1843: Rev. Addison Muzzy to Laura Ann Pease

Rev. Addison Muzzy & Laura Ann Pease in 1887

This letter was written by Rev. Addison Muzzy, the son of Robert Muzzy (1769-1829) and Martha Morse (1769-1835). He was a graduate of Hamilton College (1839) and Auburn Theological Seminary (1842); ordained as a Congregationalist Minister by the Presbytery of Trumbull, OH in 1843, and served as pastor in Bristol, OH from 1843-1849. He was also an Agent of the American Tract Society of Illinois from 1850-1857, residing in Livingston County. In the 1880’s he lived in Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas, which is where he died and is buried.

He wrote the letter to Laura Ann Pease (1817-1903), his fiance, the daughter of Erastus Pease (1785-1857) and Persis Chapin (1784-1861) of Auburn, New York. From this letter it is evident that the planned marriage date was set for 9 August 1843. However, Addison and Laura were married on 22 August 1843 in Auburn.

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Addressed to Miss Laura Ann Pease, Auburn, Cayuga County, New York

Bristolville, Ohio
April 25, 1843

Dearest Laura,

Last Sabbath was the 23 of April, the time set by the Millerites for the world to burn up, but there is no appearance of it yet, nor any proof that it will take place for years to come. The Dr. has had to give me some more medicine since I saw you last, or since my last letter. I have had so many colds during the winter that my stomach had become very bilious indeed. However, I think now that I am pretty well cleansed out. I feel as weak as dishwater. My head feels very clear & bright. Still I have no appetite scarcely for anything. I am now taking some drops. They taste a good deal like winter green. I am able to be up & about nearly all the time & have been.

Saturday, April 29, 1843. My dearest Laura. I feel very weal yet, though am free from all pain. When I was first taken, I had a pain in my right side, but I drew two good, big blisters & that is the last I have felt of the pain. I took such a jolting going out to Vienna & then a cold settled then caused the pain — nothing serious for it is now all gone. Such a bilious creature as I was before I took cathartics, I never saw. I wonder I had not been sick of the fever long before. If I had been any way predisposed to the consumption, I certainly should have had it before now, for I had cold upon cold for five or six weeks in succession. I believe there are but few constitutions that would have borne what mine has, but let us prize the Lord for His sustaining grace.

I was not able to preach last Sabbath nor get to meeting. Neither do I intend to preach tomorrow. I am altogether too weak. My dear, I feel somewhat relieved. I sent a messenger this morning to get some one to come & preach for me tomorrow & he has just returned. Rev. Mr. Calhoon, from Mecca — the next town east — is coming. He is an old school man.

I do not board with Dr. Chapman now. Chloe has had the whooping cough for 4 or 5 weeks & now Eugenia has it fastened to her. Some nights she coughs most all night. I make it my home there by their earnest request. I board about half a mile north with Mr. [Nathaniel Harrison] Maltby — a first rate place. They take all the care of me possible. I have a fine place to study. Mr. Maltby’s people were from Danby [New York], somewhere off south to south-east. They know Rev. Seth Smith who preaches in Genoa & are familiar with things at Homer & Cortlandville.

The Great Comet of 1843

Did you see the great comet in March? Wasn’t it splendid? Some had an idea that it was going to burn the world up, but it has gone off without doing damage to our world & it could not if it would. It would not want to take more than one plunge against our old granite mountains. And besides, it is so much lighter than our atmosphere that it could not get to the earth. It might come within a certain distance & then it float like froth upon the top of water.

Tuesday, May 2. My dearest Laura. My health is improving, but I am very weak. My head feels as light as a feather, rather bordering on dizziness sometimes owing, I suppose, to my weakness. But I hope that I shall soon be about again & able to preach. Pray for me, my dear, that my faith fail not. Yesterday morning it snowed considerable hard & was cold all day. It has been cold today also. I went home to the doctor Saturday & stayed till today. It rained Sunday all day pretty hard so that the man whom I expected to come & preach did not come at all.

Saturday one of the neighbors had a child die which was buried Sunday afternoon so there was no other way but I must go to attend it, sick or well, rain or shine. There is a young lady here in the last stages of consumption whose funeral, I expect, to have to preach before long. She is hopefully pious but belongs to no church.

