Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cincinnati, Ohio 1849

Letter from Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb 1 1849, from Archibald A. Irwin Jr. to "Mrs. Colonel Arian," at Madison.
Reading in part, as follows: "My nephew Wm. Henry Harrison will sojourn in your goodly town for a day or two. I promise he is a clever fellow. Be kind enough to introduce him to my good friend Miss Mary Esther and also tell the Col that he is going to California & wishes some of your citizens to join the expedition, to which he has attached himself. It is in command of Lieut Woodhull Schenck of the U.S. Navy, one of the very best officers our Navy can boast of ... [signed] Arch. A. Irwin Jr. ..."

This interesting letter is for sale on Ebay Item number:250520001619

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Letter by Isaac Gorham Peck 1834

A interesting letter by Isaac Gorham Peck in 1834 is up for sale on Ebay.

“Fredericksburg 10 Nov. 1834
My Dear Mother,
After a long interval of silence I may now address a letter to you. Yes a long interval it has been truly, so long that even your kindness and disposition to forgive must have been tried to the utmost and perhaps, but I will not say so, no, I cannot in truth say that. I have never for a single moment doubted your confidence and was that in saying too little, your wholly and esteemed confidences in my continued affections tho we have been long separated, now more than half my life has been passed away from you. It’s now 17 years since I first left you and come out into the world to scuffle as I best might with cold and selfish men. Others may think that with long separation, this coupled with the world, has hardened my heart and blanketed my bitter feelings, that my affections are cold and selfish but I feel I know that is not so. I wish, how often have I wished, myself incapable of feelings so acutely. It would be for my personal happiness and for this kind of life that I shall doubtless lead, be far better for me to have less of this kind of feeling then I find myself to possess………On our arrival at Washington on this business we found there was likely to be several competitions for our line……If their bids succeeded we’d thrown our property on our heads. The consequence was that we determined to take hold boldly and bid not only for our routes but also for another and the only chance of success to go in for a low price. At this stage of the business I thought it my duty to state my situation to Wellford. My own mind was pretty much made up before I bid for myself alone or I should say rather Peck and Wellford and Price and Co. Wellford and myself were to take about 2/3 and Price, his brother and a Mr. Rollins 1/3, in case we got the routes. We succeeded in getting about 400 miles and lost about 200 of our old route. Our old contract was for 263 miles (we ran 309 miles). A few days ago our new partner Price, whom we left in Washington, compromised with the person who took the 200 miles of our old routes and 32 miles of another route of his which leaves us Wellford, Price & Co. and Peck about 532 miles. Price & Co. offered it to Wellford and myself either to take 2/3 of the whole or ½. We took the half. I think it will prove a good contract and I have so much confidence in it that I was for taking 2/3. By this comparison we got the part of the line that was advertised 2 a week, 50 miles, 2 known parts put up to 3 times a week, 4 horse post coaches, 80 miles a day. I hope you will feel no anxiety about it…….in the whole 4 years I feel certain of a good business. Our property will be valued on the first of January……..My interest will be something like 8000 dollars. I ought to have said that on the southern end of the 200 miles of an old contract which we lost, so that our line or the part that we run commences 100 miles from now and extends to Milledgeville Geo. The 32 miles commences at Danville through which our main line runs and extends that distance on the Lynchburg route. I declined any agency…….I have laid off rather a circuitous route, back again. It is to go via N. York up the canal to the Lake Erie through Ohio to Louisville pass through Indiana take a good look at Illinois, stop a few days with a friend at the Yellow Banks then down to Natchez and N. Orleans… that time I shall have determined when to locate myself. I hope by that time our line will be in such repute that if I shall be able to sell out, if I think proper…….We have never done more business I think than I have done so far. It seems I have been busy almost night and day and I hope and know that you will be satisfied with what I have done…….Your most affectionately, I G Peck.”

Ebay Item number:170399152612

Friday, October 23, 2009

Letter by gold rush seeker James C. Ferris, May 9, 1864 Independence, Missouri, to sister Mrs [?] Frances M Knapp, Lock Hollow, Cayuga County, New York. Although his spelling is poor, the overall meaning of his letter is easy to understand. Ferris writes that they are breaking the mules and will head out on the 10th. "Captain Tuttle is agoin croast with us." He's in good spirits and health and plans to come home again in three years with "my pocits full of gold." He also comments on the colery [cholera] - "very thick" in Independence and there were cases of it on the road. One steamboat was brought up with thirty bodies. Although he's impressed with the local cornstalks, 8 to 10 feet high, he also mentions that there were three men shot in Independence before they arrived and one man since, but they don't do anything about it. He likens the place to a nasty, drunkards hole. "I would advise you that if you can [?] see the country hear you would stay thare."

