November 30th 1853
My Dear Sister,
I hope that upon the receipt of this that you will be induced to break your long silence. Do not think that because I am married that I would not be glad to receive a letter from you. I am going to the wedding of one of my old bachelor friends this evening. His name is Massie1, a graduate of the Va. Mil. Institute; the lady is Miss Sophonisba B. McDowell, daughter of the late governor McDowell.
At present my health is influenced by a cold in the head; but to such things in my own case, I attach but little importance, for with care they are dissipated in a few days. My wife is in good health, and sends her love to you & the family.
Things here are working smoothly, the weather is fine, and I am much pleased with the coming prospects. Give my love to Mr. A. and the rest of the family. Tell Mrs. Hillie that I saw the gentleman to whom I made application in her case, but a few days since, and that he that he had not been able to do anything for her as yet, but on account of the recent expenses of the lodge; but that he was certain that he would get twenty dollars at least, and that he would be in Richmond this winter, and that he would bring her case before the grand lodge of the State. But tell her not to be too sanguine about success for fear that she may be disappointed. In my opinion, something will be done for her, but how much it is impossible to say.
I believe that at the close of my last letter I was making some remarks upon Niagara, and I had probably finished them. After leaving there, we proceeded in a carriage down the Niagara River for a few miles to Lewiston, where we took a steamer and proceeded to cross Lake Ontario on our way to the St. Lawrence River, and at dawn the next morning we were around a cluster of islands called the thousand islands, which present an extremely beautiful aspect and they are probably a thousand in number, some almost covered by bare and rugged rocks and crops and the other beautifully varied with forests of Northern growth. I enjoyed the scene much! Very much! During the day, we passed through the perilous rapids of that remarkable river. In passing one of them we took on board a special pilot of large an athletic dimensions. After thus passing a very pleasant day, we arrived safely at Montreal. To be remembered to all inquiring relatives & friends is the request of your only brother,
Thomas P.S. You may form some idea of one of the rapids from the circumstance that though we were on a high decked steamer, yes the spray was thrown extremely over her prow and so as to fall upon her deck.
1James W. Massie, VMI Class of 1849 and Professor of Mathematics, 1849-1871.