Letter 1 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Paper embossed Bridgman Childs Northampton Mass.]
Mt. Holyoke Sem. [Mount Holyoke Female Seminary] South Hadley, Mass
Jan 25th 1865
My dear Mother
I will venture to write as I think you must have reached Flemington [New Jersey] by this time. Things are going on as usual here at the sem. Miss Hopkin’s sisters are visiting her. Miss Chapin was here a few days after you and spent a day or two. I wished that could have come when you did. How did you find the friends at New Haven and Newark? Well I hope. If I should want to go to Austinburg and stay with aunt Elizabeth awhile and get well, and study with Mary Shurtleff a little—could I? I do not know as I shall want to, but – if I should, can I? I am going to write to Auntie and see how she is situated now and whether she would like to have me come or not.
I am as well as I was when you were here, but no better that I know of. I dont study very much yet.
Will you please remind Eddie that he has bee owing me a letter for a long long time, and I want to hear from him very much. I think a great deal about him, and about his precious soul. It seems as though I could not have him be anything but a Christian [longer?]. I asked Miss Parmelee to have our section pray for him some night, and she did. I was so glad.
Miss Parmelee said she was very sorry that she could not have seen you. She was not well the night that you were here, and did not feel able to leave her room, but she supposed you were going to stay longer, so she would have some other opportunity. I would like to have had you seen her ever so much, for she is such a sweet woman. We have changed tables again, and I am at her table, and right by her side, so I am very happy as you may imagine.
Miss Grand spoke to me after you went away, and said that she was very much surprised that you went so soon, and that she was sorry too, for she wanted to have seen you more.
Tell me all about the friends in Flemington. How is Aunt Mary? The fame of [Minnie?] has not yet died away, every little while some of the girls has something to say about her to me.
With much love to yourself and all the family.
I am as ever
your aff. daughter
Abbie E. Grant [Abigail E. Grant Burr]
Letter 2 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Little Rock, Ark. [Arkansas]
March 15, 1865
Dear Brother Daniel [Daniel Grant],
Your letter of the 27th ult came to me yesterday, having been forwarded from Memphis on the 7th of this month. It was long since I had heard from you, except a vague report that you had gone to the coal regions, but in what part of the country I had no idea. Even now (as I have no map at hand) my views of the position of Titusville are very indefinite, but in due time I shall find out.
The <coal> oil interest is not yet in a growing state here. We hear nothing of it, and know nothing about it. As, however, the whole country seems to be underlaid with it (i.e. wherever there is coal) I presume it will yet be found here. At present there is too much of a struggle going on, and besides the cotton interest is so strong that it leaves no room for any other to grow. This is one of the best cotton regions away from the Mississippi and though there is but little land that is safe for tillage, yet there is a great rush for such as is open for that purpose.
I do not therefore see that I am likely to be able to help you in the oil matter. For your sake, however, I will give the matter attention though I know nothing about it more than the babe untravelled. I would like a good oil lamp because I could save $2 or $3 a month by its use but I have not yet developed a taste for oil speculations.
I hardly know what to write about such matters for I have not thought enough of them to form any opinion. I hope you may do well, though I suppose you are aware (your letter indicates it) that for some of us speculation is a dangerous road to travel. It is full of risks to any one, though a good judgment in business is doubtless a great help. If you can get $5000 you may feel that you have done a good thing even if $1000 would not come amiss.
I am engaged at present looking to the interests of colored schools in this state—a business that [Mr. Pastington] would say was more disturbing to the oilfactories (olfactories) than any other. However we do not hear so much of the “stinking negroes” as we once did, and as they get more used to freedom, probably we shall cease to hear of them. I inclose a slip of newspaper that will let you know something of the extent of my field. There are really but four points yet open in the state, and they are a great way apart. This point, Pine Bluff 50 miles below on the Arkansas river, DuVall’s Bluff 45 miles east on the White River, and Helena on the Mississippi. At these points we have now schools with <1300> 1267 pupils. Probably the number will be tripled before another year.
I have had a severe and dangerous attack of Pneumonia this winter. It came upon me Jan 24, and when I escaped the crisis left me with a very bad cough, from which I have scarcely recovered yet, though I am much better. The weather is pleasant now, except the frequent rains. Peach trees are in blossom and garden vegetables will soon be in season. The worst of it is, that where soldiers are, none of these can be safely raised.
Every thing here would remind you of California prices. Butter 90c & $1 a pound, eggs $1 a doz., flour $25 to $35 a bbl. &c.
