1834: Abigail (Bradley) Hyde to Rev. Lavius Hyde

Rev. Lavius Hyde gravemarker

This letter was written to Rev. Lavius Hyde (1789-1865). Hyde was an 1813 graduate of Williams College and afterward studied theology at Andover. He became a Congregational minister, first serving in the pulpit at Salisbury, Connecticut. He married Abigail Bradley (1799-1848) – the writer of this letter – in September 1818. In 1823, they relocated to Bolton, Connecticut; in 1830, Ellington, Connecticut. About the time this letter was written, The Hyde’s were about to relocate to Wayland, Massachusetts.

Abigail (Bradley) Hyde was the daughter of Asahel Ives Bradley and Abigail Rogers. Registered from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, she attended the Litchfield Female Academy in 1813 and 1814. While in Litchfield, Abigail boarded at Mrs. Edward’s house. In 1818 she married Lavius Hyde, a minister and educator from Franklin, Connecticut. During their marriage Abigail and Lavius had eight children. She also taught with her husband in Connecticut and Massachusetts and was an active abolitionist.

The Hydes had several children: (1) Juliette (“Julia”) Hyde, (b. 1819), (2) Adeline Hyde (1821-1900), Charlotte Hyde (1823-1841), Thomas Colton Parmalee Hyde (1825-1900), Bradley Hyde (1827-1832), Edward Rogers Hyde (1831-1831), Sarah Amanda Hyde (b. 1833), and Mary Clarissa Hyde.

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Addressed to Rev. Lavius Hyde, Boston, Massachusetts

Stockbridge [Massachusetts]
November 17, 1834

My dear Husband,

The bundles you send me from Westfield came to hand on Saturday last and put an end to some wonder, and afforded relief to some anxieties in the minds of your family. In return for your numerous and most welcome letters, I must content myself with offering you a little hasty scribbling with a pen which sometimes will make a mark & sometimes will not, commencing about nine in the evening after the occupation of a busy day, having been hindered by various little casualties from beginning at an earlier hour.

I think it is a fortnight last eve since I wrote you, so I will begin family history from that date. I mentioned to you that little Sarah had a cold & caused you some solicitude. The day after I wrote, she appeared more unwell than she had before & for two or three days was considerably sick. When her fever & other symptoms of illness were somewhat abated, she had seasons of violent coughing & we concluded she had the whooping cough & were of course quite alarmed for the little babe down stairs. This, however, continued but a few days and she is now quite well & has become very fond of the new friends she has found here – particularly her sister Adeline & the kitten.

On the Friday following – the date of my letter – sister Sarah went to Cornwall. Ambrose Rogers, the youngest son of my Uncle Rogers, is a member of the Academy at Lenox & being sent for home on occasion of the marriage of his sister Eliza, has called on his way & proposed to Sarah to accompany him, which she did. Eliza is married to a Mr. Norton – a minister preaching for the present at Windham, New York.

My father is in much better health than I have seen him for some years, and is busily employed from morning till night. He has been to South Lee since I came home & though he was feeble for some days afterwards, has suffered less in consequence of the ride than he has on former occasions.

I have not seen our sister at Lee. Julia & Charlotte have both been there. Julia spent Wednesday & Thursday of last week with her Aunt. He health is better than it was a few weeks since. She sent me word that she expected Edward the early part of this week, & would endeavor to call and see me with him. Charlotte’s visit at Lee was on the day that Alexander returned from Springfield & so I heard from you & had some intimation of the prospect of your going to Boston, but she understood that you was to come to Stockbridge first & this helped me to account for receiving no letters.

We are all still under the shadow of the elm trees, but I purpose removing to Brother Edward’s with _____ of the children during the present week. Two will remain with their grandparents. Mother proposes to furnish one with beds & bedding, so that I relinquished the expectation of sending for any of our effects at present.

With the money you furnished me at parting, I have purchased some calico for Julie & Adeline, which they have been employed in making up. For the 20 dollars enclosed in the letter, I thank you, & was the more glad to receive it because I had felt some solicitude about that portion of our resources.

All the people up stairs send love – the rest do not know I am writing. Sarah says I may tell my husband that we have as yet behaved so as to be endured.

My dear husband, in all our trials, God is very merciful to us. We are treated here with overwhelming kindness & you are spoken of with the greatest affection. Your letters were consolatory to me as showing that the Lord has dealt kindly with my poor homeless husband. After having experienced so richly of his mercy, let us not distrust

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning Providence
He hides a smiling face

I would gladly fill this sheet but you know I am remote from the Post Office & my opportunity to send is early in the morning. I feel some concern about the state of your wardrobe & think of many things I should like to do for you. I had almost forgotten to say that we conclude to make no lamentation if the Gennesse affair fails. C. Whitney’s term commences the latter part of this week but Adeline pleads to be permitted to be with her mother this winter & I am thinking considerably of having the girls study under my direction, though I should prefer to have Julia in a good school if it could be so.

I beg you will forgive me for sending so wretched a specimen of penmanship for your perusal. I miss my penmaker. Good night, my dear husband. May God bless you prays your affectionate wife, —

My Dear Father,

As Ma was not allowed to fill the sheet last evening, she gave me permission to write a few lines this morning. So I am writing by candle light for it is very cloudy and the letter must go before eight. I am much obliged to you for your letter. Just after we received the packet, Aunt Sarah returned from Cornwall almost benumbed with cold and we were of course fully occupied for some hours with all the news both from you and from Cornwall so that Saturday evening came before we were ready for it. We have been expecting you every day and one reason I had for going to Lee was to watch the stage in hope of seeing my father in it.

Sarah has been so unwell since she came here that she has but just begun to seem like her former self. When we thought she had the whooping cough, Aunt Harriet was really frightened about her little son and Sarah had not been admitted down stairs for some time. Thomas has on the whole been a good boy about helping Grandpa in chopping and bringing in wood. He sends much love and says that the storm this morning would discourage him from venturing out but the thought of his father inspires him with courage to go to Gen. William’s to carry the letter. Write to me as often as you can and your letters will be gladly received by your very affectionate daughter, — Julietta

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