Series of letters from Hannah, copied by Henry to Francis, October 13, 1868


Dublin Core


Series of letters from Hannah, copied by Henry to Francis, October 13, 1868


Death; Sisters-in-law; Pets; Children; Stillbirth; Health


Following the death of Francis's wife, Hannah, his brother, Henry copies a series of letters she sent to Henry and Harriet in China. She talks about various things including the departure of her siblings-in-law to Canton, the uncertainty of life, the weather, her and her husband's health, and their pets. She also talks about what appears to be the birth of her stillborn son. The letters range from early 1866 to mid-1867, and Hannah appears to have a kind and optimistic outlook.


Noyes, Henry Varnum, and Noyes, Hannah Hamsher


The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection, Box #3






Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)





Text Item Type Metadata


Seville March 8th 1866
Dear Brother + Sister
As the whole family are
writing to you I don't know but they
have snatched up all the ideas that are
floating loosely through the atmosphere,
+ whether my brain is fertile Enough to
raise anything in that line remains to
be decided. Frank + I have been visiting
most of the time since our marriage
our last trip being to Columbus where
we had a very pleasant visit + found
our friends well. We are having very cold
weather here now, while you, no doubt are
suffering from Excessive heat. One can
hardly realize that while [--you--] we are shiv-
Ering about the stove, you are fanning
away vigorously trying to make your-
selves comfortable. Cyrus Crane, Mattie,
Mrs Elliot + Mollie Bowers were here
last Evening, but as we were away + did'nt
get home till late, we had but little time
to chat with them. We thank you so much
for the nice bible you sent us + hope we
may be Ever found following its precepts.
Did you get a bible like ours for yourselves?
WE are anxious to know. I presume Hattie
has given you an account of her adventures
in Ashland so Ill say nothing about it.
We Expect to go to housekeeping about the
first of April. We are going to live in the
front part of Mr English's house. We shall
have but little room but "contentment with
godliness is great gain" + the source of true
happiness. It would afford me a great

deal of pleasure to peep into your house
when you are settled at Canton. You
form the subject of conversation here
many times during the day + Evening
I believe I have not told you that we are
staying at Father Noyes' now + occupy
that room up stairs that used to
be known as the "[u]Boys' room[/u]". I will
leave the rest of this sheet for Frank.
As we shall be writing frequently
I will say good bye for the present,
with much love to both
Oh HEnry I forgot to say to you
before you left that the Portmonie
you gave me on Christmas, is a
dear little keepsake, for which receive
my Earnest thanks .
Seville May 10th 1866
DEar Brother + Sister
More than three months
have passed since you left us, + it
seems as if you must have had a
dreary time, so long on the water,
but if you have had a prosperous
voyage, you must be near your
new home. It is not necessary to tell
you how much you are missed, but
Every day many times Henry + Cynthia
are spoken of. We are keeping house
now in Mrs Bates' house (she has gone
to take cared of old Father Ross) and

Enjoy ourselves very much. It is a
cozy little place for a small family
Frank has to be away all day + I get
quite lonely - has to be there at seven
-o-clock, + is only home a few min=
utes at noon + comes to supper at six
+ sometimes later. He did'nt as
he could get time to write any in
this letter. We had a letter from Mother
last night. They were at Mexico + En-
joying themselves finely. Mr Cook who
was here at Presbytery last fall is now
at Father Noyes', came home with him
from Cleveland. He called here this
afternoon. How much I wish you
could call here. Mary Ross was mar-
ried this morning at 7-o-clock. Her
husband's name is Young. He keeps
a provision store in this place. He is
a relative of Mrs HEnry Brotts + it was
through her he became acquainted with
Mary. We have been having cold weather
for several weeks but to-day is quite
warm + the air is filled with fragrance
from the apple blossoms. Peaches are
killed + we think most of the cherries.
Rover is very sociable since he has
found out who lives here. We stayed
with us all night last night ---
Last Sabbath was our com-
munion, the first since you went
away. Mr Whitesides too, were at our last
communion. Oh! may we all live as
faithfully as did good old Mr White-
side + be as ready to leave this world
as was he --

