Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kiona, Benton County, Washington

Letters written in 1927 by Herman Ohms, a 37 year old WWI Veteran (ex-Marine) who is living at Kiona, Benton County, in the Yakima River Valley in the state of Washington and presently employed by the Northern Pacific Railroad. He has written these letters to a pen pal by the name of Robert Meador who lives in Goodview, Bedford County, Virginia. Olms’ two letters are described as follows:

--First letter dated 18 January 1927, is 4-pages written in ink on lined white paper. Ohms introduces himself to Meador and proceeds to write a little about his 20 years of travel throughout Western America and a lot about the Menominee Indians he grew up around in Northern Wisconsin. He describes their diet, lifestyles, living in teepees in summer & log houses in winter. He explains and draws a diagram showing how bears were caught in deadfall traps. He writes “I have had some of the older Indians tell me how they got Mr. Bear . . . the Indian would back up to a large tree one that the Bear could not reach around. Then when the Bear came to attack him, as you know that a Bear always squeezes his victim, the man would have a sharp knife so when the Bear made the squeeze he would disembowel the animal which would be the end of Mr. Bear. It must of took some nerve to do this.” He gives further interesting details of the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin.

--Second letter dated 30 March 1927, is five-pages. Ohms writes Meador that he has been working early & late loading sheep onto stock cars of the NPRR. He describes a recent arrow hunting expedition and his efforts to reproduce the Yakima Indian’s method of making tools & arrowheads. He goes on to describe present conditions of the Yakima Indians: “All that is left of this tribe is on the Reservation at Topnish, WA about 38 miles west of here and number about 500 all told and most of them are Breeds as the full blood Indians are about gone. They live on land allotted to them by the Government and do very little work usually in the fall. They pick potatoes and before 1915 [prohibition] hops, but no more hops.” Meador then describes in detail watching the Indians fish-for and hook salmon in the Yakima River.

This group of great Kiona, Benton County, Washington letters is for sale on Ebay Item number: 360110713250.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stephen Pike, Burlington, New Jersey

Handwritten letters, 1805-1825. The material centers on Stephen Pike (1786-1826) a Burlington, New Jersey teacher and merchant who married Rebecca, a daughter of the noted Rev. Thomas Scattergood. Pike is an interesting writer who frequently punctuates his letters with humor and personal musings. He was active in Quaker affairs and there are many names and commentaries. All but a few of the letters were penned by Stephen Pike and many were sent to his good friend, Thomas Kite, in Philadelphia. Other correspondents: Rebecca Pike, sister Sarah, and Miers Fisher.

Highlights include:

Three detailed travel letters home, 1819, Union, PA; Salem, Ohio; Fredonia, New York; from Pike's horseback trip to towns in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Content on a salt mine, maple sugar camp, journey into coal mine, Lake Erie, Cattaraugus Indians, more.
Hears Elijah Hicks lecture
Dr. Physic to treat Susan Emlen's cancer
ALS Miers Fisher - death of William Redwood
Fascinating descriptive portrait of the "little Prophetess" Mary Roscoe [married name Hinsdale -- later figured prominently in Thomas Paine recant controversy]
Quaker meetings; prominent visiting ministers
Brief excerpts:

1819 [Pike enters 400 ft into PA coal mine with lighted candle] - "There are a number of passages crossing each other at right angles like the streets of a city; what represents the blocks of houses, however, are but 6, 8, or perhaps 10 feet square - through these passages a cart is drawn to the extremes where the coal is dug..."

1819 [Sandy Hill Meeting, OH] - "...the smallest meeting house I think I have ever seen...built of logs...with sliders to separate the men and women..."

1819 [Ohio salt works on Yellow Creek, north of Richmond] - "They bore the earth, mostly through solid rock...descending frequently to the depth of three hundred feet...a tube is inserted to pump up the salt water from the bottom."

1819 At Lake Erie, Pike is mortified to find himself unexpectedly on board a vessel of war while on an outing with Commodore David Deacon. "My opposition to the spirit of war was by no means lessened by this accidental visit..."

