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W-MCP5-6.372 TO ESTIMATE RUTH ESTHER BALDWIN [MCQUESTEN] from her friend B. [Betsey] R. Abbot
Dec 25 1840
To: Estimate Ruth Esther Baldwin, Meriden, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
From: Nashua, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]

My dear Miss B.,

Your kind letter was received a week before, be assured that it met with a most cordial welcome.1 I had anxiously looked for a letter for some time, and was happy enough when one very stormy eve that I did not venture to the P.O. cousin Charles called & left a letter saying he supposed I must be anxious to see it since it was post-marked Meriden. I am very glad you are so pleasantly situated & only wish that we were together. You know not how much I miss you. Every day & hour you are before me, & I often but vainly wish I could see you. Since you left us things in general have gone on in their usual train. Our schools have been very full & I have had a delegation of 20 perhaps from brother Sanborn, & have sent a number of more into the East-Tower room. I have at present about 70 scholars; average 60. School very pleasant tho' find it much more difficult to preserve good order than last summer.

Saturday--I had written this far when I was interrupted & instead of finishing my letter so that it might have reached Meriden today, I am almost at the commencement of it. We have now completed 6 weeks of school, I suspect Mr. Sanborn has found some turbulent spirits to subdue, but think he manages his school very well. He regrets losing his first-assistant very much. I heard him say that some of his large girls gave him more trouble than any of his scholars. A day or two ago he said things were going on pleasantly.

Miss Ingalls says, "give a great deal of love to Miss B. from me and tell her "I do not enjoy being in school so much as I did last summer." She often speaks of you and you know not how much we all want to see you. I have scarcely been in the upper room since you left. I intend to close earlier some day than the usual hour, so that I may make them a call. I sat near McGee & Boardman last eve at a concert. They inquired about you & wanted I should "send their love to you." Many of the scholars have made similar requests.

The lectures (Nashua Lyceum) have been very interesting indeed. The first by Hen. Horace bearing on "Education" & second by Rev. Jas. C. Abbot, subject "Russia"--next Rev. Mr. Peabody of Portsmouth on "The Poor Man"--fourth by Rev. Amos Blanchard of Lowell on "Books and Reading"--the last by Dr. Bartlett of Lowell on "Health." Next week Dr. Osgood lectures. I attended his Christmas lecture on Thursday of this week. The church was trimmed very neatly indeed. Mr. Webb from boston played the organ. I attended a concert last eve at the Unitarian Church, performed by Messrs. R. Moore, J. Bearshall, A. Trowbridge and cousin Charles. Mr. Webb played the piano & organ & sang two songs. I enjoyed the singing & music very much indeed. I attend [?] singing school. It is very pleasant tho' small, only 50 or 60. He sends his regards to you.

I called at Mr. Crosby's a few days since. They inquire for you, sent much love & wished me to say their "school was small but sure." Mr. C. said I must tell you that he had just learned to talk, & can now talk without difficulty (Prof. Brownson's system). They have, I believe about 25 scholars. Mr. Jefferd's has 45 I understand. Miss Haraden has left, and Miss Burbank (a cousin of Mrs. P. Black & Mr. Jefferd's also) takes her place. Mr. Crosby has no assistant now. Mr. Wing has been out of town for a week or two, but I saw him at meeting a few evenings since, so I suppose he is in town. He frequently inquires for

Miss Baldwin

& very much regrets her loss. I have had the excruciating pleasure of his company to the Lyceum one eve, & once or twice other where's--What a queer genius he is! I should certainly think he had been disappointed some time or other, shouldn't you?

Dr. Kittredge has our class at present. I have attended the sewing circle but once since you left--at Mrs. Leavy's. A few days after you left, I received a note directed to Misses Baldwin & Abbot, from Misses Estey--giving us an invitation to pass the evening with them. I went sad & alone, wishing that my dear sister E. was here to go with me. There was a pleasant company of some 8 or 10 mostly teachers. Among them Sanborn, Mason, & Wing. Miss Estey has since called on Mr. Sanborn in his school, & "intended" to have called at my room, but "was obliged to return at a particular hour." Miss M. Greeley had a very pleasant party a week or two since. I enjoyed it much but thought of Miss B. Our vestry meetings have been very interesting & well attended. Last Sabbath eve the room was crowded, more so than I ever saw it. I still sit in our pew. Miss Wight accompanies me a part of the time, and we have a (gentleman I was going to say, but will not), fellow to sit there now. Several times I have been there alone & always I think of that dear friend who sat by my side last term.

