1839: Harriet Pearson Titcomb to John Henry Titcomb

This letter was written by Harriett Pearson Titcomb (1823-18xx), the daughter of Capt. John Henry Titcomb, Sr. (1788-1854) and Jane (Pearson) Titcomb (1788-Aft 1850).

The letter was sent to Harriett’s brother, John Henry Titcomb, Jr. (1818-1899). In 1850, John Titcomb, Jr. worked as an accountant in Boston. In 1850, John H. Titcomb sailed to San Francisco, California in company with Edward P. Flint and joined the First Congregational Church where he served as the organist. They arrived in San Francisco on 18 June 1850, just four days after a devastating fire destroyed most of the city. In 1860, he was a clerk at the Police Judge’s Court, City Hall, in San Francisco. Titcomb also became a mason in California, joining Oriental Lodge, No. 144.

Capt. John Henry Titcomb, Sr., Harriet and John’s father, joined the Marine Society Nov. 30, 1820. He commanded the brig Scia and ship Parachute. He died June 14, 1854, aged 65 years, 10 months.

Mentioned in the letter is Thomas Bayley Fox (1808-1876), a graduate of the Boston Latin School (1824) and Harvard University (1828). He attended the Harvard Divinity School and was ordained as a Unitarian minister in 1831. His initial pastoral post was with the First Religious Society of Newburyport where he served from 1831-1845. In 1831 he married Feroline Walley Pierce. All of their five children were born during this time in Newburyport.

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Addressed to Mr. John Henry Titcomb, at N. Russell, No 6 Blackstone Street, Boston, Massachusetts, at the White House, corner of Eb. & B Streets

[Newburyport, Massachusetts]
March 6th 1839

Dear Brother John,

Day before yesterday we received a letter and five also of he American Scenery from Father by Capt. Condry. (We have 18 Nos. of the A. S. in the whole) & yesterday we had another letter by the P.O. and Father said why don’t J. Titcomb’s letter come along? And that Mr. M. H. Simpson was in ___. I think it likely he will write by him.

Mother likes the paper & ink very much. I have not seen Emmeline since you left here so I do not know how she liked hers. I have got The Vicar of Wakefield [published in 1766] and have read it most through. When I have an opportunity to send it, I will send it to you if you will return it sooner than I did.

Mother wishes me to tell you that there is quite a revival here and J. Cooledge is one of the converts. He has left [Rev.] Mr. [Thomas Bayley] Fox’s Church [the First Religious Society of Newburyport] and come to Mr. D’s & the children have come to our school. Aunt M. A. is well. She stays alone in her house now. She thinks she shall come here soon. I d not know but what she will make you a visit next summer. She wants to get a few things and to look round a little in Boson & then make a short visit in Salem. Mother says she don’t think we shall go to Washington this Spring as her health is such that the heat of the summer would be too great for her. Perhaps we shall go in September but I do not know. Mrs. Hoyt thinks that she cannot stay longer this month, and I expect Aunt M. & myself will try to get along without having anyone else. Mother says that she is not going to worry, but she has got a great burden on her shoulders this spring, and so much to think about. I have taken cold in one of my eyes & I cannot see very well so that I shall stop and let Mother write. Your truly affectionate sister, — Harriett P. Titcomb

Thursday the 7th,

My son, I hope you will excuse my not answering your letter, but I have had so much on my mind that I could not write. In regard to the subject you mention in your letter, you know what my mind has been and is respecting such things. I think it is a great thing to have a mind free from prejudice where the affections are enlisted, and to have our reason and judgment clear. It is a subject that has a great bearing on Eternity, and on our future happiness for time almost all depends upon it. But I trust you will let reason and the duty you owe to God guide you, and that is all that I have to say upon the subject. I trust I shall love those that you love – my kind regards – give my love to Mrs. Morrison and cousin Ann. Did you send me those two numbers of the friend of Virtue to circulate? I had two of the same No. that came in an envelope by mail. I should like to know if I am to have them that way an by you.

You did not tell me if Paul staid with you before he went onboard the ship and if his spirits were good when come to put his name to the shipping paper. Poor boy, he did not know what was before him. He did not know what a sailor life is, but can’t but hope he will do well. I want to know how our account stand in regard to Paul. You must let me know and I will send the pay for the paper and ink. If I send now, I must pay double postage. Will you try to get Jane a pair of India Rubber shoes for I can’t get any here worth having if it won’t be too much trouble. I like to have them by the driver on Saturday. But you are very much hurried. You can do it the first of the week.

Noon. Have just received your letter by the way of West N and thanks for it. I don’t know as it would do to have strangers visit us till it comes warm weather. However, we will see about that another time. Much love, [– Mother]


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