Lowell Mill Girl Letters

April 12, 1846

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL 
ROBERT C. AND ARLEEN STYKERMAN 
COLLECTION1 

WRITTEN TO ORILLA VARNEY2  
BY CAROLINE MARIA VARNEY RICHARDSON3 

  
Miss Orilla Varney 
Upper Jay 
NY 
  
                       Lincoln4 April 12th 1846

Dear cousin with pleasure do I improve the present opportunity in writing a few lines to you. We are enjoying good health at present and may those lines find you enjoying the same good blessing. We talk of going away I think we shall go next week if we go I will write to you then and let you know where we are and then I want you to write to me without fail. I don’t know of much that would be interesting to you. I will think of all I can. Uncle Solomons folks are all Well. Stephen is a stepping up to a girl and we think it will be a match her name is Charlotte Babcock. We all went to meeting today Stephen and Charlotte are here now they have come to meeting he sends his respects to you. Uncle Ozials folks are all well and all the rest of the folks. Caroline has a pretty baby no mistake they think it so to.  Maria is well and is a living at home now. I think she will this summer. Lewis and Maria are well I think it is to bad that I was gone all the time you was here. I did not hardly get a sight at you and I don’t think much of it when I came home and found 
you gone I was most mad. I suppose you have heard that I am married. Jasper5 sends his love to you and he thinks 
when we come from Lowell we shall come over there and see the cousins. I should like to come and see you and want you to come over there when i get home and then I think I shall see you. don’t come till I do go down to Lowell and work in the factory with me and get the dollars and then we will take comfort. Mother and Louisa is going to all the good ones are a going. Lincoln will be lonesome I think. I shall send Ezra a paper out this week. I cant think of anything more now so I will draw this ill composed bad 
written lines to a close please excuse all mistakes this from your friend and cousin     Caroline M. Richardson

                 To  Miss Orrilla Varney

 

  1Photocopies donated by Robert C. and Arlene Stykerman;  
    Transcribed by University of Massachusetts Lowell,  
    Center for Lowell History. 
  2Cousin – Orilla Varney b: 1828, NY d: 1861, NY; parents:  
     Ezra G. Varney and Charlotte Slater; married 1850: James Owen. 
  3Caroline Maria Varney b: 15 May 1828, Lincoln, VT d: probably,  
     Lawrence, MA; parents: Moses Varney and Eleanor Dow Gore;  
     married: Jasper Richardson b: 26 Nov 1822, Woodstock, VT  
     d: 1904, Lawrence, MA; children: Edgar Eugene Richardson. 
  4Lincoln, Vermont. 
  5Husband - Jasper Richardson b: 26 Nov 1822, Woodstock, VT  
    d: 1904, Lawrence, MA.

August 1, 1847

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL 
ROBERT C. AND ARLEEN STYKERMAN 
COLLECTION1 

WRITTEN TO ORILLA VARNEY 2 
BY CHARLOTTE ANN VARNEY3 

   
Miss Orilla Varney 
Upper Jay 
NY 
   
                  Lowell4 August 1st 1847 
  
                  After being absent from each other for more than two years, and under present existing circumstances I hardly know how to address you: but I feel as though I could not have things go on in this way much longer for me not to know where you are or whether you are dead or alive or any the rest of my friends there in Jay it seems most to bad. I have written to you and as I have received no answer I do not know whether you ever got my letter or not. When I wrote to you I believe I told you I was going to York State and should visit you. I went to York State last September. [unclear] and Caroline, John Varney and Maria Briggs and myself all of us visited Orra in Sept. but we could not go to Jay5 for [unclear] was in such a hurry that he would hardly stay long enough to make Orra a visit. When we went back to Vermont Harriett [B----] went back with us and stard four weeks. I then went back with her to [unclear]. Harriet and I went to school six months to a select school in [unclear] village and calculated to teach this summer and Harriet is teaching but I could not get only one dollar and a quarter per week and thought I had spent much to much time and money through the winte 
to teach for that so I resolved to show them a yankee trick and accordingly went to Lowell. Me thinks I hear you say now I guess you showed yourself as much of a trick as any body but be that as it may I am in Lowell to work in a woolen factory. I am well suited here and am  doing first rate. I can make more than two or three of us in Peru6 or Jay at any business that I have ever followed yet and I like weaving very much. but let any one have told me three weeks before I came here that I should ever work in a Lowell Factory I should have ridiculed the idea at once but they are building new factorys here and they sent out a man to get girls to work in them. He came to york State and picked up girls a least seventy two in number they did not all come at the same time that I came. There were only eighteen that came then but they all came this spring and who wonders if I did get the Lowell fever but I do not regret that I came but I should like it very much if you and Harriett Slater7 were here with me but I do not expect you will ever come to Lowell for I should not wonder if you were both of you married by this time but whether that is the case or not if you ever get this do write don’t stop to wash the dishes for I want to hear from you and grand Father and grand Mother and all the rest of our folks very much indeed.. Jasper and Caroline8 are here in Lowell it is Sunday and I am with her today and we are both of us writing and we are going out for a walk. I am in such a hurry that I hardly know what I am writing. They were all well in Vermont when Caroline left in May. John Varney is married to Mary Ann Bush. Elisha Briggs is married again 
to Elvira Bush so she has married her uncle. I will tell you a little about Ezra’s9 affairs he has built a house 
on his farm a pretty little cottage house they have a little daughter they call her Charlotte Ann though 
I suppose you have heard of that he thinks they take lots of comfort. when you write don’t leave out any of the news tell me every thing that you can think of. I wish you would tell me what has become of Aunt 
Martia. I have never heard any thing about her since you wrote that she was going to start to go to her friends. I shall write again soon if you answer this. I should tell you a little more particulers about how much I can make in the Factory but I guess you and Harriett had better come to Lowell and get rich with the rest of the sixteen thousand girls here. I can not write much more this with the best wishes of your affectionate Sister

