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Webb Family Papers - MS 518: Transcripts
Perrysburg March 24th 1844
I must acknowledge that I have rather neglected you in not answering your letter but I have been engaged this winter in new business that has called me from home very often and when at home has engaged all my attention--We were glad to receive your Letters[,] two of which we received and to hear that you had got Employment and at so pleasent a place. altho I should have been pleased to have heard the condition upon which you are employed, what compensation you received and how you are off for clothing, whether you have got any since you left home. In your next, I wish you to give us all the particulars--we have had a very large family this winter. Mrs. Kimble & daughter, J. M. Carpenter both of whom we have married off during the winter. Mrs. K to Mr. Wood and M. Carpenter to Mr. Wright. The last two are boarding with us at this time but expect to go to houskeeping next week--The children, that is the 2 girls and Corwin, has had a serious time with the whooping cough. They took it in the fall & have had it all winter & Corwin is not entirely free from it. At one time I was fearful we should loose him[.] He was very much reduced in flesh, but is begining to resume his usual healthy appearance. We have had wonderful times this winter in this place. Mr. Millers new theory has made great inroads among the Churches. It has almost broke up the baptist church and has drawn many from the Methodist Church. As your mother intends finishing this I must close. Should you be in want of a little money at any time let me know & I will edeavor to send you some, though it is a scarce article and our family has been very expensive this winter. Be sure and give me the particulars of your engagement with your employer in your next. And I hope you will so conduct yourself where ever you may be situated so as to gain the good will & kindness of all your acquaintances and be sure to occupy all your leisure hours in reading that you may store your mind with useful knowledge.
Your affectionate Father
When I ended the foregoing I expected your mother would have finished this letter and I had supposed she had finished it, but she has been very unwell for some time past and consequently has not written. I had mentioned in the fore part of this letter that Mr. Miller's theory had thined out the churches and they have now separated and formed a separate church of the Baptist church then is Decon Hall and family (& Horatio Bays [?] is called to preach and has removed into Indiana for that purpose) Mrs. Bradford, Mr & Mrs Donaldson Mr & Mrs Sangford and others not now recollected and of the Methodist Church there is Mr. & Mrs. Covey Mr & Mrs Jones, John Bellville & wife, Gen Houston, James Bellville Jr. & wife, Mr & Mrs Robt Crook and others--Mr. Birdsill is almost left without a church and to add to his troubles he lost his wife last week[.] There has been but four deaths since you left. Mrs. Woollerton of Maumee died in the winter, her father has moved to Cleveland and Woolerton with him.
Write soon yours affectionately
Perrysburg October 11th, 1846
We have ascertained by your letter of the 30th of September that you still continue to be sick[.] we sympathise in your affliction notwithstanding we have had an unusual time of sickness in our family this summer. Your mother has had a turn of the fever[,] Elizabeth & Sarah Ann has had the Chills and fever & George has been very sick all summer and indeed never has been very hearty but has had several very narrow escapes this summer. [illegible word] Granmother has been down a few days probably from overdoing in attending on the rest. Thomas has been some sick too and in fact the sickness has been general in this Country far and near altho there has been comparatively but few deaths. William W. Irwin and Mrs. Burns father Chollett, young Mr. Allen (JM Hales brother in law) are among the deaths and some three or for others their names not now recollected principally children. Harriett Catlin is very low at this time. There has been scarcely a family in any of the towns here and I may say in any of the counties on the Maumee but what has had more or less sickness this season. Your Uncle Samuel passed through here this summer with his family on their way to Indiana. I rec'd a letter from him a few weeks since and he heard they were well and had settled in Peru, In. He had got into business at his trade.
