This letter was written by Edmund Addison Beaman (1811-1908), to his sister, Elmira (Beaman) Putnam (1805-1880), the wife of Nathan Bancroft Putnam (1803-1864) of Fredonia, New York. Addison and Elizabeth were the children of John Beaman (1778-1823) and Tabitha Bancroft (1784-1858) of Wendell, Massachusetts.
Addison was first married to Lusanna (“Lucy Ann”) Susanna Keen (1817-1858), a daughter of Deacon Samuel Keen (1734-1850) and Margaret Orr Clift (1784-1874). He married second Sarah Vorhees Parson Beaman. The four “lovely & beautiful daughters” of his first marriage, mentioned in this letter, were: Ellen Lusanna Beaman (b. 1843), Anna Beaman (b. 1845), Susan Beaman (b. 1846), and Elizabeth Beaman (b. 1849).
Addison was a school teacher in Boston and later in Philadelphia. He became a member of Swedenborgian, New Jerusalem Church in Boston in 1837, and eventually became a minister in that religion. In 1865, the First New Jerusalem Society of Cincinnati employed the Rev. E. A. Beaman to carry on a program of missionary work in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. In March 1866, Beaman reported that he had preached and lectured eighty-two times in eighteen or twenty places, to audiences varying from a score of persons to a few hundred.
Addressed to Mrs. Nathan B. Putnam, Fredonia, Chautaugua County, New York
April 8, 1849
I now write surrounded by four lovely & beautiful daughters ranging in age from a little less than two months to over six years. Our youngest was born on Washington’s birthday (the 22d of February) — a fine healthy child. Her mother is now washing her by the fire. I meant to have written you before & communicated the important news when it was fresher, but circumstances have prevented. Lusanna thinks the child’s name will be, or rather is, Elizabeth, though I do not feel quite so satisfied with that name. There is a b in it, which makes it sound rather hard with Beaman & then the name is twice as long as it should be. But what is much in its favor, none but pleasant associations are connected with it. The child has not yet been baptized.
Sister Mary Keen is going to be married next Wednesday eve. John W. Kennan ¹ is the fortunate swain. The Keens, you know, are an extra race. They have been thinking of this together for six or eight years, but circumstances have deferred the happy day. Mr. Kennan was formerly a pupil of mine when I taught in Halifax — a very pleasant, amiable pupil. He is now clerk in the store of another pupil. They are going to reside in this city which will be very pleasant for my wife & children for Mary is quite a favorite with the children. We expect to go out to the wedding.
We have not heard from mother for some time. I have invited her to come & make us another visit this spring, & she has not yet informed us whether she is going to accept our invitation. It was thought that her visit last year did her good.
I am making a family register of all the connections of our several families that I can collect & I want you should aid me a little by giving me a copy of your family record. Give me the date of your marriage, the date of the birth of your children, &c. I have ascertained that the Beamans came from Dorcester, Massachusetts, though I have not got the links between them & grandfather Beaman. I will give you below a copy of what was furnished me by a friend in Dorcester. I suppose it is from the town or church records.
“There were baptized four of Gamaliel Beaman’s children. They were presented by their mother who only is member in church right here: three that were grown up were very backward — especially the eldest. Mr. Mather came down to their seat. Their names were Thomas Beaman, 8 years old; Josepg Beaman, 6 do. do.; Gamaliel, 4 do. do.; & Mary — she sucked on her mother, not weaned. Gamaliel Beaman died March 23, 1818. Gamaliel Beaman was the first inhabitant of Sterling where he removed in 1720.”
We have learned that my wife’s most distinguished connections were the Adamses, the Presidents of the U. S. her great-great-grandmother was Mary Adams — daughter of Joseph Adams, great-grandfather of John Adams.
How are your family & neighbors affected by the California fever? There has been great excitement here & many have gone — more perhaps than will ever return — though none of our very near friends have gone. I think it is better to stay at home, particularly is a person is in a decent business. Elmina, should you not like to take our Magazine? Only $2.00 a year & it is going to contain in 6 or 8 No. some articles of mine which you will of course be interested in reading of some good spiritual food. You will then be hearing from Boston once a month. I merely suggest it for your consideration.
My school is in a pretty good state at present, though not so large as it was a year ago. Trobridge is deriving business & I believe doing well. Quarters, there is some reason to think, is engaged though I do not know to whom. I believe he is quite a steady man, though fond of change in his whereabouts. He was with B. a few days ago.
I hear from Emery occasionally who seems to be doing pretty well. Please write & let us know whether any of you are coming East this summer. Lusanna sends love &c. &c. &c.
Affectionately, — Addison
¹ John Whitcomb Kennan (1821-1889) was the son of Elijah and Sally (Whitcomb) Kennan. He married Mary Keen on 11 April 1849.