The following is a transcription of a letter that I found among my grandmother's memorabilia. It was written in 1842 to her Great Grandfather, John D. Balmat, of Fowler, from his niece. The letter recounts in great detail the death of her father, Luther Mather, from, what would be today,
a minor injury.
Columbus June 12, 1842
Dear Uncle With an aching heart and streaming eyes I seat myself to write and let you know that the hand of affliction is laid heavily upon us, and taken from our embrace our beloved Father, last Monday (the 6) he left home to go about three miles to afsist and instruct in mending a dam, he worked till about 4 oÂ’clock in the afternoon, when he started to go to the house, when within about 30 rods he stubbed his toe against a small stick fell over another small stick about two inches through, which received him on the chest, about two inches forward and above the hip bone. it left not the least mark, but probably broke something inside he got up went to the house but amediately became in great pain, and vomited blood a Physician, and Mother amediately sent for he was bled which seemed to relieve him for a while Victor and Uncle Dan went the next to see him, in the afternoon Dyer and I went to stay and take care of him but human aid was of no avail for Medicine could not be made to operate when I arived he said to me I think I shall not live but a little while but I am ready to go I care (said he) but alittle which way it goes for if live I shall be troubled with businefs, if not I shall be at rest he spoke to Dyer about some small debts owed and owing by and to him thought best to sell part of the land Wednesday morning about sunrise he called his children aroud his bed receive his last advice, My Dear Children said he I am now going to leave you I leave you no worldly property, but I Recomend to your care a beloved wife your Mother I have labourÂ’d hard to lay up something for old age and for my children but have failed partly by misfortune and partly (Â“by unforseen accidentsÂ” written and crossed out) by mismanagement but I have endeavorÂ’d to instil into your minds what I consider to be the true principles of religion and if you think they are the true principles to practice them. but in all cases to strictly adhere to truth and verasity, to live honestly and uprightly, to live in peace and friendship between brothers and sisters and have no family broils, to see that our Mother was taken care of, to see that Avilla was tended a little more; (fear not my dear uncle for Mother for while I have anything she shall share) at twenty minutes before one o clock on Thursday morning his pure spirit took its heavenly flight to rest in the bosom of its God, his will be done. his funeral attended on Friday an excellent discourse From Romans 14 chapter 8 and 9 verses 1
The rest of Family are all in good health Dyer lives close by Eliza was married March the 13 to Leren Pearce Brother to Erastus but lives with mother yet, Victor and Avilla live at home also my husband & I have come to see her (for it is at her house that I am writing Eliza sits at the same table writing to Aunt Susannah aunt Triphena (?) died the 4 of March last, to night the children eight in number sat down to the supper table but alas one place was vacant pardon me my dear uncle if I have tired your patience in relating the particulars thinking that you would be glad to know I have been this explicit, if you possibly can come and see your poor bereaved and only sister your feelings as her only Brother must plead for her, she says my poor Desire I never wanted to see him so much before o come do do come and comfort our afflicted Mother for much does she need it
1 Romans 14, versus 8 and 9
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the LordÂ’s.
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
The letter is written from Harriet Mather Pearce, daughter of Gabrielle Brigitte Balmat and Luther P. Mather, to her uncle, John Desire Balmat, my great great great grandfather. The letter details the passing of Luther Mather, who died at 12:40 pm on Thursday, June 9, 1842.
Gabrielle was John Â“DesireÂ’sÂ” only sister. Her other three brothers, Peter Michael Balmat, Anthony Balmat and Joseph Victor Balmat had apparently died by the date of this letter, June 12, 1842. Peter, the eldest son of Joseph Victor Balmat (who was Joseph BonaparteÂ’s land agent in NYS), was never married and drowned in 1834.
The Balmat geneology lists three children to Gabrielle and Luther Mather: Harriet, Eliza and a Â“youngest daughterÂ”. From the letter, the youngest daughter appears to be Dyer or Avilla. Eliza married Loren Pearce on March 13, 1842. Loren was the brother of HarrietÂ’s husband, Erastus Pearce. The letter mentions a Victor Â“living at homeÂ”, as well as Avilla, who is suggested to be in need of some level of care. The letter tells that Â“the children eight in number sat down to supperÂ” allowing that Erastus and Loren Pearce may have been included in that count, it appears that there might have been five Mather children, Harriet, Eliza, Dyer, Victor and Avilla. That there was a son named Victor is believable as it was obviously a Balmat family name.