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                    SARAH POPE

     Strictly speaking the following material does not be-
long in this record; the writer was related to our family
in no way whatever. But Sarah Pope's personality, as I
see it in these two letters, is so real and attractive,
and she gives such a vivid picture of life in Burlington
over a century ago, that here I shall preserve them for
such as care to read.
     In the Diary you will find references to various
visits to Mother Thompson in Woonsocket, R.I.  Mother
Thompson, born Lydia Bradford, was my Uncle George's
mother by adoption only and she lived with her unmarried
sister Ruth Bradford.  Both were direct descendants of
the first Governor of Plymouth Plantations, William Brad-
ford.  When I first knew them as a child they must both
have been well into their eighties.
     I remember the old Woonsocket house so well with
its low-ceilinged rooms and the huge steel engraving on
the dining room wall, depicting the Landing of the Pil-
grims and the Bradford family tree.  Outside in the yard
was an old covered well with it windlass and its mossy
oaken bucket, over which arched a huge cherry tree into
which I climbed on every opportunity.
     I have said above that Uncle George was an adopted
son of Lydia Bradford Thompson.  When Aunt Lou died, I
found among her papers a marriage license, dated May 3rd
1835, written on a small scrap of paper which reads as
follows -
          "This certifies that I have this day Lawfully
Married Mr. George W. Bradford of Smithfield and Miss
Adeline F. March of Cumberland.
                                      Bradley Miner
Woonsocket Falls, R.I. May 3rd 1835."

SARAH POPE On its back, in another hand, it is endorsed - "G. W. Bradford, Esq., Woonsocket Falls, May 3rd 1835." Since Uncle George and Aunt Lou preserved this scrap of paper so carefully through all the years it seems not unreasonable to assume that Uncle George was the son of this marriage. What happened to George Bradford and Ade- line March I know not but I do know that in his early boyhood days he was cared for by a family named March to whose survivors Aunt Lou left a small bequest. When Lydia Bradford married they adopted this small boy and named him George Bradford Thompson. So it appears to me highly probable that Uncle George was the son of George Bradford and the nephew of his sister Lydia Bradford - Mother Thompson to all of us. Coming back to the Woonsocket house, the general handy man who lived with the two old sisters was their nephew Cephe Holbrook, a Civil War veteran and probably the son of the Charlotte Holbrook to whom Sarah Pope's letters are addressed, since he had preserved them stor- ed in the attic till his death. At any rate when Mother Thompson too had died and the house was being cleaned out in 1909, these two letters flew out of a pile of trash Uncle George was burning; Aunt Lou admired the copper- plate hand-writing and salvaged them from the many which were destroyed. And so, by purest chance, Sarah Pope will live a little longer. The only other circumstance I remember about these Holbrooks was a yarn Cephe told me about one of his aunts, I think it was. It seems she sent her husband out to buy a spool of thread. The man strolled leisure- ly down the village street and out of her life into ut- ter oblivion; he simply disappeared and she heard no word of him for twenty years. Then, one day, the front door 142
SARAH POPE the bell rang and, when she answered it, there he stood on the step. "Here's your spool of thread," he said. I hope you will like Sarah. She is much more real and alive to me than most of the people who are my con- temporaries. I wish I could have known her. And now, at last, for the letters. * * * To Mrs. Charlotte Holbrook, Woonsocket Falls, Rhodeisland. (Collect 18¢) Burlington, Vermont. Feb. 9th, 1834. My dear Charlotte: It is with emotions of pleasure that I again attempt to write you after so long a silence, a silence that has been altogether unintentional on my part as I have had it in my mind for many months and only de- ferred it from week to week for a "more convenient season," a season that seldom arrives. But it is unnecessary for me to apologize, since I consider that you are equally to blame with myself and, while I have been thinking of wri- ting and hoping to receive a letter from you, you have probably been too much engrossed with the cares of a fam- ily and the society of nearer and dear friends to bestow many thoughts on one who is absent and who, in other years has been so often your companion. I would feign congratulate you, my dear cousin, on the pleasing change that has taken place in your situation, on your having selected for your partner one who is wor- thy of you and will render your life happy, who will in- crease all your joys and diminish all your sorrows. I would rejoice that you are surrounded with prosperity and all other comforts that are ascribed to wedded life, but I suppose that these things would appear out of place 143
