1839: George M. Prentiss to Caroline (Prentiss) Thayer

This letter was written by George Mellen Prentiss (1816-18xx), to his sister Caroline (Prentiss) Thayer (1800-1871). George and Caroline were the children of Deacon Caleb Prentiss (1771-1838) and his wife, Mary Webber Morgan (1775-18xx). Caroline was married to America Thayer (1799-1873) and living in Paris, Maine.

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[Addressed to Mrs. Caroline P. Thayer, Paris, Maine]

Foxcroft [Maine]
September 1, 1839

Dear Sister,

Have you heard that I have got back to Foxcraft again? Such is the act. After rambling over parts of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts, and seeing all the pretty places that came in my way, I have turned away from the all and come back again to this land of woods, stumps, rough roads, &c. Perhaps you would like to know where I went in my travels.

We left Paris on Monday after seeing you and passed through the towns of Woodstock and Greenwood to Bethel Hill. We found shocking roads in Woodstock and Mr. Thayer told you, I suppose, how we got over the Little Androscoggin. After leaving the pretty village at Bethel Hill, we had a fine road on the bank of the Great Androscoggin clear to the line of New Hampshire. After leaving Bethel we had a fine ride till we came to the ridge of land that separates the waters of the Androscoggin and Connecticut. The strip of land between the line and the mountains is in many places very narrow but generally wide enough for a tier of farms.

We passed along very near the White Mountains and were at one time within 5 or six miles of Mt. Washington. But we could not spend time and money to go onto it. From Lancaster, we went about half way across the state of Vermont to Barre where we found an Aunt of Wheelers who had not heard from her folks in Maine for ten years, I think. Wheeler concluded to bring his Aunt home with him so I was obliged to go the rest of my route by stage.

Staid there 2 days which I spent quite pleasantly. Walked to Montpelier – a distance of 9 miles – and saw all the wonders of the seat of government. Went into their beautiful State House &c. The next Saturday after leaving Paris, I left Barre in the stage for Keene where I arrived Sunday evening, passing through Hanover – the seat of Dartmouth College, Windsor, Vermont, and a great many other pretty places. I spent more than a week at Keene with the cousins, Uncle being a senator at Concord, and Aunt keeping house for Cousin Corrinna. While she was on a visit in Maine, I spent the time quite pleasantly although I was not very well and did not enjoy myself quite so will on that account. Spent the fourth of July there which went off very well. The Unitarians and the Orthodox, as they call them, each had a Sunday School celebration in the forenoon, and in the afternoon some of the young Unitarian folks met and had a dance upon the green.

Went from Keene to Nashua and from thence by railroad to Lowell. Staid at Mr. [Thomas] Hopkinson’s with Aunt (who I before told you was keeping house for Corinna) and Cousin Edmond who was studying law with Mr. [Thomas] Hopkinson. Edmond and I went over the factories and saw the curiosities. Went by railroad to Boston and took stage immediately for Bridgewater. Found Joseph at work well and hearty. Says he enjoys himself finely. He came to Boston with me and went to Reading with me. We also went together to see cousin George, who is a lieutenant in the Navy and is now stationed in Charleston [South Carolina].

In Boston we parted – he to return to North Bridgewater and I to Cape Ann. Staid a week at Cape Ann. Folks all well. Grandmother’s health was pretty good though she was very decrepit. Uncle Webber was very smart – worked all day haying as hard as anybody. From Cape Ann, I went again to Boston where I took the steamboat for Portland and from thence to Belfast. Staid 2 days at Belfast. Folks well. By steamboat again to Bangor. Folks pretty well. From Bangor to Foxcroft. Folks all well here too. I have been about 4 weeks and have worked almost every day very hard.

I expect to start as soon as next week for L__ where I expect to spend the winter. Arthur wants some one with him and thinks he should rather have a brother than a stranger so I suppose I shall go. Where is [brother] Addison now? I have not heard a word from him since I saw him. Has he gone to Portland? He talked of going when I saw him. So it seems Andrew has got home again. I hope he will pay up and come out bright.

Do write to me soon and tell me all about the folks. Your affectionate brother, — George M. Prentiss


The Hon. Thomas Hopkinson married Corinna Aldrich Prentiss (b. 1805) in 1836. Corinna was the daughter of John Prentiss (1778-1873) and Diantha Aldrich (1782-1856). Thomas and Corinna had a daughter named Grace Mellon Hopkinson (1846-1924) and a son named John Prentiss Hopkinson (1840-1910).

Thomas Hopkinson graduated from Harvard in 1830, became Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and was the first President of the Boston and Worcester Railroad.


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