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Letters from America

These are from a bundle of old letters from Ada Wall of Newark, England. They are mostly letters from George Hale who emigrated to America in 1836. They make fascinating reading, particularly those written at the time of the American Civil War. Amelia Hale mentioned in the letters was Ada Wall's Mother. George Wall who wrote one of the letters was my Ada's Brother.

 

John Horton is about to sail for Jamaica but is unwell. I do not know who John Horton was but as this letter was in the possession of Amelia Hale I assume he was her Mother's Brother and perhaps this was the last letter he wrote home

 

From John Horton, Private Soldier, 33rd Regt of foot

To John Horton, North Collingham. near newark, Nottingham Shire

{Stamped 1825}

Fort Cumberland Barracks, November 8th 1825

Dear father and mother I take this present Oportunity of writing these few lines to you, Hoping to find you all in good health is I am not at this present time. And we are Going out to the west Indies. And I hope You will return me an answer is Soon is Posible, for I have wrote a. letter and received no answer. For I have got a very heavy Cold. But I hope I shall get the return and I Shall Write another letter to you When I land at Jamaca, if I live to get There. Give my Best Respects to Ann Gilbert and to all the Neighbours Round. No more from me at this present time

But Remains your loving Son till Death

John Horton

And When you Write Direct your letter To Portsmouth or Elsewhere for John Horton, Private Soldier of the 33rd Regt of foot

 

George Hale writes to his Mother telling of a strike in the Tailors' Union which has failed resulting in the destruction of the Union. As an official of the Union he feels he is lucky not to have been deported as were the unfortunate men from Dorchester (The Tolpuddle Martyrs?). He has been out of work for some months but manages to get work for a period. He describes a visit to a gin palace.

 

To Mrs John Hale, Hardys Yard, Steadman St,

Newark, Nottinghamshire London

My Dear Mother

Not having addressed a letter to you for a considerable time, and finding much leisure fall to my share of late, I am awakened to a sense of my unworthiness to you, by reflecting upon days gone by and the endearments of home, which actuates me to write and pour forth what are my feelings may direct according to present circumstances. For I must acknowledge how much I am indebted to you. Though was I possessed of a princely fortune, I could never repay you for the many many endearing acts of a Mother's Affection which you have ever shown toward me. I think I have formerly spoken of my Gratitude to you. Gratitude did I say - why I must have sadly misapplied the word, for what mark of gratitude have I hitherto shewn you, however much it might swell my bosom, yet has had no tendency to add to your comfort, altho' I know not but you might need my watchful attention. To talk of gratitude and not act accordingly or even show any demonstration whatever, is only a superfluity of words which cannot effect any good, but, like pity without relief, tends only to make the sufferer feel the weight of the burden more heavily. I am aware that my negligence will not surprise you, for you know I ever was a careless mortal, yet with all my carelessness, I am not unconcerned about my Mothers wants, and ought to use every endeavour to promote that felicity you so justly deserve. Up to the present time I have only offered my prayers for you. Should the period arrive to enable me to better your circumstances, 'twil be my first and utmost wish, but I must not anticipate great things for the future fearing my rays of hope may be darkened by the cloud of misfortune, but, by a perseverance in my business, a strict attention to regular and social habits, in tracing this path of Wisdom and Virtue, I can cheerfully meet the will of Divine Providence. -

What a pleasing sensation I find in tendering my sentiments to an endering Parent who has ever attended to my necessary wants with that sympathising tenerity which none but the best of Mothers can feel, even, when death hath seemed to stare me in the face, when I might have perished and entered the grave, with all my "imperfections on my head" had it not been for the cordial balm of kindness administered by an affectionate Parent, who has been my watchful guardian through the many stages of my life, which nearly reach one fourth of a century. Such Motherly acts can never be erased from my memory. - You will think my dear Mother that I am become more serious than you might have supposed, well, I confess I am more so than I commonly feel, owing perhaps to the disappointment I have met with in the affairs of the Tailors Union, which materially changes the subject of this letter from what I intended when I last wrote. Then I had the prospect of a prosperous season before me, but now an havoc has been made which has blighted my former views. In consequence of the foolish strike which has taken place in our trade, and the injudicious manner of the proceeding of some of our leaders, which has thrown many poor families into a state of actual starvation, being at that part of the year when the industrious man saves a little in stance of his hard earnings to provide against the inclemency of a scarcity of employment. The strike has terminated in a complete failure. I have been apart from any profitable occupation in consequence during the last nine or ten weeks, but I expect shortly to resume my employment again, for I am heartily sick of an idle life week after week. The masters resisted our demands but gave every encouragement to return to work on the former terms. This being refused by the conductors of the Union, who gave orders that none should return to work without increasing the wages and shortening the working hours as had been demanded. The Masters, then finding the exhausted state of our funds, were determined upon starving us out and breaking up our Union, and were aided by the Government and the aristocracy at large, who taking the advantage of our weakness, issued a declaration for everyone to sign before he could obtain any employment, which signifies they have seceded from the Union, and will never again belong to it or any similar association. This I say, regardless of all consequences, is too much for me to accede to, for I will never place my hand to any such document, altho' the greater part of our order have done so, and are now subject to the control of tyrannical Masters more than ever, by perpetuating that slavery which others have been useing every means to abolish. And should they again become reinstated in the Union, the law and lawmakers will probably not fail to inflict the most severe punishment. Such is the treatment many may expect to receive, who will again in defiance of the law, dare to have the honesty of Uniting to protect themselves and families, when age, sickness or unfavourable incidents disenable them from procuring their common necessities of life. Many have signed that oppressive declaration, from want of provisions to support their families, and not from want of principle, and therefore do not consider it anything more than an imperative duty. -

My official engagement in the Union caused my exertion to be fatiguing indeed, I am thankful my labors have now terminated. I shall now retire into quiet life, unmolested by any party spirit whatever. I know it is the ruin of many and the gain of few. I shall feel the loss sustained by it for a length of time but I do not regret it. I shall learn a good lesson, and the strenuous efforts I have made to assist in emancipating ourselves from the thraldom of Oppression, I am proud of. But I have had my turns, and performed my duties attentively and fearlessly, because I know our objects were good, altho' they have been greatly destroyed by mismanagement. I have assisted in entering and initiating upwards of twelve thousand members into our Union, and whenever I have been engaged for that purpose I have been liable to be taken and made a victim of, for administering unlawful obligations to his Majesty's subjects. Had I been taken (and 'tis a wonder I have not) I should most probably be transported across the Seas, for the same purpose and by the same law as the poor men were from Dorchester, whom I before spoken of. - As I think I have had my hair breadth escapes and I shall now rest satisfied.

Walking and reading has been my principle employment of late, the former conducive to my health and the latter -----

You know I always had no small share of pride, so have endeavoured to cut something in the shape of a respectable figure and assume a different appearance from that of a poor tailor on strike, and having an enterprising mind, I frequently ramble in quest of adventures and have witnessed many pleasing scenes, both in high life and low, but some not at all pleasing. During one of my rambles the other day, I felt weary and entered one of the Splendid Gin Palaces, partly with a view of refreshing myself, but more particularly, to observe the miserable scenes which may be daily witnessed. I was but just supplied with my refreshment when a desperate looking fellow advanced towards me and seized the substance of my meal in his paws. I remonstrated with him saying he might be content with half. The monster then commenced devouring my repast and I received nothing in return but insulting language. This I could no longer bear and grasping the arm of my furious assailant, in the hand of which he held a knife, I gave a blow upon his ponderous jaws. When he, foaming with rage like an assassin, struck a blow at my head with the knife he held, but I fortunately avoided part of the blow and only received a scratch. The fellows around, seeing my circumstance, immediately dragged him away, and I glad to escape from this pandemonium and refresh myself in better company. These superb Gin temples are the cause of much vice and misery, where are to be seen the most stupefied, degraded and miserable creatures in existence. It was ascertained, the other day, that at a large Gin house in London, no fewer persons had entered in one day than 2880 men, 1855 women, 289 children, and all of this number had gone in there, not for recreation, but to indulge in the awful vice of intoxication.

There is a letter for me and from my Sister Mary too. I must pause awhile to read its contents - Poor dear girl asking for forgiveness and knows not for what, I did not expect a letter from her. When I last wrote 'twas in a hurry and I intended to write again the next opportunity, but our strike took place a few days after and placed me in suspense. I did not expect the strike would lasted half the time it has, or you would have seen me among you. I have had a fine opportunity of paying you a visit. - The time has arrived when I must post away, for I expect a call to go to work again. I will not close my letter but wait to tell whether I succeed.

As if just awakened from a dream, I have returned again to finish my letter, after a laps of a fortnight - nay three weeks, and I have not found five minutes to conclude this letter. Oh what a shame, I have been to work, and very busily too, but, as the season is nearly over, and many of the Nobility leaving London for the Watering Places &c, I shall no doubt find time to attend to my rational amusements again. In the fine evenings I generally form one of a social circle, with the family with whom I reside, in the shady bower in the garden, an element which I have long been secluded from. I remember having been asked by my Sister, in a former period, how I spend my Sabbath. 'Tis a subject I find difficulty in entering upon. Altho' I oft attend a place of worship and love to hear a good sermon, yet am no religionist and belong to no sect whatever. I am too irregular and fond of variety. Sometimes I attend a chapel to gather instructions from a sermon. At other times perhaps the splendid monuments, ancient and modern sculpture and paintings or the musical choir in St Pauls or Westminster Abbey draws my attention. Other times I attend lectures, which teaches how to live in this world, rather than how to die and prepare for the next. But I have not to forget the one thing needful. - Sister Mary, having been busily employed, will not I hope feel the disappointment of my not having yet sent for. I would not do so unless I had every means of adding to her comfort and respectability, without depending on the benefice of others. I should wish for Charlotte and Mary to reside in London, if you know how to spare them. Perhaps I may spend a week or two with you at the latter end of summer, but I will not promise. I was sorry indeed to hear of poor Harriet's illness. Send her brothers affectionate wishes, and let every attention be paid her, and let me know how she is the next opportunity. I hear nothing of Sister Bet, but I suppose she is driving this world before her as usual, as happy as the day is long. I heard from Brother a short time ago, who seems to be doing pretty well. I sent him a letter last week. I have delayed too long to attend to Mary's request or I would have written to each of my Sisters. I am ashamed of my carelessness, but when I have come home in the evenings for that purpose, I have not had courage to resist the invitation of the family to join their company, where we sit and enjoy social conviviality until the sable veil of night demands us to separate and retire to rest.

Dear Mother, I cannot expect to be excused for not writing to you sooner, but I know you are possessed with a great share of patience, and since I last wrote I have been unsettled, but I am now myself again. Tell Mary not to alarm herself about nothing. I hope my Dear Sister Amelia enjoys her village life. Give my love to each of my Sisters, and respects to my old Neighbours, and believe me to be,

Your Truly Affectionate Son

G Hale

66 Warren St Fitzroy Sq

July 15th 1834 London

 

 

George Hale is about to sail from Gravesend for America

Old Father Thames

My Dear Brother

While I am writing we are gliding along the glittering waters in fine style. The bell of the dock yard summons'd us on board at 8 last evn'g, which pronounced my departure from my friends who assembled in not a small number to give ten thousand good wishes. I could not but depart from them with some regret, intermingled with perhaps the happiest moments of my life on finding so much regard for my future welfare.

On reaching the dock we found greatest part of the Ships Crew and a number of merry faces, male and female passengers, assembled on deck, forming a sort of free & easy party, which we happily joined & continued singing & playing until 12 midnight. I rose after a sound repose past 4 - washed, paced the deck, accompanied another in the jolly boat & scull'd around the dock basin for an hour, eat an hearty breakfast & prepared for a final departure. Betsy, having expressed a wish to visit me again, I fully anticipated the pleasure of seeing her on leaving the dock, but could not recognise her among the assembled group. So I suppose she was just in time to be too late, being probably detained by others. I severely feel the disappointment she would meet after Hurrying & bustling & then finding the vessel gone. Give her my best wishes and tell her to be happy until I meet her again. The very numerous & lovely faces we meet on the gravesend Steamers with their music playing, the variety of vessels many in full sail with the finest prospect I ever saw. It being one of the finest mornings that ever shone with so many pleasing passing object renders it a scene beautiful beyond description.

Your letter I thankfully received. Tell Mary (when you write) the pleasure I feel in this onset to endeavour to change my circumstances for the better (i,e, if you can form an idea of it). My love to Charlotte & Amelia. Tell Mr & Mrs Watson I shall never forget their kind attention.

To talk of Concerts & Balls, indeed there never was anything amongst the bon ton circles of London to equal that in which I have this moment taken an humble part, not a prominent one mind you, for we have professionals amongst us, and every seems to add to our pleasure.

Gravesend G Hale in haste

 

George Hale describes part of his journey to America.

[New York] Octo 1st 1836

Dear Brother

It is next to impossible to describe the pleasures, disappointments and anxieties I experienced during my voyage across the wide Atlantic, neither would I attempt to enter into any detail upon it, only a few remarks may be of some utility to any friend who may be following a similar pursuit.

On August 9th - lO clock P M (our Ship attached to a steamer for the purpose of towing us into the Downs) we departed from the London Docks, amidst the hearty wishes of the friends who had assembled to witness our departure. It was a beautiful day and appeared a day of pleasure to all parties, Music, Singing, Dancing and the conversation of many intelligent passengers and promising friends, together with the beautiful scenery around us, elevated our spirits more than on any joyous occasion I remember to have witnessed. We reached Gravesend by 2, when the friends of passengers who had accompanied them thither, gave them hearty good byes and went on shore. By 7 we were in the Downs, when the steamer which had towed us along, turned around and bent its course back again for London, and so we were left to the mercy of the wind and the waves. In a short time we cast anchor and waited for the next morn, and sailed along with a fair wind past the beautiful town of Deal and soon beheld the white cliffs of Dover, when the pilot left us, conveying several letters from the passengers to their friends, giving them last adieus on quitting their native shore.

