University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Harriet A. McNeil letters, 1852-1855

Full finding aid (pdf) | Digitized material

Collection Scope and Content

This brief series of letters to a woman named Caroline (1852-53) and an agent named Mr. Libby (1855) describe Harriet McNeil’s attempt to sell her patrimony and arrange for Caroline to receive the money so that she could travel to live in Alabama with Mrs. McNeil. Caroline was living in or near Lewiston Falls, Maine and received the letters from a Reverend John Elliot. In the letters to Caroline, McNeil provides detailed travel advice about places to visit, describes the clothing she will need when she moves, requests that Caroline bring patterns and fabric, and tells Caroline that when she arrives in Alabama, she will change her name to Caroline R. Bissell. McNeil relates a plan to have Caroline provide assistance because of her ill health; she also suggests that Caroline might teach in her school. It is unclear whether there is a familial relationship between the two women, but McNeil writes that she is going to make Caroline her heir. The two letters to Mr. Libby primarily focus on McNeil’s disappointment that she has not yet received the payment of $220 in order to transport Caroline to live with her.

Biographical/Historical Note

Harriet A. McNeil lived in Richmond, Alabama during the 1850s.