1856: William Wallace Clark to Daniel Frederick Clark

What a young Bill Clark might have looked like in the late 1850s

This letter was written by William Wallace Clark (1833-1904) to his brother Daniel Frederick Clark (1839-19xx). They were the sons of Daniel Alger Clark (1805-1897) and Elvira Blossom Edson (1807-1890).

In this letter, it appears that William (“Bill”) Clark has just spent his first winter in Minnesota Territory, mailing this letter from Henderson — some forty miles southwest of Minneapolis. Two years later (May 1858), Bill married Martha Maria Klatte (1840-1917), a native of Prussia.

Frederick (“Fred”) Clark married Elvira Rice Tibbets (1848-19xx) and appears to have lived his entire live Bristol County, Massachusetts.

Stamped Letter

Page 1

Pages 2 and 3


Addressed to D. Frederic Clark, North Easton, Massachusetts

Henderson, Minnesota Territory
March 26, 1856

Dear Fred,

Received yours last Friday. With pleasure I perused it. It does a person good to receive a letter — especially when looking for one a long while. Yours has been over 6 weeks in coming on account of snow, I suppose. We have had some cold weather the past winter. His course is nearly run. The snow is fast disappearing. The streets are bare and all mud. The soil is so rich you would think you was wallowing in a hogpen when you are trying to walk the streets. The mud soon dries up. It’s not as it is East. Here, when winter breaks up, it’s all over. Get the frost once out of the ground and we have summer right off.

About the people, their habits, manners, and customs &c., I do not know that there is anything peculiar about them. What Yankees there is look and act like they do down where you are. The Dutch are Dutch the world over. Lager Beer and long pipes prevail to some extent.

I have written to George Humphry since he has written me. If he has not received, why he must write. Please tell him where I am. Five dollars and the rest in Saleratus. I’ll try to remember it. What in the world is he agoing with so large a quantity. I should think that would be enough to rise Massachusetts from its foundation.

We have some very respectable looking young ladies. I don’t feel justifiable in calling them beauties for I have seen prettier ones. Speaking about girls puts me in mind of a story I heard about a certain young spark taking one of the ghals to a ball or party who, when there, set herself up for a laughing-joint-stock-compactment for the edification of the company, a brazen face large cavity (where the mouth ought to be) with a lofty carriage are the only attractions she can boast of. How a fellow must fall carting such a piece of freight as that about and more especially when he takes her (or it) into company. Let me warn you to keep clear of her. Maybe she’ll bite.

Love and compliments to all. — Bill

  • Both potassium bicarbonate and sodium bicarbonate were marketed under the name “saleratus” in the 1840′s.

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