Letter from Josiah to Sister, July 10, 1839


Dublin Core


Letter from Josiah to Sister, July 10, 1839


Travel; Family; Landscapes; Cost; Physicians; Death; Health; Suicide; Microscopes


Josiah writes to his sister, noting the lapse in communication and mentioning how busy he has been. He mentions his recent travels, describing the landscape and experience of the area of Keene. He was looking for a microscope for Sister N in Keene and did not find one there but found one for her in Boston. He mentions some of his patients. Mr. Upham shot himself the day after Josiah saw him because of his sickness and delusions. The season has brought health to both people and crops.


Noyes, Josiah


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


Needham Mass July 10, 1839
Dear Sister,
I little thought when we parted that so long time
would lapse without any communication between us. I indeed thought
at the time that one of us would write very soon; but constant care
and business have hitherto kept, [u]my[/u] pen silent and perhaps [u]yours[/u]. I sup-
pose you have been waiting to have us write first as we have received no
letter from you; but you should not wait - if [u]we[/u] are dilatory [u]you[/u] ought
not to be. We have not heard any thing from Westmoreland since our
return; but Elizabeth will write sister N., as I expect, immediately. We have
had no communication from our brother at the West since our
return, though I expect one by every mail. Neither have we heard
from our Acton friends since we left them on our return from N.H.
We had as pleasant a journey, on our return, as we could expect
[u]with our usual luck of a storm[/u]. The first day was pleasant and
we enjoyed the ride very much, stopping occasionally, as we did,
to view whatever was beautiful or interesting. Before we reached Keene
we stopped and looked for your locality. We could see the huge hills
upon which you so delightfully reside and [--and--] view a vast extent of
rich landscape not only [u]around[/u] you but spread out far beneath
you. Here, and also from the Swansey hills, as we ascended them, with
the telescope we could see the road up the hill, the house where you
reside and other objects, and the very windows +c. But we could not see
siser Z. although we scrutinised the place closely. As we reached the beau
tiful village of Keene we made a short stop - dropped into [?Wales?] Kimball's
store and brought home something to remember him by in the form
of two dresses for Elizabeth. So we have something to remember
Keene by almost constantly before our eyes. And a nice bit of [u]ma-
ple sugar[/u] reminds us of the hospitable family with whom you
reside, and the kind attentions of a beloved and affectionate sister.
We took a taste on our way home and reserved a part for a future
occasion. When I was in Boston, a short time since, I bought some
though not so good; and the price was 15 cents a pound. -

We rode through the narrow and romantic valley beside the
river between Keene and Troy. While stopping at the the latter place I
took a sketch of the Monadnock and Gap mountains- which I
have now with me. In Keene I could find no microscope for sis-
ter N. that saited me- so I made no purchase of one there. I have
since purchased her one in Boston which she will find worth
what I gave for it - $1,50. I left it ^at Maynards V Noyes, [illegible] Merchants [?Room?]
awaiting her order. We found a profusion of flowers on our way home
but I did not feel satisfied not to go up on the Monadnock, The first
day we took supper at Ashburnham and rode to Lunenburg- where
we spent the night. Here we found a genteel house and, on leav-
ing, had a [u]genteel bill to pay[/u]! We preferred to ride a few miles
before breakfast, as is my custom, ands the taverner probably felt
a little piqued that we did not breakfast with him. Had he
known how we fared in regard to our breakfast it might have
been some satisfaction to him; for we found it difficult to meet
with a public house before we experienced considerable inani-
tion. After we had ridden a few miles the rain commenced
and continued through the day. We called, in Acton, at Thomas
J. Noyes - and were informed that Mrs Brooks did not feel able
to start as she thought she might when we went up. We thence
hastened home without loitering or going any unnecessary dis-
tance - found things at home in as good condition as we could
expect, considering we had left three little mischievous fellows there.
We found, too, that there had been as few calls for me in the absence
as could be expected. There was one melancholy occurrence while
I was gone. A Mr Upham, of Dover, whom I saw the day before I
left home, shot himself during the absence. He had been sick
and delirious; but had so far recovered that I should have dis-
continued my visits had I been at home. His delirium must
have returned. In the absence of his wife, it appears he put the
muzzle of the gun to one ear and blew his head all to pieces. As he was
a respectable man and in good circumstances he could not have been sane.

The season with us seems favorable for almost all kinds of
crops. Health, too, seems to pervade almost the whole community.
The most fatal disease that has prevailed has been the Scar-
let fever in Boston. Rains have been frequent and plenteous. Much
thunder, too, we have had. Almost every day we have thunder showers,
though we hear of but little damage by lightning. Our flower garden begins
to show something to pay us for our trouble and expense. Directly before my
eyes is a beautiful Dahlia that has just expanded. We have a a variety of
roses to the number of about ten, from species of Lilies, Aconite, Silene, Ocnothem,
Popies, Asters, Pinks, Sweet Williams +c. Among the handsomest is a beautiful
China Pink which has been in blossom several weeks.. How I should like
to stroll in the woods around you and see the wild flowers that bloom there!
Although we shall be furnished with flowers, [u]fruit[/u], with us will be scarce.
Our cherry trees flowered very fully and seemed to promise abundant fruit;
but we scarce;y have any - so of apples. A frost that succeeded the flowering season
destroyed nearly all the fruit. I have been busied about my hay, but have
now just deposited ^it safely in the barn. The fourth of July, as you will observe
by the papers, has been celebrated, and [u]variously[/u] celebrated, in many places.
We went to Holliston and heard the celebrated orator + scholar, A. H. Everett. There
was a vast concourse of people there. The morning was fine, but various thun
der showers during the day interfered somewhat with the festivities in many
places; but in no place more; I believe, than with the ladies celebration at the
Lower Falls, in the manner, as they called it, of a [u]Charity Fair[/u]. Their tables, finery
and [u]even their fair persons[/u], as I bain, were drenched with the rain - which was
no respecter of persons on this occasion at least. We did not dine [illegible] but returned
immediately after the exercises, thinking to ride to the City to see the splendid fire
works there in the evening. We, however, did not find it necessary to go so far as there
was a beautiful exhibition of the kind at the Upper Falls, where the Sunday School
children had their celebration.- Mr Ritchie has been absent on a journey to the western
port of N.Y. but has probably now returned. In his absence, we have had a variety of
preaching- 1st sunday Mr [?Kimball?], Unitarian: 2d Mr Skinner, Universalist: 3d. Mr.
Colman, Agricultural Surveyor of Mass. and Unitarian: 4th Mr. Beckwith Agent of the
Peace Society and Orthodox.- We have also been visited by Agents of the Anti-Slavery Society.
Elizabeth sends love to you. Affectionately, your brother J. Noyes
[Note: Written sideways]
[Note: Drawing of a hand pointed] You must not fail to come and spend some time with us when you have finished your school
+ write + let us know how + when you will come. I have sent you the [?Common?] School Journal.

Needham M 12 1/2
July 15
Miss Zoa Noyes
Surry N.H.
[Note: Written upside down]
Needham July 10
[Illegible].J. Noyes 1839

Original Format



Noyes, Josiah , “Letter from Josiah to Sister, July 10, 1839,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed June 25, 2024, https://noyesletters.org/items/show/974.

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