Abby is at Cairo in Soldiers’ Home; John, our son, is at Beloit, and at last news was well; Willie (poor boy) is at Lockport, and thus, as a family, we are scattered and broken. It seems best at present, but I hope a more desirable state of things will be developed ere long. While the war lasts I want to be a part of it, if in reason I can.
My Reg. is with Sherman, I cannot tell where. I left it just as they started from Atlanta on the grand move to Savannah. Wondrous things have been done since then.
Remember me to Caroline when you write, as I presume you often do, and write me often even though but briefly, especially when you change your P.O. or meet with any good or bad luck. If you make a thousand dollars let me know, if you lose all, or a part, of what you risk, let me know. Direct as below,
Your aff. brother
Chaplain J. Grant
care of Major W. G. Sargent
Little Rock, Ark.
P.S. Did you know that the pop of Titusville in 1850 was only 243. I have just seen it in the Census. I presume it has more than that of oil hunters and speculators now. Happening to lay my hands on the Compendium of the Census for 1860, I find a few items respecting Titusville, Oil City, &c. the former of which is stated to be on Oil Creek. It says that Mssrs. Bowditch and Drake of New Haven commenced operations there in 1857, and in Aug. 1859 , a fountain was reached at 71 feet that yielded 400 gallons daily. Before the close of 1860, these were about 2000 wells and borings yielding daily 1165 bbls. of crude oil &c.
Mrs. Caroline Grant
I did not notice until I had written the above, hastily, that Daniel requested me to write through you at Flemington [New Jersey]. <I hope> It is not too late to make the correction. I received one week since a very pleasant letter from Marcus, telling me of the state of affairs at home, of Father’s and Mother’s condition &c. I shall answer it soon.
I have just made out the full returns from our scattered colored schools in Ark. for the month of January. They number 11 with 22 teachers and 1267 pupils who paid during that month about $650 for tuition. After meeting all expenses for rent, fuel, school furniture &c. there remains net income $440. This is the day of small things but it is a good beginning and highly encouraging. Remember me to Mr. Hill and Mary, and let me have another of your valued letters.
Your aff. brother
[Newspaper article from Arkansas Journal, March 8, 1865, clipped to letter: “Colored Schools in Arkansas.” It closes: “The above facts are gathered from Chaplain J. Grant, who is appointed Superintendent of these schools, but whose plans have been much interrupted by a serious illness that came upon him while visiting the schools at Pine Bluff.”]
Letter 3 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Envelope return address]
Chaplain 12th Ill Inf.
Mr. Daniel Grant
Little Rock, Ark.
May 29, 1865
Your letters of April 4th (Flemington) and May 20th (Parkersburg) are in my hands – the last recd to day. Thank you for the information they contain. The last seems to imply that you are about to buy a farm at the rate of $5 an acre. Of course I can form no opinion as to its value, though I would prefer a country not so hilly and rough as you represent that to be. But even this decides nothing – land may be smooth and worth nothing and so the other way.
I must confess my inability to give advice even to this hour. There is no excitement about oil in this state as yet, and there could not be because war has been the business until quite recently and it has not been safe to travel out of military protection. Agriculture has languished. Now, however, it is beginning to revive and no doubt there will be a great stir in due time. I can only say at present that there are projects for colonies on foot, and as the state is large, and probably about a third fit good land, and room enough on that to accommodate several times the population the state ever had, there will be a great movement beyond all doubt. Two reasons (among several more) keep me from acting. First I have no money to render it possible. My expenses are great personally, for since I have been in Ark. [Arkansas], living has been higher than in any place I have ever before occupied – the cost of my two children is enormous for a man of little means, and I have mostly made up my mind that God does not intend I should ever have much if anything. He gives me a great deal – sums that are astonishing, but like a snow storm borne on the North wind to-day, and melted by the South wind to-morrow, it all vanishes in a little time, or melts as it falls. So I cannot do much if I would, Then I find it impossible to know the facts of a case in season to act. There have been sales in this place within the past month of some $800,000 worth of property – wh. in all scarce brought $50,000 – part of it under the act of Confiscation Act, and part of it under the Act for collecting taxes – in which had I had money in hand I could have put myself by the use of $2000 in probable possession of $10,000. But I have bought nothing, for the reasons already stated.
If you have not already purchased (and I know not whether to hope you have or not) perhaps you had better come to Ark. and see what can be done – or let me know what amount you would like to expend here, and I can select an agent who will expend it wisely – or not foolishly. For myself I shall leave the country after three or four weeks for a time at least.
