Letter from Rowland E. Robinson to Ann (King) Robinson

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Letter written by Rowland E. Robinson to Ann (King) Stephens.

This is a scanned version of the original image in Special Collections and Archives at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt.



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North Ferrisburgh 1th Mo 9th 1844.

My Dear Sisters, Most welcome letter reached me on the 3d inst a day or two later than it would had it been directed to our P.O. But it came, and I will try to acknowledge its receipt as speedily as may be. The account of thy journey was very interesting and gratifying to all of us, and we were truly glad that it was throughout so agreeable to thee. For one I am well pleased with the accomplishment of this so long-desired object, and I sincerely wish that nothing may mar thy enjoyment of this social-sojourn with thy kindred.

Do not be anxious about us, we are getting along quite comfortably, as much so - for aught I know as we ever do: I miss thee very much in many ways, but still do make out to keep the machinery moving, the work-drawer gives full proof of thy absence, but we are comfortable, my health is much better than it was last summer, so there is one favor thou seist: have had a hard head-ache only twice since thou left, and been confined to my room only one day. Ann has been to Peru, staid nearly two weeks, the two E's. have been most of that time, indeed all of it at brother N's. cousin E. is still there, and I know not when she will return. Susan is gone to Williston, and I expect will not return as she has been very unwell, and has engaged spinning to do. We have Sarah Freeman, to help us, Mary Ann Henry, washes, irons and bakes she will be here all the time after her jobs of house-cleaning are done. Sarah is a quiet, good girl, and does nicely, her mother is gone to Whitehall: Sarah and Clarissa went too, but returned the same week. Polly Brown is gone from T's, and there is another young woman from Huntington there. My spirits are quite good, and I feel much less burdened than is often the case, so thou must think of us as doing pretty well; our family is quite small, and we have less company than usual: the house has been new shingled, also the portico and slaughter-house, so the carpenters have been with us, thou will discover.

Since thou left poor Jermiah Griffin has had a severe trial in the death of her nephew Henry; he and another young man were drowned while bathing in the creek at Vergennes: his aunts were both quite unwell, Fanny unable to attend the funeral: his brother William is very feeble, is thought by many in a confirmed decline, he and his wife are at F. Barber's, have been there for some time. My intelligence of our neighbors is rather sad Poor Mary Webb, has a little babe which is doing well, but the mother is not likely to remain with it long, I cannot tell thee just how she is, but her friends think she is failing very fast Her sister Eliza has been with her - I understand - sometime, whether poor, poor Abby has been here or not, is more than I know. Doctor Ealls has been called to Mary, and Lillis Orevis told that she heard they had carried her through a course of calomel. Oh! what an error! a grievous one. but their prejudices I suppose are such that the Thompsonian course would seem like madness if not murder, to them. The rest of our acquaintences, as far as I know are in usual health. The weather has been rather cool most of the time since thou left us, with frequent rains; we have had a few warm days, and just now rain would be quite grateful: the crop of hay will be light it is thought, yet the pastures are very luxuriant: cheese is quite low, but we must be satisfied, I suppose, and "hope on, hope ever." We have sent cheese away twice, make two a day: do not smile, dear sister at this medley, I wish to tell thee about all the things, and the notice goes down with little order.

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there will be precious little sentiment in this, I am thinking, for I have so many things to tell thee; plain, matters of fact. Oh! before I forget it, thou must be told that we have had two of the fifteen slaves who fled from bondage in a Whale boat, and were pusued by an American vessel of War! Noble work! They have gone on to Canada, for they were afraid to remain any, where within our glorious republic, lest the chain of servitude should again bind soul and limb: poor men! they left wives behind, and deeply did they appear to feel the separation; they fell it so keenly that one of them said he would not have come away, had he not supposed he could easily effect the escape of his wife also, when he was once away. Both seemed very serious, as though grief sat heavy on their hearts, they tarried with only one night. were very anxious to journey on to Victoria's domain. Yesterday afternoon, Rowland, Ann, Emma R. and Rowland P. went to Vergennes and heard J. Pierpont on the third party question, in the evening he lectured upon Temperance, and it was nearly eleve O'clock when they returned home. I sat up for them 'till half past ten, when George urged me to retire, and he and G. Reynolds remained up.

To-day the two Rowlands are gone to Bristol, will probably meet with J. Pierpont again, though that is not the reason of their going: he is to remain in the state for a while I hear, to advance the third party interest. Poor Holcomb was here, a short time since, to me he seemed very greasy and uninteresting.

