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Brackett Family Correspondence

Letters donated to the Epsom Historical Association from the John L. Brackett family. Additional letters from his son Walter G. Brackett written during the Civil War can be found with the Civil War Soldiers information.

[Letter from Naomi Brackett, wife of Greenleaf Brackett to her son William]

To Mr. William Brackett
Dedham Mass

Epsom, N.H.
Septr 1837

August 27th 1837
Dear Son
With pleasure I sit down to write to inform you of our health except James, he is very unwell and unable to work. We lately received a letter from you and was glad to hear of your health. I hope you will not think we have forgotten you because we have not wrote before. It is a satisfaction to hear from you, I hope you will try to come home before a great while and make us a visit. We hear from John oftener, than from you. Your father has not quite done haying which is coming in much better then people expected, ___ crops very good, all the Indian corn is backward yet there may be a supply for Man and Beast. Your Grandma has been here 4 weeks, she has to walk on crutches, she has a lame hip by falling on the ice. The Neighbors are well, all but Esq. Dickey, he has been unwell some time. I hope we shall see you in the course of a month. I am very sorry you did not take a bible with you when you left home, that Best of Books. I hope that the Goodness of God will lead us to Repentance. Lidia D has wrote to her mother while at school at Hopkinton that she was delivered with the help of God to be a Christian. My pen is very bad. We are very sorry to hear that you are like to lose your wages.
Finished haying 1st Sept, barn well filled and now I must draw to a close. I shall not forget my children who are gone from home and hope you will return as soon as possible.
Your affectionate Mother,
Naomi B. Brackett

N.B. Your Grandma sends her love and desires you to seek for an interest in Christ (?)

[Letter to Merriam Louisa Brackett from her husband John L. Brackett, she died within three years of this correspondence.]

Mrs. M. L. Brackett
West Deerfield, N.H.
Care of Mr. G. Brackett

Thursday Night the 25th
Newport August 25, 1842

My Dear Louisa, It is with great pleasure that I receive and peruse your kind letter, they get read over more then once or twice. I almost imagine myself then conversing with you - oh what pleasure would it give me could I but spend my evenings and leisure moments with you that we might converse on the greatness and goodness of God; but may this be over feelings thy will of God be done if it is his will that we should be separated for a while, let us not repine at once but it will only make us more happy hereafter if we do not meet again here below if we will only be faithful but to him and strive to do his will. We shall meet in heaven where there will be no more parting but we shall be united for eternity. There will be no more pain nor sorrow, no more worrying about worldly affairs, but all will be joy and gladness. We shall be clothed in robes of white, have crowns put upon ones heads, and golden harps in our hands and tune them in praises to God and the lab forever and ever. Glorious thought, oh what a happy meeting that will be. Dear Louisa, be near to God. Pray that your husband may too, and that he may not wane, be lead away by the evil one and be drowned in sin and the pleasures of this world, let us but consider the goodness of God in giving us the many comforts that we enjoy. We have had our births in a Christian land, had out health continued, we have never yet been in want or suffered for any of the world's goods, while thousands of our fellow beings are living in heathen darkness where nothing but poverty and wretchedness exist. You mention in your last that you were sorry that I have to work so hard for you there, I do so cheerfully and with pleasure, it gives me great satisfaction to think I have my health to work and you to work for, one that I tenderly lover and that loves me. It was God's will that we should be united and that I should protect and take care of you. You were the means of my returning home and my returning to God. I now praise God that I have ever been afflicted and that he has given me you for a companion. How wonderful are all of his easy. You spoke of James being baptised. I rejoice to think that most of my brothers & sisters are in the glorious cause. Tell Naomi (?) not to stay behind but go with us, that we may all meet in heaven in bliss at last. This is my earnest prayer - I suppose you would like to know something about Newport and how I like it - is a very pleasant place and remarkable healthy. It is a great resort for southerners who come here to spend the summers. There are three Baptist Churches here and I believe two Presbyterian. I have attended the Baptist and likewise the Presbyterian I like very well. It is about two miles to where I work from where I board. It is near the beach where we have a fine Br__ the most of the time. We have nearly all of this distance by water. We cross morning and evening in a boat carry over dinners with us. I have a very pleasant man to work for and men to work with. There are ten bricklayers in the gang. We pretty much all board at the same place, but there is not one of them that is religiously inclined, so that I have none to converse with on divine things. I attend church every Sabbath, yes Louisa, I now take great pleasure in going to the House of God and esteem it a great privilege. Oh how often I think how you used to beg and entreat me to go with you and how obstinate and unwilling I was in going, but old things have parted ways and all things become new. I have much coldness and sometimes fear that I have never given my heart entirely to God, still I fell him very precious and have a desire to serve him and live a Christian live. Oh how happy we shall be when we again meet. You say you wish to know when I think of returning, that I cannot tell you, probably not till cold weather for I think it my duty to work while I have work and my health. You wished my advice about getting some things. This I will leave to you, perhaps we had better not spend any more at present then what we truly need. We don't know what may happen - for some time past my mind has dwelt on the subject of Baptism. I have almost become a Baptist. I have pretty much made up my mind that they are right in their mode of administering the ordinance - in your next let me know what you think of it. I shall probably remain here till the first of October. I must now draw to a close. Good night to my very dear wife. May God bless & protect you. Your husband,
J.L. Brackett
Your last you spake of Mr Salter's death please write on which one it is

