This letter was written by Lucretitia Covey (1806-1884), daughter of Jared Covey (1783-1869) and Mary Cleveland. In 1828, Lucretitia married Joel Witter in Brookfield, New York. Lucretia and Joel had several children: Parintha Lucretitia Witter (b. 1829), Jared Covet Witter (b. 1831), Samuel Joel Witter (b. 1834), Martin Van Buren Witter (b. 1835), John Fox Witter (b. 1838), and Phoebe Eleanor Witter (b. 1843).
This letter was addressed to Lucretitia’s cousin, Prudence Covey Cleveland (1811-1885) who was the second wife of Asher Miner Babcock (1798-1890) in October 1847. She was the daughter of Elihu Cleveland (1781-1861) and Prudence Covey (1785-1811).
“Bub” was Asher and Prudence’s young son, Herbert Alberti Babcock, born in July 1848.
[Addressed to Mrs. A. M. Babcock, Westerly, Rhode Island]
Friday, March 15, 1850
Dear Cousin Prudence,
I have just found time to write to you. Perhaps you will think I have nearly forgotten you. But I have not, nor never shall [I] while time lasts. There is not a day passes but what I think of you and your kindness to me. I hope I may see the time when I can repay you. I have been very busy ever since I came home getting ready for house keeping. Mother and Lib have been helping me. I have got nearly ready. Prudence, how do you get along now-a-days? I presume you have plenty of work driving as hard as ever. I imagine I see you now doing up your Friday’s work. I would like to take a peep in and see you a little while. O where is bub, trotting around with a whip in his hand and singing? I would like to see the little snipe and give him a good hugging. Tell Mary I received her letter in due time and thank her for being so punctual. I will answer it when I get to house keeping. She did not write me where she is going to school.
I have been at Mr. Brown’s visiting. Had a first rate visit. Saw Aunt Catherine. She inquired all about you and said I must give her love to you. She appears as cheerful as ever. I can’t see that she has failed at all. I suppose she is in Utica now visiting Cyrus’ family. They are going to Buffalo this Spring.
Russell Brown gave me a heifer and Mrs. Brown a pair of sheets and pillow cases, a bed quilt blanket, two table cloths and some towels, but could not give me a bed, [as] she was so poor. I got more that I expected to get. O, it is getting dark and I shall have to stop until morning, so good night.
Saturday morning. I will now commence my epistle to you. We are all in usual health with the exception of Lib. Her health is not very good but is rather better today than she was yesterday. How do you all do this morning, and how is bub? You are getting ready for church about this time. I think nine weeks ago this day, I attended church in Rhode Island, but now I am here in Old Brookfield. But I tell you, I had rather live there than here.
Catherine says tell Prudence I am coming down this next fall to work in the factory. I tell her I had rather go in the spring than fall. I think it is much pleasanter. I heard that Charlotte Edwards is coming next month. I gave that likeness to Julius. He said he wished I had given it to you. He says he never promised to have Mrs. Banner nor never gave her any encouragement. I think she was a queer creature to tell anything of that kind when there was no truth in it. Jule is keeping company with a girl there where he lives. Her name is Martha Bennett. He is building a new shop and house. I should not be surprised if he was married this spring. I don’t know anything about it. He said he would tell me but has not had any chance yet.
I expect to go to house keeping the first of April when I get settled. I want you and your husband and all the family to come and make me a visit. I will do everything in my power to make your visit agreeable for you all. Jim is not here. He is at Waterville. I have not seen him in about two weeks. I some expect him here to night. If he was here, he would [send] his regards to you all for he thinks you are about right. Give my love to all the children. Tell them I want to see them all very much. Kiss bub four times hard for me. I must stop and let Lib finish. Write to me when you receive this if it is not more than three words. Now remember, I shall expect you to write. Well, I must stop. Good Bye. Good Bye, from your cousin, — Creash
As Creath has written all the news, I shall not have much to write about. But one thing I would say that Creach’s favourable account of your kindness to her has raised you higher than ever in my esteem, it has recalled to my mind the scenes of my childhood when I lived near your Father’s. You will probably recollect our having the Measles at that time, and had it not been for your Mother, yourself, and Hannah, I can not tell what would have become of us at that time. Oh! how pleasantly those days passed away! when we felt as though we had friends that could sympathise with us in our little trials. But those days have gone never to return. And though years have intervened betwixt that time and now, yet the impression made on my mind at that time will never be erased from my memory while life lasts, if reason maintains her throne. Your call at our house two years the past summer has not been forgotten amid the busy, bustling cares of life. How I would like to have that call repeated, and (not a call exactly either) but a good family visit would be far more acceptable.
I have never seen our Mother or Hannah since they left Brookfield. It is now sixteen years, but I would be as glad to see them as any friends I have now–a-days, I can assure you. How do you enjoy yourself living in Rhode Island? Do you like as well as you did in Blackriver Country? Creash seems to think it very pleasant.
We have had very mild weather here this winter and not so much snow as we have sometimes. It’s getting to be sugaring time with us here and Jared is out tapping his sugar bush today. Our friends at North Brookfield, I presume, are in their usual state of health. Aunt Polly has been very feeble all winter. Lucetta’s two oldest children are attending school at the Clarksville Academy, but Parintha’s health is so poor that she does not go very steady. She has an ulcerated sore throat.
Our family are situated about as they were when Lucretia lived in your place. Lucien has hired out to George B. Clark for another summer. Justin is in New York yet. I heard from him by way of a cousin I have living there about a fortnight ago.
Prudence, do you ever think of coming to Brookfield for a visit? If you do, I wish you would put your thoughts into practice. I would like very much to see your little boy. My health is far from being good today & I am getting rather tired and shall have to close. Jim did not come yesterday as expected and we are looking for him today. I like him very well for the acquaintance I have had. Prudence, you must write me sometime or I shall think my scroll is not worth noticing. My respect to your husband and children. I hear Creash mention them so often, it seems as though I was very well acquainted – Edgar and Mary not excepted. Lodeska’s health is not good but she gets along with her work herself pretty much. She wishes to be remembered to you. When you write to me, direct to Brookfield, Madison County, N. York. And now to close. May Health, Happiness, & Prosperity attend you through life is the wish of your Cousin — Lib.
Write as soon as convenient and oblidge your friend. E.E.C.