Should you not be likely to be well enough to get to work soon perhaps you had better come home. Let us hear from you shortly how you are getting along. As to pecuniary matters I am still hard up. Your brothers and sisters joins me in love to you and all your friends
Perrysburg, Sept. 30th 1849
We were very much gratified by the reception of your letter from Hartleton of the 14th inst. and was very glad to hear from mother, Charles, your Uncles & Aunts, and the friends generally-and I should be very happy to revisit the scenes of my childhood, to walk with you along the banks of the pleasent Buffalo Creek, or clamber up and down the rugged steeps of the Lime Stone Ridge or the Buffalo Mountain, or ramble with you o'er the fields and meadows of the pleasent Buffalo Valley, and chat (about auld lang sine) with my friends and school fellows, many of whom have passed to their long homes and probably few of the latter remain to recall our acquaintance to mind, the remembrance of those times are pleasing to contemplate but painful is the contrast with the scenes I have since passed through--
Remember me affectionately to mother Charles and all friends and acquaintances[.] We have had some sickness since you were here[.] Mother Dean has had a sever[e] time with an attack of desentery [dysentery] but has recovered. Your Aunt Rebecca has also been very sick with the same complaint and is ve[r]y feeble yet from the effects thereof. Your cousins S.C. Dean, & Rebecca has removed to Cleveland where she was regaining her health at the last account we had from them. I have also met with a serious loss since you were here, in the death of our hired girl Julia. She was attacked with the Billious fever, which terminated in the Typhus, and in six days, she was a corpse. This has left me in a very unpleasant condition with regard to the babe who is this day 15 months old and is not in very good health[.] He is cutting his double teeth and I should not be disappointed if I should yet lose him.
Thomas is still here and is going to school. He was 21, on the 15th. instant-- Your trunk has not yet arrived. You do not inform me when you will return to the west. I would not advise you to spend much of your time in tramping. You are fast advancing towards the Maredian of life, and I think you had better be taking some preparetory steps towards settling, as time is rapidly passing, and it is very problemetal whether the time thus spent, at your age would be well spent. Should you be in Washington this winter you can see by the papers who is the member of the Hous of Representatives from this district and if as I expect it will be Mr. Amos Wood you must Call and see him and he will treat you kindly.
Let me hear often from you
Your affectionate father
Perrysburg April 17 1852
To John C. Webb:
Well Charles I have asked your father if I may answer your letter to him dated April 8th and he has given his consent freely, so you will find on opening this sheet of paper, not a letter from your father, as you will probably suppose at first, but a letter from one who has assumed the responsibilities of a wife to your surviving parent and a stepmother to his children. Do not be offended at this liberty, if such it may be termed, but receive it as the expression of kindly feelings from one has an interest in your welfare although a stranger so far as personal acquaintance is concerned. You are sad: your letter speaks the language of one discouraged by disappointment and when your father read it to me I felt as if I wished you were here that we could say something to encourage you to look forward to brighter days instead of viewing the dark side of the picture. But you are too far off to hear us speak; the pen, in silent language must express our thoughts; consequently I have taken this opportunity of commencing a correspondence that may eventually benefit both.--
But now let us look at your reasons for discouragement and see if there are not many avenues left by which the consolations of hope may enter into your heart, now saddened by despondency. You are not yet thirty years old; you are in a free and Enlightened country: You have no family depending upon you for support; you can read and write to pass away time pleasantly; yea, more, you can become a self-educated man if you wish to, by spending your leisure hours in study: when your business is dull; and what is still better, I trust you can lay your hand upon the "Bible" that best of books, and make its promises your own. 