This letter was written by Willard Martin (1786-1849) of Hinsdale, New Hampshire. It was written soon after the death of his wife, Lucretia (Haughton) Martin (1791-1847), who we learn from this letter died on 17 August 1847. Their two sons are mentioned in the letter: Oscar Jackson Martin (b. 1815) and Edward Haughton Martin (b. 1817). Another son, Willard Wheeler Martin, died in 1832 at the age of 5 years, 9 months.
Willard wrote the letter to his younger sister, Martha Bridgham Martin (1809-1884) and her husband, William G. Cutting (1810-1875), who were residents of Rochester, New York in 1847. The 30 December 1884 issue of the New York Herald-Tribune reports that Mrs. Martha B. Cutting died of “paralysis” on 28 December at the home of her nephew L. W. Badger in Wyoming, New Jersey. Her husband had previously died there on the 12th of September, 1875.
Martin’s obituary reads as follows:
Died. In Hinsdale, (N. H.) 14th Oct., 1849, Willard Martin, esq, aged 62. Mr. Martin was formerly extensively known as one of the first merchants in the town of Guilford (Vt.), where he was long distinguished as one of the principal citizens of that place. Honest and upright in his dealings, and generous and kind in his deportment, he won the confidence and enjoyed the respect of all who knew him. As a merchant he was distinguished for his probity, and as a citizen for his kindness and generosity. For many years he received almost the universal suffrage of the town as a Represenative in the State Legislature, and he honorably discharged the duties pertaining to the many offices with which he was entrusted. He died in a firm, unshaken hope of meeting his friends again in that house not made with hands, which is eternal in the heavens.
Addressed to William G. Cutting, Esq., Rochester, New York
Care of Joseph C. Stone, Esq.
Hinsdale, New Hampshire
August 24th 1847
Brother W. G. & Sister Martha B. Cutting
Your letter of June 3rd was received in due course of mail and were well pleased to hear from you, and that you were in the enjoyment of tolerable good health. I am well pleased to be informed that you have fallen into the hands of Joseph, not of old, but a Joseph of our day and generation. I think him from the acquaintance that I have with him to possess all of the kind and noble traits of character that were possessed by his name sake of ancient Egyptian times. Do all that you can to promote the best interest and happiness of your good friends Joseph and Mary. Buoy up under your afflictions and troubles — they are much less than mine as you will learn in the sequel. My hope and prayer is that your latter days may be your best and most prosperous and happy days of your lives, and that our Heavenly Father will bless you in _____ and store.
Your Sister Mrs. James Mowry died of disease called Typhus Fever. Lucius P. Mowry, Esq. son was drowned in the River near his house some time since. James W. Mowry lives in his new house on the old farm and his brother lives with him, and I have been informed enjoys his usual health. Rev’d James W. preaches one half of the time at Green River. You ask me how I liked Brother Philips’ wife. I can say that I liked her general appearance well, thin her quite a good and intelligent woman, think he has done well in his new matrimonial connection. I cannot give you any information relative to Susan Ann — only that she married Dwight Shearer in a private manner and without the consent of her Father, and that they live on his Mother’s farm and in the house with her. You may have my share in the great legacy that is said to have fallen to the Houghton Family in England for twenty five cents, if you will make a deposit in the Rochester Bank of that amount.
Edward H. says he is going West in pursuit of business. Will he be able or likely to find employment in your Section of the country if he should go there soon?
I have been informed that brother Edward yet remains upon earth and in a very feeble state of health. He seems to live while many around him enjoying god health die and return to their mother earth.
Edward H. wishes you to ask Joseph C. Stone, Esq., if he can find a place in any kind of business for him in Rochester or vicinity, and sends his love and respects to you both — also his compliments to Mr. Stone.
Now I come to the heart-rending part of this epistle with weeping eyes and a throbbing heart, and have to inform you that Lucretia, my beloved and loving wife, has gone to the mansion of her Heavenly Father. She departed this life and bid us farewell on Tuesday the 17th instant, at eight o’clock in the morning. On Wednesday in the afternoon, she was interred in the burying ground at Guilford Center, by the side of her departed children, and near her Father and Mothers and Sisters. Funeral Services, Prayer at our dwelling house in Hinsdale by the Rev’d Mr. Jerould, Congregationalist. Sermon and other services in the Universalist Church at Guilford Center. Sermon by the Rev’d M. Willis of Brattleboro, Universalist.
Lucretia died as she had lived — a Christian of the Abrahamic faith in a full belief of the Ultimate Salvation of the Universal family of God, our Heavenly Father. She died without a murmur or a groan. When last moments, she was calm and had her senses. About two hours before she ceased to breathe, she told me that she was dying. I asked her how I could possibly get along alone through time with me here without her care and attention to me. She answered by saying that God would take care of me. How I shall manage and pass along through the short pilgrimage that I have to remain upon earth, I know not. There were people from all parts of the town who attended the funeral services and the church well filled.
Affectionately yours, &c. — Willard Martin
Widow Hannah Cutting and son William B. came to Hinsdale to see us the same day that Lucretia died, and arrived a short time after she had breathed her last breath. Mrs. Cutting lamented that she did not come the day previous. Had she not have been disappointed in her calculations, she would have come in season to have seen Lucretia while living, which would have been a great consolation to them both, as they were always intimate and friendly.
Oscar J. wishes to be remembered and sends his respects to all of you.
May the blessings of our Heavenly Father rest upon you evermore. Wish you to write to me as soon as convenient after receiving this letter. — W. M.
The “Widow Cutting” referenced in the letter was Hannah (Brockett) Cutting (1791-1868), who was married to Samuel Cutting (1791-1842) of Guilford, Vermont. From this letter we learn that she came with her son William Brockett Cutting (b. 1827) to see Lucretia Martin on her deathbed but arrived too late.