1837: W. Larkin to Thomas Larkin Turner

The signature on this letter appears to be written by someone named Larkin but I cannot decipher the first initial — possibly a “W?” He wrote the letter to his “friend” Thomas Larkin Turner whom her refers to as “Lark.” Given their names, I think they may have been distant cousins as well as friends. A biography for T. Larkin Turner was found in the UCLA Special Collections on-line:

Thomas Larkin Turner (1812-1897) was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts to a family tracing its ancestry back to 1630s Plymouth. Educated first at Harvard, he left to study medicine with Dr. Hurd of Charlestown; he was first listed as a druggist in the Boston Directory in 1839. Turner’s father was Capt. Larkin Turner, a shipmaster for 40 years who served two terms in the Massachusetts legislature after his retirement from the sea. The young Turner sailed on his father’s ships “Henry” and “Palestine” in 1834 and 1835. Then for the next two years he served as draftsman and surveyor for the Brunswick and Florida Railroad in Georgia and Florida.

Ad for Turner's "Universal Neuralgia Pills"

Ad for Turner’s “Universal Neuralgia Pills”

As the earliest items in this collection indicate, by November 1837 Turner was signing papers for a partnership to acquire and run a pharmacy in Boston. He headed this business for approximately the next forty years, manufacturing and marketing proprietary and other patent medicines and, starting about 1852, soap. The firm of Turner and Co. was first listed in 1867.

Turner became a member of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in 1851 and served as one of the College’s representatives to the 1852 National Pharmaceutical Convention, which established the American Pharmaceutical Association. He also belonged to the Massachusetts Pharmaceutical Society and the Massachusetts Historical and Genealogical Societies, and the Knights Templar of the Masonic Order. He was a visitor for the Boston Provident Association, a charity for the poor, and compiled a 45 p. catalog of the clients it served; in 1853 he authored a memoir of the Rev. Edward Turner, an ancestor. In 1843 he married Elizabeth Devina of Hingham, Mass.

1837 Letter

1837 Letter

Addressed to T. Larkin Turner, Esq., Boston, Massachusetts

Lancaster [Massachusetts]
June 22, 1837

Friend Lark,

I am down with intent to reply to yours of Saturday last for which a thousand thanks, as it assured me of the returning health of ours at home which I was most anxious to hear. I am, as you may such suppose by the shape of the weather, shut up inside — my only amusement writing, with the exception of a game or two of chess, checkers, gammon, and now and then recourse to books. It is vexatious that one cannot leave the house without the heavens pouring shot upon him which flogs the very devil with his comfort. I think so. Everything has been left wet since I left you & I have been compelled to stay at home which is what I do very unwittingly. However, I hope for steady fair weather soon & then &c.

Your excuse for the delay is most acceptable and the very one of all others I would have wished as I was in expectation you would visit there soon for I knew E. was impatient to see you, and the sooner — why the better. What could E. have said to convince you more certainly that D. is the author. Has she any clue or hook to hang a doubt on? Has E. confided or is it a mere matter of conjecture? That H. tells what he hears is quite natural and quite as natural that they should be offended as if I could not think he would act unwisely were it not for some few things which look extremely crooked. Pray tell who this Miss Hannah is that deems me worthy of her anathema? How came she s___ing in judgement? And how is it her opinion is called for? Is it a final decree? I ever seen them? And where? Is Kate the sister? Miss Hannah too? It is very strange they should trouble themselves about us, unworthy as we are. If you should see the little dears, give my best love. Tell them though ignorant of their — who thy be — I respect such profound judgements.

The P. O. affair is vexatious, that the waiting to be disappointed. I think you will not hear except through E. It has been delayed so long. At least perhaps it were best to be so. Did not E. have the old letter and the new? You say she gave you nut one in keeping hold on, but where is the other?

Maria has not left for Amherst yet? Very strange. Why does she delay? Lark, give her a scolding if she is not off by Monday. I mean the Monday you spoke of. That is ___ she of G— is as well as you could expect one so sensitive to be on parting with their love. He told them he was captain. When he positively asserted to me that he was to go out chief mate. I asked them what capacity he sailed in. They told me Captain, of course. I did not undeceive them. That is a very singular affair of E. Hurd; dumb did you say? What a situation! I am very glad you was so fortunate with the little affairs. In his situation he must need everything. If I had been there, I perhaps might been of service. It is all over now. Love your ascertaining why W. B. S. Leo should approach ____ part of the cargo?

Lark, where is the letter to Charlotte? I am afraid she will think you dilatory. At least she may pray for the music and maybe for the accompanying matter at least. I inferred as much they _______ner. Do write and soon as it may be of some consequence to her. What an assertion at least, what a conjecture that if your sail, why I am astonished — innocent me. So much was _______ purity. However, none are from suspicion. This brings me just to the very thing I have met one of the sweetest little wood nymphs you can imagine, chopped to her more — sighed ____ had & I suppose that will be the end as she leaves for home on Saturday five & twenty miles from L — Lancaster I mean.

I am ever yours, — W. Larkin

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