Eighteen year-old Caroline E. Dean, of Frankfort, Waldo County, Maine writes to 34 year-old Thomas Rider Kingsbury of Bradford, Penobscot County, Maine.
Caroline was born in Winterport, Maine, the daughter of Freeman L. Dean, a mariner, born about 1811. Her paternal grandparents were Freeman and Desire Dean. In this letter, Caroline laments the recent death of her mother, Clarinda [Brown] Dean (1811-1851).
Caroline would eventually marry Joseph E. Marsh of E. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Joseph was employed at a glass store in Boston (1870). Joseph’s father, the Rev. Joseph Marsh, came to America from England as an early day organizer of the Methodist Church. The dates of birth of their children suggest that Caroline married Joseph Marsh prior to 1855. Perhaps Caroline met her future husband on the trip to Boston she hoped to take in the summer of 1851. Caroline [Dean] Marsh died on 3 January 1888, at the age of 53 and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Sandwich, Barnstable, Mass.
The recipient of this letter, Thomas Rider Kingsbury, was born 20 February 1817 in Brewer, Maine — the son of Emmons Kingsbury (1779-1862) and Hannah Rider (1782-1860). His first wife, Mary S. Dean (a relative of Caroline’s), died while giving birth to Marcus Dean Kingsbury, born 6 August 1845. In 1847, Thomas took Amanda L. Clarke as his second wife.
Thomas Kingsbury was a dry goods and grocery merchant in Bradford, Maine — a business he established in 1843. He also served as a Representative in the State Legislature (1858) and as a Senator in the State Legislature (1869-70). He died 4 May 1891 and is buried in Bradford Corner Cemetery in Bradford, Maine.
June 21, 1851
Your kind letter came safe to hand and once more I seat myself to pen you a few lines in return. Truly your letter took me by surprise for I had long since given up all hope of having one from you; thinking that the memory of your Frankfort friends had passed from your mind; but happy am I to learn my mistake. Often, and often, have you been thought and spoken of by us. We all long to see you, and especially my poor self. Had I known of your being on board the boat, I should certainly have been down on the wharf to seen you. I think I should know you; the remembrance of how you looked the last time I saw you is still fresh in my mind. If you pass again this summer and cannot find it convenient to stop, please write me a line and I will meet you at the boat.
For about two months and a half, I was confined to the house by sickness. I scarce left my room for the time. It has been some time since I have been able to attend to my work but I still find myself so weak I do not feel able to do near so much as before my sickness. It took my flesh off so much, so I am rather poor just now. I am about getting ready to go to Boston. Father thinks it will be a benefit for me to go on the water. I went last summer and enjoyed myself well.
Since I last had the pleasure of penning you a few lines, I have been called to part with my beloved mother. How hard it seems to part with those we hold so dear. We must expect partings in this brittle life. I know that my loss was her eternal gain. We ought not to mourn for them, as one without hope. I find it very lonely and sad here since she has been consigned to the lonely tomb, and at times it seems as though I could not realize it as true; that she is forever hid from my sight. Never more shall I hear her kind voice or see the affectionate smile with which she was accustomed to meet me n return from an occasional absence. Never can her place be filled by another like her. During all of her long and painful sickness, not a murmer escaped her lips. And when she died, not a finger moved. She breathed her last as though she was asleep. Dear Mr. Kingsbury, what have I lost in the death of that precious mother? What shall do without her here to counsil and advise me. Joy be to the departed spirit dear Mother.
How much pleasure it would afford me as well as the rest of the family to have you and your wife come down and make us a visit. It would be a rare treat it would be to see you and kiss that dear child Marcus for me a half dozen times. I would much like to see the little fellow. Many thanks to you dear sir for your kindness to me. Long shall you be remembered by Caro[line]. I hope you will favor me with a few lines from your pen. Do not let so long a time elapse again before I hear from you.
Please excuse all defects. I am aware there are many; there is scare one idea connected in the whole. Think what my feelings are while writing and you will not wonder at my poor composition. Once more with Farewell! If we meet no more on Earth, may we meet in that land where partings are never known, and where tears are wiped from all eyes.
Yours truly and affectionately, — Caroline E. Dean