Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pearce and Chappotin families of New England

Three handwritten letters, 1820, 1823 and 1829. They all originally belonged to the Pearce and Chappotin families of New England. One is written to ship Captain Nathaniel Pearce of Providence Rhode Island from his son Thomas, also a ship captain. The second one, also by Thomas, either to his father or father-in-law. The third is written by Mary Ann Chappotin, Thomas’s wife, to her mother, Mrs. Leon Chappotin, in Meadville Pennsylvania. This third letter actually has several different writers.

In Part......

“Bristol, February 19th, 1820

Dear Sir,

We arrived here Wednesday at 4 P.M. after a pleasant passage and at 5 were married in church by the Rev. Bishop Griswold in presence of a small collection of very respectable citizens in the evening and were called upon by Messieurs Wolery, Collins &c &c. Have received much attention and pass our time very agreeably. We should be very happy to see you here if you can make it convenient but am sorry to state that it would not be convenient for Mrs. Mosher to accommodate you. Sarah is well and will probably return Monday with Sophia and Capt. Jennings who desire their respects to you as does Mary Ann. Give my best respects to all the family and believe me to be your very obedient son, Thomas Pearce.” Composed C.”

“Lima, October 9th, 1823

Dear Father,

I am happy to inform you that I am on the point of sailing for Guayaquil to procure if possible a cargo of cocoa for the ship with which I shall proceed direct to Providence. In case a very high piece renders it unadvisable, I shall go immediately to China but I hope that will not be the case. From the accounts you must have got from this side of the waters you will probably conclude that our voyage is not going to prove so profitable as was expected……It is unnecessary for me to say anything about Mr. Ellis or George as they have written themselves. I received your letter by Capt. Bowers. He sailed 23rd last month for China. Capt. Jennings is still here. Was one of the purchasers of my cargo and I hope will make something handsome on it….The President of Columbia, General Bolivar, arrived here about 1st of September and has been made Dictator, commander in chief &c &c in fact he has the management of the affairs of Government and much good is expected to result to this country from his presence here as this period…

The Patriots have met with success latterly in upper Peru and have advanced far into the country but it is uncertain what the result of the campaign will be. To the north an unhappy difference exists. Riva Aguero the former President refusing to acknowledge the congress’s President, established him after the evacuation of Lima by the Royal forces, but it is now that as Bolivar has been invested with authority to settle the differences, it will soon be done by words or blows. We seem in some measures to be out of the world on this side of the water as we seldom hear much about what is going on with you. It seems there is a war in Europe and we feel anxious to know some particulars. Whether there is a prospect of it’s continuance and if the other powers of Europe will be involved in it and above all with what…….Brother Jonathan is looking on. Give my best love to all and believe me to be your obedient son, Thomas Pearce.”

The third and final letter consists of 3 ½ pages but it really needs some archival repair. It is also a stampless letter and it looks like not only Mary Ann wrote but S. P. Bullock, daughter Cole, S. B. Wheaton, and possible others who have just signed their initials. The reason I think everyone wrote and is also there at Mary Ann’s house is because Cole, Mary Ann’s sister, is getting married to a Mr. Wheaton and they are all planning the wedding. The letter is full of wedding talk and very charming and in part reads…..

“Providence December 27th, 1829

My Dear Mother,

I was very glad to hear through Miss Humphrey that miss Crosby was better and I hope ere this that she is still better……….Monday afternoon, December 28th, The child waked up last evening and I had to give up writing……Cole was published for the first time yesterday at Mr. Edes. I expect this will surprise you. She prefers being married by him as she never goes to church and says she does not like Mr. Crocker……Cole is to be married a fortnight from this evening. They expect to leave the next day for Norton……I shall write Mrs. Edes as we took tea with them at my father Pearce’s just before Thomas sailed…..I am going to have the cake made by a Mrs. Crandall who is a cake maker for all the Nobility. I would not undertake it for fear of an accident………Your ever Mary…….Dear Mother,….Mary Ann has written you all the news but I thought I would spare one moment to write you a few lines saying I have got all that is necessary. I shall finish my wedding dress this eve. It is a white cambric with two deep folds, each over a quarter of a yard. Long sleeves, sets beautifully. Miss Tyler assisted me. Mr. Wheaton got me an elegant pair of silk stockings in New York and a pair of black Denmark satin shoes and white gloves marked with blue. You must imagine me in a fortnight from tonight at 8 o’clock all equipped with my hair dressed very high with puffs, standing before Mr. Edes, trembling like an Aspen leaf. Oh Mama, I hope I shall be able to command my beating but I am afraid I shall give out. Mrs. Wheaton requested me to say for her when I wrote you that she claimed me as her child and anticipated much pleasure in your society…..Not forgetting your dear self I remain your affectionate daughter Cole.”

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