Half of the day was spent trying to decipher ONE letter from Jane Stoughton ( great great gran) to her sisters at 4 Hales Cottage
Does it look like a puzzle to you? My eyes still ache! I remember one university professor explaining this strange use of paper (paleography) as a means of conservation-paper was expensive at this time so people would write in the other direction to save paper- it certainly was not to save the eye! What did the letter say? I’m glad you asked (it only took me 5 hours and many breaks to uncover.)
Here it is- What were they doing in 1856 for Christmas and New Years in Napanee?
Napanee January 2nd 1856
My dear sister
I was truly sorry to hear of your illness particularly at this happy season- but I hope you are now better and that you will all keep well please God- I am happy to say we are all well and I cannot call to mind when I spent a pleasanter New Year – everyone seemed happy and Robert is so very kind to me and affectionate that it seems the Almighty is too good to me- For the fun of the thing I hung up my stocking and made Robert hang up his and next morning lo and behold! There was a very pretty worked muslin habit shirt collar and sleeves to match in it with a pair of baby’s boots-
with a little sugar cupid inside a little sugar box –
Robert got a pair of new braces and gloves- you will say what children will go to — all children that day-Yesterday New Years day I received 20 visitors – you will wonder at this but 3 or 4 of them I never knew before- brought by those we did know- George L…is here just now-His —- Town Hall is just about completed and they are talking of passing? Assembly to be …..- The children are well-Francy(12) is out with her aunty and I hope to go out next week for a few days with Louis and Mary(10)- They got some tiny books which Robert had put away since he was last in Kingston- I have a beautiful Martin Victorian _ WHAT IS THIS???
which Robert ordered for me from Montreal – I am afraid to tell you the price- but it was in our drawer- it cost $32- The children went down the street today shopping with their father and Poll? Had a sixpence Liz (7) had a threepenny bit- which they said they were going to spend for grandmama- I laughed when Poll ? showed me her two little toy books in sense as she said grandmamma was very fond of poetry but I will send them to her to make her laugh at their New Years gift- Miss Liz lost hers on the way home- Louis (4) brought back a pair of long boots which his papa got him and he was so proud he could scarcely walk when he tried them on- Robert is at a meeting to —— They are all Election mad just now. I suppose you heard that Henry is to offer Inisself ? a candidate for Sheffield when he was down here last week with Chris Robbins just for —- and advised him to office. I am not altogether sure that he will though. I never saw Henry behave so well as he did last week- We had the Darys and Miss J’s two brothers and Mrs Lander , the parson was in Kingston with Chris and Henry and James to an after supper on Thursday evening- Henry and Mr Dary kept us laughing the whole evening- I must now close with most affectionate love to dear marnmma(grandmother) yourself and dear Mary and must soon to hear from you- and with love from Robert the children to you all
Yours affectionate sister
A note about the letter- Jane Stoughton is writing to her two spinster sisters- and laying the domestic bliss on quite a bit. Helen- not yet born until 1863, is my great great gran who bought Hales Cottage 2. Liz, who is mentioned in this letter, and is seven, will die in two years-I’m not certain of what.
One thing I had not realized is how long most of these women who were married- and both spouses didn’t die- were constant baby makers for the span of their fertile life- almost 20+ years. In most cases brothers and sisters were grown up and married before some brothers and sisters were born. I know it happens today- but doing this family research has only made this fact more apparent.
A much older Mary Esson- d. 1880
Jane Anne Stoughton- daughter of Maria Hagerman, had six long living children in the span of twenty years. In 1856 she has been married for about 12+ years- she still sounds happy!
Happy New Year!