Our Captain then assumed a dignified and majestic authority and paced to and fro, and appeared as though our moving mountain and all it contained were solely in his grasp. Breezes blew powerfully and the waves rose higher, still the sailors were busily employed spreading more canvas. The land slowly receded from our sight. Villages, fields ,forests, hills, mountains, cliffs and rocks gradually disappeared and mingled into one common mass. I gave a farewell look to the distant shore and found myself surrounded by a wilderness of water. The vessel began to plunge and rock about with such forcible motion that we found ourselves dancing without the fiddle, which produced an effect widely different from that of our dancing amusement of the day previous. The many bright countenances, which I had before observed, were now become quite pallid, which denoted the sickness about to follow. Which no sooner took place but I could not but feel qualmish also, and descended to my berth waiting for the ravages of the Sea Sick Monster which shortly commenced its operations. What a poor set of helpless devils we were to be sure, none worse than myself. I could only picture to myself the horrors of my situation, for on first taking the berth I had congratulated myself on having played the cunning part of securing one of the best berths in the steerage. The part forward of the aft hatchway, which we calculated was to afford us much benefit, had been blockaded from us by a temporary partition for the purpose of concealing us poor devils from the parties who had paid something extra in order to be quite select. Our berth was unfortunately attached to that temporary construction, which by the motion of the vessel drove into our ears the most disagreeable creaking noises that can be imagined, and. what further increased our distress was that four race horses had been taken on board and were placed immediately over the main hatchway, eight or ten paces from us, which not only placed us in obscurity but prevented us from inhaling the least draught of air. Everyday the heat was more oppressive. The effluvia of the steerage was anything but wholesome, such that it was feared that some malady would break forth. I was in such a weak state that I could scarcely crawl from my berth, so that few felt it so severely as I, which drove me almost frantic that I determined if possible upon tearing down the boards which had caused so much misery. I had eaten scarcely a morsel for several days and had no provision but such as could be taken by a hungry man. I purchased eggs from my fellow passengers and porter from the Captain, 1/3d per bottle, which was my subsistence while I remained in that sickly state. As soon as I acquired a little strength I took a saw, which I had fortunately purchased the day before leaving London, and began cutting and sawing several large apertures, which raised a clamour about my ears, but I considered I was working to save my life and was determined to persevere. The Captain interfered little and said we must make ourselves as comfortable as the circumstances would admit of. After this was done and the steerage cleansed (by burning tar) and sweetened by burning tar we were very comfortable, excepting that I was sickly about 3 weeks. About the end of that time, after taking medicine prescribed by the Doctor, I felt much better, and went upon deck to inhale the breezes of a calm atmosphere. It was just at sunset, and a beautiful scene presented itself, the clouds of various hues were tinged with its brilliancy, every eye was directed towards the west, and all lost in admiration. It was beautiful, wonderful, indescribable. From that moment I forgot my troubles and none enjoyed the remainder of the voyage more than I.

 

George Hale is safely in America (Newark?) and has an offer of work. This letter may be a continuation of the previous one.

From G Hale, care of Mr Dowling, Tailor, Staton Island, near New York, United States, North America.

To Mr J Hale, 8, Exeter Place, Exeter Street, Sloane Street, Chelsea. 29/10/36

Appears to be part of a letter with sections torn off

it would be advisable for emigrants on taking their berth to ascertain from the Captain ( and not the Agent who would swear anything for lucre ) whether they are to be stowed in a miserable dungeon, or be incessantly annoyed by the kicking of horses. Our provisions with the exception of a few biscuits, were all devoured or destroyed in the space of four weeks, such were the provision arrangements of our infatuated party, tho' fortunately sufficient could be purchased from one or another of our passengers. In the space of five weeks we landed, I think in the most fertile country of the world {a section is missing and makes the sense undiscernible} years and is now more than 10 thousand. It is now one of the most rising towns in this part of the country, an hours ride from New York. Conveyances are so cheap and rapid, it would not answer our purpose ever to walk that distance. - My Boss has offered me 200 Dollars a Year, & Board washing & Lodging which I am about to accept and so I expect to be placed in an establishment at Newark. If 'twas not too late in the season I should now be on my way to England once more only for the purpose of inducing Mother and Sisters to accompany me back again. I suppose I shall see you again next summer, unless you think I can dispense with the voyage. Whether or not you must prepare the mind of Mother & Sisters for the land of contentment & independence. Do not think I shall be led into a quagmire by some ingenious fellows. I doubt not for a moment but you would be better here but more of that hereafter, as you can take your flight any time you think proper. Only mind and secure as much rhino as you can. I hope Fotherby will persevere for this country, likewise Mr Keans {a section is missing and makes the sense undiscernible} learn from his Sister, Mrs Watson at the green grocers, 2 Red Lion St Holborn, ....... I shall write again in 3 months

 

George Hale is planning to leave New York for New Orleans. Although he has found good work and lodgings in New York he has heard that New Orleans offers better wages, at least in the winter months. He mentions problems in the money market due to over investment, disorder in New York and advises against planning to come to America to stay for good.

 

To Mr J Hale, No 5 Little Panviers Street, Mortimer Market

New York Dec 8 - 1836

Dear Brother

A friend of mine having proffered to transmit a letter to London, I cannot permit such an opportunity to pass unnoticed, but as I am to leave this City tomorrow a few words scribbled hastily must suffice. I had intended to stay in this city until next spring, but of late there has been such a panic in the money market concerning the Banks and the speculators that has almost drove business to a standstill. Numbers of Mechanics have left their employ during the last few weeks, not that there is a scarcity of work, but there is a great scarcity of money to pay workmens wages. Almost everyone in business here have speculated so deep in purchasing land, houses &c, at such an enormous rate that they cannot now extricate themselves. Wages, provisions, rents and the necessities of life have been, this last summer, exceedingly high, considerably higher than they ever were before. Provisions and rents are much higher than in London. Tailors wages in this instance here are 8/0d british money, per day, work done on the premises. Another branch of the trade is the southern trade, that is garments made to sell in the southern states. That work is taken out and made at the workmens homes or in workshops, where seat room and the requisites may be had for 2/0d (british) per week. Wages are not so high as the custom made, but more is generally made by the employment of females, which abound so much in this city. It is too degrading to be servants or helps as they are called, so they almost all resort to the needle. They are generally very proud, haughty and ignorant, wearing vestments what they think are the height of fashion, conspicuous gaudy patterns, ostrich feathers waving a yard & half above the head. They are all very pale and delicate. To have a healthy and ruddy complexion is considered by them to be contemptibly low and vulgar. They expect the greatest possible attention from the other sex, in the marriage state, as well as before. They will preserve their dignity if possible and will rule the roost while the husband must be a patient slave, continually worshipping at their shrine, sweet dear angels. Good Lord deliver me from the captivation of these sweet enchanting sirens.

What charming melodious voices, a sniffling noise through the nostrils, render their vocal powers of sufficient force to set the pigs dancing, which are to be seen in numbers rooting about in every street inhaling the breezes of liberty. No one need strive who has courage enough to take one of the swinish multitude, which he may do without fear or difficulty, and if caught in the act so much the better, he would be maintained for a month upon good solid American fare.

In this country every person who possesses talent may work it to good purpose. The mechanics Institute offers rewards and medals for any specimen of ingenuity. It is gratifying to look upon the inventions of both males and females, aye and children too, at the Institute fair held quarterly for the purpose -

I have enjoyed myself very much in this city, quite at home, with a London paper on the arrival of every vessel from europe. I am indeed a jolly mortal. Aye and more jolly working than you remember to have seen me. If everyone was to devour the enormous quantity of provisions which I do, I guess there would soon be a famine. The wretched anticipations of the future, which I had in the old country, have ceased to pay their visits. - 14/0d per week I pay for Board & the best --- of the season. The same ---- joints at Breakfast and Supper as at dinner. We smell the savours of the kitchen before we rise in a morn, & breakfast on table by six, cloth removed by seven, that by the indulgence of bed after that time the loss of a breakfast is certain -

Shoemakers who are first rate workmen do exceedingly well here and find plenty of work, though I cannot define correctly what the bill of prices are. Inferior workmen do very well at Newark, now a great manufacturing city, and which supplies New York and other places with the sale shoes. - The Tailoring work of New York both as regards fit and workmanship is much superior to any I ever saw in London, and I have worked in the principal shops there, where I thought the best trade in the world was centred, but I was mistaken ----- Twenty old shopmates lately arrived from London, mostly from the house of call which I belonged. They have all done very well, but a stranger without a friend in the trade find it very difficult to obtain employment. Masons & carpenters readily get 10/0d per day. The prices I have stated are british money.

To morrow I embark for New Orleans, about 2000 miles from this City, 3 weeks sail. If I succeed in a similar manner to all those whom I have seen and heard of, that has been there, I shall do very well. Mechanics receive much higher prices there than any part of the U States. It is a very hot climate at New Orleans, and few but natives remain there during the summer, when it is sometimes visited by cholera & fever. There is an healthy and pleasant atmosphere during the winter season and people go there from most parts of the U States to avoid the extreme cold and also to secure a handsome lot of Dollars and a tour of pleasure. The weather in New York has, since my arrival been beautiful. This city will, in due time be equal to London as regards improvements ---- but at present it is in a very imperfect state which ------ with the change from the old country, incendiarism ------ alarming extent, a night seldom passes away but we ---- fire and the repeated destruction of life & property is ---- department is conducted by youths of all grades, lawyers --- who volunteer to serve as firemen in lieu of being pla ----- not a cent is allowed for their services, except that ---- time ago the fireman was withdrawn from his occupation ---- contrary to the wishes of the body of fireman and ------ fire broke out and the devastating element continued --- dreadful extent the fireman not attempting to sto ----- every exertion to prevent the inhabitants from quenching ------ frequently take place which are dreadful to relate, and which --- time in this infant country ere the evils can be eradicated ---- there is an idea entertained by person leaving their native --- country which should not be indulged in, that is the ------ native soil for ever, I have met with many who left ------ been here a few years and gained a handsome independence ----- to their native country, to dwell with ease & happiness among their old and dear friends; and I no more think of finishing my existence in this country than I think of flying to the moon. Alto' there may be everything that can delight the eye & charm the heart, still there seems to be a natural wish in the minds of all I have yet met with, to exist upon the land which gave them birth. Call upon Mr Reynolds, Ironmonger, Frith St Soho, and endeavour to see his Son. Tell him the best part for farmers to emigrate to is the State of Michican as regards cheapness, soil, water, mills & markets, land 1 Dollar per acre, government price. I have it from the best authority, from the mouth of Mr Lay the constructor of maps who has surveyed and examined the whole states. Remember me to Mother & Sisters. Tell them I have long wished to have them here

A Dollar is 8 shillings or 100 cents . - american money

- Dollar - 4/2d english money

American shilling is 0/6d english

- cent or penny is an english halfpenny

I would say much more but have neither space nor time

I am your respected Brother G Hale, 10 Stanton St, New York

NB shall write again in about two months for I long to hear from you

{This letter has a section torn out - missing words are indicated by ---- }

 

He gives an account of a bad sea journey from New York to New Orleans. He found the money panic mentioned in his previous letter had also stuck there. He has travelled 200 miles up the Mississippi to St Francesville and set up his own business as a tailor having failed to get employment. He has joined a military band and made several friends. He mentions the war in which David Crocket lately fell. He is planning to go to Kentucky, calling at New Harmony on the way, as he has heard bad things about the Mississippi summer climate

St Francesville, West Feliciana, Lousiana.

Respected Brother

It has not been from negligence, nor the want of inclination, that I have not written to you since my departure from New York. When the mind is filled with doubts and difficulties many considerations are waved until a period arrives which restores it to its natural state of tranquillity. Secondly, it may not be unreasonable to remark, that I have not been in a position to communicate anything compatible with what I was led to expect, until the present crisis, which I may pronounce one of the happiest periods of my life. 'Tis true I could have given some account of my arrival in this far off region, and my periginations on the ocean, in the woods, and swamps, among the Indians in their wigwams, admiring the sports of sprightly squirrel and racoon, the fleeting wild deer and the vibrations of the various species of the feathered creation. Sometimes the clatter of the rattlesnake would steal upon the ear, without any apprehension of danger. They instantly make their escape on the approach of any human being. Alligators and turtles are frequently seen on the shores of the lakes and rivers. They also make their retreat on our approach. The former quickly plunges in the stream but the latter, being too heavy for a rapid flight, are frequently overtaken and, by turning them on their backs, render them helpless. There is no mockery about turtle soup here, it is plentiful and excellent.

Our voyage from N York to N Orleans was anything but a pleasant one. After been driven about for four weeks I found myself once more on terra firma but more dead than alive. On Christmas eve, when I guess you were enjoying yourselves according to usual custom, our situation far from an agreeable one. We were in the gulf of Mexico, had passed by the isle of Cuba in the west Indies, the sable shades of night spreading its mantle over us, the storm raged in all its fury. The ship was twice upon her beam ends and yet, strange to say, righted herself again. On one occasion the berths on the side I was placed, being perpendicular over those opposite and but temporary fixed, down they fell, which produced every possible conjecture that the Ship had stove to pieces, and we should soon be food for the finny inhabitants of the watery element. In a short time she recovered herself again and we also recovered from a painful sensation on finding such an agreeable mistake. Next morn, early, the Storm abated. We had narrowly escaped being driven on rocks which threatened impending danger. The Captain assured us we had now little to fear. We then sung Christians awake in a joyful strain, in which the Captain being a religious man joined most heartily. I think it reflects disgrace upon the government for not attempting to make the Coast more safe and navigable. Several rocks we passed which were not to be found in the charts and maps. We saw the remains of two wrecks which happened the week previous, and the Ship I had partly engaged my passage, tho' fortunately for me she sailed the day before I was prepared. She also became a wreck. The Passengers were saved but the cargo all lost.

On arriving at N Orleans we were all disappointed at our reception. The money panic, felt so keenly by the merchants at N York, and which induced me to leave there, was also severely felt at N. O. The consequence was that a few large Firms became bankrupts, mechanics were discharged from their employment, and wages much reduced, and that at the very place that hitherto had demanded all mechanics that applied at a scale of the highest rate of wages. I thought it a strange circumstance. The fact is that I arrived a day after the Fair.

N. O. is a large commercial city and is governed by two distinct corporations, French and American. Great part of the inhabitants are composed of French, Spanish and Dutch, so that I heard little else but a continual splutter of languages I could not comprehend. Religion is a thing unheard of. Churches and chapels are nowhere to be found. Sunday is a general holiday, theatres open, balls and assemblies crowded, gambling carried on to the greatest extent. I have seen thousands of Dollars won and lost in a few minutes. Having no acquaintance there I met with no society worth speaking of. My not obtaining work and paying a Dollar per day for board, I became heartily sick of the place in a week. Still I would have feign'd stayed there a while because I could have readily acquired a knowledge of the French language, which is very useful in many parts of America. I left there on board steam Boat and the first place I landed was where I now remain, a town of rising eminence situated on the banks of the Missisipi River, 200 miles from N. O. On reaching here it was dark night, the rain poured in torrents. I said of all places in the world this is the last I would choose to locate myself in. Altho' there are several taverns I met with the greatest difficulty in obtaining lodging. At last I stumbled wet and weary to a Whisky Shop kept by low bred Irish. Sometimes a drunken Irishman would be rolling or vomiting over me. Then again I would be startled by an immense number of rats crawling upon me. What a reception! I could not but consider myself transported to some barbarous country instead of the much talked of hospitality of civilised America. Next morn I endeavoured to get work, without success, there being but one Tailoring establishment here, and he having made an immense fortune, altho' always living at height of extravagance and caring little about pleasing his customers. I was by the recommendation of several Merchants and Planters prevailed upon to commence Business. Altho' my finances were wretchedly low and my mind ill prepared for such an undertaking, yet I had the presumption to take part of a house in the principal St and most business like part of the town. I next purchased a cord of wood for firing, which consumed very nearly the contents of my purse. And, to my mortification next morn, I found but little remained. The midnight robbers had been busy. Oh! thinks I, if that is the Yankee system I will speedily adopt it. The front door of the house required much alteration and fitting up 'ere it could be transformed into a Tailor's shop. I nothing daunted went to work like a trojan, and the first wood yard I came to, took planks, boards, shelves, doors, &c, time after time in the space of four days, without being observed by whom they belonged or whose care they were placed. Needs must when the devil drives. The labour of carpenters and other workmen being too expensive for me, I went to work and completed the greater part, making a pretty smart appearance I assure you, and, with my daring yankee dishonesty, at but little expense. You will not think much of me for acting thus, but dire necessity compelled, and as I am now well acquainted with the owner and, was he aware of my purloining his property under such circumstances, I know he would readily forgive me. After I had laid the foundation for Business, which occupied every means my bewildered brain could suggest, and by keeping batchelor's hall instead of paying 1 Dollar per day for board, I proceeded with business and have got along pretty comfortable since. There is a fine company of soldiery here. I soon introduced myself to the leader of the band who, being an english cockney and in want of a piccolo player, gave me a cordial reception, my being entered as a musician, procured my Dress and accoutriments without expense on my part. On my being presented to the Captain (a member of the Senate House) and the major- general (an eminent judge and candidate for the office of governor of this State, Lousiana) they shook my hands most heartily. The ladies of a village 12 miles from this, presented their company with a splendid banner. Our company was invited to be present on this occasion and a joyful one it was. Away we went mounted on horse back in full uniform. I thought no dirt of myself. Such feasting I never saw, which lasted 3 days & nights. The Dance kept up without ceasing. We then prepared to return home, but my horse had broken from the stable and could not be found, which being reported, the Captain proffered me one of his horses or a ride home in his family carriage. Such acts of kindness from one so much my superior, and similar acts from others gave me a better opinion of American hospitality.

