Thursday, September 22, 2016

1833 Letter from Bailey Peirce at Belfast, Maine, to his Wife Elizabeth (Tobey) Peirce at Boston, Massachusetts

 December 29, 1833 letter from Bailey Peirce at Belfast, Maine, addressed to his wife Eliza (Tobey) Peirce at Boston, Massachusetts in care of Josiah Hayden [husband of Eliza's sister Dorcas (Tobey) Hayden].  Bailey Peirce was apparently operating a hotel or boarding house and a bar at Belfast, Maine.

Click on any image to enlarge it.

From brief online research, hopefully correct:  [corrections and additions requested]

Bailey Peirce was born at Scituate, Massachusetts, in 1787, son of Hayward and Judith (Bailey) Peirce.  His and his first wife, Ann (Somerby) Peirce, who died in 1818, had three daughters, presumably "the girls" mentioned at the end of the letter.

On June 17, 1819 at Portland, Maine, Bailey married Eliza Tobey, daughter of Samuel Tobey and Abigail (Cox) Tobey.  Bailey and Eliza had one child, daughter Abigail Cox Peirce, "Abby", who was born about 1824.

Bailey died in 1844 and Eliza died in 1865.  They're buried with daughter Abby in the Grove Cemetery at Belfast, Maine.

My information about the Tobey family comes from Tobey (Tobie, Toby) Genealogy: Thomas, of Sandwich, and James, of Kittery, and Their Descendants, compiled by C. A. Pope and published in 1905.  Notice the relationships between the Peirce, Tobey, Mitchell and Hayden families.

I purchased this letter on eBay and am grateful to the seller for including a transcription in the listing, which I'm reproducing here:

My Dear Wife,  [Eliza (Tobey) Peirce]

Altho late, I will gratify my own inclination so much as to write a few lines to one whom I know will be no less pleased to receive them.  I have attended church morning & afternoon, & conference at Mr. Langworthy's  [perhaps Belfast, Maine, merchant James Langworthy, born about April 1779-died November 22, 1853] (this Evening, where we had a pleasant meeting.  The time of your absence seems long, & when I think you have got to make your visit to Portland yet, I hardly know how to reconcile it, tho I know I ought not to complain, & will not, for I wish you to make your visit pleasant. 

We are in usual health.  I expect our new Bar Keeper next Friday or Saturday.  The girl I mentioned we had is gone.  We have now James, Emily, & Sarah Creamer.  Our stove in the bar room does not work well at all.  I am afraid we shall have to lay it aside, as we can not make it draw so as to burn coal.  I think one of Nott's [presumably referring to the anthracite-burning stove invented by Rev. Eliphalet Nott (1773-1866) would have been preferable.  You mention in your letter that they are a round stove.  I never saw any round ones; those I have seen are a square upright stove.  The one at the Exchange at Bangor cost about $29, & does remarkably well.  I will send the money to Brother Hayden [presumably Josiah Hayden, husband of Eliza's sister Dorcas (Tobey) Hayden] for the Stove & Coal by the first Packet that goes.  I wonder if they would exchange this stove for one of Nott's.  I merely suggest it.  If they would, I would sent this back by the first Packet & have one of Nott's returned in its room.  You could have time to inform me if you should write immediately by mail.  I was very sorry to see this, as I was afraid it would not answer. 

I have not yet rec'd any letter from Portland since the one Brother Mitchell [Nathaniel Mitchell, husband of Eliza's sister Eunice (Tobey) Mitchell] wrote immediately after you arrived there.  Brother Daniel [Daniel Tobey, Eliza's brother] thinks of setting out for Portland the forepart of next week and will probably stop there two or 3 weeks.  What do you think of his taking a sleigh? 

I was at Frankfort [The Tobey, Peirce and Mitchell families had land interests in Frankfort, Maine.  Abigail Cox Peirce was born at Frankfort.] day before yesterday, did not stop.  Mrs. Snow is much better, has not got entirely well, but was tolerably smart.  Miss Keyes was there then (were making  the trimming for the Pulpit to the new Meeting House, which is to be like ours). 

Does dear Abby [Abigail Cox Peirce, "Abby", daughter of Bailey Peirce and second wife Eliza (Tobey) Peirce] think & talk any about Dear Father; dear Mother will chat with her about Father, I know.  You mentioned in your last that you should probably be able to let me know in your next when you should go to Portland [where Eliza (Tobey) Peirce was brought up].  You will excuse me for feeling anxious to see you; nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be able to go to visit with you & return with you, but such pleasure I am not permitted to enjoy now, but let me as soon as convenient enjoy in reality what I now do in some measure in anticipation, the pleasure of a happy meeting & embrace.

Do my dear take care of yourself & Abby.  You know this is an unpleasant season & you are not able to bear much exposure & you know it would give me great uneasiness to hear that you was ill.  You may be assured I shall take good care of myself, as I know not what I should do without your kind attendance. We have fine sleighing & have considerable company. 

Mr. Wood has left & gone to Bangor.  The scamp could not pay his Board & has gone much in debt.  Otherways, I kept his trunk & all, except what he wore away.  He owes me about $50.  Whether I shall get my pay I know not, but hope I shall. 

The girls [possibly Bailey's daughters with his first wife Ann (Somerby) Peirce: Sarah S. Peirce; Ann Maria Peirce; and Eliza T. Pierce] wish to be remembered affectionately to mother & Abby.  Remember to our Dear Friends & accept of the most sincere love of yr Ever Dear & affectionate Husband, 

Bailey Peirce

If you have corrections and/or additions to the information above, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

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