If I were to determine to take any steps to make money I think I would take advantage of the Homestead Act, and take one of Uncle Sam’s farms, go into the wilderness, and start anew. But I cannot make up my mind to do such a thing and deem it better (probably) to stick to my profession, to whose ills I am accustomed, and which has hitherto given me bread (not the best) to eat, and clothes (not the finest) to wear than fly to <all?> untried ills. I am not in all things a coward, but in this I am, I confess.
I am glad to know that Dr. Patterson has traced the genealogy of our family & will send $10 to help him through. I am willing to do this in the hope that in some way we can find some way to link our family to the hero of the age. Lieut. Gen. Grant, though if the examination should prove there is no such connection, I still would like to promote the investigation & will send another $10 if necessary. I will send $10 to Marcus in a few days.
You will regret that I can do no more to promote your wishes -- but not more than I do.
We are doing a great work for the Freedman of Ark. I inclose a slip of a paper (Christian Times a Baptist paper of Chicago, May 11) containing one certificate of this. Others appear in the correspondence of visitors to this country, but I cannot now lay my hand upon them, and if I could you would not care to read them.
I am much better in health than at any time before since my illness in January.
I believe all your letters have come safely Hope this will reach you & that you will acknowledge at once. With love to all your household, I am,
Your aff brother
care of Major W. G. Sargent
Little Rock, Ark.
[Clipping headed “On the Arkansas River.” is a letter from Chas. Hill Roe. It closes: “P.S. Capt. Mallory, at Pine Bluff, Maj. Sargent and the Rev. Joel Grant, at Little Rock are doing a noble work for the freedmen of Arkansas.”]
Letter 4 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Envelope addressed to]
Mrs. Caroline Grant
Mill Brook P.O.
Oberlin, Aug. 17th 1865
Dear Aunt Caroline [Caroline Burr Grant]:
I never intended to be so tardy in answering the good long letter you wrote me, the latter part of last Apr. – But you have probably heard something how the time has been taken up. I suppose that mother is with you now, and that you have learned from her, all the events of interest which have occurred in the family, of late. We are hoping that her visit at her old home, and among her early friends, will do her much good. If she could only forget the unpleasant things which seem to weigh upon her mind so heavily, she might be a very useful woman, and a great comfort to her family, for many years yet.
I should like to have known of mother’s intended trip, a few days before, as I might have assisted in packing and getting her ready. It was almost too bad to find she had left just the day before I reached Austinburg [Ohio]! I got my goods together, and came away with William and Theodore last Tuesday. The boys all seemed well and in good spirits. I was much pleased that [Theo.?] seemed so self reliant, and at the same time so industrious and so practical. I think it probable he will prove the best [fanancier?] among the boys. Mother will have a strong arm to lean upon as long as he lives, she may be sure.
Philander expects to start with the sheep next week. Joseph Cowles’ family will probably move to Jefferson in September, and then I cannot see that Austinburg will hold out many attractions to any of us, longer. I can not see what makes mother feel that it is so desirable a place to live in. I am sure that to me Grinnell would present far greater attractions.
I think we are going to enjoy our stay here very much. – We were disappointed yesterday in the boarding place we expected to have, (at Prof. Ellis’) After having made all our calculations upon going there for several weeks, Mrs. Ellis came home from the west, bringing with her a cousin, whom, not knowing her husband’s plans, she had engaged to board in her own family, and they could not furnish us all, rooms. The Prof. seemed very much chagrined, and would have had the young man seek another boarding place, if his wife’s relatives would not have been displeased. As it is, we have been so long unsettled that we feel like seeking a home of our own, and Mr. Shurtleff is looking around for a house which he thinks would suit us. I fear we can not rent a desirable house, and real estate is high. It would not matter much if we expected to remain here permanently, but as it is somewhat doubtful whether we stay more than a year, it is hard to settle the question whether to board or keep house. It will however doubtless be settled in a few days, by our finding, or failing to find, such a house as we would like, in case we went to housekeeping. If we should get established in a home of our own, we shall want mother to make us a long visit before she goes to Iowa.
Friday morn, Aug. 18th
We tired ourselves out yesterday in looking <for> at houses for sale, and returned to our boarding place, without suiting ourselves at all. I think we will stay where we are as contentedly as we can, until an opportunity presents itself for a favorable change. We are very pleasantly located as boarders. There are few more desirable places in town, than the one where we are stopping – Mrs. Lincoln’s.
The fall term opens a week from next Monday. If we board, I expect to take three or four classes – shall probably relieve Mr. Shurtleff of one of his.
