This letter was written by Lydia W. Chamberlain (1795-18xx), the daughter of Caleb Chamberlain (1771-18xx) and Sibil Hoskins (1775-1827) of Petersham, Massachusetts. She wrote the letter to Luther A. Parker (1795-18xx) of Littleton, New Hampshire, whose first wife, Olive B. Fay, died in the 1840s leaving him with at least six children. Lydia became Luther’s second wife on 5 September 1848.
Addressed to Mr. Luther A. Parker, Littleton, New Hampshire
December 7, 1847
Yours most welcome and also very unexpected of the 29th received on the 5th of December Father brought to me Sunday Eve. He said he wanted to hear fro you. But Luther, I have some solemn news to tell you and the rest of the family. Elizabeth Johnson is dead and buried. She died the 3 of December, was buried the 6th day. It is a solemn time with us all. The funeral was to T. J. house. It was a large one, but she is gone to her long home. But we trust she is better off than to live in this wicked world. She said she was not afraid to die but she dreaded the last struggles of death. She was take sudden at last. She suffered extremely for one night and two days but at last died like agoing to sleep. She had her senses perfectly to the last. Tell Isaac he carried her to make her last visit to Dwight Goddard’s. She has been growing woes ever since. She manifested a Christian spirit. She said she was prepared and we trust she was.
There is hardly a family in this neighborhood but is dressed in mourning. It seems to be afflicted severely by deaths, but it speaks to us all, be ye also ready for we know not the day nor the hour that our souls will be required of us. Perhaps it will be me just as likely as anybody. But am I prepared? No, I am a great sinner. But I feel it my duty to give my heart to God. I think much about it and have for years but put it off and am afraid I shall put it [off] forever until it is too late. So I think of you. I want you should read your Bible and pray to God to forgive your sins. Pray for me that my sins may be forgiven. It can do no hurt if it does no good.
I feel as if I never should see you again. It is a good while to look forward to another fall. We may both be in our graves by that time. But it seems as if I must see you before another fall. I trust you will come, but Luther, may we do right, put our trust in God, so we shall meet in Heaven.
Elizabeth has spoken of you a great many times. E___ says she does not know how many times she has said she wanted to see you. She said she should [have] thought you might just come down between sundown and dusk. She is acquainted with me so well she counted to see you. She told me long [ago] in the summer she was coming to my wedding and was going to stand up with me, but you never will see her in this world. I am sorry you did not go down there. She said so much about it. When you come, you must go around to some of the neighbors. They all want to see my man and I want they should. I am not ashamed of you anywhere, but I do not know but you will be of me. If you or anybody else thinks me love-cracked, I have not intended to write anything to anybody to give any reason to think so. I have wrote nothing but I was lonesome and homesick, and the time seemed long to me. But folks thinking so does not make it so. I do not know, Luther, but I have my usual sense. The folks have not said anything but what I have. I guess I know enough for them yet (enough of such nonsense).
I did think strange you did not write because you said you would write as often as I said, but I thought you had not got it so I wrote to Ann. She knew all about it before. Ann always told me everything and I did a good many things, I am sure. I should think you would talk to her about things and think no harm either. She is your sister. She is true. She will not tell anybody anything I have written if she gets the letter, and I had never wrote to your Father and Mother. I wrote nothing in that, but I was afraid you were sick and I thought I would write to Rebeckah and you to, and put yours in the inside for I did not know but you might bet a letter by that way. Then I received a letter from you and I thought I would answer it immediately so you might know I had received it. I thought no harm of writing. I felt anxious to be sure to know the reason of your not writing, but there is no one to blame — neither of us — for you are true to me. I feel no uneasiness about you but that you think enough of me and will come after me, if you live. But my dear Luther, just think how long it is to wait when I am so discontented, but I cannot give it up, but that you will come.
What is that terrible thing. I ought not to know what tr___ I done to be so bad. I want you to write me in your next letter. You must know I should want to know. You would yourself. It will not make any difference with me . I can hear anything now-a-days with a smile. Trifles do not trouble me much. Be sure and write what it is.
