1842: Joshua A. Tilden to Caroline (Carpenter) Tilden

This letter was written by Joshua A. Tilden (1812-1879), the son of Walter Tilden (1784-1872) and Rebecca Hones (1785-1843). Joshua wrote the letter to his wife, Caroline (Carpenter) Tilden (1813-1843) who was visiting family back in Connecticut. She was the daughter of Ralph Carpenter (1770-1850) and Mary Spicer (1783-1858) of North Coventry, Connecticut.  I note, however, that Caroline died some six weeks after this letter was written. Family records say she died in Brooklyn, New York on 6 October 1842 when she fell from a building. Joshua was a merchant in Utica. After his first wife’s death, Joshua married a woman named Margaret A. Hodges (b. 1813) and moved to Brooklyn where he made a living as a manufacturer of sewing silks. In 1879, after going deaf and suffering financial reverses in his business, Joshua committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

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Addressed to Mrs. Caroline Tilden, North Coventry, Connecticut

Utica, [New York]
August 22, 1842

Dear Caroline,

I rec’d your letter of the 14th giving your safe arrival home. I should have answered it before but I expected one from your father by what you wrote — but I have not received any.

I am as well as usual. Business quite as dull as ever. No money in market. Promises quite plenty – that is all I can get. But I suppose it will make but little difference as there is a Millerite preaching here who says he expects hourly that this world will be annihilated so that will settle all debts – a good receipt that.

There was an exhibition by the pupils of the New York Institution for the Blind here one evening last week. There was 17 of them – some male, some female. There was a brass band composed of the blind which played several delightful airs. They also had a piano which the girls played most sweetly accompanied by their voices. They read & recited several lessons in different branches most admirably. It was altogether the most delightful exhibition I ever attended.

Louisa is about the same as she was when you left here. Catherine is as smart as a trap. Mary gets along very well.

I am now going to hear the Millerite so I can’t write more this evening. Hannah must behave herself for I have a man for her – a Nestorian Bishop right from Persia [and] a native of that country. He has a beard about a foot long, his skin rather tawny. He was at our church yesterday [and] delivered himself of a speech at the first church.

Last evening I received a letter from Jerod Fish stating the death of his father who died the 30th day of last July.

I wish you to write and let me know when you start so I can meet you at the depot.

Yours affectionately, — Joshua Tilden


Suicide of Joshua Tilden


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