'Tis true many things have conspired against you in the accumulation of wealth: you have been sick among strangers and have no doubt sometimes needed better care than you have received, but, even here there is a consolation: "Whomsoever he loveth, he chasteneth" and if we receive good at the hand of the Lord, shall we not also receive evil? Compare your present situation with many who have lain for years on beds of pain: with some who are always unfit for labor or even society on account of some natural deformity, or some calamitous accident; and then Charles answer to yourself the question whether you would exchange places with them even though they were immensely rich. What if your trade is dull? Are there not other ways of obtaining a livelihood? Yes many, very many ways. Though they may not suit your taste exactly: then do not despair: do not murmur but put your trust in Him who careth for you. When your letter expressing a wish to go to Calafornia came we were sorry to have you go so far, but yet thought it might possibly be best for you. That is a failure for your sake we are sorry as we know you were very desirous to go there: you now propose going on the "Japan Expedition" and yet you do not tell us what sort of labor will be expected of you, nor how long you will be gone besides. I fear we shall not see you at home before you leave and we had all reckoned upon the visit. You must use your own judgment however, and whatever business you may determine to follow be sure we shall wish it a prosperous one. But I will say no more on this subject as the last page will be filled by your father but will tell you are how we are getting along. Father and the children are all well. Elizabeth is so large that I hardly think you would recognize her--Sarah Ann is the same jolly-hearted sort of girl she used to be--Corwin is as full of mischief as ever--has just been down to the river fishing--caught two and third ran off with the line and Clayton! it would take too long altogether to describe his actions-- the little Ellen, not Ellen Dustin, is sleeping in the cradle while I am writing to you so you have a history of us at home. Thomas' family are well I believe, his little boy is just the smartest and fattest in town, at least so Thomas and his wife think. Mr. Lindsay is better--so he walks out now. But I must stop for I am off the page already. Write very soon. Yours, M. A. J. Webb.
Charles, as your Mother has written such a lengthy letter I shall be brief. You say you were mistaken as to the report of the governments having given notice for hiring hands to go to California but that it was expected that it would be yet be the case adn that you had a chance of entering the service of the government on board of the S. Ship Mississippi on an expedition to Jappan. So far as I am concerned I should prefer your engaging in the Navy-yard in California as I think you could do better on the land, than on the water and the wages in all probability would be better, but you must use your own judgment in the matter and which ever oportunity you may accept remember you are about to embark in a different made of life from any that you have ever been accustomed to, that the business necessarily requires more stringent rules of government, than in the ordinary walks of life. Consequently you will see the necessity of a calm submission to the "powers that be"--and in what ever place your lot may be cast my desire shall be that your deportment may be such, as to be a benefit to your country and a cause of pleasure to
Your affectionate Father
Perrysburg December 16th 1850
This being the first time I have undertook to write a letter since I was a "married man" I hope you will excuse my poor writing for to tell the truth I do not feel much inclined to do so, but it being my duty to so I will not put it off any longer.
The folks at home are all well at present. Aunt Rebecca is at fathers, Elizabeth & Corwin are going to school Sarah Ann is yet in Jeromeville. Father expected her home this last fall on a visit but she did not come. Father told me to tell you that he had ordered the Reveille sent for 4 months.
I do not know what you will think of me getting married but such is the case but to whom you would not know if I should tell you[,] so I think I will let you find out in the Reveille. I will give you the "initials" and then you may guess Miss M.E.R. I should like to know what you think of it. I have no time at present to write more. I think it will do for a "married man." I will write soon again.
Thomas J. Webb
Miss Mary E. Radcliff & Thomas J. Webb
[From Thomas Webb]
Buffalo July 31st 1854
You will be somewhat surprised to find that I am in the largest city on the Lakes but such is the fact. The cholera in the "Burg" is very bad at present. When I left it, it was nearly deserted. It has taken off some of our best citizens. Before I came away I took my family into the country out back of Maumee City to James Deans to board. I then went back to Perrysburg to go to work. When the cholera became so bad that both offices were stopped, I then went to Toledo to work. When I accepted an invitation to tak a trip down the Lake on the Propeller "Ogontz" Capt. Wm. D. Wilkinson and thus it is that you find me in Buffalo. Father's folks were all well when I left Perrysburg. He would not take his family out of town which is the case with most of the old settlers in town. The number of deaths in the "Burg" that I can number amounts to about "60," among which are Aunt Rebecca McKnight Mrs Irwin & her daughter Julia and one other child Wealthy Gates, Mrs. Abner Brown, Esq Huntington Jarvis Spafford John J. Spink and sister Wm Cousser[,] Dr. Robinson[,] Peter Laney Deacon Williams and I suppose a great many more since I left. Oh yes, I forgot J W Ross and J A Hall's wife you have no idea how the town looks. Business of all kinds has stopped. The stores have shut up.
