These are two letters, one from my great great grandfather (Robert Tibbetts Blazo) to my great great grandmother (Mary Freeman Blazo), and the following letter one from her to him the following year, in 1829.
To my mother's mind (Constance Leavitt Hanson) as she laughingly related it, Robert Blazo cautioned Polly Freeman about going out in the evening unchaperoned because he wanted her for himself! It took him years to capture her--he was 39 and she was 23 when they finally married in 1835
Below the letters is a biography of Robert Blazo snd genealogy of the Blazo family, written in 1990 by his son-in-law Howard Hiram (H. H.) Browne.
"Mr. Blazo, the 30-years-old Parsonsfield schoolmaster who fell in love with his pupil, Mary Freeman, of Sandwich, N.H., when she was 15 and married her on December 24, 1835, was Robert Tibbetts Blazo, the grandfather of Dr. Robert Greenleaf Leavitt. After his marriage Mr. Blazo, who had been admitted to the Strafford County bar in 1830, and had practiced in Moultonborough and Sandwich, moved back to Parsonsfield and bought the family homestead which his uncle William Blazo had built."
First, the letter from Robert Blazo to Polly Freeman. She was, at the time he sent it to her, sixteen years old.
Monday Eve August 25--1828
May some guardian angel direct my pen while I indite these few lines for her, whom holy spirits love with tenderness and compassionate regard.-- Then we part, yes, Fedelia for a short time to pursue different paths of knowledge. You to pursue those academical studies which ever delight the industrious student and discover to the enquiring mind new beauties, and new stimulants to exertion.--I to plod my weary way up the steep & rugged path of Jurisprudence, where scarcely a flower is seen to delight the weary eye or a purling rill to cool the surrounding atmosphere.-- Those days, which I passed at the academical Institutions of our beloved country flew hapily and swiftly away. --I never again expect to enjoy days so happy as those; so devoid of care; so free from guile and deceit--and so fraught with pleasing anxiety and anticipation.
But harken to a Friend. As you value life be careful of your health.--Do not let celebrations of the evening detain you too long from your necessary rest, but retire in season... Long watchings will fade the color of your cheeks; give you a palid countenance and create a faint disagreeable feeling. Make it a rule to retire at ten and rise at five- then you will have the morning air which is pure and bracing.--Morning walks are far preferable to evening walks.- Exercise is of great importance to one while at school.--
Another thing my Dear girl you will be among strangers therefore you should be careful with whom you associate.-- People will in a great measure, form their their good or ill opinion of you as you frequent good or ill company.--and I should advise you to form no intimacies or friendships till a long acquaintance has made thorough proof of their good intentions and amiable dispositions.--Many an innocent girl by not taking proper precaution has been led astray to the injury of her character and to the great affliction of her friends. Never listen a moment to the flattery of a gentleman, for be assured he either has some designs upon you or wishes to be flattered in turn--
Never suffer yourself to be out of an evening, without some approved female friend with you for it will give room for talk: "A good name is like precious ointment"--When in company with any one or with many, should anything be advanced offensive to female modesty, do not even countenance it by a smile should all the females present, but show a suitable degree of indignation by a proper behaviour; thus you will secure to yourself respect and a degree of independence--you should suffer no gentleman to take any liberties with you at any time whatever especially when in his company alone, as such things often happen but should he attempt it--rebuke him and should he persist flee from him as you would from one who would destroy your peace and happiness--
Many more things I might say to you but your good sense will point out the proper path in which you should walk--and in which I believe you wish to walk--I do not write these things to impose them on you as rules but it is sometimes pleasant to have a friend at hand upon whose sincerity we can depend and especially if that friend is older than ourselves and can give advise worthy of attention.
--Evening and morning witnesseth my supplications for your welfare and prosperity in this world; and O! may God take you under his special care and protection--May he direct your feet into the paths of virtue and piety and make you like Mary anciently, who sat at the feet of Jesus and received the sweet words of his mouth--
So ever prays your constant friend and--Constantius.
This is a letter from Polly Freeman to Robert Blazo written the following year--she would have been seventeen at the time!
