Brookline Historical Publication Society
PUBLICATIONS, NO. 1.
A LETTER FROM REBECCA BOYLSTON1
TO EDWARD BOYLSTON
Brookline, March 5, 1810.
Mr. Edward Boylston, Springfield.
,— It is so long since you heard from us, at least by letter, that I presume you will scarcely recollect your niece, who now addresses you, & who improves this opportunity of writing with the greatest pleasure. Miss Stebbins2
who will be the bearer of this letter has resided in Brookline for some time, & is very much esteemed, she has kept an excellent school, & we expect her to return in a few weeks to stay the summer, when she returns I shall hope to recieve a long particular letter from you, or some of my cousins. We used to hear from you frequently when cousin Richard was in Boston, but it is now a long time since we heard from any of you. We have not heard from uncle Caleb neither, for several years. Aunt Mary has resided with us for the last ten years, & is as well as I ever knew a person of her age her memory is good, & for the two last summers she has been more rational than she used to be, she frequently speaks of you & wonders we do not hear oftener, she would be very much gratified to recieve particular information concerning you, which I hope we shall very soon. We frequently hear from Mrs. Mirick she that was Betsy Davis, I have been once to Princeton to visit her, I assure you she is very well settled, she has an excellent husband & every thing to make her happy, she has no children, but I believe she is perfectly contented. You have undoubtedly heard of the death of Capt. Joshua Walker3
, as he has been dead a year last December, his last voyuges were unfortunate, he lost all the property he had before acquired, & has left a widow & two little children quite destitute, his sister Mary or rather Mrs. Miles has taken his eldest child for her own, as she has no daughter. Mrs. Miles keeps one of the first boarding [houses] in town & gets a very genteel living, she has one son married, her second son, Richard a very enterprizing youth, at the early age of twenty went master of a vessel but died on his passage home, she has still four at home. Mrs. Richardson has a very likely family of children. The eldest, Nicholas is in business with his father, the second, Thomas is settled in the state of Pennsylvania the third William is in business in Virginia Susan the only daughter is at home their fourth son Dudley was a most amiable youth 19 years old who died about a year ago last November in a consumption Mrs Richardson desired me when I wrote to you to give you her best respects Dudley Walker has lately bought a large farm at Milton & has moved there he has a family of seven children & has buried one Edward Walker lives in Boston has six children & has buried one he has not been very succesful in business but gets a comfortable living Thus my dear uncle I have endeavored to give you some little account of our cousins as far as I know as to aunt Seavers children I believe they are all living but Nancy but I seldom see or hear from them they are scattered at a distance from each other None of them in affluent circumstances but all of them comfortable As to Brookline uncle within a few years it is very much altered I think you would scarcely recollect any part of it Where the Meting house stood is now a cultivated garden & the parsonage house handsomely fitted up On the hill opposite the school house on the left hand going to our house there is an elegant meting house4
said by many to be the handsomest in the state, we are likewise blest with a minister5
whom we all love & revere. A turnpike road leading from Worcester to Boston, has been cut through the center of the town, it came within a few rods of our land but was neither an injury nor benefit. Several elegant houses have been erected one on the spot where aunt Davises6
stood, & five within sight of it. Mr. John Heath's house, and Mr. Winchesters are almost the only ones that remain as they were, but they alas! are changed in the most essential points for the owners are no more, Mr. & Mrs. Heath7
& Mr. & Mrs. Winchester have been some time, & their places are supplied by their children. Mr. & Mrs. Goddard8
are still living monuments of piety & goodness they often enquire particularly after you. Doctor Aspinwall9
is still an active physician, & has a son just beginning to practice equally as promising as his father. I can assure you uncle, the present generation now rising up in Brookline promise to be as usful and as respectable as their fathers. And now uncle I will tell you the alteration at the place of your birth, as well as my own. You will doubtless think by this time the house must be very old & uncomfortable; it was so much so as to make it impossible to repair it to any advantage, we moved out of it in october, the house was taken entirely down & a new one erected which was to have been done in May, it was nearly finished & we were anticipating our return home; when by means of the carpenders having a light there in the evening it took fire on the 21 of february & was entirely consumed in a few hours. The loss falls upon the carpender, but the dissapointment on our part is very great, as we shall not return back now for several months. Brookline people are remarkable for assisting the unfortunate, & they are now affording every assistance to the worthy carpender whose winters work was thus in a few hours entirely burnt up. You may wonder perhaps that my mother at her advanced state of life should undertake to build a house but I can assure you she has no care about it We have a particular friend who builds the house10
& who will take care of the farm for the future and not only the farm; but who will undertake a still more difficult task; to take care of me. You know uncle I have neither father nor brother & you will not blame me for chusing a guardian; especially if I make a wise choice which I hope & believe I have. By this time I believe you are completly tired of this long letter, I did not at first intend to be so particular, but if I am tedeious must beg you to forgive me. I should admire to go to Springfield & if it were not quite so far, I should think more about it, I have so few relations, I should like of all things at least to know them all & with my cousins at Springfield I am quite a stranger. I would thank you, Sir, to remember me in the kindest manner to all your family, and tell them they have a cousin at Brookline who would be extreemly gratifieed to recieve a visit from any of them at any time But a letter by Miss Stebbins I shall depend upon Aunt sends abundance of love to you and wishes it were possible to see you but that is a favour she never expects my mother sends her respects to you likewise With every sentiment of duty and respect I remain your affectionate Neice.