1838: Theodore Hustis to John Hustis

The 1851 John Hustis House in Hustisford, Wisconsin

This letter was written by Theodore Hustis (1802-18xx) to his brother, John Hustis (1810-1907). They were the sons of Joseph Hustis (1774-18xx) and Elizabeth Knapp (1783-18xx). Theodore married Mary Ann Brinkerhoff in 1837. Elizabeth (Knapp) Hustis has added a note at the end of the letter.

John Hustis was born in Phillipstown, Putnam County, N. Y., October 22, 1810. He was prepared for college at the Academy in the neighboring town of Fishkill, in Dutchess County. After graduation he studied law a year in the Yale Law School, then in the office of Jeremiah Hine (Y. C. 1815), of Carmel, N Y, and was admitted to the bar in 1836, in company with his classmate VanSantvoord, in New York City. He began practice in the city of Albany, N Y, but in 1837 went directly to Milwaukee, in the new Territory of Wisconsin, where he engaged in the real estate business, and in 1840 erected the first brick block in that place. Between 1840 and 1844, John Hustis of “Milwaukee” purchased no fewer than sixty plots of government land in various counties in Wisconsin.

In 1851 he removed with his family to Hustisford, a village on the Rock River, about forty-five miles northwest of Milwaukee, laid out by him and bearing his name. In 1837 he had encamped there, sixteen miles from any cabin, bought a claim, and built a house. In 1846 he built a dam across the river and erected a sawmill, and five years later a flour mill. In 1868 he returned with his family to Milwaukee, but continued to spend a large part of his time in Hustisford, and later made his home entirely at the latter place. He was well read especially in literature and science. Mr Hustis enjoyed excellent health until a short time before his death, which occurred September 20, 1907, in the 97th year of his age He received the degree of Master of Arts in course in 1836.

John Hustis married, August 29, 1839, Laura Ann, daughter of Lewis and Polly Luddington, of Carmel, N. Y., and had four daughters. Mrs. Hustis died in 1899. Source: Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University, June 1908.

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Addressed to John Hustis, Esq., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Phillipstown [New York]
July 31, 1838

Dear Sir,

We have time after time sent to the [post] office for a letter from you, but have as often been disappointed. We have not heard a word from you since you left Chautauqua. Father, Mother & Aunt all arrived home at the appointed time safe and sound as a dollar. Aunt’s health is quite renewed & she is smarter since her return than she has been for some time past.

I received a letter from Samuel a few days ago. He says he is by no means as well pleased with the land along Lake Chautauqua as you and father was. He says that he would not trade 2 farms with any farm either side of the Lake, acre for acre, even wit the one that has the large brick house on. He says he knows that he has double of the grass to the acre, that the land along the Lake is warmer than his. He says after you have said that, that is all that he cares a straw about.

When our folks were returning home, they met with a son of Moses Meeks on the Lake. He was from Green Bay [Wisconsin]. He says Mother would make a good widow. He says she would soon hunt up any widower.

We are quite barren of news here at present. Miles Snouck is also corn planting. Mr. Brewster is dead. Isaac Jacox has got married.

We have a very _____ drought. We have had some rain so that corn is a doing middling well. The oats is the poorest that I ever knew them. The wheat crop is very fine & rye is pure enough. It was so dry that corn would not in places unrole during the night. It is injured.

They had a political meeting at Carmel on the 4 of July to farther on the Whig cause of old put. Eli Crosby of Paterson was appointed chairman and George Luddington secretary. The following persons were appointed central committee of the county: Lewis Luddington, Eli Kelly, Benjamin Belding. Isaac Brinkerhoff gave me a note of $51.55. It’s against Justice Butler of Chicago requesting me to send it to you or see if it could be collected. He understands that he is a merchant tailor. The note is dated April 18, 1829, without any endorsements or deed.

Aunt Hannah was pleased with the attention that you showed to her on her passage to Chautauqua. Uncle David — you was to write to him & do you must do. He was pleased with those 2 letters as a puppy dog with 2 tails. I shall leave a space for the old lady. You must write & let us know how times goes & you are a getting along. Yours &c., — Theodore Hustis

Dear beloved son,

Have you forgotten you have a tender mother and an affectionate father, or do you think I have forgotten I have an affectionate son. No, I think not. But why it is I cannot tell. When I returned home, I looked for a letter but all in vain. When we came to part, learn the boat was gone. Samuel took us to Dunkirk. We took a large boat. I sat down by a lady. She told me she came from Green Bay. I told her there was a man by the name of Meeks there. She told me he was on board. I told her I was acquainted with the family. She gave me introduction to him. He appeared to be very much pleased. He said he would go with us all the way. We went to the [Niagara] Falls. We all was much pleased with the scenery. We took the cars to Rockport, then the canal boat, then the cars to Albany, then down the [Hudson] River…

They was much pleased to see us again. Did you know how I want to hear from you, you never would lay down t sleep till you wrote a letter. May these few lines find ou in good health and prosperous. If we are not so happy as to meet here, may we meet in that bright world where parting will be no more. Your affectionate mother

Mr. Meeks was a brother to the one you was acquainted with.

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