I have managed to insinuate myself into the good graces of our Music leader, who seems very partial to me. He proposes that I shall join him in commencing a Restaurant (refreshment) and coffee house establishment, with Music hall for concerts and balls, also gardens touching a little after the style of vauxhall. All this would suit me very well, but as I am not prepared for such an undertaking, I have declined any attempt of the kind, tho' I believe it would answer very well. I have been here about 8 weeks and am generally respected by the Inhabitants. I am now comfortably fixed and my work gives great satisfaction, yet I have a strong presentiment to leave here. Situated in the Missisipi valley is not considered healthy during summer, and now the digging and making rail roads, and cleansing the swamps and bayous will probably render it more sickly until completed, and I do not wish to settle in a climate where I cannot invite my friends to reside with me. For the sake of making a little money I have surmounted many inconveniences. I have found many advantages. Persons fond of fishing, hunting or shooting may find plenty of sport in the vicinity of their own homes. The .... with such immense Steam boats passing every hour affords a first ... amusement but the billiard table where laborors from the rail way to the .... of their play, almost everyone is armed with pistols & a dirk knife .... spanish custom than necessity. Before I came in this State I was told .... see men lay dead almost every morn, the result of their .... certainly very often found them dead drunk. There is no accommodation ..... no fires no tables or chairs, nothing to do but go stand at the bar and ...... paying /6d (english) per glass, not a question of a pint, no matter what liquid .... porter and cider all the same price. The land here is very rich but chiefly .... sugar planters. Provisions are brought down here in rafts and flat boats .... about 200 miles. This State is wedged in on one side by the raging war .... known David Crocket lately fell, and on the other side by the ..... Indians. The nigger slaves here seem generally to be a saucy well ..... race of beings in a blissful state of ignorance. I wish I could .... working classes of England were in half such easy circumstances ... The commonest laborer on the rail road here gets 28 Dollars per .... and to my certain knowledge they work very easy. Thousands more ..... now struck for more wages and more drink. What laboring man would stay in England, .. be aware of this and could by any means cross the Atlantic. I have formed an acquaintance with several Kentuckians who strongly advise me to visit their District and open a shop there. The state of Kentucky is called the garden of America, the Athens of the West, and the neighborhood of the chalybeate springs, called the Cheltenham of the U States. I think I shall follow their advice, the climate being similar to that of the land which gave me birth, will be congenial to the feelings of my friends, especially our own family, whom it will be the height of my wishes to introduce to this country for a time, if so be that I can see every probability of promoting their welfare, but I shall first pause and examine. If circumstances turn out to be what I have been led to expect I shall propose that you prepare the minds of Mother and Sisters, and that sufficient time be afforded for reflection or preparation. I start for England early next spring and so return with me to America for a term not less than 2 years or more than 5. I am told that when I am thoroughly settled in this country, I shall feel no desire to leave it, neither do I see why such feeling should predominate but I see many who have in a few years accumulated an handsome competency to obliterate the fear of want, and then return, retaining a prejudice in favor of their own country, or a desire to rejoin the friends and companions of days gone by; and I think it will clearly show that there is a probability of my being of that description of persons when I say that I should prefer a partner in the person of Miss Walton, rather than enter into any yankee family matters which might preclude the probability of finally resettling in my own natal region. And if you coincide with such my views and think it likely that you all will agree to form a little community of our own, I must solicit Sister Poll & yourself as confidentials in presenting my respects & design to H. W. and, if any hopes of a favorable impression, I will immediately reopen a correspondence & explain myself more fully to his Sister, Mrs Watson, Red Lion St., but if they totally disapprove anything of the kind, which I rather think may be the case, no matter.

My love to Mother and Sister. They must excuse me not scribbling a page more applicable to themselves. As soon as I can ascertain how and where they are, I shall write to them. If I can manage matters so as to enable me to cross the Atlantic this Summer I shall do so, but travelling in the South of America is so expensive that my finances have been totally upset. My voyage from N York to N Orleans is about the same as it would have been to England, and to return to N York by Steam Boats and land conveyances will be ten times this amount. Remember me to Fotherby & others, perhaps he might join our expedition or, if inclined to set out shortly, the best way would be to arriving to leave N York as soon as possible and make out fro the Western States, where Mechanics are more in demand, wages better hereto and provisions cheaper and the climate agreeable. My respects to Watson and his Son Belcher. The States of Michigan & Indiana offer the best advantages to the cultivators of the soil. I think the latter State is preferable, being near to the Southern States where money is plentiful and so full of plantations of Sugar & Cotton causes a great demand for Western produce. Michigan is also very severe during winter. By the bye, I have just eyed over the map and I find on my rout to Kentucky I have to pass within a few miles of N Harmony, I shall probably call there and then I will write again. I need not say how eager I am to hear from you.

In about a fortnight I think of leaving here, altho' if I will stay am offered my dwelling rent free, but my not being climatised, my health would undoubtedly be in a precarious state. With that exception I should certainly be in a position to make money. I have made many friends and shall leave them with regret. The other day I heard a minister, at a public meeting, say that the ravages of death every summer, attributed to this climate, was a base calimoney, which being attested by an excellent Orator, together with the persuasions of my acquaintances had almost rivetted me to the spot, but I have decided upon taking my leave. If you think of coming to America it would be well to turn your attention to boot making, it being so much in demand, and Sisters would do well here. I have oft wished for Mary. The Ladies ride very much on horseback and there is a great demand for habit makers, but the opposite sex are not allowed to approach to the lackadaisical creatures to take measure of their shape. Such a man as Uncle Watkin would get on very well here, in about 6 months he might be in possession of a lot of land, 80 Acres - the cost 100 Dollars. Tell Fotherby remember me to Fisher & Keans. When I write again I will state more particulars and try to give a more engaging perusal than this horrible scribble can possibly afford you. I am in first rate health and remain your happy and respectful Brother Geo.

April 20th 1837

Note Front of letter has date 20/6/37 Two months to get to England?

 

He describes wandering the country trying to find a place to settle. He has visited New Harmony in Indiana where friends from London had settled to found a community. He found them discouraged and scattered. He is now 30 miles from St Louis. He calculates he will be able to make a living as a tailor but the banks have collapsed and notes are now worthless. He mentions that many people are going to the new state of Texas and he comments on the politics of the USA. The climate in Herculaneum is much like England. He reccomends that, if people have to emigrate to the US they go to New Orleans rather than New York as it easier to get to the central and western states, where the opportunities are better, from there.

Herculaneum Missouri

Respected Brother,

When I left the British shore, in quest of a resting place more congenial to my feelings than what my natal soil afforded, and landed in a free country of such immense magnitude as this republican realm, where its natural advantages are generally good and its constitution too firmly based to admit of any devastations being made on its noble institutions; - all this and much more, led me to suppose my object was at once discovered; - but No Sir, I succeeded only for a space of time, and have been ever since I left you, sojourning from place to place in search of some spot whereby to fix a more permanent abode; and I perceive more than a twelvemonth has elapsed and until I arrived at this place three months ago, I had not a compact idea where to locate myself. Some thousand miles have I travelled by land and water, North, South & west and observed the manners and customs of various nations. As far as the Eastern or New England States they savour too much of Old England to offer an inducement for visiting them. There is an over population, mechanics wages are low and farmers is numerous that but a small portion of land can be commanded by each. Of late years the young men have migrated to the Southern and Western States until an average of about five females to one male remains; - Since I left the place from whence I last wrote to you I have visited the beautiful prairies of Illinois, and lastly the Missouri Mines of Iron, lead, copper, tin, zinc and silver, most of which are lately discovered, and which cannot fail at some distant period to pronounce the State of Missouri the richest and most important in the Union. - Since my arrival in America I have been so circumstanced that I might term myself a wanderer, yet I must observe that I have been led by a sense of duty and not by idle curiosity, save upwards of 200 miles out of my way to see New Harmony in Indiana. When I arrived there I went to see the party who left the Owens Institution, London, and embarked for America a few months before I did, on a community undertaking, but I found them all wofully disappointed, so much that they would be glad to get to London again. They had been led astray by the person who induced them to commence the undertaking, and are now all divided and scraping a subsistence in the best manner they can. Some are in different parts of America. I found N Harmony to have all the appearance of a deserted village and could not discover the creation of a new building in any shape. There were not more than three decent looking houses in the whole village, one the only tavern, another occupied by Mr Owens family, another is the house formerly occupied by Mr Rapp, the founder of the Rappite party, and now occupied by Mr M Clure, a gentleman who advanced a large sum toward putting community principles into operation, but Mr Owen having failed in establishing his darling object, a considerable portion of his landed property is now in possession of Mr Clure. - I believe the family of Mr O has given up any idea of establishing any community institution. I understand the very name is to them a disgusting sound. Not even the Labor College, upon which so much has been said and written about, is now scarce ever heard of. So that I found no charms to detain me more than three or four days. The population is, I believe, not more than 600, and not 1000 as was represented in a number of the moral world, and I may venture to say rather on the decreas. During my short stay I was introduced to Mr Extler, the Author of the paradise, a work well known to the Owenites, in which he has promised to do more for the human race than Mr Owen and all the philantrophists that ever existed. His exterior habilitments and what I understood from others respecting his present circumstances, pronounces him to be in rather a wretched condition, I believe without the means of being well clad or well fed. His conversation seems that of an honest well meaning individual, but his talents, whatever they may be to the human family, have been to himself most unprofitable. -

The land around N Harmony is excellent and much yet remains unoccupied. I suppose the Farmers subsist tolerably comfortable, yet some have sold their Farms and migrated to the backwoods of the far west. -

From N Harmony I proceeded to the Ohio River and took steamboat passage to Saint Louis, (about 360 miles) the famed queen city of the far west; and found expences very high and no chance of employment. Whilst there I heard of the formation & building of a new city, which I understood had already commenced, and was rapidly increasing about 100 miles from there, and the plan I saw, so beautifully drawn upon paper, shewing the public squares, pleasure grounds, grottos, fountains, theatres, churches, museums, colleges, manufacturies &c, also the charter for making canals & railroads leading thereto, together with the desirable situation, being that best selected among the rich mines of Missouri, drew my attention to visit that spot with the view of taking up my quarters there. I accordingly started and, there being no conveyance, I had to walk alone, 100 miles through the back woods, to the expected lyseum. I passed through but two villages in that distance, and the farmhouses were few and far between, often 8 or ten miles apart. In consequence of the roads being seldom travelled over I often went miles out of my way, deluded by the track of wolf or deer. Heavy rains had fallen, which overflowed the creeks & rivers, which I had to cross four times, the current so strong that it was with greatest difficulty that I could swim over, there being no bridges or ferry boats. And, when I arrived, I found that the splendid city, which had engrossed so much attention, did not contain more than half a dozen dwelling houses, and the greater part of its inhabitants were possums, racoons, wolves, deer, squirrels, snakes and other animals & vermin; that it was only an intended city or rather one proposed by the proprietors of the grounds. The situation and its natural advantages, with here and there springs of running water and a variety of mineral ore strewed the ground in great profusion, which I found to be such as described and think the designed improvements will doubtless take place sooner or later, but as I could see no direct method of turning the precious metals into dollars I thought it prudent to leave them to the fond anticipations of others. I found myself too soon in the field to reap a profitable harvest. Hitherto I had always been too late, some consolation in being soon enough for once. However I took my leave of the iron mountains and made the best of my way to the nearest navigable river for steam boats and arrived at the banks of the upper Missisipi at the place where I now reside, with every probability of my remaining here, at least for some time. This is a village containing not more than 20 families, but thickly surrounded by farmers. Here is but few mechanics tho' many more are wanted, none so much so as a boot & shoe maker. The situation is quite romantic, on a rising eminence from the bank of the mighty Missisipi, which render it more attractive by the landing and passing of steam boats, and surrounded by rocks, ravines, caves, creeks, cascades. - But I am not going to poetise upon its qualities or attempt to give a more enchanting description than presents itself, suffice it to say I am quite comfortable in my rural retirement. There is another village directly on the opposite bank of the River, and six miles hence is a watering place for the fashionable invalids, called the Sulphur Springs. The City of St Louis is 30 miles from hence. Travellers passing to and from there generally stay at the tavern where I board, so that I am not altogether secluded from society, otherwise the monotonous parlance is upon mineral and agricultural pursuits.

