Sunday, June 27, 2004

T R Harrison & Frances Darling to Capt. Ed Richmond, Massachusetts, 1854

This stampless letter has a circular date stamp for PAW PAW Mich., a matching PAID and 3 cent rate, and is addressed to Capt. Ed Richmond, N. Adams, Mass., It is a two+ page letter (plus a small enclosure) written by T.R. Harrison and Frances Darling. The headline is Paw Paw, Mich, Aug 16 / 54 [1854].

Some abstracts:

"Inclosed you will find orders for the payment of amounts due to Frances N. Darling, & Jane E. Darling, daughters of William Darling, deceased, from the estate of their Grandfather David Darling of which you are Administrator."

"There are two other children of the said William Darling & only two both boys & of age, Charles & Edgar, the former residing in Jackson in this state & the latter at Leoni in the same county, where also the Mother (now Mrs. Haywood) [Kaywood?] also resides."

"The amount due Jane E. you will forward directly to me, she being my wife, also the amount for Frances you will forward to my care; she is now teaching school a few miles from her & makes it her home with me."

Emma Wadsworth Letter, 1865

The correspondent, Emma Wadsworth is clearly an intelligent, articulate, young woman and does not hesitate to speak her mind. She gives the reader a descriptive literary sketch of the intrigue and the controversy surrounding the Lincoln Assassination. Excerpts of the letter are quoted below.


"Speedwell, Ills.—April 21, 1865

Dear Friend--

Your favor of March 20th, I believe it was for the first part of it has been scattered among my papers so I have not time now to hunt it up…I forthwith proceed to reply. Here is a goodly piece of paper to begin with but letter writing is getting to be such a bore that I can hardly content myself to write…

I am in glorious spirits and good health and you know when we feel well everything is bright and joyous, and when the prospect of peace lifts one up to the ‘ether regions’ or with peace and calm will come, cool reason and soberness. O how anxious I feel . O my beloved country will thy children buy bitterness and wrath, prejudice and the sorrows of this cruel civil war and write on the glorious principles of Madison and Jefferson. I fear they will not do it for many years. Oh but I welcome that sweet angel of peace!

Everything is peace around here since Richmond was taken. Goods and everything else have fell 50 percent. It has been a hard winter….

Mr. William McClury and [Mr.] Flowers are home paroled. McClury has been with us some. Lincoln’s assassination has cast a gloom over the north. The anti-war party bitterly detested Lincoln and have no crocodile tears to spill over his death. But heaven save us from the drunken debaucher [Andrew Johnson] who reigns in his place. I would a thousand times rather had Lincoln than the thing who by virtue of the second office is the gift of the people, now holds the first place. Not a paper I have seen has failed to denounce him for his shameless ‘incoherency’ on the inauguration day and I have seen the friends of Lincoln shed tears of vexation over that exhibition, the shoddy Democrats by to mourn loudest of all over Lincoln’s fate—who when living, they denounced everything he did and said. It reminds of the way the opposite party carried on when the noble Mr. Douglas died, I lament that our land has been darkened by the assassin’s hand, but for one who from my very soul, I believe to be the worst enemy of my country almost. I would have him suffer for his actions by the laws of our country and not by the assassin’s hand. But if it is possible in Andy Johnson we have the essence of combined meanness, instead of a thoughtless, cruel joker….

I like frankness in all matters and I nknow you do or I would not dare to write as I do…. Write often…E.W."

******END OF LETTER******

An 1860 pre-civil war dated letter from William Wadsworth to his sister, Emma Wadsworth


"…A good nigger is worth from fourteen to eighteen hundred dollars here…." William Wadsworth, July 1, 1860"

A pre-civil war dated letter from William Wadsworth to his dear sister, Emma Wadsworth. The letter by Wadsworth is written from Camden, South Carolina on July 1, 1860.

Little did William Wadsworth know, but a short two years later, in 1862, he would muster into Company "I" of the 83rd Illinois Infantry. His perspective on the South in 1860 is very interesting. What he was doing in South Carolina at the time is left to the imagination.

