1843: Harding Harris Potter to Henry T. Potter

What the Potter brothers might have looked like

This letter was written by Harding Harris Potter (1815-18xx), the son of Rev. Nicholas Gardiner Potter (1792-1846) and Anna Frances Harris (1799-1834). Harding was married to Alice Ann Tatem (1818-18xx).

Harding wrote the letter to his younger brother, Henry T. Potter (1821-1897) who was living in Kosciusko, Mississippi — a frontier village on the Natchez Trace northeast of Jackson.

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mr. Henry T. Potter, Kosciusko, Mississippi

Old Nachick in Norwich, Rhode Island
November 6th 1843

Dear Brother,

The request in your last letter that I would write soon, I am afraid you will think I have not thought of or at best have very much neglected, but it is not so, I can assure you, for I should have written immediately but Edwin had just received a letter from you and said he should write to you soon and for this reason I thought I would wait a few weeks so that you might hear from us (as the boy said) every now and then, and most sincerely hope this epistle will find you in the enjoyment of health and prosperity.

I have felt very anxious since I received your last to know how you were enjoying the privations of that most lonesome region of country with its half civilized inhabitants, its log cabins, and above all, its most sickly and health-destroying climate. You wrote in your last letter that you had been sick twice within a short time and since I received this news from you I have very many times pictures in my imagination the dangers to which you were exposed. The suffering you might experience through want of care and assistance if you should be sick, the uncomfortable accommodations of a log cabin, and a thousand other things have passed through my mind which I hope you will escape and return to us soon in good health with pockets lined with cash and a long story to tell us about the far off Mississippi and how they do it there.

I feel very anxious to know when you are coming home for it seems to me almost an age since you left us here in the Land of Roger Williams. I thought through the summer that I should have the pleasure of seeing you in Mississippi about the last of this present month but as you think it improper for me to come without some further knowledge of matters and things in general, I shall stay here in Natick and wait most impatiently for your return which I hope will be this winter for Tabby & Ally will need attending to in sleighing time.¬†Business is now pretty brisk here — especially in the manufacturing department. Great demand for cotton goods and consequently considerable to do in the machine business so you can find plenty of work here about these days. Come ! Come! Come home! Come home.

You of course wish to know how we all stand up to the lick-log in these days and for myself I can say I am in good health and high spirits, ready for almost any kind of an enterprise and could get the ranges up for a voyage to Mississippi almost in the twinkling of a bed-post. Alice and Ann Frances are in good health and little toco or Young Harding is as rugged and hardy as a young buck and mischievous as half a dozen young monkeys.

Father was here last Friday and he said they were all well at the Rock and had taken some new jobs of work so as to keep things moving slowly. He and partner Kenney talks strong of a dissolution of Company and I hope it will be effected for it seems to me now just as it always did from the commencement like chips in porridge.

I must cut my story off and leave a little room for Alice to improve for she complains of not having had an opportunity to write to you since you have been gone. Either her health has been such she could not or else I have used all the paper myself. But I must stop. Do write to me as soon as you receive this.

From your affectionate brother, — Harding

Dear Brother,

I take my pen to write a few lines to you which I have often wished to do but as Harding says, there has been always something to prevent. But you must not think that you are forgotten by me on that account, for I think of you very, very often and miss you very much. I often think how very lonesome you must be separated from all your friends. I have lately known what it was to be separated from a very near and dear friend and sister by death. Yes, Henry, sister Sarah has gone to the land of her Fathers. She died the 15th of September. But Henry, I would inquire when you intend to return home. Do come as soon as you possibly can. Do not let any money or price detain you in that sickly and health-destroying climate. I see accounts daily in the paper of how very sickly it is there. I saw Cousin Abby Fenner a few days ago. She wished me to send her love to you.

I must draw to a close for want of room. But I think of many things I should be glad to write. I hope you will excuse all mistakes for its almost impossible to write here, for Harding F. is under the table a jiggling me the whole time. Accept my love and best wishes for your happiness and safe return.

Yours, — Alice Ann Potter

P. S. Ann Fenner says I must tell you to come home for she wants to see you dreadfully. Don’t forget to write soon.


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