San Francisco,  May 5th 1864

My Dear Sister1,

I have just rec’d your letter telling of that happy event in a women’s life which rounds her days & makes her what God designed as a crowning glory – a Wife & Mother of a happy family.  You have my sincere desire for a happy & a merry life.  It all lies with yourself. A man’s house is such as he makes it, but afterwards he must live in it.  Cultivate kindly feelings & let cheerfulness irradiate your home. Hatfield, I recollect as a beautiful county village.  I often visited, passed & repassed it while in college. I have crossed at its ferry boated on the river nearby, & enjoyed its sunset illumination from “Mount Warner.”  And the Connecticut Valley thereabouts is a rare and beautiful spot in landscape scenery.

 You will often, no doubt, have occasion to visit Amherst College.  Look on its academic halls, its cloistered walks, & treasured Cabinets for me & remember that every spot is as familiar sacred as the nooks and corners around my own home. To their commencement I send often local papers particularly the Republican. I often attended church at Hatfield.  The Rev. Mr. Green was my old [tutor?] in Greek.

I think there must have been some [neglect] ____port of somebody in reference to my suit of clothes.  The suit was completed to fill [made?] out the 17 Feb, 47 days before the date of your letter. Someone wrote me a word [during] that time.   However I am very glad to hear from them for I was just on the point of purchasing here.

I am in very good health & much heavier than when I was east.  The summers are not debilitating like those at the east, but are nearly as cool as the ______ & require woolen clothes day & night.  We have cool ____ing winds from the ocean & rarely ever suffer from the heat.

Charles & [Kitty?] [referring to sister Calista] are about fifty miles from me, ten miles north of Petaluma.  I thinks they have bought a ranche & intend to live there. There is a fine orchard on it & a beautiful view of ___ Petaluma Valley. San Francisco Market is within a day’s reach.

Within ten days, I expect to be in the Office as the Collector of Internal Revenue as Deputy Collector.  My present position as Inspector pleases me very much. Nothing could satisfy me better. The change is made only for better pay.  I have hardly got a [going] & was under a great deal of expense when I first came here & it is a good deal like overtaking a man who has a little start _ ____ in a days journey.  It requires some extra efforts when [Greenbooks?] are selling for only [58 cts?]. I will return the little donation that you made me when I started California — [worlds?] very soon .

Let me hear about your new home and friends.  Give me an insight into your every day life & all that interests you.  My greetings & compliments to Mr. Bristol & I should be pleased to hear from him also.

Most truly & heartily,


Original Archives of Letter (Click to see all enlarged)

Letter from Alfred Stebbins to Lydia Stebbins 


  1. Written from Alfred Stebbins to his sister Lydia Houghton Stebbins who married Lambert Jones Bristol  and is reported to have had the following children: Arthur Lincoln Bristol 1865, Harriet Houghton Bristol (Likely named after Lydia’s mother Harriet Houghton Stebbins) in 1866,  Calista Stebbins Bristol (likely named after her aunt Calista Stebbins) in 1871, and Grace May Bristol in 1876.