncertain about his going down east — it will cost so much. I told her your mother would go in the stage and he could do as he chooses, but that will be uncertain. I will try my best to have them go. We are depending on a visit from you. Don’t disappoint us.

Major [John] Perley is dead; also Mrs. Cram’s child, There were but a few days between their deaths. Mrs. [Mary J.] Page [wife of Caleb Page] died [on July 2,] the Saturday morning that we started for our house [and] was buried Sunday. Francis [A.] Blake is married [to Clarissa N. Shedd on 27 June 1842 and] lives with his father. I have not seen his wife as yet. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at Mr. J. Hazen’s [and] had a very agreeable visit. Did not see John, Suppose he was in the field. They are all well at the other Mr. Hazen’s. Martha still talks of going to learn a trade. Miss Ingalls’ school is done closed a fortnight ago. I do not know what about she and W. He carried her to the fourth [of July celebration]. Had a grand time at the head of the pond. It is thought that there were nearly two thousand people at the celebration. Bridgton beat Readfield.

I have got one well woven. Hope I shall get the other done by the time you come so I shan’t have any thing to do — only take care of that daughter.

Page 3

Dr., how is your little daughter? How I wish I could call a few minutes this evening and carry you a piece of new cheese. Would it not be acceptable? I reckon as how, if I could, I would raise a flame of this scribbling. Washington has got to haying and our folks will finish today. Have had William Perry to help them.

Saturday morning,

Mrs. Bennet has a fine boy and is pretty comfortable. Your mother got home about two hours ago. Don’t forget to write if you do not come. Please give our best respects to the Dr.  I do not know of anything of importance to communicate. Please to excuse this writing and pass over al mistakes for it has been written in great haste.

Yours with respect, — Susan S. Gibbs


Nathaniel Swett Littlefield

¹ Nathaniel Swett Littlefield was a United States Representative from Maine. “He was born in Wells on September 20, 1804. He attended the common schools, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1827 and commenced practice in Bridgton, where he also served as postmaster from 1827-1841. He filled important town offices, chiefly as selectman.

He was appointed secretary of the Maine State Senate, also elected to that body from 1837-1839. He also served as its president in 1838. He was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-seventh Congress (March 4, 1841-March 3, 1843). He was also elected to the Thirty-first Congress (March 4, 1849-March 3, 1851). He served as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture (Thirty-first Congress). He was not a candidate for renomination to the Thirty-second Congress.

Littlefield was elected a member of the Maine House of Representatives in 1854, and was a delegate to the Union Convention in Philadelphia in 1866. He died in Bridgton on August 15, 1882. His interment was in the High Street Cemetery.”  Source: Wikipedia


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