1841: Olivia Cooper (Brown) to Elizabeth Douglass Russell

This letter was written by Olivia Cooper Hall (1808-18776), the daughter of William Clark Hall (1770-1822) and Olive Cooper (1774-1819) of Middletown, Connecticut. She was married in September 1845 to George Walker.

Olivia wrote the letter to Elizabeth Douglass Russell (1828-1890), the daughter of Edward Augustus Russell  (1798-1874) and Elizabeth Brown Hall (1797-1877) of Middletown, Middlesex county, County. Eliza’s father worked in the foreign mercantile trade until he returned to Middletown in 1838. He later served as mayor of Middletown (1857-1861), state representative and national convention delegate. His home in Middletown was built in 1841-42 on the Wesleyan University Campus (318 High Street) and remains as a historic home today.

The Russell children included: Mary Osborn Russell (1821-1868), Edward Augustus Russell (1824-1857), William Henry Russell (1826-1827), Elizabeth Douglass Russell (1828-1890), Frances Julia Russell (1831-1832), Frances (“Fanny”) Ann Russell (1835-18xx) and Adelaide Augustus Russell (1838-1885).


Addressed to Miss Eliza D. Russell, Middletown, Connecticut
Care of E. A. Russell, Esq.

Ann Arbor [Michigan]
March 8, [1841]

My dear little Eliza,

I received your dear letter some time since and should have answered it before this but your Aunt Mary has been very sick with an inflammation of the lungs and I have devoted all my time to her. She is now out of danger but will be obliged to remain in the house through the spring.

We have had delightful weather the last week. Day before yesterday I rode twenty miles. The roads are getting to be quite settled. We expect to begin to ride horseback next week. I have had many delightful rides this winter and always wished you could be with me. I know you would have enjoyed them very much. I am very happy to hear that you are improving so much and that you like your music. Which plays the best, you or Mary? I hope you will not be satisfied with merely playing but will wish to play as well as Miss Christine. Give my love to her — also to Antoinette and the sisters. I am happy to hear you are such good friends. How are little Fanny and Adelaide? Kiss them for me. Do you go to Sunday School yet? Give my love to my scholars. Tell E___ and Fanny D____ and yourself that I hope you do not talk and laugh so much, but pay more attention to your lessons. I shall hope to see you all very much improved when I return. How is little Margaret? Give my love to her and ask her to write me.

We had a large military ball here on your birthday. It was in the house where I board. The room was dressed with green, flags and guns. The supper table was the handsomest I ever saw. There was another Tippecanoe Ball lat evening at the lower town. I received an invitation but did not attend. I thought of you often on your birthday and imagined you would have a party in the evening.

You say in your letter that I did not mention your name in one of my letters. I am very sorry that I would have neglected you in that way. I think of you very often and nothing has given me more pleasure than your letter though it made me quite homesick for a time. Give my love to Mary and tell her that I think she has entirely forgotten me, as well as her promise to write me. Give my love to Augustus and tell him I shall never forget his kindness. He was the first to think of me after I left, and I continue to receive papers from him every few days. I wrote him about two weeks since by Harvey Thompson, the only son of William Thompson. He has gone to Washington to be there at the inauguration. He will return by the way of New York and go to Middletown. I hope you will all treat him with attention. His father would like him to remain there and enter the [Wesleyan] University and study for the ministry. He is very pious.

Give my love to your Father and Mother and Aunt Hetty [Mehetible]. Tell them it is a long time since I have heard from home. Tell them that my health never was better than it is now. Give my love to your grandmother and Aunt Frances. Your Aunt Mary sends her love to you and all her friends. I should be very happy to make you some collars if I could get anything to make them if your mother will send me material by Harvey. I will make make them with pleasure. Do write me often. It gives me such pleasure to hear from you and don’t forget your absent, — Aunt Olivia


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