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Lowell Mill Girl Letters

December 6, 1847

Original held by Cornell University, American Textile History Museum Collection
Transcribed by University of Massachusetts Lowell, Center for Lowell History 

Lowell, December 6th 1847

My dear Sister

 I now sit down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope you are the same. you must excuse me for not writing to you before this, but I have been so buissy that I have not had time. I 
arived here safely, and have gone to work in the Spining room. I like it very much indeed it is very easy pretty work after you once get lerned, but it requires some patience to lern when you first begin. I almost gave up in despair the first day, it made my fingers so sore, but I thought if the other girls could lern I could and now the work seames quite easy to me. I like Lowell very much now at first I thought I could not ever get to like it for I was so homesick. I was all the time wishing I was back in Hartford1,  but now I feel quite different as Cousin Laura is here with me she arived here a week from last Saturday she thought as I liked 
the work here she should like to come too

and so it makes it very pleasant for me for it seames almost like home to me now she is here, we do not work in the same mill to gether as she did not like spinning but choose rather to work in the Weave room she likes it verry much so far I hope she will be contented here, we both board in the same bording house and room together, we have about twenty four boarders here. we have had very pleasant wether since I have been here the first snow we have had was last night but it was so little that it has almost melted off now I went to Church all day yestoday I have perchassed me a seat in the Presbyterian Church2  and I attend there the Minister's name is Mr Hanks3  he is a very good man I think it is much better to attend one Church steady than to be going from one to another evry Sabbeth as a great many of the girls do here, 
perhaps you would like to kow what time we go in the mill in the morning the first bell rings for them to get up to get breakfast at 5 o clock and at 6 the second bell rings for the girls to get up and at half past six the third rings for the girls it to go in the mill, and at half past twelve we come out to dinner and go in at one and stay till half past 7 o clock at night and by the time we get through tea it is eight o clock and so the eavnings are very short Saturday, we get out at four in the afternoon, which

gives us a little more time. Cousin Laura works on Massachusetts No 2 weave room and I work on the Prescott in the Spining room there is no number to the room where I work. You must excuse this miserable letter for I am in great haste I hope I shall soon hear from you for I wish to know how you and the family4  are Aunt Abigial5  is much better than she was when I was when I was in Hartford and Cousin Frank has gone to New Hampshire to work this winter on the Rail Road I think Laura is qute well and sends her love, Pleas give my love to all and [accept] much yourself from your do write soon

                               Ever affectionate Si 
                               Mary Cowles

                               when you write Pleas direct to 
                               Mary Cowles 6 
                               No 35 Mass Corporation 

[on cover] 
Miss Adeline Cowles7 
c/o Mr. John Wells8 
Wethersfield, CT 


1 Hartford, CT 

2 John Street (Orthodox) Congregational Church was organized May 9, 1839. The house was dedicated January 24, 1840 Reverend Stedman Wright Hanks, the first pastor, was ordained March 20, 1840, and dismissed February 3, 1853..  
3 Rev. Stedman Wright Hanks b: 6 Sep 1811, Mansfield, CT d: 24 Aug 1889, Clifton. Son Horace and Sophia Wright. Ellington (CT) High School; Yale, 1833-34; A.C., 1834-37.  Union T.S., 1837-38; Yale T.S., 1838-39; resident licentiate Andover T.S., 1839-40; ordained 20 Mar 1840, Lowell, MA; pastor John Street Church 1840-53; district secretary American Seamen's Friend Society and corresponding secretary Boston Seamen's Friend Society, 1853-89.  Representative to State Legislature, 1856. Married (1st) 5 Aug 1840 Rebecca, daughter of Ira Gay, Nashua, NH, who d. 21 May 1852; (2nd) 2 Aug 1853, Sarah, daughter of Aaron Hall, Oxford, NH, 5 children.

4 Parents: A.S.  Cowles [b: 1788, CT] and Mary Ann --- [b: 1789, CT] 
5 Abigail Waters b: 1805, CT 
6 Mary Ann Cowles b: Nov 1830, Tolland, CT; married: Daniel P. Bates b: 1828, Old Saybrook, CT 
7 Adeline L. Cowles b: Aug 1833, Toland, CT; married: John W. Crane b: Sep 1836, CT  
8 John Welles, farmer b: 3 Aug 1813, Wethersfield, CT; married: Mary Welles Walcott  b: 1 Aug 1812, Wethersfield, CT