1847: William Stevens Balch to Maria (Balch) Peabody

William Stevens Balch

This letter was written by William Stevens Balch (1806-1887) of New York City to his half-sister, Maria (Balch) Peabody (1820-1848), the wife of Samuel H. Peabody (1820-1903) of Andover, Vermont. William’s parents were Joel Balch (1774-1845) and Betsy Stevens, who died of tuberculosis in 1810 when William was only three. Joel’s second wife was Abigail Joy Edwards (1786-1852) who was the mother of Maria.

William S. Balch was a prominent Universalist preacher, as well as “an evangelist, a denominational organizer, journalist, politician, teacher, and historian.” Having mentored many students for the ministry, he “promoted formal theological education and was a founder of St. Lawrence University.”

Stampless Cover

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3


[Addressed to Mrs. Samuel Peabody, Andover, Vermont]

New York
April 5, 1847

Dear Br & Sister,

I have made some inquiry about horses and find the market to be dull – except for fancy horses – very handsome, very fast and always sell quick and high. They must be beauties and trot a mile in 3 minutes. Then they will go at any price. Common horses sell slow at present. Dr. Harriot did not like his and he has sold or swapped it. Somehow it did not turn out well for what he wanted.

If you should conclude to come on with it [your horse], I will do what I can. But expense & risk won’t be considerable. The river is not open to Albany yet, but doubtless will be in a day or two.

I am not exactly sure of going West. A circumstance has occurred which may prevent it for a time. If I do not, [I] think I shall go to Europe and travel a few months.

We were happy to hear of your improving health and of the present [an infant daughter] you have received. I hope it will be long spared for a comfort to you and a blessing to the world. The care of children is great and the responsibility incalculable. We hardly begin to live before our whole life is bound up in providing for others – for the generation to come after. It is but a day since we were cared for by our parents and now we, in turn, are to provide for our children. Well, such are the progressions of life. But soon we shall go to the enjoyment of that life where success shall be more permanent and happiness more perfect.

Hydropathic Applications (Claridge)

We are at present in very good health – all of us. Mine has not been better in years. Indeed, I count myself well thanks to the “Cold Water Cure” and a plain diet. I have taken three baths daily — been wrapped in cold wet sheets, set in a tub of cold water for a hour at a time – had a stream two inches in diameter falling thirty feet on to my limbs, been steamed and a wet bandage around me night and day – changed every few hours wrung out of cold water, &c &c. & I should add, drank from 5 to 20 tumblers daily — sometimes 8 before breakfast. I have eat and drank nothing hot – no tea, coffee, meat, nor grease of any kind. I have gained 23 lbs. and now weigh more than I have in twenty years – 166. We use nothing but water for a cure. Croup is removed at once by a wet bandage about the neck – changed as it gets warm, and drinking freely of cold water. A sure cure. Oh, had I that good spring in our old west field. I won’t count it a fortune if situated just where I could wish. It is worth more than all the Dr’s. nostrums in the land. I have good reason to be enthusiastic.

If you conclude to risk a journey to sell your horse, just write me and I will be at home and do what I can.

By the way, I have been thinking this must be a good sugar year if with you as ir has been here. What is the price of good clean maple sugar, well drained, first quality? If I should remain here, I will buy some – it is so good for sauces. Perhaps you can make a turn about or top trees and make a lot. Shant it sell as cheap as it has sometimes. I don’t take two or three hundred. Please write me.

Adaline and the children send lots of love. Remember me to Mother, [my sisters] Susan [and] Betsy, and all friends.

Fraternally years, — Wm. S. Balch

Capt. R. T. Claridge's 1843 Hydropathy Book

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Spared & Shared 21

Saving history one letter at a time.

Spared & Shared 20

Saving history one letter at a time

Notes on Western Scenery, Manners, &c.

by Washington Marlatt, 1848

Spared & Shared 19

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Recollections of Army Life

by Charles A. Frey

The Civil War Letters of William Kennedy

Co. B, 91st New York Infantry

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

Building Bluemont

The Origin of Bluemont Central College

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

The John Hughes Collection

A Virtual Archive of his Letters, 1858-1869

The Civil War Letters of Rufus P. Staniels

Co. H, 13th New Hampshire Volunteers

This is Indeed A Singular War

The Civil War Letters of Henry Scott Murray, 8th New York Light Artillery

%d bloggers like this: