This letter was written by John Milton Ketchum (1815-1871). He wrote the letter to his brother, Edmund Ketchum (1818-1853), a merchant in Harpursville, New York. Edmund married Sara Harpur, daughter of Robert Harpur of Harpursville. John Milton died of hemorrhage of the lungs in 1871 in Ouquaga, New York, a few miles south of Harpursville. Their brother, Jerry Ketchum, lived in Ouquaga also.
Addressed to Mr. Edmund Ketchum, Esq., Harpursville, New York
August 8, 1838
I received your kind favour being dated August 1 with much pleasure and was much pleased to hear that our folks was all well. You stated in your letter that you had heard Jerry say that he didn’t know but what he should want me this winter. I should like to know soon if he does. I should like to work for him this winter – that is, if he wants help. I will work cheap. I do not calculate to stay here but a short time. The man that I am now to work for is a going away now soon. He is a going west a few miles. I shall go with him if Jerry does not want me and stay this winter. If Jerry wants any leather, I will get him some if I come up there. I have not made but a few pair of big shoes. Sewed work all together.
Last night I attended a puppet show. I did not go to work for Mr. Castle as I calculated. It was a very dull time when I was there and I could not do such work as he wanted. It is the dullest times there now that ever was known in Carbondale. I should like to hear how father gets along with his haying and harvest. Has he anybody to help him besides his boys? I guess they miss Milt and Jere. How did his crops turn out on the hill? Answer this the first mail.
Yours in haste, — John M. Ketchum, Clarkstown