A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3


From David Cobb

16 July 1775

From Eunice Paine

17 July 1775
From Abigail Paine Greenleaf
Greenleaf, Abigail Paine RTP
Taunton July ca. 17th 1775 Dear Brother,

I won’t begin my letter with apologizes for not writing so long. I confess the fault and promise reformation. We rejoic’d greatly 72to see Mr. Collins and companions. Gentelmen so recomended by you and who cou’d give us so perticular an account of your scituation so lately cou’d not but afford us pleasure. Thier conversation was instructive and entertaining. They came in the morning and breakfasted but cou’d not be prevail’d upon to stay and dine, so that we had but little of their company tho’ this afforded high pleasure not the heart felt joy that your kind letter has seated in my breast. I do I will take your advice and chearfully injoy the Blessings of the present day leaving the future to the disposal of a wise superintending Power who has so highly favour’d me in a Brother who has a heart so enlarg’d.

I came to your house under many disadvantages beside the grand misfortune. I was a stranger to your dear companion who has a right to all the protection in your power. This consideration I judge, produc’d a letter you wrote Mr. Greenleaf the reading of which gave me great pleasure as it was a proof of friendship and as we had consider’d every perticular in the same lights you had plac’d affairs in, it has been my study to render myself agreable, which I flatter myself I have obtain’d by the kind manner with which I’m treated lately. The kindness I receiv’d when a stranger did honour to your sister but hope I now have her friendship but you will be the best judge of this as I hope she writes freely on this subject. I shall take kindly any thing you may think proper to write me on this in your next. I chuse to write freely on this subject as I know t’will ease your mind of a burden that must necesarily oppress you considering sisters curcumstances. Your dear little ones ingross much of my attention and afford me great pleasure. It has cost me much labour to ingratiate myself and family into their favour as to have any pleasure or profit in the society but have pretty well gain’d the point and hope in my next to give some specimen of our profits. My health is much mended since I came here. I give large credit for favours receiv’d. Mr. Greenleaf came here Thursday sevenight very unwell unfit to return among strangers so imers’d in business as at watertown but is so recover’d as to determine to set out for Concord to morrow in compliance to a summons to the inhabitants of Boston to meet there and chuse representatives. May wisdom direct thier choice. We are a poor scatter’d people. I fear the warning is too short for such a weighty affair. We want you at helm here, but depend upon receiving more advantage from your labours in a higher sphere. Tommy has been chiefly here is instructing Mr. Paddleford1 Jonny Adam2 and Paris Tillinharst3 in the use of the back sword, and next week he is to go to Abin­73ton to Mr. Aaron Hubards4 to assist him in bookkeeping settling accts. &c. Our three apprentices are in the army. Jo White is a Sergeant, Bil Foggs a fiffer. I don’t know what station Hary is in.

I’m in hopes that Mr. Greenleaf will have some place found him in the new establishment that will bring some profit. I fear we shall lose the most that is due to us for Magzs. as the debts are so scatter’d and so many difficultys attend every scheme to collect them.

Sister Eunice is very unwell. We have had very hot weather lately that has thrown her into a languid state. I think she is more low spirit’d than I. We live very chearful often wish you cou’d look in upon and be diverted at the figure your office cuts. Tis a strange alteration instead of the student with his book in the profound science. Here’s now the bed the spinning wheel the business of the tailor the butcher the semstress the lace maker at times the lawndress and many other different imployments are here seen. This being the pleasantest room we all assemble with our little ones at their books or sports in the latter, Tommy has his share a fine boy.

I believe tis very late my eyes are out and your patience will be try’d with this strange mess. I’ve omited many things I intended to have wrote. Prehaps may add another to this packet before it goes from watertown. Oh intolarble! two drops from my cadle on my letter. A vile fly’s, to blame I can’t see to coppy it to night shan’t have time in morning pray excuse it. Oh dear how mortifiing! That you may be a favourite of heaven prays your oblig’d sister

Abigail Greenleaf

RC ; endorsed.


Seth Padelford (1751–1810), a 1770 Yale graduate, studied law and began to practice in Hardwick, Mass. About 1775 he returned to his native Taunton, where he continued to practice law for the remainder of his life. In 1776 he was named attorney general of Bristol County and was later judge of the county probate court. After RTP moved to Boston, Padelford acted as his local agent in business matters (Dexter, Yale Biographies, 3:390–391).


Perhaps the John Adam, who enlisted as a matross in Capt. Samuel Fales’s company, Col. George Williams’s regiment. He served for 25 days on the alarm to Rhode Island and was discharged on Jan. 2, 1777.


Paris Jenckes Tillinghast (1757–1822) was a merchant after the war, first in Providence, R.I., later in Albany, N.Y., then in Uxbridge, Mass., and finally in Fayetteville, N.C. (Rose C. Tillinghast, The Tillinghast Family, 1560–1971 [n.p., 1972], 142).


Probably Col. Aaron Hobart (1729–1808), who cast bells at his furnace in Abington (Benjamin Hobart, History of the Town of Abington [Boston, 1866], 277).