1855: Isaac Grantham to Lewis Rumfield

There are two letters here exchanged by correspondents, Isaac Grantham (1789-1859) of McDonough County, Illinois, and Lewis Rumford (1797-1860) of Wilmington, Delaware. Isaac Grantham was the county clerk of McDonough County.

Lewis Rumford (1797-1860), the son of John Rumford (1774-1836) and Priscilla Jeffries (1775-1820). Lewis was married to (1) to Henrietta M. Grubb (1801-1826) and (2) to Mary Caldwell Gilpin (1809-1884). After the death of his first wife, Lewis Rumford removed to Philadelphia and was engaged in business there for some years. In March 1841 he purchased a farm in Byberry township, Philadelphia county, on which he resided until the autumn of 1853, when he returned to Wilmington, and resided there until his death, February 15, 1860.

Jacob Keithley (1805-1875) is mentioned in this letter. Jacob married Sarah Roberts (1805-1894) in 1825 and came to McDonough County, Illinois, in October 1839. Together they had twelve children.

Also mentioned in the letter is John Doner of Canton, Illinois. John and his younger brother David made their living in the horse trade for many years while living in Pennsylvania. Together, they made frequent trips to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio to purchase horses and return them to Pennsylvania where they trained and sold them at high prices for carriage, team, and road horses. They relocated to Illinois in the mid 1830s and purchased land in McDonough County in late 1855.

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Letter 2

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Addressed to Lewis Rumford, Esq., Wilmington, Delaware

Macomb, Illinois
February 28, 1855

Lewis Rumford, Esq.,
Dear Sir,

Yours of the 6th inst covering bond for deed to Jacob Keithley for N.E. 4. 6 N 17 W was received on the 19th of which I informed Mr. Keithley by letter a few days thereafter and I have this evening received his answer declining to take the land “as the payments do not suit him especially the first payment.” I wrote to you on the 14th inst on behalf of a Mr. John N. Browning of Pike County in this State for S ½ NW 18. And N1W. Soon after the date of that letter, a Mr. John Doner, late from Pennsylvania, now of Canton, Fulton County, Illinois, made application for NE 46 N1W not knowing that Mr. Keithly had applied. He was willing to pay $1500 – say $500 down on delivery of Bond, $500 in one year, & $500 in ten years from date of Bond, with 6 percent interest on the two payments, and also to pay exchange. These two persons are both farmers and want the land to improve and live on. I informed Mr. Doner of Mr. Keithley’s application forwarded to you, and of my doubts of your acceptance of Mr. K’s proposition, and that I thought he could get the land if it should turn out on receipt of your answer that Mr. K did not get it – and that I was in daily expectation of receiving your reply. Last week he returned again and renewed his offer on condition that Mr. Kethley did not accept your terms. I agreed to write to him as soon as I heard from Mr. Keithley (which I have just done) but intimated to him that I should feel bound under the circumstances to suggest to you to raise your figures for that tract to $11 per acre. I have found out that is considered the best tract in the whole range of your lands and I have also learned lately that the Rail Road is laid exclusively on NW 4 cutting it nearly diagonally dividing it nearly into two equal parts, which will reduce its value. Besides, I believe the Bushnel (town) “bubble” has collapsed. It is a very general opinion that it cannot be much of a place. I therefore believe you will not get more for NW4 than for other tracts in same range if so much. The present applicant for N.E. 4 Mr. Doner is very anxious to get it, but I doubt whether he will agree to more than $1500. If you are still willing to sell it for that sum, you might as well send out Bond at one for Deed to Mr. Doner, and if he does not get suited elsewhere in the meantime, he will take it. If you conclude to hold the land at higher figures, please write immediately. Mr. Doner could have got another tract in 6N1W that he prefers to yours for $1000 (full gr) but he is afraid of patent titles, although he is assured the title is perfect. He would prefer paying more for a Congress title, as he wishes to make a selection for his permanent future residence. If he was sure he could get the land at your present figures and payments as proposed by him, he would obligate himself to have the first payment ready by the time the Bond arrives. But in the uncertainty of getting it, he may in the meantime suit himself elsewhere. He is now doing nothing and wishes to begin to make his home and improvements . He will be here again in a few days. I do not get the Independent, therefore can’t send it. My own and sisters best respects to your family. Yours respectfully, — I. Grantham

Wilmington, March 8, 1855

Isaac Grantham, Esq.
Dear Sir,

Yours of the 28th came to hand informing me that Mr. Keithly declined taking the land for which I sent the Bond to you. I thought it strange as the Bond was made in regards to payments at the time and proportions mentioned in yours but am quite satisfied that he declined taking it. I note what you say in reference to the value of NE 4 – 6 N1W, but will let Mr. Doner have it at the terms offered, Fifteen Hundred Dollars, and his paying for the expenses of drafts remitting the same. Please find enclosed Bond for title. If you think that any portion of my land should bring more than ten dollars per acre in 6 or 7 as 1W, please let me know in your next. You will please cancel the Bond to Mr. Keithly and the one sent to Mr. Robinson and enclose them to me. I wrote you in my last when sending draft to please write me by the 2nd mail after advising me of the remittance for fear of failure. I suppose you have received the Bond for Mr. Browney ere this. With respect to self & Sister. I remain your, — L. Rumford

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