This is how seventeen year olds were able to write in 1829:
Sandwich, May 1, 1829
I do feel very grateful for the explanation I have received of yours of the 27th of March that, I will possess your friendship I thought I might reasonably infer from the manner and the matter of your letter. Receiving three letters written in such rappid succession, the latter of the three so intirely different in style & sentiment from the others & having never received a letter from you of the kind before made me conclude, at once that the latter arose from feelings the very reverse of those which the others possessed, I considered it intended for sarcasm. I felt myself greatly insulted & was in consequence much offended. An insult from one whose prosperity & happiness was (and still is)as dear to me as my own, one whom I can truly say I trusted as the best friend I possess on earth, was more than I could support at least with any degree of ease.
It was the contempt which I thought the contents of your letter manifested & that alone, which influenced me and caused me to answer it in the manner I did. Had it been all that I imagined it to be, I confess with a sorowful heart that I erred greatly in the manner of answering it, that there were many obvervations which were contrary to my better feelings & occasioned much regret but could not be recalled; for in about twenty four hours from the time I received yours the answer was in the Post office. I had thought a long time before I received your last that it was my duty to proffer my friendship to you let it meet with whatever return it .
All I now can do, is to ask your pardon & that alone will not suffice, but the pardon of Him whose all-seeing eye searches the inmost recesses of our hearts. At the time I answered your letter two opposite passions (Love & Resentment) were contending within my bosom & each by turns prevailed. It was the latter which prompted me to make those expressions which I have had so much reason to regret. For giving way to resentment I condemn myself. But alas! When shall I be enabled to govern my passions? When shall I learn to be wise? As soon as I reflected on the numerous instances in which you had formerly manifested your friendship to me by those friendly precepts & good advice which I am confident has enabled me to avoid many a snare into which I might otherwise have fallen had I not received those admonitions (although I am guilty of many improprieties & errors, frailties & weaknesses) and the polite treatment I had ever received from you, these reflections, extinguished every particle of resentment & gave way to better feelings, to gratitude, and regret for having doubted your former sincerity, whatever might be your present feelings.
You say you have no recollection of having mentioned that I had committed any crime, or of having insinuated any such thing. I thought from one sentence that you quoted "mind with whom you ride S--a for a girl is known by the company she keeps. She should never be seen with suspicious characters especially if their reputation has been (?) in regard to the ladies" that you insinuated that I frequented such company and my character might be judged by that. I thought you said as much as to say that you doubted my chastity. Had you in reality thought as much as I thought you
insinuated, there surely must have been some necessary reconciliation between you and me. I do not mention this because I still feel dissatisfied but merely to explain what I have formerly written.
The assertion in the last, that I ever placed implicit confidence in you, I now confirm. You ask if it was not shaken last June while you were at Meredith. I answer it was not. I then considered you the same true friend that I always had from the commencement of our intimate acquaintance. I did not think you had always professed a greater regard for me than you really possessed I could then place as much confidence in you as I ever had & believed that confidence would not be abused. Since you have construed my treatment toward you after you came from Meredith so erroneously, I shall endeavor to explain the cause of it as clearly, as possible. In the interview we had at my uncle Frenches before you went to Sandwich, you mentioned, that you thought of taking a tour to N. York. I thought you were serious in making the observation. I do not recollect that you told me particularly of the length of time you should be gone, but I was informed by several persons who said they had heard you say it was uncertain but probably some considerable length of time. The thought of your leaving this small part of the world was very unpleasant to me, not from the idea I should be forgotten or should lose your friendship by the means but from the uncertainty of Life and Health it was not improbable we should never meet again. Although you joked me considerably upon my melancholly appearance at our meeting after you came from Meredith, I was ashamed to discover my weakness by telling you the cause, & should not now, but you have construed my actions so erroneously & cannot forbear. I know you asked me if I had heard any unpleasant reports concerning you. After I assured you I had not, you told me to never give myself any uneasiness concerning you when absent, for if there was any change in your feelings toward me you would inform me of it and endeavour to treat me honorably. I did not doubt this in the least before.----I know not from what you should take the idea that my confidence in you, was shaken last fall when you were at Gilmanton. If it was from anything in the letter you received from me, you certainly understood me in a manner differently from what I intended. I was much disappointed in not receiving a call from you because I had anticipated it: for cousin Otis told me the evening you came from Gilmanton I might expect a call from you the next morning. I did not attribute your not calling to indifference, by any means, but expected there was some other reasonable excuse and expected Otis would tell me what it was but he did not see fit to give me any reason.------