SARAH POPE now at so late an hour; however, I am not less sincere in offering them and wishing that they may be long con- tinued to you. I should like very much to see my new cousin. Do you think ever, Charlotte, of the many years we have passed together and do you think (I will not say that we shall never see similar times), but do you feel that we shall ever meet again? Or that this, which we may almost say is our first separation, will be our fi- nal one? Such questions as these time alone can answer, but I hope that we may see each other yet many times and that I may sometime see you at your home. It is not yet a light thing for me to dwell upon the recollections of my once happy home and the changes that time and Death have wrought in our family. How rapidly the years do pass. I can scarcely realize that the third anniversary of my Mother's death is near; every circum- stance of that shuddering scene is so strongly impressed on my mind that, though I shall live many years, it will always seem to me a recent occurance. We feel much satisfaction in being together (my sis- ters, brothers and myself) and have much comfort in each others society. I think I like Vermont as well as I should any place, and I am quite sure the climate agrees with me, last Autumn being the first for many years that I have passed without being obliged to have medical ad- vice. We have all enjoyed good health most of the time. Samuel has had more ill turns than the rest of us; he is suffering under a severe cold at present. By the way, I must tell you, as something miraculous, that neither Mary nor myself have had a real distressing cold such as we are subject to, since last Spring. I think this is oweing in part to our having less exposure than formerly. Even Edward has escaped without a very 144
SARAH POPE severe one. The houses here are warmed altogether by stoves; Vermont people ridicule the idea of freezing up by fireplaces during the Winter. It certainly does make a very essential difference with the warmth of the whole house and even I, who was determined never to like them, am becoming quite reconciled to the change. Sister's parlor, which is over the dining room, is heated by a drum so that it is always warm at all times without any of the trouble caused by carrying in wood. This renders it very comfortable for us as our sleeping room joins the parlor. Mary Jane has had the hooping cough very severely. She began to cough in October and was very sick with it for many weeks; it caused some anxiety but she has recov- ered and regained her flesh and her cough seems to be leaving her. She is to us what she has ever been, a very dear child and though I do not think we are wholly blind to her defects, yet we are partial to her merits. She loves us all dearly and Edward excessively, who in return almost idolizes her. She is a great reader and never for- gets anything. I really would write of something besides ourselves if I knew of anything that could interest you. People complain of its being dull here, more so than usual, but it does not disturb me at all as I have lived in as dull a place before. Captain Field wrote us that C. Woods had a son. I should like very much to hear from Mrs. Morgan - you probably see her often. Please to give my love to her and tell her I wish very much she would write to me if the letter was no longer than those she used to send me when we sat upon the same bench at school and corresponded regularly. Will you not, my dear Charlotte, write me very soon? I shall certainly expect it. You know just what I shall 145
SARAH POPE wish to hear, everything about yourself and husband and your father's family. You, of course, know all that pas- ses there almost as well as before you left home and doubt- less have rejoiced that Abigail has escaped for a season from the tyranny that is exercised over her at home. I was truly thankful to hear of it but do not think hers will be an enviable situation when she returns. Mary has recently received a letter from Cousin Susan Knox. She appears very happy and thinks she has more cause to be than most persons. I was rather surprised that William had concluded to leave H. I think his father must re- gret it. We have had a very mild winter here and good sleigh- ing most of the time which people improve to the best ad- vantage. The Lake is now frozen over and we all antici- pate crossing it soon to Plattsburg and the Grand Isle. I think, however, we shall defer it a few days as there are holes in the ice where horses have fallen through and one has been drowned; likewise, one stage has been lost, though no lives were lost and the horses too were saved. Samuel has been looking over me and requests me to say to you that he shall expect to give you a call the first time that he is in that part of the country if you will send him your card, and adds that he would be very happy to hear how many babies you may have. We shall all, you know, feel an interest in any intelligence of this kind. We find new books plenty to furnish us with reading for our leisure hours; we have had presents of some very pretty ones; besides, we have access to an extensive book store whenever we please - which I consider a great priv- ilege. We all wish to be particularly remembered to your 146
