1841: Unknown author to Winthrop Henry Phelps

The author of this letter has not yet been identified. Perhaps you can help me identify him. From the content of this letter, he would appear to have been an 1841 graduate (or non-graduate) of Kenyon College in Ohio, who must have spent time in Cornwall, Connecticut, as a youth.

Named in the letter are classmates Douglass Case, William Clark French, and Edwin Butler Hale. The letter was addressed to Winthrop Henry Phelps, who also attended Kenyon College, but did not graduate, in that year. Phelps became a minister and a chaplain in the Civil War. He served with the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery; his wife was Lucy F. Robinson.

Rev. Addison Kingsbury (1800-1892), the pastor of Putnam Presbyterian Church from 1840 to 1877, is mentioned in this letter. The Female Seminary, opened in Putnam, Ohio, in 1836 is also mentioned in this letter.

The letter mentions President Tyler’s Veto of the Bank Bill, which occurred on 16 August 1841 – a few days before this letter was written. This action “sparked a riot outside the White House, as incensed–and drunk–members of the Whig party bombarded the White House with stones, fired their guns in the air and burned Tyler in effigy – the most violent demonstration ever held outside the White House. In response the government formed the District of Columbia’s police force.”

Stampless Cover

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

TRANSCRIPTION

Addressed to Mr. Winthrop H. Phelps, 373 Broadway, New York

Putnam, Muskingum Co., Ohio
August 20, 1841

Dear Friend Phelps,

After a long, long interval, I am again prepared – point in hand – to converse with you for a short time. If an apology were needed for my delay, it would be that a press of business before commencement & running to & fro since have absorbed my whole time. In fact, this is the first letter I have written since some weeks before commencement.

But having broken the ice by a cold formal apology, what shall I say next? Shall I commence with Kenyon? But then I suspect Prof. [John] Sandals has gone to New York & will tell you ‘ere you get this all that is to be told. My own opinion of material things there is that on the whole they are prospering, but in particulars they are not. Their President & Prof’s do verry well, but their tutors can’t do at all. You may not know that Friend [Douglas] Case is promoted to the tutorship. I respect Case every way as a classmate & friend, & am rejoiced for his sake that he is appointed, but I fear it cannot be for the good of the college. They should never elect one of their own graduates & at least not untill after a year or two’s experience. But let that go for none of my business – at least any farther than I feel interested in the prosperity of my “alma mater.” It is not for me to say anything pro or con in regard to commencement. For my own part, I did not enjoy it much. But from the numerous “puffs” in the papers round, it seems others did. My own feelings are not always a thermometer of other peoples.

I am indebted to you for numerous papers, pamphlets &c. for which I get nothing that I could with any propriety send you. I take no western paper for the plain reason that there is none worth my money to me. Should I be able to lay my hands upon any thing which I suppose can be interesting to you in the midst of such a world of news, I will surely send it.

Respecting the people with whom my lot is case, I have nothing of note to say unless it be that they still walk upon two feet — the most of them — & are divided in two classes; not old school & new school, nor rich nor poor, but males & females.

Out town is uncommonly healthy. I am by no means an invalid myself; still follow my old trade & am attended by good success as I anticipated at my first setting out. Our female seminary is quite prosperous. My own school number 12 – as many as I engaged to teach at first. I am situated in one of the pleasantest villages in the West & surely among the finest people – true Presbyterians. Our pastor [is] the best among the best. His name is [Rev. Addison] Kingsbury – a relative of H. Page’s. You may know something of him.

There is just now a great commotion here in consequence of the vetoing of the Bank Bill. How many hard things have been said within a few days of President Tyler – “Rascal” – “Liar” – “ought to be shot” – “cow hided” — &c. &c. – are the common epithets cast upon him. I enjoy here a greater opportunity for news than I have ever before been privileged with. I have also as extensive a field of usefulness. Whether I do my duty or not, God only knows. My own heart condemns me duly & how much more the perfect eye of God.

I shall commence the study of theology as soon as the warm weather passes away. I have always been subject to a bilious attack about this time & feel as much like avoiding it this year as possible. This I think I may do by making my vacation of study long enough. I have purchased what Hebrew books I shall want at present, second-hand at Kenyon.

But enough of Ego. How do you do yourself? How do you prosper in all things at the University?

My old Friend [Edwin Butler] Hale is now spending some weeks with me here at his friends but will soon leave for Illinois. [William Clark] French will probably be making his way on to New York now as soon as possible. You & he will probably enjoy each other’s company none the less for having known each other at Kenyon. Do you find any difficulty now in getting your remittances? No poor soul was ever so much afflicted as French has been in this respect. I cannot understand it unless it be their jealousy respecting his steadfastness in Presbyterianism. Should it ever be convenient, if you are acquainted with Mr. [Edward Warren] Andrews of the [Broadway] Tabernacle [Church in New York City], please remember me to him as one of his Cornwall pupils. He may have forgotten all about me, however. I should like to know what church you have connected yourself with and what you consider orthodox in these days of ultraism. How does Perfectionism stand in the New York congregations? I suppose you will understand that as I am a reader of the Observer & Repository, I am Non Perfectionist.

FOOTNOTES

List of 1841 Graduates of Kenyon College:

[Those crossed off are ruled out as the author of this letter.]

*Mr. Ethan Allen, A. B Quincy, Ills.

Rev. Henry Calhoun, A. B Ironton, Ohio.

*Dr. Douglass Case, A. B Cleveland, Ohio.

*Mr William Dewalt, A. B Canton, Ohio.

Milton Elliott, Esq., A. B Astoria, Oregon.

*Ira Darwin French, Esq., A. B Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rev. William C. French, D. D Philadelphia, Pa.

Rev. Richardson Graham, A. B Philadelphia, Pa.

Mr. Edwin Butler Hale, A. B Cleveland, Ohio.

Hon. Sidney C. Long, A. B Baltimore, Md.

*Mr. Franklin B. Sain, A. B Norwalk, Ohio.

Hon. Rowland E. Trowbridge, A. B Birmingham, Mich.

 


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: