Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Providence Steam Engine 1837

A letter dated 1837, where Thomas H Hazard has written to John Babcock of Providence Steam Engine; regarding closing down his factory to install two new boilers.....signed Thomas H. Hazard,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Potomack Company 1812

Detailed canal construction progress report, dated Georgetown, DC, May 12 1812, from Jonas Thompson, to, "The Honourable President and Directors of the Potomack Company, which was in the early canal business (see history below) based in the Washington DC region. The contents read, in part, as follows: "This will inform you that I am now working at considerable disadvantage for the want of sites for the new locks at the Little Falls. The opening of the foundation of which is a very considerable work nnd by putting it of[f] until the proper season for working on the [Potomac] River, I fear it will very much interfere with that working. It appears by the conduit of Mr. Carleton, while I was last absent, that we shall be able to keep very few hands at work this summer. When I left this place we had about 57 hands, which were hired by the year, a number of which were free coloured men, which Mr. Carleton paid off in order to give them the opportunity of leaving our employ, at the same time observed to Mr. Germain there would not be funds to keep in employ so many hands. From that circumstance I fear the funds are very short, and hope the Company, as soon as convenient, will inform me what number of hands we shall be able to keep in employ during the summer season, that the necessary arrangement be made. I understand that the Company have a free stone quarry at Seneca and a considerable quantity of stone already quarried, which we shall want for the gate jambs of our next locks at the Little Falls. I have had 4 new boats built and the old ones repaired for the use of our working operations, two of which I expect we shall be able to spare from that employ, if it meet the approbation of the Honourable Board. The one I will employ in getting lime down the River for the building of our locks, and the other I will employ in getting free stone from Seneca. And as those boats ascend he River, I will send from our quarry capping stone for the locks at the Great Falls -- if we should not be able to work a considerable force on the River this summer, would it not be advisable to remove the worst obstructions between this place and Harpers Ferry. Our present cap is getting very sickly, in consequence of which I wish to remove it soon. Our loss in tools this past year was considerable. I wish to make the overseers accountable for any tools that may be lost which under their charge; if you approve of it please to make an order to that effect. My services at this moment are necessary on the Shenandoah, but cannot have this place before our works at the locks are commenced. The first installment of the artisans' loan have been paid to the Banks. Mr. Carleton authorized Mr. Laurence to attend that business on behalf of the Company, but I believe there is no one authorized to draw on that fund for the repaying the expense of the works. Mr. Ragan has been under the necessity of purpose for that purpose on the subject of the width of the new locks to be built at the Little Falls. The present locks are eighteen feet wide and will admit two boats at the same time and, of course, will enable the lock keeper to pass one third more boats than if the locks were twelve feet wide, but there are more locks at the Great Falls and only 12 feet wide. More boats could be passed at these locks than could be passed at the Great Falls, if they were only 12 feet wide and in that case one third of the water would be saved. Either will do; please make the choice. I have in my possession way bills for several thousand dollars, which at present are in the possession of Mr. Moss at the Great Falls and no doubt before Mr.Carleton's indisposition took place that he received the way bill for the first freshet ... [signed] Jonas Thompson.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

David P. Call of the David P. Call of the 4th Illinois Cavalry

Civil War soldier's letter with wonderful battle content about the war in the west. Written by David P. Call of the 4th Illinois Cavalry, General McLernand's Division, to his friend, dated somewhere in Tennessee March 29, 1862. He describes Commodore Foote's gunboats on the Mississippi capturing Fort Henry, his leaving Cairo by steamboat for Fort Donelson, with a highly descriptive account of the attack and capture of the fort, the role of the 4th Illinois, and the condition of the fort and the rebel defenders. Will then be heading past Corinth where the rebels have made a stand, General Grant with 125,000 troops and Buell coming with more.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Estherville, Iowa 1861

Estherville, Iowa, Aug 7 1861, from Judge Adolphus Jenkins, of Emmett County, to the Samuel J. Kirkwood, the state Governor, stating that local people have no fear of Indian attacks, and do not desire to have troops there for security purposes. He also writes, "of an organized band of horse thieves," from Dakota Territory, who had disguised themselves as Native Americans. The content reads, in part, as follows: "As there is a strong effort being made in this country to raise a decidedly uncalled for excitement in regard to the Indians, and applications are about being made to your excellency to furnish a body of troops to be stationed at this place. Knowing as I do; that there is a decided majority of the inhabitants of this county strongly opposed to movement, I take this occasion to trespass upon upon your notice, to say that there is here a general feeling of security. As far as depredations from the Indians are concerned, we have not more to fear than the settlers about Fort Dodge. The country north of us, upon this river is quite thickly settled for over thirty miles; much more so than it is between here and Fort Dodge. To the west of us are considerable settlements about Spirit Lake and upon the Little Sioux, therefore we do not consider that we are hardly on the frontier. There is no doubt of the existence of an organized band of horse thieves, somewhere in Dacotah Territory, that commit many depredations in the disguise of Indians and upon their credit. Yet they have committed none in this county, or within eighty miles of it, and if they should, I hope and trust the people here, will prove equal to the emergency. We have in this county one hundred and twenty five inhabitants, over forty of whom are fighting men, or subject to do military duty, and if we cannot protect our homes, we are unworthy of homes in so fair a land as this. Another still stronger objection, which every true lover of this county has, has to [do with] the States sending men here at this time of our country's greatest need, is that as we are unable to assist the grand and noble cause, in which our country is at present so deeply engaged by men and means. God forbid that we would indirectly aid the enemy by intruding upon the precious time of those that have all they attend to, to content with our common adversary without being annoyed by any false and foolish pretense from the county that we are in danger. If it is desirable, we will forward to you a remonstrance, signed by the majority of the county, who are opposed to having troops stationed here. Please excuse this somewhat tedious intrusion upon your attention. If the intended petition should be presented, it is hoped that it will only receive such attention as the case merits ... [signed] Adolphus Jenkins