The Tailor who preceded me has earned sufficient from the proceeds of the Tailoring business to establish a warehouse well stored with merchandise. I believe I am the only Tailor within 20 miles around this place, therefore my connexion will in all probability be a very extensive one whether it be small in number or not. My calculations upon business as far as my own labor is concerned, are that it will yield an average of 12 Dollars per week, expenditure for board, 2 Dollars per week, shop rent, 15 Dollars pr Year, fire wood, 15 Dollars per Year. - Tho' that is nothing like what has been the general boast of mechanics, that I consider myself pretty fortunate in that prospect at this distressful period. The prospects in America, in these calamitous times, present but a miserable picture. The only current money is gold & silver. The whole of the banks in the country has, for some time, suspended payment of species for their bank notes, consequently, the Notes of every bank being valueless, the Merchants have been ruined. Mechanics and laborers driven from their employment, and farmers obtain little or nothing for their produce, are fast emigrating to Texas, a new Republican country, the war with mexico being ended. A large grant of land is offered to each, in order to have the country inhabited and constituted on a firm basis. -

Whilst the United States bank continued in operation, America flourished and money easily convertible, but its charter having expired in 1830 and a refusal by President Jackson alone to recharter it, altho' the bill for its recharter passed by a majority of two thirds of both houses of congress, a majority which of course must be considered to represent the wishes of the people, and yet general Jackson put his veto upon the bill, which doubtless caused the distress which now pervades all classes. There is no monarch on earth would have dared to usurp such a tyrannical power. - The U S bank which branches over the country, being no longer acknowledged by government, other banks were substituted, established by the Merchants and Planters upon their own responsibility, which being but weakly founded, proved but temporary affairs but which gave rise to speculators making extensive purchases, so far beyond their means, that little else but failures have taken place, which would seem to threaten war to the country. Jackson will doubtless go to his grave with the bitter curses of those very people who hitherto have been ever ready to worship at his shrine. - Party spirit now seems very high. I think it likely that the Democrats will, for the first time, be driven from office and the Whig party gain the ascendancy at the next presidential election, an anticipation of 3 Years. Jackson himself, the great emperor of democrats, having taken the power from the people, brought devastation upon them, and in the closing of his last address, tells them he leaves them prosperous & happy. It may happen in the event of the Whigs, the party fast approaching to an aristocracy, gaining the governing power, that they will follow up the precedent, and shatter the foundation of republicanism. They will first promote good measures and gain popularity . The first of which may be the recharter of the U S bank with the view of once more enjoying the sunshine of prosperity. - I am no partizan or politician and think it time to quit the subject & enquire after my own friends. Nothing could afford greater pleasure than to see you all here, notwithstanding the gloom over the country, but I would by no means press such an invitation. The climate here is much the same as England generally and tolerably healthy for this newly settled part of the country, but ...... asked is it as healthy as England generally I say decidedly not. Fevers and agues prevail in august & september, much the same as prevailed in the first settling of England, as you may find by harking back its history. Many situations in this country which have been sickly, but now improved by the aid of man, have become as healthy and salubrious as any in europe. I have been of late recovered from a months sickness of the bilious fever. I am now excellent well and have been until this month notwithstanding the unhealthy situations I have been in. - A few industrious Mechanics would do pretty well here, I have had a lot of ground 100 feet square in one of the best parts of town, offered me for nothing if I would build a dwelling house upon it. Others by settling here might have the same, not that the natives are so mighty generous, but it would increase the inhabitants and traffic of the town and enhance the property adjoining thereto. For the space of six or seven weeks after my arrival here I enjoyed myself so well that I became somewhat approaching to complacency, and feeling satisfied to find a resting place likely to be a profitable one, I had resolved to start for England early in the spring to encourage you all to return with me. Indeed so eager was I that I had agreed to purchase a house and lot with another lot adjoining, but my sickness and many others around, tho' none fatally, together with the country being less prosperous than it was ever known, persuaded me 'tis better to wave such a consideration at present. For the troubles of a voyage alone is enough to prevent such an undertaking by those who live by the sweat of their brow, unless with the cheering prospect of being well rewarded.

As regards emigration to this country at this juncture, I would say to those who are moderately well employed, to let that suffice. Others who are so poorly dealt with as to consider emigration necessary, and have still the means, instead of going to N York as emigrants usually do, it is better to steer their course to New Orleans where they could more readily reach these western states, or to the new country, Texas - Thousands from N York and the adjoining states has returned to England and thousands more would do so had they the means. -

A rolling stone gathering no moss is an old adage and a pretty correct one, but as far as the comparison bears upon myself, I can only say I have gathered just quantain sufficient to upset the proverb, notwithstanding my wandering expences and losing 50 per cent by my bank notes for specie before I could travel. -

I need not say I am filled with anxiety to hear from you. Write soon. Do not hinder by giving a long letter. Send a multum in parvo account of generalities. Let me know how you are situated and Mother and Sisters. I am solicitous concerning them. If Mary is still in London tell her to write also and send their addresses's. Send an early reply and command the lasting gratitude of your respectful Brother Geo

Septr 28th 1837

Herculaneum, Jefferson County

State of Missouri, U S America

 

 

He is now settled in Herculaneum with a wife and a house in two acres. His young son has just died. He is writing to Fotherby to encourage him to join him. The letter gives the impression that Fotherby is in the States. George Hale has been teaching school but is now going back to tailoring and feels the prospects are good.

Herculaneum Apl 12th 1841

Friend Fotherby

In taking a retrospective glance at the period when I last wrote to you & my remissness in not acknowledging the receipt of your last letter, you will no doubt consider yourself wholly forgotten, or disregarded by me and I must confess it is not an unreasonable supposition of. Its natural then that you should accuse me of negligence at least, and I plead guilty to the charge, but the heart that never felt ingratitude and the inclination, I might say a brotherly desire, for your welfare still remains immaculate. Your favour of the 25th Octr arriv'd in due course, but found me in excruciating agony, on a bed of sickness, since which time my wife has undergone a lapse of extreme suffering, and lastly, the illness of my little Boy which has just resulted in his death. Such being the state of things when, but a few weeks ago, I was filled with all the pride hopes and ambitions that a Father could possibly enjoy. I can only lament that my beautiful Flower was cropt so early. This gloomy intelligence will suffice for my apology in not writing sooner. Your letter was not so cheering as I trust your next will be. I am anxious to hear that your eyesight has been perfectly restored. Ever since I heard from you I have been impressed with the idea to send a pressing invitation for you to come hither. I might have encouraged such an idea sooner but I hope it is not too late, because I dont know when I could do so with more pleasing emotions than now. Whilst I remained a Boarder at the Tavern, I could not call it my home, but I have now purchased a house with about two Acres of land in a beautiful romantic situation, commanding a fine view of the Missppi River and the shore of Illinious in perspective. I think this may afford me some comfort for the future and if so, I wish you could share it with me. I have just resigned my School to another teacher who is residing with me, and am now resuming the Tailoring business again where I should be happy if you would join me, and if your sight should be still afflicted you might pas away your time about the house and garden perhaps better here than some other places. I do not say you could readily acquire a fortune here, for I very much doubt whether the best of us could anywhere, but I believe comfort and independance may be secured for any industrious individuals. Present my respectful compliments to W Parker and, if he and yourself is not doing much in the way of business, I think you had better do as you did before, when you intended to come much farther West. Go to Evansville or Mt Benon and take the first boat that passes to St Louis, or, if you prefer a land route, post away to this place Via Waterlow. I am of opinion that we could do a tolerable business here. Living is cheap and expenses, trifling. A Fashionable Tailor has just left here. He had plenty of work but the generality of people were not fashionable enough for him, so he started for the fashionable city, St Louis. I should like to see the people of the western country generally pay more regard to dress, but as long as plain work at plain prices answers the purpose of the Tailor better than fashionable trade at fashionable prices, I for one will not make it an objectionable matter. Unfortunately the fashionable prices are at a rather low ebb, whilst the plain Farmer remain as usual. If you know any knews from England it will be a treat to me to hear some. Send me a paper if you have one, also a paper of any kind will be thankfully received, and I will try to reciprocate the favor, but dont be alarmed if it should be composed of Whig doctrine, and when a National Bank is established, dont be under any apprehension that the notes will contaminate you, but secure as many as you can, and line your purse and pockets with them, until they are as strong as double milled & twilled. Be sure to write as soon as you can send a paper and I will do likewise.

I remain

Yrs with every sentiment

of respect & esteem

Geo B Hale

 

It appears that Fotherby was a friend from London who arrived in New Harmony after George Hale's visit. George's business is poor because he cannot get staff and has been ill and forced to spend a great deal on doctors.

Feby 6th /42

Dr Geo

Nearly four months has elapsed since the date of your last letter, and I suppose it must be high time I aught to write to you, which I assure you I feel a pleasure in doing, altho' I have nothing of consequence to communicate, only to express my deep commiseration of that severe affliction which it has been your lot to be troubled with. Bad as you have been tortured and almost deprived of your sight, I was glad to find that you did not sink into despair but had the organ of hope largely developed. I trust your hopes have been related and am anxious to hear of your final recovery. How you have sustained yourself as regards expenses and pecuniary matters I cannot imagine. I only know that a protracted sickness must have affected your circumstance very much, both in mind, body and estate, because Doctors bills has almost broken me up, or rather broken me down, so I can feel for you from experience. Another circumstance must have affected you, that is the loss of your friend, Parker. I was truly sorry, for I had flattered myself with the hope of meeting with him and yourself, and joining with you in some kind of business. From the acquaintance I had with him, I believe he was one of the best of men I ever met with. We shall not soon "look upon his like again". Had I anticipated your arrival, and in company with Parker too, when I was in New Harmony nothing would have drove me from there until I had seen you, for I have not forgot the advantages of friendly cooporation, and probably we might have been more comfortable and better off. As it is I have been wandering in this large range of country, often solitary, alone & friendless, continually unsettled and, even now, altho' I find comfort and a home which is pleasently situated for almost everything but business so that I expect to branch out again one of these days & explore some other tract of country. I could have done pretty well here at Tailoring, but my work lay principally in my own hands. I would scarcely ever get any assistance, so that my work had frequently to go undone and my orders countermanded. I am now doing but a small and poor business. Nobody has anybody. Almost everythink is done on the trading or exchange principle. If I had more assistance in the shape of work hands so as to plunge into business more extensively, I could do better, but it would be by puffing everything, cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap. - Honest man are scarce. Everyone for themselves, whilst I have been sacrificing myself for the benefit of others, until I was so much behind that the Devil might almost cach hold of me. Send word what Jas Parker is doing, & if you have made any arrangement with him in the day of business. What has become of T Evans and what friends have you in New Harmony? Are there any whom I was acquainted with in London? If you are not doing much, I wish you would steer your course this way. We will conjure up something for a future prospect. I can ensure a living here equal to that of my neighbours and I want you to share it with me. Undoubtedly this is a rich country but I have not yet discovered any. Come & help me to hunt for them and, if your eyesight is not as good as it used to be, come anyhow. I have not heard one word from England. For the papers you have favoured me with, I am greatly indebted to you. I have not exchanged them regularly. The fact is, I do not take a paper at this time, but whenever I can beg borrow or steal one I post it off to you. Send word the state of the Tailoring Trade about Harmony, The prices &c and what kind of material is generally worn. I have not had so much broadcloth to cut lately in consequence of hard times. Write before long. I must conclude this hastily or I will be too late for the mail.

I remain Yours

with sincere Respect

Geo B Hale

Herculaneum

Mo

 

George Hale has become out of touch with his brother. He describes Herculaneum as a deserted village and is thinking of selling up and moving next fall if he can find a buyer. Business is bad and he plans a trip through Arkansas through the Indian frontier to sell clothes in May or June. He now has a fine little boy.

Herculaneum Mo

Feby 27 1843

Friend Fotherby

It is with no small degree of pleasure that I have lately received a couple of papers from New Harmony, which seems to indicate that you are still residing there. Not having heard from you for so long I had supposed you had gone home to England, as you suggested to me some time ago that you had some intention of going there, since which time I have often regretted that I did not take some active steps towards meeting with you before you started. As it is I presume you are still in New Harmony and I shall feel the greatest pleasure in seeing you, either there or somewhere else, if it can be contrived any way. The distances not so extravagantly great but that we might form, in the chain of friendship, a stronger Connecting link by taking a glance at each other and by word of mouth tell over our fortunes and misfortunes since we last met in a real friendly chat in our old style. Do not delay writing. I am anxious to hear how you get along these wretched times & whether you fully recovered your eyesight. I hope to find your prospects more cheering than when I last heard from you. If you have heard anythink from England send word. Any thing will be news to me. When you wrote to me some time ago, for my Brothers direction ,I was thinking of writing to you for the same thing, for I have never heard any thing about him except from yourself. Had I the means of going to England comfortably, I believe I would do so, Altho I doubt not but there is distress enough there, but a weeks life in London is worth an age in this Country. I should like to know what you have decided upon. I have become quite tired of this place. Society is broken up and it has become almost a deserted village. A year or two ago there were more young people, especially young ladies, than any other place of its size I ever knew. We had our own balls, concerts, plays and discussing continually, but the young folk are all now married and cant come. They have posted off in every direction, and secured homes elsewher, and I want to go too, for most of those who are left are a mean, selfish, crafty set, amongst whom, if a person dared to be honest, these times, he would certainly starve. I had intended to leave here last fall, but as I could not dispose of my little property, was prevented. If I do not meet with some desirable situation before next fall I shall most probably go to Louisiana. I have no doubt but I can do a good business there. You must endeavour to go with me. As it sometimes requires time to consider prosecuting a journey there will be ample time for preparation between now and then. The people there have more wealth and are more willing to part with some of it than the picayman people of this part of the country, where it is hard to find a person possesses one liberal idea. I am working at the Tailoring business and expect to follow it if my health permits, but I want better work than I can get here. I have become almost aristocrat and am quite sick of sewing home made jeans and lindseys. I can just manage to raise a little broad cloth for my own coat and that is all. About may or june I intend to take a trip through Arkansas to the frontier among the Indians with a load of Clothing. If you should still continue in New harmony I will send you an account of it. My little family and myself are in good health. I have a fine little boy whose merry prattle serves to dispel all gloomy forebodings. - If you can send me a paper occasionally it will be thankfully received. I do not take a paper now, but will do so for the purpose of exchanging it with you. I remain Yrs most respectfully

G B Hale

 

George's wife died last October and his little boy has been ill but is now recovered. Business is bad, no tailoring and teaching is very badly paid. He has bought a farm 9 miles from Herculaneum and wants Fotherby to join him to raise sheep for wool, which he feels is a promising venture.

