This letter was written by 23 year-old Lucia Howe (1806-1887), the daughter of Col. Job Lane Howe (1769-1838) and Deborah Barrows (1769-1837) of Crown Point, Essex County, New York. Lucia’s known siblings included: Henry Howe (1797-1865), Juba Howe (1800-1884), Bela Howe (1804-1866), and Samuel Storrs Howe (1808-1888). Lucia Howe was married to Dr. Amos Richardson Nickerson (1801-1874 in December 1831.
It isn’t clear from the letter what Lucia was doing in Canandaigua, New York. My hunch is that she was a student (or teacher) at the Ontario Female Seminary in Canandaigua that opened its doors in 1829. The 1834 Catalogue posted on-line shows a Harriet Howe from Canadaigua attending the seminary.
Lucia wrote the letter to her cousin, Delia Arnold (1805-18xx), the daughter of Isaac Arnold (1764-1841) and Sally Howe (1764-1839) of Mansfield Centre, Connecticut. Delia married George Badger Armstrong in November 1840.
Addressed to Miss Delia Arnold, Mansfield Centre, Connecticut
Canandaigua [New York]
June 25th 1829
My ever dear cousin,
Your very interesting letter of March was duly received and the account you gave of the state of religion in your vicinity gave me the highest pleasure. But when I read that Delia too was one of the happy number who hoped in the Mercy of a Savior, my heart was filled with joy and gratitude to Him, “Who is the Giver of ever good and perfect gift, and converteth sinners to Himself.” Such a communication from you, my beloved cousin, was truly unexpected. But such a change of feeling as you humbly expressed I had hoped and sometimes prayed for. I have wished of late more than ever (if possible) to see you and had anticipated visiting Connecticut this moth instead of writing, but it seems to be otherwise determined for me. The last week of March I was taken quite sick with the fever and ague which I undoubtedly took at Crown Point [New York] spending a few weeks there last summer. My fits have been cured and returned four times; have had 20 which has really made me sicker than I ever recollect to have been before. It is now a few weeks since I had a fit, have nearly gained mu usual strength, but am obliged to be very prudent for fear of their returning as I often have the symptoms after a little exercise. It is thought by Physicians that I shall probably be subject to it during this season.
Father wrote us the last week in May. He thought it not best for me to visit you this year but to return home soon as my health would permit. I desire to leave next Monday for Vermont. Can go most of the way by water which will be easy for me and I hope the pure air of Shoreham will entirely restore me to health. A Miss Morris from Butternuts [New York] who has been spending a few weeks with sister goes to the East at the same time with me.
I had expected to have been at home this week but as the weather was very rainy Monday and Tuesday, we concluded to wait till next week before we left. I am fearful you will begin to think you are neither to see or hear from me this summer. I had thought I would not close my letter till I arrived home that you might hear from your friends there.
I have become acquainted with a large circle of friends in this place who I am much pleased with, but since my health has been so precarious I have not enjoyed society as usual, am sometimes low-spirited, which I think is the affect of my disease.
Brother Henry and wife [Laura Merrill] are very well. They have a fine boy four months old who they call Henry Merrill [Howe]. Harriet is quite well, goes to school, says she does not wish to go to Shoreham with me unless Father and Mother will go too.
Brother and myself had designed to visit our cousin Henry Allen who resides not 20 miles from this during his April vacation but I was sick. He passed through Mendon in the stage to Rochester designed to call, but found he lived 7 miles from the stage road. I had hoped to have heard from cousin Harriet by her brother but have not heard at all since she moved to Richland. Is cousin Sarah with you? If so, give my best love to her. Tell her her last letter was received at this place and I will write her when I know where she is.
I hope she is with you and hope too the revival continues. O, my dear cousin, you are greatly blessed to see a revival of Religion. What a gorious event. Happy indeed are those who are prepared to enjoy it. What a precious time for Christians to grow in grace. How I have wished to be with you and wished to be one of the privileged number who attend such interesting meetings as you described. Then perhaps I should be awakened from the stupidity to which I have long been inclined, and be led to be more active in the service of Christ. O pray for your cousin, wherever she is that she may do her duty wholly, and faithfully. You may ever be assured of her best desires for your temporal and spiritual welfare.
July 16th, Shoreham [Addison County, Vermont]
I arrived home yesterday very well and safe. Had a pleasant journey. Spent a few days at Saratoga Springs, drank of the water which I think was a benefit to my health. I spent the first day with Juba and Laura. They have quite a small family this season, but Laura has often a fit of the fever and ague which keeps her quite feeble.
I found my Father’s family quite well, and glad to have me return after being so long absent. Bela is home this summer superintending concerns. His health very good. Storrs I have not seen since my return. Expect him home soon. He graduates in August [from Middlebury College and] is not yet decided whether he goes to Andover immediately or teaches a year or two first.
I find many changes have taken place in 8 short months — a number of deaths and many marriages. Deacon [Philemon] Wolcott has buried his wife and married again. Augustus Hand and Marcia [Salome Northrup] were married the 8th of June. He is in the practice of law at Crown Point, has lived in part of a house one mile from Juba’s, commence house-keeping next week. Mary and Juliette [Bethiah] Chipman are teaching this season. I don’t hear that they are engaged. Hope to see them soon.
Nancy Hand has not returned from the North. Our society I think must be much smaller than when you were here. I shall probably spend some time at home now and I wish much some of my dear cousins could be with me. It was a great trial to me to give up the idea of visiting you this year but when I found my health so often failed me, occluded I could not enjoy visiting but thought home to be the best place for me till I felt perfectly well. I know not when the happy time will come that I shall see you. Sometimes I think it may never in this transitory works but whatever may be our fortunes here may we with all our dear friends be prepared to meet each other in the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us pray often dear cousin that we may walk in the path of duty and at last be found faithful servants. I hope you will write soon. I long to hear particularly from you. My best love to your sister Fanny and all enquiring relatives.
Your very affectionate cousin, — Lucia Howe