Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Retrospective on 1871

Rosina Richardson to Rosina Jane Stevens. Rosina Richardson lived in Vermont; her daughter and family had moved to Elgin, Minnesota.

East Topsham, Jan 9th, 1872

My dear Children,

Yours bearing date Jan 2nd is before me and I hasten to reply, am sorry you are not feeling well, also sorry for David’s head. We had hoped he had fully recovered from his injuries last spring, hope all are better now.

The year 1871 with its many memorable events has passed as have many, very many before it, to return no more forever. Yet the scenes that have been enacted in the great drama of life will be indelibly imprinted upon our memories, how much of joy or sorrow has been our lot to bear is but known to ourselves. It is a true saying that “each heart knows its own sorrow”. It is well it is so ordered. Why should we reveal to man our griefs and heartaches? Would they alleviate them? Would they truly sympathize with us? Would they mitigate our sorrows? Surely not. Then let us lay our burdens at Jesus’ feet. He has a balm for every wound. He will bind up the brokenhearted. He is the great physician of souls, having suffered Himself he knows how to sympathize with us in our afflictions and He will ever leave nor forsake them that put their trust in Him. He is ever ready to bestow upon us every needed blessing. Where upon earth can we find so true a friend both in prosperity and adversity. Earthly friends may cling to us in the sunshine of prosperity but let clouds arise and adverse fortune overtake us and where are they? They have deserted us for those upon whom fortune has been more lavish of his gifts and we are left to struggle alone as best we can. The dearest earthly ties may be severed and those we have trusted most prove false, then let us be thankful we have a Haven of rest to which we can flee amid all the storms of life. Joy and sorrow are ever in our pathway through this vale of tears. Still let us ever be thankful to the Giver of all good for our many blessings and strive to be reconciled to the allotments of pain, in silence bearing our trials with Christian firmness, trusting in God always “who doeth all things well” and if we are faithful we shall in God’s good time moor our bark in the Haven of rest where all is peace and joy ----.

Our healths are not very good this winter. My cough is better “old age is creeping on apace” and we feel its effects sensibly. How I wish I could see you. The time, oh so long since you left home. When, oh when shall I have that blessed privilege? “Echo answers When.” Our friends in this place are usually well. Eva’s health is better. We spent Christmas with them, had a Turkey and Chicken supper, plumb pudding and various other fixings. Eva says he’s very pleasant since that time. So don’t worry your precious life away, but hope for the best.

It has been quite sickly in this section of late. Canker Rash is prevailing and in very many cases proves fatal. Quite a number of children have died. There have been a number of aged people in our town that have died recently. I will mention J F Teague, Amos Farland and John Lang, father to James Lang. A Mrs. Smith, wife of Henry Smith (son of Bud Smith) died last Friday leaving a young babe. She had not been married a year.

We have had very cold weather this fall and winter snow is quite deep. We had a letter from Nat’s folks recently. All well. Julia wrote Henry talked of coming after his children. Said she hoped he would not take Carrie. Mr. ____ folks want her adopted by law so she can inherit their property. They are very fond of her. Why don’t Henry write. I wish he would write oftener.

Give love to them each – I want to see you all more than I can express,

Your mother as ever,

R. R.

Jane, I received our magazine last Tuesday; will send it to you soon. Much love – all write – write often – to all.

Just received a letter from Br. J (Joseph Warren Healy), he sailed for Europe this 6th of this month. He paid all he owed for dear Mother’s board. Please remember us to Mr. Wight (or Mr. Wright’s) folks.

How many changes!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Birthday greetings from 1893

Found among the letters kept by my grandmother and great-grandmothers,
a birthday note for Ella Jane Sherwood (nee' Stevens) to her parents. Ella Jane was in her early 40's at this time.

May 1st and 5th
Dear Father and Mother

I write you a birthday letter
Filled with hope and wish sincere
That with more of peace and gladness
You may each be crowned each year;
That Time, as with him you journey,
May touch you with gentle hand;
That friends may around you gather
A true and steadfast band;
That the love of God will make more smooth
Your way as it westward leads
That no day shall fleeting leave you
Unblessed by some loving deeds:
Deeds that to you from dear ones
Are signs of some loving thought.
Deeds that you do for others
With their double blessings fraught

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The following was written for my great-grandmother by her grandmother. It is not dated, but likely written between 1867 when Ella was adopted by David and Rosina (Richardson) Stevens and before 1872 when great-great-great Grandmother Richardson passed away. Rosina Richardson was the daughter of Jane Healy mentioned previously.

I see their smiles and can almost touch their hands, in spite of the more than a dozen decades that separate us in time.

An Acrostic for Ella from her Grandmother [Rosina Healy] Richardson

E – Every word of God is pure.
L – Let thy garments be always white
L – Love your enemies, love those that curse you
A – And let the beauty of God be upon you.

J – Judge not that you be not judged
A – Ask and it shall be given unto you
N – No man can serve two masters
E – Enter ye into the strait gate

S – Seek the Lord and His strength, seek his face ever more
T – Take therefore no thought for tomorrow
E – Enter not into the path of the wicked
V – Verily I say unto you, they have their reward
E – Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit
N – Not unto us O Lord, but unto thy name be glory
S – So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul. When though has found it then there shall be a reward.

R ------