Herculaneum May 24th /44

Friend Fotherby

A paper from you has just reached me, which gives me much pleasure, in so much as it convinces me that you still reside in New Harmony. It gives me much remorse of conscience too, for neglecting to write to you before now. It is a defect in my character which I must confess seems almost inpardonable, but still I know you would excuse me if you knew what the state of my feelings have been, accasioned by the lamented loss of my wife, my bosom companion, who expired last October. More sickness here last fall than can be recollected by the oldest resident. Many cases were fatle, amongst which my greatest comfort, my only solace, my much beloved, was taken from me and left me solitary and alone. My own health has been much impaired, but I believe, more from my distress of mind, than from my bodily disease. My little boy has been quite sickly and I have done little else but watch over him fore the last 6 or 7 months, but now my greatest consolation is that he has nearly, if not quite, recovered, an event which I have been only desirous to live for, and the only alleviation that could remove the painful sensation of grief that I have experienced since my bereavement. I must now leave this painful subject and endeavour to be a little more cheerful. I now wish to consult me about your future prospects. I am anxious to hear from you as regards the state of your health and how you are situated. I am in great hopes to hear that you have regained your eyesight. I should be extremely glad to see you and I trust that your sight will be preserved to see me before long. I have done nothing in the way of business for some time and, if I have to continue in the Tailoring business, I shall certainly not remain here. School Teachers are wanted but they must teach for next to nothing. Collections cannot be made. There is a better prospect than either of the above professions can afford me, which can soon be made a first rate business, a cash business too, and which I wish you to be interested in. I allude to the wool trade. To the raising of Sheep. Their is always a great demand for wool and unlike other productions, whose market prices are continually fluctuating, the wool market generally adheres to steady prices, so that pretty safe calculations may generally be made. A better country than this around here probably cannot be found in the U States for that business. The land is very hilly and broken. Only here and there are farms to be found, not but there is a great deal of good tillable land, but springs are not numerous and there will be but few wells for many years to come. I have just purchased a small Farm improvement, 9 miles from Herculaneum, with a small dwelling house, Stables &c, a never failing spring of pure water and but a few acres cleared, but plenty of good timber land to clear if necessary. It is a very heartily location. I propose to go on this place as soon as possible, with 50 heards of Sheep, which I can easily procure. I particularly want you to join me in that business. Living is very cheap and expences is very trifling. I will prepare everythink to commence with. There is a flour and grist mill within 2 miles, an excellent Physician within 2 miles, a particular friend doing a good business, much better than most of the wool growers in this region are doing because they are either too Lazy or too much occupied with other matters to attend to their sheep, which are turned into the wild wood to take care of themselves where they soon meet with a prowling wolf who of coming makes an havoc amongst them. I wish you would consider this matter & see if this business will not suit you better than any you may be engaged in. The main business will be to attend to the sheep because that is far more profitable than any business am acquainted with, but that will consume but little time. There will be good grazing within sight of home for a large flock for a long time. To work occasionally at Tailoring or on the farm or any think else that may be deemed necessary. As I shall not commence this business alone I will wait your reply to this letter. Do not delay writing, as I have done, but write as soon as you can, and consider this a business better that should be attended to.

I am

Your sincere Friend

G B Hale

Herculaneum Mo

 

 

From the content I think this letter is out of place and should be later.

George refers to his companion (presumably wife) Mary Jane, two daughters living in Vineland 3 miles off, one Mrs Sarah Lanham and the other Miss Vina Hale. He also refers to the Blackwell family living at Blackwell Station as relatives. Photographs have been received from England and not put into an album. He has four children at home, two of them boys, one of these at school and one at work. His brother has a companion, Ann receiving attention from Amelia. He also refers to a fire which destroyed some of his possessions from Newark.

 

 

De Soto, Jefferson Co. Missouri.

Dear Brother

When I last wrote to you I intended to allude in a few words to what might seem on its first glimpse to be a very simple matter, so I intended to place it in a postscript at the close of my letter, but my whole mind became so full of Newark events that I forgot it, and lest I should forget it again, I will place it on record here at the commencement of my letter. It is this - the initials Co, especially on letter directions, signifies County, and Cy signifies City, in the same manner that Mo is the abbreviation for Missouri, and Mi for Missisippi. This remark is probably quite sufficient to draw your attention, but the force of habit is said to be a second nature, and as you have always been accustomed to write Cy for County and as I value your letters very highly with great affection, I am so fearful that some careless mail agent or post office clerk should put one or more of your letters in the mail bag for Jefferson City instead of Jefferson County; and the letter, not finding me there, would be sent to the dead letter office in Washington City, remain there awhile, and then be cast into the flames as waste paper not worth preserving. (Jefferson City is a town of importance and is the Capitol of Missouri, 140 miles west from St Louis.) Hence my lengthy remarks to prevent such an occurrence, yet, lengthy as they are, I must state an incident that belongs to this subject because it is the cause of my being so particular.

A few years ago an english friend of mine in De Soto, named Bently, wrote to England inviting his Nephew to visit the family, and sending his direction exactly as you write mine, namely, De Soto, Jefferson Cy, Missouri. So his nephew embarked at Liverpool for New York, thence by railway to St Louis, then by railway to Jefferson City and not finding De Soto or Uncle Bently there, he showed the directions in his Uncle's letter, and was told that De Soto, Jefferson Cy must mean De Soto, Jefferson County, and he would have to go back to St Louis and then take the Iron Mountain train to De Soto, Jefferson County. But Lo! behold! his purse was nearly empty and he must travel 182 miles and cross large rivers and streams to reach his destination. You can now pity the condition of our poor countryman, and so did a passenger Conductor, who on receiving a promise to pay for his passage in a reasonable time, conveyed him back to St Louis. He afterwards got a good situation on our rail road and resided a year or two with our relatives, the Blackwell family at Blackwell Station.

When I began this letter I did not expect to make my remark of one simple abbreviation a text for the foundation of a whimsical lecture which my wandering thoughts has almost led me into. In reading papers on phrenology I find it connected with another science called psychology which teaches its learners to read the thoughts of others. As I have not studied that science I cannot read your thoughts, but I can almost fancy them to be something like this "What a rambling rigmarole the old fellow is making about one simple letter in the children's alphabet." - 'Once a man and twice a child,' is the old adage, so perhaps I am getting old enough to be childish, and if I have been scribbling nonsense all this time, I am sure that I have this much good sense left, to know that you will excuse me. So I will close the subject by singing a stanza of the song - "I've been roaming." and write something better or worse as it may happen.

My Mary Jane has just left home for Vineland 3 miles off, on a visit to our two daughters Mrs Sarah F Lanham and Miss Vina Hale. The last words she said on leaving were - "Tell Brother Johnnie that I am delighted with his Photo's and shall claim one as a present to myself as I want to place it on the parlor wall where we can often see it, instead of shutting it up in an album. Ever since I saw his first letter many years ago, I always knew he possessed a good countenance, because I have perceived from his letters enough to induce me to believe that he has a strong mind and determination to do the right and shun the wrong."

The Photo's have given us much enjoyment, they are all good likenesses of myself, the one with a pipe is a fac - sim - i - le, an exact likeness, except the pipe as I do not smoke. It is difficult to persuade anyone that it is the likeness of any person except myself. When I ask our friends if they know whose likeness that is, they reply something like this - "That question is easily answered by any of your acquaintances, but what freak induced you to put a pipe in your mouth?" - So to humor their opinion awhile, I reply, - O that's a mere sham, just to appear fashionable, because nearly every man except myself smokes a merchaum. Then after enjoying the joke of their judgement and wonderment at my laughter, I explain that it is my Brother's likeness which I have just received from England.

I am glad to find that you enjoy good health, and wish I could receive the same good news of Ann your companion and my good old friend and neighbor. With the kind attention she receives from Amelia I hope she will find life enjoyable for a long time. My own health is better than usual. If I was able to sustain the character of a fine old English gentleman so as to subsist without work, I believe I should enjoy a good state of health, but my usual activity and desire to do something makes me somewhat fidgety and leads me to self inflicted pains and penalties. I see a limb on the fruit trees or shrubbery that does not suit me, so with saw and axe I must lop it off, or, as I have been subject to take congestive chills I sometimes feel cold and shivery, and the boys being away off, one at work and the other at school, I take the axe and chop a little firewood, or I take a ride on horseback to De Soto or to Hillsboro our county town, and return home 32 miles, and the next thing I know, the verteber at the joint of my spine is again fractured or injured, and the best remedy I can find is to lay down on my lazy lounge quietly for several days until my joints grow slowly together again. The rest of the family are well except my Mary Jane who by Maggie's good care is able to get about occasionally. Four of our children are still at home and two not far off. You know I have always been affected with too much modesty for a go - a - head man of business, and a general dislike to ask favors, but now I want to show my worldliness before the short space allotted to me in this paper cuts me off. I have seen an advertisement in the N'k papers from the bookshop of Tomlinson, Kirk - gate, or Whiles, Stodman St who had for sale a picture of the northern part of N'k taken from the Muskham road, that I should like to get. Also a view of the old Church, one taken from Kirk - gate preferred; but beggars should not be choosers. If you or Sister Amelia could send them I should feel much obliged. You know that all my views of Newark sent by my old correspondent Geo Wm. were consumed by our great conflagration, which also burnt up my Clock and that consecrated Memento - our Father's Watch. I sow wish to get a view of the old Church so that I can take a larger Copy on card drawing board, and insert my watch in the place representing the Newark Church clock. This is intended for a mantel - piece decoration of utility. And if I can get it, I shall always think of you all when looking for the time on my utilized Newark Church clock. I was surprised to find the direction I had so recently written to you, inclosed in your last paper lately received. So it seems that the mind of Man sets time and distance almost at defiance to secure every accommodation for business and pleasure.

I remain Your affectionate Brother Geo Hale

 

 

Fotherby is replying to John Hale to tell him that George is now teaching at St Genevieve 30 miles below St Louis. Fotherby is writing from New Harmony after fetching his Mother from England.

 

To Mr John Hale Newark Notts

New Harmony August 19 '49

Friend Hale

Accordine to promise I have made enquiry about your Brother George. I find he has not wandered far. He is at A place called St Geneveive in Misouri, about thirty miles below Herculanium. He has Charge of the Academey at that place. This is all the postmaster sendes me. I have not written to him yet but shall soon

I presume you heard of our safe arival in New York. We arrived here on the 15 of June well nigh tired out. The weather began to get verry warm before we got here. Mother got through the journey tolerable well. She is tolerabley well satisfied. I believe she does not enjoy verry good health. The weather is verry hot. That is against her. She wont have it she is in A Town. She says there is only A few Odd Houses, the Houses being detached some have A quarter and some half an Acre lots. I found several had gone to California from this part and some have gone since my return. In all probability I should have been there had I not have to come to England as I did.

Give my kind Love to Bettsy and Amelia when you write to London and Amelias fellow Servants and say that I am well and I hope they are enjoying themselves. Remember me to Jallanes and family. My kind regardes to yourself and family. Hoping you are all well as i am at this time, so good bye

G Fotherby

 

George Hale describes a battle of the Civil War which took place near his home. Rebel soldiers fought Union soldiers and took and burned a railway bridge. As a result a force of Union soldiers arrived and arrested the local citizens, looting their houses. The next day they were released. There have been many murders and assassinations in the neighborhood. He refers to his wife's sisters as having an Uncle Blackwell.

In a continuation of the above George describes personal problems caused by the Civil War. He has lost cattle, sheep and pigs. He discusses the problems and future expectations. He mentions that his companion is unwell and his 10 year old daughter is carrying the burden. He also has a son Clarence and a 17 month daughter.

 

Blackwells Station I.M.R.R. St Francois Co

Missouri Nov 8/62

Dear Brother & Sister

An English friend has called upon me to write him a letter for England which reminds me how negligent I am in writing to my own friends there, but, such is the unsettled state of the mind during the impending crisis of our unfortunate and unnatural troubles, that altho' I have had more leisure than I ever had before yet I felt and still feel less inclined to wrote because I can present no picture but what partakes of a melancholy hue. But I must no longer let the opportunity pass of writing to those who care nothing for me and neglect dear friends who care so much, and as I cannot foresee into the future I must arouse myself into a sense of duty and respond to your very welcome presents, letters & papers, which I always devour as an intellectual feast. It also happened that I received similar favors from Newark about the same time making a combination altogether which caused me to wish I could see the prospect of breathing the atmosphere of old England again, but I must not indulge in any such hope for I meet with many disappointments, amongst which are that, in consequence of the sad reverses connected with the wretched state of our country, I have been obliged to work at the laborious occupation of Enlarging and improving the farm which has caused me to make the discovery that I am no longer young and am not able to do a hard days work, as my general health is greatly shattered. When I last wrote to you I appeared 10 yrs younger than my natural age, but at the present time I feel 10 yrs older. I know that the ways of Providence seem sometimes mysterious, but the change in my natural feelings & propensities and the inroads on my bodily constitution and general health has not been brought about by the just works of God, but by the agency of inhuman treatment by those in power who should have been among my best friends;- inflicted too at the same time when I as well as themselves was advocating the defence and maintenance of the US. Government. Last Oct & Nov our state was infested with a rebel army. 700 were sent to our neighbourhood for the purpose of burning Big River Bridge at the Rail Road and to destroy the wires of the Telegraph along the said Road, also to seize the Muskets &c of the Union Soldiers stationed there of which they stood greatly in need. This was done partly to prevent Government Troops being sent from St Louis, so that the bulk of the Rebel Army could attack the Station at the Iron Mountain on the end of the Rail Road and there obtain possession of the Road and more easily invade St Louis & then claim Missouri as one of the seceded states. The bridge was guarded by 80 Government Soldiers, who little expected any rebel army in this part of the State. Several of the rebels were from our own neighbourhood. They were all mounted on all Kinds of horses & mules & came stealthily along the road on the border of my own land, mile from our dwelling, before daylight, so as to take the little band of Union Soldiers by surprise. One of the piquet guards gave notice of their approach, which caused the little band of soldiers to move hurriedly from their tents & their slumbers and get behind a temporary breast work of loose stones, and so most of their lives were saved. The battle which consisted of firing at each other on one side with muskets & on the other with rifle guns, shot guns & pistols, or any weapon they could get possession of, lasted about 15 min. The rebels protected themselves behind Rocks Trees and Bushes as best they could; many were wounded, but only one U soldier & three Rebels Killed; when the Union Captn hoisted a blanket on the top of his bayonet for a temporary flag thereby giving up the contest a bullet passing thro his arm whilst in the act of doing so. The rebels then took from them their muskets tents provisions &c and after eating the breakfast then on the fire they applied the fire to the Rail Road Bridge which crosses the River at that place, and burned it down, then administered an oath to the prisoners that they would never take up arms again against the Southern Confederacy & liberated them.

If the rebels plan of attack had been carried out the little band of U Soldiers must have been almost all slaughtered. As they (rebels) were marching along before day * came to near our field where the road divides in two directions towards the bridge, one half of the rebels took one & the other half the other road so as to reach the camp nearly at the same time on opposite side, 350 on one side the breast work & 350 on the other, the plan being for one part of the rebels to make the attack until the U Soldiers got behind the breast work - then the other part to attack them in the rear of the breast work & slaughter them all if possible, but the greater plans of Providence & the thievish propensities of the Rebels prevented it. One road passed by our Uncle Blackwells cornfield where the corn was ripe & ready for gathering; this temptation was too strong so they stopped to feed their jaded hungry horses, a mile from the camp and did not reach the ground till the battle was over. They then left with their booty & their wounded in wagons & went to Blackwells Station to exalt over their Victory near a barrel of whisky & to feed the remaining part of their half starved horses, but whilst in the act of doing so part of another Co of U Soldiers consisting of about 50 stationed at a post about 2 miles off, who having heard the firing came marching double quick along the Rail Road to find what was the matter and to assist their friends who were of the same Regt. As they approached round a curve near Blackwells, they came in sight of the rebels & protected themselves behind Rocks Trees & Fences of the Corn field, the rebels getting behind the Station house, Store house Rail Road Cars, and in the Corn field among the thick growth of corn stalks 12 feet high. The firing lasted about 15 min some approaching in close contact to the point of the bayonet when it appeared that the little band of heroes would be inihilated. A Rebel Capt & the U Captain met firing at each other when the U Capt struck the former on the head with his sword and fell,d him to the ground. The U Capt then ordered his men to retreat to the woods which they did without losing a man. Whilst I was taking breakfast at home and heard the firing of hundreds of muskets and other guns I expected to find hundreds of dead and dying, but ,when I reached the ground an hour afterwards, I found three rebels dead & assisted in burying them. They were placed in a rude box, and lay in their bleeding gore just as they were found and were buried at the nearest convenient spot. They had no uniforms and appeared like a rough ragged and dirty mob. At Mr Blackwells house I found about a doz of the wounded of both parties sweltering in their blood in the same room. It presented a shocking sight, the beds & floor swimming with human blood. One of the rebels, a lieutenant whom I had been acquainted with at St Genevieve when I had charge of the academy there, was shot thro' the body by a musket ball, and strange to say has since recovered. His antagonist who shot him was in the same room, wounded, being shot thro' the leg and one arm. One of the rebels died while I was there and was buried by the side of his comrades. I heard that some of the wounded who were taken away in wagons died a day or two after. The Battle was witnessed by two of my wife's sisters from their Uncle Blackwell's house, the kitchen walls securing some of the random shots. The rebels not having much to boast of in this affair and being afraid that an Union Army might overtake them, immediately left the way they came, leaving their dead and wounded to the care of the Blackwell family. The Telegraph wires being cut and the Rail Road being broken up at the bridge, it was some time before the news reached St Louis, so that Forces were not sent down till two days after, and when they came, filled with motives of revenge, what should they do but vent their spite on the innocent & accuse the whole neighborhood of being rebels and of being engaged in the battles and of the burning of the bridge.