Ebay Item number:230389846661

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pooler - Winsor - Brown Family

Pooler - Winsor - Brown Family - Lot of 6 handwritten personal letters, 1817-1837, from a variety of family corespondents to Allen Pooler in Rutland, Vermont (one to NY); and one to James Pooler in Clarendon, VT. Plus, 1831 poem, 1p., "The Morning Star", signed Winsor Brown, Corinth [New York]. Of particular interest are the three letters by Olney Winsor of Providence, Rhode Island, 1828, 1833, 1837. He notes in the 1833 letters that he is 80 years old and remarkably comments in the next letter, at 84, that, "Indeed I am a happy old man..." An 1817 letter by Winsor Brown, Hadley, contains a poem at bottom:
"At ten a child at twenty wild; At thirty strong (if ever); At forty wise, At fifty rich; At sixty good or never."
Other correspondents: Son, Amasa Pooler, 1829; and letter by Huldah and Lydia Brown, Corinth.

Ebay Item number:230389846637

Saturday, October 17, 2009

London Ohio 1856

1856 letter from J W Low in London, Ohio, to his friend J M Post in E Lebanon, New Hampshire. The 1st page is devoted to friendly banter about his school, friends, and other matters. The remainder involves a detailed description of a runaway horse ride. " we stopped at a store to get something, and when we started away, the horse began to canter. I drawed in the reins to stop him and hauled him up so quick that the sleigh ran onto his heels and he started off as fast as he could gallop, in spite of all I could do to stop him. When I tried to stop him, the sleigh hit his heels worse. I kept him right in the road. I met 2 or 3 loads of hay- like to run into one of them. After he had ran about 2 miles Mother jumped out into t he snow. It never hurt her a mite. I hung to the sleigh. All I could do was to let her go after running between four or five miles I overtook a man with a load of cornstalks. I sung out to him to stopand ran right square into him. It never hurt the horse or myself any, and all that it hurt the sleigh was it broke one of the shafts. I got out and turned round the horse and sleigh and started back. After going a little ways I saw the man who owned the team coming after me on horseback on the gallop. We exchanged horses and started back-more content about Mother, and her fate.

Ebay Item number:280409481006

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Saratoga, New York 1785

1785, Saratoga, New York where it seems Thomas Cornell is trying to settle an estate and has been paid by some, but other's haven't paid their debts....he is moving 30 miles to the north and will not be able to follow up on any more debt collecting.....signed Thomas Cornell, addressed outer leaf to his cousin William Cornell of Dartmouth........

Ebay Item number:380161050643

Monday, October 12, 2009


Letter signed, "Ann F Burns", Winchendon, Jan. 20, 1839, to Josiah W. Burns, Bakersfield, Vermont. The writer comments on her good health, poor sleighing "it is wheeling here now but rather rough"; and decision to stay in Winchendon:
"I got down here and my Brothers folks was very anxious I should stay and I have as good a home here as I can have any where. I have worked in the mill some since I have been here. When I come they was short for help in the weaving room and the Agent sent for me to go in to [two] or three times to go to weaving and he said he would settle with me any time when I wanted to go home. And when I am in the house I don't have my board to pay for and if I don't have work of my own to do I can take in sewing and get the money for it. But if I stay here next summer I shall work in the mill all the time only when I have work of my own to do because I can make it more profitable than I can sewing."

Ebay Item number: 230387161841

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Athens, Ohio 1849

Athens, Ohio, Dec 1 1849, from E. Stewart, a livestock farmer, to F. E. Foster, Beardstown, Cass County, Illinois.

