Barnardston [i.e., Bernardston, Franklin County, Mass.]: Sept. 8th, . Single leaf, 12.5 x 7.63 inches, approx. 240 words. With the integral address to Reuben Shattock, “Cambredg under Capt. Wells,” Col. Whitcomb’s regiment. Some additional spotting or toning; in good, sound condition with the flaws as noted, but quite legible. Item #18724
A primary text conveying the patriotic sense of Providence in the earliest days of the Revolutionary War in New England. Cephas Sheldon (b. 1754) here writes to Reuben Shattuck, a fellow Bernardston resident (and a Minuteman who had marched from Greenfield on April 20, 1775), who at this point was away on service and evidently still serving in Capt. Agrippa Wells’s company, Col. Asa Whitcomb’s regiment. (Shattuck is on record of enlisting on May 1, 1775 and serving with the company for a term of three months and eight days, though records show him at Prospect Hill at least through December, 1775; by 1779, Shattuck had risen to the rank of Lieutenant in the 5th New Hampshire co. of the Massachusetts militia under Lieut. Col. David Wells. Cephas (who eventually enlisted July 10, 1777 with Amasa Sheldon’s company) here writes the evidently older Shattuck with patriotic encouragment, “sence it is our fortune to [torn, with loss perhaps of a word or two] such a distance from each other let us keep up such a correspondents as is Proper to be keept be twen a master and his scholer Sir I want very much to hear of your wellfair pleas to let me know if you like living in the wor [for war] and how to wor gose on is it as peacable as retired a life as you want to live for my part I think it must be quite otherways sense you hazard your life as you do I hope it is not for the gain you make nor for the pleasure you take, but I hope it is for a grate sence you have of loosing your liberties and properties let a grate sence of the worth [of] freedom a namate you to fightt concider also [torn, with loss of a word or two] sivel but sacred rights your acontending for [torn, with loss of a word or two] let the latter have a far grater influence upon you that the [torn: for]mer and If you contend for the cause god I can tel you to fear not but go up against your enemies he will give them into your hands.” Selected references: Massachusetts, Office of the Secretary of State. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War: A Compilation from the archives. Boston, 1906. Charles F. Milliken. The History of Ontario County, New York, and its People. New York, 1911. (Biographical sketch of Sheldon.) Lucy Jane Cutler Kellogg. History of the town of Bernardston, Franklin county, Massachusetts. 1736-1900. Greenfield, Mass., 1902. This letter mounted at its corners by a well-intentioned 20th century previous owner to a frame of light card stock, with a widow of translucent cloth showing the integral address; aside from the loss from tears, the letter seems somewhat split along old folds. Original wax seal present.