My dearly beloved friend, let us, as sisters in Christ, press forward in his service, we are almost at the close of another year. Would that we could pass its closing hours together, & together hail the dawning of the new year. Recollect I most sincerely and ardently wish you a "happy new year" the moment you awake on the first of Jan 1842, may we spend the remainder of our lives more to the glory of God than we heretofore have lived. How is it dear Esty? Does the smile of a forgiving God seem ever to rest upon you, & is there an increasing joy in walking the heavenly way? Oh that we might ever with more delight exclaim "it is my meat & drink to do the will of my heavenly Father, I long to press onward and upward, but earth impedes my way--let us arise & live more as it is our glorious privilege to live, and as it will surely be our happiness to die."

Miss Wight sends much love & many other friends whom I cannot stop to particularize also send regards. Presume I shall think of a thousand things I want to say after this letter has gone, but I shall just put them down on another sheet & send it on. We had Mr. Clark from E. Chelmsford to preach for us yesterday, liked him very much.

Monday Eve. A deep snow prevented my hurrying to the P.O. this morn as I intended. I saw Miss [?] yesterday she sent much love to you. I believe she spends the winter in town. I find it quite pleasant to be near Mr. Kittredges. He is very sorry to lose you. I spent last evening [?] in company with Mr. E. Tracy from Norwich. He who was formerly a teacher of Music in this vicinity. I presume your brother knows him, had a very pleasant sing indeed. Mr. K. is very urgent to have me sing in church. I have been in the choir one day but cannot yet make up my mind to sit there constantly. Miss M.& myself have an invitation to take tea at Mrs. Abigail Spaldings tomorrow, I presume if you were here you would be there also. Do not fail to write soon.

I feel that an apology is necessary for writing in so careless a style after receiving your very neat letter. I am so much in the habit of scribbling that I find my letters are hardly legible, but forgive me this time & I will do better for the future. I should love dearly to come to Meriden & study with you, but fear I should be so far behind you that we could not be classed together. I have no plans farther than this winter at present. I hope you will write frequently. What time does the next term commence? Please remember me to your brother. Think it must be very pleasant for you to be together. I am expecting to sit up tonight with little Mary Adams who is thought to be in the last stages of consumption.2 She was one of my loveliest scholars last term. Do not forget to write soon to your affect'

B. [Betsey] R. Abbot.

1 B.R. Abbot [Betsey] wrote several letters to Estimate R.E. Baldwin (W-MCP5.6.312, W-MCP5-6.334, W-MCP5-6.372, W-MCP5-6.375).


In Miss Abbot's letter to Estimate a year later (December 1841) she complains of a very bad cough and is unable to go out, see W-MCP5-6.375.

TUBERCULOSIS in America during the colonial period was accepted as a scourge of humanity that was common to the poor and rich alike. The first available mortality figures from Massachusetts in 1796 indicated 300 deaths per 100,000 population. The peak mortality figure reached in New England was 1,600 per 100,000 in 1800. With the industrial development, the epidemic traveled to the Midwest in 1840 and to the West in 1880. The American Indians and Alaskans were the last American populations to become effected by the TB epidemic. At the turn of the century it was estimated that 10% of all deaths in the United States were due to TB.

In 1886, Edward Livingston Trudeau a physician who recovered from TB, started the sanatorium movement in the United States at Saranac Lake, New York. He based it on the European model of strict supervision in providing fresh air and sunshine, bed rest, and nutritious foods. As infection control measures took hold in large urban centers of the country, TB patients who could not be treated in local dispensaries were removed from the general population and place into sanatoriums. By 1938 there were more than 700 sanatoriums throughout the U.S., yet the number of patients outnumbered the beds available. In 1904 a voluntary health agency was organized under the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis, later renamed the National Tuberculosis Association (NTA) and now known as the American Lung Association. "Tuberculosis New England 1840." November 28, 2003.

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