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Re: Meacham Manuscript
Posted by: John Meacham (ID *****5324) Date: June 11, 2012 at 19:18:42
In Reply to: Meacham Manuscript by John Meacham of 1562

The manuscript has been found -- mostly. Here's a message I sent to a grandson of Joseph Arthur Meacham today: Thank you again for answering my letter, copying the manuscript and sending it. I really appreciate it.

I skimmed the pages immediately, and was struck by the abrupt change in subject matter from Edward's religious experiences to his secular experiences. Then I came to the story of his illness as a young man. He tells about the young doctor from the East who bled him, which only made him worse, and then his recovery under the care of his grandfather, Dr. Thomas Meacham. Your grandfather, Joseph Arthur Meacham, quoted this story directly in his article about Dr. Thomas Meacham in "The Meacham Family Book of Remembrance and Genealogy." However, I didn't find the quotes about Edward's great-grandfather Samuel Meacham's move from Connecticut to New Hampshire, about Dr. Thomas's moves from New Hampshire to Vermont to New York , or about his grandmother Sarah Cauley's birth, life and death.

Then I took a closer look at the copy and found that there are two pages numbered 64. Edward's religious commentary ends on the first of these. The secular material begins on the second Page 64 with, "While in Cornwall, I visited the jail several times." There is no explanation of when or why he went to Cornwall.

So, I think what you have is all of the manuscript in which Edward related his religious experiences and three/fourths of "A Brief History of My Life." Joseph Arthur said in in the Meacham book, "His (Edward's) History consists of five notebooks full of well-written and interesting material which I have in my possession, given me by the last surviving child of the author, Ada R. Meacham Watson." You said you have four notebooks. I think the first notebook of "A Brief History of My Life" is missing.

If I'm correct, let's hope the notebook is only misplaced, not lost, and that it is found again someday (along with Dr. Tom's "hunting knife with a nine-inch blade; the powder horn, with his initials T. M. carved on it, a shot pouch, and a fish-basket, or creel, which he had made; also several deeds and papers signed by Thomas Meacham").

Meanwhile, we can all be thankful for the valuable material which has been preserved. I intend to read it closely and transcribe the stories that really bring these Meachams to life -- like the one in which Edward tells how Dr. Tom dug up some of his buried treasure and gave Thomas, Jr. the money he needed to pay his court costs and stay out of jail.

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