1840: Harriet Metcalf to Elvira Metcalf

This stampless letter contains a poem written by Harriet Metcalf (1817-18??) to her cousin Elvira Metcalf (1816-????) in Wilmington, Windham Co., Vermont. Although the letter contains no date, I’m going to conjecture that it was written about 1840. Elvira was probably the daughter of Silas Metcalf (b. 1784) and Diadema Blanding (b. 1784). This couple married in Royalston, Worcester, Massachusetts in October 1808 and came to Wilmington, Vermont around 1810. In the 1850 US Census, Elvira (enumerated as “Alvina”) is still single and residing with her parents in Wilmington.

Sadly, less is known about Harriet Metcalf who wrote this poem and made a hair ribbon as a remembrance for her cousin. From the poem we can surmise that these two girls grew up together. If we assume that they were truly first cousins, and that Metcalf is Harriet’s maiden name as ell, then we ought to be able to find Harriet listed among the children of Elvira’s only uncle, John Metcalf (b. 1786) and his wife, Hannah Whitney (b. 1790) who married in December 1808. Unfortunately, little is recorded about this family though it is clear from Royalston Town Records that some of their children were born in Wilmington VT before 1820. Though Hannah’s name is not among the children born to this couple, the few records that remain suggest the list is incomplete.

It does appear that Silas and his brother John both lived for a time, simultaneously, in Wilmington, Vermont but that John later moved away with his family, thus creating the separation between Elvira and her cousin Harriet. Perhaps someone who stumbles upon this Metcalf correspondence can confirm this conjectured relationship.

Stampless Cover

Poem

Poem affiliated with Hair Momento

TRANSCRIPTION

[Addressed to Elvira Metcalf, Wilmington, VT.]

Elvira Metcalf
From your cousin Harriet Metcalf

Where love is planted, there it grows
It buds and blossoms like the rose,
Many an hour with sweet content
In conversation we have spent, Elvira!!

It is not the distance of the ways
Nor yet the length of time,
It is not the absence of your face
Can drive you from my mind.

A mark of friendship pleasing try
In his small trifle see
And sometimes in a lonely hour
Read this and think of me, E.M.

Farewell my friend, may heaven protect you
Through life’s dark temptation’s waves
Guardian angels then direct you
To the realms of endless day, Elvira!

[Editor’s Note: Next to the lock of woven hair stuck to the letter is written the following:]

A lock of hair I often lend
In memory of an absent friend
When on this lock you gently look
Remember from whose head it was took.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Spared & Shared 19

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Recollections of Army Life

by Charles A. Frey

The Civil War Letters of William Kennedy

Co. B, 91st New York Infantry

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

The John Hughes Collection

A Virtual Archive of his Letters, 1858-1869

The Civil War Letters of Rufus P. Staniels

Co. H, 13th New Hampshire Volunteers

This is Indeed A Singular War

The Civil War Letters of Henry Scott Murray, 8th New York Light Artillery

The Letters of James A. Durrett

Co. E, 18th Alabama Infantry

Spared & Shared 15

Saving History One Letter at a Time

The Civil War Letters of George Messer

Company F, 107th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Jeff's Prayers are as Effective as Abe's

The Civil War Letters of George S. Youngs, 126th New York Vols

Soldiering is a Very Uncertain Game

The Civil War Letters of Lemuel Glidden, Co. K, 145th Indiana Infantry

Tough as a Pitch Pine Knot

Letters of John Whitcomb Piper, 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery

%d bloggers like this: