1835: Caleb Alonzo Burgess to Sarah (Everett) Burgess

Perhaps Caleb Alonzo Burgess looked something like this unidentified young man?

There are two letters presented here. The first letter was written by a young Caleb Alonzo Burgess (1817-1896), a cotton broker, to his mother Sarah (Everett) Burgess. Caleb’s father, William Burgess, Jr. (1777-Aft1820), was a publisher but died around 1830. See footnotes for family details.

Longworth’s 1827 American Almanac: New York Register and City Directory lists a Sarah Burgess maintaining a boarding house at 90 Fulton Street. Her husband, William Burgess — a “Bookseller and stationer” is listed with a shop at 93 Fulton Street.

Caleb wrote the second letter 21 years later, in 1856, to his wife, Harriet (Proctor) Burgess.

According to his 1858 passport application, Caleb was born 22 October 1817 in the city of Boston and stood 5 foot 9 inches tall, had a high forehead, auburn hair and gray eyes.

1835 LETTER

Stampless Cover

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

TRANSCRIPTION OF LETTER ONE

Addressed to Mrs. Sarah Burgess, No. 90 Nassau Street, New York

Mobile [Alabama]
December 22, 1835

Dear Mother,

This evening, I received the trunk containing my clothing, which you were so kind as to send me. I am much pleased with my clothes. The coat fits admirably as well as the vest. My shirts, socks, handkerchiefs, I can hereafter depend with some certainty on getting them from my washerwoman, whereas hitherto I have not been able to get over one half of them on account of their not being marked.

I should have done as I told you in my last letter sent herein the funds for the payment of my clothing, but I lately met with an accident (I alluded to it when I wrote you before) in my horse & dray speculation. The way of it was, my horse took fright, and ran away with my negro driver, broke my dray to pieces, and nearly killed the driver, who was laid up two weeks. Taking everything into consideration, I lost about $100, which fell rather heavily upon me. When I wrote for the articles you sent, I had every prospect of being able to pay for them immediately. I merely state this last fact to inform you that I have been obliged to unknowingly keep you out of the money, which I am very soon to have to do a short time longer, as I know the amount of some importance to you and shall ere long be paid, barring accidents to future plans.

I hope this will find you all well and comfortable. The distance length, and time between the date and reception of your letter makes me ever anxious concerning you.

I am very anxious to get home again, not on account of home sickness – tho I love my home as ardently as possible for any person – but on account of your lonely situation. I am fully aware that the need of one of your sons at home is great – not only because it would be conducive to your happiness – but because my conscience tells me that I ought to be the natural protector of you and my sisters. And therefore, it is my duty – if it is your wish – to be ever near you.

Excuse me to any of my friends who may think themselves neglected by my not writing to them, with the plea that I have not the time, for such is the case. I am obliged to attend to business from daylight to 10 & 12 o’clock every night, and frequently upon Sundays. One half of the time I have to swallow my victuals whole, “as it were,” having not enough time to chew them. It is merely an accidental opportunity that I am enabled to address you tonight.

When you again write me, inform me if you have heard anything from my brothers. Give my love to all the family and likewise to all my friends. Your son, — Caleb

I sincerely hope that the coming year may prove more happy to you than the past and will merely add the old saying, “I wish you a happy New Year.” – Caleb

1856 LETTER

Stampless Cover

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

TRANSCRIPTION OF LETTER TWO

Addressed to Mrs. C. A. Burgess, 378 Pearl Street, New York [City]

Mobile [Alabama]
November 7, 1856

My Dear Wife,

As yet, I have only received one letter from you. My ardor for letter writing must soon fail under such discouraging circumstances. I have commenced too strong to last long, that is certain.

Today I packed up your work table & shall send it & sundry items of trash as soon as possible. I have done nothing yet towards selling my Negroes. I expect to lose considerable on them. The whole pack have not made more than their expenses over the summer. They are bad stock to me & the sooner I get rid of them the better. After I sell out everything I have in the World, I shall not realize much from it. However, I am determined on doing so!

I will here sum up such local news here as will interest you. Mrs. Marsh has another boy. Mrs. Jones has another girl. Mrs. Deloach has a daughter. Sol Jones’s wife I expect has been indulging again by her appearance. She regrets very much that you do not intend coming out here again. Myself & Sol talk somewhat of opening a house in New Orleans next fall, but it will probably all end in talk. Sol’s negro man William died about 10 days ago — rather a severe loss for him for which I am very sorry, for Sol is a good-hearted fellow & deserves better luck. Mr. J. J. Jones was very glad when I arrived as he was pretty well tired of keeping books.

I am boarding with a gay widow of an intriguing reputation, by the way of prooving my victim, for we cannot boast of the strength of a fortress that never has withstood an attack.

Holding myself aloof from all excitements, my mind is as calm as a summer’s morn & I am as happy in my bachelor life as “a clam at high water.” Behold in these results the effects of temperance and philosophy — Go then & do likewise, resign yourself to this position into which the fates have placed you, and be content with the blessing you enjoy. Strangely you will achieve & deserve more happiness.

The aim & object of my residence here has but one purpose — to get a few dollars in advance of my current expenses, that I may return to my family, friends & clime of my nativity.

