1854: Dr. Robert Howard Cary to Ann Montague Cary

This letter was written by Dr. Robert Howard Cary (1794-1867) to his older sister, Ann Montague Cary (1787-1882) of Chelsea, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts. They were the children of Samuel Cary (1742-1812) and Sarah Gray (1753-1825). Samuel Gray was born in Bristol, England, lived for a time in the West Indies, and settled in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Robert Cary graduated from Harvard University in 1816, and received the degree of M.D. in 1820.

Dr. Robert Cary’s letter describes the illness of his oldest son Charley [Charles E. Cary] while in Canada though his letter does not say the purpose for the trip.

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[Addressed to Miss Ann M. Cary, Chelsea, Massachusetts]

Lennoxville [Quebec, Canada]
January 9th 1854

Dear Sister Ann,

We have had three tedious days here. On Friday evening just after I had written to brother C., Charley was seized on his way home from the post office with severe pain in the chest & shortness of breath. He felt as if something had broken within him and there was a droping of some lignia in his side. We slept but very little for three nights since, having to sit up almost all the time suffering from pain and extreme shortness of breath – particularly when [he] lies down. The fever has been very high. He evidently is more comfortable this morning than he has been, but it seems very uncertain if he will be able to go out again. Dr. Brooks thinks there is an effusion of flurries in his chest or, in other words, than an abscess has broken on the lungs tho’ “he may be able to move in a few days” and he has certainly improved since. He is in a very devout state of mind, puts his trust in God, and bears it all with great patience. He is very anxious to get home to be with, he says, those kind friends who are always present in his mind. Sends his love particularly to dear little Helen and Matty.

We are situated as well as could be in a small village where people are more attentive to strangers than in the city. The landlord, Mr. Olivier, is very kind as well as his wife. He sat up with Charley on Saturday night and Mr. Cushing, the postmaster, who is particularly agreeable and capable, last night. Our wish is to be well enough to take the cars the last of the week and come to Boston in three days. But is it altogether uncertain when we should leave. It is not worth while to leave the good friends we have here unless we are sure that we can keep on to Chelsea. If there is a prospect that he will gain much strength, we might remain until next week. With best love to all our friends, from dear Charles, as well as myself, yours truly, — R. H. Cary


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