This letter was written by 18 year-old Clarissa F. (Nelson) Miller (1823-1877), the orphaned daughter of David Nelson (1777-1832) and Nancy Coulton (1781-1824) of Rupert, Bennington County, Vermont. Clarissa was the wife of John Miller (1812-1860), the son of Jacob Miller (1785-1838) and Elizabeth Brosius (1792-1869).
Clarissa wrote the letter to her older sister, Lucretia (Nelson) Denio. She was the wife of Zachariah Harwood Denio (1811-1867) — a carpenter and joiner who moved to Constantine, Michigan in 1842. He was also a member of the firm Denio & Pierce, foundry man in 1849. He went to California in 1851 and was a miner there.
Addressed to Mrs. Lucretia Denio, Rupert, Bennington County, Vermont
November 15th 1841
It is Monday morning but I will not delay writing to you any longer. I received your letter the next day after it arrived. I perused the contents but could not conceal the tears of joy when I found my past life was forgiven by my sisters far from me but you say nothing about the past so let it go. The reason I have not written before we had just gone to keeping house in Constantine and I had so much to do weekdays, I had not time. Brother H babe was sick and I spent my time there when I could. He is better now. He has been sick this summer the most of the time. His wife’s health has been very poor and all the children but are smart now. I have enjoyed good health myself and my family for I am a man of a family much as you used to say. If you would like to hear about marriage, I will tell you the 15 of June I was married. The next day we took a ride to Mr. Miller’s mother’s. We had no wedding. There was only James and Sally Miller and Darman and Cleman’s folks. When we arrived at the ____, they had a large guest and a good dinner. We staid there a week and then came back, made a visit, then moved there calculating to stay, but he could not get work there. We came back to Constantine [and] shall stay here until we settle on a farm which he calculates to do as soon as he can. I hope you will one day visit our residence or place of abode. Mr. Miller says I may visit my folks next fall but he cannot accompany me but may go and return with you. I hope you will make up your mind to come out here.
Perhaps I shall weary your patience if I tell you about my little girl. But give me leave to tell you that that gives me so much pleasure. She has got a good father. He is willing she should call him so which she does. He thinks a great deal of her. I cannot tell you half I want to but if life and health is spared, I hope to converse face to face with you all. Oh, I must tell you the Democratic news though I am a Whig and my husband too, but as good luck will have it, we have got the Governor right under our nose and there is a black cloud hangs over the village every time he crosses the bridge. He has to cross it every time he goes to his store.¹
That is all the news I have to write so I close by telling you I thank you many times for writing. Hope you will write again. Mrs. Harvey stood her journey very well — was quite tired. I see her the next day she was at Heman’s my love to all my brothers and sisters. Tell Sylvester I think of him often. Hope I shall see him next fall. Write to me soon all of you. Harwood must fix his business to come out here. He can get ten and twelve shillings a day at his trade, So good bye. Much love to you all from us both. Tell Betsey to write to [paper torn]… his wife to write and all of them.
Please to remember your unworthy sister, — Clarissa F. Miller
¹ Clarissa is referring to John Steward Barry (1802-1870), Constantine’s first post master and three-term governor. Barry operated a general store in the village but his residence must have been on the opposite side of the St. Joseph River as he had to cross the bridge to get to his store.