Nell, William Cooper. Letter to Amy Kirby Post.


Handwritten letter from William Cooper Nell to Amy Kirby Post. Nell writes to Post about recent abolitionist events.


July 19, 1852

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(Page 1)

Monday Eve =7.oclock    Waterloo July 19th 1852
                              Wednesday I attended    Junius monthly meeting
                               6 persons present= Key not arriving the
                               audience convened on the Horse Black
Dear Friends
                             Amy, Isaac, and Sarah

Inspired by the golden Sunset= displayed to
advantage on this rising ground. I set down
to pen for Your perusal    some of those
incidents by the way side [sic] which have occurred
since I bid You Good afternoon= on that^the^ memorable
Seving up of that fine Cheery Pie-
                              8. oclock
Just returned from a stroll through the Orchards.
and Flower Gardens of William Dell
accompanied by Darias and Henry Colllins
they with Tommy and Helen are now seated
near me some of the partys [sic] are however
indulging in a doze preliminary to retiring for
the night=   but to my narration-
             I. found Henry at the Cars and we
were soon wending our way east = near Canandaigua
He was Joined by his Uncle Henry ^Stephen^ Fish from
Crawford Co Penn who has recently been at
Rochester=   He left here this morning on a visit
to his native State Rhode Island.= His company
has been very agreeable = He is a Friend = and
a Gentleman of the old school = age about 70
now lamenting the loss of his wife with whom he told me
had lived 50 years =

(Page 2)

Not finding any conveyance at Oak Corners
our luggage was left in a store = and we
pushed on afoot- the three miles walk gave
me a good appetite for supper = I flatter
myself that my industry in this particular
department was worthy of remark =Could
You but witness my attacks on the Cherry trees
and Currant Bushes = You would laugh
I Know = and more than You would Join me [sic]
company.- this fruit is plentiful here

On Sunday Morning attended Freemeeting [sic]
I was Kindly Welcomed by Thomas McClintock
He spoke twice = I offered a few words = Reuben
        Mosher followed

                                     My trial hour was
in the afternoon at 4. oclock = an audience of
perhaps 40. the old Gentleman Henry ^Stephen^ Fish
was at my right hand on the High Seat.
I Said my Say =         but as to the astounding
effects produced - and rapturous demonstrations
not made = please enquire of Some of
the Crowd who I didnt see hanging
round the windows = I Sold 3 or 4 Pamphlets
and 5 Voices from the Spirit World and
shall probably have enough to replace my
travelling expenses -         Stephen Fish and Mary Dell
were among the purchasers of the Voices –
    there is much interest here in Spiritual matters.

(Page 3)

     I learn by Thomas McClintock and others
     that there is company at his house and that
     the notes of preparation are sounding for
     a wedding soon to come off = I have
     been invited to call - and hope to do so-
He did not get back to my meeting –
      his daughter Elizabeth gets married next Tuesday –
Dorcas dons the Bloomer = I can recollect
no one who has made a better adaptation
of it than herself = I have seen two
other Ladies Mrs. Jenkins and Miss Deans
both of whom appear very well = I hope
Women who claim to be free will continue
to wear them = despite the ridicule of
would be men or the more to be
condemned opposition - from Dictators
among thier [sic] own Sex.


To day [sic] I have had quite a physical
prostration = but on Sunday felt like
a new man            I cannot assign any
immediate cause hope soon to be

                           Tuesday Morning
Feeling much better = I presume it is
folly for me to ever expect being myself
again on this mundane Sphere-

this depression one day and uncertain bettemess
the next is not the most desirable condition to be in

(Page 4)
Dorcas and Henry have applied Bandages
as Amy did last winter and I think with good
results._ How very Kind  | Wednesday Morning
      they are to me =
Yesterday afternoon and evening we enjoyed a
fine treat at the Snug Cottage of Mr. & Mrs. Jenkins
I am very glad to have made thier [sic] acquaintance
familiar themselves with the theory and practice
of Water Cure they have generously tendered me thier [sic]
Joint efforts in its application to my recovery
The associations of thier own home to—
augmented by the Stores from well cultivated minds
and genial manners = present such blended
attractions for me that I am resolved soon to
avail myself of short sojourn with them
but of this more anon  
She is the author of several articles in the ^Newyorker on the^
                                                      Subject of     Childrens training
                                            I cannot help thinking
How happy Willie and Mary Ann would be here
Has = Prince secured his emancipation Yet? = I am
Dog matically [sic] opposed to Colonization = but feel Justified
in recommending him to brief absenteeism -from
the little Post which so restrains his Freedom-
I am an abolitionist and glory in the name
I send a Bundle of Kind remembrances
which You will please distribute to Jacob and Joseph
Sarah Birney =and Ellen Smith
I am as Yet undecided as to my next meeting-
and do not expect to reach Rochester within one
week.    Should any letters be left = please remail [sic] to
Waterloo = With much love remain Yours
        Truly Mr C. Nell | Henry & Dorcas
                                   send greetings


William Cooper Nell, an abolitionist, is writing from Waterloo, New York to fellow activists, Amy and Isaac Post, as well as Amy's sister, Sarah.

Nell refers to the monthly Junius meeting held by Quakers in Waterloo.

William Dell was a Quaker and an abolitionist. The Bonnell-Dell family was involved in the Underground Railroad and served as a core of participants in the Friends of Human Progress. Stephen Fish could refer to Sarah Fish's husband. Sarah Fish helped to plan the 1848 Woman’s Rights Convention in Rochester with Amy, her sister and Sarah C. Owen.

Thomas McClintock was an abolitionist and woman's rights activist. Reuben Mosher was a member of the Friends of Genesee, a Quaker group.

Nell refers to Spiritualism, a religious movement whose followers believed that through mediums they could communicate with the dead.

Mary Dell was William Dell’s sister and worked as an abolitionist and woman’s rights activist.

Nell mentions the bloomer costume, which women activists wore to emphasize their independence. The bloomer costume was an outfit of long baggy pants that narrowed to a cuff at the ankles and was worn below a skirt.

Mary Jenkins married William Jenkins and their home was a station of the Underground Railroad.

Nell refers to the Water Cure, which was a popular health remedy in the nineteenth century. Water was believed to be salubrious.

Willie is Post's son and Mary Ann helped to care for him. Prince may refer to a fugitive slave that the Posts' aided. Jacob and Joseph were Post's two eldest sons. Sarah Birney was an abolitionist and woman's rights activist.

Ellen Smith, born a slave, was light skinned and often passed as a white woman. Smith married a slave named William. Due to their slave status, they couldn’t live together. Smith cut her hair short and posed as a white slaveholder to help the couple escape. After fleeing the South, they moved to Boston and became active in the abolitionist movement.

About the Original Item

Nell, William C. (William Cooper), 1816-1874
Post, Amy Kirby, b. 1802
Internal Identifier
Post, Amy Kirby, b. 1802
Nell, William C. (William Cooper), 1816-1874
Slavery, abolition, and emancipation
Rochester (New York)
Waterloo (N.Y.)
Letters (Correspondence)
, , ,
Post Collection
Item Type:
Nell, William C. (William Cooper), 1816-1874, “Nell, William Cooper. Letter to Amy Kirby Post.,” Post Family Papers Project, accessed December 11, 2018,