1848: Thomas S. S. Havens to Charles G. Havens

Gravestone of Thomas S.S. Havens

This letter was written by Thomas S. S. Havens (1817-1875), son of Mordecai Havens of Lisle, Broome County, New York. Thomas married Sarah A. Ware (1819-18xx) in Detroit, Michigan on 24 October 1840 and sometime shortly after to Eaton Rapids, Michigan, where he remained the rest of his life.

Thomas wrote the letter to his brother, Charles G. Havens (1808-1888), a prominent NYC attorney, real estate investor and art collector who was related to the New York Livingston Family. During the 1830s, Charles worked in the law office of George Washington Strong and George Griffin in New York City. He never married but apparently adopted a daughter — Mrs. Charlotte Tilden — whose son, William Tilden and his wife Charlietta G. H. Wildey, shared his residence (1880) at 103 East 19th Street in New York City served by four black domestics. When Charles died in 1888, his estate was estimated to be worth about three million dollars — most of which he bequeathed to charity in his will. Relatives, however, attempted to overturn the terms of his will, arguing that he was not of sound mind (see article in footnotes).

Thomas and Charles had another brother named Dr. Daniel Havens, and a sister named Maria Havens (1806-1885) — the wife of Dr. Samuel Mallory Hunt (1798-1880).

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Addressed to Charles G. Havens, Esq., New York City

Tyler [Michigan]
June 12, 1848

Dear Brother,

April 19 I wrote you. This was soon after I got a line from you in reference to the Cochran matter, I saw Mr. Cochran a few days [ago]. He told me he had written you again and did not feel dispensed to meet at Kings until he heard from you. A few days since, he says to me he had not got an answer from you but after he got one he would call upon him but I presume it would be no satisfaction to you to receive from me King the report of such an investigation as he (Mr. C.) pays no regard to truth in this matter. I have his paper showing his satisfaction and you have Br. Bradford’s word in the bargain. I can get a good many that has heard Cochran make the same statement but unless requested by you, I shall put myself to no further trouble in this matter. He tells you people have lost confidence in me as a Christian. You will recollect anybody looks blue to a drunken man, but as for the truth of this matter, Mr. King, Mr. Bradford, and others say your letter was the first they knew of it.

I am suited very well with my farming operations except wheat. With a decent crop, I should have had at least $100 worth of wheat to have sold besides bread and seed but I shall not have any to speak of. I presume not half bread stuff enough. I have got on the ground some 90 acres of corn, 7 of oats, 9 of spring wheat, which looks first-rate, except the spring wheat. This is eat up lik my winter wheat with the fly, but I am not alone in this. Kink’s wheat is very poor. He has turned into part of it as many others are doing. Mine will not more than pay for cutting & thrashing but if my summer crops does well and I can sell my oxen, I am in hopes of coming off square. If my corn does middling well, I shall have from 12 to 1500 bushels of ears. My oats bid fair now for some 900 bushels but I can’t tell. It is as likely to go over as under this amount if the season is good but unless it rains ere long there will be nothing to speak of in this part. It has not rained any of any amount in over four weeks and there is no prospects of its raining in four weeks to come by the looks of it today.

My expenses added to my losses amount to quite a sum since last fall. We live as cheap as any body ought to live and work as we do. Sarah has been unwell a good deal. The children are every one sick at this time with the chicken pox. My health is very good. We work hard and spend no time visiting or running about. King told me Palmer thought we had done a great deal of work this spring. I have about 34 acres of crops & the ground has been all plowed — and part of it twice. Besides, I have cleared the old trees from that 20 acre lot and got the woods (that Palmer called 6 acres) about 8 acres most ready to break. I have had about 10 acres of my corn the first time and much other work. I think I shall be about to sell 9 of them ____ this summer at $300 some down, all in about 3 years.

Where is father? He told me not to write until I heard from him. I have not got the Patents of the land nor can’t without going on purpose, which I can’t well before fall. Write soon. Remember me to enquirers. Sarah and the children send their love.

Yours affectionately, — Thomas Havens



Article Appearing in the 5 June 1888 edition of the New York Times


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