We have had a visit from Maria Murray too, she was disappointed in not seeing thee, expects to go into J.O.W's community, and will probably never visit us again; she seemed cheerful as could be expected, has had many trials since leaving Vt. I felt much sympathy for her. Jacob Spear's father and mother have made us a visit, expected to see thee, were very pleasant, talked of community, but have little confidence in J.A.C. C. Orvis has written home, and by her account it appears there are two distinct parties in the community there, she is in opposition to John C. I fear there is much that will not harmonize there, and that ere long there will be an open rupture among them. For to-day I must bid thee farewell, hope to finish this to-morrow.

11th To-morrow came, but with it no leisure for writing to thee, I should have had, but for an unusually heavy thunderstorm, which lasted a long time, and would not admit of my sitting down to commune with any absent one: the rain almost poured down, it felt so violently that every room in the house needed attention, it kept us busy for some time after the rain abated, for it did not stop 'till evening and it rained again in the night, and most of to-day the rain has been falling. I fear the stream will be increased dangerously, we hear to-day, that an extra-stage undertook last night to cross a stream in Shelburne, the bridge was gone, and one female passenger and three horses were lost. it may not be true, but we fear it is. We think the lightning must have struck pretty near us, yesterday several times, it was very vivid and the thunder exceedingly loud. I do not now recollect when we have had as terrific a shower. Who in the midst of such a season can feel naught of solemnity stealing over the soul. I know not, nor do I care to know, for to me it would be rather an evidence of hardness of heart, an estrangement from the source of true happiness.

The Gordon family are to leave Middlebury and settle in Hoosach, how strange that will seem will it not; to go there and not see them as a household: Matthew, Agnes, and I believe James remain, but they will not be together, and the social bond which used to greet us so cordially will be there more - perhaps - forever: With this reflection came many sad thoughts, many recollections of heart-felt enjoyment shared with this warm-hearted - though sectarian group, and the idea yea, the almost certain assurance, that such seasons will never more be known by us, awakens deeply painful sensations: but thus it is, how many links of the social chain are broken! some by one cause, and some by another. I have written but little but it is nearly dusk, and ere long this must be laid aside. If it had not rained and I had been well enough which by the way - I am not, I was intending to go after meeting to-day up to cousin N. Holmse' stay all night, and visit T. Whalley's family! art thou astonished dear sister? I am quite sane, I believe, at least the family think so. And there other visits coming up before my view too, so thou must wonder too much if thy sister become quite a gad-about! A great change I admit, and not a very probable one. I do so love the quiet of home that the very thought of visiting occasions a shrinking feeling. But I must say farewell for to-night.

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12th Again I am seated, dear sister, in the east-room, and hope to finish my communing with thee, for I wish to despatch this as soon as practicable, knowing well that thou must feel very anxious to hear from home. When not at liberty to pen my thoughts, much presents for communication but by the time I have leisure to write, all seems to have left me, and I wait for the return of something interesting; but wait I may - so I will in send thee such as I have, poor though it be.

Lorenzo Orvis has just returned from Peru, told us Rachel Barker attended Meeting twice, and strange, very strange to tell, preached only once, and then only a few words, the recital of an incident in some friend's journey, - the purport of it was that the friend stoppped at a house, but from his impressions was convinced that the Lord was not in that place, and he must travel on: this had so dwelt with her, that she felt it a duty to leave it with them, and they must use it as they chose: Poor Rachel! she will find some hard things administered to her, if she visits Peru, much more. I fear for many are dissatified with her, and Paulina Kuse eldered her pretty severely, Lorenzo said. R. has been caressed quite too much for her advancement in the truth, in my opinion: her vision has been dimmed by flattery and the following of the multitude. Oh! how needful for each of us to look well to our own steps, and not have an eye to the movements of others: our own faithfulness can alone bring peace, and remove all impurity from our spirits: As a society we have erred, I think, in having our eye upon others and feeling that the eyes of others were upon us, when the consciousness that the Eye of Omniscience beheld and judged our act and motive, should alone have influenced us in our conduct. I often desire entire liberation from this thraldom of spirit, to become wholly free! We hear that D. Golden, D. and J. Willets are to visit our Meetings this summer, cannot say how correct this is, do not covet the compa of D. and Jacob, at all: think they could well be spared. By a round about connection of thought thi reminds me to tell thee, that Benjamin Field has purchased A. Orvis's farm, and is to take up his residence there this autumn: Whither A. will remove I know not: I regret their being obliged to leave such a comfortable home: B. pays three thousand dollars for the farm, but this will not pay all A. debts. Stephen Kuse is still living, suffers much and is at times very impatient, which is quite a trial to his relatives: others at Peru are generally well: Oliver Kuse second has sustained a severe trial, in the sudden death of his wife, about four weeks ago, - she was expecting to be confined ere long, has always at such times had attacks, approaching very nearly to appoplexy, was taken on seventh-day evening and died the second-day evening; spoke only once after the attack. But I must draw to a close for L. is waiting for this; - we have not heard from Huldah, cannot account for her silence. We are all as well as usual except myself, hope to be better in a day or two: do not like to send blank paper, so far, but must or wait a day or two. On second thought, I will not send it to-day, for it can only travel to-morrow ere it will have to lie by - to rest: so I shall after all, fill the sheet. We have not heard from C. and Gertrude in a long time but I have not yet replied to their last; - indeed I have very little leisure for writing to any one now, wrote to brother Charles, just after thou left, have not received an answer yet. Rowland went to visit our poor dea Lucy who has removed back to Brooklyn; - he says she looks as though her heart was indeed broken, though she seemed cheerful and sweet, but it was evident that a canker was at the root of her hopes, that her happiness was blighted: he did not see Edward, but heard that he is doing poorly: very low salary too. which I fear will scarely support his family. Oh! how much there is to make the heart sad, - if not for ourselves - for others. Emma and hers are all well, and doing well as to the outward, and truly do I wish for them the acquistion of spiritual wealth, - a treasure that cannot fail in time of need. As this is not to depart immediately, I shall lay it aside again, for my mending, for this werk is not done: so farewell for to-day.