The sentence in which I spoke about the manner of our parting if I am not greatly deceived was this, I had flattered myself should we ever part it would be in friendship. You say you infer from this, that I had made up my mind we should part, but wished to keep you along until I had made sure of some other, or if I could not get any body else I would take you. Among the catalogue of my sins I trust duplicity has not as yet been numbered, and may He whose kind hand has ever been extended to protect me, although I have so often rebelled against him & have been so ungrateful for his innumerable blessings ever preserve my heart unsullied by it. I have never felt assured we should never part; that our intimacy would ever be continued. Why should I? For you have often told me you should make me no promise. Furthermore, I have heard you say it in former times, that had a lady received your addresses for some considerable length of time, and you should afterwards meet with one whom you thought more capable of rendering you happy than the one with whom you had so long been intimate, you should not consider it your duty to marry her; that you should not only be injuring yourself by the means but her; by giving your hand where you could not bestow your heart. As strong as my affections have ever been for you, I trust I have never been so selfish as to wish to imbitter your future hours by having you marry me, should you find one more worthy of your affections (which I think would be no great task) and one you thought would render your life happier than I could, even could I withhold you and know the parting would render the remainder of my life miserable. For my own part I have felt established. I have thought and still think that I have that confidence of your worth and appreciate it and your friendship so highly that I believe never wished for another's love, or a better friend, excepting Him whose love as far exceeds men's love as the heavens are above the earth. I am not only willing you should know my past feelings toward you, but my present feelings. I now extend the hand of friendship as cheerfully as I ever did and you stand as high as ever in my estimation. Although I was much offended at the contents of your letter, it did not alienate my affections for you nor occasion one wish for another's love.--You said "as for ladies I am done with them till I can find one that will me suit me and place some confidence in what I tell her." From this sentence I infered that you had not as yet found one who suited you, nor one who you thought had placed any confidence in you and likewise that you never intended to call on me again. I thought you were regardless of my feelings or rather, wished and intended to injure them greatly. It was this idea that prompted me to make that cruel observation that you wished to trample me in the dust. Oh, in pity pardon! I do not think you ever wished to abuse me. I do not think if my soul and body were consigned to you, you would intentionally injure me in word, thought, or deed. You have ever treated me with the greatest politeness, and ever manifested a lively interest in my welfare, for which I feel very grateful. The debt of gratitude which is your due from me is very great. Oh! That I might be blessed with the means of making you some acceptable returns. But should I never, I trust you will have your reward. ---How short sighted am I! How greatly have I erred! How egregiously have I been deceived in the meaning of the contents of that letter which occasioned me so much unhappiness and so greatly to err. The thought is truly painful. I trust your generosity will make some allowance for me, as I have erred in a great measure through ignorance. May each sad lesson I have to learn from experience prove a useful one. -- To know that I still possess your friendship produces pleasure intermingled with pain; pleasure, that I have not lost so worthy a friend, and pain, that I am so unworthy of such a blessing. A call from you would surely afford me exquisite pleasure. I wish again to meet the look of approbation, to hear my pardon fall from your own lips. May I never again be left to injure the best of friends.
Your sincere but unhappy friend,
P.S. I cannot at present make so great a sacrifice as to return your letters, unless you should insist upon it. --I am highly gratified to have you correct my errors in writing & hope it will prove an advantage to me by making me more critical. You will however find many errors in this &, but little sense. May you pass an indulgent eye over its weakness & pardon its tedious length.---
Whatever is my fate--may your path through life be strowne with the sweetest flowers and you possess that happiness which will bloom and ripen in eternity
is the sincere wish of your very affectionate
