VERMONT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
HAZELTON RICE PAPERS
LETTER WRITTEN BY
SARAH “SALLY” H. RICE1
Union Village3 1839
Dear Father & Mother.
I am well. I found good crossing the mountain. Got to Arlington about
8 in the eve. Staid
over night, and the next morning started for home. Arrived at Cambridge
Stoped at Comstocks hotel. I found a man there that was going directly
to UV. With him
I rode here and I was never so glad to see eny place as I was to see
my old home and
friends, I found [them a]ll well except Mr. Salisbury. . .Elem Knight
and I got up monday
morning at one oclock to wash. He helpt me some and we got done before
light and I
should be willing to get up every morning at one if it would make you
willing that I
should stay here. I can have a home here as long as I will stay and
am steady. They are
very anxious that I should live with them as long as I work out* enywhere.
. .I have one
of the best homes and good society which is a good deal better than
I can have there [at
parents’ home]. Not but that I have a good Father & Mother but
look at the company I
should be with a profane Sabbath breaking set. I cannot bare the thoughts
of going there
to live. No one knows how much I suffered the ten weeks that I was
at home. I never can
be happy there in among so many mountains…I think it would be more
consistent to save
my strength to raise my boys [children she expects to have in the future].
. .I shall need
all I have got and as for mayyring and settling in that wilderness
I wont, and if a person
ever expects to take comfort it is while they are young I feel so.
. .I have got so that by
next summer if I could stay I could begin to lay up something. . .I
am now most 19 years
old I must of course have something of my own before many more years
over my head and where is that something coming from if I go home and
What can we of of Rocky farm only 2 or 3 cows. it would be another
thing if you kept 9
or 10 cows and could raise corn to sell. It surely would be cheper
for you to hire a girl
1Sarah “Sally” H. Rice b: 23 Jan 1821,
d: 15 Jul 1904, Rochdale,
MA; parents: Hazelton Rice
and Rhoda Stone; married
1847: James M. Alger b: 1818,
Worcester, MA; James
worked: Railroad engineer.
At the age of seventeen,
Sally Rice left the small farm in Dover,
Vermont, on which
she had been raised, to strike out on her
own. Over the next
several years, her letters to her family tell
us, she supported
herself and tried to save a little money working
as a domestic “help,”
doing housework and, at least for a short
time, in a textile
2Excerpted by Old Sturbridge Village.
3Union Village, New York.
that can do your work one that would be contented to stay in the desert
than for me to
come home and live in trouble all the time. . .If you lived within
5 or 10 miles of here I
would not say eny thing against living with you but I have lived amonst
desent people so
long that I don’t want to go home. You may think me unkind but how
can you blame me
for wanting to stay here? I have but one life to live and I want to
enjoy myself as well as I
can while I live. . .If I go home I can not have the privelage of going
to meting [church]
nor eny thing else. Do come away. Dont lay your bones in that place
I beg you.
I want you should write me an answer directly and let me know my fate.
My love to all who inquire after SR. . .