1877 text


Simcoe.  Oct. 20th  77.

My Dear Sir,
Yours of the 18th is to hand, and has, I confess, taken me a little by surprise. While I have all confidence, both in you and Ida, I could have wished, that this matter had not reached its present state for yet a few years.
I have, however, had a long and careful conversation with my daughter, and I am con-
vinced that it will be unwise for me to withhold my consent, to any formal engagement
you and she may wish to enter into. 1
Let me say just here, that you have as noble a treasure as ever God gave to the keeping
of any man; and the fact, that I consent to resign it to you, is the fullest evidence, that I regard you as worthy of its possession.
In regard to your future, let me advise you, to defer all thoughts of marriage, until
you have completed your course and are ready to take the field for the Master. Let your engagement be but an additional incentive to a high and noble purpose.
I do not ask for Ida – as she does not ask for herself – wealth or fame, or worldly endowments, but I ask, that you may give her what is of far more value, a high and hefty 2 purpose, and a noble consecrated life.
May the blessing of Heaven attend you, both in your preparation and in your future life work. You have my permission to make any arrangement, looking to the future, that her heart and her judgment may dictate.
Yours very truly,
H.P. Fitch   3

  1. The liberal use of commas throughout this letter may have to do with H.P. Fitch’s life as a minister.  He was likely used to writing sermons meant to be read aloud, and so might have tended to a usage of commas to reflect intended pauses and emphasis.
  2.  It is possible that this word is “lofty”
  3. Heman Parker Fitch married Melissa Wolverton. In the introduction to a collection of Ida Emma Fitch Baker’s poetry, “Selected Poems”, (edited by her son Ray Palmer Baker, and published by Ryerson Press in Toronto, in 1951) we are told that the Fitches had been among the first settlers of Connecticut.  But that is not the only ‘first’ with which they were credited.  Apparently, as Baker writes, Ida’s great-grandfather, was the first Fitch in the province of Ontario.  The synopsis of the accepted story of the family’s immigrations and emigrations can be summed up as follows:  the Fitches made a home for themselves in England after the Norman Conquest, moved to Connecticut where some became Loyalists in the Revoluntionary War, others moved westward, bringing us back to Ida’s great-grandfather, who landed in Ontario.  On Ida’s maternal side, the Wolverton family provides us with tidbits of Ontario history.  Ida’s mother, Melissa Wolverton, was the grand-daughter of Enos Wolverton who founded the village of Wolverton in Oxford County.  It is said that Enos Wolverton purchased for use in his home what was believed to be the first pipe organ in the province of Ontario.