Tuesday, September 29, 2009

1871 H. P. Churchill

Highly detailed letter home from an American, H. P. Churchill, describing his travels in northern Italy. Content includes:
Naples -- Half-clad beggars; "the people are the most squalid wretched objects we saw anywhere..."; Capri; Blue Grotto -- illuminated with "peculiar" light; buys fruit from "orange girls"; charges annoying locals with umbrella; nighttime journey up Mount Vesuvius volcano, 5pp., burns soles of shoes - "All the time we were in Naples, Vesuvius was in action, its summit by day being wreathed in smoke & by night lurid with flame."; "...the scene from where we stood was unspeakably grand & terrific. There 1000 feet above a vast volume of flame was rushing forth from the summit; "cascade of fire" 50 ft hills of lava; explores Pompeii, Pisa tower - describes; charmed with Genoa; Seville; sees the, "Last Supper", Milan.
It ends in Heidelberg, Germany, where letter was written, after a trip across Lake Como.

This great letter is for sale on Ebay
Item number:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sonoma, California 1853

Sonoma, California, Jul 22 1853, from Thomas J. B. Hubbard, in the heart of the Gold Rush country, to his sister, Julia B. Hubbard, Fulton, Oswego County, New York, blue Columbia, Cal., Jul 29 1853, postmark, postage stamp has been removed. Complains of feeling dull, contrasting "Home" with the "trials and perplexities of a life in California ... Though I can't say that I regret that I came to this country, if it has been connected with something which was not altogether pleasant. Yet man must learn to take the evil with the good & mix them to suit himself ... with one exception California has been more than it ever has been. There has been some commotion since gambling has been stopped than at any previous time. Every night we hear or a murder & some times 3 or 4. This is confined to the Southern mines. A man is not safe traveling for they will take a man's life for 2 shillings any time. I hear [there] was a most brutal murder committed a few nights ago. An old man by the name of Kitsen was killed by a young fellow called Worth from Virginia for something that he had said in regard to Bosonton's assassination. My health is first rate -- never better ... the mill has plenty to eat & enough to which is a glorious thing, for it keeps me out of perotinus. But it is the good imes a coming & I will pick up all the past privations & square the books ... direct [letters to] Sonoma, Tuolumne Co.Cal ... [signed] Thomas J. B. Hubbard ..."

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Civil War Soldier's letter from R.F Edwards

A fantastic 1862 Civil War Soldier's letter from R.F Edwards is up for sale on Ebay. Item number:280399142907

The full text of the Letter reads as follows:
“Battlefield near Sharpsburg Sep. 24th Dear Parents, Again I write to you "Le mois de Septembre touche a sa fin." - The month of September touches it's end - as Sue beautifully says in his "Juif Errant". All things herald the coming decay. The cornfields are withered stalks - the distant breath of winter reaches us; involuntarily we are shivering here. The leaves show a faint change - the orchards groan under their heavy burden of ruddy apples - The heat of summer has departed - we are invigorated by the cooling winds that tell us of the North - all things tell of approaching winter. We are poorly prepared for the coming season. The regiment is nearly bare of shoes and underclothing - totally destitute of blankets and tents - and the poor fellows have little prospect of bettering their condition before the cold weather is upon them in its rigours. The men are covered with vermin - and in a most pitiable condition. But our Flag is full of bullet holes - the smoke of Battle has soiled its snow white and crimson folds - but letters of gold will ere we return. Second. The actions of Thorofare Gap - Bull Run - East Mountain and Sharpsburg - through which the gallant old 90th has passed triumphantly and won golden opinions from all by its spartan courage. I am proud of my Regt. - the National Guard - both as the 19th - and as the 90th. I wish that I had been in the Sharpsburg affair - for there will never in this war be another like it. Still I have seen all the horrors without positively being in the action. The dead and dying. Long lanes of dead fallen where they stood marked the Rebel lines of battle. All positions - some kneeling - others on their hand and knees - some peacefully lying there on that bloody field as if on some rose strewn couch. We still remain at this stupid place - no signs of the enemy - the daily thunder of cannon that for the past two weeks has been a familiar sound has ceased and all is quiet. We will move shortly - it is expected - to Harper's Ferry. I wish they would leave us there all winter - but time will show. There were two things I neglected to ask you to send in my last. One is very wicked I know but can't help it, must ask. 1. Knife spoon and fork - my other one was stolen long since 2. Penknife 3. !!!! (Just a small -ee) box of cigars Please pay for all these things out of my money if there is any left. And for mercy's sake do send me just a little change in a letter - but for goodness' sake don't Register it. I never can get it without a great deal of trouble when you do. It's just as safe the other way - (in small sums). I am still pretty busy - everything goes on smoothly and I am quite satisfied with my position - there is nothing more of interest to relate so I will close - My love to Aunt and Lizzie - and to the Ladies. Regards to all inquiring - write soon and direct as usual to Your affectionate Son R.F. Edwards”

Monday, September 21, 2009

Moses Bliss Springfield Massachsuetts

For sale on Ebay is a fantastic group of 8 handwritten letters addressed to Miss Emily Bliss Care of Moses Bliss Springfield Mass. The letters date from 1839-1847 and all are written by her sister Mary in New Haven. In part....