At the time this letter was written, Abraham Lincoln was busy campaigning and was soon to be elected President on November 6, 1860. South Carolina would be the first to secede on December 20, 1860, on the heels of the Lincoln winning the election. What a time for Wadsworth to be visiting South Carolina. The political atmosphere must have been exciting with the North and South at each other’s throats. This letter gives us great insight into the days just before the Civil War commenced.


Below I have quoted excerpts of the letter

"July 1, 1860

Miss Emma--Sister

I received yours of the 16th and was very glad to hear from you. I am well and doing as well as could be well as could be expected for these times. You asked me to tell you what I think of the South. I think just as I always have about the South and the Slavery question. I always thought that if you would rather live in a slave state than a free one and I expect to live farther South than this before many years. I do not believe that Slavery is right, but still I think that under the circumstances that they are held in the South that it is better to keep them as they are for the Slave and Master, although there is is not one Slave out of ten that does not work enough to pay his master the interest on the money that he has invested in him. A good Nigger is worth from fourteen to eighteen hundred dollars here. As for politics there is not much ‘tis made here yet. I think that the race in this state will be pretty close between Bell and S.A. Douglas.

[Wadsworth refers here to John Bell and Steven A. Douglas. John Bell initially opposed secession; however, he later gave his full support to President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Army. In 1860 Douglas was nominated by northern Democrats for the presidency.] ******

You spoke in your letter about some of them trying to make a split in the…church on the slavery questions there is…and I suppose they can all do what they please, but I hope that they will find…foolish enough to have anything to do with such measures, and I think that if old John Miller would strain as hard for the salvation of his soul as he does for popularity, that he would let such things alone and to counting up men he has cheated in horse trades and pay them the difference.

I left Lexington about a month ago. Times got so dull that we had nothing to do and as I was the lost jer in the shop, I had to take my chances. I came from Lexington to here. I have a good job here carrying on a shop for a man that does not know anything about the business. I am getting two dollars per day. I have been out of stock for two or three days but look for more everyday. I cannot tell anything about when I will be at home. I have not got a letter from Lib since I left home. I wrote to Ed twice or three times and to Lib once but have got no answer yet. I do not think that I will write anymore unless they write to me.

Politics does not bother me as much as the girls. There are so many good looking ones here and they all want to marry. I have almost made up my mind to tie to one of them, but I cannot decide which. I think that I shall find one after…need not be surprised if I should bring her home with me when I come. If I do you…expect to see something good looking. We will have a grand ball at the hotel where I am boarding on the fourth and as I am one of the floor mangers, I will have a good chance to look around among them.

If I leave the man that I am at work for soon I will go farther south, and I think that I will stay here and after the first of next month I am going to try to carry…on the shop on my own …
Give my respects to all inquiring friends and not to ones that do not inquire to. Tell Kate and James that I would like to hear from them….[edited the rest of the letter].

Yours truly….Wm. Wadsworth"



"…I expect to start for Pikes Peak about the first of April…. They say that the prospect is full as good as that of California…" Wm. Wadsworth, Feb. 19, 1859"

Here is another William Wadsworth letter written to his sister, Emma Wadsworth. It is written from Greenbush, (presumably Illinois) on February 19, 1859.

William Wadsworth, an apparent mover and shaker, would also live in South Carolina in 1860, immediately preceding the Civil War. See his 1860 letter up for auction, too! Later, in 1862, he would serve in the Civil War (Company "I" of the 83rd Illinois Infantry).

In this letter, Wadsworth tell his sister of his intentions to travel to Colorado—during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush of 1858-59. Like others, he heard rumors of gold, of large nuggets and gold-bearing quartz. Trappers had seen the flash of color in Rocky Mountain streams. Cherokee Indians had found golden flakes in the sands of Ralston's Creek. In the early spring of 1858 four parties of gold seekers started out for the Front Range of the Rockies to verify the truth of these rumors.


