Willis, Sarah L Kirby Hallowell. Letter to Amy Kirby Post.


Handwritten letter from Sarah L Kirby Hallowell Willis to Amy Kirby Post, March 6, 1852.


March 6, 1852

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(Page 1)

                                                 Pen Yan March 6th 52
        Dear sister
                         We arrived at this place about half past one, were
             met at the depot by Mr Huntington Mrs Smith and Mrs
 Bridgman all very pleasant people. Mr Huntington conducted us all to
his house where we were politely, cordially received by his wife and
niece who resides with them, her name Catharine Hayes, she is an in –
valid and I begin to think a very interesting girl. After changing dress
(for I got mine very muddy in the omnibus) and eating dinner the
people began to come in and kept Miss Holly talking untill [sic] tea time
almost, I believe there were between twenty and thirty calls. You know
that Sallie is competint [sic] to talk with every one, of course the afternoon
passed agreably [sic], I think all were pleased with her tho they were all church
members and could not appreciate all her sentiments or worship &c
which she expresses quite freely. Her lecture was well attended tho we
had to regret that many were obliged to turn away unsatisfied because
the house was too small to admit them. It was the Wesleyan Methodist
house. She treated the subject much the same as in Rochester, with great
seriousness, spoke about an hour. S S and A K Foster held six meetings here
and the people are all after as astir as you may judge be the interest to hear Miss
Holly. Four gentlemen have just come in, are complaining of their harsh
language while Miss Holly is just now saying “perhaps no one will bear
close criticism but I feel that they command my respect, are noble advoca^tes^
of humanity &c.” Our kind entertainers are not decided outspoken
or convicted abolitionists but are begining [sic] to feel much interest and are
as kind as any body could be, have a nice home and use it so freely for
our comfort.

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   Jefferson Sunday afternoon I thought to have a long day to read and
write to you but it is almost gone and so pleasantly that it seems
short. Went to Presbyterian church this morning with Mrs Cobern a
pleasant woman of twenty three years, and this afternoon Miss Holley
addressed a good audience in a hall which she had last evening, the
churches are denied her because the people are shocked at Fosters infidelity
and impolite manners. The methodists [sic] have resolved not to let theirs
again untill [sic] they know something about the person wishing it. So the
minister told us this morning, but he did not go to hear her last one
and today he is engaged. Miss H is strongly impressed with the excitement
Fosters have made “Why” says she in her emphatic manner “It is wonderful
I do not believe if I should lecture lecture [sic] a whole year that I should
stir the people up so.” she is very particular that they should understand
that she is in unity with Stephen and Abby says she dare not say that
she wishes them to do differently. It is near time to go. I should like to have
been with you today with our dear bereaved friends in their last sad
separation but as Miss Holley told me it would be, I feel that it is good for
me to be here. On our arrival we were met by Mrs and Rev Mr Cobern and
Mr Terry who accompanied us to Coberns house except Mr Cobern who took
the cars to Havanna [sic] on this way ^to^ some other place to preach, he is a
Christian or Unitarian and principal in the school here
        Monday morning The meeting last evening was well attended by a very
attentive audience, the address was good but to me the afternoon lecture
was a superior one, the fugitive slave law was dwelt upon at some length
and in a close fearless manner particularly pleasing to me _
    After meeting last eve we went home with Dr and Mrs Tompkins. he is a
Whig favoring abolitionism, she a member of the methodist [sic] church and can
-not see how she can do any good by leaving it. You would have thought
her a fit companion for Abby Kelley Foster if you would have heard her

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talk to them, tell them she could almost tolerate sheep thieves & horse
thieves but when it came to sellers of women and children she could not
imagine how any one could call himself christian [sic] and remain
and she should think just as hard of the men who voted for a man to
sell her as of the man who sold her. Well said Dr T that is pretty close
doctrine. He insisted on our stopping a night on our return with them
and would like a lecture on Womens Rights, promised to subscribe
for a paper if we came.
 There are many interesting things to tell but it seems to me what
I do attempt I fail in, am so interested in conversation, and when
Miss Holley is not talking I feel the necessity of making some attempts
to snake myself somewhat agreable [sic] to our good friends and to read a
little. Now there is a man who has resided south, giving Miss H some
interesting facts to which I have been half listening some time.
We returned to Coberns a bout [sic] nine this morning now near twelve.
We leave for Havanna [sic] half past one, Mrs Cobern will go with us
and her husband go after school, we have not seen him today as
             Havana ^Millport^ 10th 5 O’clock Just arrived from Havanna [sic]. Met at the
depot by two persons whose names I forget, and conducted by them to
Dr Seamans We are to meet in the Methodist Church tonight and tomorrow
night in another I believe Presbyterian Here as at other places we find friends,
and foes of Stephen and Abby.
       At Havana meetings were full, no church was asked for as they were de-
nied the Fosters. Quite a number of the Jefferson people followed on to Havana
to hear, seem very much interested, some of them subscribed for Standard
and Liberator No subscribers at H. Our house was with Mr and Mrs Beards
-ley real good spirited intelligent abolitionists. their humble house was so free
to us.   Among others who came from Jefferson was the Presbyterian minister
who said about half Miss Holley said was true and half not. Dr Bailey

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amused Miss Holley greatly this morning telling her of his meeting a friend
and asking him if he took any exceptions to what he heard last night?
he replied “My God yes” and something like this “she is just about
like the others, she wants to tear the union to pieces.” throwing his
arms apart. The Jeffersonians say they will open a church if Miss H will
go there again. I asked her if she did not begin to feel as if she was
not doing as much good as she might, that she was one of those whom
every one speaks well of? ^“I don’t know but I am” she said^ Today I observed her repeating it. She does
receive many complements, and deservedly I think. You cannot think
how much I admire her truthful loving spirit. Today some one told
her that one of the Fosters said the methodist [sic] church was worse than
the worst brothel in New York. “Well” said she, “I do suppose that is a
fact” and went on with considerable more. I am writing in haste as I want this
to go tonight thinking you may like to hear from us. Saturday we go to Elmira
expect to remain there several days, then probably return stopping at the same
places we have been, they are all so very desirous of having more meetings
I am hoping to hear from home at Elmira Miss H cannot tell exactly what
she shall do until we get to Elmira as she expects to hear from Abby then
I am enjoying myself so much I do not know when I shall get ready to
go home have not been any homesick sine we left Penn Yan, was a little
there. Mary understands about our library books hope she will attend them
am most sorry I brought this one with me.      Love to all
                                                                                      Affectionately Sarah

About the Original Item

Internal Identifier
Post Collection
Item Type:
“Willis, Sarah L Kirby Hallowell. Letter to Amy Kirby Post.,” Post Family Papers Project, accessed December 10, 2018, https://rbsc.library.rochester.edu/items/show/3847.