Monday, June 29, 2009

Ophelia Polk, Bayou Bartholomew 1868

Jan. 12, 1868, from Ophelia Polk to parents. Ophelia comments on the difficulty of finding and training servants among other topics. Excerpts:
"I was in hopes Emmeline would want to cook this year for me, but she said nothing about it. She has divided off poor Eliza's children among their kin, and only keeps some of the youngest herself."
"Mr. Polk has given up the Honduras notion now entirely and is willing to return to Tenn, much to the satisfaction of the girls and myself."
" is true the land is splendid but the negroes are too lazy to work it as it should be, and it does not pay to live in a sickly country and make cotton. I never want to see another seed planted."
"Jan. 13th This morning a negro woman was drowned in front of our house crossing the bayou, the boat turned over with them. I felt so sorry for the mother of the girl. She was on the bank looking at them cross and the boat struck a snag and threw her daughter and little boy out..."

Item number: 230351119461

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Handwritten lot of (19) letters centered around noted banknote engraver and inventor, Gideon Fairman (1774-1827) and his daughter, Caroline Augusta Fairman (b. 1809) who married wealthy iron and hardware merchant, Evans Rogers in 1830. Rogers owned a mansion on Washington Square in Philadelphia. [Evans and Caroline Rogers were the parents of Helen Kate Rogers who married Horace Howard Furness.]
Many of the letters were sent to Mrs. Stewart (Susan) Lewis of Albany, the sister of Gideon Fairman's deceased wife. Caroline appears to have been adopted by the Lewis family as she refers to Mrs. Lewis as mother. A few later letters were sent by Evans Rogers to daughter, Kate. Other correspondents include George Washington Fairman; David Fairman (one each), E. B. Hill. There are a number of letters of great interest:
(4) Autograph signed letters, G.[Gideon] Fairman, 1811-19. An 1811 letter with a fabulous "original" small drawing of ladies pantaloons. A few docketed, "Col. Fairman" [War of 1812 service].
1827 Phila. letter of Dr. Thos. B. Jones announcing death of Fairman, by "second attack of his disease."
1830 retained letter of Evans Rogers to Caroline with confession of love and marriage proposal. Rogers provides detailed content on his family history and financial standing.
1830s letters, newly married Caroline in Philadelphia -- with wonderful descriptions of her life in high society -- "four or five parties every week"; bed at 2 or 3; social calls every day; three parlors; servants.
1835-36 Two travel in Europe letters, Paris, Frankfort, letters home from Caroline -- with intricate detail -- Italian Opera; dining at Verys w/ floor to ceiling mirrors and cocks-comb pie. One with small hand drawing.
Plus, two 1863 ALSs, "Evans Rogers", while vacationing in Long Branch, NJ -- genteel company; riding Archy; crabbing; "Mr Furness luxuriates in the Blackberry field and Horace with his bugs."

This fantastic group of letters is up for sale on Ebay, Item number: 230349991355.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


A 2 page letter (front & back) written by WILSON L. TURMAN during his time as a guard at CAMP DOUGLAS in Chicago, IL.

In the letter, Turman mentions GRANT, SHERMAN, THOMAS and SHERIDEN. He also talks of the stench of the dead carcasses. Turman pens a detailed recipe for beer on the majority of the 2nd page of the letter and signs his name in closing.

The letter in part reads:
" And by the eternal we will only think of it. How will those bruised men black with the smoke of battle coming up through that firey furnace with SHERMAN with GRANT with THOMAS with SHERIDEN and a host of others feel when they see their meanest enemies at home. And tell me not that they do not know them. For a single glance of the ? portrays them for their deeds are written upon their brow and ? that has eyes can read. I am small in stature. But I am a head and shoulders taller when I get away ? things for taller. I try breath a purer air and lifting my thoughts heavenward. The stench from their putrid carcasses fall beneath and the bright sunshine that glitters upon the fields of our banner as she floats over the ramparts of Richmond loomes up and the flames as of olden time seemed to burn up the drops and verify that the sacrifice is exceptable before God Hallalujah the Lord God ? riseth. Let the earth rejoice and all things that are therein. My soul feasts upper. ? things for never did I know what happiness was before for I am so glad that my feeble mind ? the trying scenes through which we have had to pass has stood firm in its purpose and never a weary abrupt disturbed it. And I even I am permitted to stand and view the Promised Land with its returning herds leaping upon the green pastures that returning peace and liberty affords. But these thoughts are abortive. My mind fails to grasp language adequate to express the glory of the future. But glory glory is the out burst of my heart for its glittering streamy rais fill my soul and I will sing it forever and ever in the face of COPPERHEADS in the face of my meanest enemy I will shout. But I must close."

This great Civil War letter is for sale on Ebay Item number: 300322983832

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

J P Bambrick 1847

Handwritten letter to parents, Sept. 23, 1847, from J P Bambrick. The dateline notes Harrisonburg. Based on the letter content [proximity to New Orleans; river] this Harrisonburg most likely is in Louisiana (vs. Virginia.). Bambrick writes in part:

"The season has been "midling sickly and a good many deaths have arrived in our town...The yellow fever is raging in the city and no prospect of it decreasing untill there is a killing frost. The mortality has been very heavy from 5 to 600 hundred pr day."

"Cotton opens very lively here this season. It brings from 10 to 12 1/2 has been dry an[d] very favorable for picking cotton..."

"I traded my mild filly...for a race horse or rather pony and made a race on him for 25$ and won it and then sold him for 75$ in cash."

This great old letter is up for sale on Ebay Item number: 230348680956.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dana and Jennie Barber letters 1888-89

Four letters 1888-89, from Dana and Jennie Barber, newcomers to Knowles, MD. The letters were sent to sister and mother, Mrs. C. H. Duffy, New York City and Mrs. Geo. Root, Nineveh, NY. Three of the letters were sent from Dana at his Washington D.C. office. The highlight is the 12 page letter, octavo, from Jennie. Highly detailed in content, she describes her new home: Neighbor Mrs. Smith expects her "confinement" in a week, "but goes banging about as though nothing was the matter."; Kate Hayden, in a Queen Anne cottage on the other side has worked at the Treasury for 13 years and holds a literary club;. "...we pay $1.50 a cord for seasoned oak...then I gave a n-----r [racist term] $1.15 for sawing." [Knowles] "This is not a village at all; only a large farm which was owned by Mr. Knowles, grandfather of our landlord and after the death of the old people the farm was sold in parcels of 10 acres and less; there were only three or four houses until quite recently, every one has plenty of room; we have over half an acres, triangular in shape." Plus, attends new church with "shouting Methodist" who can be heard through closed windows a quarter mile away"; buys corn at the Health Food Co. and locally grown White Star potatoes for 80c a bushel; much more minute detail.

This group of interesting letters is up for sale on Ebay Item number: 230347073715.

Monday, June 08, 2009

North Shore New York 1847

Letter post marked North Shore New York. Written in 1847 by E Allen, to his brother Wm in Flat Brook, NY. He writes about teaching, but is looking into a secret job. Writes about local people, and says in part...we have had but 3 days sleighing upon the island this winter, the ground is frozen hard, and the wagoning is good...... if you was not anxious to enter college I could get you the academy here, which would be worth 5 or 6 hundred dollars per year.. the teacher that has it will probably not stay more than this quarter.....Give my love to Aunt B.......I have my health.....

Ebay Item number: 160339307638.

Letters & Postcards on E-Bay