Letter from Varnum Noyes to his Mother, July 1, 1844


Dublin Core


Letter from Varnum Noyes to his Mother, July 1, 1844


God; Heaven; Children; Daughters; Sons; Agriculture; Clergy; Church


In this letter to his mother, Mehitable, Varnum writes about how life in Guilford is going. He talks about a visit from his sister Zoa, how he has aged, and his children. He compares his children to each other and worries about their health. He discusses the farm, including the fact that some of his bees have gone missing. He concludes by discussing his work at the Presbyterian Church (it has been a bit difficult) and salvation through Christ.


Noyes, Varnum


Loose, The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection






Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)





Text Item Type Metadata


Guilford July 1st 1844
Dear Mother,
If Sister N. has received the
letter I wrote to her a few weeks since you
will probably be expecting one from me about
this time. I have been so long in the practice
of writing you on my birth day that I think
I shall most likely continue the practice so long
as God in his providence shall see fit to contin-
ue us both in this world. The return of my birth
day is calculated not only to call my [--my--] minf
to serious reflections upon the past, but to remind
me of my obligations to my parents especially
my aged mother. It would be a peculiar gratifica
tion to me to [u]see[/u] as well as [u]think[/u] of my mother.
but while deprived of the privilege of seeing you,
it is pleasant to [u]think[/u] of you and to send some
of those thoughts to you. I have entertained some hope
of yet seeing you in Ohio, but owing to your
infermities I dare not insist upon it as much as
I should otherwise do. I was very much gratified
with the long visit Sister Z made us, and should
be glad to see her ^[again] or my other sister or brothers.
I begin to have some thoughts of again visiting N.E.
whether I shall come, or when, I cannot now tell.
I feel as though the Lord had been good to me
in sparing me so long, when I have been so
unprofitable in his service. I have been permit-
ted ^[to] number forty years and begin to wear the
marks of old age. Gray hairs are not only [u]here and
there[/u] upon me ;but my head is becoming con-
siderably frosted. My family have all yet been
spared to me, and at present are all in health.
Mrs N. enjoys very good health at present but
she can not bear very much. A little over doing
would upset her entirely. We have a very good
girl. Sarah is almost as good to us as a hired
maid, better than some. She is going to school
this summer and we keep Henry at home to

help his mother. He is almost as good to tend the
babe and help about the house as a little girl,
altogether better than Edward the oldest. We find
we have quite a variety in our little family. Our
children seem to differ considerably in thier dispo-
sitions. Edward can saw wood for the stove
milk and would do a considerable work if e
had any one to work with him, but to set [--a--]
boys to work alone is of but little use. They make
but little head-way. I am in hopes that should they
live, in the course of a few years they will be
able to manage my farm. Little Harriet our
youngest is rather [?fitful?], though she grows well and
seems healthy. The wooping cough is making its appearance
in the neighbourhood and perhaps our children may
have it in the course of the summer. I have been
troubled some with a cough for a few weeks but
think it is some better. I find a plenty of employ-
ment. I am engaged a little in cultivating the soil. Have
a small piece of corn and potatoes and a little
garden and find it difficult to keep down the weeds.
I am also getting quite a stock of bees, have eight
swarms and expect one or two more. I have lost
two swarms, they either went off or were robbed. I find
my bees, farm, and other worldly matters too often
get into my study, or rather into the mind while in
the study. I do not know but my mind is becoming
too much secularized. I often complain of my people
for their worldly-mindedness, perhaps they will soon
begin to complain of me on the same ground. I do not
wish to become so much immersed in the world or so
much attached to the objects of theworld but that
I may be willing to have them all with cheerfulness
whenever God shall give the summons. It is good
to feel that we are strangers and pilgrims on earth,
and that we are seeking a better country, that is
an [?heavenly?]. The things of this world so far as we
need them should be received thankfully as blessings
coming from God. But these things should never

be suffered to lead our minds away from God
or make us negligent in discharging out obligations
to him. I find my congregation in this place grad-
ually increasing notwithstanding all thte opposition
with which we meet. Yesterday our little meetinghouse
was well filled. The people appear to be attentive
and I cannot but hope that the Lord has blessings
in store for us though I am fully sensible that
we do not deserve them. I am preaching upon the ten
commandments, have got as far as the third. Find
the study of them interesting and profitable to myself.
Two or three families have moved in who we hope
will be a help to us. I find it extremely difficult
to keep up our weekly prayer meeting through the
summer, but few attend. I have some difficulties
in the church or rather between two or three mem
bers of the church, which I have laboured hard
to settle but with rather poor success. These are the
things which wEar a minister down altogether more
than the labour of preaching the gospel. Though I
have many difficulties to encounter I love my people
and could not well bear to have them. I believe I
have many true friends and I suppose I have some
enemies. The Oberlin Church is at present destitute of
a pastor. The Baptists are building a meeting-
house in the place which is the fourth in
our little [?village?]. In Wadsworth where brother Fay
formerly lived it has been very sickly the past
spring. Many with whom I was well aquainted have
gone the way of all the earth. I was fearful that
the disease would spread into this place but
it has not. It was a species of Erysipelas which
affected the throat. I am glad to hear that the church
in W. is prospering so well. If you have got a
good minister I hope you will keep him, and
sustain him. This frequent changing of ministers
is bad for both ministers and people. I hope you
will endeavour to live near to God and have
your mind much on the things of another world
[Note: written sideways in the margin]
Mrs N. sends her love to you and all our connections. Give my love to all my old friends to whom it may be acceptable.

of which you are no doubt sensible you must
soon be an inhabitant. Many of our connections
are already in the eternal world and we shall
soon be of their number. Soon we must put off
this tabernacle. Of that we may be prepared for
the solemn event of exchanging worlds and
for the endless state beyond. The Saviour will
sustain his disciples and meet out grace to
them according to their day.
[Note: Sideways in the middle section]
Guilford O 25
July 2
Mrs Mehitable Noyes
New Hampshire
[Note: Letter continues after address]
None of those who trust in him shall be forsaken.
We may well rejoice that we have such a saviour,
and while we feel our own weakness and in-
ability to enter the combat with our spiritual
enemies, we may adopt the language of the apos
tle and say, Thanks be to God which giveth us the
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. May you
have grace to sustain you and the infirmites of
old age and finally have an abundant entrance
administered to you into the everlasting king-
dom of our Lord Jesus Christ. From your son
(I hope you will answer this soon) Varnum Noyes

Original Format



Noyes, Varnum, “Letter from Varnum Noyes to his Mother, July 1, 1844,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed April 18, 2024, https://noyesletters.org/items/show/1022.

Output Formats