1842: Deborah Foster to David Enos

This letter was written by Deborah Foster (or Forster?) from Norwichtown, immediately north of the Yantic River in Connecticut. We learn from the letter that Deborah and her sister (daughter?) Eliza worked in the mill at Yantic, Connecticut which was a little over a mile up the river from Norwichtown. This was undoubtedly the Yantic Woolen Company Mill owned by Capt. Erastus Williams (1793-1867) who manufactured high-quality woolen flannel there in the 1840’s and 50’s. I could nail down the details of Deborah’s identity not her relationship to David Enos, the recipient of this letter, though she referred to him as her uncle. I feel certain the Rogers and Minor families are somehow related to Deborah.

Deborah wrote the letter to her Uncle David Enos (1771-1848). David was married to Mary Minor (1785-1846) and came to reside in New Haven (later Mexico), Oswego County, New York in 1805. The Enos family children mentioned in the letter include Lucian B. (1817-1906), George C. (1812-1885), William (1823-1858), and David, Jr. (1827-1853). The “Nancy and Julia” mentioned in the post script may have been Enos children as well. The 1855 New York State Census shows a Nancy Enos living with a sister, Julia (Enos) Legg in the household of Lyman Buell Legg of Scriba, Oswego County, New York.

Though Deborah did not dateline her letter, I’m certain it was written in the spring of 1842 as the marriage of Andrew Wallace to Eunice M. Forster (or maybe this should be Foster?) is mentioned which took place in Norwich on 19 December 1841. We learn that Andrew and Eunice took up housekeeping on Bean Hill which was originally a separate village located about a mile from the center of Norwich in close proximity to the Norwichtown Green.

1842 Letter

1842 Letter

Addressed to Mr. David Enos, Albion, to be left at Mexico, Union Square, Oswego County, New York

[Spring 1842]

Dear friends,

I take this opportunity to write to you and let you know that we are all well at present and I hope that I shall find you the same for I long to hear from you and yours to know how you get along and to hear if you are all in the land of the living or not and what the times are for they’re very dry here and very sickly with us.

Nancy, I began this [letter] in the summer and Eliza was taken sick and before she got well, I had to go in the factory at Yantic and my mind is so stirred up that I don’t know nor when to write but I do want to  hear from you all so that I don’t know what to do. You must write to me as soon as you get this for you know that it is a great while ago since I heard from you and yours. Uncle, I want you to find out whether Mr. Spencer is a going to have that 45 acres of land and let me know and what I shall have to give for the lot for if he don’t have it, I shall. If you will take the trouble to find out for me and send me word as soon as you can. Uncle and Aunt, Father’s folks have bought them a farm and paid for it and they are all well as common for them.

Nancy, that little treasure you sent me was lost for the letter was unseated and I suppose that it was opened for I never see the hair that you put in the letter. Nancy, Eunice is married to Andrew Wallace and they are a going to housekeeping the first of April on Bean Hill. We live where we did when I was up there. Aunt, how does that arm get along? O, I was so sorry for you that you should have such misfortune.

Eliza wants to know — if you would give her a permit — to visit you this summer coming for she says she dare not come there without your consent or approbation. Joel sends his love to all and he is all engaged about that land and as soon as you can find, I shall have the money in readiness to pay for it. It will make me a home if I shall ever come to want one. Give my love to one and all and tell Mercer that I want to see that boy. My love to Mary and husband and kiss Mary for me. Give my respects to my old friend Grisley and Messrs. Lloyd and all that ask after this poor creature.

Nancy, I have not see you down here yet. Do you and Julia come down here this summer and see us all for it will not cost you much to come if the traveling is as cheap this summer as it was last and we have had a first rate winter. It has been so warm that we have not had a fire in the mill much of the time. Tomorrow we stop working nights. We make good wages in the mill since Eliza and I have worked there. We have earned over one hundred dollars so do write as soon as you get this for I do want to hear from you the worst kind and see you too. O, what would I give to see you all in that log house. Be assured that there is not a day but you have me there in mind. There is not a spot on the earth I so much desire.

My love to Lucian, George, William, David. So goodbye for we the ___ ___ — Deborah Foster

Nancy and Julia, I am thinking of sending you the mamotte sheet the first time I go to the landing.

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