This letter was written from the frontier village of Sidney, Ohio by Joseph Cummins (1798-18xx) who emigrated there in 1834 from Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Cummins was engaged in “merchandizing, tanning, and farming” in the Shelby County community.
Joseph wrote the letter to his sister, Sarah Elizabeth Cummins, the wife of Joseph Wallace — a merchant and lawyer who lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Wallace also served as treasurer for the Borough of Harrisburg 1836-1839, and as deputy secretary/treasurer of Pennsylvania.
April 27th 1841
I hail from this port now, home sweet home. There is no place like home – if it should be a log cabin. I arrived here safely some three days ago with health much improved & a flow of spirits calculated to make any man feel cheerful & & cause a grateful heart to respond with thankfulness to the bountiful donor of every good.
I intended writing sooner but business drew my mind from what I had proposed to do & so it is that we frequently think & intend to do things which is entirely frustrated & our plan defeated. I found family & friends in health and comfortable circumstances & naught at home to mar our peace & thankfulness. What a blessing to have wife, children, & friends around us & all in the enjoyment of health & the comforts of life. If not happy, surely it is our own fault.
Well, my visit was a very pleasant one & I enjoyed it very much. I left you all comfortable & I trust that Mr. Wallace’s health & spirits has improved. The world owes to industry & economy such as Mr. Wallace possesses, a comfortable & pleasing existence & Providence has provided it to all who trust & rely upon Him & use the man in their power.
The death of Gen’l Harrison was a dampen to my feelings. I felt truly sorry. I think it a great national calamity but trust that it will be for the good of the country. It will, I think, greatly allay party feeling & probably concentrate the talents & virtue of the Nation for the common good & prosperity of the country.
It is Court time & we received our goods, mostly last week & before any others in town, which is some benefit to us. The business is not as brisk as we could wish. It is now fine warm weather with us & there is every prospect of spring & its f______ remaining, to again bless & cheer the land. Our farmers are busy plowing & preparing for corn & we are amongst them. Mr. Mather & Reynolds are raking, burning corn stocks, &c. I have employed two men in the Bible business & expect to get a number of others.
I shall close with my love to mother & your family & others. My letter is short & hard to read. I know it will afford you some satisfaction.
Your brother, — Joseph Cummins
I see the appointment Jonathan Rolicite, Collector Philadelphia, but have not heard any appointments of your postmaster [at] Harrisburgh.