1825: Lydia S. Foord to Joseph B. Hill

Needs research. Can you help with identities?

1825 Letter
1825 Letter


Addressed to Mr. Joseph B. Hill, Fayetteville, Lincoln County, Tennessee
Via Washington City

Milton [Massachusetts]
March 23d 1825

Dear Friend,

I received your letter of Dec. 22 the 4th ult. I thought the time very long. Six months elapsed before I received an answer to my last but as you say it was unintentional, I will freely forgive you the first offense. But I am afraid I should bear with an ill grace anything that appertains to neglect. I have delayed answering in hopes of receiving another letter soon in compensating but as it does not come, will no longer.

Cutters listed in Boston City Directory 1825
Cutters listed in Boston City Directory 1825

I have spent six weeks in Boston since I last wrote & was there when your letter arrived. I stayed in Bowdoin St. at Mrs. Cutter’s — a very pleasant acquaintance of ours. ¹ While there I attended in company with the Misses Cutters’ a ball at the Exchange Oratorio & a number of large parties. They had considerable company which made it very pleasant and I dissipated the six weeks almost imperceptibly.

I had likewise with two of the Misses Cutters’ and another young lady staying there at the same time with me a very narrow escape from suffocation. We had been out and returned rather late. It had been their practice to have a water of coals carried into their chamber every night. It was a large room with a large open fire place with two beds. We accordingly retired at eleven not observing it was rather a arm south wind & a heavy pressure of air came down the chimney so that none of the gas that arose from the coal could escape, the doors being close. I awoke first with the most indescribable distress and faintness. Caroline Cutter awoke immediately and asked what was the matter. I had recollection enough to tell her I felt dreadfully and would get up. The moment my feet touched the floor, I fainted or it was more like a fit. Caroline ran into her mother’s chamber & told her Miss F. had fainted or was dying. She awoke her sister and Miss Hayes. All those four were not able to lift me onto the bed, I was so perfectly lifeless. They had to call their father. I came too soon & was deadly sick by turns for six hours. All this time they did not suspect what was the occasion of my sickness as the others were not taken for nearly half an hour afterwards. They did not faint as I did, but was very sick by turns. Such a scene of confusion can better be imagined than described. After the others began to feel the effects, they were not so sick as I was, probably owing to the state of their health and the door being opened often so that the has in a great measure escaped. It was thought that my awaking as I did and arousing the others saved our lives. A few moments longer and I should not have had the power to have moved or escape. I have every reason to be thankful it was no worse. I have learned a lesson by sad experience that I shall never forget, and what was [paper torn], I felt no bad effect from it in a few days after.

We have been very busy and anxious in preparing Brother for a trip South as far as Washington. He returned last night, was gone 18 days, well with the exception of a cold. The rest of the family are well as usual.

You ask me if Miss L. C. is still in the state of single blessedness. I have the happiness to say she is not. She married last Autumn a Mr. W. Warner, cousin of Mr. G. G. Law, but no more like him than the two greatest contraries that you can imagine. It is thought that her father’s suavity of manner will be well represented by him and as to the property that Mr. C left the ____ have done nothing but quarrel about it. He left a will not at all to the satisfaction of his first wife’s children, but it is not yet divided.

For news, the greatest I have to tell you is that Mrs. N. R. & husband are coming back to Milton to reside at her mother’s very much to our discomposure for we were in hopes that they were gone at least for a few years, but no such good news. Mr. R. we hear intends farming as he gets very little encouragement at his profession.

I attended in company with Miss Caroline Cutter & Brother a military ball on the 22 ult. at Savin Hill given by the officers of the First Brigade. The hall was splendidly lighted with glass lamps & colored oil & decorated with evergreen and roses. The uniformity of the officers and the elegant dresses of he ladies presented a scene more like enchantment than reality.

When you next write, I wish you to inform me how you succeed with your profession and what your prospects are, and whether you think of finally making Fayetteville your home for time begins to wear heavily with me — and another reason that I wish you to return if possible is that if a certain affair should happen in the course of the summer or the beginning of autumn, which in all probability will, I should wish to have you present at the ceremony. You cannot be at a loss to [know] what I allude to. You, I presume, have received Miss H. B.’s letter as it is some time since she told me she had answered yours.

Our neighbors have remained very quietly this winter. There has been no visiting here since, nor before my return from the city perfectly tacit, good wishes but little company. Deacon M,’s singing school closes next week. I have attended only twice. Mr. F. & Miss G. still remain single altho’ he visits her every evening. They mean to make the saying true, that an engagement is the happiest part. I should think from all appearances that if they continue it may prove so. Mr. W. Felt has taken a wife of the daughter’s of Dorchester by the name of Glover — rather handsome and quite a lady withal. we intend visiting them. I have told you all the news that I can recollect or would be interesting to you.

Write soon and tell me whether you think I could live in your region as many of my friends say that I must not go so far. I am sorry to hear so discouraging account of female society for to the good and well informed of my own sex, we are all indebted to our first and best principles.

Sister A. is now visiting Mrs. Simmes [?] whose family are all well. She calls her boy William Ford. Write soon & particular & believe me yours sincerely, — Lydia S. Foord

¹ Ammi Cutter (1777-1850) was a fish-oil merchant in Boston with a residence on Bowdoin Street in 1825. He was married to Hannah Lombard (1781-1836) in 1804. The two Cutter daughters that Lydia spent time with were probably the two oldest daughters: Caroline Cutter (1805-1830) and Catherine Cutter (1807-18xx). 

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