Letter from Olivia Swallow to her sister

Mrs Damon Griswold
White Hall
Green Co.

Bellevue Michigan
Sep 12, 1840

Dear Sister Luthera,

You have probably heard by way of our friends at Windsor that I was married last May to B.F.Hinman and removed to Bellevue Mich, as the place af my future residence. I must beg your pardon a thousand times for neglecting too long a time to write you. Jane said when I left home that she should write you in a week or two and since I came here I have been waiting to get a general account of the manner in which we should live.

Our house is not done yet and probably will not be for at least six weeks. When it is completed I think it will be a very pleasant beat house (if it is kept neat). The front is 2 stories, 23 by 30 feet. The kitchen and wood house 19 by 30. It stands in a very pleasant part of the town, it fronts the public square and Elizabeth Street. It is something such a formal house as the one of Mary's was in Castleton except that I have an oven fireplace and buttery from the kitchen.

Our village contains about 50 houses, it is quite a new place, only 5 or 6 years since the first inhabitants came in. There are but very few Vermonters in this place; the majority of the people are from New York state. The society here is not quite as good as in Vermont, but I presume it will grow better; of course as the country grows older society will improve. I have not been homesick although I have some lonely hours particularly when I think of home. I have received but one letter from home since I left but have paper nearly every week. On the last one I had mother wrote that Jane Burratt Masson has a daughter and Lydia Strickland Baldwin has another daughter. It seems almost like being at home to have a letter and know what everyone is about. Mrs Bannister told us of Lucy North's marriage. I think you stand a pretty good chance to have all kinds af relations, you have not because sister to your niece. Are any af the rest af our nieces or nephews going to be married?

Oct 6

I commenced this letter nearly a month ago intending to finish it immediately but the day after I wrote this much my husband was taken sick with the billious fever and while he was sick I was so engaged in taking care of him that I paid very little attention to writing. He is now quite well. My health is very good. I have had two spells of having the fever and ague but have broke it with quinine. It has been quite active here this season, sometimes five or six in one family would be sick at a time. The diseases have been mostly chill fever and fever and ague.

John Hinman has just returned from Vermont. He had some very unpleasant news fram Castleton. You recollect Mr. Dana, he has become deranged and is at the insane hospital in Brattleborough. I believe they think the cause was trouble about his business. When he and Mr. Meacham dissolved partnership he was not worth anything. For his own private debts he had given notes against Meacham & Dana to the amount of a number of hundreds of dollars which Mr. Meacham has got to pay. Mr Dana's children are put out some in one place and some in another. What a change in that family!

You probably heard of the death of Emily Southmayd; at the time of her death Lucy was so low it was not expected that she would live from one hour to another, but she was better when John left and they were in hopes she would recover.

Perhaps you did not know Dr. Babbet but if you did not Chester and Albert did. He started for lllinois thinking if he liked the country he would settle there. The night after he left their house was burned and the most shocking of all was four of his children perished in the flames; two sons and two daughters aged 8-10-12-14. The rest of the family that slept in the lower part of the house barely escaped with their lives without saving anything except two beds.

I have not got to housekeeping but probably shall in about two weeks. I begin to think I'll have boarded out most long enough for this time. Perhaps I shall get tired af keeping house if I have too much work. Today I shall begin with four in a family, my husband and his two brothers.

I hope you will write me soon after you receive this and not wait so long as I have and I will endeavor to be more punctual in future. How is Albert's health? I heard that they live with Guy now. I think Catharine would be very sad after her mother left without anyone but her own family. Will you tell Aleus for me that I will answer his questions now. He used to ask in every letter if Aunt Olivia was going to be married. Yes, Aleus, I am married and live away here in Michigan. You must write to me. I suppose you do a great many chores for your mother and wait on your father had have got to be quite a big boy. How does Chester get along? I expect he is driving at something just as he always is, does he calculate to visit Vermont another spring? Are Guy's girls as pretty as when they left Vt? I wish I could see them. Ask Harriet if she remembers Aunt Olivia. How much of a family do you have?

Give my best respects to your husband. I should be very glad to have him take you and make us a visit. Where does Gardner Live? Has Franklin any idea of getting married? When you write be particular and write about the all the several families of relations direct to Bellevue, Eason County, Michigan.

Give my love to all and accept it yourself. My husband sends his respects

Olivia S. Hinman