                 Charlotte Ann Varney

To   Orilla Varney

                 done in a hurry but I guess 
                 you wont read it in a hurry 
                 don’t believe you can read it at all

 

  1Photocopies donated by Robert C. and Arlene Stykerman;  
    Transcribed by University of Massachusetts Lowell,  
    Center for Lowell History. 
  2Orilla Varney b: 1828, NY d: 1861, OH; parents: Ezra G.  
     Varney and Charlotte Slater; married 1850: James M. Owen. 
  3Sister – Charlotte Ann Varney b: 1825, Peru, NY d: 8 Feb 1848,  
     Lowell, MA – Typhoid Fever; parents: Ezra G. Varney and  
     Charlotte Slater; employed: Lowell woolen mill. 
  4Lowell, Massachusetts. 
  5Jay, New York.

6Peru, New York. 
  7Cousin – Harriet Slater b: 1827, NY; parents: Lyman  
     Slater and Mary Hamilton; married 1847, NY:  
     Robert B. Gilmore. 
  8Cousin – Caroline Maria Varney b: 15 May 1828, Lincoln,  
     VT d: probably, Lawrence, MA; parents: Moses Varney  
     and Eleanor Dow Gore; married: Jasper Richardson  
      b: 26 Nov 1822,  Woodstock, VT d: 1904, Lawrence, MA;  
      children: Edgar Eugene Richardson. 
  9Ezra Varney b: 1812, VT; married: Artenesia; residence  
    1850: Lewis, NY.

September 17, 1847

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL 
ROBERT C. AND ARLEEN STYKERMAN 
COLLECTION1  
    
WRITTEN TO ORILLA VARNEY 2 
BY CAROLINE MARIA VARNEY RICHARDSON3 

    
Miss Orrilla Varney 
Upper Jay 
NY 
  
                      Lowell4 Sept. 17. 1847 
  
Dear cousin Orrilla 
  
It is with the greatest degree of pleasure that I grasp my pen to address you feeling myself a negligent creature for not attempting to write to you before but I will ask your pardon and [unclear] enough in this to attone for the past. The first thing is health for my part I do not feel very well - I have a dreadful [unclear] my head aches and I feel rather down, the rest are all well I believe. 
  
I saw Charlotte5 yesterday she is well and a making well. I think in the month of June has made eight dollars and twenty five cent. July thirteen and twenty five, August fifteen thirty nine so you see she is doing pretty well better than I can do and she has to work harder to. I make about three dollars a week that is not bad wages. I wish you was here we would be happy then to be all of us together. We talk of going and make Ezra6 a visit this winter and I shall want to go and see you but I cannot tell when it will be about it. I want you to write to me as soon as you get this for I shall want to hear from you very much. Jasper 
has gone to see his mother this evening she is quite unwell and I feel rather lonely and homesick. When I feel so unwell I want a  mothers care but I cannot have it now I find if I was with mother I should call myself sick enough to have a docter but I am here and I must do as long as I can. I have thought today that I would start for home and then I think I do not care whether I live or die, I have heard from home quite often they are all well up there a was when last I heard. I must tell you of the births and weddings. Lydia Butterfield7 has got a boy Mary Sterling has a boy John Varney is married and I expect any day that I shall hear that Stephen is married and I don’t know but I shall hear that you are married. How is it cousin shall 
I or not. I feel rather tired and my hand trembles so bad that I will not try to scribble any more tonight for I fear your pastime will weary trying to read what I have scratched out now, it is the 20th and I thought I must try to finish this letter but it will be a doubtful case for I feel rather down. last Saturday I was sick Charlotte was here with me all day. she was here yesterday. All that I can think of is I wish I was at home. Sometimes I almost think I will start and go but I hait to leave Charlotte and Jasper8 they will be lonesome. I cannot think of any more to write this all I have to say is be a good girl and mind your marm write as 
soon as you get this without fail so good bye this from your friend and cousin till death   C. A. Richardson 

 1Photocopies donated by Robert C. and Arlene Stykerman;  
    Transcribed by University of Massachusetts Lowell,  
    Center for Lowell History. 
  2Cousin – Orilla Varney b: 1828, NY d: 1861, NY; parents:  
    Ezra G. Varney and Charlotte Slater; married 1850: James Owen. 
  3Caroline Maria Varney b: 15 May 1828, Lincoln, VT d: probably,  
    Lawrence, MA; parents: Moses Varney and Eleanor Dow Gore;  
    married: Jasper Richardson b: 26 Nov 1822, Woodstock, VT  
    d: 1904, Lawrence, MA; children: Edgar Eugene Richardson. 
  4Lowell, Massachusetts. 
  5Cousin – Charlotte Ann Varney b: 1825, Peru, NY d: 8 Feb 1848,  
    Lowell, MA – Typhoid Fever; parents: Ezra G. Varney and Charlotte  
    Slater; employed: Lowell woolen mill. 
  6Cousin – Ezra Varney b: 1812, VT; married: Artenesia; residence  
     1850: Lewis, NY. 
    7Lydia B. b: 1825, VT; married: William Butterfield; residence  
    1850: Lincoln, VT. 
  8Husband – Jasper Richardson b: 26 Nov 1822, Woodstock, VT 
    d: 1904, Lawrence, MA.