1817: Leander Perkins Lovell to Laura Hooper Lovell

This letter was written by 19 year-old Leander Perkins Lovell (1798-1842), the son of Rev. Dr. Shubael Lovell (1770-1846) — a Baptist minister — and Bethia Perkins (1772-1856). He was married in 1828 to Ariadne D. Borden (1813-1875) in Fall River, Massachusetts. He was employed as a merchant trader.

Leander wrote the letter to his sister, Laura Hooper Lovell (1800-1872). I see no evidence that she ever married. She is listed among the delegates from Massachusetts who attended an Anti-Slavery Convention in Philadelphia in May, 1838.

Leander mentions his Uncle Daniel Lovell [1748-1832].

Lovell wrote the letter on Thursday, November 27, 1817 — a day set aside by the Governor of Massachusetts as a day of Thanksgiving.

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Addressed to Miss Laura H. Lovell, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Norwich, Connecticut
November 27th 1817

While the kind and benevolent people of this state are assembled in their respective places of worship (as this day is set apart by their magistrates for publick thanksgiving and praise), I with my pen shall attempt to convey a few of my thoughts to Friends who I conclude are better contented with their situation than well as I expected. My first month’s work amounted to about $20.00 clear of my board $7 of which I have received and spent a part of in a hat and other articles to the amount of $5. As to our board, it is quite tolerable, but as to variety this of all places that ever I was acquainted in is the most destitute for except two. I have never been into any of these extraordinary neighbor’s dwellings. Once I had a very kind invitation to watch in company with Spanish tar ¹ — a deceased person who was afterwards in the Masonic Order — and I with many others attended the funeral. The other compliments I received were from Mr. Gilman. His request was for me to walk up to his house after I had done work which was about half a mile and there sleep on a bed made on the floor with his hired man in order to keep thieves (which have been quite troublesome here) from robbing him of his n___th. These requests I complied with. My watching thieves, however, lasted only two nights. The gentleman concluded after that that one man would answer the purpose as his house was not disturbed with two so ____ (for I mean never to lower the wages by over working again) ___ like go quietly to bed at 9 o’clock and don’t arise until about sunrise.

Advertisement in Norwich Courier, 19 November 1817

Advertisement in Norwich Courier, 19 November 1817

Perhaps by this time you conclude that I am in reality homesick but no and to be sure, I never shall be for this place will (in my opinion) prove every person that shall move from another into it. But why do I complain of my situation? It is not worse as to ___ than many others experience. Yes, there is many others in these works who are not much better off than I am, but I like to forget to mention that I have had the pleasure to visit old acquaintances — at least they were acquainted with Par, and wore the name of Lovell. I happened one day at the landing with the boat to take some plates from on board a schooner so that the hands on board heard my name called but did not choose to question concerning my parentage or from whence I came. The next day my partner saw them [and] they asked about me. The most he could tell them was that I was a minister’s son by name of Leander P. Lovell. They concluded — he said — that I was Doc Lovell’s son and wished him to ask me to come down and see them before they sailed which was yesterday so last Sunday I went on board and found there three brothers by the name of Lovell. The Capt., mates, and all hands except one boy went by that name. I spent 5 hours on board and found them very good company. They gave me much information [on] my _____ cousins and other relations and that Uncle Daniel [Lovell] was named.²

Give my love to parents, brothers, sisters, and friends.

I am, your friend, — Leander P. Lovell

P. S. I received yours 24 November. Write soon.

¹ I assume Lovell is referring to a Spanish sailor (“tar”). 

² This was Capt. Freeman Lovell of the schooner Peace (built in 1815, 110 tons) which was at Jedediah Huntington’s Wharf in Norwich at the time and taking on produce for the Boston market.

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