1848: Aunt E. to Sally Bradford Leonard (Ingell) Norris

The identity of “Aunt E.” who wrote this letter has not yet been revealed. She was likely born around 1790 and lived in the Taunton, Bristol Co., Massachusetts area in 1848. She states in the letter that she has three children living in St. Louis in 1848. And, of course, we know that she was the aunt of the recipient of this letter, Sally Bradford Leonard Ingell (1808-1891). Sally’s parents were Abiathar Ingell (1763-1828) and Prudence Leonard (1773-1809). Sally’s husband was Dr. Benjamin Norris (1803-1870) of Rhode Island, the son of Benjamin Norris.

Stampless Cover

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3


[Addressed to Mrs. Sally B. Norris, Care of Doct. B. Norris, Pittsfield, Illinois]

March 13, 1848,

My ever dear Sally,

I cannot remember when I have been more gratified than by the reception of y[ou]rs – and now among five letters that I have to answer, yours shall be the first and the longest. Yet I direct letters westward with a feeling of despair for somehow they are never received. I answered y[ou]r letter a year ago promptly and wondered at y[ou]r silence, and perhaps this too will not reach you. But if it does, I hope you will not fail to acknowledge it, and at the same time believe that if you receive not my letters, I have not failed to write. I am tired of writing letters to no earthly purpose. Our three children in St. Louis are constantly complaining of my not writing, when I have & do discharge all debts at sight. Do not you doubt me, dear Sally, for indeed I have only clung too closely to old friends for my happiness and to my new ones, I devote myself with all my ability and more.

I have some news from dear New England, but not all pleasant. Frances Williams is married to old Doct. Baylies. Alfred Baylies, his son, who married Jane Richmond has died leaving her with two children (one unborn at his death) and without means of living. She & her children have gone to live with Mrs. Chandler. Sarah Duxbury’s husband is a sot and she reduced to extreme poverty.

Mr. [Charles] Richmond is bankrupt again = a most astonishing circumstance has occurred. Don’t you remember old Mrs. [Lucy] Eddy who formerly lived in our family when you were a little child? [She’s the] mother of Sam Woodward’s wife, of a Mrs. Wilbur, of Sally Amanda Eddy, & perhaps other daughters of ill fame. For many years Mrs. Eddy has lived with & governed old Mr. [Galen] Hicks – not much to any credit in public opinion. It seems Mr. Richmond, in order to get funds for business, paid great court to old Eddy, inviting her to dine with him, to ride out with him, & bringing her presents from Europe. Finally he got old Mr. [Galen] Hicks on paper to the amount of $100,000. Mr. Richmond has fouled again and could only secure Mr. Hicks in a Mill valued at 40,000. Mr. Hicks, greatly troubled at his losses, reproaching Mrs. Eddy & denies his signature to two of the papers. Mr. [Charles] Richmond was arrested on the charges of attempting Mr. [Galen] Hick’s life by prussic acid & croton oil – and of forgery? On trial, [Charles] Makepeace – who had married Amanda Eddy & was the witness, so obviously perjured himself on the charge of attempting murder that Mr. R_____ discharged [the case] on both accounts. Mrs. Eddy, greatly enraged, is willing to swear to anything against him. Caroline Hicks is married to a second husband, Mr. Van Zandt, the prosecutor in this affair.

Sam’l King was, as he supposed, knocked down one evening & left senseless near his own door, but as neither he nor any body can imagine who did it, many suppose it must have been a fit & that in his struggles, his ear was torn to pieces. He has been slowly recovering & somewhat deafened.

Mr. Shepard has been dangerously ill. This is about the amount of T[auton] news. Cousin Nancy (George Breed’s sister) has lost her second husband & cousin Sarah Breed (Mrs. Allen) is dead.

I rejoice that little Willie has gained his calf & foot, but beware of Chloriform – it has killed people, and is getting into disrepute. I have got to the end of my paper & have not said half what I wished, but when you tell me this is received, I shall have more disposition to trust the Mail. Remember me to your friends my acquaintance. With love to you & yours. Affectionately, your Aunt E.


