VERMONT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
HAZELTON RICE PAPERS
LETTER WRITTEN BY
SARAH “SALLY” H. RICE1
Millbury3 Sept 14th 1845
Dear Father Mother Brother & Sister
I have waited a long time for a letter from some of you. . .and now
I ask the reason why. I
fear you are sick—if you are why do you not let me know it. I have
written you 2 letters
before this since I have heard from you.
My health is very good indeed. My work is very hard and I get some tired.
Mr. Waters is
building a house this summer which makes the family much larger than
usual. You surely
cannot blame me for leaving the factory so long as I realized that
it was killing me to
work in it. I went to the factory because I expected to earn more than
I can at housework.
To be sure I might if I had my health. Could you have seen me att the
time or a week
before I came away you would advised me as many others did to leave
realize that if I lose my health which is all I possess on earth or
have eny reason to expect
to posess that I shall be in a sad condition. I want to see you all
and proberbly shall in the
course of a month or two. I want you should write immediately and tell
all the news you
can think of. What is Haselton up to? Henry told me that Daniel is
married. There is one
case of the small pox in this part of town and we shall think it very
strange if there is no
more. We have very dry weather here. It rains to day and is very cold.
There was some
frost on the ground Saturday morning…God grant that I may be steadfast,
and meet you all in heaven.
Sarah H. Rice
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.