[John L. Brackett from Edward Pritchard, Augusta, Georgia 1843]

To John L. Brackett, West Deerfield, N.H.

Augusta, Georgia, January 7th 1843
Dear John - After patiently waiting for four months for an answer to my letter dated sometime in August last, I received it on Wednesday last, and I hope you will believe me when I say it was a source of great pleasure to me to hear that your wife and yourself well, and, I should judge from the tenor of your letter, that you ere not only well but as happy and content as any reasonable person could wish, and I hope you may continue so for many years to come. May you both live a thousand years - and may your shadows never be less. For myself I am naturally and constitutionally disposed to be happy - to take the world easy - and always to look upon the bright side of things. Of this you are fully aware for you have seen me loafer general of this City, and you know how I took it then. I was perfectly content and did not care a __ for anything. But John my loafing days are over, and I now am a wiser if not a better man. The temperance pledge, John, has worked wonders with me. Ned Pritchard of January 1843, is quite a different being from Ned Pritchard of June 1842. Jones employed me a short time after I wrote to you and I have been at work since, and I have worked to some advantage for now of Saturday evenings. I do not have to pay Gus Frederick six or seven dollars of my wages for rum as I formerly did. In the four months I have been to work I have paid off all old scores, dressed myself in first-rate style and commences a new years with fifty dollars in cash, so much for temperance.
As for the news of the city, there is none. There is little or no business doing here, and to tell the truth I don't think there ever will be much done here again. Augusta has seen her best days.
Williams was married some three months ago to Miss Rachel Florance and they are living at Pynes', how he gets along I do not know. Goldsworth and his wife hold forth at the same place, and are getting on about the same as usual.
Old Uncle John is staying at John Lee's, I seldom see the old man, but I believe he is generally well - the same in regard to Lee. I have not seen or heard of Hays September, whether he is in town or not I do not know. Charley Rich got back here some, two or three weeks ago. I see very little of him, but I should judge from what I see that he is altered considerably for the better, whether it will last or not remains yet to be seen. I asked him this morning if his wife had attended to the business which your wife wrote to her about - he said she had not, but that she would today.
Our friend John W. Walker did not succeed in beating Miller for the Senate, but he gave him a close rub. Miller beat him only sixty votes. John W. has made a perfect fool of himself since the election and has lost the respect of everyone.
Capt. Mitchell has opened a bar room where Cameron formerly kept, and he is doing a first rate business. Jim English I don't see these days, in fact John, I have not time to see anyone, I have to be at the office all the time, except Saturday evening and Sunday evening and every Sunday evening as sure as it comes round finds me sitting along side of the widow - by heaven John, she is the greatest woman now living, and she has knocked all my notions against marrying in the head, and if things continue as favorable as they now are, you will receive a paper some of these days with the following notice under the marriage head - Married by the Rev. John Barry, Mr. Edward Pritchard to Mrs. ----, I can't put her name down yet, but you will find it out when I send you the paper.
Tip has reformed as well as his master and he stays at home like a good pup, the only fault to find of him now is that he insists on going to church every Sunday, and when there he generally trees Mr. Barry. Little Sarah I don't believe will ever forget you and your wife, and she was delighted the other day when I told her I had heard from you, and she asks me every day when she can go and see you. She says she does love Brackett and Mrs. Brackett.
How does your wife do for some once to tease now - I expect she will be teasing you to let her see this letter, if she does, tell her for me to go and wash her face and give her my best respects.
With this I send you the last Augusta papers, and will continue to send them occasionally. Do not be as long in answering this as you were the former, if you do look out for squalls - when I write again I may probably have some news for you.
Well John, it is most time for me to say farewell, as my sheet is full. With my best wishes for the welfare and happiness of yourself and wife.
I remain your friend,
Edward Pritchard.

