John Atkinson papers  1742-1876 (bulk 1812-1840)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection (20 items) contains 18 letters, a musical score, and a poem related to the Fitch family of Hornchurch, England, and their temporary move to the United States in the early 19th century. Sarah and Eliza Jane Fitch wrote to their English relatives about the misfortunes they encountered while living in North America, and family members provided news from England.

Sarah and Eliza Jane Fitch corresponded with Sarah's sister, Jane Bonus of Hornchurch, England, about their difficulties in Maryland and Massachusetts. They discussed family deaths, local epidemics, and news, such as the mutiny on the Globe (January 4, 1825). Other correspondence includes a letter Frederick Charles Fitch received from his mother while he sailed on the Weymouth (May 25, 1826), and a letter he wrote to her from Bonavista (now Boa Vista), Cape Verde Islands, describing local scenery and his sailing experiences (August 5, [1826]). Eliza Jane also received 2 letters from Jane Bonus, who reported news of Eliza's cousins and provided other updates from Hornchurch. Another relative of the Fitch family, Charles Cove, wrote 3 letters to Sarah Fitch in 1828 and 1829, in which he urged her to return to England. The collection also contains a letter that a Fitch family member wrote to a friend about a voyage from North America to England (September 1829).

The collection's additional items are 2 letters that Charles Cove and John Pytches Revett exchanged regarding Cove's desire to marry Revett's daughter (1843), a letter Jane Bonus wrote to Emily Fitch about local news (September 26, 1845), an undated poem commemorating Horatio Nelson's military victories, and an undated manuscript score for a song entitled "The Dove," written by B. Orme and T. Colkin of the 84th Regiment.

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