The streets are all deserted and you may walk from one end of town to the other and not meet over 3 or 4 persons. I[t] looks worse than any Sunday I ever saw there in my life. Miss Stella McKnight was taken the morning that I left the "Burg" I do not know the result. The citizens of the town are panic stricken for the reason that it is a disease which has never visited our town before and so few cases are cured. The doctors no doubt do the best they know how but they effect every few cures. When I left town I did not know of but 3 or 4 that had been cured. This malady will make a great change in Perrysburg It makes a person feel sad to go into the Cemetery and see the new graves that have been dug during the month of July 1854. The first case occurred on the 2nd of July. Just think of it. In the "Burg" which is considered as healthy as any town in the state, the[re] has [been] more dead during the present month than have died in it for the last 3 or 4 years. I have not time to say much more. You may answer this at Perrysburg. I will be home the last of the week if nothing happens. I will keep you posted up as much as possible during the sickly season When I left home Aunt had been dead 4 days and Sarah Lindsey did not know that she was dead. John McKnights wifes sister died and his wife was scared almost to death, she being feeble, having been confined but 2 or 3 weeks previous. He took her in a carriage up to her sisters, opposite to Gilead on the river. When he left his mother was well as I am now When he came the 2 day from when he started he was coming home when he met the funeral procession go to the cemetery he asked who that was, and they told him. He put his hand up to his forehead an said "My God" and fainted away I must now close so good bye for the present
Thomas J. Webb
[From Thomas Webb]
Perrysburg July 10th, 1855
I should like to know what is the matter that you do not answer my last letter. I shall soon begin to think you have got into my old habit of not answering letters. I wrote in answer to your letter the same week that I received it[,] about the last of April and have never received an answer to it. This letter finds [me] enjoying my usual good health[,] also Mary & Charley are well. About the middle of May I commenced working in the Journal again and sent you two or three papers but I have now quit for good. Clark and Myself cannot hitch very well. I do not know when I shall go to work or where but I must do so soon. I cannot lay idle a great while these times. Father's family are well at present I believe. I do not visit them much now. I have been in his house but Once in the last three years and that was when he (Father) was sick nor I do not think I shall do so soon again without for the same cause. George & John McKnight are here yet. They have been in partnership since George came back from California but George has sold out to Jack and is going back to the "Gold Region" again I believe. John['s] wife has had a boy but has lost it, but by the looks she has got another Pumpkin under her apron stings. There is not much news here. The Fourth of July pased off as usual, not much doing[,] I expect McCabe my brother-in-law here in a few days. I may go down to Cincinnati with him to go to work. As the mail is going out soon I must close. I will write again as soon as I can get time.
Thomas J. Webb
[From Thomas Webb]
Perrysburg, Sept. 21st 1857
Having a few leisure moment I concluded I would drop you a few lines thinking that you might wish to hear from "Home". The Conventions have all been finished and three weeks from tomorrow the tale will all be told for this State. Father is again a Candidate for Clerk and Jno F. Dubbs is his opponent but his chance for an election is small for the county is Republican. Dr. Peck is a candidate for the Legislature against Jesse J Morton and his chances are very good. I need not say and more about the election as I have sent you a "Journal" containing all the news of that kind. I am still at work in the Office and expect to remain there the coming winter. I have visited your garden several times since you have gone and put down a barrell of cucumbers. Your sugar cane looks well. The crops here never looked better for Wood County and I think the Farmers will have no chance to complain for the want of good crops.---
Mary has been very sick since you left and at one time was not expected to recover but she is getting well again.-- Charley is slightly under the weather at present & Father's folks are all well but the hired girl and she has got the "Clapp"
Elizabeth still lives over the river but they are gong away soon and I am not very sorry under the circumstances for I think she had better be away from here if she don't act better than she has along back. Henry is going to Canada and Elizabeth to Adison. Sarah Ann has been very sick but she has got better for she was at Fathers last week.