The weather is very warm here and pleasant. We had a great rain here last week. We have had no snow to speak of. My health is good. My head aches some today. Have got some cold. I feel bad to think you do not want to come after me. It makes me sober soemn to think I must be separated from you so long. It must not be so, my dear Luther. You do not know how much I think of you & imagine I can see you a good many times. I dream of you often, my dear Luther. Do come after me this winter. It does wear upon me. I cannot help it. I am not try____ — not in the least.
You say Horace is going away. O how I wish I could be there, my dear Luther. When I do see you, I guess you will think I am glad for I do want to see you for many reasons. The folks all seem glad to see me. Your Father asked me the other day if you had got well. I told him you were. He said he was glad, for he like you much. He often speaks of you. He says you are a good stout-looking fellow/ Says you are built for strength. He wanted to know if you was not stouter than Isaac. He said you was a good looking fellow. I asked him if he was writing I should have you. Yes, he said, you was good enough for anybody. You would make me a good husband. He said I like him much and said a good deal more [but] have not room to write it.
Luther, I have wrote to Hannah the first of October [but] have not had an answer from her. I wrote before I wrote to you the 12th of October. I wrote in your letter of the 12th to see that she got it. You did not write whether you had got that letter or not wish you would, for I should like to know. I directed it to Hannah in the care of Uncle Salmon. Please write me if you know whether she got it or not. I have had a letter from Jalin Paddleford. She wrote me the married folks were doing great things in some respects — you can guess. She wants to know solemnly whether I am coming back this winter or not. She says I wish you would. She says if I could see you, how we could talk, could not we. She says there was a gentleman agoing to get at a few cotillion parties. She says she does not expect come in to that log.
I want you to be careful not to hurt yourself in some respects (you can guess what). I want you should wait until you ee me. You can better imagine than I can write. My dear Luther, do come. Do not let a house hinder you from coming. Only think we shall not live any too long together if you come this winter. You say if it was only another summer, you would not say one word. You seem to be all for trouble, that is what hinders you. But if you come in February, it would not be but three months longer. It is not as long a time as you thought, is it Luther. But it will be long for me to wait, I will assure you. I trust you will write me in your next you are a coming. O my heart leaps with joy to think of it, but it soon gets back to the old spot which makes me sober solemn. I cannot think of nothing else but you. If I try to read, you are uppermost in my mind. I can do nothing but that you are with me in mind. Think not hard, dear Luther, that I urge you so much to come for it is all for you, for there is none other in this world I love as I do you.
O, I wish you were here today. I am alone. E. is gone to her Father’s. T. J. is tuping his sled. O if my lips could meet yours, they would stay there some time. You know there were various ways we used to enjoy ourselves and I hope we shall soon again. But I must stop and tell you a little about the ___ is about publishing. They must know your occupation, your age, and the one you intend to have, the names of your Father and Mother, where they live, the town they were born. You have got to published three Sundays. Whether there is anything more, I know not. I should think that was enough, should not you Luther? Everybody I see says when are you a going back. I suppose you are a going sometime. I tell them if I live, I expect to. Luther, I think T. J. and E. will go to see Barney another Spring if nothing happens to prevent.
We are all as well as usual. Father’s health is pretty good but should not be surprised if he should not live until spring. Happy to hear you are doing something about hiring or buying a farm. Sorry you have trouble with the priest. He is not worth minding. He is old but he knows better than to deny that I suppose. I want you to write me so I can get it by the 25 of the month. Be in season this time. It was quite unexpected to me. Do not fail for I shall send to the [post] office. If it comes before, I shall be glad, for it is all the comfort I take is hearing from you. Fail not to write and send your letters strong, for there is a good many folks this year and there are some particularly interested for you and me. Now Luther, do write me you will come after me this winter and remember I shall think of you upstairs all alone and you can think the same of me. Luther, I do love you.
Yours truly. Remember to write in season. You need not be afraid I shall write to anybody else but Ann. She will not tell anyone. Give my love to your Father and Mother, to all of the rest of the family, to Ann, to Aunt Eliza, to Hannah and accept a double share yourself. This is from your sincere friend and well wisher, — L. W. C.