1819- [Buffalo, NY] - "I passed through the Indian Village at Cattataugus...I was much interested in seeing the uncivilized aborigines of our country in their native haunts...I saw a number of the Indians of both sexes apparently enjoying their indolent repose...I met one party of young folks on horseback. They galloped by me with smiling countenances, their faces ornamented...with streaks and spots of red paint." More.

1819 [Crosses Carthage Bridge, NY] - "Conceive of a bridge of a light, airy structure, two hundred feet above the surface of the water, the principal support being a single arch of 300 feet springing from one perpendicular precipice to another...; [seeing people on bridge from below] " appeared as if [they were] passing over a rainbow among the clouds."

1813 [Elijah Hicks] - "I had the satisfaction of hearing him, for the first, at an appointed meeting he had here...He was eloquent on his two (I almost said favourite) topics..." More.

1814 - "Dr. Physic, who is now sick in the same family is an instance of one who has attained to their every pinnacle...and is very far from being lifted above the calamities of life. He has come to relieve his afflicted friend, but he is, himself so much afflicted by disease as to be unable to perform the necessary operation."

1807 [Philadelphia Yearly Meeting] - "This being the yearly meeting week we are crowded with company and fare sumptiously...the streets are swarming with plain gowns...the doorkeeper of the women[s] meeting house was curious enough to count the number that attended it and computed it to upward of sixteen hundred women in one house."

1824 - "Sister Scattergood has had a tedious time with a felon on one of her thumbs...Her son Joseph has also been much afflicted with a swelling on his arm. Above seventy leeches were applied. Afterwards it was oppend and since that town or more pieces of bone have come from it..."

Prophet Mary Roscoe

1814, 1815 - "Mary R. rose and began an interesting and very instructive address...she appears to speak only in compliance with a higher power.."; "...there were many in the meeting as well as myself, enamoured of the beauty of her lines, and exicted strongly to desire the possession of what appears so noble, and the same time, so lovely."; "I am told she fainted several times in attempting to speak in public,"; "She resided for a time in Willet Hicks; family, and it troubled Willet & his wife not a little that they could not, by any means, induce her to sit with them at table. I suppose they considered her a sister in the highest affinity, being, spiritually a child of the same Divine Parent, a partaker of his favours....but he insisted that the kitchen was her proper place..." More.

Note: Three letters have content on Mary Roscoe -- her family background; sermons, personal nature. Although none of these letters are complete, they do contain a lengthy Roscoe portrait - about 2pp. legal total. One letter with paper loss at bottom; two lacking signature pages. [See last photo.} Mary Roscoe (later married Henry Hinsdale) played a prominent role in the Thomas Paine (1737-1819) recant controversy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Edward Brooks to sister Sarah

June 1864 letter datelined 11 US Inft 1st Brig, 2nd Div., 5th AC-We have had no fighting,... but since tow oclock this morning we have been hearing musketry in the 9th corps. they have been very rapidly cannonading for a couple of hours ...we are now within 2 miles of Petersburg, but the confederates still hold that place. ...we have been making our way here from near cold harbor, across the Chickahominy, to charles city court house and yesterday we crossed the james at windmill point some 25 or 28 miles below Richmond. the trains crossed on a pontoon bridge said to be 2100 feet long... the troops crossed in transports. the 2nd corps crossed on the 15th and the 9th corps just afterards.. the 18th corps under gen smith went by transports through white house and up the james and was the first to advance on the south side of the river.. I hear a cannon about twice a minute, it is about 10 am, and firing will probably cease soon. June 18th we moved out hospital...we took earth works and the commanding position of this whole vicinity which the rebs would not have yielded if they had intended to make a stand against us.. These heights overlook Petersburg and only a mile distant so that 3 church spires are in plain sight above the tree tops.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Georgetown, Washington 1834

A one page letter with integral address leaf from F.W. Dodge of Georgetown, Washington, District of Columbia, to his nephew Allen Dodge at New York. Dated Georgetown, September 2, 1834, the letter combines business with complaints of illness.

This letter is for sale on Ebay, Item number: 190263574632.

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