1841: Alice (Hooper) Howe to Jacob Hooper

This letter was written by Alice (Hooper) Howe (1814-1850) just days after her marriage on 18 October 1841 to Lucian Howe (1812-1892). Lucian was a teacher who came to Detroit, Michigan, in the spring of 1836, and to Port Huron the following year. He was the son of Samuel Howe (1781-1834) and Jerusha Cody (1791-Aft1841) of Holliston, Massachusetts. Lucian’s siblings included: Diantha Elizabeth Howe (b. 1830), Abigail Howe (1816-1823), Elmira Howe (b. 1814), Phineas Howe (b. 1823), Samuel Goddard Howe (b. 1819), Sarah Hill Howe (b, 1821), Martha Ann Howe (b. 1825), and George Francis Howe (b. 1834).

Alice was the daughter of Jacob Hooper (1781-1860) and Sally Dodge (1786-1826) of New Boston, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire.


Addressed to Mr. Jacob Hooper, New Boston, Hillsboro county, New Hampshire
Postmarked Port Huron, Michigan

Port Huron [Michigan]
November 9th 1841

Dear Father,

After a longer journey than we expected, we arrived at this place last evening safe & in health. We reached Boston about four o’clock the day we started & staid at Dr. [Samuel] Grigg’s until the same hour next day. Found them in usual health, were very kindly received, & had a pleasant visit. Mr. Griggs had planned a ride thro’ the city and over to Charleston &c. but it was rainy & prevented so that I saw but little of the place & met with nothing that affected me half so sensibly as the row of stitches the Dr. set in my hand, which by the way is now quite healed.

We left Boston on the cars & reached Westboro same evening, left our baggage at the hotel & went a short distance to a cousin’s of Mr. Howe & staid over night. Next day leaving me with the family (who were so kind & social that I felt myself quite at home), Mr. Howe took the morning cars to Millbury & Worcester, settled his concerns, & returned in the evening train & the day after we took a light carriage & went 3 or 4 miles to Hopkinton to visit his Mother’s family & her friends. To avoid surprising her too suddenly we called first at his cousin Lucy’s as he called it — the wife of a young Baptist Minister preaching in the place — where he learnt that his Mother & family were about leaving for Grafton — their goods & the two oldest daughters were already there — & she was expecting her son Phineas (who is about 18 years of age) to return for her that day & was then calling upon some of the near neighbors. Mr. Howe soon came in with her & we took dinner together & also spent 3 or 4 hours after & saw his two youngest sisters, 13 & 16, who appeared to be intelligent & modest girls. Mrs. Howe appeared to be a very pious, amiable person, & received us with every mark of affection & respect, but was disappointed that Lucian could not stay till spring as she had expected & could hardly think of his not staying a few days at least; but she seemed to be a person accustomed to act from principle & when she knew the circumstances, said she could not ask him to stay against his own interest to gratify her. She manifested a deep interest in our welfare & the visit was a very interesting & edifying one to me.

The youngest child [George Francis Howe] is a son of 7 years old — an age when he can not be so much under his Mother’s eye & needs a master to look after him & she said if we were wiling, she should be better satisfied to have him with Lucian than anybody else. She asked me if I would like to have such a child in the family. I told her I should have no objection as he would be company & some assistance & Mr. Howe told her if she had an opportunity to send him out with someone in the spring or summer, he would take him.

The two older sisters & Phineas we did not see as the latter had not come for his Mother when we left. One of the girls was published & about being married. All three were hopefully pious & a Mother’s tears, as she told me, when by ourselves, how dutiful & affectionate they had been to her since her husband’s death, in connection with the favorable remarks of others, led me to regret that I could not see them & also convinced me that I was very unworthy a sisterly relation. Phineas had been attending school & teaching, endeavoring to get an education with a view to the ministry. We look leave amidst a Mother’s blessings & tender counsels & took tea on our way back with Mr. Morse — another cousin & the short interview was made very pleasant & interesting by his pious conversation & earnest prayer for our welfare.

Staid another night at Mr. Belknap’s & next morning took the cars & reached Greenbush. Same evening found Mary & Josiah & spent the Sabbath with them.

As they have probably written since we were there, it will not be necessary for me to go into particulars. They were well & appeared to enjoy religion, but did not think of staying long there. We had a pleasant interview & when I left, Mary gave me some linen articles which may be very useful. Will write more another time if necessary.

We took a line boat Monday afternoon at Schenectady, having taken the cars to that place. Our progress on the [Erie] Canal was very slow, being very heavily freighted, not expecting to run much longer, & we did not reach Buffalo until the next Monday. We intended to stop at Lockport over Sabbath but did not get there & were compelled to remain on the boat. Monday evening we went on board the steamer New England expecting to go outMonday night but the weather was such we did not leave port until Wednesday morning tho’ the wind was still high. After sailing 12 miles, were obliged to lie at anchor between two points of land on the Canada shore. We were all seasick in the Ladies cabin & most of the gentleman, I believe. It continued rough & on Saturday morning had only reached Cleveland. ¹ The rest of the way fair. We got to Detroit 1 A.M. Sunday. Next day came up to this place.

We are at the Huron House a few days until the family can move out & we can get into our own, which we hope to do this week. The place looks quite natural tho’ considerably improved. I think my health was benefitted by seasickness & feel quite smart. Mr. Howe finds his affairs much as he left them & is in good spirits. Our passage was not any more expensive for being so long tho’ more tedious & dull. Have not been troubled much with dizziness as formerly & most of the time have enjoyed my mind pretty well. Have not yet seen any of the people. Should be glad to have any of them write. Am much obliged for all favors & their kind assistance. Tell Constance I hope she is well & trusting in God to take care of her & all her family. Love to all my relatives & respects to all enquiring friends. Husband also sends his love & respects. Your unworthy daughter, — A. H. Howe

I am under great & lasting obligations to you my dear Father for your great kindness & many favors. May the Lord bless & reward you a hundred fold. Love to each of my brothers & sisters.

Saw John & Robert Bradford. Well & doing well. I hope all our dear friends in New Boston are in health & prosperity. we will endeavor to write again soon. Do not expose this careless writing.

¹ The master of the steamer New England was Capt. Jerry Oliver in November 1841.




Griff View All →

My passion is studying American history leading up to & including the Civil War. I particularly enjoy reading, transcribing & researching primary sources such as letters and diaries.

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