Letters dating back to 1800s discovered in walls of Westborough home

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — A homeowner figured the only thing contractors would find in her walls was a lack of insulation, but they instead uncovered a stash of historical treasures.

"It's dated Providence April 5, 1874," said contractor Brandon Baird.

They did not know, could not know that intimacies 150 years old would spill from the darkness.

"It's a pretty cool find, finding history in a house," said Baird.

That find was made in Westborough, dozens of family letters and papers from the late 1800s sealed behind a wall. Baird discovered them this week while remodeling a room.

The letters are written from sons to a mother, from mother to sons. A peek into the life of the long-gone Donovan family, Mary and Byron, and James.

"These are beautiful letters with beautiful penmanship," said homeowner Christine Anthony.

Anthony recalls one son's letter.

"Talking about farming and trying to buy a farm and trying to get more stock for his farm. And sharing that with his mother. It's really a beautiful thing," said Anthony.

The beauty lies not in the prose, but in the act of writing. So much time poured into each page when there was so much less time to give.

So how did the letters end up all the way down inside a sealed wall? Well, it has to do with the type of architecture used back when the house was built.

With balloon framing, it is a hollow run from top to bottom so the letters probably fell from the attic and there they waited for the slow wheel of history to turn.

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