A New Year greeting from 1854

Tue, 12/29/2020 - 8:00am

A passage from the diary of Sarah/Sallie Prescott Goodwin, penned during the journey from England to New Orleans on board a ship captained by her husband, might well apply to our lives today. Having left Liverpool on November 27, 1853 and nearing the Bahamas, she wrote:

“January 1, 1854. A new year has dawned upon us and a bright, auspicious morn it is, every way favorable for us; a warm sun, fine weather together with a gentle breeze wafting us on our way, for all of which blessings we feel exceedingly thankful. The past week has been very unfavorable. The calm which commenced on Christmas continuing several days so we have only made nine degrees since last Sabbath. The weather is warm as June at home (Dresden), and the days nearly as long. The evenings are lovely. The new moon and countless stars reflected on the surface of the water are lovely to gaze upon. The whole expanse above us ‘bespangled with those isles of light, so darkly, so spiritually bright.’ I hope we may have no more clouds to obscure the bright sunshine through the whole of the coming year that there are this day. We cannot expect our lives to be one continued uninterrupted scene of enjoyment. Such is not the lot of any. But much depends on ourselves. By cultivating a cheerful happy spirit we can make ourselves, as well as those around us, happy. How little can we imagine what the year we have just entered upon has in store for us. We dined on roast pig. Very nice indeed.”

Sarah (known to her family as Sallie) Prescott was the granddaughter of Major and Mrs. Samuel Goodwin, the first caretakers of the Pownalborough Court House in Dresden. Goodwin heirs later owned the building. After her father’s death in 1833, Sarah moved into “the old court house” with her mother and two sisters.

In 1852, Sallie married a cousin, Capt. Samuel Goodwin. For the better part of 10 years, she traveled with him on voyages to transport cargo from New England and the East Coast of the U.S. to Canada, Ireland and England.

The Pownalborough Court House, built in 1761, is at 23 Court House Road, Dresden. It is one of three historic sites under the care of Lincoln County Historical Association. LCHA offers schools resources through its education outreach program. More information is available at www.lincolncountyhistory.org. A new feature on the site, “Object of the Week,” highlights an artifact or special feature from one of the three sites. New postings are generally available on Mondays.

LCHA is a nonprofit that provides stewardship for the 1754 Chapman-Hall House in Damariscotta, 1811 Old Jail and Museum in Wiscasset, and Pownalborough Court House.