Frank's health is much better than
it was in the Early spring + I think
will continue better through warm
weather but I fear another winter +
Seville Aug 10th 1866
Dear Brother + sister
Since the advent of your
journal amongst us we have felt
almost as if we had you with us
again. But such is not the fact how-
Ever much we may desire it. I've
thought so many times this summer if
HEnry + Cynthia could only make us [u]one[/u]
visit in our little cottage home, I should
be satisfied. I wanted very much to have
you come in strawberry time but they
are all gone now. We'll have some melons
bye + bye come then. We are very happy
in our humble home but I hope we
may not be so happy in Each other's
love as to forget the Giver of all our
blessings. Frank has been out of the
store for a month, so that he will
probably find time to say a few words
in this sheet. We wants so much to hear
from you again to know what you think
of your new home by this time. Dear
Cynthia, you will have learned Ere this
the sad tidings of your brother's death
How uncertain is life. When you left
he to all human appearance would
have been the last one you would have
thought of being called away so soon.

I hope you are blessed with good
health. I think a sea voyage must
be so monotonous. You must have
been very tired + glad once more to set
your feet on "terra firma." I suppose
Dr Happer will soon start for this
country. We Expect a visit from him
when he arrives. I must leave part of
this for Frank. Rover has been paying
us a visit. We have a nice little black
kitten which we call the Jack (+ by the way
he is the smartest of the race) + he would
like to play with Rover's tail but Rover puts
on so much dignity that he will not
permit it. Do you have plenty of fruit
+ vegetables? We have green corn now
I have commenced drying for winter
use. HEnry - I dreamed of you all night,
one night last week. I would waken
+ then go to sleep again + go right on
dreaming of you. Father lives with us
now + has just returned from a visit
to sister Redinger's in Smithville. I
always think at our Monthly Concert,
that I can see you both looking across
the "great water" + smiling at us; + the
day of our donation for forEign
missions it seemed to me you were
looking with Eager interest at our
proceedings. Our prayers you have always.

Seville Oct 10th 1866
Dear Brother + Sister
Your [u]dear kind[/u] letter
was received last week + oh! how
much pleasure it afforded us to
hear from you again + to hear that
dear sister Cynthia was better. I
presume some of the rest have
told you that Frank + I are staying
with the rest of the [u]children[/u] while
Father is away. No doubt you get
the same information twice over
when there are so many to write as
we don't see Each others letters. Frank
has been sick with a severe cold
which settled on his lungs, but is
now better though not able to go
back to the store yet. We are wri-
ting in the study. Mary peeped in
a short time ago to know how
much I was going to write this time.
said she had written a sheet, but
did'nt Expect to write so much
Every time. Edward has just been
in talking to Frank about the cider
which he Expects to make to-morrow
Oh if we could only give you some
would'nt it taste good [illegible]
sweeten it, to know it came from
home. I suppose we must soon
give up our [u]dear Hattie[/u] but we

don't feel as if we could her
go this fall. Of course she has written
you all the Board have said to her
about it. She would rather not go
until spring if she was certain of
company then. About Edward + Cyrus
I can't tell what their matrimonial
prospects are, but judging from ap-
pearances, should think there was
more prospect of their marrying Each
other than of their marrying any lady
However Mrs Brown has renewed her
attentions to Edward but with what
success time will tell. She gave a con-
cert two Evenings last week + by much
perseverance succeeded in getting
him to play for her the last Evening. If
perseverance will win, her Efforts ought
to be crowned with success. I wish
the Chinese would kill their [?rats?]
before bringing them to market, for
Ever since the reading of your letter
I've had the picture of that poor [?rat?]
suspended as you described it + in
imagination I've seen its frightful con-
tortions, + the frantic Efforts to Escape. I
wish we could send them a boat load
of ours, the ones that infest the house I
mean. I believe I could Endure to see
them similarly situated for a short time,
to pay them for keeping us away at
night. A ray of sunshine stole across
the study a few minutes ago + it

