This letter was written by Samuel H. Judson (1801-1864) and his wife, Mary (McCray) Judson of Charleston, Peoria County, Illinois. They were married in Ellington, Connecticut in June 1834 but resided in Southbridge prior to relocating to Illinois. It appears the Judson returned to Ellington, however, prior to 1852. I believe Samuel was the son Samuel and Sally Judson of Uxbridge, Massachusetts.
They wrote the letter to Mary’s sister, Submit (McCray) Browning and her husband, Joseph Davis Browning, Jr. (1800-Aft1850), the son of Joseph D. Browning and Bathsheba Church. The Brownings resided in Brimfield, Hamden County, Massachusetts when this letter was written in 1842 but by 1850 had relocated to Stafford, Tolland County, Connecticut. Massachusetts Vital Records indicate that Joseph had been previously married to Mrs. Sally Fenton in 1840.
Addressed to Mr. Joseph D. Browning, Jr., Brimfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts
Charleston, Peoria County, Illinois
November 29th 1842
My Dear Brother & Sister,
It is with much pleasureI seat myself to answer your kind letter. I can assure you, it gave us great pleasure to hear from you once more that you were all enjoying comfortable health. By the goodness of divine Providence we are all well and have been blessed with good health the las t season while many have sickened and died about us. Wife has never enjoyed so good health since we were married as she has for the last three months — not so much as the sick headache. We are comfortably and pleasantly situated with friend Slocum — a good and pleasant family — and a warm room, plenty to eat and drink. Hope to get started in the spring for the East if we got our pay and I think we shall have done better than we could have done farming for ourselves. There is between eleven and twelve per cent secured by [smudged] mortgage. The times are known so low. Wheat 25 cts. per bushel, oats 10 cts, onions 6 to 8, potatoes 8 to 10. Beef first rate $1.00 to $1.50 per hundred. Pork the same. In goods at Peoria. No cash.
We are keeping house. Have some small demands due us but no cash. We feel much obliged for your kind invitation for wife and Elizabeth to spend the winter with you. It would be pleasant. Still I would hardly know how to get along to be deprived of her society this winter. I think it will be much pleasanter for us to take the northern route and go on together in the spring.
I saw a letter a short time since from Esq. Bottom of Southbridge to Wolcott. He gives a sorry account of the manufacturing business. Speaks of Seabury and others. We were very sorry to hear of the death of Mr. Converse. Had not heard of his being sick. You say nothing of Father Browning and wife. How are they this winter? John and wife — what is he doing? Our respects to them all.
In your next, give us all the particulars what is going on in Brimfield and Southbridge. Is Lauer keeping store in Brimfield yet? Are the Warren’s doing anything? Where is Hitchcock, J. W. Bliss, Porter Wales, &c.? Give us a full account.
Love to Bro. Pitkin & wife, Bro. Carpenter and Sister E., and all inquiring friends and accept much for yourselves. I must loan the balance for wife. From your bro., Samuel H. Judson
My dear Brother & Sister,
You have probably expected an answer to your letter long ‘ere this and may, perhaps, ascribe our silence to neglect, but you will excuse us when I tell you it did not reach us until last thursday — thanksgiving day. We did not know until I read your letter, supposed it was in Conn. as it is always the last thursday in November. I thought of you all day and imagined you all together at our dear native home — everything going on as it used to when I was permitted to take my place in the family circle. I could hardly contain myself to think I must spend another in Illinois when I had expected & anticipated this thanksgiving with our dear brothers & sisters. I have hoped against hope so long that I sometimes almost despair of ever seeing my friends again. I expect such feelings are wrong but I can’t help it. I am so anxious to get away that I hardly know what to do. I would gladly have accepted your kind invitation and did talk of going in October but I knew husband would be very lonely this winter and we may take the farm back. In that case, I should feel worse to be obliged to come back than if I had not gone. I hope, however, we shall get away in the spring.
I was truly surprised to hear of Mrs. E. Pitkin’s death. How many children did she leave? Poor woman — she toiled & sacrificed her ease to acquire property but was called away ‘ere she got ready enjoying it. I suppose I have had a presentiment that I was to hear of the death of some of our friends & have been quite anxious about Asenath. I hope you will let me know as soon as she is confined. I am sorry little Julia suffers so much with her teeth. Does she talk & go alone & who does she look like? I suspect little Mary ___ is great rogue from all I hear of her, and as for Wen, he is willing to be good half of the time. Well that is doing pretty well for him if he is full of mischief as he was when I was there. What is the reason you don’t go to Ellington oftener? I suppose you see brother & sister Carpenter frequently. HOw is her health this winter & has she any addition to her family yet? This is Mrs. Parker’s “every other year” I believe. Has she another or skipped this year?
I received a letter from Mary Ann in October. I don’t think she is very happy. She ought not to live with the old folks. He is so tyrannical. He will make everybody unhappy around him, I should think. She is quite impatient for us to get there.
I hear nothing from L. Hughs &c. & [paper creased] I am quite confined at home this winter. Husband sold his horses and wagons and we have no way to get about. It is seven weeks since I rode out. Don’t you think my patience has been tried in every way? I have to exert every nerve to keep myself composed, and feel that “Is all for the best.” I know there is an overruling hand in all things and I ought to have faith to believe that all things will work together for our good. Elizabeth is well. She don’t go to school. Write soon. Much love, your sister, — Mary Judson
Excuse all mistakes.
What is the reason that Win [Edwin?] don’t let us hear from him, I wonder. I fear he has gone back into his old tracks but I pray it may not prove so. I have done all I could to assure him of my sisterly regard for him & encourage him to keep in the right way. He never has so much as sent us a paper. I received a letter from Mary Lively a few weeks since. They talk of coming to Illinois. I should be right glad to see her. I think she feels her responsibility as a Christian more than she used to. Edwin is settled about 50 miles from here. We hear the he is an active Christian and very much esteemed. Do you ever see mother Sexton? Mrs. Willey — is she any better? Is Aunt Thompson living & do you hear from our New Hampshire friends? How does Maria Stacey come on & Eliza Bonney? Is Uncle Elias Terry alive? Do you ever go there? I should like to visit there and mean to if we have the good luck to reach New England once more. M.A. says Fred is going to marry M. A. Dow. I received a letter from Mrs. Ashley in September. I was glad to hear from her. She has 2 children. Lost one. She seems quite engaged in religion. Is Mr. Brockway living & how does Judge Wallo family get along. They are not half particular enough when they write at E. about giving news. I wish you would tell us all about the folks when you write. Take a sheet of foolscap and fill as full as you can, will you? We are going to have out Thanksgiving turkey tomorrow. Wish we could have some of your oysters & mince pies to go with it and a dish of apples for dessert. Good bye again.