Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kimber Letter 12: Aunt Sarah and the Electric Machine

The Kimber Letters are writings exchanged between the Kimber sisters and their mother, Keziah (Bennett) Kimber. The letters found their way to the sister’s descendants. I treasure them and am grateful to the late Edna Raymond for giving me transcriptions.

In today’s letter, 3rd Great Grandaunt Sarah Bethia (Kimber) Mackney writes to her sister Abigail in Orange County, New York. Sarah and her husband William were living in Troy, Pennsylvania July 25, 1855. Of the nine Kimber sisters, I affectionately dub Sarah as ‘the one that can dish it out’. Aunt Sarah’s annoyed Aunt Abby hasn’t written and begins her letter with a zinger:

     “I am going to drop a few lines to you although I don’t know that is hardly my to duty to worry myself to do so for I have never had the scratch of a pen from you since I have lived in Pennsylvania”

She continues to scold her in a humorous manner throughout her letter.

In Sarah’s earlier writings, she describes health problems that trouble her. Just the previous week, she tried electrical shock treatments to improve her health.

     “I have ben trying the power of electricity 
      I have taken three or four light shockes the past week 
      it makes me feel rather nervous but the Doc thinks that it will be a benefit”

Some medical practitioners believed electricity could cure everything from constipation to rheumatism. Perhaps future letters will reveal how Aunt Sarah fared from the treatments.

The Detroit Free Press
Sunday, March 24, 1889 Advertisement

Aunt Sarah discussed Aunt Abby’s health with her doctor and planned to send her medicine to try. Aunt Abby was experiencing ‘difficulties’.

A little family news was exchanged about the nieces and nephews. Emily Decker, Phebe Kimber and John Decker’s daughter, wrote to Aunt Jane (Kimber) Seeley about James Clark’s marriage. James was the son of Charity Kimber and William P. Clark. The Aunts speculated that Charity and William’s daughter might someday marry Erastus Elston, the widower of their sister, Julia Ann Kimber.

Letter 12.

July 25th. 1855

Dear Sister Abby

I am going to drop a few lines to you although I
dont know that it is hardly my duty to worry
myself to do so for I have never had the scratch
of a pen from you since I have lived in
Pennsylvania    when I write to Mother I get
answered directly and I love to write to her and
Mother I shall write to you oftener if my health
gets better     it is very hard work for me to
write now    my health has somewhat improved
since I wrote you and I think it is still
improving although I have not been feeling quite
as well for a few days past     I have ben trying
the power of electricity    I have taken three or
four light shockes the past week     it makes me€
feel rather nervous but the Doc thinks that it
will be a benefit to me and I think myself that
it will     Abby if you was here I would give you
a shock and arouse up your sensibilities     for I
have got the machine here for perhaps it might
stir you up to write occasionly     the Doctor
thinks that I am going to have my health pretty
good yet     I asked him the other day if he
thought I should get smart enough to go th
Orange County this fall and he said he thought I
would     I hope I can come for I want to come
home so bad and see you all once more     Abby I
am going to send you some of my medicine and I
want you to be sure and take it     I will send
two kinds of pills enough to last 8 or 10 days
and when you have taken them up write to me how
you feel and just how the medicine affects you
if   it afftects you at all be very particular to
write how your health is and what your worst
difficulties are this summer    take them just as
I have directed on the papers the ______ on
going to bed and the beladonna twice a day
morning and nooe     the Doctor told me to send
you these two remedies and let you try them     I
described your case to him as well as I could
dont eat any pepper     allspice     or nutmeg while
you are taking them nor use any camphor     every
thing else you can eat as usual     dont neglect
to write when you have taken them up and you
will hear from me again    if the pills should be
jammed  fine when they reach you as perhaps they
may pick out 6 whole ones and jam them up and
then you can give a pretty good guess how much
you had ought to take     if you should find the
pills so large that you can not swollow them
with ease Father will have to make a little
puncher and punch them down     but laying all
jokes aside there is virtue in the little
critters     I assure you    but I must close for I
am so tired that I can not write decently     Jane
received a letter from Emly Decker last night
after she had done writing     she wrote they were
all well and that James Clark was married on the
4th to Harriet Wilson     Emly said that Erastus
said he would come out west this fall if Phebe
Jane will come with him and she said there
appeared some signs of her becoming the mother
of those dear little children    I have no
remarks to make only o dear you must all come
and see us this fall if you can possibly     no
more at present     write soon    with my love now
and ever good bye

to Abby L. Kimber from Sarah L. Mackney

To read earlier Kimber Letters click on the label 'Kimber Letters' at the bottom of this post.

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