This letter was written by Bertha I. Ferguson to her brother, Henry M. Ferguson (1814-1840). They were the children of Samuel and Mary Ferguson. Their sister, Sarah C. Ferguson, married Miles Tobey Granger (1817-1895) in 1846. He was a U.S. Congressman from Connecticut.
The New York Times announced Henry’s death in the 28 March 1840 issue:
In East Sheffield, Mass., on the 14th inst., Mr. Henry M. Ferguson, aged 26. Thus in the morning of life, he that was once active and busy among us, and beloved by many, has been called to take his departure, and we are left to mourn his absence.
The once loved form, now cold and dead,
Each mournful thought employs;
And nature weeps her comforts fled,
And withered all her joys.
Addressed to Mr. Henry M. Ferguson, Norfolk, Virginia
February 27th 1838
We received your letter dated February the 11th and were much pleased to hear you were well and pleasantly situated.
I thought when I set down I could write a whole page without stopping but my ideas are all struck back and I am obliged to ask our folks what to write. They have told a great deal which I shall now begin to write.
Firstly, Mr. Nathaniel Stevens has signed over his property to his creditors. His debts amount to eighteen thousand and his property is worth about eight or nine thousand.
Secondly, Messrs. Hanchett and Huntington have made an assignment of their property but it is thought they will go on with their business and pay up their debts. Grandpa’s folks have not got their pay yet.
Thirdly, Mr. Jonathan C. Stevens’ and Gershom Fitches lawsuit comes on this term. Mr. Stevens regrets that you are not here for an evidence.
Fourthly, the cellar wall to our shop fell in a few weeks ago. The hog was in there at the time it fell, but ran out over the stones and escaped unhurt. Grandpa’s folks made a spell and tore the shop down for fear it might fall and kill someone.
Cousin William went last Monday to Tyringham to live. He and Timothy are in company and Mary keeps house for them. Caroline is in Colebrook but is expected home this week. As for letters, I know nothing at all about them. I have been down and staid two or three days with Caroline and they said he was homesick and had lost his horse wagon. I have been at Grandpa’s the principle part of the winter and am there now.
William and Samuel say they hope you will come home before long. They go to school now but the school closes this week. Mother gets along very well indeed. Samuel Rowlson is at our house now but is going home as soon as school is out. Our friends are all well. Uncle Jacob says he shall not write to you until you have written him a letter and Rufus says you promised to write to him. Elisha wishes to be remembered. Rufus says Edwin attended a ball the 22nd and made himself sick and he had to go home and has not come back yet. Caroline wants you to write to her. Rufus told me a great deal to write. For instance, he says he saw Miss Susan Gaylord and she sent her best respects to you.
Pray burn this up as soon as read. Farewell. Your affectionate sister, — B. I. Ferguson