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Pitt. Washtenaw County, Michigan Territory, 1836

Pitt [Washtenaw County, Michigan Territory], Jun 5 1836, from Tyler McWhorter, to Henry H. Collier, St. Catherine, Upper Canada

The content reads, in part, as follows: "I received your welcome letter on the 27th of last month. I am very happy to learn your condition, that you are laying the foundation of a popular life. And were I two years younger, I should like to be your classmate. But as the state of matters and things will not exactly permit, I must lower my hopes and content myself to tread a more common path. I am not in the least surprised that your departure from Avoca did not trouble your mind. There is nothing there ... But, however, there are some quite decent chaps left in old Steuben yet. But I think it would be to their benefit to elope. A few days since I received a letter from Miss Elizabeth J. Moore, It contained no news of importance, except of the precarious state of business there and that Mr. Duparc, the preceptor, was indicted for bigamy, He has another wife in Ohio. He is now at Bath waiting his trial and it is the general opinion he will be committed. It will be a great damage to Steuben to lose so useful a man. If it had not been for leaving a cloud of trouble amongst our folks, I do not know, but I should have been to Texas before now. You inform me that you take the Steuben Advocate. I have likewise had the pleasure of reading papers from the Iowa [Territory] press. Mr. Barry has sent me a no. of papers this spring. A few days since we received the welcome news of the overthrow and capture of Santa Anna. I have not altogether abandoned my project of going to Texas yet, but I shall not go until I see the old Steuben once more, if I ever do ... Business seems to be in quite a sterling condition here. The emigration is exceedingly great this Spring. Cattle is very dear. A good yoke of oxen is worth $100. A drove passed by the other day, which came from Ohio, and for their best offer they asked 140 dollars pr yoke. And most anything of a cow is worth 30 dollars and horses is cheaper here than in York State. I calculated to take a trip out west next fall to see Ill[inois] and Wisconsin, before I return home. I cannot yet promise for certain to come and see you on my return. I expect by this time you perfectly understand the mystery of the sun's rising & setting n[orth] of east in the summer &c. I have blundered into the philosophy of that myself I think without the aid of Trigonometry ... Farmers are getting rich very fast. All farms about this part of the country, improved and unimproved, has doubled in value within two years. Improved land is held as high here as in Old Steuben and is worth a damned sight more than are farms on the Bend ... [Lands] about 12 miles west of this [place], which 5 years ago was wild and uncultivated ... are now selling at 25 dollars an acre. If a young man buys a wild lot of land and at the end of a year cannot sell it for double the first cost, it will be because he has made a poor choice of land. Wisconsin will double her population undoubtedly this Summer. I had some conversation with an engineer ... this morning. He stated that a farmer, who owned a form there then worth 4 thousand dollars could but support his family by working hard himself. Consider the vast difference when compared what farmers of this Western country. Mr. Wood, the man for whom I am to work, 10 years ago was worth but four hundred dollars. His property is now worth not less than 18 thousand. So he has cleared at the rate of 18 hundred dollars a year. He pays at the rate of 800 dollars a year for hired work. My leisure moments are but few, but I have most all kinds of scientific books at hand ... [signed] Tyler McWhorter.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

St. Andrews. June 12, 1792.

“This is to inform you that there was such a person as Loring Barker and I am very sorry you ever knew there was such a person. I dare say you will think strange of my conduct it is what I thought of when I left Pembroke. To be short I was married this last June to Miss Polly Ross. I hope it will not give you any uneasiness for I think you are deserving a much better man that I am or ever shall be I hope often been told that Miss Torrey was too worthy a person for me to have, and have taken it into consideration and think so myself. Furthermore you have often told me that you wished to live a single life and I would not wish you to disoblige yourself for the sake of obliging me. I have wished to enter into that state a long time ago buy you refused it and now it is too late I think that you have so many accomplishments that you can have your choice among the best of men and wittingly there is not a more miserable creature living than I am I wish you all the happiness this world can afford I must conclude I wish you to write a line or two to inform me of your Health so no more adieu forever.”

“Loring Barker”

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