A scouting party of 100 Cavalry and nearly the same No of Infantry were sent thro' our neighborhood taking as prisoners all they met with,- myself and Lawson among the Number. They also took our guns ammunition & horses & broke open the trunks & drawers under the pretence of searching for letters and correspondence with the rebel army, instead of which they took away money watches jewellery & other valuables. We were taken about Mid - day & where ever there was any dinner on table or provisions near they were devoured by these dutch tyrants, not allowing the prisoners and owners to partake of any. We were marched about from place to place were they were occupied with stealing their booty until night, when we were marched into camp on the Bridge Battleground. It was a bitter cold frosty night & not having eat anything since breakfast, we were not allowed a bite for supper not even a drink of water, and so we had to pass the night in a tent without anything to lay on but the bare frosty ground with nothing to cover us but what we happened to have on our backs. If we complained we were threatened to be shot on the spot, we were told we should be tried and hung next day, however our trial did not take place at all. At the instance of a friend, one of my own Scholars, a Col in the Union Army, we were ordered to be released without a question being asked. Yet they retained my only Gun and its appendages and some other articles, altho' we were pronounced to be innocent of all charges, and God knows we were more so if possible than our accusers.

War is a terrible calamity, even in this instance of our own treatment by those who should have been among our best friends. The consequences will be felt for a long time to come; I have not seen a well day since, and Lawson is and has been worse than myself. He is not able to sustain a campaign yet I don't Know how soon he may be drafted into the Service. As for myself, altho' I am told by mustering officers that my appearance shows that I am under 45 years of age, and as I am not able to prove my age here, I may have to take my chance in the War too; and if our state is invaded by the rebels we may be drafted at the same rate as the rebel conscription act - from 15 to 65. I do not see any possibility of the war coming to a close. The devastation and carnage that so often occurs seems to effect little else but the loss of life counted by thousands, and additional misery heaped upon misery. What may be the end God only knows. The rebel army, it is said are, half starved, ragged and dirty, many being without shoes, & many who have them can get only those made of cotton cloth. And these hardships are all endured only to perpetuate a race of black slaves. If the slaves are emancipated I know that the occupation of the planters who started the rebellion will be gone, but they are few in comparison with the mass of the rebel army, the greater part of which have no interest in slaves but are pressed into the service by conscription. The state of Missouri is nearly one half rebels which makes my adopted state a battlefield. The southern part of the State is almost desolated. Many families who have been hitherto well to do are now nearly starving. Many distressed families are supported by the union armies altho' their husbands and Sons are fighting to destroy the Union which has always preserved them in prosperity. Such a was never Known in any Country. This is truly an unnatural war. Sons are fighting against Fathers and brothers against each other. My Wife has Cousins in the same family, some in the North and some in the Southern army. The rebel Congress has brought forth resolutions to hoist the black flag, by which every rebel is ordered to Kill all Union men found on the soil of secession states. This must cause retaliatory measures and the end no one can foresee. It is astonishing how this Warlike spirit pervades in all classes. The last school which I taught, nearly two - I was so molested by the persecuting spirit of rebeldom, that I had to carry a loaded pistol in my pocket for my own protection until my term expired. Such has been the state of our schools and Churches that school learning & Religion has departed. I am so surrounded by rebels and other quarrelsome tyrants that life is very precarious. About 20 of those with whom I was intimately acquainted have been murdered, some by soldiers and others by spiteful neighbors. One was a Cousin of my wife's, who was shot on his way home by a concealed assassin, to prevent him giving evidence in a Court of Justice. Another was her Uncle who became wealthy and possessed many negroes, he was taken prisoner by the dutch soldiers on some pretended charge, and taken to a bye place a mile from his house, and there shot and left a prey to carrion and vermin for several days before he was found. Another was called up at midnight on pretence of being lost & he was shot in his own doorway. Another was shot whilst sitting on his own porch, by an assassin concealed in the bushes. Four Brothers have also been Killed, one was hung and thrown into a ravine, & there found a month afterwards. The others were shot, and their farm and all it contained, namely a large stone house, barn & other buildings, with wheat corn hay bacon &c were burned to the ground. Perhaps I had a narrow escape from being ruined by the transaction of one of them. He called upon me to trade for my Rifle gun, which he probably wanted for the rebel army, and, if he had succeeded & I had been reported for furnishing a rifle for the rebel army, I should have been taken prisoner and all my property confiscated and burned, as that of a neighbor has been for a similar case. I have lately taken a school 8 miles from home and on my way home every friday after dark I have to pass by the home of 3 murderers and the same of one of their victims. He & another whose remains lay nearby were shot lately in a drinking quarrel at Avoca. I could state several other painful occurrences, but have said enough, they have happened around my own neighbourhood which makes the impression so vivid in the mind.

I might have filled my paper with something more interesting, but it may serve to show you what must be the state of my feelings, then I Know you will the more readily forgive me for Keeping you so long in suspense about my own affairs. When first the War began I thought that being an Englishman I would like England itself remain neutral, say nothing & Keep aloof from contending parties, but there became such a hard struggle about which party should posses Missouri that I was compelled to advocate one cause or other, and I pronounced myself a loyal citizen of the U.S., & have even applied for an office in the Union Army, but as I did not get it I don't Know what may be in the future. The Govr of Missouri turned traitor, stole all the money he could out of the public funds amongst which was a large fund for the support of public schools, by these means he raised a rebel army, part of which were those who burned our Rail Road Bridge at Big River & caused us so much trouble. The loss of the school money put a stop to the public schools.

Your Affte Brother Geo H

Copy Geo W H

As I find my paper filled with painful reflections about our unnatural War, you will not think me egotistical if I say a few words about ourselves, or to make some reply to your welcome letters. The War has put a stop to much further improvement on my farm, my buildings are not completed. I had thought of sending at least a pencil or crayon sketch of our House ( Cozy Cottage ) & Homestead before this time. When I last wrote to Newark now 2 yrs since I sent a pencil sketch & they said it was a paradise & I was foolish & vain enough to think it might approach to something of the kind, but when shortly after I found our own roads filled with what appeared a devastating Army of the Rebel forces at one time, and at another, a Union force whose duty it was to protect me, I found them threatening my life, and taking all they could lay their hands on, and ransacking everything they could with the point of the Bayonet, I thought it much more like a pandemonium than a paradise. Since our Traitor Governor took away the school money there has been but few schools in Existence, consequently I have not been employed in that capacity until recently, when I found one spot where a little school money yet remained, so I accordingly applied for an engagement which will probably not last more than 3 months & then intellect must starve until more propitious times; which is to be lamented because the mind has been too long starved in prosperous times. Perhaps an instance of my own little school may give some idea of one of the causes of our present national troubles. There are 62 children between the age of 5 & 20 who belong to my school district, who are invited & pressed to attend & become scholars of my school without one cent of expense and, instead of 62, there are often not more than a fourth part of that number. With such a state of things general respecting schools & a much worse state respecting Churches it is perhaps not much to be wondered at that our republic should meet with a downfall. Ignorance caused the downfall of Rome in ancient times and Mexico in modern times. Without intelligence and Religion I am satisfied no republic can live any great length of time. Rome lived 300 years and we have attained little more than three fourths of a century when our commonwealth becomes shattered to its foundation.

I don't know what the emancipation of slaves may do. It may ultimately work towards a cure of the Evil which now afflicts us, but whether emancipation becomes general or not there is some consolation in believing that missouri will soon be free. The rebels may attempt to invade it again, but I believe they will never posses it. The Government has paid so much money and shed so much blood & poured so many armies into the state that they will never yield so important a state without a desperate struggle. The crops of the past year has been abundant "God is good and none but man is vile". I have read of the reign of terror but did not expect to live during such a reign of terror that is upon us. I had considered myself quite prosperous till the war broke out but since then have been unfortunate, not only in being out of business but in losses of the products of the farm. My late wheat crop will furnish us with sufficient bread for family use if the rebel enemies or union friends don't apply it to their own use. The previous wheat crop was winter Killed and we did not save a bushel altho' nearly the whole farm was sown with it, this has caused us until lately to live on Corn (maize) bread which I cannot eat only by compulsion and I have almost felt like starving in the midst of plenty. Most of my choice cattle have either died, strayed away or been Killed in their range of woods to furnish the army with fresh meat. The consequence is we miss the butter for our own table & the children are deprived of their accustomed food of nourishing milk. I had also taken great pains to raise a flock of fine wooled saxon sheep, which has afforded much of our clothing & I expected to have some for sale before this time, but they are all destroyed either by soldiers or by hungry neighboring dogs. This is very unfortunate because if

I should be able to renew them , I cannot find any of so good a quality. I have about 100 hogs (pigs) but they have strayed so far away and have become so wild that I do not expect to get enough for our own family use as we are not allowed a gun to kill them with . We have been unfortunate but many others have left valuable farms in ruins and are wandering they Know not where. My companion has never been well since her severe sickness which you have been informed of, altho' going about is not able to employ herself profitably and so the burden falls on olivene who endures it with songs and cheerfulness: she is 10 yrs old and ought to be at school, she is a good girl and deserves a better share of comfort. We have all been sick with fevers (except Clarence) who is a delicate boy not accustomed to enjoy good health yet he now enjoys the best health among us. We have another little girl you have perhaps not heard of she is a delicate blond 17 mths old, now reduced by fever she can scarcely toddle about she is the only aristocrat in the family, being dressed up and spoiled by one of her aunts whose name she bears (Lavina) x x x x x x x (I am residing with a french family) My intended Cozy study room is not finished - my home within a home, where I could seat myself unmolested and direct my thoughts to those I esteem in old England & send you a batch of letters to make up for inadvertancies.

Your Affectionate Brother Geo

 

Written by an enlisted Union soldier in hospital but expecting to go through St Louis when he gets out. He asks for Mr Hale's brother's address so that he can visit him but does not give his own as he does not expect to be there long.

Post Hospital

Camp Randall

March 10th 1865

My Dear Friend,

I wrote to you some time ago but have not received aney answer from you yet. I think that the letter must have miscarried so I will try another. I am now a Soldier. I enlisted on the 23 of January and was not mustered until the 23 of February. I have enlisted for one Year and will get 400 Dollars Bounty viz, 100 from government and 300 from the town I lived in. My time will be out on the 23 of February next, And our pay is 10 Dollars per month. I belong to the 46 Wisconsin Infantry. The Regiment went of and left me in the hospital, bad of a fever. I ham getting better but still week. My regiment is at Nashville Tennessee with General Thomas. The captain left me orders to follow the Regiment as soon as I got better. Every Oficer belonging to the Regiment is gone so I expect to have to find my way to the front by myself. It is reported that our Regiment will remain only a few weeks at Nashville but will be sent to the army of the Potomac under Grant. I hope you are taking great care of the fowls and not letting anybody else halve them. Guerillers are infesting Tenessee. Missouri Is getting quite note. Send Mr Hales brothers adress as I shall go through St Louis and may remain there a few days. If I do I shall go and see him, if possible. I shall send you a paper the first time I get out of the hospital, which will be in a week or ten days. I have been working with. an Indian 5 months. I have met with an Indian doctor and he wants me to go and live with him when I get out of my time. I think I shall go and spend a few weeks with him when I am out of my time. I shall not give you my adress this time as I expect to leave this State in about 3 weeks for the South. I shall send you my adress as soon as I get to my Regiment. I shall give you a longer letter. It makes me tremble to write now. As I am so week yet, so excuse so short a letter this time. From Your Faithful Friend T Hagues Camp Randall Post Hospital Madison Wiscon

Since I wrote the other part of the letter I have been writing for the lndian doctor to his wife and family. The tears roled down his cheeks when he told me what to tell his children. He has been 2 years and 8 months in the army. The rebbels rowled a stone from the top of look out mountain and hurt his back and legs, so that he has to walk with crutches. He is only half Indian as his father was a White man. He says he has often cried when he was on guard when he thought of his wife and children. I have wrote you this to show you what sort of a man he is. He wears an imense mustache and bronzed face makes him look tough.

 

 

A formal note to Amelia from her Father on her 21 st birthday.

No address

28th Feby 1871

My Dear Amelia

I feel that it is a duty and a pleasure to congratulate you on you 21st Birth Day. Arriving at Womans Estate with nothing to receive but good Wishes, Hopes and Blessings for your Future Happiness. I remember, when a School Boy, writing a Christmas Peice on Happiness which ran thus "In vain we seek, in vain to get, There are none that ever found it yet.

But however there is some store of Happiness for you, let us hope before another Birth Day arrives, and after that, a Many Birth Days with a cup ful of Joy and Hope to Meet them is the Hearty Wish of Your Affectionate Father.

John Hale

 

A short letter from an eight year old to his Uncle and Aunt in America

Newark October 22nd / 82

My dear Uncle and Aunt

I am getting on well at school and I am 8 years old and am in the second standard and I like the school very much. Mother is making a petticoat for a lady at nottingham which mother used to work with. It is maroon and grey wool which mother is making it of. Aunt and uncle came from liverpool at mayfair and spent a week. Uncle gave me a lot of pence. We have got a new lamp in the middle of the market. Two foreign birds came on the weathercock and stopped on it till six oclock on tuesday morning. Some called them long necked cranes and some wild geese and father looked at them with a spy glass. It caused quite a commotion in the town. Please, uncle george, I should like to see america very much. Will you send for me. Have you got any peacocks. I was pleased with the feathers which you sent in the letter last time you wrote. We have had very heavy rain this week and the waters is rising fast. The last time we had a flood there were five or six porpoises caught in the trent. My father has had no work for 6 or 7 weeks or else we should have had our likenesses taken, else we should have sent you them. We shall send you them when we get them done. Aunt sally came on saturday night from liverpool.