“New Haven Oct. 1839

My dear dear sister,
I am as most ashamed of my negligence in writing you as you can possibly wish me to be……I have been more hurried and engaged than you can well believe. My new girl, a clever, stupid damsel has hardly got established herself in the affections of the children and they have clung to me like briars…….Yours truly Mary.”

“New Haven February 16th, 1842

My dear Emily,
I have been anxiously looking for a letter from Springfield for many days and after George B_____came with the expected yet dreaded intelligence that our dear friend no longer lived, I knew I should soon hear from you more particularly and you did not disappoint me. I cannot thank you enough for writing me as long a letter and I feel even more grateful to you for it that I know you have at least had others to inform of the same melancholy event. Melancholy, I ought not to call it, such a calm, quiet ending of a peaceful, holy life is not melancholy, it is most cheering and consoling. What a blessed radiance does it shed upon the cold grave to see one thus wrap the drapery of her couch about her and lie down to a pleasant dream or better still to glorious realities! We weep only for ourselves, for our transient separation, for our emptiness to follow, for our weaker faith, our colder, darker life……I go out very little only to our Society and the reading circle that meets once a week. There have been parties, weddings and 2 variety of gaieties in which I have taken no part and felt no interest. My thoughts have been too much with death and with shadow of the past and occasionally I have bright glimpses of a cherub boy in heaven which are better to me than all the pleasures of earth……Yours truly Mary.”

“New Haven, January 21, 1843

My dear sister,
I dare say you are getting quite inpatient for further news from me…..In the midst of our joy and thankfulness for the arrival of the little stranger (they just had a baby boy but wished it was a girl) and my comfortable health, we were grieved and shocked by news of poor Frances affliction. Her sweet little boy, our dear little John, has gone to join the blessed company of little ones whose angels do always behold the face of our Father in Heaven. He died very suddenly after an illness of only ten hours of a disease which seemed to be a combination of croup and convulsions in consequence of teething…….I hope dear mother will be able to come to see her new grandson. I shall rely upon some of you to supply the little fellow with a name. Let it be something pretty and fanciful. None of the common old fashioned names. I have as yet thoughts of some that would suit me……I cannot call him Willie for my Willa still lives to me in Heaven. Consult Caroline and Sarah and write me some pretty names from which I can make a selection…….From your affectionate Mary.”

“New Haven, August 24th, 1846

My dear sister,
Although I have received no answer to my last letter I cannot think of manifesting any resentment on that account as much as I have longed to hear from you….The hurry and flurry of commencement week is past and we are now looking forward to a period of still greater excitement and more unsparing hospitality when the American Board assembles in New Haven. They hold their annual meeting here on the eighth of September and the special object of the letter is to urge you and Caroline to come here at that time and enjoy with us it’s pleasures, cares, confusion and excitement. As there is some difficulty in finding accommodations for all the clergy, we have offered to take from four to six of them so you will therefore have the narrowest sort of sleeping privileges but I think you will not mind this for a few days and then you shall have as much room as you choose…….Truly yours, M.W. Bristol.”

Friday, September 18, 2009

Aboard the USS Galena

Four Fantastic Civil War letters were written by J.Henry Sellman an officer aboard the USS Galena to his mother in Davidsenville, Maryland.

Extracts from the letters below to giver you a better idea of thier content.

"Rumor says that we go up the river tomorrow. - Captain Wilkes of the Wachusett which has returned here is now the flag officer - He is the man who arrested Mason & Slidell - The government probably has selected him expecting some dashing qualities from him - Hence also the rumor that Fort Darling is again to be attacked. The balloon plays an important part in McClellan's movements - Nearly every evening we can see some staff officer or high military dignitary going up to make observations"
"The president was here to see us the other night. He did not stay long. I hope his visit will be of some benefit to the country. If they should turn Stanton out I should be glad."
"The "Monitor" is with us and today the "Dacotah" joined are squadron - The "Makasha" is not far distant. She belongs to are squadron - We are not moving about any - Where with our anchor ready for slipping, and with steam up - If the ram comes down she will find us ready - Our Captain told me last night he intended running into her - If she came out - He said it would be an interesting experiment to know what effect our running our vessel at full speed against her would have."
"I should like dearly to be with you and I know that you cannot wish to see me more than you do - But I cannot resign - When the war is over most probably the government will dispense with my services - I do not now think they are essential to its ultimate success - But I do assist it undoubtedly"
"The steamer "Southfield" got aground off City Point yesterday evening, right in shore almost - She used to be the "Ferryboat" but carries a tremendous battery - Of course she is much exposed to an attack - Thier batteries opened up upon her while aground - She replied in a spirited manner - We signaled for permission to join in the fight which was granted. We immediately got under way and joined in - The "Galena" soon silenced all the batteries - No one was hurt on our side - The "Southfield" had fireball put through her."