[John L. Brackett from Edward Pritchard, Augusta, Georgia 1843]

To John L. Brackett, Boston, Mass
Coronation Card
Augusta, Georgia Sept. 4th 1843
Friend John, Yours of 11th August was recd a few days since. You had no doubt from my ling silence concluded that I had forgotten yourself and wife, which however is not the case. From causes which I will here state, I was prevented from answering your letter last spring and those causes have just produced their effects which is that I am about to leave Augusta. The cause to which I allude is this - Jones has for the last seven months been talking of reducing my wages, which I was determined not to submit to - preferring to quit work and leave to doing so. It continued so until the 1st of this month, when he told me my wages were to be reduced and I quit immediately and am now a Loafer once more - not however the drunken loafer Ned P. that was to be seen about Gus Frederick's about two years ago, but rather on the gentleman order of Loafers, as by sticking to the Temperance pledge. I have saved about $200 in cash which is more money than I ever had at one time before from work. So much for that.
As for news &c I have not much. Goldworth and his wife stick to the old place and get on about the same as when you left. Williams is still here doing about the same, Uncle John is ditto. Rich is here and keeps sober, but how his family get on I do not know. They lost their youngest child some five or six weeks since. With the _ gut crowd I have dissolved all connection and therefore can tell you nothing of the, except that Barney Abraham's Negro disposition has not changed one whit - if he has not got Negro blood in him he has all the Negro principle which is just as bad.
My people are all well, and Sarah very often says she wants to go up town to see Brackett. I keep Tip yet.
As your wife will no doubt peep at this letter, I guess it is best not to say anything about that change in some folks you hint at, but wait for further items, but John I should like to be with you about this time and I guess some folks would get teased work than they ever teased me, let me know all about it when you write again. Goldworth and wife send their respects to you. As I am trying to get my money from Jones today I must cut this short. I shall leave for Columbia, S.C. in a few days and if I get anything to do there I will remain, if not I will return to Augusta. If you do not hear from me again by the 1st of October, you must write to me here -should I remain in Columbia I will write you before the first.
With the highest regard for you and your wife, I remain your friend,
E. Pritchard

Excuse the shortness of this letter and the want of news, I'll try to do better next time. Tell your wife to be a good gal and keep her face clean. I may some of these days drop down to Boston and if I don't find her in a good humor and with a clean face, whoa be unto her. Pearson arrived here on Friday evening last but did not stop - he went up the country that about his marrying a rich widow is all humbug. Talking about widows puts me in mind of the widow I was bucking up to here I last wrote you. Well, how do you think she treated me - devilish bad I tell you. She led me on and I thought it was all right and had just come to the conclusion to pop the question - when one morning I received a bundle, and on opening it I found it to contain a piece of wedding cake and a slip of paper containing the following - Married - on Thursday evening last, by Rev. Barry, Capt. B something to Mrs. P. Bartholomew - with a request that I would have it put in the papers. On looking at it I did not faint, neither did I take a drink, but I felt all overish. I tell you, she is gone and I am glad of it - for she leads him such a life the devil never had such a wife. Well, the next time I make a start for a wife I hope I'll have better luck - adieu

[Notice of the death of son Walter G. Brackett]

Walter G. Brackett Co "D" 15 N.H.V. was admitted into Washington Hospital, Memphis Tenn.. 31st July 1863 Died Augt 14th 1863 of Measles.
J. Henry Rees, Clk

Enlisted 17 Sept 1862
Mustered out Aug 13, 1863
Mustered in the 8 of Oct.

[John Brackett from C.A. Towle on the death of his son Walter G. Brackett - 1863]

15th Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers - Mr. John L. Brackett, Epsom, NH

