1845: Joseph W. Lang to Mary Park (Swasey) Chapman

What the Chapman’s might have looked like

This letter was written by Joseph W. Lang (1798-Aft1880), the son of Josiah and Sarah (Widden) Lang. Joseph married  Mehitable Clark Young (1799-1863) in 1824, the daughter of Benjamin Young. After her death in 1863, Lang married Mrs. Julia A. Taylor, daughter of Captain John B. and Comfort (Sanborn) Perkins.

Lang wrote the letter to Mary Park (Swasey) Chapman (1811-1850), the daughter of John Bond Swasey (1781-1828) and Alice Ladd (1784-1879). Mary became the wife of John Chapman (1814-1845) in 1839. John was the son of Samuel and Betty (Folsom) Chapman of Tamworth, New Hampshire. He was a lawyer and practiced in Jacksonville, Illinois, before relocating to Benton, Scott County, Missouri, where he died 25 August 1845.

Stampless Letter


Addressed to Mrs. Mary Chapman, Benton, Scott County, Missouri

Meredith Village [New Hampshire]
September 22, 1845


I called on your mother last evening and read your letter sent to your Father Chapman and transmitted to your Mother Friday 19th inst. giving an account of the death of your dear husband and my friend. I noticed in that communication that you had made up your mind to have the remains of your husband brought to N. H. as soon as was practicable. I think when you take this matter under due consideration, you will abandon the idea. You will consider the great difficulty in bringing a corpse so great a distance and the liability of its being detained in changing it from one mode of conveyance to another and what is more to be dreaded than the above is the great anxiety it will cause you in its safe transportation, which in your feeble state of health might almost prove fatal. Your friends are of the same opinion and hope you will not attempt it, fearing the consequences. Be assured that this communication is from the deepest feelings of sympathy and respect and that intimacy and attachment so long existed between our families as my only apology. I hope you will be reconciled to this heavy dispensation of Providence, put your confidence in that God whose promises will be verified.

Mrs. Lang is on a visit to Wolfeborough [and] will not return until Wednesday. She will receive this sad intelligence with regret for her high regard for you is not in the least abated during your long absence and she anticipated a happy meeting with you in New Hampshire among your many warm friends. You have her sympathies and prayers in your troubles. Her health has greatly improved.

Your mother, sister & brother are in the enjoyment of good health.

Respectfully yours, — Joseph W. Lang


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