The National Road &
“Cold with hail and rain ~~ killed the fruit”
~ 1819 ~
Washington County Pennsylvania
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Stampless folded letter sheet.
Brown circular postmark:
Manuscript rate:
       V.B. Chapman
       Mr. Alexander Fitch

Claysville June 3rd 1819

  I Arrived at this place, this day Week, in Good health after a Journey of Fourteen days in all (one day lay by rainy etc) our horses stood the Journey better than I Expected, preformed it well-Tuesday after we left home we had a very uncomfortable day, it was very Cold with hail and rain Cleared up next day & at night, there was a severe frost which in many places killed the fruit & in Some instances injured English grain on the Allegany Mountain the Snow fell at that time from one to two Inches in depth- The fruit such as Apples, pears, peaches, Cherries in fine, every kind, was killed most of the way from Strausbourgh to Mount Pleasant ~~ and I fear this is the Case with you but hope not ~~ When we got to Claysville we found your Unkle had gone to Brownsville on the last location - Mr Clark had gone with him ~~ they did not return untill Saturday Evening. they had been looking for us a week or more. Mr Clark, Jacob & his Sister Sally are there, Sally keeps house, they will Continue there till the Road is Sold ~~ Luck for the Major & your Unkle ~~ I do not expect there will be much if any Chance to become a Contractor on that road ~~ there are as many people Calculating for a Job, nearby as many there is rocks in the Road ----
  It is Advertised to be sold on the 14th of the present month. We found our business rather in a dull State altho, now every day adds new vigor to it ~~ Our contract probably will be finished in about Six weeks. Buffalo hill is the most backward & we has been ~~ the Bridge at Catfist will in part be taken down but the Job we hope will not be tedious nor very Expensive ~~ the other Bridges are in a good way & will soon be done ----
  The Majors & your Unkles Contract will probably be done about the Same time with ours & also Mrs Bissels & yours Hunters Contract is in forwardness* & likely to be finished in two or three weeks ~~ the other Contract Larkey’s &c is thro. they have done little or nothing & cleaned out. Tle him your Unkle has Secured enough of their property to indemnify you, & himself, & the Major, for absconding ~ Mr Bisset has a letter from your Unkle stating the particulars ~~ Mr Gay & Sherman are at Washington or rather board at Mr Albans & take Charge of the Bridge there ~~ I am there a part of the time the rest at Buffalo geting the Road and Bridge a long as fast as possible ~
  The Larkey Contract your Unkle has let out to the Walkers ~ --- I do not see any probability of either of us sending Money home before we finish ~ you must try to get a long as well as Can ~ as soon as you get this Speak to J.G.W. Trumbull Esq assist in getting the Money out of the Bank at Norwich to pay Denison Walters, it becomes due the first day of July, & it must be paid on that day, or he will certainly Sue it the day after, if not paid ~~ I mentioned to Mr. A. Loomis to Endorse the Note, he said he would ~ I shall use every Exertion to be at home as soon as it is possible. I shall not stay here one moment longer than it is necessary to the best you Can & that will do That untill we Come home ---- Tell Capt Erastus Wattles that I Calculate of Effecting that business we talked about & wish him to forward it as much as possible ----
  I suppose that Maria is now at Munson, you might help her to go all you Can, & advise both Maria and George in every Case where they need, for their best good ---- Hope that Grand-pa & Grand Ma are well & all our friend. Shall write again soon ~~ love to all ~~ Capt Loomis will take Mr A Loomis $20,,00 bill & pay good money when I come home ---
Ebenezer Fitch

Ebenezer Fitch
3d June 1819

National Road in Washington 
County Pennsylvania, 1829.

1.   The map above is of our National Road in Washington County Pennsylvania; it is a detail from a 1829 map. The road as shown goes through these towns: W. Alexandria, Claysville, Washington, Hillsboro, and to into Fayette County Pennsylvania at Brownsville. See another detail from the same map showing the full length of the Pennsylvania section of the National Road. (290k)
     Map Source: “Pennsylvania” by A. (Anthony) Finley, Philada., 1829; CALL NUMBER G3820 1829 .F5 RR 290; REPOSITORY, Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 USA; Found on the American Memory website.
2.   This letter was part of a group of Fitch family letters when members of the family were contractors involved in road and bridge building as a Connecticut company in southwestern Pennsylvania in 1818-1819. This group of letters was auctioned on eBay by John Olenkiewicz of McAllen Texas, 2005, and dispursed to a number of different buyers.
3.   V.B. Chapman = Van Buren Chapman
4.  *Forwardness, n. Cheerful readiness; promptness. It expresses more than willingness. We admire the forwardness of christians in propagating the gospel.
2. Eagerness; ardor. It is sometimes difficult to restrain the forwardness of youth.
3. Boldness; confidence; assurance; want of due reserve or modesty. In France it is usual to bring children into company, and cherish in them, from their infancy, a kind of forwardness and assurance. Addison
4. A state of advance beyond the usual degree; as the forwardness of spring or of corn.
Source: An American Dictionary of the English Language , by Noah Webster L.L. D., 1828.

Transcription: © Fred Smoot 2005

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