Searching for Susan (Chapter One - Correspondence Begins, page 1 of 4)

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"Correspondence Begins"

Lynn, Mass. April 7, 1866

Mr. Fletcher,
Your note of April 4th was duly received. Concerning your wish that I would inform you when and where you might meet me I hardly knew what to say to you.

I shall be disengaged from my usual lessons of Wednesday & Saturday afternoons, on Wednesday of next week, and, if agreeable to yourself will meet you at my boarding house, 294 Chestnut St. Lynn, (opposite the school house.)

Thanking you for your friendly interest, I remain,
Susan Smith

It was few days short of the first anniversary of President Lincoln's assassination when the correspondence began, with this response from Susan Smith, a Lynn, Massachusetts school teacher. She seems surprised to receive an invitation from a man she was briefly introduced to the past winter. However, she agrees to meet socially with Edwin Fletcher, a widower who lives in the town of Acton, about twenty-five miles away.

The introduction had come from Rev. James Fletcher, Edwin's brother, seven years his senior. He was a Dartmouth graduate, ordained minister and school teacher. Recently he had started a school near Susan's home.

Edwin Fletcher was thirty-six years old at the time he received this response. Widowed three years earlier, he'd lost both his wife and young daughter within months of each other. Edwin worked in a family shoe manufacturing business.

Susan Smith taught school in Lynn, Mass. While school was in session she boarded in the home of the school principal, Nathaniel Hills. Susan was single, age twenty-eight, and lived the balance of the time in Danversport, Mass., about ten miles north of her school.

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