This letter was written by Rev. Charles Woodbury Giddings (1810-1879), the son of Capt. James Giddings and his wife Lucy Deming Giddings. In 1835, C. W. Giddings married Clarissa Griffing.
Early in his career, Giddings served as a circuit rider and stationed minister in the Methodist church in NY & PA along the Susquehanna River Valley. By the mid-1850’s, however, Giddings envisioned a better life for himself and members of his parish. Through a brother-in-law in Kansas Territory, he learned of desirable land opening up for settlement in the southeast corner of Nebraska Territory, and on 2 October 1856, Giddings organized the Nebraska Settlement Company. He had spent the summer of 1856 in Nebraska as agent of the company and with R. V. Muir purchased the interest of the Table Rock Townsite Company in the south half of Section 32, Township 3, Range 12 east, on the Nemaha River in Pawnee County, Nebraska.
Giddings brought his own family to live permanently in Table Rock in 1857. As General Superintendent of the Nebraska Settlement Company, Giddings extolled the glories of southeast Nebraska Territory and succeeded in attracting as many as 150 families to the area by 1858. The town prospered for a time, despite natural disaster setbacks, but when it failed to become the county seat, it struggled economically. Despite this, Charles and Clarissa Giddings remained in Table Rock the rest of their lives, raising their four daughters and nourishing the Methodist community there. While he was not active in the ministry in the earliest settlement days, in 1865 Giddings was again called, serving the Nebraska Conference as Presiding Elder, an office he filled until retiring in 1871.
We learn from this letter that Charles and Clarissa Giddings lost their five year-old daughter, Louisa Maria Giddings on 6 June 1844.
Addressed to Rev. William T. Noble, Newark Valley, Tioga County, New York
Sherburne, [New York]
August 11, 1844
My dear Brother Noble,
It has just occurred to me that I have neglected to inform you that I design, Providence permitting, to spend next Sabbath in your town among my old friends and to be at your house on Saturday. Should I not arrive on Saturday, I think I shall call on Monday. We have closed a year of great toil and trial — such a one as we have never had before — of which I will speak when I come.
We have been called to part with our dear Louisa Maria. She left us for her home in the skies on the sixth of June after a sickness of two months. Mrs. Giddings is just recovering from a fit of sickness which brought her near the borders of the grave. But we are now all enjoying comfortable health and shall, if Providence permit, be on our way to Owego tomorrow morning.
Give my respects to enquiring friends. Love to your family.
Yours in love and haste. — C. W. Giddings