This letter was written in 1841 by Martha Elizabeth Post of Glastonbury, Connecticut, to her cousin, Roswell Hollister Woodbridge, of Candor, Tioga County, New York. The letter may have been written from the South Glastonbury home of Roswell Hollister, Martha’s grandfather, who was nearing the end of his life and already a widower. The Hollister house, built about 1680, stands facing east, on the west side of the street, just below Roaring Brook, in South Glastonbury.
Martha Elizabeth Post was born 11 June 1823, the daughter of Jedediah Post (1788-1866) of Gilead, CT, and Eliza Hollister (1797-1838) of South Glastonbury, CT. Jedediah and Eliza were married in South Glastonbury in 1820.
Roswell H. Woodbridge was born 16 October 1819, the son of Ebenezer Woodbridge (1788-1860) and Electa Hollister (1790-1854). Ebenezer and Electa were married in South Glastonbury, Connecticut in 1811. Roswell would later marry Laura Kellogg in 1848.
October 10, 1841
My dear cos,
Your long expected letter has at last arrived, for which allow me to tender my most sincere thanks. I was unable to account for your long silence but concluded you reasoned thus, “Cousin Martha is engaged and why should I spend my time in writing to her hand. As if there were not enough beside her who are not my cousins, I’ll write to them. Now there is some Martha. I’ll send her all my papers and perhaps I shall write to her some time.” Now Ros, this is all very well if you can make it go, but mind I am not to be so treated. I shall write to you & you must answer my letters. Now do you not tremble?
You ask me in confidence if I think you can succeed. I ask you in confidence if you really have any such intentions. If so, I wish you success & doubt not but that you will have it. George must not be too sanguine in his belief of you being unsuccessful for he knows nothing of it. Take my word for it. The way is clear for you. You speak of Mr. Way as if you thought he has paid his addresses to her. Allow me to say you are quite mistaken. It was all laugh and nothing more. So set your heart at ease, dear cos.
George is also quite mistaken in supposing that our courtship will be brought to a close soon if he intends that close to be a wedding. Now, I tell you candidly that it is no such thing. If such an event should ever take place, you shall know it in due season. When does George think of returning?
Miss Lucy Kellogg does not flourish much. She spends most of her time at Mr. Welles. Consequently, I see very little of her. She is now in Gilead (“the land of promise”). Mr. Truman of Owego made her a visit a few weeks since. How does the Col. get along? I hope his disappointments will not be very great.
By the way, I think we shall have a wedding down at the “Hive” before long. Becky told Aunt M. that she was to be invited to make the cake next week. Can’t say how true it is.
I presume George has told you all about our great Fair. We had a capitol time.
Strange you did not inquire about “Henri.” We are very good friends now I assure you. He called upon me twice during the last vacation of seven weeks. Shouldn’t you think Oliver [Burnham North] would be jealous? I don’t, but he is, for it is four weeks today since I have seen him.
I wanted very much to come & see you this fall but could not make it go. But I don’t despair another year, if my life is spared, I intend [to visit]. You must give my love (not my best) to your mother, Elizabeth, Nancy, & Laura. Also Aunt E. and Augusta – and to George if he has not left.
Last week, [my brother] William went to Westfield to a wedding. Had a fine time. There were about two hundred present. He boarded in the family of the young lady that was married while there at school.
But I suppose I have written enough. No, Roswell, I will not discard you if you will write soon. But do not plead having nothing to write.
Affectionately, your cousin, — Martha E. Post
[P.S.] I fear you will think this letter is not worth the postage.
- Martha Elizabeth Post‘s mother’s maiden name was Eliza Hollister and she was the sister of Electa Hollister, Roswell H. Woodbridge’s mother. Therefore, Martha Post and Roswell Woodbridge were first cousins. Eliza Hollister and Electa Hollister were the daughters of Roswell Hollister (1763-1842) and Elizabeth Stratton (1760-1833). Roswell Hollister was a master ship-builder in South Glastonbury and his home is the oldest house surviving in Glastonbury.
- Martha A. Post would marry Oliver Burnham North of New Britain, CT, on 10 May 1843. They resided in New Britain where Oliver worked as a manufacturer of saddlery and harness hardware. When their factory burned down in 1862, the couple relocated to New Haven, CT, where they opened a new factory. Their sons were all involved in running the factory for many years. Martha died in New Haven on 24 July 1906. Her husband died at New Haven on 23 October 1893.
- Martha mentions her brother William in this letter. William Warner Post was born 17 March 1821, and he married Helen M. Clark of Candor, NY, on 28 November 1857. It is conjectured, based upon this letter, that William W. Post attended Westfield Academy in Westfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. This academy was very popular in the first half of the 19th century.
- Roswell Hollister Woodbridge was born in Tioga County, New York, his parents having relocated from Glastonbury, Connecticut as early as 1813. In 1848, Roswell married Laura Kellogg, the younger sister of the “Miss Lucy Kellogg” mentioned in the letter. Lucy Ann Kellogg would marry Col. Samuel Rockwood of Owego, New York (his second wife) in December 1841. Samuel Rockwood’s first wife died in 1839 and he may be the “Col.” Martha refers to in her letter. Lucy and Laura were the daughters of Elisha Kellogg and Emily Stratton (b. 1791) of Glastonbury, Connecticut. Lucy was never of strong health, and she died in 1850.
- Emily (Stratton) Kellogg, Roswell’s mother-in-law, was the older sister of William Stratton (b. 1799) of Newfield, Tompkins County, New York, and a cousin of Mary Ann Goodrich’s (the mother of Augusta Goodrich, wife of James S. Griffing).
- The identity of “Mr. Truman” from Owego, NY, a suitor of Lucy Kellogg’s, is not confirmed. He may have been Edward D. Truman (b. 1820), the son of Asa Truman and Betsy Dean. Or he may have been Orin Truman (b. 1811), or his brother George Truman (b. 1816), the sons of Aaron Truman and Experience Park. All three of these bachelors were Owego merchants in search of wives in 1841. Edward Truman married Eleanor M. Soule in 1843, and George Truman married Eunice Goodrich in 1842. Orin never married.
- By 1850, Roswell Hollister Woodbridge was farming near Murray, Orleans County, New York — within a few miles of Lake Ontario.