Greensboro, Ga., Apl. 7, 1848. 3.5 pages on an unlined bifolium, 9.75 x 7.88 inches, approx. 830 words, integral address. Fairly clear cancel for Greensboro, Ga., Apr. 7 and ten cents postage. Small marginal tear from sealing wax (no loss of text); some light wear and soiling; in very good condition. Item #18221
A touching, evocative letter: Medway, Mass. native and dentist Eliab Allen writes to his sister with a certain amount of grace and humor to relay a grief in his immediate family, beginning “you recollect that in our last letter, I told you Kate wished to communicate something, but did not know how to communicate, & that if you could not guess it, I would enlighten you bye & bye – Well, not to keep you in suspense any longer, I must tell you that we were expecting an arrival about the first of June – but you know visitors sometimes come before we are prepared for them – subjecting themselves & their friends to some inconvenience – thus has it been in the case to which I allude – on the 20th of March our dear Kate exhibited symptoms of miscarriage, and on the 22d presented us with a little son – We did not suppose that one whose birth was so premature would make any pretensions to living – but contrary to our expectations it survived until Tuesday of this week – thirteen days – The little creature weighed only four pounds – but was a very pretty little fellow, so said the connoisseurs – its features being very perfect. It lived long enough for us to have the feelings of parents, and of course we loved it. But it has been taken from the trials & troubles of this wicked world before it was conscious of the many temptations to which we are all exposed, & it is not right for us to wish it back again.” From this bit of difficult news, Allen assures his sister that his wife Kate “is ‘doing very well’ – When she is well enough to write, you may expect to hear from her,” and in an attempt perhaps to deflect his feelings on the premature birth, notes “we can assign no reason for this accident, excepting that such affairs have been quite fashionable in this quarter of late, and the ladies you know must follow the fashions!” Allen passes on to news of family health, notes the welcome arrival of spring, anticipates fresh peas, inquires after a New Haven native relocated to Georgia (Hellen Twining, now married to Rev. Seagrove Magill; they lead a female seminary in Greensboro), and inquires after family health. Kate and Eliab would have only one child who survived infancy—and who preceded them both in death, Charles C. Allen (1850-1877). See the History of Medway, Mass., 1886, whence cometh the biographical detail of the Allen family. With a preliminary transcript.