Tuesday, January 18, 2022

1828 Letter from Rev. Wakefield Gale (1797-1881) at Eastport, Maine, to his brother Joseph Worcester Gale (1809-1889) in Boston, Massachusetts

December 17, 1828 letter from Rev. Wakefield Gale (1797-1881), a Congregational minister in Eastport, Maine, from 1825-1835, to his younger brother Joseph Worcester Gale (1809-1889), then in Boston, Massachusetts.

See other posts:

The Gale brothers were Pembroke, New Hampshire, natives, the sons of Deacon Joseph Gale (1768-1851) and Susannah (Frye) Gale (abt 1776-1859)

A transcription of the letter appears at the end of this post.

Rev. Gale was the center of a furious controversy in Eastport in the late 1820s, as noted in the booklet Correspondence Between the First Congregational Society in Eastport and Rev. Gale, but he apparently rode it out until leaving in 1835.

More of Rev. Gale's correspondence is held in the Wakefield Gale Family Papers collection at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Mentioned in the letter:

If you have information to share on any of the people mentioned in this letter, please leave a comment for the benefit of other researchers.


Eastport, December 17th 1828

My Dear Brother

The object of this hasty letter is to confess my fault in not writing you before & to inform you that we had a very quick and pleasant passage to this place after parting with you in Boston Harbor; that our articles of furniture all arrived safe; that Mary& little Jona. Edwards are quite well pleased with this place; that I am quite happy in having a little family of my own; that we live almost wholly by ourselves except taking our meals with Captain Rogers Family; & that the general interests of the little church and Society to which I am preaching are prosperous. We are not yet in the New Meeting House, but hope to be in a few weeks. Seriousness seems to be increasing in the congregation – 12 have attended an inquiry meeting at my study of late. Two are to be added to the church next sabbath. Some efforts are making to promote the cause of temperance here. We are having united meetings, that is, meetings of the several religious societies, in relation to this object. All the clergyman, four in number, are to preach on the subject twice a piece. We received a letter from Brother and Sister Ransom four or five weeks ago. They had arrived safely at Marietta tho their journey was rather longer than they expected. They experienced on their way a remarkable preservation. They with four other passengers were precipitated down a precipice 20 feet, and tho the stage was shivered to pieces, they were uninjured. Susan was pleased with the country, & with her new friends there. She did not regret leaving home - Her object is indeed good and great. I hope she will be faithful as long as she lives - & die in peace with her work done, & well done. We are expecting to hear from home soon. Mrs. G has written them a good long letter. They must be, I think, quite lonesome. But the Lord, I trust, is their ____. He will be with them & comfort them. I hope you will write them as often as convenient. Mother thinks a great deal about all her children. A letter often will be very gratifying. Do you intend going home by & by? How are you prospered in your business? With whom do you work? Where do you board? How do you prosper in religious things? Whose meetings do you attend on the Sabbath? Had you not better make Dr. Edwards meeting yours? Are you careful to maintain secret prayer? O my brother, do not neglect the soul! I hope you improve your leisure hours in useful reading, rather than in gazing at the vain objects of a large and enticing City. Dr. Franklin says, “Time is money”. The habit you now form will go along with you this life it is probable. Mind how you begin in every thing. You are greatly exposed in many ways. But your chief danger at present will be neglect the ___ & remiss ways in the duties of religion. Remember that you are young and inexperienced - & obey Our Saviors direction, to watch & pray but you enter into temptation. A young man of this place has called on me today, who is in trouble, & whose history himself interested me much. He is a school teacher – has studied some with a view of being a physician. He is poor, came here last Spring to get a school, with a view to aid himself in getting his profession. He is 23 years old - He joined the church in Bloomfield, Somerset Co. in this state when only 13 years old. His father died when this son was 12 years old - his mother when he was 15. He had lived like a Christian, till he came here. When he came to this place he concealed the fact ____ [tear in page] was a professor of religion - the youth and his first ____ society were all thoughtless - he engaged in a school but did not pray in it. He did not come to our communions - and no one knew till recently that he was a member of the Church of Christ. He has been round to a sense of his condition. Regrets the course he has taken, mourns... He has been ashamed of Christ - intends to confess his sin to the church before next Sabbath - & on the sabbath return to his duty and privilege in celebrating the love of Christ. He takes an active part now in our Saturday night prayer Meetings. If you have opportunity to take a part in such meetings or in family worship, I hope you will do it. It will be an advantage.Your employment is Honorable. I hope you will be contented with it & strive to excel as a mechanic, especially as a Christian and citizen. I want you to be a reading man and to form the habit and cultivate the taste for reading. Thus you will gradually and almost insensibly improve. 

Abby Jane Bigelow, sister of Mrs. G is expecting to be married next Wednesday evening at Dr. Edwards to Dea. Safford. You probably know Dea. Safford if you attend meetings at Salem Street Church.  Mary unites with me in love to you. Let us be remembered aff. to br. John when you see him or write to him also to Pembroke friends.

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