The correspondence consists of two letters, dated May 29, 1842 and July 23, 1843, from Elisa Hatch to Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Comings, sent from Jacksonville, Florida. The writer describes to her brother and sister, in Greensboro, Vermont, her thoughts and experiences while living on the Florida frontier, two years prior to Florida's admission to statehood.
The first letter, dated May 29, 1842, mentions her Boarding School for Young Ladies, and her role as a teacher in Southern aristocracy. She comments that she is able, by her own individual exertions, to support herself, her husband and children. She mentions the church at Mandarin, notes of books she has read, and the offer of a local lady to let her play the piano. Family news consists of her mother's marriage, the expenses of renting her house ($144 per year), her flourishing mulberry trees and other crops, and the orange trees being decimated by an unidentified insect.
The second letter, dated July 23, 1843, mentions her home life and activities, family, social obligations, and the "delightful climate" of the area. The family has abandoned their Mandarin residence, and are now living in the city of Jacksonville where she describes her home life. She comments on blacks and poor whites, her opposition to slavery, and the relations between white men and black women. She relates that although there are numerous cases of consumption in town, she considers Jacksonville one of "the most healthy places on the globe." She describes her neighbor, Mrs. Fleming, as a "good and noble old lady, 75 and Catholick." The family will be leaving Jacksonville shortly for the Indian River area of Florida, where her husband has claimed property under the Florida Armed Occupation Act.
Each letter consists of 2 leaves, folded in thirds, and addressed on the outer page with either a Jacksonville or Savannah cancellation. The letters, while legible, are written in a miniscule hand and are difficult to read. Transcriptions are available.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection:
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