1855: Adaline (Stoddard) Mitchel to Henry William Avery

How the Mitchel’s might have looked in 1855

This letter was written by Adaline (Stoddard) Mitchel (1803-1868), the wife of Francis (“Frank”) Frederick Mitchel (1806-1867). Adalaine was the daughter of Elisha J. Stoddard (1779-1840) and Experience Morgan (1778-1819). Frank Mitchel was the son of David Mitchel (1776-1835) and Lucy Avery (1784-1852). Frank adds a line at the end of the letter, in addition to his brother, Thomas Leeds Mitchel (1811-1890), who were commercial merchants in Apalachicola, Florida.

The Mitchel’s wrote the letter to Frank’s uncle, Henry William Avery (1795-1883) who was married (1817) to Betsey Denison (1799-1866).


Addressed to Henry W. Avery, Esq., Mystic Connecticut

Apalachicola, [Florida]
March 5th 1855

Dear Uncle Henry & Aunt Betsey,

Page 1

Your very [welcome] letters were duly received and gave us much pleasure to hear of your general health and happiness. I can see you in my imagination all in the warm room so cosily. I could not help wishing I could be one of your number, but I should want the dish of apples to make the circle complete. I suppose they stand there alone leg but you do not think of us as I do situated where we get but few and poor at that. I can see cousin Eliza running to get some to put in my plate which she brought first. I’m glad you have been favored with such a good girl for company. And cousin F. & J. have made you a visit. Well I shall be mother when you go to Belvidere. And I will try to curl my hair and be Aunt Betsey as well as I can. I think cousins say she will come very far short, by as she may. So I think but they must make the most of it and the better if they can. That is my advice. I wish you would go to our house and live as long as you would like to stay. I should be delighted to find you there when I arrive. You shall be as welcome to use any of my things as if they were your own and I prefer you should do it if it is convenient. I think it would be very little trouble for you as everything is there for use and then you need not hurry away.

Page 2

Where does Uncle [Nathan] Denison move his family to? I hope Aunt Mary may find something to relieve her poor Aunty. How much she suffers. May the light of God’s countenance ever shine on her pathway, making lighter her affliction with the Star of Hope.

You wish to know how we are situated in our religious privileges. 1st. The Episcopal clergyman is Mr. [William T.] Saunders. He has been reciting old sermons for three winters. They seem to come out on the same occasions and the same date of the year. So I fear he don’t even stir them up — only turns them over and repeats them again. Like the Service and Razens, I am tired — decidedly tired — of such stale preaching. I commenced in good faith to go through with it a sort of penance, and I think should have persevered but for the last month I have not been able to go out much and have declined going to sit in a cold damp atmosphere without anything to excite me more than what I have above stated.

Page 3

The Methodist is another beloved ____ and thus you see we are in nearly a famishing state. Our own family service is all the real enjoyment of a religious nature we have and in this we have much enjoyment, and I am very glad that our Heavenly Father is willing to bless two or three that call upon His name in sincerity that our lamp may not go out entirely. David sent us your kind letter to read but said return it by return mail, so you see he prefers it highly. I requested him and Emy to answer it and cultivate an acquaintance with you so you may have more children to write you if you please. I will send Emile’s last one to you and you can return it when you write. As to the pieces Aunt Betsey wishes. I hope you will take anything of mine that would be agreeable for you to have to be with you in your new and pleasant home where I trust to see you before many years have passed away. My love and best wishes to all of your family and Uncle Denison’s — all of them — and all enquiring friends. From your cousin, — Adaline M.

We heard of the death of Mrs. Ellisan’s mother one week since. They are well.

Dear Uncle & Aunt,

I am reminded by a recent letter from you that you are about to leave New England for a western life, and would wish to give you my congratulations on the event. There is nothing in my opinion like a fresh start off upon some new and untried path. It gives the blood a fresh impulse and renews the vigor of youth almost. Travel & a change of scene has put 8 or 10 lbs. of flesh upon several of ,y acquaintances which they did not lose again, so that you may hope that the excitement of a change may change all the currents of life. But we have to regret the prospect of not meeting you again soon, which will be a source of grief to us all, but to none more than my wife who often discourses upon her pleasant visit at the old place. Maybe we may go west or maybe you may come east. I am sorry not to be able to show uncle my farm when it is all in order. But regrets are useless and all we can do is to cheer on  & hope that all is for the best. You have my most hearty good wishes for your welfare & hope to hear often of your well being & raising those big crops of wheat — the only decent occupation in life. It is certainly the most natural.

Page 4

With much love. Am your affectionate, — Thomas L. Mitchel

I have no time to write except to ask you to return the articles signed S in the papers. I send for this mail. Love to all, — Frank


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