seemed so cheering. We [u]do have[/u] so
much cloudy rainy weather. It almost
makes me feel blue. Your letter was
written the 27th of July. It seems so
long ago. If Cynthia has continued
to improve she must be feeling quite
well now, + I [u]do sincerely[/u] hope she is
in comfortable health. Very much
love + many kisses for both
Your Affectionate Sister
Seville April 9th 1867
Dear Brother + Sister
We intended writing
you by last mail, but as people in
this world don't always accomplish
what they purpose doing you will
not be surprised to learn that we
failed to send off our sheet. Your
letters do us [u]so much[/u] good + we
can hardly wait till they come. I
believe I have not written to you
since last October but you have prob-
ably learned through others the reason
Poor health has prevented my writing
this winter but I'm very much
better now, so that I can walk up
to Father Noyes! Frank's health is
better than it was a year ago. His
lungs have not troubled him so much

this winter as last, + though his throat
has been very sore at time, it is bet-
ter now + we hope will remain so.
In your last sheet to us (Frank + I) you
HEnry spoke of Cynthia making cakes
Really we were glad to know that her
health was so far restored as to admite
of her doing such work. I have just
had a call from Father noyes. He was
returning from Mr Chapin's. He says
Beulah is running down very fast,
though she is not confined to bed.
Is very much as Persis was. It seems
so sad for Mrs Chapin to be left without
any daughter. Eben's family have removed
to [u]Mo[/u] . Sugar making is over now
We are mourning the loss of our dear
dog Rover, but as I know the girls
will give you the particulars of his
tragical End, I'll say nothing about it
I miss him so much. He was so
much company for me. Before sugar
making began he used often to come
+ stay all day with me. Poor fellow
he's gone + I know you will sorrow
for our loss, as I'm sure you kept a
warm corner in your heart for him.
Dear Cynthia I often think how hard
it was for you to be so sick away
from all your folks, Except your [u]dear
good[/u] husband. I thought it hard Enough

to be sick with so many kind friends
near me. I fear we do not always
realize that "the lives have fallen to
us in pleasant places." I thought this
morning when Father Noyes came in,
how nice it would be if he could as
Easily call on you. But it does'nt
seem now as if China was so [u]very[/u]
far away. The Pacific Railway is being
pushed ahead so rapidly, that it will
be but a few years until the journey
can be made with comparative Ease.
You wanted to know all about the
little things at home + I presume the
girls are trying to tell you, but I
will tell you that our [u]little[/u] black
kitten that was, is now a great grown
up cat. His name is Jack. Frank
has purchased this house + lot, so it
is now [u]our home[/u] + a lady friend of
mine named it "Rosewood Cottage"
Your account of the Governors visit
to Canton is very amusing. I wonder
if the matter was dropped without
anything further being done. I must
stop writing and get dinner. Besides
I am afraid I am taking more than
my half of the sheet. So Good bye
I'll leave the rest for my [u]dear[/u] Frank
to write. With Ever so much love I am
Your Affectionate sister

Seville May 10th 1867
My dear Brother + Sister
Though I always feel as
my letters were of no account, yet
to show you that I have a sister's
affection for you, I keep sending them
- little scrawls as they are. The first
thought is with us all How is
Cynthia? If we could but drop in
+ sympathize with you in person,
it would be a great satisfaction
to us + no doubt a comfort to you
But we feel that the "[u]Great Physician[/u]"
is able to comfort as well as heal.
I do sincerely hope we may hear
better news in your next. We are
in usual health here. Frank is quite
well but very busy. We are having a
little addition to "Rosewood Cottage" Enough
to Enlarge our kitchen a few feet + have
a small bedroom beside. Frank is
doing the work himsElf + is very tired
when night comes, so much so that I
am afraid he will not be able to
write you this time. I wanted him
to write to you Henry + give you the
particulars of the birth of our dear
little boy. I never though any
one could feel so much affection
for a child who never opened its
Eyes to the light of this world

