Last week, I wrote about winning an Ebay auction of letters written by my 3X great-grandfather, Elias Mellen Carter. Here is the transcription and some context for the oldest of the two letters. I have retained the spelling of the original.
|Letter folded - no stamp - appears to have been hand delivered|
|Main text of letter - one line continued on the inside of the paper|
|Wax remaining from seal on the letter|
|Date & signature of Elias Mellen Carter|
Back or outside of paper
East Bethel Nov 19
Timo J Carter Esq.
Bethel Nov. 18, 1832 - Wax from seal
Front or inside of paper
East Bethel Nov 18, 1832
Yours of the 13 came safe to hand in due time. I received one likewise by the hand of Capt. Hastings from you. As it respects the note for the colt, I called on Mr. Kimball and he got another of his sons to sign, which I suspose to be good for that amount, and I have made inquire and have been informed that the old man's note is good without any other security. I have likewise ben told that Virgin has settled up his affairs and that he is better off now than he was before and I have no doubt but what it is true. Father has not ben to Portland yet & I have not heard him say anything about going, but I should think he would not go till
I have consulted Frances about going to Paris to Thanksgiving and she has concluded to go if I do & if Father is willing and the going will permit I think we shall go, but it is very uncertain but should we not come then I come out before long. We are all well - in haste from your affectionate brother.
Timo J Carter Esq.
Elias Mellen Carter is writing to his brother, Timothy Jarvis Carter. It sounds like this letter is in response to one from Timothy that was written on the 13th of the month. Elias was twenty-two years old and unmarried. Timothy J. Carter was six years older and had married, Harriet Rawson in 1828. They had a young son, Samuel Rawson Carter, born in 1829. Kimball and Hastings are two surnames of families who are among the earliest settlers of this area of Bethel. Virgin is a surname that is commonly found in the Rumford area, only a few miles away. The father of both men was Dr. Timothy Carter and his wife, Frances (Freeland) Carter. Their mother died when they were young and their step-mother was Lydia (Russell) Carter. In 1833, there were still five young children from the second marriage living at home, Lydia (age 10), Sarah (age 9), Abigail (age 8), Theodore (age 6), and Benjamin (age 1). The Frances referenced in the letter is the sister of both men. She was twenty-four and not yet married. She would marry Robert Chapman on March 28, 1833. She and Elias were the youngest children of Dr. Timothy & his first wife. While going to Paris for Thanksgiving sounds very exciting, the Paris referred to in the letter is Paris, Maine where Timothy J. and Arabella lived - a distance of about 21 miles. I wonder if the Bethel family made it to Paris for Thanksgiving.
|East Bethel to Paris Hill|