I am very anxious to hear from you regarding yourself & children. Love to all. Tell Ma Campbell has not yet seen those clothes for J.J. Jones & to try & let me know if he intends sending them as soon after the receipt of this as possible. Kiss the children for me. Your husband, — C. A. Burgess

FOOTNOTES

William Burgess VI was born on 7 May 1777 near Dedham, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts. He married Sarah Everett on 3 November 1802. He was a publisher. He died at Hartford, Hartford Co., Connecticut, after 1820, having had at least four children. Caleb’s letter suggests they had daughters but family records only show four sons:

1. Joseph Burgess (1803?- )
2. James Burgess (1805?- )
*3. Caleb Alonzo Burgess (1817-1896) of San Francisco Co., CA
4. Warren Burgess (1820?- )

Caleb Alonzo Burgess was born on 22 October 1817 at Dedham, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts. He married firstly Harriet Louise Proctor about 1841, and secondly Mary Frances Murch in 1878. He is listed in the 1850 census for New York, New York, in the 1865-66 IRS tax assessment lists there, in 1870 in Westchester Co., New York, and in 1880 in San Francisco, San Francisco Co., California; he has not been found in 1860. He also is listed in the 1890 Great Register of Voters for San Francisco. He was a cotton broker and mining broker. He died there on 24 May 1896, having had four sons, three by his first wife, and one by his second:

1. James Burgess (1842- ), died childless
*2. Caleb Augustus Burgess (1845-1923) of New York, NY
3. William E. Burgess (1855-1880+) of Mono Co., CA, died childless
4. Edward Everett Burgess (1882-1931) of San Francisco Co., CA

1858 Passport Application


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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

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

The Civil War Letters of George Messer

Company F, 107th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Jeff's Prayers are as Effective as Abe's

The Civil War Letters of George S. Youngs, 126th New York Vols

Soldiering is a Very Uncertain Game

The Civil War Letters of Lemuel Glidden, Co. K, 145th Indiana Infantry

Tough as a Pitch Pine Knot

Letters of John Whitcomb Piper, 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery

An Honorable Peace

The Civil War Letters of Frank B. Knause, 6th Michigan Infantry & Heavy Artillery

Looking for a Rebel to Give him a Pop

Letters to & from Sgt. John Henry Ward, 93rd PA Inf

Civil War Letters of William H. H. Kinsey

Co. H, 28th Illinois Infantry

Spared & Shared 14

Saving History One Letter at a Time

The 1863 Diary of Thomas Wilbur Manchester

A Rhode Island Soldier in the American Civil War

The Daniels/Stone Digital Archives

A Collection of Family Civil War Era Letters & Ephemera

Spared & Shared 13

Saving Civil War History One Letter At A Time

Spared & Shared 12

Saving history one letter at a time

Dear Nellie

Civil War Letters of Thomas L. Bailey

Homefront Letters to Mark Rankin

Co. B, 27th Massachusetts Vols.

These Troubling Times...

The Civil War Letters of William H. Walton, Co. B, 3rd New Hampshire

Reluctant Yanks

The Civil War Letters of Joseph F. & B. Franklin Orr, Co. F, 76th Ohio Infantry

Hunting rebels as a dog would a fox....

The Civil War Letters of George W. Scott of Co. I, 46th Massachusetts (Militia)

The Civil War Letters of William Hunt Goff

Company H, 24th Massachusetts

The Charles Wetmore Broadfoot Letters

Aide de Camp to Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes

Spared & Shared 11

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Billy Yank & Johnny Reb Letters

Civil War Letters Transcribed by Griff

To the Front

The Civil War Letters of David Brett, 9th Massachusetts Light Artillery

Dear Jack

Letters received by Dr. John William Crapster O'Neal

For the Union

Civil War Letters of William Freeland, Co. F, 132nd New York Infantry

I shall be Willing to Suffer

The Civil War Letters of Marquis Lafayette Holt of the 3rd New Hampshire Infantry

"Shall the Union be Preserved?"

The Civil War Letters of William Henry Hodgkins -- Co. B, 36th Massachusetts

The Civil War Letters of William Busby

A Private in Co H, 20th Iowa Vols

Diary of Henry Knox Danner

The Civil War Experience of a Private in Co. K, 30th Pennsylvania Infantry (1862-1864)

Franklin S. Twitchell

Co. B, 13th Connecticut Infantry

The Civil War Letters of Henry E. Mumford

A Colored Soldier of Co. B, 29th Connecticut Infantry

No Babies Play

Letters of Joseph Hazen, Co. F, 20th New York Cavalry

I Long to See You Again

The Civil War Letters of Willis McDonald, Co. F, 17th Connecticut Infantry

I stood in my tracks

The Civil War Letters of Benjamin F. Hulburd, 7th & 2nd Vermont Infantries

This fight will tell the story

Letters by Harlan P. Martin, Co. E, 123rd N.Y.V.

The Rebecca Breidenstein Collection

Letters addressed to Rebecca by both her first & second husbands during the Civil War

The Smoke of my Rifle

A small collection of letters by Capt. Augustus Alonzo Hoit of Co. G, 8th Maine Infantry

Trumpet of Freedom

Civil War Letters of Cyrus E. Ferguson -- a soldier and bugler of the 15th Iowa Infantry

The Bowdoinham Letters

Civil War Letters addressed to the Brown Family of Bowdoinham, Maine

"I am for war, till slavery is dead"

The Civil War Letters of Jerome Bonaparte Burrows, Captain of the 14th Ohio Independent Battery

"All glory to our flag -- and to those who defend it!"

Seven Civil War Letters by Col. Augustus Abel Gibson

"Mother, don't worry about me"

The Civil War Letters of Caleb & John B. Chase, 3rd & 9th Minnesota Infantries

%d bloggers like this: