This letter was written by Achsah Mellen (residing at Winhall, Vermont) to her brother Lyman Wheeler, who was teaching in Leicester, MA while residing there with his brother Henry in 1828. - Transcribed by Barbara and John Medamana. Words that are uncertain were replaced by xxxx.
November 16th, 1828
I have now taken my long neglected pen (in the employment of writing to you) to write a few lines to you not by way of apology for I have none to make, but a natural negligent and tardy disposition and a multiplicity of other business but to inform you of our health which is usually good and hope that you and our other friends in your vicinity enjoy the same blessing. I had the privilege of perusing a letter from brother Henry to Beriah which came to hand last week in which we were informed of his and your health and of his and your future expectations. He wrote that you were expecting to teach a school in Leicester the ensuing winter at $18 per month. I hope sir that you will duly consider your responsibility to your employers that it is not merely for the wages that you spent your time of rather your own personal interest but it is also for the interest of your employers your scholars and of the community in general. On the teachers of common schools and other seminaries much depends in the formation of youthful minds to make them a blessing to themselves to their parents and friends and to community generally.
I have not much to write which will perhaps be news to you. You have undoubtedly been appraised of the melancholy accident which took place in Manchester last summer of the death of David Leason (?) by the hand of Ezekiel Odell and his (Odell's) consequent arrest his trial commenced on the second Tuesday of the present month which continued for the remainder of the week. The result was that he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to the state prison for life for which place he was conducted by the officers of justice on the Monday following.† Thus in an unguarded moment he has deprived community of a valuable citizen (for such undoubtedly was Leason). The wife and children of the diseased of xxx husband and father and himself of friends and society for life other than the society of such who like himself have so conducted as to be deemed by the virtuous unfit for the enjoyment of the society of the virtuous and the good. What let me ask was the cause of this? Was it by any mismanagement of his early education. I leave the question for you to answer.
We have heard from brother Scott by way of a letter to his brothers in Stratton in which we hear that it is very sickly in that part of the country and has been very afflicting in his family in that it has taken from them their second son Willard who has gone the way of all the earth.
Brother Warren has another member added to his family - a son.† Father Wheeler is expecting to move to Manchester this week. He has had it in contemplation for some months. And we think that he will actually go when you read this.† You will say that I can say nothing more favorable as to their family concerns than what has heretofore existed. I have had the honor of visiting Montpelier this fall which perhaps was occasioned by the same cause which occasioned by your being hired last winter to teach school another month the people not duly appreciating my merit.
Give our best respects to brother Henry. Tell him that he is not forgotten although perhaps I for one had not manifested it by my acts. We hope that you nor him will not inflict too many nor too heavy lashes on us for our neglect in writing without reflecting whether half ought not to go to the complainer.
Nathaniel Mellen and Achsah Mellen
November 18, 1828
Since writing and sealing the within we have had information from the south that there has been added to the inhabitants of this town a fine healthy sprightly active boy and his name we understand is Henry Lyman Wheeler. This wonderful stranger arrived last Sunday. We expect he is crying to see his pa. I could not let this letter depart without breaking the seal to give the information.
[On the envelope]
Mr Lyman Wheeler
Note:† Nathaniel and Achsach Mellenís house in Wilhall, VT, burnt down in 1833. The Mellens moved to Kankakee, IL, soon afterwards. - BWM