Rice, Sarah H. 1839 [VHS]
 
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VERMONT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
MONTPELIER, VERMONT
HAZELTON RICE PAPERS

LETTER WRITTEN BY
SARAH “SALLY” H. RICE1
EXCERPT2

                                                                    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 about one. 
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 have passed 
over my head and where is that something coming from if I go home and earn nothing. 
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, Somerset, VT 
    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 mill.
  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. . .
 
  

 
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