SARAH POPE husband whom we consider a very near relative though we have not yet seen him. My Sisters and Brothers with Mary Jane join with me in sending much love to you. Your affectionate friend and cousin Sarah Pope. * * * To Mrs. Charlotte Holbrook, Woonsocket Falls, Rhoseisland (Collect 18¢) Burlington, October 5th, 1834. My dear Cousin: Your most welcome letter was received in due time & I need scarcely add that the perusal gave me heartfelt pleasure. I was happy to hear particularly of your situation and feel very grateful for so long a let- ter received so soon and think in the future I shall trust your word. Had I followed my own inclination, dear Char- lotte, you would have heard from me much sooner, for not a day has passed in the last three weeks but I have se- cretly determined to write you, but this is the first op- portunity I have had and now I can nothing more than write an apology for a letter that will not be worth half the postage you will pay but will, I trust, be sufficient to exonerate me from the censure of breaking my promise. But, to come to the mighty course of all these excu- ses - which is the arrival of a long expected visitor who seems of sufficient importance to gain a large share of attention and, in some measure, to interrupt the usual quiet of the family and disarrange all my ideas of writ- ing. Eliza had a son 4 weeks old yesterday. She has had a very sick summer but was not very sick at the time of the confinement and, after that, was very comfortable or, I might say, remarkably well for a fortnight, at which time she was threatened with a fever and had a very ill 147
SARAH POPE turn, but is now recovering and is as comfortable as we could expect though she is very feeble still. The child is very well; he is a bright, blue-eyed boy, said to be a "very fine child" and very "beautiful" and "handsome," which you know is only a matter of course if he takes after his father and Mother - to say nothing of Aunty. They are very much pleased (I shall say nothing of my own opinion) and Mary Jane is quite delighted, perfectly hap- py, her every wish is gratified. She thinks there was never so fine a thing before, but she cannot cease to re- gret that she was absent on a visit at the time of her brother's birth which is not a light affliction as she is very desirous of knowing how babes are obtained and presumes she might have ascertained had she been at home. You will excuse my writing so much on this subject I trut; at present it occupies much of my mind. I think you will see, with sickness and all, that I cannot have had leisure for writing, not to mention being sole mis- tress of the family, which dignified and important sta- tion causes me to feel myself of great consequence. We were very much pleased to receive a visit from Joseph. It seemed almost as though we were at home again and, could you and Harriet with your mother have been here, the illusion would have been complete. Your brother stayed between 2 & 3 weeks and Edward returned with him to Massachusetts - they expected to arrive there last eve- ning. I regret that his visit was not at a time when the family were well; I think he would have enjoyed it better. I recollect what you said you would not do while in a public house and, as you are about leaving it, I presume you are making new arrangements. Sister E. wishes me to say that you had best extinguish your lights; she thinks in a private family you can have no use for them. She says for the future she shall burn two but does not at 148
SARAH POPE all regret the past. Mary continues in her school at present. Samuel is soon to change his place of residence. Mr. Wells has made different arrangements in business in consequence of which s-. and his friends think it not best for him to remain there; he wishes to keep him till, but is sensible it will not be so well for him. Samuel has been peculiarly fortunate in obtaining a place. He goes next week into one of the prettiest and most pleasantly situated shops in this village where they do a wholesale & retail busi- ness, and he is able to be the head clerk. We consider it all the more lucky because it has been long known there would be a vacancy there and Mr. Doolittle says he has had hun- dreds of applications before S. thought seriously of leaving Mr. W. Samuel was unacquainted with Mr. Doolittle, he saw and conversed with him only once, they agreed on terms, and the chance was then between him and one other when, before the expected time of suspense had expired, Mr. D. called on S. and wished to employ him immediately. You can scarcely imagine, dear Charlotte, the satisfac- tion this has given us. He is much younger, you know, than the rest of us and has never known a Father's care and being early bereft of a Mother's love, it is natural for us all to feel, and we do feel (Oh, how deeply), all the anxious solitude and tender interest for his well- fare which few but parents know. If we do not see you and your husband before the season for visiting the Springs returns, I hope and trust that you will come and see us then; with how much plea- sure should we all look forward to such a time. Never do I feel a desire to see you so strong and uncontrollable as when I read your letters and answer them. They bring to my mind so forcibly the times that are past. `It is not that I value less The blessings that are nigh. `This 149
