1826: Simon Newton Dexter to Laura (Northrup) Dexter

This letter was written by Simon Newton Dexter (1785-1862), son of Andrew Dexter (1751-1811) and Mary Newton (17xx-1825). Newton (as he preferred to be called) matriculated at Brown University, but soon left that institution to engage in business in Boston. In 1815, he removed to Whitesboro, and in 1817 took part in the construction of a section of the Erie Canal. From 1824 to 1829, during which time he wrote this letter, he was engaged in the construction of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.

On returning to Whitesboro he became agent of the Oriskany Manufacturing Company, and in 1832 assumed charge of the Dexter Company. He was also largely interested in manufactures elsewhere in the State of New York and in Elgin, Illinois. In 1840, he was elected by the New York State Legislature one of the canal commissioners, and remained in office until 1842 when the new Democratic majority removed the Whig commissioners. He was a trustee of Hamilton College, and for several years supported a professorship, giving the College in all about $32,000. He was President of the Whitestown Bank from 1833 to 1853, and Manager of the State Lunatic Asylum at Utica from 1849 to 1862.

Newton wrote this letter to his wife Laura (1793-1846), the daughter of Isaac Northrup (1767-1834) and Cynthia Morton (1771-1812). Newton and Laura were married in Providence, Rhode Island in 1811.

Stampless Cover

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

TRANSCRIPTION

Addressed to Mrs. Laura Dexter, Whitestown, Oneida County, New York

Wilmington [Delaware]
March 21, 1826

Dear Laura,

I concluded that it was upon the whole far more prudent for me to remain here until the 17th April than to expose myself to great danger by taking so long a journey at this season of the year — particularly as Saturday, Sunday & Monday were all very stormy. My health is improving fast. I am in very good quarters and I did not even go to Philadelphia, as even that expectation has in every instance brought on a relapse.

I have paid the bank all I owed them to the last cent. I have paid the last dollar for the Platt property and in a few weeks I expect to pay what remains due to Brinckerhoff in Albany. It is highly important that a tenant be secured for our house and if Mrs. Gustenius has not yet decided, she will not expect us to hazard the loss of Mr. Rumney — between two stools you know.

Tell Doctor Peck he can have either store at a very reasonable rent. I am glad to hear of new people coming in. I could do excellently well with a store in Whitesboro. 40 or 50,000 dollars could still be made out of this job were it a healthy situation and in 18 months time. I, however, will not stay here. Such arrangements are made that I need not. 4 or 4 journeys here of short duration will answer every purpose.

You are a pendent woman. You have been poor so long you cannot realize a change in circumstances. Why my dear, you certainly want a mantle looking glass. You certainly want hand irons, shovel, tongs & fender for that room, and very many things I do not now think of. We must also increase our help by a girl and a boy. By all means secure Sally’s sister if you can. This will keep peace in the kitchen.

I want to have some smart body to oversee cleaning up that house if possible by the time I get home. For when I do return, I shall be overrun with business. Have everything done to please yourself. I would not paint the hall floor. I hope by the blessing of the Almighty to live with & cherish my family nearly all summer. Entreat your father to make no arrangements for a removal until I can see him.

A removal, and commencing anew, at your father’s time of life with a family consisting wholly of young girls is not a thing to be slightly undertaken. And unless there is something certain and new — not the old effort, which did not succeed when all energies of his prime were bestowed upon it. I say unless some great and new object is assuredly to be obtained by his removal, he surely should not hazard it.

Below is a note for old Mr. Kirwan to sign. Andrew is to sign above ___ name. Direct your letters here. May God bless you and the dear children. Yours most affectionately, — S. Newton Dexter

Now do not undertake to do anything yourself but walk and ride. Hire somebody to oversee the cleaning, but go not into the wet rooms if painting is to be done. Consult Wal___ or Doctor Peck who to employ.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Spared & Shared 20

Saving history one letter at a time

Notes on Western Scenery, Manners, &c.

by Washington Marlatt, 1848

Spared & Shared 19

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Recollections of Army Life

by Charles A. Frey

The Civil War Letters of William Kennedy

Co. B, 91st New York Infantry

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

The John Hughes Collection

A Virtual Archive of his Letters, 1858-1869

The Civil War Letters of Rufus P. Staniels

Co. H, 13th New Hampshire Volunteers

This is Indeed A Singular War

The Civil War Letters of Henry Scott Murray, 8th New York Light Artillery

The Letters of James A. Durrett

Co. E, 18th Alabama Infantry

Spared & Shared 15

Saving History One Letter at a Time

%d bloggers like this: