Letters of John H. Wells to Miss Julia Tracy, 1828-1829
A collection of 5 letters from John H. Wells to his fiancé Julia Tracy. Letters are very neutral, only implying affection when signing off. They depict the planning for marriage, preparing a house, what arrangements to meet again, and generic descriptions of what is occurring during his life. Wells does mention interesting topics such as the Anti-Masonry movement, items needed to set up house, wedding planning, religious sentiment, and contain a sketch of a house floor plan. The letters are sent to Tracy in Middletown, CT and come from Wells in Puluski and Richland, NY. Letters are folded and addressed with stampless post, date answered and occasionally a red worn wax seal. The Ward family history and ancestry list a John Howard Wells (1784-1844) married Julia Tracy (1797-1893) in May 1829 and had 5 children; Henry Dana, Ebenezer Tracy, Franklin, Martha Caroline, and John Howard. These names correspond with names that appear in the letters as friends and family of the couple.Puluski, Sept 4, 1828 To Julia Tracy, Middletown, CT from J.H. Wells Richland, NY -Wells opens with the acknowledgment that he received her last letter and mentions that it had been a long time traveling to the west and back. He appears to tease her about a reproof in her last letter and offers her almost any charge you may choose to bring against me. He informs her that due to the health of one man and obstinacy of mother he will be unable to engage a house for the fall. He explains that they will need to purchase Cabinet ware and begs her pardon but feels it would be better for him to purchase items. He tells her to mention if there are specific items she has interest in and he will look into them on the way to N. York. He mentioned their engagement to his brother but expressed that it probably may be told as a great secret to a number of persons very soon. He says he will see her in October.Ans. Oct 8, 1828 To Julia Tracy, Middletown, CT from J.H. Wells Richland, NY - Letter has been torn off, only the outer paper with address and date are leftPuluski, Dec 8 (?), 1828 To Julia Tracy, Middletown, CT from J.H. Wells Richland, NY - Wells left Tracy and did not arrive home until late. His eyes were inflicted with an infection and he needed to remove all light so was not able to write. He sent a flower pot and two parcels and wants to ensure they arrived. He purchased cloth for Caroline, it was the cheapest piece and was told it was fashionable. He mentions the Mountain Ash was not forgotten but he was traveling in the stage from Albany and passed the place where he saw them. He requests she tell Mrs. Ward he will bear it in mind some future opportunity. He discusses the weather and if it stays mild will have the cellar dug for his house. He will put it 24 feet from the street which he assumes she will think sufficient. He questions of she would like the juice of Linnen (?) in the winter and if so he can send it by way of Brattleboro and Hartford. Puluski, Dec 31, 1828 To Julia Tracy, Middletown, CT from J.H. Wells Richland, NY - Wells is extremely happy to she was not visited with the dreaded evil and believes he was more fearfull [sic] than necessary. He is gratified that Caroline was suited with his choice and says that if she is as well suited in making a much more important choice he would be happy to give his opinion. His eyes have almost healed and as well as when I received your kind prescription. The new merchant, Mr. Brazton, is getting married and Wells hears the bride is a pleasing young woman whom he hopes will be a pleasant acquaintance for Tracy. His neighbor, the Lawyer, is the most malicious person I ever knew and is bent upon injuring me in every possible way. Wells wishes her a Happy New Years and wishes that she will be happily situated here before tit shall have half expire. He says they should be grateful for the many Blessings and he feels favored of being united to one who is all I could wish her to be. He asks about her brother, Frank, and explains about getting her orders and the money he has set aside for her. Richland, March 16, 1829 To Julia Tracy, Middletown, CT from J.H. Wells Richland, NY - Wells is pleased Tracy enjoyed herself in Hartford. He regrets that he did not have all the plans ahead worked out or he would have visited. He is in a quandary as there is 12-16 inches of snow and the ground is hard. He is unable to complete the cellar on schedule. He is trying to hire a house that will answer for one year. He plans to continue and hopefully finish in July. He considers staying at the tavern where he stays now but there are 8 Gentleman (so called) and no Ladies. He thanks her for the offer of using the orders and he may use $100 since it is mutually beneficial for them to invest when she comes. There is an Anti-Masonry movement beginning there (also called Anti-Freemasonry and defined as "avowed opposition to Freemasonry" –Wikipedia). He is concerned that it will create considerable ill feeling among those who have heretofore been friendly. He asks h=if he should invite Mr. Walton to their wedding. He plans to be with her on the 12 or 16 of May and wants the ceremony to take place the day after my arrival. He asks if she would like to start immediately or remain a few days? March 18 - He held onto the letter because he had the prospect of getting a house for one year. He informs her that he is successful in hiring one at $65. It is one and a half stories and includes a sketch at the end of the letter. He decides to not commence building until she is with him but he will be able to rent it if they chose to not occupy it the whole time (referring to the rented house). Richland, April 15, 1829 To Julia Tracy, Middletown, CT from J.H. Wells Richland, NY - Reference her last letter and expresses regret that her mother is ill. He understands that she does not want to travel and wishes to care for her mother. He has rented a house and has made preparations for keeping house. He says he will not invite anyone to their wedding until he sees her which he is hoping will be before May 1st. He mentions the interesting period she is now witnessing and how it is indeed a time when Christians have great reason to be thoughtful that the Savior is indeed as we trust Redeeming the Souls of Sinners. He says he hopes she will witness a great ingathering of Souls and every Blessing may attend her but feels he is not worthy so great a blessing and privilege. He is concerned that he is so divided from various causes here. He hopes her mother will be better when he sees her and sends his love and affection.
(Inventory #: 26000146)
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