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Adams (Sylvanus) Letters 1831
 
LOWELL HISTORICAL SOCIETY
ALFRED GILMAN COLLECTION

WRITTEN BY SYLVANUS ADAMS1
TO ALFRED GILMAN

                                     Springfield, Chickopee Factory, 24th Aug. 1831
Respected Friend:

           I avail myself of the few leisure moments, which I now have, as
ones truly auspicious for writing to you. I should have written before had it not
been for pre-engagements to other friends, which I thought it my duty to ful-
fil prior to my complying with your request. I hope, however that this coming
as it does from a friend, and dictated by those kindly feelings which were cher-
ished, in common, at our Lyceum, may not fail to meet with a grateful
reception, and merit a reciprocal and prompt reply.

           It is natural for a person in whose mind there has been incited a desire for impro-
ment, after he has arrived at his place of destination which is to be his future pla-
ce of abode, after making the common enquiries about the place, people, busin-
ess to enquire for a library, news room, Lyceum, or whatever there may chan-
ce to be for a persons improvement, and facilitate his progress to the goal of
literature and knowledge. Such, then were my enquiries; but judge my sup-
prise when I was told that none of those institutions which are the indispensible prer-
equists to a person’s advancement in knowledge were to be found within the limits
of Chickopee. There is a wide differance between the people here and Lowell
so far as it relates to intellectual persuits. They do not many of them, seem to
care whether they keep place with the improvements which are going on or not; they
have sunk into a listless indifference to them, and it seems to be inmaterial to them
whether they rise there from or not. There are some honorable exceptions among
us, for there are some literary men here; but they are “few and far be-
tween.” There are, too, some eastern men here, with whom I wass acquainted
whose minds are somewhat differently constructed from the “natives” as they
are called. Under existing circumstances I truly need your sympathy which was
so kindly expressed in a communication, which I presume was read before the
Lyceum. after my departure.. I assure you it was gratefully received at the time,
and it comes up before me now as a lasting memorial of that affectionate reg-
ard which I hope we may ever cherish toward each other; - and I hope to be ever 
able to reciprocate all favors whether coming from you to other friends with whom
I was intimate while in Lowell. I suppose you would like to know something

  1Sylvanus Adams b: 10 Jul 1810, Medway, MA d: 16 Nov 1869, MA; parents: 
     Hezekiah and Julia Adams; employed: Lowell and Chicopee, Agent – Dwight 
     Company – cotton mill;  married: Caroline Wasson b: MA.
 
 

of the place in which I live’ I will therefore pass to give you a brief disscrriton
of it, and all else which may seem to be connected wit it.

           Springfied is a large town, 11 miles by 7 it is situated on the east bank of 
Ct. river over which there is a bridge 1234 feet long, 24 miles from Hartford, Ct. 
and 18 from Northampton. The village is handsomely built and regularly laid out
the buildings are neat and some of them exquistly beautiful; the churches and
other public buildings are handsome and some of them truly magnificent.
One of the principal armories in the U.States is located here, it is arranged
on a large square, containing the lock-filers and stock-finishers shops and sever-
al spacious buildings built of brick, for the repository of arms. It is situated
on elevated ground 1/2 mile east of the village and commands a verry respecta-
ble appearance. The walter shops where the barrels are forged and bored,
are situated on Mill Creek, one mile south of the village.

            Chickopee, is situated 4 miles up the river, at the mouth of the Chickopee
river, where it empties into the Ct. It is a small village containing one chu-
rch, post office, hotel, etc. and supported chiefly by the farming interest

            Chickcopee Factory, the place in which I live is situated 5 miles N.E.
of Springfield village and 3 miles east of Chickcopee on the south bank of
the river Chickcopee; its a beautiful river; below the falls it meanders through a clus-
ter of small hills and valllies which are embellished on either side with beautiful
groves of elm, maple and buttonwood which make it very pleasant and delecta-
ble retreat for the lovers of beauty and nature. This is exclusively a manufacturing place.
And contains there are employed about 50 hands; a manufactory
of edge tools, an iron foundary and brick kiln in which our bricks are made.

            There are 3 stores, for foreign and domestick goods, 2 shoe store, 2 taylors 
and 1 doctor, but no barber no lawyer. There 3 small religious societies, Baptist,
Methodist and Presbyterian. The Methodist have quite a small meeting house,
in which they hold their meetings; the Baptists have theirs in the paper mill 
and the Presbyterians, which is the largest and the most popular, hold their
meetings in a large and commodious school house. Their ministers are men
of very ordiary talents and will not hardly reach mediocrity.

           Last Sunday evening, just as bright Pheobus was glideing his way down the
broad and expansive horizon in the west, I strolled about a mile ou of the
village and ascended an elevated piece of land, where I had a grand view of
Mount Tom, situated in Easthampton on the west side of the Ct. river.
From this place we have a full view of it from its base to the summit,
and it makes a truly grand and picturesque appearance just as the sun is
going down, when we behold it lightly enveloped in a thin mantle of
azure, through which can just be discerned the trees on its sides and tops
it reminds one of a huge land monster reposing his sluggish
limbs beneath the wide spreading umbrella of heaven.
 
 

            Friend Gilman, I must now close my brief epistle, for gloomy midnight
is approaching apace with all its train of solemn reflections and sleep 
“gentle sleep”, is drawing her mantle over my senses, and the zephers which
find their way into my window to fan my light bid me retire to rest
and I will obey and bring my letter to a close by requesting you to remember
me to any of my friends, Bradbury and Blanchard and all others who may deign
to enquire.

                                  Very respectfully Your friend,
                                  And obedient servant,
Alfred Gilman             Sylvanus Adams
 

P.S. I have herein enclosed 1 dollar (presuming you will do the busin-
Ess for me) as pay for the Mercury, for six months, and wish you to
forward it to me. directed to Chickcopee Factory Springfield,
Mass
                                  S.A.
 

 
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