This partial letter was written by Edward Cushman Ingham (1821-1899) to Miss Lucy Putnam Wheeler (1820-1852) who would become his first wife in March, 1844. Edward was born in Guildhall, Vermont — the son of Daniel Ingham (b. 1798). Lucy was born in Croydon, New Hampshire — the daughter of Col. Nathaniel Wheeler (1781-1864) and Huldah Whipple (1789-1833).
Edward attended the coeducational Kimball Union Academy in Meridan, New Hampshire, from 1841 to 1843. Lucy is also known to have attended the same academy which is probably where they met. Because it is only a partial letter, no date is given except for Edward noting that it was “Friday, October 1” which means the letter had to have been written in 1841. (See Edward’s biography below.)
Edward and Lucy are buried in the Northville Cemetery in Newport, Sullivan Co., New Hampshire. Three young children, born to this couple, are also buried there: Sarah H. Ingham (1848-1853), Lucy I. Ingham (?-1852), and an infant (1849-1849). After Lucy’s death, Edward tool Marinda Dodge Potter (b. 1833) as his second wife in 1853. By his second wife, Edward had a son named John Edward Ingham who graduated from Dartmouth in 1877. Together they moved to Minnesota where they managed a hotel and were involved in the manufacture of sashes and doors.
Unfortunately, I only possess one sheet of what must have originally been a two sheet letter so the transcription is incomplete.
Addressed to Miss Lucy P. Wheeler, Croydon Flatt, N. H.;
postmarked Hanover, N.H., October 4 [1843?]
…duties, but walked up to the P.O. just at night. To-day I have not left my room & probably shall not. This evening the N. J. Lyceum meets, & I believe the ladies are to attend, but I must spend the long evening solitary & alone here in my room. O the mutability of human affairs. Sabbath evening I could boast that I soon should be well & be like myself again. This evening, O sad morose – but I forbare. I hope yet to be entirely well sometime. I have thus written of my health for the want of something more interesting & thinking that you may feel interest enough to at least read what I have written.
I have seen Miss Putnam a few times & like her appearance very well. Hear what Simon says, “Miss Putnam is not very handsome but there is something in her appearance that suites me??”
Thursday eve. 8 o’clock. With pleasure I grasp my pen to continue my task (rather privilege) of filling my sheet for your perusal. My health is very much improved since I wrote last eve. Have attended recitations to-day. I have just returned from a meeting of the Students to consult measures in regard to a public exhibition. The result is we shall probably have one at the close of the term. Everything in relation to it being so vague now, I will write to you in regard to it when things shall have become definite. Lyceum passed off last evening – well, I guess. Eight or 10 ladies present. Will you believe Mr. Simons obtained an introduction to & wated upon — who? Why Miss Putnam. I do not know all that Simons thinks of now-a-days!
Friday eve. Oct. 1st. Well, Lucy, I am again at my desk to finish this scroll, for to-morrow it must be mailed [so] that my promise may be fulfilled & your expectations answered. Nothing new since last eve. has transpired that would interest you. My health continues improving. O, I have not called upon Miss Town yet, as you bade me to do. I would but — but—-I, of course, believe all you told me in regard to Miss Town & I look upon her differently from what I ever have, since I knew you. I looked upon her influence upon you, as an almost immoveable obstacle in the way of the accomplishment of my wishes. I had almost said my only wish. But since being convinced that that is not the case, I hope, even dared to secretly hope that I am, or may get to be as dear to you, as you are to me. But alas, when I & mine are weighed in the balance, we are found wanting. Why did “All Creating Nature” make such a difference in mankind? Are not nature’s gifts bestowed with partial hand? Why was not I too a favoured recipient? But enough. The unseen future may yet be propositioned. Be this as it may, deep deep depravity can alone burn up the inate feelings & passions that exist in the bosom of all intelligencies. And when that innocent & holy passion, love has once developed itself & found an object on which to rest & is then ________, a demon-like depravity can alone destroy it. Then may not a cordial bestowal of ones love upon another who can reciprocate it, if it can never be withdrawn. I say may not, is not, then enough, although nature may have been partial?
For the want of space on which to write, I must close. In reviewing what I have written, I find many mistakes, grammatical, orthographical, &c. But for the want of time, I cannot correct them. I send it because I know who is to read it. I shall await very impatiently until I hear from you. Shall I wait long? Don’t ask to much when I say send me something by every mail?
Now, as ever, your unworthy but sincere friend, — Edward [Ingham]
- Edward Ingham b Apr 16 1821 was educated at Norwich, Vt. came from Croydon in 1848 and settled on the FM Cutting farm at Kelleyville. He was a superintending school committee and a successful teacher. He was afterwards in trade at Lebanon, at Keene, and at Springfield, Vt. While at the latter place in 1870 he was appointed superintendent of the New Hampshire State Reform School. He discharged the duties of this position with such marked success that the trustees of the reform school at Meriden, CT, induced him by the proffer of a greatly augmented salary to take charge of that institution. At the end of two years he resigned his trust there and removed to St Paul Minn, his present residence.
- Lucy P. Wheeler, youngest daughter of Col. Nathaniel Wheeler, was educated at Norwich Institute and Kimball Union Academy; married Edward Ingham, Esq., a man of superior intellect and business tact, and died at Newport in 1852.