Apple trees are beginning to look quite green. They have leaves as large as a shilling piece.

We have had a young gentleman here who started a select school under flying colors, but unfortunately for him & his school, he too soon conceived an attachment for one of the young ladies & was so very partial towards her both in school & out that the other young ladies very naturally became offended & left the school so that he has now closed doors. Just for the want of a little more knowledge of human nature. We think of getting Rufus here to see what he can do. The Dr. & Eugenia will probably go to Painesville next week so that the next time I write to you I shall have something to say about them — i.e., Uncle James’ folks. I have felt rather lonesome here away off in this strange land. I would like to be back in New York State did I only know of any place there. I have not heard of such a thing as a donation party. I think such things are unknown here.

If the Home Missionary Society do not grant aid to the amount of $100, the sum applied by this church, I shall then be under no obligation to stay & of course shall not stay unless they rally their forces better than they have done. I shall then lay my course for York State as straight as I can go. I am writing now just as I feel. Tomorrow I feel different altogether when I get your letter which will be tomorrow, I expect.

Wednesday, May 3. My dear, I supposed yesterday that I should have received a letter from you today but I have been sadly disappointed. It is two weeks today since I sent my last & I expect to have received on today. But the reason of the delay is your having too much work to do. Your boarders have probably left by this time, so that you will hereafter have more time to write, unless your people should move this spring. If they should, you will be busy. But I shall surely receive on by day after tomorrow (it is a god while to wait). I received a Northern Advocate from William today & that did some good but there is nothing original in it — nothing about Auburn except about forty eleven notices of “something good & cheap” at G. W. Lenard & Co. I am better today. Still I feel real light-headed but I shall get over that as soon as I get strength.

The woman where I am [boarding] is a first rate woman [Sally Mason Maltby], but then is so natural for her to scold & fret at the [step-]children. I don’t like it at all, We, my dear Laura, have got hold of the right principles exactly. It seems as if there could be nothing better. We must by all means hold on to them & begin now to practice them. If we do, we shall be happy & useful to each other as every couple ought to be. I want your assistance very much now, dear Laura.

I ask your pardon, my dear. It will be two weeks since I sent my last till Friday, day after tomorrow. It has really seemed a great while. I keep an account when I receive yours & when I send mine. I wish I had some of William’s black ink, Mine is miserable poor pale stuff. I wish he would make me about a quart or tell me how.

Friday, May 5. Dearest Laura, I have not been so lonely since I have been in the State as I am now. I want to get your letter very much. I am waiting very patiently. Those 12 articles are in my mind a good deal of the time. We did a good work when we adopted them. What a pity that others who are setting out in life do not adopt something similar. They don’t seem to feel the importance of taking measures to preserve after marriage those affections which they possess before. Of course they indulge in joking & twitting each other & peevishness & all this sort of thing until the first thing they know is their love is all gone. My dearest, we will be true to each other & conscientious in regarding our vows & those 12 articles. May the Lord help us.

Your loving intended, — Addison

Bristolville, Monday, May 8th

I have this evening been made glad by reviewing your letter of May 2. I suppose that you are moving today & ere this evening tired enough. I feel sorry to think how fatigued you must now be wile I am writing. Oh if I could be with you tonight, how I would leap for joy. It seems as if I never felt so anxious to see you as I do now. When I was going to the post office this afternoon, I felt almost afraid to go in lest I should be disappointed. But I was cheered to receive it. My affections for you are very tender & very strong. O, I do rejoice that we have so good a foundation laid for lasting happiness. I am glad that we have adopted those 12 articles. They are just the thing. I am more & more convinced of it everyday. They will not only make us more happy companions, but better Christians. I think they have had a good effect upon me already. It looks worse to me than ever to see people scold & find fault. I can’t bear to see a fault-finding disposition. I hope that I shall be enabled to break off this altogether & to keep all the other articles. I mean to make a desperate effort to do it.

I was called this forenoon for the first time in my life to stand by the dying bedside in the village. The case was a young lady of about 23. She died with the consumption which she has had about 4 years. I was sent for by the family & immediately went. When I got there, she was almost gone, but she had her senses. I prayed with her & in about 15 minutes her immortal spirit took its flight from time. We hope & believe that her soul is happy with Jesus. For 2 or 3 years she has given good evidence of being a Christian. She died very easy. O, how solemn the death chamber! Although the first scene I ever witnessed, yet I was perfectly calm & self possessed. The funeral is to be attended tomorrow at 10 o’clock P. M.