Ebay Item number:220476287495

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Bedford, Massachusetts 1847

Letter dated New Bedford, Massachusetts, Jun 9 1847, signed by, and written entirely in the hand of, Charles W. Morgan, the famous 19th century American whaling magnate, to Lindley Fisher, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with red New Bedford/ MA Jun 9 (1847) postmark, and "5" postal rate marking. The letter reads, in part, as follows, "Dear Lindley I have your fav[or] of 7 inst. with drafts enclosed paid by funds received from Thos. W. Morgan. Also enclosed were your three drafts on me in your own favor for use of Duncannon Iron Works, and to be paid by you [lists each draft] ... all ... payable at No. 9 South Wharves Philadel & which I now enclosed to you. I sent Wm. M. Meister a draft on Wm. M. Ellicott for $1,370. I wish you would ascertain if he has got it done, as I want the money by March in Philada. on the 24th Inst. Please have him to attend to it. I have not yet received the drafts from your father, perhaps there has not been time ... [signed] Chas. W. Morgan."

This interesting New Bedford, Massachusetts letter is for sale on Ebay Item number: 250493027064

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Letter from Mother to son, James W. True, Augusta, ME, with news from home -- mentions neighbors; commencement; haying time - "our barn is getting some fuller"; and lightning death of James Earl. "Burna Springer's house was struck and the lightning went through the floor where Mr. Dennis was sitting not two minutes before. The thunder was very heavy here." She also refers to a June 3 letter from Henry and hopes he will "find a big lump and come home."

Ebay Item number:230374693321

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Charles Carter in Richmond, Virginia

Letter to Charles Carter in Richmond, Virginia from family (appears to be a sister - the letter is complete, but unsigned.) New Castle Delaware. The family is travelling and vacationing, just returned from the Cape. Papa went on to Newport. Writer also mentions having the mumps, a "charming party", mama is sick; and more.

Although not stated, the recipient is known to be Charles Carter, b. 1818, the son of William Carter, b. 1782 Shirley, and Charlotte Foushee; and grandson of Charles Hill Carter (1733-1782) of Shirley Plantation.

Ebay Item number:230374216712

Monday, September 07, 2009


Letter signed, "L M J", Lowell [Massachusetts], June 27, 1841, sent cover to Jasper Ordway, Turnbridge, VT. The writer describes how she came to be a factory worker despite her father's opposition and sprained wrist. She engaged for a year in the weaver mill No. 5, Merrimack Co. and likes the work better than expected.

This letter is for sale on Ebay Item number: 230374216709

Saturday, September 05, 2009

New York 1840

Letter signed, "Henry B", New York, April 10, 1840 [or 41?], 2pp., 8" x 10", with integral address leaf, hand carried, to sister, Miss P. Willmouth [?], North Adams, Mass.

Letter in part reads.....
"We passed up Broadway just as people were coming from Church, discovered new in the way of fashions, except that the rage for Bustles rather increases, (that is larger ones.) Every lady seems to endeavour to make hers the most conspicuous. I would not adivse you and Waity [?] to carry that fashion to any great extent for (as David Anthony's wife once said) it gives a lady the appearance of quite too much bottom."
The writer comments that he's writing his letter from his "sky Parlour which overlooks the lower part of the city and part of the Bay."

Ebay Item number:230374215467

Friday, September 04, 2009

Channell family of Downingtown Pennsylvania

28 handwritten letters all belonging to the Channell family of Downingtown Pennsylvania. The earliest letter dates from the year 1886 and the last letter 1907. Most of the letters are addressed to Alfred C. Channell with some also to Margaret and Mary Channell.

Ebay Item number:170378090842

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Boston 1867

A letter signed, on “Adams Express Co.” letterhead from Wm. Henczenberger in Boston addressed to G.M. Powell, dated June 3d. 1867; with a copy of Powell’s answer to Henczenberger on the bottom half of p. 2.

It is a business proposal from Henczenberger, asking Powell for “pictures” he can presumably sell in various towns including Halifax, Nova Scotia: “Having been many years ago with my own work in Halifax Nova Scotia I am well acquainted there and I am able to bring your pictures before the public no doubt that I will succeed”. Powell advises him to try the Washington, Baltimore and Indiana, “you will do well to call on colored people in Boston who are in comfortable circumstances”.

Ebay Item number:200378226324

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