Stampless folded letter sheet. |
Circular red postmark:
ALBANY AUG 18
Mrs Mary Eddy
Albany August the 16
I received your letter and we was very glad to hear of your safe arrival at
home after your jurney west. We are all well but the steam boat. She has
been very sick and she has got the hoopping cough bad the baby cought but I
cant say weather he has got it or not. The cholera is heare quite bad and
is on the increase. Mother is home sick. She has lost all the Jersey fat
and she is almost worn down to a skeleton, mourning to come to see you. I
tell her shant come in four weeks yet but she says she shall come next
week. She says she must come or she will loose bones and all but I must go.
We have look for Rufus till now. We give him up. Hannah and Tommy has been
up to see us and Ton and dom has been to the 9 Locks. All they wanted was
you to help them walk. Tell Hampton Aunt Bets says she is ready for him to
come after her with the horse and wagon. Now she say she want to kiss the
old spot her cheek. She sends her love to July and Rufus and hope to find
you all well when she comes home. O dear Aunt Polly Mother frets about you
just like a child would for its mother it all the time how she wants to see
Polly. Write as soon as Mother gets home and gets her fat again. The quilt
is done at last to fine for it to look well but she say not the cape suit
well and she got another the same patron. Excuse my writing for
its up and then down all the time but I must close. Give my love to all my
friends. Dominick has been to New York and came back the next boat. The
North America is running regular from New York Tuesday and Thursday and
Saturday for 50 cents through by day light. Now Rufus must come weather or
know but as I said I must close.
I remain your loving cousin.
P.S. Tom will be down to see you all in a few weeks.
1. While this letter has no year date, we tentatively date it as 1832.
The author writes The cholera is heare quite bad ... Cholera
(from the Indian sub-continent) first came to the United States in 1832.
Major epidemics struck the United States in the years 1832, 1849, and 1866.
There were smaller epidemics between the major ones.
The letter shows the 18¾¢ rate which was in effect from 1
June 1825 until 1 July 1845. This per ounce rate was for letters traveling
151 to 400 miles. It is possible that distance from Albany, New York to Rahway,
New Jersey was miscalculated by the local postmaster. The distance between
Albany and Rahway is approximately 144 miles. In any case, that 18¾¢ rate and
the 1832 cholera epidemic would add some weight to our applying an 1832 date to the letter.
Steam powered riverboats first appeared on the Hudson River in
1807 when Robert Fultons steamboat Clermont began service
between New York City and Albany.
Almira Youngs letter specifically mentions the boat North America.
On 1 July 1831,
Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont boarded the steamboat North America
headed for Albany, New York.
"We finally learned that our steamboat the North-America had left New York
at the same time as another, and that they were racing. The North America,
which was ahead, was everywhere celebrating its victory; and, as this race
had been announced, the shore was covered with people who wished to witness
2. The 9 locks are probably these nine locks; At
a point about eight miles above Albany, in a distance of two miles, there
were some seventeen locks. One cluster of nine locks and another of four had
much contracted pound-reaches. (Source: History
Of The Canal System of the State of New York ..., Vol I, by Noble E. Whitford,
3. Ton and dom are probably Tommy and
Dominick who are mentioned in the letter.