This letter was written written jointly by Laura J. (Goodwin) Stone and her husband Horace B. Stone (1816-1885) from Apalachicola, Florida in 1842. They wrote the letter to Horace’s brother, Samuel B. Stone (1811-1857) who lived with his wife Sarah W. (Dalton) Stone (1812-1891) in Brewer, Maine. Reference is also made to another brother, George A. Stone (1814-1885) who also lived in Brewer with his wife Fidelia (Stewart) Stone. The three Stone brothers were the children of Timothy Stone (1758-1840) and Alice Stearns (1762-1847).
Addressed to Mrs. Samuel B. Stone, Brewer Village, Maine
December 7, 1842
Since I have been in Apalachicola, I think I have said every mail day that I must write Sarah but as often I have subjected myself a subject of procrastination — that thief of time which does so much mischief and the old rascal is always at my elbow. But I am not alone. I think Horace has an evil genius sometimes such as prevented him from deciding at once to take me with him this winter. But you must not mistake that as indecision for I teased him till I believe the poor fellow took me as the girl married her admirer “to get rid of him.” But you must know that he did intend to leave me for he bid me goodbye once, and then was so sorry that he came back. But I don’t know that he repents taking me yet although he may do so before spring.
We have delightful weather now and I believe I appreciate it more than I otherwise should do by contrasting it with what I suppose your weather to be at this season and how narrowly I escaped from it. We have had some cool weather but people are making gardens and I have a bouquet of roses standing on the mantlepiece all the time so that we have quite the appearance of summer. The river is tolerably good so that boats are running constantly and bringing cotton which makes business lively if not good and business, I think, keeps the gentlemen in good humor, which is so indispensable to the comfort of the ladies — particularly here where we are so dependent on them so that in all, we get along very pleasantly and happily except that Horace scolds me sometimes about his shirts which I will acknowledge I have been rather tardy about making. But then, there is so much visiting to be done here that it takes most all the time.
In a letter from George last week he tells me that you were to have a Thanksgiving dinner as it was your turn. I expect you had all the good things that the land afforded and right glad should I be to have some of them but we can’t have our “cake and eat it too.” I can’t be in Maine & Florida at the same time but we have a great quantity of West India fruit which compensates for the loss of pies & cake. Thomas brought me my preserves which came in very good order and if you will come and take tea with me, I will have it in my room and take the sweetreat out from under the bed — don’t laugh for ’tis the only place I have for them. I expect it would shock Mrs. Eldridge’s neatness. By the way, how does she get along this winter?
George writes me that Mr. [Samuel] Sterns is dead. ¹ I wonder how his family will get along.
I reckon Mrs. Sterns will have to bestir herself more than she has been in the habit of doing. I am surprised at the sickness in Brewer and that kind of sickness is so uncommon. Maria writes me that Mrs. Leonard Rogers lost a child _______ with the same fever.
Maria appears to like very much where she is but she was not at all reconciled to my leaving her after having said that I would stay with her and I felt bad too, but I trust she is taken good care of.
You will recollect something I told you before I left. I have since learned that my informant was not earnest — so much for listening to scandal. Horace has been giving me a blowing up for what I have just scratched out, but you will understand.
We have quite a large society of ladies and some of them very pleasant. There are four at the Mansion House ² beside the “Commodore’s” family which consists of a wife, two daughters, and another young lady, so that we have quite a company of our own when we are all together. And when there are eight ladies, you may reckon upon some scandal — at least the gentlemen say ladies cannot be together without talking scandal, and the worst of it is we are obliged to admit it sometimes. I expect Horace will be scolding me for not leaving more than a page for him but ’tis time for me to commence complimenting with you to write me which I suppose you will pay no attention to, but really, I hope Sarah you will write and not put it off till spring. Horace will take this letter and begin to laugh next. Can’t you find anything better to write, so I have to acknowledge that can’t write a letter. Your affectionate sister, — Laura
I take it for granted that Mrs. Stone has written something very fine and funny — enpassed all the news and gossip as ladies are wont to do, for I haven’t read and although I intend to do so if I have time after I have filled my devoid. Samuel seems to say little as usual but no doubt he looks wisdom personified having Dr. Franklin’s sage maxims in his head of “thinking twice before he speaks.” But as I am used to it on his part and he is pretty well accustomed to grumbling on mine, there is little damage done to either so far. You may say that the [schooner] Bradore has arrived here from Charleston and that she is under charter at $100 per month [see contract below], so says Capt. [John] Cody which will probably please Mr. [Simon] Moulton. ³ She will probably get a return freight immediately to Charleston and tell Samuel that as the Whig Party is going to [the] devil and has literally been put (hors de combat) (a sentence which you will have to get Genze to translate) that he had better follow suit and shake off the dust of Federalism and vote for Little Van [Martin Van Buren] or John C. Calhoun. Tell him to look at New York & Massachusetts and tremble for Henry Clay who is a goner “Coon.”
Are any of those [ ] apples left? Tell Mary that the “Minister” is very in[ ] but still sports the swallowtail. That he attempted to grow a pair of whiskers but the soil was bad. You may believe that all the excuse which this answers with, all for anything except to fill it, if you please but I don’t. I haven’t seen one of [ ] for a twelvemonth. Commenced in any other manner. I have learnt the whole story by heart.
Yours, — H. B. Stone
¹ Samuel Stearns (1785-1842) died on 7 November 1842 at Brewer Village, Penobscot county, Maine. He was probably a relative of Horace’s mother.
² The Mansion House stood on Market Street. Horace B. Stone had his business on the next block in a wooden building that was destroyed by fire in April 1842, causing him a great loss.
³ Simon Moulton (1799-1854) was a master shipbuilder/owner in Brewer, Maine.
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