Letters give glimpse of 1900 Port Henry

The following are letters written by Ellen D. Witherbee Atwell in 1899 and 1900 to her nephew Tyler Reed Woodbridge of Victor, Colo. She was age 64 at that time. She tells of her family life, traditions, and some facts of history relating to the Witherbee family, handed down by her parents and grandparents, written at Port Henry. The nephew typed these up in 1900 and inserted some comments.

These letters were sent to me from Bill Knowlton of Liverpool in 2002. Ellen Atwell was his great aunt.

After her father left home his father deeded his farm to another son with the understanding that he was to be cared for the remainder of his life. The son's wife did not treat him kindly after the place was theirs. She scolded him one day for "spitting on the hearth". This angered him and a while after he asked her to let him see that deed as he was afraid it was not right. She readily produced it and he threw it in the fire and said, "Now I spit on my own hearth".

Mother was born in Dublin, N. H., where her father owned a farm. He was doing well and was in very comfortable circumstances when he was visited with one of the Egyptian plagues, which killed his cattle. After that he went to Barre, Mass. where more children were born. At one time they lived in Athol. He died in Athol of quick consumption from a sudden cold. None of the children inherited it. The house was standing a few years ago, but was just ready to tumble down. It was in a deserted spot but the well and apple trees were still there. When he died her mother was left with nine children, and they had lost one - six boys and four girls. She proved herself a very brave woman. Her sons were not very old, but they worked as farm hands near home for a while and afterwards took their "bundles" on a stick over their shoulders and went to seek their fortunes. One went to Canada, one to the western part of New York, one to Albany, one married in Massachusetts.

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