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Lowell Mill Girl Letters

Mary Lucinda Hovey to Elizabeth M. Stevens, August 8, 1847


A letter from Mary Lucinda Hovey1 to Elizabeth M. Stevens  

Sabbath morning Aug 8th  ‘47 
Dear Elisabeth
I received your letter and perused it with the greatest pleasure imaginable still I envied you your 
comfort I do wish I could be with you would not I enjoy myself too?  I’ll bet I would   Now let me see what news have I got to write I cannot think of one item  O! yes I have been out sick two whole days I was dreadful sick I sewed all the time just as fast as my fingers would enable me to lucky for me my old man did not inquire about me was'nt it?  You asked me about Marrilla2  she is dead she died at the Hospital  the next morning after you left Lowell Ruth Damon3 was with her when she asked her what she should tell her Father  Marrilla answered tell him I die perfectly happy I feel sure I shall see him in Heaven I sincerely hope she will dont you?  how bad to die so far away from all friends who care for you among 

those whose only wish is as seems to be to have you out of sight that they may get your money and clothes &c forgive me for speaking so bitterly I could not not help it for I think the treatments she received during her sickness was anything but fair and when she died it was six oclock in the morning and she was burried at two in the afternoon & I would just tell you another truth but I dare not put it in black and white. 

But I am writing all together differently from what I intended when I commenced this  I am very sorry your health is not good I hope you may get well by the time I come to see you for if you do not I am fearful what the result of my visit would be  I think now I shall be up there in September if you like.  I have had one letter from Abby4 since she went home and I answered it in a hurry (the same as you will think I have yours) she wrote that she should return to Lowell in about 3 weeks from this I was over at 22 the evening after I got your letter I told Sarah Cross she said she roomed with Martha she was dreadful sick after you left and the day that I was over there she had had her dress on the first time  Experience took care of her I do'nt doubt she had the very best care Sophronia Tuck is sick now she is in the care of Dr. Birnham I beleive the rest of the girls are all well they all seemed very much pleased to hear from you and wished to be 

remembered by you  Abby Fiske in particular she is getting ready to leave these diggings  I do'nt think of anything more to write now only I have changed my boarding place again.  what you think ob dat ha?  Ill tell you why Miss Hemmageway5 took five paddies to board and I can tell you such work as they made I would not stay so you see I just put-off and came to 18 on the Suffolk here I am now.  the old woman6 makes or tries to make us all go to meeting but you see she can’t drive me and she has almost given up the idea that she can Everything else I like much better than I ever have else- where. I was thinking if you had any pigs they would [...] been set at liberty when you was eighteen  I wish I could [...] seen you that day I should have given to something to remember I’ll warrant you. You see I have written the little shroud 
as I promised you I would if you will write me again in my answer I will send the Silver moon  I have not written anything as yet worth reading and I will not weary your patience by writing any more nonsense dont forget to direct your next letter to No.18 instead of 26 Sincerely Yours now & ever 


Mary L. Hovey

PS  if you dont write me another letter before long I shall be after thinking you dont consider this worth your notice any how now you mind that you you see I did not forget to write you a letter full & long as your own if not longer  Lucinda

[on cover] 
Elizabeth M. Stevens
Leyden, Mass. 


1. Miss Mary Lucinda Hovey was an operative at the Suffolk Mills.  She was born May 29th, 1828 in Lyme NH. 

2. Miss Marrilla W. Williams was a weaver at the Lawrence Mills.  She was born in 1830 in Albany, VT and die at Lowell Corporation Hospital on July 27, 1847 of dysentery. 

3. Miss Ruth Stearns Damon was a weaver in the mills. She was born on August 30, 1823 in Kirby, Vermont.

4. Miss Abby Fiske was born in 1821 in Maine.  In 1847 she was an operative in a Lowell mill.  By 1860 she was working in Biddeford, MA as a dressmaker. 

5. Miss Sophronia Hemenway was the boardinghouse keeper at #26 Suffolk.

6. Mrs. Hannah Tenney Morrison was the boardinghouse keeper at #18 Suffolk.  She had 10 boarders, of these at least 3 were Irish.



Hovey, Mary Lucinda.  Letter to Elizabeth M. Stevens.  August 8, 1847.  Box 37, Folder LF .H8265, Lowell Files Collection, Vertical Files, Center for Lowell History, University of Massachusetts Lowell.