Hanover Sept. 27, 1863

Mr. Brackett;
Dear Sir;
Having received a few days since, the sad intelligence of Walter's death, I take this opportunity to assure you that I deeply sympathize with you in your severe affliction. As it is not convenient for me to see you at present I felt that I must write. The intelligence of his death at last was not unexpected to me, although I was hoping that I should hear that he was living. I was disappointed in my hopes! however sad that disappointment may have been. It hath pleased God to take Walter to himself. I don't know why! The reason we cannot tell. The event has fallen upon me with more sadness perhaps than it otherwise would, from the fact that we both enlisted and entered the army together, and from the additional fact that I perhaps had some influence in Walter's going into the army. However the past cannot be altered, and we must submit so our life as it is, remembering "all things work together for good to them that love God." Walter and I had become intimate friends while in the army, and I always tried to do all I could for his comfort and happiness. And surely I cannot soon forget the many little acts of kindness which he has done for me. I would like to recur to them now did time and space admit. At time when I was unwell he would come to my tent and ask if he could not do something for me. He was always ready, always willing, and even more, he seemed anxious to do all he could for one of his fellow soldiers, who happened to be in need of help. He was a faithful soldier, always ready to do whatever duty was required of him by his officers, never complaining of his work, but cheerfully performing it. If a fellow soldier was sick he would often volunteer to take his place. He often used to speak of his friends at home, when I was talking with him, and I always noticed that he manifested a very tender regard for them all. He seemed to throw aside self in his deep interest to do everything, and to act in such a way as would please his friends at home. A person of such character & disposition would naturally be loved, as he was by his whole company.
But what should console us in such an hour as this is the thought that Walter was a Christian. I remember once walking out with Walter when we were in camp at Carrollton and we were talking upon the subject of religion. It was then that he told me he thought he experienced religion a few years ago, when there was a revival at New Rye. Always afterwards when talking upon this subject with him, he talked like a Christian and I have no doubt but that he was one. We have reason to believe that he is now in the "Better Land", where he will dwell forever with Christ. There are many things which I should like to say now, but I refrain from dwelling upon so sad a subject longer. I have written this much because I felt constrained to do so on account of this high esteem in which I ever hold Walter, and to assure you that I share with you all this sad bereavement.
Yours Respectfully,
C.A. Towle

[A certificate from The National Gate certifies that Mr. John L. Brackett has paid the sum of FIVE DOLLARS and is thereby entitled to the privilege of making and using The National Gate on his Farm, situated in the Town of Epsom - June 30, 1868, Nathan McCoy. A letter also included from Charles Stewart]

Concord, NH July 3, 1868
Brother Brackett,
Taking quite a fancy to this new style gate, and the ease and facility with which it can be operated; I have taken the liberty to purchase the right to build, erect and use upon your farm, the same; and now will you do me the favor to accept the same, as a slight taken of my esteem for you as a man & brother.
I intend to make a model as soon as I get time, so please call and see it when next time in town.
The enclosed certificate allows you the right to use this gate anywhere on your farm - You will find it a convenient & pretty affair, and is not expensive. You can make it yourself some rainy day - if not, I will make one for you some day when over there.
We are having hot, hot, hotter weather just now.
The children, Sarah and your humble servant are quite well considering all things. We are to have quite a time here tomorrow which together with the extreme heat, will prevent on paying you out "Independent" visit.
Hoping you are all well, and in good condition to commence haying, with good grass, good crops, with a sound mind, a sound body & good heart. I have the satisfaction to be your Obt. Serv't, friend and brother
Charles _ Stewart
Concord, NH

John L. Brackett
Epsom, N.H.

[Letter from E.C. Cogswell to Mrs. Lotta A. Wells and Mrs. Ida A Haynes 1884]

Northwood June 6, 1884
My Dear Mrs. Lotta A. Wells and Ida A. Haynes;
Your kind note of yesterday was received last evening; I needed today to decide my answer. As soon as I read it I said I will go! You cannot tell what a flood of pleasant associations made my heart flutter. But a second reflection made me hesitate. I have been very unsociable since I saw you at Epsom. Dr. Taylor visited me soon after that time and pronounced the heart trouble _ but the left being badly diseased. Since then the order of things has a flister every other night a horrid decoction, three times a day, a pill each evening and Epsom Salts occasionally, and so with several sleepless nights, and not the most comfortable days, times have been pretty lively. But my healthing is better, and the few days past of warm and genial weather, seem to give me new strength. I spoke Decoration Day some three quarters of an hour without harm to myself though a distrusting ulcer broke in my throat the day before.
Now, My Dear Ladies, you are tired of such matters and I come to the question. If you think my services can be acceptable to you, and if you have no one in view that you can obtain to serve you, I will try - will be with you the third Sabbath of present month. Providence permitting, and we will take it over then and ask our heavenly Father to guide us in duty, I hope to be stronger by that time, keeping my person expose to every sunbeam that can reach me.
I hope you will decide what services you will have - one or two. Also please let me know where I shall find entertainment the first Sabbath with the least trouble. The Sabbath School will doubtless be resumed. I want to do good if I come to you and make as little trouble as possible.
With kindest regards to your husbands and the many dear ones that may inquire for me, I remain,
Yours in Christian Affection
E.C. Cogswell

[A color postcard of National Cemetery, Memphis, Tenn from a Louisa to Mr. Edgar E. Wells, Short Falls, NH, 1909]