Family letter

Objects from this contributor

This letter was written in 1847 by my 3xgreat grandfather, Baptist Minister John Cocks, from Amersham to his daughter Hephzibah and her husband George who was a Pianoforte Maker in London. Before this letter was written John (64) and his wife Mary (70) had lost four of their seven children at the ages of 5 months, 14, 19 and 30, and their first grandchild had died at the age of 3 in 1842. By 1847 however, Hephzibah had borne 7 more children who all lived to a good age.

I find the letter fascinating because it shows how families at that time tried to reconcile themselves to the unavoidable and very common experience of losing children. John Cocks was of course a Minister, but he must often have supported his congregation as well as his own family through great sadness, knowing exactly how they felt. He wrote:-

'It is true that we have had ... distressing bereavements of dear Children, but we have hope in their death, & trust that all things work together for good. What a mercy to feel our need of a Saviour ... what a mercy that you are not seeking your happiness in earthly things but in the Supreme good.'

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Amersham, Buckinghamshire




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