Monday, April 30, 2012

Amanuensis Monday ~ A Letter to Hawaii, 1849

Sarah Ann Moore
Novr. 1849

Mr. John O. Dominis
Sandwich Islands


Boston, Novr. 1849

My Dear Cousin

Not wishing to lose the correspondence
of so “nice a young man” as yourself – I hasten to
improve this opportunity of answering your kind
letter, which owing to the press of – not business
but domestic cares have been suffered to remain
unanswered for a while.  The last I heard of
you, was that you was making preparations
to go to San Francisco.  I understand since
that you have returned to the Islands.  Thinking
probably that there is “no place like home”
The next time you start I hope you will be
bound towards this part of the world.  It
would do good to our eyes to see you.  I im-
agine you to be grown ever so tall and handsome
don’t be flattered.  Do send us a daguerreotype
of yourself- and I will hang it in my best
parlor.  You probably will wish to know how
many little responsibilities I have, to keep me
so much engaged all the time.  They number
three, their names are Sarah Ann, Ella Frances and
Helen Augusta, perfect beauties of course.  Father
and Augustus are in business together, the
dying business.  They have a great deal of
work more than they can cleverly manage.

They have two Dye Houses and two offices.
The idea was suggested at the time, the Cochituate
Water was introduced into the city- and being
the first and only thing of the kind here- they
have an abundance to do.  The girls Annie and
Lizzie, and Charlotte are still boarding at Fathers
and are waiting anxiously to hear which way
their Father has decided upon sending for them
or having them remain where they are.  A and E.
have finished their education and left school
quite young ladies I assure you.  I long to hear
how you made out with that charming young lady
Miss Mott that you wrote of.  Did she refuse or
accept if the former don’t lay it to heart mustn’t
for there is some beautiful girls in these parts
which are patiently waiting for offers and they
are ready and willing to accept.  But seriously
Time travels fast and those most beautiful
are the soonest to fade.  I must not forget to tell
you of the death of our Cousin Lawrence Younger
a young man of great promise.  He died in
the Hospital of this City of hip complaint.  He has been
wasting away for a long time.  And Aunt Agnes has
also lost a little boy – he died with the summer
complaint which has been quite prevalent here this
past summer.  Grandfather was quite sick with the
same, but has recovered and takes his usual
walks occasionally from Boston to South Boston. But
I must now close, by hoping to hear from you soon

And don’t forget the daguerreotype.  Give my love
 to your Mother.  I will endeavor to write to her
soon.  Augs and myself join in wishing to be
remembered to all.

Your affectionate Cousin
Sara Ann Moore

This letter was full of new information for me.  The recipient of this letter was John Dominis, about 17 years old, from his first cousin, Sarah Ann (Snelling) Moore of Boston.    First of all, John's cousin Sarah mentions the courtship incident with Charlotte Mott I blogged about previously at this link.   No, he didn't marry "that charming young lady Miss Mott" but in 1862 he married Lydia Paki, the future Queen Lili'uokalani.  

Sarah mentions her own daughters, but not her sons. This may have been a sensitive subject since in September 1849 she lost two of her little boys.  In fact by December Sarah herself will be dead at age 31, and her little daughter Ella will be dead the following year.   She mentions the death of a cousin, Lawrence Younger, which made me jump up and down with excitement.  My 4x great grandmother was her aunt, Catherine (Jones) Younger.  I found Lawrence's death record in Boston, age 25, on 23 October 1849, of an abcess (a hip complaint "wasting away for a long time" in the letter).  Lawrence was the brother of my 3x great grandmother, Mary Esther (Younger) Emerson.  I didn't know he existed until I read this letter. 

The grandfather Sarah mentions, who was ill, is Owen Jones, who died 22 April 1850, just a few months after this letter was mailed to Hawaii.  And what was a "summer complaint"?  

The historical part of this letter was the mention of the Cochituate Aqueduct which brought water to Boston between 1848 to 1951.  It must have been brand new when the letter was written.  

Although I was able to answer a few genealogy questions with this letter, I found another mystery.  I don't know the three young ladies, Annie, Lizzie and Charlotte, and I searched through the family tree for three sisters with these names.  I wasn't able to find who they are.  They were living with Sarah's father,  Enoch Howes Snelling.  I also don't know the child lost by my great aunt Agnes (Jones) Hart, but he must have died before the letter was written.  I haven't found this Hart child in the Boston records. 

Hawaii State Archives, Queen Liluokalani Collections,
M-93, Box 11, Folder 105,
Letter from Sarah Ann Moore to John O. Dominis, November 1849

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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