I remain, with best love and kisses to you all, your affectionate nephew,

George Henry Wall

 

George is well but writes to sympathise with his Brother John on John's wife's death. George had not known her name was Mary. He refers to John's daughter Amelia and to Sister Amelia. He asks for a view of the coffee house at Newark and mentions Lady Ossington. His wife is much better recently having been treated by a Magnetic Doctor. George has three daughters living in De Soto 6 miles off. His baby girl is 13 and lives at home with his two sons the youngest of which is 15. He comments on the war in Egypt and General Gordon's death.

Vineland, Jefferson Co. Missouri,

United States, America.

Mr John Hale,

Dear Brother For a long time I have felt desirous of writing to you but, not having any thing important to write about, I have waited until some little impulse might give me a start. That impulse has now been produced by the arrival of the Newark Advertiser, for which I feel truly thankful, altho' it brought me sorrowful news. In considering the weakly condition of your Companion for many years, I think she must have received the best of nursing and good attention by yourself and her daughter Amelia at least, or she would not have attained some years beyond the allotted average term of life - Three score years and ten - In thinking about yourself and the family, as I often do, I have sometimes felt fearful that I might someday receive such news that has now arrived. I might have made enquiries about her before now if my sympathy would have done any good, but supposing it would not, I did not like to put you to the trouble of writing on a sorrowful subject. But now, as her life has terminated, I would feel a sympathetic interest in learning something of the latter period of her existence, either from yourself, or your daughter Amelia, or both if you will alow me to be so covetous. Your last letters were very interesting to my Companion and my family, as well as to myself, and all would be pleased with the perusal of another one, with some notice about your grandchildren around you. Please also include some news about sister Amelia as I have not heard from her for a long time. When she last wrote she sent several views of the most noted buildings & places in and around Newark for which I felt extremely thankful. You will all think that I am too grasping to be easily satisfied when I say that I could wish for one more view and that would be from the Muskham Road showing the Castle, Bridge and the New Coffee Palace. It would remind me of that part of the Trent where I first learned to swim, and also the school room in the Castle where I first obtained the rudiments of my education. And the grounds around the Coffee Palace would remind me of the play ground where we wild school boys romped and played with so much pleasure & delight. I am not aware there is such a picture but I think there ought to be and the Photographer or Mr Cubley should be employed by the Town Mandates to make such picture, if not done I think it would be a great insult to the Generous Lady Ossington. Altho' I reside 4000 miles off, yet I take an immense interest in every improvement that occurs in my native Town. I hope to hear that yourself and the family are in good health. I suppose from your trade named in the newspaper, that you still work some at your old trade. As for that other old fellow who sometimes passes for your twin brother by our visitors when looking at your Photo, I can say that I am in excellent health, and feel brisk, strong and active notwithstanding my infirmities, which are a fracture in my Spine from lifting a heavy log of wood several years ago. Yet I walk about and ride on horseback without much difficulty but cannot do any work that requires a stooping position. My Companion ........ strange to say she is better now than she has been for several years. She has suffered much from a troublesome cough, and from throat and lung disease, and has been long considered a confirmed invalid, but has now obtained great relief. A year ago, a Magnetic Doctor of some reputation in St Louis, came to Blackwell Station where the Blackwell family - my wife's relatives - reside. The Doctor stated to the family that if they would give him the use of a room once a week for a month or two, and endeavor to get the promise of 12 or 15 patients no matter what the disease, he would in most cases cure them, and if any was incurable he would allay their pain so as to give great satisfaction. So they having their niece, my wife's case in view, promised to use their influence to his request. So they accordingly collected together 30 patients. The doctor came by railway and visited his patients every Saturday and Sunday for two months. My wife had one of her legs and side partly paralyzed, this he cured in a month, and partly allayed her troublesome cough, and also the swelling and pain in her throat. When his time had expired my wife's Aunts enquired of the Doctor how many of his patients were cured and whether any were incurable? He said, "Well Mrs Blackwell, I have been very successful, all are cured except two Ladies, Mrs Pinson and Mrs Hale - whose cases have been of long standing without obtaining permanent relief. My Companion was then placed under the care of the best physician in De Soto, the largest town in our county. She has received great benefit under his treatment. He has now given up the case as almost cured if she will pay the utmost care and attention to his directions, perhaps without any more medicine or magnetism. The other Lady Mrs P. died about the time the Doctor had stated.

i had always supposed your Companion's name was Ann. If I had known it was Mary I would have been reminded of her very often as my eldest son's wife is named Mary. They have been residing for several years on a large farm of 125 acres, of a mile from the house. I am so much accustomed to hear the name Mary Hale that I would have been reminded of your Companion if I had known her name.

My Companion having been an invalid so long a time and my back having been hurt several years, which confined me to my bed one whole year after being first injured, the consequences are that I am not in the most prosperous circumstances. Yet as I enjoy good health and am remarkably cheerful I do not complain.

I do not find in the Advertiser the usual advertisement of Hy Norledge, the noted Tailor and Outfitter of Bridge St., who, I believe, was an old friend of mine. What has become of him, has he too, like most of my old companions, found a resting place in the silent City of the Dead? If there are any of my old companions left, or any old friends who ever enquire about me? Please state who they are when you write again. Tell sister Amelia that my next letter to any of our family will probably be addressed to her.

Three of our daughters reside in De Soto, 6 miles off. One of them is married and has 3 daughters. The other two reside with a relative. Our baby girl (13) remains at home to wait on her Mother. Our two boys, (the youngest is 15) remain at home to work the farm.

De Soto is my P.O. but Vineland is 2 miles nearer. In moralising on the cause and effect of the war in Egypt, it seems to me that if I were a British Soldier, I would not like to be employed for the slaughter of the Arab or the Mahomedans in their own country, or be subject to the slaughter of myself in such employment. It seems wonderful that the loss of life in the British Army is not much greater than it is with the proportion of 10 to one against them. It can only be accounted for by their great bravery, being well equipped with weapons of destruction , and being well governed by the best disciplined and bravest Officers in the Service. But if I was a Mahomedan raised in that country and believed that I with the mass of the people had a home or a claim on my native soil in Egypt, I should feel a desire to defend my rights and remain in possession of my native soil, especially as Great Britain already possesses perhaps a greater part of the most useful lands than any other power on earth. But I am no politician and, like the Yankees, only guess at something to form an idea of the rights of nations. I feel great sympathy for Gladstone & his Cabinet of Councillors who are trying to do the best they can to satisfy the demand made upon them. I thank you very much for the Advertiser which has furnished me with so much knowledge of the war as to enable me to form ideas that could not exist without a perusal of your valuable paper. I had read that a battle occurred at Abu Klea which was gained by the British troops. Another battle occurred next day in the desert between Abu Klea and the river Nile which was also gained by British troops. We are now informed that Khartoum has fallen and that Gen'l Gordon has been murdered. And that many fresh British troops are being sent with great expedition to the seat of war in Egypt. As I close my letter a St Louis paper of yesterdays date informs me that Lord Wolseley & his Army at Korti on the Nile will soon be attacked by the Enemy and driven from their position. How the immense numbers of the Enemy are to be met and successfully resisted by my Countrymen, seems difficult to imagine.

May God bless you all.

I remain

Your Affectionate Brother

Geo B Hale

10-3-'85)

We have had the coldest winter in the recollection of the oldest inhabitants.

 

George expresses his sympathy to his Brother on John's (presumably his Brother's Son) death in an accident. He comments on the effects of sewing machines on the tailoring and boot making trades. He tells of his intention to tell the Duke of Newcastle who was visiting St Louis with the Prince of Wales that their Father's eldest Brother was trying to obtain rights to the estate of Sir Matthew Hale which was in Chancery. Unfortunately he did not have enough money to get to St Louis. He thanks John for sending his indentures and describes the food they have available. His farm is doing well but he is not rich.

 

Vineland, Jefferson Co. Missouri,

United States, America.

My Dear Brother - Your greatly esteemed letters have been received and perused over and over again with great interest. How you could contrive to send me so much information under the sad circumstance that had just happened, I cannot imagine except that it must be from pure Brotherly love to supply me with desired information about old friends & acquaintance. My own weak mind would not permit me to allude to your afflicting feeling which came so unexpectedly, until some lapse of time would inure me with the strength of mind to write my thoughts, or I would have written sooner.

Sad as the event of the accident to John must be, you have the consolation of finding so much to admire in his struggle with Death when he prayed God to Bless his Wife & Children. When in the Providence of God we must all submit to struggle with Death soon or later, may we meet it as bravely as John did when death was so unexpected on the previous day.

With regard to the loss of the partner of your joys and sorrows for so many years, altho afflicting was not so awful in effect. You were all prepared to meet it by warning & expectation. So, with its production of much painful affliction, it must be cheering to know that "Her end was peace." She having been an old friend & agreeable neighbour I regret that I did not write to her or about her oftener but the subject was too sorrowful & my mind too weak to allude to her condition. The mild looks of the features in her picture taken amid so much suffering show how bravely her painful affliction was endured. We all feel truly thankful for such an affectionate present. I feel hopeful that your very annoying & painful complaint has not returned to you as it did for two years past, if it has or will return I hope you will not fail to get the best advice that can be had. It is a strange complaint with a strange name that I never heard of before, and I sincerely hope you will be rid of it in future. Be sure that you do not permit it to approach again without trying to obtain the best remedy to cure it, or it may wear you out after a while, but you must prevent that if you can, and not start on the journey to the other side of the Jordan before the proper time.

Your remarks about the successful trade of many weak mechanics, boot & shoemakers having been destroyed by sewing machines in large manufacturies, also applies to the U.S. I have done but little at my trade for several years, and were it not for a little scholarship enabling me to teach school at times, & also in possession of some farming land, I know not how I could have made a living as I was never strong enough to endure constant hard labor. I feel thankful to you for wishing me Gods blessing on my birthday in a cheer up draught of Egg Nog. At the same time I wished for a similar blessing on you & all my fiends in a glass of Egg Nog also. I very much enjoyed your diverting description of the entertainment given in honor of the octogenarian Mr Sheppard. He must have been greatly beloved by his former school boys to honor him with the enjoyable treat of a public dinner among his many friends in the grandest room of the Town Hall. The log and chain which was considered such a dreadful object in the school room, was changed to a mirthful event when suspended in a conspicuous place in the hall for all beholders. The last time I saw Mr Sheppard, just before leaving my old home, was on a Sunday just before church time when he was marching with his 100 scholars across the market place toward the Church. As I often meet with the name of Geo Sheppard when reading the Advertiser I have often wondered what family he belonged to, so your information is well timed. I am sorry to hear of the paralytic stokes visiting Ja's Priest. Did he marry any one with whom I was acquainted? Glad to receive the good wishes of Mrs Smedly and also of Henry Taylor's widow. Henry was a noble & generous school mate & companion, and I cannot but respect his widow, who is also an old acquaintance. You must excuse me if you can for not thanking you for the picture of Gladstone when I was writing so much about him, but I became so full of different thoughts that one fact would crowd out another, Altho I made my throat sore with groaning & hissing Mr G. at N'k. yet I afterwards greatly admired him for his superior wisdom & workmanship for the benefit of the working classes. This reminds me in my wandering thoughts of his old school mate and friend your old Landlord the Duke of Newcastle. When he was with the Prince of Wales in St Louis at a public reception at the Fair ground, I wanted to tell the Duke, verbally & by Note, that a Suit at Law had been gained by our Fathers eldest Brother and was then in Chancery. And I wished to ask if there was any probability of it being awarded to the proper Heirs of the Estate of Sir Matthew Hale. I had been teaching two years in a Merchants family & had more than 100 dollars due me. I asked for some part of my dues for my expenses in St Louis, but they would not advance any saying they had plenty of goods but no money. So I did not get to learn any thing about the large Estate of which we aught to be much interested according to Justice.

When you were writing about my old acquaintance, the accomplished Mrs Hage, I would have liked to hear about her Brother Stan also. Much obliged for being so considerate in sending my indentures, but I wish also that they had been accompanied with news of Buttery's daughters. They were always so pleasing & respectful towards me while I was an apprentice. While you were writing news about Bella Byron I would also liked to have had a little about her Sister. They were both my sweethearts when I was young & inexperienced, so I would like to know a little more than half of the great loss I sustained. Many thanks for the maps of Not's & many other parts of Gt Britain. I have often been puzzled & troubled because I had no maps of my native land to refer to since our dwelling house was destroyed by fire.

The likeness of John will be held as a mournful keepsake. If I were to form my judgement of character from a picture as we often do, I must say that I never saw a picture that would represent a more promising & useful man, and the same idea prevails through all our family, and what gives an additional interest to the picture, is that he had naturally formed some of the peculiar habits and actions of our Father.

It has pleased the Almighty to give us good health at this time. I have had excellent health, except my injured back by lifting a heavy log in building a cabin for a neighbor several years ago. My Mary Jane continues to enjoy better health than she has had for years. She is quite proud of the letter you wrote to her. I tell her she ought to reply to such a praiseworthy letter. But she seems to have given up the use of the pen altogether like most of her children whilst I write more than ever. She says that if she had money enough, or only a small part of her expectations, she would go direct to N'k if only to meet with her excellent Brother John Hale. She says that when you write a letter, she knows there is no false coloring about it, no flummery or plausible representations, but that every part of your statement may be depended upon as being quite correct.

We have an excellent garden this season made by and under Mary Jane's direction. The growing weather has been all we could desire and we now fare sumptuously every day on fruit and vegetables mostly, but we have a fat beef to kill when the weather is cooler. Our animal food commonly is pork and bacon with the addition occasionally of rabbits & squirrels, sometimes a wild turkey or our tame poultry. Wild deer, coons & possums which were commonly used as food some years ago, have now become scarce as civilisation advances. The growing season has been excellent for cherries, they are now ripe, sweet, luscious & plentiful. We have sent wagon loads to market. A load of cherries and sweet apples has gone to day to De Soto the largest town in the County, 6 miles off.

A postage law has been made in the U.S. that a letter weighing one ounce shall pass through the mails at the same old postage rate for an half ounce letter. Will you please ascertain whether it is the same in England. And whether Citizens of the U.S. can now send a letter weighing one ounce to England at the same rate of postage they paid for an half ounce letter up to July 1st 1885.

I have not made a fortune by Tailoring, Teaching, or Farming, as I have been in a somewhat weakly condition more or less for some years, yet I feel cheerful, contented, & satisfied that I have done the best I could under the circumstances. I have now better health than I have had for many years, and with all my weak management with small means, with a companion almost an invalid for many years until recently, yet I feel independent because I do not owe any person a dollar, and do not regret my purpose in possessing farming land in one of the healthiest locations in the U.S., because, with attentive management in farming, it yields the most independent and enjoyable life under the sun, especially for those persons who are able bodied & not afraid of work. Now I must close and pay my respects to Millie in another letter, so by bye for this time. I am hard of hearing which is an infirmity which has cut me off from teaching school several years

I remain Your Affectionate Brother Geo B Hale

July 17 '85

George thanks Amelia for her likeness. He refers to Mr Wall so presumably Amelia is now married and has a Daughter Ada who is also mentioned. He describes the entertainment available in De Soto. He mentions that his wife's sister and three aunts own most of the town of Blackwell 4 miles off.

