In recognition of Presidents’ Day, the Bay Village Historical Society would like to share the following letter from our collections, with spelling, capitalization and grammar recorded as originally written.
The two-paged letter transcribed below was written to Henry Winsor Aldrich (b. 12 Sep 1822 Hartwick, NY – d. 10 Oct 1892, Dover Township, OH), husband of Mary Ann Steven (b. 9 Apr 1822, Lee, Berkshire, MA – d. 16 Feb 1916, Bay Village, OH) by Ransom Foote Stevens (b. 20 May 1820, Lee, Berkshire, MA – d. 8 Sep 1890, Byron, MI), brother of Mary Ann. Ransom and Mary Ann were the children of Benjamin Stevens and Lovica Foote.
On page one of the letter, Stevens mentions that “Lincoln has got to Washington…” (Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States in Washington, DC only days before). He blames the “political excitement” for business being “dead” over the winter and wonders if this new President will bring change for the better or worse. It seems as Americans have before and since, Mr. Stevens must have felt anxious about the uncertainties of a new administration and how it would affect the fortunes of his family.
A portrait of Abraham Lincoln and family can be viewed on display in the Victorian Hallway at the Rose Hill Museum. To see more letters from the Aldrich Collection, visit the Early Papers page on our website: https://www.bayhistorical.com/list1/
Wilkesville March 6th 1861
Brother Henry Sir
I received your letter last saturday with its contents for which I am verry thankful I should have written immediately upon the receit of it but the mail does not leave Wilkesville only once a week and that friday morning and comes in friday night so you see that I answer you by the first mail your letter contained $26 whitch is a little more than was due me from Mr Bates but we can make it right when I see you whitch I think will be next fall I shall not attempt to write mutch this evening for I have been ploughing hard to day and am somewhat tierd myself and Family are enjoying comfortable health at present eccept Finell She was taken with the lung fever The 2nd of february was confined to hear bed 10 days has recovered so as to be about the house is still verry weak and troubled with cough the Doctor visited her 7 times there has been several casees of that complaint in this vicinity but none have proved fatal that I know of we have had rather an unpleasant winter no sleighing and plenty of mud and such nasty yaller mud I never saw but it has assuaged and is quite pleasant now In consequence of the political eccitement business has been perfectly dead here the past winter but Lincoln has got to Washington and we expect there will be a change either for better or worse we hope not worse for its wus en oats now Constitution Un
Maryann how do your pigs get along I bought three pigs last fall and had killed two of them and the other one is a dam good barrow [castrated pig] I shall keep it a spell I calkulate to plant 7 or 8 acres of corn and sow 4 or 5 acres of oats we have not settled here only for one year what we shall do then is for the future to determine the society is verry good in this neighbourhood as far as morality is concerned we attend meeting at Wilkesville there is a Presbyterian and Methodist Church there preaching jenorally at each house every alternate sabbath but as I said before I could not write mutch I shall be under necessity of drawing to a close tell Mother I was verry glad to receive a letter from her I will answer it as soon as I can think what to write I should write more frequently than I do but you get letters from here often so it is not necessary for me to write mutch I should like verry mutch to be there and attend your lyceums [an association providing public lectures, concerts, and entertainments] but as it is not convenient for me to do so I will try to be content other ways tell our Folks I should be glad to hear from all of them give my respects to all enquiring Friends and neighbours Write soon and be verry particular
2000.FIC.072 Letter (page 1), Aldrich Family Collection
1996.A.034 Framed Lincoln Family Portrait