but it was a sad disappointment to
us. As we are all married folks now
+ you both read all the letters, it may
not be out of place (as you requested
the particulars) for me to tell you
that the child was a fine healthy
looking one, + its death was caused
by my protracted illness. It had
dark hair + I've no doubt would
have had dark [--hair--] Eyes. Its forehead
was shaped very much like Father
Noyes' + the lower part of its face
resembled Will's little boy that died.
I think you, Henry remember him.
Frank purchased a lot in the
new part of the Cemetery. It lies
west of the old Indian mound + is
the next lot but one to it. You will
know now the location of our lot ---
What more shall I say to you?
I can tell you that we have a
very unpleasant spring. No nice
warm weather yet, but plent of cold
cold. HEnry you mentioned twice in
your letter about Frank having the
offer of the P.O. in this town, if he
would change his vote. He asked
me what I thought of it, + I told him
if he did such a thing as that for
such a purpose I could [u]never feel
any respect for him again[/u]. But I'm
afraid you have not been properly

informed as to the source of the pro-
posal. I am most happy to inform
you that it was not a DEmocrat who
made the proposal, but one who has
always belonged to the Republican
party, which fully accounts for his
want of principle. He is now however
half pretending to be a DEmocrat, no
doubt from some selfish motive. I
don't believe that any Democrat Ever
asked him to make such a proposal.
I think it originated with himself but
what he Expected to accomplish by it
I'm sure I cannot tell. Perhaps to
test Frank's principle. I am glad
to know that Cynthia has not al-
together forgotten the teachings of
her good old father. I hope she
may be the means of doing her
[u]husband[/u] some good in a political
way. --- I hear Father Noyes talking
with Frank out where he is working
I suppose the girls tell you all
the news so there is no use in
my telling it over agan. We have
had garden made for more than
a month but the weather is so
Extremely cold that things come
on very slowly. We have our
flower[--s--]bed fixed up nicely, + some

Early flowers in bloom but they are
chilled too by the cold atmosphere
with which they are surroundEd
Like people sometimes when they
meet with such freezing civilities
Well I think of nothing more to say
this time thought this sheet is'nt
quite full. Hattie is still with us
+ we are glad to keep her, but we
are dreading Every day lest she
should be called away. Perhaps
I ought not to say [u]we[/u] feel so, but
such are my feelings. Good night
dear ones, + may you Ever be com-
forted + sustained in your trials +
afflictions is the prayer of
Your loving sister
Jack jumped upon the window sill
+ then walked over on the table +
rubbed his face on mine, + I im-
agined he wanted to send his
kind regards to you.

Canton Oct 13th 1868
My dear Bro Frank
I have just finished copying
your [u]dear[/u] Hannah's letters, which
has been a pleasure though of
course bringing sad memories
back; + yet I can't feel like saying
[u]sad[/u] -- they seem very pleasant
+ it has made my mind dwell
somewhat more than it is want
to do, on that bright world where
our treasures are. I know you
will read these loving letters with
tender interest + may the prayer
with which she closes her last
letter be abundantly answered
in the case of us both. I
should like to write you a good
long letter but have not time
this mail + so will send what
I have copied as my contribution
this time a far more valuable one
too than anything I could write
With much Earnest sympathy
Your loving Bro

塞维利亚 1866 年 3 月 8 日

在你离开之前 Portmonie
塞维利亚 1866 年 5 月 10 日

可以在这里打电话。玛丽罗斯今天早上 7 点结婚。她
离开。 Whitesides 先生也是我们的最后一位

塞维利亚 1866 年 8 月 10 日
Henry 和 Cynthia 只能让我们成为一个


Original Format



Noyes, Henry Varnum, and Noyes, Hannah Hamsher, “Series of letters from Hannah, copied by Henry to Francis, October 13, 1868,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed May 28, 2023,

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