1843: William Brooks Bristol to Louis Bristol

Grave Monument for William Brooks Bristol

This letter was written by William Brooks Bristol (1811-1900) to his brother Louis Bristol. They were the sons of William Bristol (1779-1836) — a former mayor of New Haven, a judge of the Superior Court, a member of the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut, and a judge of the United States District Court for his district. He was married to Sarah Edwards (1780-1866), a sister of Connecticut Governor Henry Waggaman Edwards (1779-1847), whose wife (Lydia Miller) is mentioned as being very low with heart disease at the time this letter was written in 1843. Gov. Edwards had another sister named Henrietta who was the wife of inventor Eli Whitney.

William Brooks Bristol was born in New Haven, CT, June 1806, and died in that city after a long illness, October 10, 1876. Upon his graduation, Mr. Bristol entered upon the study of law at the Law School in New Haven, and in the office of his father, Judge Bristol, and on the completion of his legal studies practiced law for one or two years in Painesville, Ohio. He then returned to his native place and resumed practice there, and continued it successfully with the general public esteem and the fullest confidence of those with whom he had relations of business in his integrity, judgment, and ability, nearly to the close of his life. William Bristol was twice married: first to Mary Bliss, of Springfield, Mass., Nov. 15, 1836, who died Feb. 15, 1849, by whom he had six children, of whom two sons survive him (both graduates of this college), and secondly, Nov. 11, 1850, to Caroline Bliss, of the same place, by whom he has had three children.

Louis Bristol was born in New Haven, CT, December 18, 1814. He entered College in 1830, but left during the Freshman year, to resume his studies a year later. He was occupied for five years after graduation as a civil engineer in the surveys for new railroads in Connecticut, New York, and Illinois. He then studied law in the Yale Law School, was admitted to the bar in 1843, and settled in New Haven. He married, May 29, 1844, Mary D., only daughter of William P. Cleaveland, Jr., (Y. C. 1816), of New London, Conn., by whom he had three sons and one daughter. In 1857 the failure of his health led him to give up his professional practice, and in 1859 he removed to Makanda, a small town in Southern Illinois, where he undertook farming and fruit raising thus securing the reestablishment of his health. In February, 1865, his wife obtained a divorce, and in January, 1866, he married Augusta, the daughter of Col. Otis Cooper, of Croydon, N. H., and formerly the wife of Gustavus F. Kimball, of East Canaan, N. H. They resided at first in Carbondale, Ill., and in 1872 removed to a farm in Vineland, N. J., where he died December 21, 1882, at the age of 68.

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Addressed to Louis Bristol, Esq., Counselor at Law, New London, Connecticut

New Haven [Connecticut]
25 July 1843

Dear brother,

The  7 Volumes Connecticut Reports came safe to hand. Upon examining the matter, I ascertain that the 9th & 10th volumes were paid for by father & that I paid for binding the 10th. I have allowed $28.62 for my share of those reports & so made our account. I believe that it is about right. If it is not, I will make it as you say is right.

Kentucky bank has divided 1 1/2 as you will have seen. Protection does pretty well so far, but the dividend was applied upon stock notes which was not quite the same thing as cash by a long shot. This good luck is more than superseded by bad luck in that Cleveland Lus Co. where I paid $800 & which has not got left the first red cent. You will please consider all these things as financial secrets. Before leaving New York for the West, I mailed a letter for you at New York which it now seems miscarried. I there gave you the particulars of the bargain with Umberfield for the two lots which I believe you now understand. Also that I had agreed with Dounan to give him $5 if he would rent your shop for $100 for a year, and something more if he would rent it at the same rate for three years. He procured a man without any family except his wife & who is represented to be very industrious as well as his wife to take it for 3 years at $100 per year & to call upon you for no repairs except $3 toward building new stairs & to shingle the roof, if necessary, in the course of the term.

It would take me a long time to detail the adventures or results of my western trip. I did not accomplish much, but I believe that I have discovered what can be done, & what not. I feel myself repaid for the journey by a more thorough understanding of that country. The Geauga Bank will probably realize about the estimate of Mr. Uri Seeley. The assets will probably be divided among the stockholders in the course of the next winter. I had a long conversation with Mygatt, the cashier.

If you wish, will send you a check for Kentucky Bank dividend or pay it when you come over. Do not fail to come at [Yale] Commencement unless you should be very much preoccupied. Mr. Herrick says the city think of buying your level, What will you take?

I have paid Thompson & Peckham your tailors bill $30.94. Don’t like to be in debt to tailors & shoemakers.

Please enquire what is the rate of town & city taxes respectively in New London for this year & two or three of the last years & make a memorandum of your information so that I may know when you come over. As mother is under no particular obligation to the city (N. Haven), I will see if her tax can’t be lightened another year — entre nous.

Gov. Henry Waggaman Edwards

Mrs. Gov. [Henry W.] Edwards is very much unwell this evening. It is very doubtful whether she will survive the night. It is a disease of the heart. You know the course of the disease.

Truly yours, — Wm B. Bristol

July 21. I left Mrs. Edward’s last evening about 10 or 10 1/2 o’clock. At that time she was somewhat easier & it was probable that she would survive this shock. I have heard nothing this morning & therefore take it for granted that she is better. — WBB

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