Vernon, VT July 12, 1872

Dear Daughter & Son 1,

I request you to inform me when your last daughter was born & her name (Calista I believe).  Also If you know the name of Alfred’s daughter, born both of last June May2.  I want to purchase more photograph albums at Springfield, or if you are coming to Vernon, soon, please let me know it.  Your Uncle Maj. Alba Houghton born Aug 22d, 1797, married to Thankful Stebbins, at my father’s, Feb 5, 1822, (my cousin said to be the handsomest couple then, that ever was married in Vernon) and died May 24th 1872, aged 74 years, 2 months and 2 days, the first death in the family of eleven.  He lived with his wife, 50 years, 3 months and 19 days.

His daughter, Lydia Elvira Houghton, born Jan 6th 1835, married William. E. Warren, Aug, 1859, and died in Worcester, Mass, May 27th 1872, aged 38 years, 4 months, and 21 days, the first death in a family of nine children.

I continue to have my fainting syncope fits.  I had two June 27th, 1872. Dr. Webster’s definition of Syncope “A fainting or swooning; a diminution or interruption of the motion of the heart and of respiration, accompanied with a suspension of the action of the brain and a temporary loss of sensation, volition, and other faculties.”  This is true. The Poet [?] Goodwillie[?] says I brought these fits on myself by sitting and writing so constant by without walking about. I know not when the fits commence, or when they leave me, am perfectly easy and in no pain, and shall probably go that way instantly & not suffer pain like your mother.

I have had since Oct 23d 1869 16 fits, as I am informed & how many when in bed & alone I know not.  I never knew of having but one personally. Then I did not lose my senses, but fell prostrate and could not walk.  I expect to leave soon3, suddenly & without pain and am ready and willing when God calls me, to go to that bourne from whence no traveler returns4, and join your beautiful, lovely, sainted & angelic mother in Heaven.

Your affectionate father,

John Stebbins


Mrs. Lydia H. Bristol, Mr. Lambert J. Bristol  } New Haven Ct

P.S. Present my love to your children

Back Page:

Married May 17, 1872 in Wood River, Nebraska, Mr Nathaniel P. Dickinson, of West Northfield,m Mass & Miss Hattie Gleason of Malone, N.Y.  Dickinson was in the army at last 3 years went 200 miles west of Kansas, about the middle of Nebraska nigh the Pacific railroad, took up & bought about 320 acres land & built a house.  Hattie left John[?], April 8, for Malone & followed her man probably 2,000 miles. She loved him, or thought it her only chance.

They will be rich, no doubt.

Chauncey Thayer & Miss Atmira Preston married at Sharon Vt.May 20 1872 & moved on to his _______ Lee[?] farm [?].

My head troubles me, & back is so lame I can but just walk very slowly.  

Present by best respects to Charles S Bristol & WIfe & let them read this if you please.  



Images of original letter:


    1. Written by John Stebbins to his [youngest] daughter,  Lydia Houghton Stebbins Bristol & Mr. Lambert J. Bristol of  New Haven CT.
    2. Alfred’s daughter’s name was Londa Loleta Stebbins born 30 May 1872.
    3. John wrote this when he was aged 78 years, 5 months, 27 days, passed away two years later on 12 Aug 1875.
      1. A quote attributed to both Charles Dickens (he Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, (1838-1839)) and William Shakespeare (Hamlet)