"Greenbush—Feb. 19, 1859

Dear Sister

It is with pleasure that I take this opportunity of writing to you. We received a letter from you for Martha. She has not been here since Christmas. She is at Mother’s. Mailed your letter to her this morning. Ed’s folks are all well. Ella is as fat and sAucy as she can be. She is beginning to talk a little. My health is improving. I think that I will get well as soon as warm weather comes.

I expect to start for Pikes Peak about the first of April. I do not know whether I will have time to come to see you before I go or not. I have seen letters from several young men of my acquaintances from there. They say that from 3 to 8 dollars per day is a low estimate of what a man can make. Besides there is two or three men in this neighborhood that has been all through that country. They say that the prospect is full as good as that of California.

I have been shut up in the shop so much for the last five years that I think that the trip will do me good. I intend to go there and if I can do well there, I will stay for a year or two. If not, I will go south and work at my trade. [This is exactly what Wadsworth did in 1860]. I can make from 15 to 18 dollars per week there, which I can only get from 11 to 12 here. I have been getting thirty dollars per month board and wasting since I have been here. I expect to go and see mother before I go away…

.Yours truly, Wm Wadsworth"

Friday, June 18, 2004

Lydia Giles, San Francisco California, 1881


“When I have good pen and some better paper, I will write you of the Rocky Mountains, the Plains, the Hills and Valleys, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains that we crossed coming here. If anyone had told me a year ago that I would come Overland to California, I would not have believed it, would you?”

Lydia Ann Giles,
San Francisco, California,
July 10, 1881

Two great letters written by an exciting and adventurous, female sailor, and pioneer who made the Overland journey through the Sierra Nevadas in 1880. The letters are written by Lydia Ann Giles and addressed for the most part to family members in Tenants Harbor, Maine. She sailed the world over with her husband, Captain Henry Giles who worked for J. M. Grace & Company, San Franscisco, shipping and commission merchants

***Oakland, California--July the 10th, 1881***

“Dear Sister-- Will write you a few lines this evening. I arrived here all right—was eight days—got along nicely. Was sick a week after I got here. Had a bad cold-cough and sore throat. I was not on deck for a week. Was over to San Francisco yesterday.

Sherry and I took the afternoon to ourselves and had a good walk. Took the car and went to Laurel Hill Cemetery. It is a beautiful place. [Laurel Hill Cemetery founded in 1854 is no longer in existence. Also formerly known as Lone Mountain Cemetery, San Francisco County, it was sadly forgotten and left to the vandals. Many of San Francisco’s pioneering politicians were buried there. Many of the bodies were moved and retinterred at Laurel Hill Mound, Cypress Lawn, Colma.] Then we took the steam car and went home with Mr. Chapman[of J. F. Chapman & Co., shipping and commission merchants, San Franscisco] to Sea and spent the evening. His wife was a Levensaller. She has two brothers here.

Capt. Wallace sailed yesterday. The ‘Gibson’ lays at the same wharf we do. Mrs. Speed has spent one day with me and I have been one day there. Henry has a bad cold; other ways, his health is good. He likes the long voyages very much.

I had a letter from Leann yesterday. Said there was a present waiting for her when she got home. A real silver butter dish. Had a bail to it and a place to lay the knife on the side. It was from Edward Gleason, a cousin. Henry has sent her a pair of blankets. Had them made to order. Her name wove in the border. I did not see them, but they must have been very nice. Mr. Chapman is going to give me a pair and Mr. Levensaller will give me a pair.

We intend to go to William Long someday after Henry gets over his cold. He lives at Shawood, a small town back of here. When I have good pen and some better paper, I will write you of the Rocky Mountains, the Plains, the Hills and Valleys, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains that we crossed coming here. If anyone had told me a year ago that I would come Overland to California, I would not have believed it, would you?

Henry says he will send Joe’s pipe by mail. We have two nice great hogs on board. Write as soon as you get this and write all the news. Kiss Eddie for me.

My love to all and a good share to yourself.
Yours affectionately. L. A. Giles.
Henry sends his regards.”

Letters & Postcards on E-Bay