14th As I hope an opportunity will offer for the conveyance of this to the Office, I sit down to finish it: we are all tolerably well this morning, though my back aches badly, so that I think it will be better for me to remain at home: father intends going to meeting, - I went with him last First-day. He seems quite pleasant of late, though not very sociable with me, - for this there is probably a cause, - soon after thy departure, Mary appeared very agreeable and familiar, quite disposed to make her way into my arms if practicable, but they were folded up and her freedom received with bare civility, - scarely that indeed, for how could I

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Since any thing but indifference towards one in whom I have no confidence, and for whom I have no regard? - I may say not the least respect? She found no openness among us, and has ceased her efforts, quite a relief, I assure thee. She and Betsy are "familiar friends", have been to W. Clark's and brother N's together: rather an imposition upon the visited in my opinion. Mother is very sweet, her childlike rambling and picking of flowers continue, in sunshine and in shower, - her health rather better than when thou left home. Burling Webb was here yesterday, said Mary is better, they feel quite encouraged about her. I have not seen E. Wheeler since thou left, - believe she is as well as usual. Thomas a Rachel Whalley have inquired after thee very kindly several times.

I feel sorry that this has been so long delayed for I am aware how anxious thou must feel on our account, but thou must know too that my time is pretty fully occupied, when able to do anything.

Jane and Henry Miles took supper with us yesterday afternoon, we had quite a pleasant visit from them their little Ellen grows finely, begins to walk, grows more like the Miles' family in countenance.

Our dear Rachel had not an unalloyed cup of enjoyment, while in N. Y. though she had more of satisfaction than might have been anticipated by some of us. Annabella was with her some: They seem to Mahlon Days at first, but were so cooly treated, that they were glad to find a comfortable, pleasant home, at the Widow Bowne's; - George's step-mother. George as very attentive to them; - Eliza is married there are several younger daughters at home: all were kind and agreeable. and made them welcome.

[Bottom] The Hannah Robinson of whom thou spoke, is no more! she deceased n Philadelphia, on her way home from Charleston, where she had been spending the Winter. The Minturns have returned from Cuba, Gertrude's health much improved. Agatha is to be married to a young Austrian, next Autumn, if nothing unforseen prevents, - and go with him to reside in Vienna. A great distance from all friends! He says that when he amasses more wealth he will return to America, and spend the remainder of their days. Very uncerta I should think. Rowland went on to New-port after Y. M. to see to uncle Joseph's business, and same other things, and spent a week with cousin Hetty's family. - he was from home nearly four weeks.

Ann says "give a great deal of love to Aunt Ann from me." We have heard nothing from our dear Fanny since thou left us, Ann wrote to her some weeks since: hope one of us will recieve an answer ere long. Poor girl! she is much in my thoughts,- for she has drank deeply of sorrow's cup. I heard nothing from E. Comfort, and do not know what to think of it. Please give our love to thy brother John and family, also to Robert all write in much love to thee. Do write as frequently as is convienient, though do not exert thyself when

[right side] unable, if thou art quite sick some one else will surely be kind enough to inform us. I hope thou will derive much satisfaction from mingling thus with thy relatives, and that the retrospect will also afford thee pleasure. Do be careful of over-exertion, thou knowest that is a failing of thine Farwell dear sister, and feel as little anxiety as possible respecting us. Affectionately thy sister Rachel.

[Center] N Ferrisburgh Vt 18¾ July 15 Arrived 28th of 7th Mo. 1844

Ann King Care of John King Ceres. McKean Co. Pa.

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