This letter was written by Jonathan Fisk (1809-1872), the son of Moses Fisk (1764-1847) and Hannah Batchelor (1770-1853). Jonathan wrote this 1835 letter to his wife, Mary Amelia (Imlay) Fisk (1814-1899), the daughter of Allentown postmaster William Imlay (1790-1880) and Ann Gordon (1790-1877). Jonathan and Mary were married in January 1834.
Born in Vermont in 1809, Jonathan attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) for three years beginning in 1827; may have worked as a school teacher, possibly in Allentown, Monmouth County; conducted a general store in Allentown, at first in partnership with Richard Montgomery Stout. Jonathan moved to Lambertville, New Jersey, in 1834 where he became a clerk (later treasurer) of the New Hope Delaware Bridge Company; removed to Trenton, Mercer County, where he was employed by the Mechanics Bank beginning in 1845; served as an officer or director of various Trenton organizations and as city treasurer; moved back to Allentown, where he died in 1872.
Addressed to Mrs. Mary A. Fisk, Allentown, Monmouth County, New Jersey
Lambertville [New Jersey]
May 7, 1835
My dearest Mary,
Two days have passed since you went away and it has seemed a long while to me. I did not get time yesterday to write so I will write today and send it down by the stage driver tomorrow. I hope that you will get it Saturday morning. I expect to hear from you tomorrow night. If I do not, I shall be sadly disappointed.
I was over to New Hope this morning and Mr. Lambert called me in and showed me that silk and I regret exceedingly that I did not get it for you. I would not have cost a dollar more. It is a very beautiful silk and very soft. I would warrant it not to cut and on second reflection I think Blue is most too gay for you. If you can sell it to Mr. McKean for what it cost and take it in trade, I think you had better do it. Perhaps you can change it with him. If you cannot to suit you, I will get this of Mr. Lambert or any other you may choose. If you would rather not have blue, trade it off any way and I will be satisfied.
Yesterday was my 26th birthday. How strange twenty-six summers & as many winters have passed by since first I saw the light of this world. And here I am yet, enjoying the mercies of God and living upon his bounty. How strange that he has not ‘ere this cut me down as a cumberer of the ground. But verily instead of this, I have been favored and prospered more than most persons. How many recollections and associations both sad and pleasing pass though my mind as I look back upon years & scenes that are passed. Well I remember a little urchin whole sole delight was to build dams across the bubbling brook — to creep along its banks to beguile the unwary trout to seize the deceitful bait — or wander over his native hills in search of the partridge or squirrel. Yes, I know him still. Long since he left his native hills and dales to wander in a strange land. He breathes not now the pure mountain breeze that plays over the spot where he was born. He has grown up to man’s estate and is married and what is more, he is extremely happy to call you his wife.
There, if that is not sentiment for you, I don’t know what is. You must not expect anymore to the end of the letter. And yet I might tell you a story but it will not look well on paper.
I have heard nothing from Philadelphia yet. Mr. Stryker has gone to New York today. I am really in hopes something will be done soon. Specie is called for everyday. The reports through the country are not entirely guelled yet. [Thomas] Stryker is gone, Esq. Wilson lives at Ruigoes, and the Squire ——- don’t seem to take any interest in it so that the whole responsibility now comes upon me. How it will end, I know not, but I am not under the least apprehension whatever. The bank will come off triumphant.
I have received a letter from sister Betsey. All are well at home. She talks a little as though brother Anson ¹ was going to be married. “Nothing but human nature.” Stappleton says that love is the worst of all the senses. Do you remember when Tom jumped overboard and all the rest followed. Wasn’t that funny? The whole book is funny. That is “just about the amount of it.” Funny, funny, funny, funny, funny, funny. There, you wanted me to write a funny letter so here you have it. Love to all. Farewell till we meet.
— Jonathan Fisk
¹ Anson Fisk (1806-1880) of Waitdfield, Washington County, Vermont, was married to Joanna Barnard (1810-1891) in November 1835. Their son, Edward Anson Fisk (1842-1925) served with the 13th Vermont Volunteers and was wounded at Gettysburg on 2 July 1863.