Levi Andrews, Jr. and his wife Achsah (Andrews) settled in Pleasant Ridge, Maine soon after their marriage in Essex, Massachusetts in 1822. They were quickly surrounded by other Andrews family members—so many that the place was called “Andrews Plantation” in the 1830 census.
We are fortunate to have an original letter sent to Levi and Achsah, written by her parents, Elias and Martha (Lufkin) Andrews from Essex, dated January 1, 1830. They had recently returned to Essex after a visit to Pleasant Ridge. The letter is full of details about their journey home, the people they stayed with along the way, and news from home in Essex. The letter includes many family references, a few of which are outlined in the notes below. Many Pleasant Ridge families are named, as the parents send their good wishes to close the letter.
We have transcribed the letter as follows:
Ess[ex] January 1, 1830
Dearest beloved children,
It is with anxiety, mixed with pleasure, we now sit down to write to you, to inform you, that we are all well, hoping that these lines will find you enjoying the same blessing. — It is New years day amongst us; and we wish you a happy New year. This is a common salutation to domestics and friends, but if realized in sincerity, it is on [sic] of the best of wishes, and GODs prerogative to mortals. — — — — — —
- “If to be happy in a certain sphere;
- “no matter, soon, or late, or here, or there,
- “the blest today are as completely so,
- “as those who were, a thousand years ago. Pope*
You will say perhaps, we don’t want to read Pope quoted into your letters that you send to us, we want to hear how you got home, &c. We will tell you in short; we started from Gideons,(1) as you recollect on Monday morning, we crossed the river at patterson’s ferry called a few minutes at Anson, journeyed through Starks & Mercer. Called at waughs corner, New Sharon, vienna, & put up at Mount Vernon. Somewhat lowery through the day. A thundershower, followed that night and cleared of [sic]. Next day fine weather only very blustering in the afternoon, arrived at New Gloucester at Sister Parsons that evening; next day traveled to North Yarmouth, dined at Brother Lufkins, (2) spent the afternoon & night at Brother Hamiltons. Next forenoon at Nath’l Bacons, afternoon & evening at Cap’t Jacob Chaise, Samuel Bacon(3) the night following slept at Brother N. Lufkins. — — Started next morning arrived at Solomon Littlefields in Wells that night, and Mr. Robert Channels [?] at 1 o”Clock next day tarried there that night, met there Balmer Harlow,(4) J.J. Butler and Mrs. Balit – all well. Sunday morning started for home in earnest; Called at Mr. Samuel wades to see Bethiah, and leave some letters. But, lo, she was gone to keep Capt John Proctors House!! So we departed [torn portion]
[Marginal notes on page one]
We have lost all our flock of sheep but one, 32 in number, by the dogs in the woods. Mr. William Andrews has lost 15 & Benj’n Andrews 5 by [torn] means.
We arrived home about sunset [torn] sunday with an Olive leaf in our mouths, met by almost all our children between the island and our house, have ben [sic] about just five weeks. We enjoyed a remarkable degree of health through the whole absence from home, more so, than in any such length of time in the preceeding year. — We found our family & friends and Neighbours all well, harvesting all done, &c, — We will now tell you about domestic affairs. (Produce) we had 139 bushels Indian corne, 39 do. Barley, 400 do potatoes, 2 do white beans, made 2 bbls cider, have but very few winter apples, killed 3 swine weighing 1166#, sold one weighing 366# @ 6 1/4 cts per #, one weighing 437 & another 363 we salted to live upon. — Hiram has ben [sic] to see us last week. He has removed his family on to the place he bought. He appears to be well and harty [sic]. did not bring his wife down. She was well, both desire to see you & be remembered to you. Joseph is at work with Issachar Burnham in the ship yard building for Mr. Thomas Hardy at 19 1/2 dollars per month board himself. — Elias is with me. Martha & Azubah (5) are doing whatsoever their hands find to do. Miles & Elihu are at school, both pretty much engaged, Miles in arithmetic & Elihu in English Grammar. They think they have got a good master. His name is Benjamin Franklin Long. — A Young doctor, his home at Warner N.H. — While we were in the Eastern country, Issachar Andrews and his wife were at our house. They were on a visit to their friends. They were generally well. Brother Joseph, he says, since his wife died, is in a measure given to melancholy and dejection, wished to have me write to him, thought it might be of service to him &c. — he said that Brother said he wished to have your mother & myself go and see him, but we have so many to go see now, East & West, we hardly know how to go. — it is a general time of health in Essex, although some are complaining [torn portion] is more comfortable. she knits almost all the [torn].
Polly Andrews has lately been very unwell but is now more comfortable. The rest of the family are well. Mrs. Butler is as well as usual. Martha B. & Louisa Lufkin is here today. John J. Butler is quite unwell. Has been for about 2 weeks, has got a very bad cold & stuffed at the lungs with a bad cough – our neighbors are all well. Lt. Nathan B. has removed his family up to the farm, & John F. B. has moved to the island. – Keziah Groton is married to Israel Andrews (in the last paragraph I have put the cart before the horse but you can English it) Charles Marshall married to Louisa Andrews. Your aunt Joanna Andrews is quite comfortable aunt harlow & family and all your friends in general. — the season is quite moderate. today is very pleasant. — Joseph Allen with his family had got to Essex before we go there. he now lives at Mr. Rufus Lows house (almost as much in the woods as at pleasant ridge). He is to work with his Father Allen building a boat for Col Joshua Low. — We wish you to write to us as soon as convenient; we should have written sooner, but wanted to see Hiram and collect all the news we could first. We wish you to let Gideon & avice read this, but I shall consider that the letter be put in the files of those upon scribed to. – We have ben with you so lately it seems as though we were telling what we told you of then; if I do, you must excuse me as being forgetful – We wish to be remembered to Brother Levi & sister Hannah, Asa & wife Mr. Jonathan & wife & family, Mr. Charles & family Mr James & Dudley & familys Mr. John & family. Tell Lucy I saw her father, soon after we got home & informed him of her health & circumstances. We wish to be remembered to all enquiring friends and the vilagers [sic] in general. & last of all, Though not the lest to Mr. [perhaps Mrs.?] Bumpus, who I regret I could not see when we were there, likewise Sally, whose Industry & services toward us ward we shall ever esteem. – Please to excuse inaccuracies & inadvertencies as emenating [sic] from the pen and head of an old man. Wishing you peace within borders & contentment with your condition & circumstances. We subscribe ourselves, your Unworthy Parents
*Bullets are not in the original letter; used for line formatting of Pope verse.
- Gideon Andrews lived in Solon in 1830, and was married to Avice, daughter of Elias and Martha Andrews.
- Martha’s brother, Nathaniel Lufkin, lived in North Yarmouth, Maine.
- Martha’s sister Lucy Lufkin was married to Samuel Bacon.
- Balmer Harlow’s mother was Martha’s sister Eunice Lufkin.
- Elias, Martha, and Azubah were all children of Elias and Martha Andrews.
- Letter from Elias and Martha (Lufkin) Andrews to Levi and Achsah Andrews of Pleasant Ridge, Maine, 1830. Original in the author’s collection.
- Vital Records. Ancestry.com.
- For more about the Andrews family at Pleasant Ridge, see the article on the grist mill built by Jonathan Andrews, Jr.
© 2018 by Marilyn Sterling-Gondek