Letter From Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks – 18 Oct 1855

This letter was written 18 Oct 1855 from Braco, the Duff family home in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, by my 3x great-grandmother Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks Duff to her cousin Mary Martha Fairbanks Twining in Halifax.  In this letter my grandmother mentions a visit from her father John Eleazer Fairbanks, a bad cold she’s had, some money owed between the two women for sewing services, a young woman who’s moving away from home [perhaps her sister], and obtaining educational supplies for her children.

[Transcription follows the letter itself.  Click on the images to enlarge or download.  Letter courtesy of Catherine Duff & Family.]


Pages 1, 7, 4, & 5

Pages 1, 7, 4, & 5

Pages 2, 3, & 6

Pages 2, 3, & 6

== Page 1

Braco, Oct 18th [1855]

My dear Mary,

Many thanks for the nice long letter I received from you on Saturday.  It always gives me great pleasure to hear from you and I cannot let dear Papa [John Eleazer Fairbanks] leave without at least a note in reply.  Although a cold almost ?? one for writing, or indeed for anything.  I have had a cold and cough for some time and try what I will cannot get rid of such

== Page 2

disagreeable companion. I was in bed last week until Saturday but cannot say that I felt much better for all my care.  I was advised to stay the month.  I got rid of it, but what I could not will do. I think it will not continue much longer as I am almost stupified when my head begins to ache.  You may fancy how delighted we were to have dear papa with us.  It seems so long since I parted from home and all the rest of the family.  I think it was in his plans to remain with no longer but he seems to think he

== Page 3

must leave soon so I suppose we must be satisfied with a short visit.   I think he is looking well.  He had a comfortable passage and means to return this same way but I hope the vessel will not leave before the end of this week which will give him but little time.  I have attended to the message about the work from Aunt Mary and it is all right but when you will get paid dear Mary is uncertain.  I could have sent it by Papa but have not the amount of sent things you bought for me as what you put down

== Page 4

was only part of them.  I will enclose a list of articles as far as I can remember to which I wish you will add all I may have overlooked and the pieces so that I may be able to pay all my lawful debts when William goes up which I think will be soon after the New Year.  I hope it has not been inconvenient to you dear Mary, paying for so many of my things.  I should have reimbursed you long ago but did not meet with a suitable [partial word crossed out] opportunity.  I am so sorry to hear that Charlie’s cough

== Page 5 [Sideways]

was so serious.  I think he will not suffer long with it.  In cold weather it would no doubt be more difficult to heal.  This Christmas brings sad changes to many.  There are few in our family circle [you, crossed out] who will not have to mourn over the earnest plans of those who were so dear. Dear little Annie [perhaps her sister Annie Fairbanks], and I well

== Page 6 [Sideways, full page]

believe she has left a blank in her father’s home which will come to fill, and I very often think of her removed so suddenly, as the treasured and most engaging of them often are, perhaps lest they should be loved too well.  I hope illness is lessening by this time.  She must have had a severe cold.  Many seem to be suffering just now.  Miss Duff sends her kind regards.  She is feeling better just now and I hope the cold weather may strengthen her.  I am going to ask you to make another purchase for me.  The weather and roads are beginning to get unfit for the children to attend school any longer and I must endeavor again to instruct them at home.  Their studies have been rather limited as yet but it is time they were learning something of grammar and Geography.  Would you get me something simple or suitable for young

== Page 7 [Sideways]

children in South Banks.  I can get nothing here of the kind.  It was not any matter about Annie’s sleeves although I would have made them had there been more material.  She has under sleeves of wool that serve all the purpose and she can get on very well without them.  The dress and cape suit her very nicely and are very warm and comfortable.  I must say good night dear Mary with much love to Martha, believe me love.

Your affectionate cousin,

Jane E Duff


About cthomas1967

Seeking to bring my ancestors out of the shadows of history and into the light. I have always been interested in history, and at a few different times I tried to do a family tree, but wasn't able to do it with the technology that was available then. On a business trip I visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO and it was a very impressive establishment. While I was there I remember thinking, "Didn't my great-grandfather father fight in World War I? And wasn't his brother killed alongside him in some famous battle? I wonder if I can find out where he died." That's what started it all. View all posts by cthomas1967

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