It is with feelings of reluctance that I take my seat to write to you news which I am sensible will cause the silent tear to flow again from your eyes, but it is doubtless what you have long expected. The 15th of last February Grandmother [probably Lovina Sadler nee Porter] was taken ill about noon. She continued to grow worse until evening when it was thought advisable to send for a Physician, who came that evening and bleed [sic] her, which appeared to relieve her for a short time. The Dr. staid over night and in the morning thought it would not be necessary to come again, but alas, how fallacious are the hopes of man. About noon her symptoms became worse. The Physician was again called but all in vain. She continued to grow worse and worse and from Monday until Friday the 25th of February (the day on which her spirit took its flight, as we have reason humbly to believe, to a fairer clime than this) we hourly looked for her departure. During her sickness and extreme suffering, a murmuring word she never was heard to utter. Her hope was in Heaven. She had her reason perfectly well as long as she could speak. During Thursday night she said but very little, and she expired half past ten Friday morning. Grandfather refused during her sickness to hear any words of consolation. After her death he seemed rather more composed. But great as was the call for him to be also ready, he does not at present appear to heed it. But may God yet sanctify it to his eternal good.
Grandfather Osborn [Ashbel] was buried the day preceding her death. Grandmother's sickness prevented our taking care of, or seeing him during his illness excepting father, who stayed with him during the latter part of his sickness and until he died. He left no well founded hope of his acceptance with God. You doubtless ere this have received intelligence of the death of Eliza [probably Eliza Margaret Judd nee Osborn]. Little Ellen Margaret [Eliza's daughter?] is now one of our family. She is a lovely little creature and is the pet of the whole family. Our afflictions during the past year seem to be great.
Father and Mother enjoy a usual degree of health. Father lives at home this summer and is building mill saw mill [sic] for himself. Sister Delia's health is very delicate. She is unable to do any labour. I teach school in this neighborhood this summer. I am remarkably favored with health, but still I consider life uncertain. Albert and Richardson are grown to be large boys. They are, in general, healthy. Joseph is a very sickly child and has not been able to go to school but a few days this summer. He reads a great deal and would his health admit, he would make an excellent scholar. Harriet is a smart child, healthy. Permelia will close this letter. I hope we shall be favoured with a letter from you immediately on the receipt of this. Give my love to Cousin Electa and her husband. Also to Cousin Abijah and Adelia. Please tell them all to write to me. Although we never saw each other's faces, we may yet become familiar by epistolary correspondences.
From your affectionate niece, Julia Osborn
Mrs. Hannah Phillips
As cousin Julia has left this sheet unfinished for me to fill out, with a degree of pleasure I sit down to preform the task. It is a pleasing reflection that although a great distance separates us and we are denied the pleasure of seeing eash other and listening to the tales of joy or woe as they proceed ???? from our hearts, yet we may retire to our chambers and pen down a few broken thoughts to friends whom time or distance cannot erase from your minds. It seems to be almost lamentable that friends so near and so dear, and who are capable fo enjoying each other's society and comforting, and sustaining each other in affliction should be so widely separated. But perhaps were we always to enjoy the society of those we fondly love and meet with no privations or disappointments, we should become too much attracted to life and forget that it is fluctuant and that we are mortal. We may dream of felicity in out fallen state, but in attempting to grasp her we grasp a phantom. We are constantly admonished that the tenderest ties must be broken and thaat no age or condition is exempt from the approach of death. Four times in less than the same number of years has the fell destroyer made his impressive track within the little circle of our relatives and snatched from our embrace those the memory of whom we fondly cherish. A thrilling admonition to the survivors, to be also ready, for in such an hour as we think not, the Son of Man may come and our destiny be irrevocably determined.
[An apparently bably mutilated/worn portion of the letter exists here. Only a few scattered words offering little intelligence have survived. However, the letter picks up again where the destroyed portion ends.]
.........with habit industry and economy render her wife and tender mother. Brother Timothy was m....[married?] a few weeks since in amiable lady by the ...[name?] of Susan Elizabeth Watrous. As he was to Y.... you was here to form any idea of his future I will attempt a partial deliniation. The years of his childhood were spent in a family who knew not God and where vice of almost every grade prevailed. In this family he lived in ignorance umtil he grew to be quite a lad without knowing the great Author of existence or by whose power creation stands and ....with the .....-ding Sunday School which was rendered a blessing to him and possessing a mind of a ardent and sanguine temperament, he sought every possible means of improvement [and] soon formed industrious habits and virtuous principles, yielded to the calls and invitations of the fospel, and embraces the religion of Jesus Christ and united [with?] the church of which he is still a member. An insatiable thirst for knowledge stimulated his at active .. and to avail himself of every opportunity his limited means would allow and now he is a proficient scholar in all the common branches of learning. Brother Benjamin is also settled in life. He too, is steadt and industrious and has an excellent wife. Melissa and family enjoy a comfortable degree of health. I could write more but I must close writting to be rememberedin love to the deat cousins and hoping that the choicest of heaven's blessing may attend you and yours.
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