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Communication with the Spirit of his dead daughter Jane Elizabeth Pierce
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This letter was written by a prominent spiritualist, Maria B. Trenholm Hayden (1826-1883), Mrs. William R. Hayden, whose offices were in Boston, Massachusetts. Hayden was one of thousands of women and men who claimed to communicate with the dead. She was a "test medium," which meant she answered questions known only to the asker and the deceased. The fad for spiritualism began in America in 1848 when Kate and Margaret Post of Rochester, New York, began hearing tapping at their home. They interpreted them as communication from the spirit world. Soon they were taking paying clients in New York City. Thousands of others copied them; others began hearing voices from the spirit world or channeling spirits' writings. Dexter Pierce was a landowner who lived in Sturbridge and later Northfield, Massachusetts. His daughter Jane Pierce (1832-1855), was married to Orson Morton when she died of consumption (tuberculosis).
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