We have a call, and I must close. – I am very anxious to hear of mother’s safe arrival at Colebrook.
With much love to one and all,
Mary B. Shurtleff
Letter 5 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Cairo, Ill. Sept. 19, 1865
Mrs. Caroline Grant
Mill Brook, CT.
I have concluded to add a few words suggested by Sister Elizabeth’s letter designed especially for you and her and such persons as you may judge advisable to talk with concerning its subject matter. She speaks of a mortgage on Father’s place held by H.W. Penney – amount (as she says) $400. It has always been my wish that the place should be free from debt -- a favor it never enjoyed I think during my days – and have had it among my hopes that he day might come when I could move in the matter. But like the rest -- if pecuniary prosperity had been the <place> point on which I could rest, I have had it to say “I found no rest for the sole of my feet.” The day has never come – nor have I expectation it ever will. Still I have rarely been very poor – though often undesirably so. There have been but few periods of my life when I could not have given something to relieve my dear and honored parents.
As to this claim of Mr. P. I do not infer from Sister’s letter that it presents any new phase of difficulty. I believe it is a debt of 20 years’ standing – perhaps more. The interest has always been paid I believe, and I do not know that Mr. P. <is> has himself expressed any desire for its immediate payment. If the interest is unpaid, or if Mr. P. expressed a desire to have the money, then we ought perhaps to take the matter up. The principal thing as it seems to me now, is to have Father and Mother left in undisturbed possession, and if any thing is taking place that is likely to disturb them, surely I will do something to arrest so great an evil. I hope if this is the case at any time, such of the relatives as are at Mill Brook or its vicinity will rouse a cry of distress and send it to all the states and territories where Father’s descendants live, and I will not believe until it has been proved by trial that there is one of them so base as not to respond.
Whether it is best to take the matter up earlier, and relieve the place before such extremes arise I cannot say. My mind approves such a course, & if the amount of indebtedness is only $400 (my impression was that it was much greater) the thing <ough> could probably be done. Such an act would be grateful to Father & Mother, and not less so to me. Consider it and speak your mind.
I know of nothing that could be special interest to you or Daniel now. The country is full of opportunities of various kinds, but every thing requires its special attention, and while somebody will do well in connection with it, it is impossible to say that any particular individual would do so.
Your aff. brother
Letter 6 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[addressed to] Mrs. Caroline Grant
[letterhead] Freight Office New York and New Haven R.R.,
Corner of Elm and Franklin Street
New York, Oct 13th 1865
Mrs. Daniel Grant
Milbrook Ct. [Connecticut]
Yours of the 9th inst reached me yesterday & In reply to your enquiries would say that I called on the Agent of Canal line & also RailRoad line to ascertain facts & they give them as follows –
The Agent of the Western Transportation Co. (Canal Line) informs me that it will be a safe calculation to forward goods by Canal line anytime before the 10th November. He also says “The HouseHold goods you refer to can be shipped anytime before that date, but will have to be forwarded to Milwaukee, Wis as none of our steamers run to Oconomowoc. Price to Milwaukee $1.00 per 100 lbs. which includes all furniture &c. present rate of insurance between – (over)
New York & Milwaukee say 2% (this rate – however may increase somewhat as the season advances)”
You may therefore infer from this statement that it will be perfectly safe for you to forward by this Canal line as late as Nov 10th. (I would however advise that you get them forward sooner if possible so as to make it doubly sure), & that you can ship or forward your goods at $1.00 per 100 lbs without being so particular about boxing every article, all however should be well-packed & securely fastened.
Goods shipped by this line should be marked Each package, Via -- Western T Co, Canal & Lake, with the full address of consignee & destination. The agent of the Company will insure and charge the amt premium in with other or transportation charges, all payable upon arrival of goods at destination. You must of course advise him of the value or amount you wish them insured for when they are delivered to him. He will then receive the goods & give you Bill Lading for them & insert insurance & c & c.
The Rail Road Line rate will be (or is now) & may be advanced. –
All Rail -- $2.15 per 100 lbs
Rail & Steam around Lakes $1.33 per 100 lbs & The insurance the same as by Canal, say 2% -- & All goods must be Boxed & securely Strapped. If you ship by this line “Steam Around Lakes” you must ship on or before Nov 10th also. All Rail of course you can ship at any time.
If you wish to ship All Rail Each package must be so distinctly marked: Via All Rail, & If by Rail & Steam Around Lakes – Mark Each – Via Rail & Steam Around Lakes.
NY & NH RR
[attached envelope addressed to]
Mrs. Daniel Grant