The content, which is very long, initially discusses the writer's extensive business dealings in the west, including a court trial re a dispute over hogs at Keokuk, Iowa, and additional business in Galena, Illinois. Is worried about his losses and financial shape, which he says could be 'mortifying.' Sorry that in the past that his credit was so good, and believes that easy loans led to his downfall. A lengthy postscript, which is excellent, touches on the California Gold Rush. It reads, in part, as follows, "I notice in your letter a strong inclination you have for Minnesota. Has that superceded the California fever? If so let me say ... that Doctor Dixon has just returned. He started from Cincinnati about 1 month in advance of our Athens Company [of Forty Niners], but had heard nothing of them. He was in the diggins only 3 or 4 weeks. He went over the land route & returned by Shagres [Chagres, Panama]. Was 45 days returning. Reported to have cleared 3000 [dollars] clear of expenses. Says he has enough of Californy & California gold. In a letter from Dixon to his wife, writing from Sacramento, says he just arrived without one cent of money. Left the train about 600 miles back. Had rode three mules down in that distance. Said that Danny started in company with him, but had got lost from him. Says nothing about the condition of the company when he left, only that he took with him of provisions [of] only 1-1/2 pounds of bread & three days after the date of his letter, another letter came to his wife, written by Mr. Boyle, who was once a student with Dixon, under a Mr. Howard of Columbus, Ohio, saying that he had spent some time with Doctor Dixon on his arrival & was to meet him again in a few days at a certain point, but before the time came around, [and this is most strange, in light of the above] Dixon accidentally shot himself & before (he, Boyle) got there Dixon was buried. The friends here begin to feel some alarm for the safety of our Athens Company.. Harold who started from McArthurstown 30 days after our folks, has written that he had arrived safe and would commence digging the next day. His hopes are high. Four [of] our people got in safe & write favorable. There will be a large company go out from here very early in the spring. You would be astonished if you knew all that has taken the California fever that can''t get through ... [signed] E.S.

This interesting letter is up for sale on Ebay Item number:260485978285

Monday, October 05, 2009

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 1850

Letter from Benj Scott to mother, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Dec. 8, 1850. After leaving Craftsbury, Vermont he travelled through many cities and towns (Burlington, Rochester, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, etc.) via railroad, steamboat, stage, team and canal boat, before finally arriving in Harrisburg where he's been for a week - "awaiting an answer from one Mr. Spear from Alexandria, VA. I expect to go there to work in a Public House this winter."

"This is a great country. I have seen more ignorance since I left home than I ever saw in my life. I have found thousands of People that could neither read nor write....There is one thing. Deliver me from the western Country. It is a cold good for nothing country."; "...I have been on the road about 68 days...I have formed 10,000 new acquaintances."
"Illinois & Wisconsin is a colder country than the New England states & the people are as poor as people ought to be be & live. Wheat was selling when I was there for 40 & 45 cts per bush. & drawing it from 50 to 80 miles & it cost them about all that the wheat was worth for to freight it to market & I never saw such poor oxen as they have."
"Pittsburg, Pa. is a Business Place. It is the smokiest place I ever saw. I was there three days & there was not any of the time that I could see even 40 rods distance, there is so many Foundrys of Iron & glass works & steam boats in the Ohio River & so much coal burnt, that it is a thick cloud about all of the them."
"Harrisburg is a nice place. There is about 10,000 inhabitants...& I find some very nice people...I have occasion to find them if there is any for I stop to the best of the Houses."

This great old letter is up for sale on Ebay Item number:230382531442

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Letter from Vicksburg Mississippi, June 14, 1838, to sister. Unsigned, but identified on verso, "Abel Rawlins" Circleville Ohio. The letter contains a wealth of information and the entirety of the slavery related content. Highlighted excerpts:

"Perhaps you wish a description of this country...Well cotton, land and negroes constitute the wealth of this State. A man who has a cotton plantation that works a hundred negroes is rich, for each good hand is worth $2,000! Mississippi money and there are hundreds who have this much. But what to me is most extraordinary, there are so many Northern men, who were born and reared under different (and in my mind) better institutions of domestic economy, holding slaves here..."
"Notwithstanding Slavery does exist here. It has been much exaggerated (I speak of the city alone) by the reports of the Abolitionists. Once a day, on Sunday the Methodist Church is thrown open for them and one of our preachers preach to them. The Slaves are well dressed and well fed so far as I have seen and for the most part appear to be happy and contented with their lot. But
'Slavery thou art a bitter curse, Disguise thee as thou wilt.'"
Plus, commentary on the splendid climate, but "Wickedness abounds..."; high wages and high prices. "I get boarding for $5 per week, by sleeping on a bunk!"
The incomplete third page appears to have content on a childhood reminiscence and religion.

Ebay Item number:230381318901

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