1877 letter from sister Hannah at Belfast, Maine, to her brother at Orono, Maine, where he was apparently living with relatives and in-laws, perhaps Sarah (Houston) Hamlin, second wife of Wellington Bacon Hamlin
They were presumably Hannah (Houston) Wording, wife of Captain Charles Wording, and her brother Benjamin Franklin Houston, whose extended family and in-laws included members of the influential Mayo and Hamlin families.
In addition to sister Sarah noted above, another sibling, Martha, married merchant and railroad owner Gideon Mayo, and sister Louisa married Gideon's brother Timothy Mayo. The Mr. Hamlin mentioned may have been the above-mentioned Wellington Bacon Hamlin or his son George Herbert Hamlin, who was an associate of Gideon Mayo and a professor at Maine State College.
The siblings were among the eight children born in the late 1700s and early 1800s to Joseph and Martha (Brown) Houston.
The letter is dated over the 4th and 5th of March, with no year written, but Hannah helpfully mentioned that the latter day was a fine one for the Inauguration of Mr. Hayes and Mr. Wheeler, which occurred on March 5, 1877.
Clues: [full transcript appears farther below - any corrections and/or additions welcome!]
- Sarah and Annie, apparently at Orono with Hannah's brother. Sarah may have been Sarah (Houston) Mayo, a sister to Hannah (Houston) Wording and Benjamin Franklin Houston, who was the second wife of Wellington Bacon Hamlin.
- Mr. Hamlin, presumably either Wellington Bacon Hamlin or his son George Herbert Hamlin
- Esther ? and her husband from California; they were on a brief trip to Rockland, Maine; Belfast, Maine; and Brooks, Maine, where Esther was to visit her sister Charity. Interestingly, siblings Hannah (Houston) Wording and Benjamin Franklin Houston had a sister named Esther, who married a farmer from Troy, Maine, but perhaps she married again.
- Sarah Tennett's [?] mother's Leghorn bonnet, used in a concert to benefit the poor - raised almost $300
- Timothy Mayo; husband of Louisa Mayo, a sister to Hannah (Houston) Wording and Benjamin Franklin Houston.
- Willie, possibly Hannah's son William H. Wording
- Robert Mayo and wife
- the vessel "Florida" which was in town to get ice for the South
- Inauguration of Rutherford B. Hayes and William A. Wheeler on March 5, 1877; Hannah notes that "quite a number" of folks from the area traveled to the Inauguration.
- "Charles is in his glory" - supposedly happy that Hayes had won the election and was being inaugurated. Perhaps Hannah's husband or son
- "Will went down at Sunrise and hoisted the Flag on Custom House". Perhaps he was William C. Marshall, Custom Agent or Hannah's son William H. Wording.
- Mr. Harris and Clara
We were glad to get your letter some time ago, and hear that you get up to Orono so well. I should have written you before this time but have been so busy all the time doing my work, that I haven't had much spare time. I am glad you have a good chance to go to meeting, and go around. It must seem very lonesome without Mr. Mayo. I was glad to get a letter from Sarah last week. Give my love to her and tell her I will write soon.