1861: Josiah Howard Hobbs to James Monroe Lovering

The first two letters presented here were written by Josiah Howard Hobbs (1834-1919), the son of Daniel S. Hobbs (1800-1883) and Judith G. Chapman (1801-1887) of Carroll county, New Hampshire. Josiah was an 1856 graduate of Dartmouth College and a graduate of the Albany Law School in 1859. In 1860, he was studying law. He was married to Mary Elizabeth Erwin (1841-1890) in 1878.

Hobbs wrote the first two letters to James Monroe Lovering (1817-1885), the son of John and Sarah (Leavitt) Lovering of Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire. James’ first wife was Nancy Brown of North Hampton. They were married in 1841. His second wife was Oriana (Mitchell) Wingate. In the 1860 US Census, Lovering’s occupation was given as “clerk.”

The third letter in this grouping was written by Nancy (Brown) Lovering to her husband, James M. Lovering.


Washington D. C.
January 5, 1861

Friend Lovering,

Last eve the city was much excited on hearing that the U. S. Frigate Brooklyn is now at Norfolk, Va. coaling up and receiving troops, destined for South Carolina service. The secessionists are very bitter in their denunciation of Buchanan. Doubtless the messages over the telegraphic wires inform you of the events which have transpired down south such as taking of Government Arsenals and forts.

Mrs. Lovering is as well as usual while Mary has almost recovered from her cold and is nicely this morning. Mr. Little & family are to leave Mr. Morehead’s domain. I send you a letter which Mr. Lovering handed me. I have sent the Tribune to your Father. There is no special movement on foot that I am aware of among the Republicans for meeting the present crisis save that all the Republicans of Congress met on yesterday at Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax Con. Room and meet again today. Their proceedings are kept a secret thus far. This meeting looks as if something is being mediated.

I am yours very truly. In haste, –Josiah H. Hobbs

James M. Lovering, Esq., Concord, N. H.


Washington D. C.
January 7, 1861

Friend Lovering,

In the contingency that Mrs. Lovering should not write you this morn, I have resolved to send my autograph.

The reinforcement of Fort Washington and the organization of citizen troops of course irritated the secession men. Even Mrs. Moorehead is a little excited because troops have been sent to Fort Washington.

The Virginia Legislature meets today and the rumor goes that the legislature would authorize the seizing of the fort forsooth. The F. F. V. [First Families of Virginia] have been anticipated and are consequently vexed. The impression is that the Pacific Railroad bill will be killed in the Senate by a close vote. Mr. [John P.] Hale ought to be here. It comes up today for final disposition. Affairs are all right in the Folding Room. Mr. Phillips continues a little anxious about the fate of the “Deficiency Bill.”

Matters at our Boarding House are coming to a focus. Mr. Thompson has changed his maid and is quite eloquent in praise of our landlord & lady.

I apprehend great men change their minds sometime. Buchanan for illustration.

Mr. Lovering and Mary are well. The latter has recovered fully.

Please remember me to Dana. I am very truly yours. In haste, — J. H. Hobbs

[to] J. M. Lovering, Esq., Exeter, N. H.


Exeter [New Hampshire]
June 16, 1861

My Dear Husband,

As the people have all gone to church and left me to care of the babe, and he being asleep, I will employ my time in writing you a few lines although I have nothing new to write, only it is very warm. I hope it is not any warmer with you than here. Miss Martha Gillman arrived here last week from Charleston, Virginia. She said the people were all leaving and going to the mountains for they expected a battle soon.

I don’t know how they know anything about it but they say that Marston can’t be elected Door Keeper again. I would try for it myself if I were you. Jimmie and Mary were very much pleased with their letters. I am glad you had such a nice time at West Chester. It seems a long time to the 20th of July but I see in the papers that they were going to try to attack Washington. Tuck asked me the other day if I wasn’t afraid that Davis would run off with you. He told me he thought that Davis would try to take Washington yet but he did not think he would succeed.

Your Aunt Sanborn was here to dinner so you see she has not gone home yet. Marston is in town today. David has been quite unwell the last week with pain in his side. Your Father is well. Stephen Dearborn has got most well but Wadleigh is very low [and] not expected to live many days. Mary has got a bad sore. It come out in a large bunch first and now her ear is very sore and runs a good deal. It is the scrofula, I suppose.

I want to see you very much. It is four weeks tomorrow since you left and it seems as thhough it was four months. The children are raised Ned. Tell Mrs. Litell that I will answer her letter as soon as I get time. I went up to Mrs. Collins the other day. They have a very convenient house and a very pleasant one. They have as many rooms as we but one, only some of them are not quite as large. They are putting up another piece of the stable so as to shut us up quite. Mary has been out all the morning trying to see Marston to bid him goodbye but I think she did not make out.

They think of celebrating the Fourth [of July], the children of the Sabbath School. Miss Carthan is at Springfield yet. I wish she would always keep off for it is much pleasanter without them. There is not much going on here. Take care of your stomach. Ask Litell who he has to go round with now. Read has left for I think they must miss each other.

Marston expects to leave Portsmouth Thursday for Washington from Boston by water. David and Tom are going to Portsmouth tomorrow to see them. We all send love. Goodbye. Write soon. I wish I was with you.

Yours affectionately, — N. B. Lovering

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