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Letter to Mrs. Amey French, care of Calvin French, Esq., Proctorsville, Vermont, from “Amey,” Providence, Rhode Island, February 11, 1848



Providence Feb. 11th 1848.

My dear Grandmother,

The winter is passing rapidly away, and this far, health has been granted us. The season has been uncommonly mild, with very little snow; – this is one of the coldest nights we have had, East of town the sleighing is now good: – but in the city it is soon cut up and destroyed. Though cold without, we are comfortable within, and would that all could say the same! In so large a city there must, of necessity, be more or less suffering, however, I have heard of less the present winter than is usually the case. Should we have a mild Spring, the poor will be able to help themselves.

I regret to inform you of the death of Dr. John N. Anthony, Maria Mathewson’s husband. He died 2 weeks ago on Sunday next at his residence on Johnston Street, of Typhoid Fever. It is probable that when the estate is settled, there will be nothing left for his family. Maria feels anxious to keep the family together, and the older children are equally anxious that she should do so. The eldest girl; has learned a trade, and will follow it. — The next eldest will learn the summer coming. Maria will board Mary Jane, and will try to take sewing of some kind, so as to make a living, if possible. Her loss is a very heavy one, and she feels it deeply; – She knows that it is necessary to use all her fortitude, – to exert herself, and she will do it. Aunt Rhoda is very feeble, so much so, that she required care all the time.

– Uncle David and Wife are both home. Sophia is at her Father’s, and has lately been confined, of a nice boy – herself and child both doing well. Lizzy remains at home, and cannot be spared. George is expected here to-morrow, to have a talk about Rollin’s affair. The Gov. professes now to wish to settle it by reference, but whether he hears what he says, is doubtful. Feb. 21st Dear Grandmother. It is a week to day since George returned, after talking with the Gov. – which talk, as we suspected, amounted to nothing. George told him that he would refer the case to 3 gentlemen of another state, and unknown to either party – but for reasons best known to himself, he would not agree to this. He chose 3 men of his acquaintance, who, he must have known, would not serve, and said he would have these as refer[en]ces – but they would have nothing to do with it. He has been heard to say that he should propose to refer it, the Mathewsons would object, and this would furnish proof to the court that it is a dwindling transaction on the part of the Mathewsons. We may find that wealth cannot cover all his vices. Whether the case will be tried during the next session, I know not.

I am much obliged to Uncle Calvin, for his reply to my letter, – shall probably find it useful, as the Gov. told the same story to George, – and insisted that there was a store where the goods went. George thinks that he has told this lie so often, that he has learned to believe it. Has Charles returned to Burlington? I could not write to him while I expected he would remain at home, and do not know his address at Burlington. When I find time, shall enclose a letter to his Father for him. My love to Uncle Calvin and wife, and please say that my letters to you must be considered as answers to their own, and hope they will reply to them. Love to all friends.

Our house progresses very slowly, – fear that we shall not enter it till late in the summer. I saw Uncle Daniel’s wife on Saturday. – all in usual health. Aunt Rhoda continuing feeble.

Your affectionate granddaughter Amey

Your little namesake is a fine great girl, the darling pet of all the household: has all the teeth which she will get before another fall and enjoys very good health. – The boys talk of their visit to Vermont occasionally, and remember it with pleasure. – You must begin soon to make arrangements to come here. I shall surely expect you —

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Notes: Letter to Mrs. Amey French, care of Calvin French, Esq., Proctorsville, Vermont, from “Amey,” Providence, Rhode Island, February 11, 1848; from the Phillip F. Schlee Collection

Grandmother = Amey Brown Mathewson French (1775/76-1855), widow of Benjamin Mathewson (1767-1803) and Josiah French (1765-1840). George = George Mathewson (b. 1816), brother of Amey Ann Mathewson. Rollin = Rollin Mathewson (1820-1903), brother of Amey Ann Mathewson. Governor = Elisha Harris (1791-1861), Governor of Rhode Island from 1847-1849. Calvin = Calvin French (1799-1879), son of Josiah French and Rebecca Brown. Amey = Amey Ann Mathewson (1817-1904), daughter of Obediah Mathewson and Susanna Sprague; granddaughter of Amey Brown Mathewson French.

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