Newspaper account of attempted murder trial

  • Dr. Benjamin Norris, a graduate of Brown University, … came in 1835 to Pittsfield. He was a native of Rhode Island. He was a leading physician, and very useful and successful, as numerous families can well attest. He was skilled as an entomologist and sent some valuable and rare specimens of insects to the Smithsonian Institution: he had some rare specimens and a large cabinet of insects collected by himself which he left in high state of preservation at his death.” History of Pike County, A Centennial Address delivered by Hon. William A. Grimshaw at Pittsfield, Pike County, Illinois, July 4, 1876
  • Click here for a letter written by Sally Norris to her husband in 1837.
  • Francis Amelia Williams (1813-1900), daughter of Abiathar Williams and Nancy Dean, married Dr. Alfred Baylies in Taunton, Massachusetts on 21 November 1847. On 13 September 1849, they had a child named Maria Williams Baylies.
  • Alfred S. Baylie (b. 1815, son of Dr. Alfred Baylie), died in Taunton, Massachusetts, on 12 August 1847. He was married to Jane Ingell Richmond.
  • Amanda Eddy married Charles Makepeace in Boston on 5 November 1827.
  • Sarah Johnson Breed (1789-1848) was married to William Allen (1784-1868) and lived in Northampton, Massachusetts. She died 25 February 1848. She was the daughter of John McLaren Breed & Rebecca Walker.
  • Nancy Breed (1788-1868) and George Breed (b. 1799), were the children of Shubael Breed (1759-1840) and Lydia Perkins (1767-1861) of Stonington, CT. Nancy’s first husband, William Coit Williams (1781-1818) died at sea. Her second husband, Nathan Whiting (1772-1848) died on 19 February 1848.
  • Prussic Acid is the historical common name for Hydrogen Cyanide.
  • Rev. Galen Hicks (widower) died of consumption on 8 November 1848 in Taunton, Massachusetts. He was 76 years old. His wife had died in 1833.

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

"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

"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

The Letters of James A. Durrett

Co. E, 18th Alabama Infantry

Spared & Shared 15

Saving History One Letter at a Time

The Civil War Letters of George Messer

Company F, 107th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Jeff's Prayers are as Effective as Abe's

The Civil War Letters of George S. Youngs, 126th New York Vols

Soldiering is a Very Uncertain Game

The Civil War Letters of Lemuel Glidden, Co. K, 145th Indiana Infantry

Tough as a Pitch Pine Knot

Letters of John Whitcomb Piper, 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery

An Honorable Peace

The Civil War Letters of Frank B. Knause, 6th Michigan Infantry & Heavy Artillery

Looking for a Rebel to Give him a Pop

Letters to & from Sgt. John Henry Ward, 93rd PA Inf

Civil War Letters of William H. H. Kinsey

Co. H, 28th Illinois Infantry

Spared & Shared 14

Saving History One Letter at a Time

The 1863 Diary of Thomas Wilbur Manchester

A Rhode Island Soldier in the American Civil War

The Daniels/Stone Digital Archives

A Collection of Family Civil War Era Letters & Ephemera

Spared & Shared 13

Saving Civil War History One Letter At A Time

Dear Nellie

Civil War Letters of Thomas L. Bailey

Homefront Letters to Mark Rankin

Co. B, 27th Massachusetts Vols.

These Troubling Times...

The Civil War Letters of William H. Walton, Co. B, 3rd New Hampshire

Reluctant Yanks

The Civil War Letters of Joseph F. & B. Franklin Orr, Co. F, 76th Ohio Infantry

Hunting rebels as a dog would a fox....

The Civil War Letters of George W. Scott of Co. I, 46th Massachusetts (Militia)

The Civil War Letters of William Hunt Goff

Company H, 24th Massachusetts

The Charles Wetmore Broadfoot Letters

Aide de Camp to Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes

Spared & Shared 11

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Billy Yank & Johnny Reb Letters

Civil War Letters Transcribed by Griff

To the Front

The Civil War Letters of David Brett, 9th Massachusetts Light Artillery

Dear Jack

Letters received by Dr. John William Crapster O'Neal

For the Union

Civil War Letters of William Freeland, Co. F, 132nd New York Infantry

%d bloggers like this: