A few years back I tried to start a blog where I planned to post my transcription of some old family papers – Glimpses of the Past – It was fun while it lasted, but life interfered and I lost the flow of it. Now I’ve decided to start in on some more of the transcription – and I’ll probably post some of it here. In the meantime – here’s a letter I had a lot of fun with:
Meet Abbie Davidson
This was written by Abbie Davidson — the Granddaughter of Robert Dinsmoor, the “Rustic Bard” (More of his work to come later!). She would later marry Sewell Grimes (in 1868), and give birth to both Abigail and Lucy Grimes (who also have their own share of documents). Abbie Davidson is my great-great-great Grandmother.
Bracketed pieces in the transcription are words I’m not positive I have correct.
One lovely evening in June, some members of the family in which I then resided, proposed taking a walk to which we all gladly assented, and accordingly set out.
There were in all, nine persons, & together, we constituted a joyous party. We first passed through a delightful grove [Till] we came to the bank of the river, where was an encampment of Indians. After spending as much time as we wished in looking at their [cabins]& manner of living, we were preparing to leave for home, when two gentlemen came in a boat, from the opposite shore, & said ‘if we would like to cross the river, they would go over with us’. This was just what we wanted, we had long wished to see the fort, which is in [process] or erection & we eagerly embraced the opportunity. The evening was mild, the river calm, we had good company & as it was my first sail in an open boat, I enjoyed it in the highest degree. We crossed in perfect safety to the opposite bank & commenced taking observation[s]. We first came to the for[t], ascended the stone steps, which were one hundred & three in number, from which heights we had full view of the village as it lay spread before us.
In the most prominent part of this scenery, stood Oak [H]ill Seminary, so called from being situated on a hill surrounded by beautiful oak trees. I cannot enter into a full description of the fort, it was not them completed and, as I hoped to visit it again, did not make many [enquiries] respecting it. However it is a magnificent structure & well worth a visit from any one.
As we sat resting ourselves after our [ ] some singing was requested by some of the company. Two young ladies complied with the request by singing a favorite song ‘The Mountaineer’s Farewell’ s they were expressing their admiration of it, one of the performers [jovially] said, ‘Pass round the hat,’ it was no sooner said than done, & soon returned, filled with bouquets of wild flowers, money & other tributes of gratitude & now arose a question, how shoudl it be [appropriated], the singers absolutely refused it, the gentlemen who came in the boat with us positively denied recieving any compensation. At last it was agreed that, as we all belonged to the same family, we would have a treat the next day.
By this time night was fast approaching & threatening clouds warned us that we had the river to cross. Soon after we left the shore, one of the boatmen remarked ‘We are going to have a [squall]’, [You] may be sure that
that to inexperienced sailors, like ourselves, these words were full of meaning, however the clouds passed by, without further alarm. As the boat neared the shore, the well known song, ‘Home Again’ was sung, [& ere] the last strains died over the water, we gladly stood on terra firma, & a few minutes pleasant walk, brought us in safety, to our happy home.
Written by Miss Abbie Davidson in 1853
While in Bucksport, Maine
The pieces of information that I’ve linked out are some fun little supporting documents. The fort that they went to visit, from best I can tell, is Fort Knox. I’ve linked to the sheet music for the two songs she mentions being sung, and then also to the Maine Memory Network (a wonderful site!), and a drawing of a building that was a part of what Abbie refered to as “Oak Hill Seminary”.