1846: Anne Mary (Upton) Johnson to Mary Silsbee

This letter was written by Anne Mary (Upton) Johnson (1822-1846), wife of Samuel Johnson (1815-1884) of Jackson, Maine. Samuel was the Principal of Machias Academy. The letter was written a few months after the birth of Anne and Samuel’s only child, Mary-Hatty Johnson, on 29 October 1845. Anne died in October 1846.

The letter was written to Mary Silsbee who was a relative of Anne Johnson’s.

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Addressed to Mrs. Mary Silsbee, Amherst, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia
Care of Messrs Read & Seaman

Jackson [Maine]
February 15, 1846, Saturday Evening

My dear Mary,

Thank you for your letter which came very acceptably some time since. We were very much interested in it & happy to hear that you are so pleasantly situated. I had not forgotten my promise to write after the interesting event took place which you alluded to, but delayed writing supposing you had left E. M., & not knowing where you had gone.

My sweet little baby is now nearly 4 months old & she seems to us much older. We (of course) think her a very remarkable child. She is the perfect image of Mr. Johnson — his hair, eyes, “mouth”, ears, head, hands & feet on a small scale and sometimes she seems so unlike me that I can hardly imagine her to be mine. But I love her dearly. She begins already to show a preference for her mother. She is very quiet & good & perfectly healthy — a little fat thing & as sweet as you can imagine. You have probably heard her name before this but fear you have not. I will tell you. We named her Mary Hatty — the first part for me & the last for Hatty Holway. Mr. Stone was present & made the prayer at her christening, but was not willing to perform the ceremony as he felt it would be discourteous to Mr. Niswell. We were very desirous that he should.

We have had two most interesting visits from Mr. Stone & his wife this winter & I cannot tell you how rejoiced we were to see them. We had six sermons & lectures from him & it was a treat to sit in the sound of his voice again. They enjoyed their visit to Boston very much & were there at a very favorable time. You have probably heard all about it as Mrs. Stone said she intended to write you very soon.

We had a letter a short time since from Mr. Morse at Washington. His wife was visiting Boston & he was attending to some business in Washington & expected soon to return home & pass through D____ on his way home & perhaps come to see us. I spent about 3 months at home after the birth of my child & so have been in Jackson only a few weeks. My health is not entirely re-established & I think will not be until the return of warm weather. I was for a long time weak & feverish & did not seem to recruit but very slowly, My first sickness was very trifling compared with the lingering weakness which followed it. Notwithstanding your & Margaret;s testimony to the contrary, I think the event is not so much to be dreaded after all. I was sick but about an hour & then not so severely as to cause any shuddering at the remembrance. I suppose I was a highly favored woman in that respect.

I heard by Mrs. Stone of Margaret’s marriage & that she had taken the baby again. How could you give it up? I suppose now your situation is so entirely changed that the past seems a dream to yo. I see by your letter to Mr. Abbot that you are as fond of building air castles as ever. I hope that some of your cherished projects may some time be realized. I shall always be very happy to hear from you. I look back upon my stay in E. M. & the happiness I experienced from the acquaintances from there as the highest spot in my life.

The baby is sitting in her little chair (made after the fashion of yours) & is quite uneasy. Therefore, I must close & take her. Yours affectionately, — Anna M. Johnson

Wednesday afternoon,

As this did not go where I expected it would, I will try & fill out this page. If it is not so very interesting, perhaps it will be better than clean paper. A. M. & ‘mi’ are going to give a part next week. Suppose if we give you an invitation, you will not come as it would be something of a distance to come just to spend an evening. I can’t hardly wait till next week comes. Dr. Roberts takes a deep interest in you. He always inquires all about you every time he sees any of our family. Poor man — he feels his loss very much now. He isn’t the man to get over it in a few weeks & think nothing more about it.

I have often thot of the good times we used to have when you, Mary & Hannah was here just before Catherine was married. We used to take a walk down to the Post Office once in awhile as you perhaps will remember. It is real nice to have Catherine so near us. She comes out to see us almost every week. Did you know of Eliza Foster’s sickness? Her friends think she will not recover. I believe G & I have written to her & hope to hear from her soon. Her son, Samuel, expects to have Abby Johnson here with him. She is sick now with Typhus fever. I think she is a dear little girl — bright & active as can be. We have grand times playing Dr. Busby this winter. G ____ in a great hurry to send her letter out here if she had known it would have stopped so long, guess she wouldn’t have been in much haste. We had to wait for A.M. to get ready to write.

Mother’s health is quite good this winter & Father has not been so well for a long time as he is now. Mother wants to see you very much indeed. Says she should admire to have you visit us. We all want to hear from you often. Did you receive the paper I sent you soon after we received your letter?  “Well good day.” — Abby

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