Lowell Mill Girl Letters

October 8, 1845

Courtesy: American Textile History Museum 
Transcribed: University of Massachusetts Lowell, Center for Lowell History 
  
[Probably written by Deborah J. Hibbard] 
  
To: Miss Sarah H. Hibbard 
Manchester  Oct. 8 1845 
  
Dear Sister Sarah. 
  
Can it be possible I just looked at the last letter I received from you which was a year ago last month. I intended to have answered it in five months as that was the period of time intervening between mine & yours, but my time was so occupied that I had no leisure for that even. as I was not absent from the mill only when my health would not admit of my working which was several weeks in the course of the winter. I have not been to Gilford1 but once since I first came to M.2 that was a year ago last April. During the hottest weather this summer I spent six weeks at [Londonderry], Lowell & Boston most of the time at Aunt Jenny’s 
then I thought of writing you but Brother Henry & wife came there on a visit & he said he did not know 
according to the last letter that father's folks received, whether you were still in Cherokee or had gone beyond the rocky mountains or had been murdered so that will account for the reason why you have not received any letter for the last six months. Harriet3 is  now at Londonderry so I opened two letters for her, one from you & the other from home friends at home are as well as usual excepting Hannah who was threatened highly with a fever, from Capt A. Blaisdell has buried his daughter Martha 16 years of age. 

O I long to get home once more but here I am exercising all the self denial possible just to lay by a little 
money & no one knows what for. I have tended four looms nearly a year & a half & have only ninety dollars 
in the bank sometimes I can say labor itself is pleasure then again when all worn down I sigh for rest. I have 
had trials & vexations which is the lot of all in a factory village like this you will wish me to explain I suppose well the case is I have a great many enemies some envy me on account of my good fortune, others for my good looks & genteel carriage other for my youthful appearance because strangers take me to be about twenty five & six years of age other hate me because I have had good advantages & have improved them Some have treated me respectfully especially those gentlemen who have employed me such as agents & overseers they looked up to me that has excited the envy of the ladies & some of the married ones have even been jealous of me  should you believe it possible at this time of life? but so it is I should not write this but I wish for sympathy as I dare not make a friend of any one in this place for they would betray me. I have prospered in some respects have managed so as to board in a private family most of the time & part of the time with my overseers which is considered very popular. Last summer a year ago I had charge of a little girl who was born at the south & her mother was a molatto & had been a slave I took great pains with her exercised all the authority of a parent over her for about eight months when she visited some friends since that she has been capable of taking care of herself although I give her advice & she often calls me mother she is now quite a pretty young lady. Last June while I boarded with my overseer his youngest child 
not ten months old was taken sick & died rather suddenly I watched by its cradle for the last two nights & one day & saw the lovely creature breathe its last for the first one & the impression that scene left upon my mind can never be effaced there stood the friends weeping around while the spirit gently fled to God who gave it & O it is my prayer I may be prepared to meet the lovely Emma beyond  tomb. Harriet4 is now doing some sewing preparatory to marriage5 which I expect will take place about Thanksgiving time Br Babcock's folks were at Andover at the anniversary they called on us & were at [Gilford] no news except Dr.Hendrick's family have gone to the West. Miss Susan Tuck graduated last 
August & is now teaching in Manchester has fifteen scholars, report not out yet Sister Hannah6 visited us this summer Martha A7 is in the Mill There is a second Baptist Society formed in this place at resent under the care of the Reverend Mr. Foss. Miss Susan Tuck is courted by a minister Did you receive a [bolt] of clothing a while ago I [assisted] them [some] 
write as soon as you receive this

P.S.  
Mrs. Nutter is married to a Mr. Thompson. Br. to  
Mahala. Sally Hill is dead, died in Manchester 
Good night its dark

 

 

  1New Hampshire 
  2Manchester, NH 
  3Harriet Hibbard b: 1818

4Harriet Hibbard b: 1818 
   5Amos Webster

 6Hannah Bibbard b: 1821 
  7Martha Hibbrad b: 1823