1826: William Marrett to Mary Ann Marrett

This letter was written in 1826 by William Marrett (1804-1860) to his sister Mary Ann Marrett (1808-1839). They were the children of Daniel Marrett (1767-1836) and his first wife, Mary Muzzy (1767-1810). William married Adaline Irish in 1832. Mary Ann married Warren Duren in 1833 but died a few years later.

William and Mary Ann Marrett’s father was born in Lexington, Massachusetts, so it is likely that 18 year-old Mary Ann was visiting or living with relatives in Lexington when this letter was written.

We learn from this letter that William Marrett studied medicine under Dr. Phineas Ingalls (1797-1858), a physician born in Bridgton but residing in Standish in 1826.

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TRANSCRIPTION

Addressed to Miss Mary Ann Marrett, Lexington, Massachusetts

Standish, Maine
May 21st 1826

Dear Sister,

It has been some time since we heard from you — or you from us. Therefore, I shall now write you a few lines to let you know how we do. We are all very well excepting Amos. He has been down with his wife to see us. They spent the whole week past with us and went home Saturday last. Amos’s health is very poor. He has a cough, but it is not very bad yet. But he appears to be failing. His countenance looks unfavorable. Father & Mother think he will be no better but we cannot tell. God will do what seemeth to his right. His wife is a fine pleasant woman. I believe she is beloved by everyone that is acquainted with her but now she appears rather dull. It is no doubt on Amos’ account as she thinks he will be no better. Amos has been sick a great deal since he has been to Bridgton. He has been brought very low a number of times and he may never recover his present indisposition. But we are afraid he will not be any better.

While mentioning to you the ill health of Brother Amos, I would also mention to you that our neighbor John Dennet is just gone. He will probably continue but a few days longer. There is not any one else sick here that you are acquainted with, I believe. We have not many sick in this place now. It is a time of health with us at present. But we know not how long it will be so.

Having written to you about the sick, I must now write something to you about those that are well and in health. As for me, I am tolerable well. And perhaps you would like to know what I am doing. I am now studying with Doct. [Phineas] Ingalls of this place — board at home. I have not been studying Medicine long. Therefore, I cannot tell you how I like it, but I think I shall like it well. I do not study hard but have some relaxation.

I have been to market four or five times with apples lately. They sell well.

Daniel, wife, and child have gone to Gorham today to see their friends and also to show their boy. They have got a very god and quiet child. It scarcely is heard to cry, but I tell Abigail he will begin to cry by and by. Hannah March is now keeping school in Gorham, and one or two of her sisters. Abigail has one of her younger sisters with her now, but she is going home soon to attend the Academy. She will not be alone after her sister leaves for I believe they talk of taking the school mistress — P. Davis — to board, mostly on account of her company. You know that Abigail is a Scare Crow.

I was to Portland yesterday and called at Mrs. Varnum’s. She has a noble looking boy, but not so handsome as Abigail’s. Abigail thinks hers very pretty — so he is — but he may alter as I tell her.

Well, Mary-ann, we want [to] see you very much and to talk with you, but if you cannot visit us, you must write us often. You will answer this epistle as soon as you receive it for we wish to hear from you and the rest of our friends very much. Remember me to all my friends and acquaintances and accept this letter from brother, — William Marrett

FOOTNOTES

The Marrett House in Standish, ME

The Marrett House in Standish, Maine is a historic house museum owned and operated by the Historic New England, and this house was the home to Daniel Marrett, a recent graduate of Harvard University that arrived in Standish in 1796 to become their new town parson. The marvelous house was certainly a reflection of his status as the town’s leading citizen and over the ensuing years, his children and grandchildren would enlarge and update the house to suit their individual needs, although they would leave many interior furnishings and arrangements that has been left unchanged over the decades. The southwest parlor looks exactly like it did for the wedding in 1847, that is a wonderful addition to any museum house. The family would celebrate the house’s centennial in 1889, by restoring many of the rooms, and used reproduction heirloom wallpapers and bed hangings, as well as organizing a huge family reunion to honor their family’s legacy. The house had been used for safeguarding coins from the city of Portland during the War of 1812. Daniel moved to the wilderness with his young wife, Mary, from Lexington, Massachusetts in 1796 and bought the Federal style house that had been constructed in 1789 for his processor, who had died suddenly. The couple soon settled down and began raising a family and during the 18th century rural Maine settings, Daniel would become the most important man in the small town. His income would be determined by the taxes and regular gifts of food, but Daniel realized that he would have to do more to assist the meager income with one of his favorite interests, pomology. He soon opened a big apple orchard and soon was the leading pioneer of grafting in the state, as well as being the first person to bring a cooking stove into the town. Mary passed on in 1810, and Daniel was left with six children, between the age of two and thirteen. Within two years, he had remarried, at the age of forty-seven, he married Dorcas Hastings, a twenty-seven year old woman. She seemed to jump into the marriage and situation with both feet, taking good care of Daniel’s six and having another eight during the next fifteen years. The family would live in the house until it was donated by Frances and Caroline Marrett in 1944, after having been in the family for more than 150 years.

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