Vineland, Jefferson Co. Missouri,

United States, America.

My Dear Niece Amelia

Altho' I feel a little fatigued by writing so much in a small space to your Father, yet, as you seem to have been pleased with my last letter to yourself, I must try to write another to my only dear Niece and daughter of my only dear Brother. A letter accompanied by a likeness of a particular friend, is one of the most desirable presents I can receive. You have obliged us by sending both, for which we all feel truly thankful. Your Aunt as well as myself is fond of pictures, especially likenesses of dear friends. She says you have made one of the most pleasing pictures she ever saw. Four of my grown Children reside in De Soto. Everyone admires your likeness and says you have such a pleasant countenance. Young men who are neighbors and who suppose you are a young unmarried lady, ask for your address so they can send you their love letters. They are disappointed because I withhold your address, so Mr Wall need not get jealous. You must excuse me for telling so much that I hear about you.

I must quit my ill - timed jocularity and try to write in a more serious train of thoughts. Our daughters have been very attentive to the wants and wishes of their Mother during her late sickness, and two of them (Vina & Maggie) have refused what seemed to be suitable offers of marriage, so as to contribute their spare funds to supply their Mother with the most skilful Doctors and every comfort that seemed necessary during her sickness for some years, which is probably one cause of the restored health she is now enjoying. I think there are but few girls of their marriageable age that would be so considerate in our most fashionable City of De Soto where concerts, balls, social gatherings, entertainments, processions, parades, promenades, circuses and shows, railway excursions, and Church Meetings are held very often. And their Sister who is blessed with a good husband & three children tells them their ideas are praiseworthy, and to preserve their Mind with sufficient strength to hold onto their excellent plan of management. The same ideas have prevailed with my Wife's only sister & three Aunts who were once hard workers, but are now wealthy and own most of the town of Blackwell on or near the railway, 4 miles off, and also own three large farms around it, which being of good deep alluvial soil are in successful cultivation. Maggie says that when she marries some rich Nabob she will pay you a visit and exhibit him or some of his wealth, and if she does not do so in a reasonable time you may guess she is leading a life of single blessedness.

Sam Hibbert a Nephew of Sam Hibbert of Newark was married recently in De Soto. The wedding was the most expensive and attended by the largest company of social friends than any ever held in De Soto. Our Maggie being one of the companions of the Bride was also one of her Attendants at the wedding. So as the Bridegroom was the Son of Newark Parents, and one of the Bride's maids was the daughter of a Newarker, I think that I ought to have been there also to assist in playing the well known tune called "Haste to the Wedding" which your Mother has often heard me play, and it is still a popular tune at sociable wedding parties. With many thanks for your pleasing picture we are sorry we cannot return the compliment at this time. Maggie has recently sat for her Photo, but she had permitted her front hair to grow until it touched her brows which spoilt the looks of the picture, so I scolded her for carrying out the present fashion of hair dressing to such an absurd extreme. So she told me not to send it, and she would have another taken. Fashion is a great tyrant sometimes. I think that one when it conceals the whole face to eye - brows becomes ridiculous. I would like to ascertain whether Princess Beatrice was recently married with her hair dressed in that fashion, and if not, I will advise our girls to imitate the hair dressing of the Princess. Vina will also get her picture at the same time. We feel much obliged for the picture of Mr Wall, we think he appears to be a mild mannerly gentleman, we are glad to feel a little better acquainted.

Annie (now 14) is the only girl we have at home. As she has the greatest part of the garden & house work to do we find her very useful and could not keep house without her. She sends a great part of her respects to her cousin Ada. Cha's Clarence is still at home and manages the farm. Geo Robbie (age 16) is - like your Brothers - getting to be a tall heavy fellow. They & the horses do the heavy work, while I do the fancy work. I am the landscape gardener, & during the Spring season I have made a beautiful grove of an acre taken from the woods before our dwelling house. The grove trees remaining are Oak, Hickory, walnut and a few ornamental trees called paradise trees. Every tree and shrub was cut down while I was kneeling, on account of my weak back. I cannot work in a stooping posture.

Please to show these letters to your Aunt Amelia. I will write to her soon. May God bless you all.

I remain your affectionate Uncle - Geo. B. Hale. July 18 - '85

George refers to John's troublesome eczema and his own deafness. He has tried a dentaphone which cost him 15 dollars and did not work. He describes it as a Yankee swindle. He is grateful to his sister Mary who sent a magnetic belt which has cured his back. The letter is largely news, and requests for news, of relatives and friends.

Vineland, Jefferson Co. Missouri,

United States, America

Mr John Hale,

Dear Brother, -

In the midst of this severe winter, the snow over knee deep, I am seated in our warm room near our blazing wood fire at the pleasant occupation of writing a letter of enquiry about your health, which I expected to learn before this time through our sister Amelia in reply to a letter I sent her last Septr. If your troublesome Eczema annoyed you much last summer I hope you did not neglect the frequent application of the best remedies you could procure, which I gather from the inclosed advertisement, it being all I know about any remedy, it seems the disease is so troublesome that I feel great sympathy for you especially during hot weather. If I could advise any remedy, it is doubtful whether I could send any medicine through the New York Custom-house. Please inform me how you struggled through the complaint last summer. Send also what news you know about your Sons Chas and Geo and about Sister Amelia and Betsy and their families, also about Uncle and Aunt Watkin & family. Also about other relatives and friends. I thank you very much for the maps you sent me as I find them very interesting, for you know that all my english papers and books were burned at our conflagration about 15 years ago.

I sometimes get a letter from Sister Mary who informed me that you had again been troubled with Eczema last summer and seemed very sorry you suffered from such calamity.

about four months ago she sent me a magnetic belt for the purpose of allaying the infirmity in the vertebra of my back, which seems to have nearly effected a cure altho' I have suffered from the hurt for nearly 20 years. As it was very difficult to send the belt through the New York Custom-house, she sent it by a Lady acquaintance who was travelling to N.Y. From there the Lady posted it to me, for which I feel very grateful for the great benefit I have received. So now I have no longer a numerous list of infirmities to complain about, except my hardness of hearing, from which I do not expect a cure at my age. I have tried one remedy (so called) from which I expected relief, because a Lady in Cincinnati who was born without any ears - the usual place where the ears are wont to grow are as smooth as the cheek as appears on her photo - she had obtained the faculty of hearing after being entirely deaf for 25 years. Her own words published state that she now hears conversation across any common sized room and can hear preaching every week a short distance from the pulpit in Church. It was from this statement and that of others both old and young that induced me to apply the same remedy at the expense of 15 dollars (3-2s-6d) which in my case is not worth one cent as my hardness of hearing is just the same as it was before trying the remedy so I cannot but think it a yankee swindle. The instrument used is called a dentaphone, is made of gutta percha in shape of a Ladys fan. The centre of the bow edge is placed on the upper eye teeth or the gum if the teeth are gone. The sound of the words used in talking to the person using the dentaphone are supposed to fall on the smooth surface of the dentaphone, thence to the upper teeth or gum under or below the eye where it is pressed by the dentaphone, thence through the bones of the face passing under the eye to the brain; the words of the speaker being then understood by the person using the dentaphone, the drum of the ear not being required. Such is the theory of the dentaphone for persons who are hard of hearing. The test by which I was to feel convinced that my hearing could be restored, I was instructed to get a piano player to play a few tunes on the piano; while being played I was to close my ears with my fingers and place my forehead on the sounding board of piano, and if I could hear the music so as to distinguish the tune, I might feel assured that my hearing could be restored. So I went to a Lady acquaintance and asked her to play a tune or two on her piano according to the instructions, and heard her play a well known tune distinctly. So accordingly I had reason to expect that my hearing would be restored but was disappointed. My hardness of hearing does not produce any bodily pain but it often pains me mentally because most of the persons addressing me will not raise their voice above their ordinary mode of speaking and I only catch a word now & again, the rest of their remarks I have to guess, and I often guess wrong, so accordingly make many mistakes in my replies to their question or observations.

Did you get the paper I sent containing my notice of the death of my Grandaughter? She was such a good girl that I felt great affection for her and still feel great sorrow for the death of such a useful and promising relative who always showed so much respect for me and her Grandma and all our family. She requested to be allowed to be cared for by her Grandpa & grandma on our healthy farm, but her two physicians resided six miles off, which prevented her wishes being complied with. She had taken a severe cold in the severe winter of a year ago. She had resided with her Father and Step-mother and three Children on a large farm one mile from us for many years. She frequently visited us and always showed great pleasure in doing so. It almost seems that we have lost a member of our own family by her death which seems to give hopes that God will bless her.

My Mary Jane continues in tolerable health and, altho' somewhat weakly, continues to get along without Doctors or medicine, after being an invalid supported apparently more by medicine than food for many years. She and all the family affectionately send their best regards and hope to hear of you being in a better state of health than you had been.

If you are busy and unable to write much, I do not wish you to write a long letter but would be glad to get a short one; or to hear from you before long through Milly. must now close and May Gods blessing remain with you.

I remain Your very Affectionate Brother

Geo B Hale

Feb 11 - 1886

 

The letter is addressed to Mrs Wall and refers to her Daughter Ada. George is asking for more letters and tells of their sons and daughters and their grandchildren. He mentions a scarlet fever epidemic in De Soto. He describes Christmas spent at Blackwell village which is 50 miles from St Louis but on the railway. St Louis is being considered for the future capital of the US. He describes the operation or the dairy, now a creamery, in Vineland with its new seperator machinery.

Vineland, Jefferson Co. Missouri,

United States, America

Mrs Wall,

My dear Niece Amelia -

In supposing that you still continue at the old house I could not slight you without a letter altho' I have nothing very particular to write about. In a letter I received last Sept from your Aunt Mary in London, she informed me that your Father had again been troubled with Eczema, so I wish to know whether he suffered much from it. You was so attentive to the wants of your Mother that I seem to know that you are equally attentive to the wants of your Father. Your cousin Maggie sent you her photo last Sept. in my letter to your Aunt Amelia. Did you get it, or did she get my letter? If convenient please tell her that I am looking for a letter from her in reply to mine of last Sept. I and my boys have travelled many miles at different time to enquire for a letter from England in my name; our P.O. is 4 miles off; this has delayed these letters to you. At my time of life I would like a letter occasionally from my Brother and all my Sisters as well as yourself, for I feel a strong affection for all.

Our Sons and Daughters are very affectionate and take great care of their parents. Our two Boys Chas Clarence & Geo Robbie remain at home and cultivate the farm. Our three Daughters, Sarah Lanham, Vina & Maggie reside at De Soto, 6 miles off. Sarah Lanham has 3 daughters. Vina & Maggie have good situations and contribute much to the wants of their parents, so that we have comparatively an easy time, we work a little and rest when we feel fatigue and consequently aid greatly in preserving our health, for a good state of health is a great blessing. Vina & Maggie have arrived at a marriageable age and have refused offers of marriage which many would think plausible and advantageous. Sarah has an excellent husband; steady, industrious, sober, moral, educated and good tempered. Yet she tells her Sisters that if they want to be free & independent and to live in comfort; not to marry whether the offer seems good or indifferent. Their parents give no advice on that subject but leaves it to their own choice. The result so far seems to yield them much satisfaction. Every once in a while they want to visit their old home, so whenever they express such a wish their Brothers take horses for them and bring them home, where they stay a week and return again to their situations, when all seems pleasant and agreeable. The scarlet fever has prevailed in De Soto and several children have died. Several cases were in families who are Sarah's near neighbors, so our Boys went with our wagon for Sarah and her children to come and stay on our healthy farm until the disease abated. They came and stayed for over a week but had to return to contribute to the comfort of Mr Lanham who had only received the attention of Vina & Maggie every evening at a late supper. The disease has now nearly abated and Sarah's children has escaped from taking the disease.

From Christmas until day after New Years day we enjoyed a visit to our relatives, the Blackwell Family, consisting of four single Ladies who are not young nor yet very old. They reside at Blackwell village on our rail-way 4 miles off. We enjoyed ourselves very much, especially at the table at meal times where almost every luxury was provided, not forgetting the national dish of roast turkey. The morning trains brought us St Louis papers which told of the holiday enjoyment there. Blackwell is 50 miles from St Louis, which is supposed to be the site for the future National Capitol of the U. States, it being a very large City in the centre of the Country on one of the largest navigable rivers in the world. While we remained at Blackwell the weather was delightful, like spring, but winter set in the day after our return home and has been very severely cold and snowy ever since which confines us to our sitting room near our blazing wood fire. The living expense of farmers is moderate in comparison to persons living in a City. The farmers bread, meat, vegetables, fruit, milk and fuel, are raised on the farm at small expense, so that which they purchase at market are mostly luxuries. Farmers also have generally better health than persons residing in town. When we were married we lived in town, but were both taken very sick about a year afterward, so that both our lives were despaired of by two of the best Physicians, and not long after we were partly restored to health, I sought this land on which we now reside and settled on it by commencing farming, altho' I knew nothing about its cultivation, but gathered instruction occasionally from my neighbors, and also by reading agricultural papers. Had I not done so, I seem to feel well assured that we would both have left this world long ago. Annie is our baby and has just reached her 16th birth day. She has been going to our Fall and Winter school of 5 months which will expire in a short time. She does almost all our house-work and is very useful in making us all comfortable. We suppose you find your Ada very useful also. At different times when our horses are not required on the farm, Annie with one of her Brothers take a visit to her Sisters for a day or two where she always finds true enjoyment and at the same time does a little marketing in buying or selling. The merchants and storekeepers are always willing to exchange their goods for produce. Our youngest Boy, Geo Robbie (18) is a very tall, strong and active fellow, I suppose like your Brothers. I wanted him to attend our school but he preferred to work and realize something for his labor, and also to provide something for the family in conjunction with his Brother Clarence.

In your last letter you asked for some description of the dairy at Vineland when in working order. It has been changed from a dairy to a creamery. They do not now churn the cream into butter but send the pure cream to the hotels in St Louis. There is a steam engine called a Separator outside the spring-house. After the cows are milked, the milk is placed in the engine and conveyed in a tube through the wall of the spring-house, where the tube separates into two smaller tubes. One of them is filled with pure cream and empties itself into a vessel. The other small tube is filled with poor blue looking milk almost as weak as water. The cream is then put in jars and sent to the railway depot & conveyed to St Louis. So the milkmaids now have a much easier time than when they milked 100 cows then afterwards skimmed the cream and churned it to butter. The 100 cows are now milked by men instead of females when our girls lived there. We all send our best regards to you and Mr Wall & family. I remain Your affectionate Uncle Geo B Hale.

Feb 12 - 1886