Horace completed his long letter home to his family and friends back in Alstead, NH, with a description of his classes at KUA. His many mistakes, he says, are due to writing in a hurry, but, I imagine, writing by candlelight with a pen dipped in ink caused some of the errors. In whatever manner he wrote, we are extremely lucky to have had this rare letter survive with its detailed description of a student’s life in the early days of the Academy. How many emails, tweets, and text messages do you suppose, will survive the next 180 years?
Oct. 20. Dea. Rawson is a going to start for Alstead to morrow, I expected he was not a going till Saturday, but I will write a little more, we had bread & butter for breakfast this morning & I sawed wood a spel before school time recite four lessons a day, one at quarter before eight, & at quarter before ten, & quarter before one, & quarter before three, have not recited but two, till within a few days, Mr. Newel thought that our lessons were to long & not often enough, thought if we recited oftener & had shorter lessons we should get along better, I think that I do but hurried more than I was before I have but an hour to get my lesson in, for ¼ before ten for prayers & gramer lesson takes up a bout half or ¾ of an hour, these gramer lessons in the morning are very interesting They are on punctuation, & perspicuity & accuracy in writing, also in speling, for punctuation he reads a sentence & has the school tell where the stops Ought to be, & give the reason & so through the school, for speling he put out those words which are in common use & are likely to be miss spelt, all the scholars have a book & write down the words as they think they ought to be, as they are put out (generally about 20 at a lesson,) & then he calls uppon some one to read the first word as he has got it spelt & if any one have got it different, they must rise, then one of those are called upon to read as he has got it & all that have it as he had must sit & if there still some remain standing he calls upon another to read & so on til he finds out how they all have spelt it. Then he tells them how it is spelt & every scholar that has it wrong must correct it in another column opposite to the one mis spelt & so he goes through the lessons sometimes he asks us how many we have mis’t, the ans 3.5.8,4,6,9 I have not worked a great deal since but have found some small job hav made a sink for widdow Robbert. is the largest worth about 42 cents. I have been to see Uncle Thomas’s folks went the secont saturd after I came —-The school term is sixteen weeks from the time that it begun it closes the first Tuesday in January the tuition is five dollars—
You must forgive my mistakes for it was all wrote in a hurry, you must write by Mr Huntley agreat deal and every particular give my love to all friends & acquaintances from your unworthy Son & Brother
Benjamin ) Horace Wood
- Abigail )
- Laura ) Wood”
- Edwin )
- Franklin )
- Gilbert )
[The first two names are his parents.]
This photograph is from a series of 15 cards, Views of Meriden, N.H. photographed in 1880. This church, shown earlier with Principal Richards preaching, was struck by lightning during a heavy thunderstorm in 1894. According to Choice White Pines and Good Land, a History of Plainfield and Meriden, NH, it is thought that lightning entered the church down the rods that held up the chandeliers and their attached kerosene tanks. The tanks had just been filled that morning and kerosene was thrown over the interior of the church. The town hall, located on the first floor was saved, but the entire building was later replaced by the Stone Church in 1898.
Next Week: Principal Charles S. Richards, a Kimball Union abolitionist