This letter was written by Amanda L. (Kimball) Topping (1811-1872) from her home in Charleston Four Corners (a few miles south of the Erie Canal) in Montgomery County, New York to her older brother, Solomon Sherwood Kimball (1806-1890), then residing in Hudson, New York. Amanda and Solomon were the children of Nathan Kimball, Jr. (1767-1849) and Rachel Sherwood (1772-1852). At the time this letter was written in 1837, Amanda was married to John Hudson Topping (1805-1874), a son of Jared Topping (1774-1847) and Sarah Leek (1781-1848). Solomon was single at the time, as noted in the letter, but he would marry the following year (1838) to Emily Ann Close of Stamford, Connecticut. The newborn son mentioned in the Topping family was probably Sanford Topping (1837-1910). By 1850, the J.H. Topping family had relocated to Walworth County, then later Sauk County, Wisconsin.
Amanda mentions the poor health of someone named “Selina” in her letter. This is most likely her niece, Salina (Vossler) Stanton (1815-1842), wife of John Tracy Stanton of Hornby, Steuben County, New York. Salina was the daughter of Amanda’s older sister, Julianna (Kimball) Vossler (1796-1844).
[Addressed to Mr. Solomon S. Kimball, Warren Street 287, Hudson, New York]
Charleston [Montgomery County, New York]
July 15, 1837
My Dear Brother
I once again am permitted to address you. I acknowledge my neglect is great and hardly to be excused but if you ever have the care of a family, you will find many additional hindrances and still you will not have the babies to see too, so I can’t make you know it all at last. We are blest with a fine healthy son again and he employs the most of my time. My health has not been good for some time. Last week I had a violent attack of cold which we seriously apprehended would terminate in inflammation or fever. But by the blessing of God upon the means used (a thorough course of patent medicine), I am again restored to health and better than before the attack. Fevers and inflammations are prevailing extensively around us. There have been a number of cases and several deaths. Do take particular care of yourself in regard to cold for you have no one, I suppose, to doctor you at home, and in ever case around us of cold, that have come under the care of a physician have resulted in fever and inflammation.
I learn by yours to Father that you feel in a measure the effect of the present hard times. What will be the end of the present distress can hardly be told. The prospect for farmers in Charleston is discouraging. Crops look, in general, poor yet the Lord may be better to us than our fears or deserts.
Father and Mother have been down here this week. They are well as usual for them. The rest of our friends are well as usual, I believe, except Selina. Her health is still poor. We have been much alarmed about her but have hopes at present that she will regain her health. I have not any particular new thing to write. I feel sympathetic with you in your lonely life but you are free from the care of providing bread for a family, which in our country is not a small matter with many.
The Lord is visiting our land in mercies. A few miles west of us, there is a protracted meeting held at Scott’s Ville. At the present time, 15 have obtained hope the first week and a great solemnity is said to pervade the assemblies. I long to attend but that is not possible for me.
You wrote in your last [letter] to me something about your bringing me goods. I have no demands upon you at all excepting Miss Clark’s bill, but had calculated on having you purchase me a good black Merino shawl. But the change in times must make change in economy with me, I suppose, too. But it is rather unwillingly in this case. I hope to see you before long and then I think I can say a good deal more than I can write at this time.
Brother Solomon – I have never writton to you. Amanda could not find anything more to write. I concluded to drop a line or two. In proving her lines, I found some complaints about times, bit I think times are verry good with us. We have a verry promising Boy. I think if you had the like to stare you in the face who returned to your famley you would say the times ware comefortable, but I am afraid you are in the bote. Pardon my folly. He wants to see you in Charleston verry mutch. You must arange your bisness to make us good long visit. Your sincere friend, — J. H. Topping
Sabbath evening. I have today attended Meeting at Sloan’s Ville – the first time in three months. We have heard this evening from the protracted meeting, It is stated that a powerful work is going on. How I long to be there but my circumstances will hardly permit. How necessary to learn with the Apostle in whatever circumstances we are placed therewith, to be content. I am surrounded with blessings and mercies and how unthankful, how forgetful of the giver and author of all our blessings. O for more grace, more of the love of God. This makes life sweet and all our trials and crosses light. The child cries and I can write no more.
We shall look for you soon and may your health and prosperity be continued is the sincere desire of your sister – Amanda Topping