This letter was written by Harvey Bidwell (1801-1888), the son of Samuel Bidwell (1774-1829) and Hannah McLeod Risley (1763-1821) of East Hartford, Connecticut. Harvey married Martha Potter (1803-1893), the daughter of Bartholomew and Keziah (Glazier) Potter, in 1824. They had four children, Osborn Harvey Bidwell (1825-1890), Wesley Potter Bidwell (1829-1912), Ira Glazier Bidwell (1834-1878) and Martha Christiana Bidwell (1840-18xx).
Harvey wrote this letter to his widowed sister, Lucinda (Bidwell) Beebe (1805-1862), the former wife of Rev. Edmund Murphy Beebe (1805-1845). Lucinda and Edmund were married in East Hartford in July 1824. Their daughters were Esther (or Hester) Beebe (b. 1828) and Charlotte Beebe (b. 1830). In 1850, Lucinda is enumerated in East Hartford, Connecticut where she appears to be running a boarding house.
Addressed to Mrs. Lucinda Beebe, Haydenville, Massachusetts
July 11, 1847
With pleasure I improve the present to inform you of our affairs, hoping thereby to hear from you. I supposed you had removed to East Hartford and was there enjoying the society of friends and old acquaintances. [We] knew not to the reverse till the 20th of June when I was informed that you remain in Williamsburg laboring in the boarding house. I was greatly surprised — perhaps as much as you were — when you learnt that we were aging to move to a Factory. Well, so it is. I says to my wife, let’s take a ride and go to see Lucinda, but she thinks it ain’t worthwhile [and] thinks you had better come and visit us. Now perhaps that would be best so if you will take the time, we will go to Willington with you and from thence you can go to East Hartford, if you should like, on return with us and I will help you on your journey. We invite the girls to come with you.
Our family are all together, which I feel is a great consolation and blessing. Osborne goes to school. Wesley and Ira works with me, and M. C. helps her mother. We have a pleasant situation [and] respectable community. Work is agreeable and bids fair to be prosperous and profitable. Tis all knew. When you come, you will come to ______, thence by stage to Monson. ______ factory only 2 miles. We think ____ be a necessary respite from _____.
As for meeting privileges, we are not accommodated to our liking. We have meetings and if they are not made interesting and profitable, we private members alone are to blame for we have all the liberty we can ask for and are engaged to take part and improve. For my part, I cannot retain life spiritually without laboring in the vineyard of my Master and when I always am blessed.
Dear sister, we find there is too much stress attached to Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist, &c. &c. How important that the (almost) last and ____ _____ of Jesus to the Father for his disciples should be answered that they all may become as thou and I ain’t one. I think there must be a coming up to the Gospel standard and requirements which will unite _____ tears in this one common cause to live to the Glory of God and labor for the salvation of our own souls and those around us before there can be p________.
You may have some sensations about your brother that he has seen what changed his principles. Fear not, dear sister. I have found no cause to change my former views concerning the teaching of the Bible. You will understand it best when I say I am a Methodist in doctrine and am a Republican in principal. Dear Sister, I find it to be hard work to be a Christian. I have work to deny self, take up the cross and follow Jesus, and be his disciple in deed which is the desire of my heart.
We visited Ira before we moved. [They] were all well except George. He was somewhat out of health. We haven’t heard from East Hartford this great while. Please inform us if you have heard of late. Horace, Eliza and Martha are not very well. We are anxious to know if you are calculating to stay through the year and how you all prosper in the necessaries of life and withal, how you meet the stories and adverse scenes of life and the world, and the prospects you there cherish of by & by meeting that loved one where all is peace and safe for evermore. Martha will write a few lines. Yours in the bonds of love and Christian affection, — Harvey Bidwell
Again I take my pen to converse a moment with one though distant, is not forgotten. I had thought until a short time ago that you were in E. Hartford enjoying the society of your friends. No doubt you have good society and true friends where you are. I have ever found a few that I thought to be such wherever I have lived, but they are not my Mother nor my Sister when I am sick and I cannot expect them to be. Therefore, I will not complain. I wish very much to see you. Harvey says he gave me an invitation to visit you and I declined — true, but I would give you a few of the reasons. It was a car ride the 4th of July. I did not wish to go that way at that time and furthermore, we could not take such a ride without a number of garments that we had not — could not — get in so short a time. I have ever been glad to visit you when circumstances would admit. I have said this much lest you might think a change had come over my feelings, which is far from being the case. Can you not leave and visit us this summer or fall? I think it would be [good] for your health. Write and let us know. We should be glad to have the girls come. — Martha Bidwell rather better. Eliza writes her cough is bad yet. Yours, — Martha