Sanborn, William
Collection of  Correspondence  written to William F. Sanborn, master brick mason of Lowell, Massachusetts, native of Sanbornton, New Hampshire, written by his fiancé and later wife  Lavinia L. Fiske, of West Deerfield, New Hampshire,  as well as letters from other family members, 1838-1856

46 letters, 93 pages, dated 22 April 1838 to 15 Aug 1856. All of the letters are incoming written to William F. Sanborn, master brick mason, living at Lowell, Massachusetts. These folding stamp-less letters, are written in ink and in legible hands. The lot includes 15 letters by Lavinia L. Fiske, of Deerfield, NH, both before and after she married Sanborn. There are also 14 letters from Ann S. Fiske (1817-1883), later Ann S. Moulton after marrying Asa P. Moulton (1829-1901) of Deerfield and Meredith, (the sister of Lavinia L. Fiske), as well as 2 letters from Harriet Fiske, (another sister of Lavinia). Brothers of William F. Sanborn, Nathan (3) of Sanbornton, NH and David (3) of Boston, MA also write. The remaining letters appear to be other relatives, friends, or associates, writing from Deerfield, Nashua, and Sanbornton, New Hampshire.

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William F. Sanborn was born 9 Nov 1816, at Sanbornton, New Hampshire. He was the son of David Sanborn (1783-1847) and Sally "Sarah" Copp. The Sanborn family was the founding family of Sanbornton, New Hampshire, and had lived in New Hampshire since the early decades of the 17th Century. William's father David was a farmer, having inherited the north end of his father's farm. Due to the limited opportunities at Sanbornton, William moved to Lowell, Massachusetts sometime before the correspondence in this collection starts in 1838.

He married Lavinia L. Fiske about 1841 and together the couple had at least three daughters. The Sanborn family is found at Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1850 and 1860 Census, and then moved to Billerica, for the 1870 and 1880 Census. William worked as a master brick mason, perhaps drawn there by the many building projects in the burgeoning manufacturing area.

William's wife Lavinia L. Fiske was born about 1817, at Deerfield, New Hampshire, the daughter of John Fiske (1772-1851) and Deborah Ladd (1777-?). Both of her parents were from Deerfield; her father was a farmer. There were at least ten children born to John and Deborah Fiske, Lavinia being the next to the youngest. This collection includes letters written to William and Lavinia, by Lavinia's sisters Harriet and Ann. Ann Sanborn Fiske (b. abt. 1817) married Asa P. Moulton, a local farmer in Deerfield.

       William F. Sanborn died at Billerica in 1885. His wife predeceased him in 1881.

A few excerpts and highlights:

August 9, 1840 (Lavina) - "We had a very heavy hail storm on the 6 inst, indeed it injured almost every thing in its reach. It has broken a great deal of glass at almost every house on the road for some distance. It was alarming to everyone, many were brought to think the expected day had come in which time shall be no longer. We were very much terrified indeed, thinking we might soon perish in the storm, the hail stone were as large as a walnut...the age people say they never knew as severe storm in this section of the country since their remembrance, but I feel thankful through the mercys of the lord we are yet spared a little longer...."

January 3, 1841 (Lavina) - "And should we, Dear Wm, this year commence the married life Oh may it be the happiest years of our life, may we ever cherish that love for each other that we can truly say with the strongest affections its the happiest years of our life, may we abride in love and union and when we are separated from this life may we rest in the arms of our savior, which is the desire of your unworthy friend...."

July 20, 1845 (Ann Fiske Moulton) -  "They had a great day in Manchester that day I came up, they were celebrating the day on account of the death of Gen. Jackson. These shops were all trimmed in mourning when I got there. They looked solemn and seemed to say to passersby that some one of their number had finished their work and bids adue to all things here below. They come out with three very pretty companies and formed a procession at two o'clock and marched through the streets with their music (which was very beautiful) and then proceeded to the grave near the depot where they had an address portraying the character of Gen. Jackson."

A look at the daily lives of members of a New Hampshire family driven to seek economic opportunity outside of rural New Hampshire.