ROBERT TIBBETS BLAZO Robert Tibbets Blazo was born in North Parsonsfield, York county, Maine, Aug. 11, 1797, and died at that place May 25, 1890, ninety-two years, nine months and fourteen days. The name is of French origin, and not a common one in this country. Indeed, all who bear the name in New England, at the present time, are believed to be descendants from William Blazo, or Blaso as originally spelled, who came from France, tradition says from Bordeaux, to Newcastle or Greenland, N.H., early ion the eighteenth century. It is stated in the alleged History of Parsonsfield, that he came over in the year 1735. That he came to this country much earlier than that is proved by the fact that in 1727 he is mentioned in the New Hampshire Provincial Records as one of the first settlers of Epson, who migrated from New Castle and Greenland where they had previously settled. According to the ancient annals of Epson, "the town had been settled more than thirty years before the father of a family died there, and the first man buried in the oldest graveyard (that by the meeting house)) was William Blaso." The date of his death is not given, but it appears he was living as late as 1760, for him that year he, with others of his townsmen, signed a petition to governor Wentworth. It is not known whether he married before or after coming from France--nothing of his wife save that her name was Catherine, and that, according to the accords of the First Church in Greenland, she "owned ye covenants" in 1728. This being after their removal to Epson, it is probable that, being without a church or minister in the new settlement, they continued their connection with the church at Greenland. This is evident, too, from the fact that the baptism of their children are recorded there for several years after. These are, Amos, Dec, 72--; Judith, 1728; John, 1734; Jonathan, 1734; Thomas, 1737; Sarah, 1745; Mehitable, Apr. 30, 1749--There was also a Paul, who birth or baptism is not given, who enlisted in the continental Army, Dec. 10, 1782, as did Thomas, three days later. Although the year in which Amos Blazo was born is not given he was, probably, the oldest of the children. November 2, 1761, he was married to Joanna Libby, born, Oct. 16, 1737, daughter of Isaac and mary Libby, of Rye, N. H., and a lineal descendant of John Libby who came from England to Scarborough, Maine in 1630. His residence, as given at that time, was Chichester. The following year, and again in 1766, he and his brother John signed petitions as residents of Epson. At some time previous to March, 1778, he removed to Parsonsfield, (then called Parson's Town) Maine. He with others, at that time, petitioned, a inhabitants of that place, for a road to Wake field. There he permanently settled upon the land which has ever since remained in the possession of his descendants. The children of Amos and Joanna (Libby)Blazo, were : Catherine, born, August 11, 1762ódied, Dec.16,1809; Daniel, born, Sept 1764--died, January 19, 1802; John, born Dec. 4, 1766--died, Nov. 4, 1821; Joseph, born June 16, 1768--died, June 1827; Ebeneezer, born, 1770; Jonathan, born, 1775, died, June, 1817; William, born, March 1, 1777--died, August 25, 1830; Polly, born Apr. 2, 1779--died, Oct. 18, 17--. Amos Blazo died, Feb. 23, 1821. His wife died, Aug, 30, 1810. Daniel Blazo, above named, married Abigail Chapman, daughter of Job and Penelope (Philbrook) Chapman, and a lineal descendant, in the fifth generation, of Edward Chapman who came from England to Ipswich, Mass., in 1636. She died, Oct. 13, 1842. John Blazo, the youngest son of Daniel and Abigail (Chapman) Blazo, born, Nov. 1799, resided in Parsonsfield until his decease, in 1878. The oldest son, Robert Tibbets Blazo, the subject of this sketch, remained in his native town during his early boyhood, attending the common schools. He afterwards attended the well known academy at Limerick, Fryeburgh, and Waldoborough N.H. Subsequently he was engaged in teaching at Sandwich, N.H.; having among his pupils the, afterwards, Rev. Hosea Quimby, the late Hon. John Wentworth, of Chicago, and Harrison and Albert Hoyt, the former a well known Episcopal clergyman, the latter an artist of much celebrity. Having studied law, in the offices of Ira Q. Bean, Esp., of Sandwich, and Samuel Emerson Esq.. of Moultonborough, he was admitted to practice at the New Hampshire bar, in 1830. He commenced practice at Moultonborough where he remained about four years, then removed to Sandwich. Mr. Blazo married, Dec. 24, 1835, Mary Freeman , daughter of James Otis Freeman, a most estimable lady who survives him. They had four children, two sons and two daughters, all of whom are now living. In 1839 he relinquished his law practice at Sandwich and removed to his native town where he afterwards resided, on the old family homestead, until his decease. During the later years of his life he was principally engaged in farming and other business interests, taking little or no active part in the practice of his profession. Though always taking a deep interest in all public affairs, Mr. Blazo never sought nor accepted any office or political preferment other than such as belonged to his own town. In educational matters he felt a deep interest, and took an active part in the establishment and maintenance of the North Parsonsfield Seminary, the first ever established by the Freewill Baptist denomination, and of which he was, for many years, treasurer and member of the board of trustees. Mr. Blazo was a man of kindly nature; in his habits quiet and retiring; in his living temperate and abstemious. He possessed a scholarly mind, was fond of books, and was an assiduous reader of them, even up to the closing days of his life. In thought and in the conduct of business affairs he was conservative and cautious. He possessed a marked individuality, a strong will, and had the courage of his convictions. In the course of his protracted life these characteristics have made him well and widely known, and he should long be remembered as a kind friend, a good citizen and an honest man.
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