I wish you would be a little more particular about your new residence. I think it must be about opposite to where Lucinda lives or used to last fall. Is it right next to the one that stands on the corner of the street that comes out from Mrs. Muzzy’s. I recollect the one that stands on the corner opposite to Deacon Holley’s. Is it the one next to that up towards Mr. Hopkins or the second? I want to know definitely because when I come to Auburn, it is just like as not I shall come in the night & I shall want to know where to go unless you are up & have a candle burning in the front room & that will be too much trouble. I will take you up if you will only let me know where you keep yourself. I will warrant you that I shall not close my eyes in Auburn until I have fixed them upon your dear face. O how you will spring when you hear my big knock on the door. When you hear my rap, don’t wait a great while to fix yourself before coming down should you be asleep. Even if you should appear in your night dress, I should not be alarmed. I shall want to see you as soon as possible. It seems now as if I was almost there. Well, May will soon be gone. June will soon pass away. July can’t last a great while & then the 9th of August will come right along. O the Lord would bless us & favor us with His good providence. It is now most 11 o’clock so good night, dearest one.

Tuesday, May 9. My dearest Laura. I have read your letter over & over again. It seems odd enough to think that Lucinda is engaged to Mr. Hunt.†  It does not seem possible. I don’t believe it is so. Is it really? She was so opposed to being engaged again to a young man while a member of the Seminary. I shall talk to her like a book when I come; & beside all this she is some six or 7 years older than he & so much larger. If he does not behave himself, she can take him over her knee & spank him. The difference in age always ought to be on the other hand, though it can’t always. I like the match very well.

Are you intending to have any boarders next term?

Today you are doubtless working hard moving & fixing things. It will take some time for you to get settled down again. I hope that you will enjoy yourself when you do get settled. I fear you will not have much time to write to me, but I know that you will do the best you can & let our correspondence come in next to your domestic concerns before singing schools & such things. I shall not send this until tomorrow & then you will have more time to write. And beside, Dr. Chapman & family have gone to Painesville & expect to be back tomorrow & I want to wait till they return in order to give you the news from your Uncle James’ folks. I shall write to him this week next & urge him hard to make a desperate effort to get to Auburn by the 9th of August.

I thank you, my dear. for the recipe for making that shining black ink. I have got sick of that pale stuff. I drink tea sometimes but no gray coffee. I prefer this good cold water & milk to either. Can you get that coral plant? I will give you authority to go there & take it & what else of mine you can find. Tell chum [Jeremiah Whipple] Wolcott that the owner of those plants is yours & of course all that he has is also yours, so that you have the next of titles to them. By the way, I wish you would take some pains to see him & ask him why he does not write an answer to my letter. What has become of [Munson S.] Robinson?

Wednesday, May 10. Dearly beloved Laura. I have again read your letter & it does me good, but does not satisfy me. Nothing will entirely but the sight & embrace of your beloved self. My health is improving. I have a great deal to say but must wait until we meet. We will then have a real feast in telling each other all those that we cannot write. O may the Lord prosper us & permit us to meet as we intend.

Pear trees & cherry trees are in blossom & have been two or three days.

Give my love to Cordelia, to your father & mother, William & Charlotte, & Aunt, & accept a great deal for your own dear self. From your dear and affectionate intended, — Addison Muzzy

P. S. Dr. Chapman has returned from Painesville & left Eugenia & Chloe at Troy with Olive. Uncle James’ people are all well. Rufus talks of coming out here soon. I shall probably see him by the time I write again.


† The “Mr. Hunt” mentioned in this letter as being engaged to Laura’s friend Lucinda was undoubtedly Timothy Dwight Hunt, born 1821 in Rochester, New York. He graduated from Yale in 1840 and completed his three-year course at the Auburn Theological Seminary in 1843, the year following Addison Muzzy. In November of 1843, Hunt married Mary Halsted Hedges of Newark, NJ. (not the Lucinda previously mentioned) and they became missionaries in Hawaii shortly after their marriage. They later settled in California.

Laura Ann Pease’s Wedding Dress in the Fort Morgan Colorado Historical Museum.

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