This letter was written by 52 year-old Stephen Everett (1809-1867), the son of Capt. John Everett (1776-1859) and Hannah Brooks Jones (1775-1783). Stephen was married in September 1832 to Alma Abigail Richardson (1809-1881). He wrote the letter to his brother-in-law, John Richardson (1805-1888) — the son of Caleb and Dorcas (Carleton) Richardson. John was married to Louisa Richardson (1807-1879) in January 1830.
Stephen was a resident of Biddleford, York County, Maine. We learn from this letter that he was a manufacturer of cloth and a part-time farmer. In 1850, Stephen was granted a U.S. Patent for an improvement in weaving double cloth on a loom. His textile mill was no doubt among the dozens of other mills located on the Saco River.
In the letter, Stephen mentions his son, George Moody Thompson Everett (1838-1915).
Addressed to John Richardson, Esqr., Pelham, New Hampshire
August 22, 1861
Sometime since I have heard from you. Can it be that you have gone to war? We are in our usual good health and sometimes rather war sick. Business here as all other places is nearly at a stand still & the worst of it is there is no telling when it will become better. For the time being, we are making cloth for the government. Our contract will be up in about 3 weeks. You & myself hardly expected ever to see these times in our day. They have come & we shall see if we have a government or not.
We have many secessionists here among us, mostly confined to the Breckinridge Party. Some were over seen at the defeat of our army at Bulls Run & it seemed as if they would of been full to the brim if they had only lost the Capital & Washington. I believe there is too many good & win [?] men in this enlightened country to suffer it to be broken up. For my part, I am for the Union & serve it all. The house is all on fire & there is no time to hunt up the rogues who set it, but 1st put it out & then hang the transgressors if they can catch them — some North, East, South & West.
I have been hoping to see you here or that you would see us there & I am hoping to be up this fall (Sept). I have not been to Lowell or Boston since I saw you last November. I must start anew. Shall get there & there is nothing to prevent — only start. George is thinking of going up this month & may next week. He has just returned from a tour [of] Quebec & Montreal with some other young men about his age.
I had a letter from Thaddeus ¹ last week. All comfortable now but he tells me they have been quite sick — Louisa, the past winter. Martin has returned from the war. We are living on our little farm this summer. Our things are looking very well considering the dry part of the season. Wheat cut off, our hay & potatoes more than usual. Yet we had a good supply of all for all purposes. We keep 1 cow, 1 horse, 3 pigs. Keep one hired man during the summer. I find it quite pleasant. Good 15 minutes walk from the mill. I having been to the [Biddleford] Pool once and only once to the beach.
This afternoon at 1 o’clock I shall take a clam chawin’ at long pond near the beach. From this you see I have confined myself quite as closely & more so than usual. All work & no play makes dull boys so this afternoon I am off among the fish & clams for a short time.
Let us hear from you occasionally. George & Louisa wrote, I believe. George does not board at home. Our regards to all & tell Louisa to write if you don’t.
Yours truly, — S. Everett
¹ Thaddeus Richardson, Jr. (1803-1878) was a brother of John Richardson’s wife, Louisa. In 1860, he resided in Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts, with his wife, Betsy Moulton Bradford (1809-1892) and their large family of children — one of whom was Louisa Ann Richardson (1836-1913) who is mentioned as being very ill in 1861.