SARAH POPE not I trust, an ingrate's breast That breathes so oft a sigh. But oft when I would smile again, Or trifle as be- fore, Reflection brings each form to view Of friends now far away.' In imagination I see around me those I have loved `so dearly and so well,' who are now separated from me in different directions, some of whom, the nearest and dearest, have passed away to that `bourne from whence no traveller returns.' If it is true, as many believe, that the spirits of our departed friends hover around us and watch over and protect those whom they have loved below, this thought should encourage and animate us to prove ourselves worthy of their care, and endeavor, and so to pass the time of our sojourning here, that when the Angel of Death shall receive his commission to put a period to our existence, we may be prepared to meet those we love in a happier world where all our woes will cease, and parting and pain will be no more known. I know of nothing passing here at present that would interest you. A wedding was celebrated a few days since which had more novelty in it, at least, than anything I have formerly been knowing to, and excited some inte- rest for a day or two. The young lady was a resident of this village, her parents are poor and herself and sisters were dependent on their own exertions for a livelihood. They were ac- complished, however, and moved in the first society here. The sister has a respectable school here and both teach music; they have known better days but the dissapation of the father and extravagance of the family were their ruin as to property. June Lyman was young and sprightly, per- haps rather gay withal, and did not fancy any employment so well as leisure. A few weeks since, a young gentleman by the name of Holt was introduced here as from Bermuda. There was 150
SARAH POPE something very peculiar in his looks, he dressed in dandy style complete, and dashed away at a great rate; that is, he was very lavish with his money, had a part in every `spree,' got agreeably drunk & tore up his bank bills like waste paper though,, by the by, he picked them up again when sober. He and Jane seemed to fancy each other and were engaged; her friends opposed to the extent of their power, but she prepared herself for the change. They would not consent but she walked out to make some calls, as she said, when Mr. H. overtook her with a barouche and they went off and were married, then returned and told what they had done. Her sister was distressed beyond measure; her Mother very angry and declared she would see her face no more, her father indifferent, and herself perfectly happy. As it could not be helped they sent for Mr. Ingersoll to marry them over. In the mean time Mr. Holt walked out and was arrested by an officer for a debt of his new wife's for the amount of 30 dollars. He was angry, swore he would not pay a cent but, as he could not help it, he walked with the constable to see his bride. A few friends had assembled for the wedding - they bolted in and made known their business. He asked if it were true. Jane told him with perfect nonchalance that it was correct, it did not disconcert her in the least - he finally paid the bill. She appeared to enjoy it all. They were immediate- ly married and took the boat. He had run into debt in a large amount in Montpelier but the officer was too late that had the demands. He secreted himself on the boat while another gentleman escorted the bride to it, and thus escaped in safety. It is the opinion of all that she is lost. A gentleman from New York that may be relied on says he is only a clerk there & has never been to Bermuda. It is the general opinion that he will soon abandon her. 151
SARAH POPE It may not turn out so bad, however. I think you must be tired now. Had I thought of ekeing out my letter so long, I should have put my lines nearer the first - it is my natural love of talking, you know. My sisters send much love to yourself and your hus- band. Write soon. Yours &c. S. Pope * * * And so we leave of Sarah Pope. I have met few people I liked better. 152

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Last updated September 20, 1995.

Todd L. Sherman (genealogy at alachuaskywarn dot org)
© Copyright 1995/1996/1997 by Todd L. Sherman. All Rights Reserved.