Buck Forsythe died yesterday morning at his fathers in Maumee. I have not seen Charles McCabe since you left here. He was down to Toledo and has gone to back to Cincinnati.
I do not know of any more news at present.-- I have mislaid your first letter and cannot find it now.--
I will write soon again and look out often for papers
Thomas J. Webb
P.S. I wish you would direct your letters and paper to
"Thomas J. Webb"
As T.L. Webb's folk have taken out both my letters from you and I have got them from them in two or three days afterwards
Mary says she intends to write a four paged letter in a few days and she sends her "best respects"
Washington DC, Oct 20, 1863
My Dear Wife: After waiting here within one day of three weeks, I finally obtained an interview with Prof. Henry this afternoon. He returned on Friday eve last, but, as I feared, was [?] with business that I could not get to see him until today, and that by especial favor. I sent to his room yesterday morning, my paper, accompanied with a note asking an early examination of it, and saying that I would call upon him to day at noon. I called accordingly, finding the Prof. in his room buried in papers and letters. In answer to my inquiry he said he had not read my paper, or perhaps he said he had not examinted it--for I think from what occurred that he must at least have glanced at it--and plead the obvious excuse want of time. He then said my project was bold and ingenious, but thought it would fail. Why I asked? Oh because, he said, it had often times been tried and as often failed. Shades of Franklin, Fulton and all other Philosophers and successful projectors! The head of the most leading scientific institution of the country, pronouncing the failures of the past, impossibilities of the future, or, in other words, what has not yet been done, can never be done. How beneath the utterance of the immortal diver[?], that "some things could be done as well as others." The first interview dispelled all the enchantment that distance had lent, and I found the Prof a most urbane gentleman, but, outside of his own sphere, no better informed than ordinary men. I felt myself his superior, at least in my own sphere, and that gave me perfect self possession ,but tempered with respect. I got him to raise his [?] and think, in every case, forced him to yield the. Aside from first principles, he was quite ignorant of the subject, and I am satisfied made up his report upon his superficial elementary knowledge and without expending upon it a single original thought. It is strange, but I could not prevail on the Prof. to read my paper then. He plead want of time, and said that it was in his family room (in the same building) but would at his earliest leisure examine it. The most of the objections he raised were not in my paper, and, as I told him, better too than I could answer verbally. I regretted this, but could not help it. My bold propositions seemed to startle him. At first he would say it was impossible, judging, I suppose, the future by the past, but would finally yield. In this way I think I reviewed every substantial objection in his mind, for he began to ask a great many small questions, of no particular moment. He would not however commit himself, averring that he was only an individual member of the board, and as such possessed of no power. I think he must have glanced at my paper, as he evidently does not wish to claim paternity to the report. He knows that it is not such as the occasion demanded, and besides is unscientific, abounding in errors, and evidently made up without investigation--perhaps in the supposition that once impossible forever so. He says that he is always ready to do what he can to advance the cause of science, as well as that of our country in her great emergency & speaks quite encouragingly. But he seems timid & "nice," & therefore neither outspoken nor unselfish, so that I do not think he would endanger his reputation in defence of an unpopular truth. He is however a most amiable and refined gentleman. I was treated with the greatest respect. He said as I was leaving that he was happy to make my acquaintance, inquired whether I received his annual reports, and receiving a negative answer, hunted some time through several rooms to find last years' report for me, but could not, as the clerks had left. As wishing to tread[?] too much upon his time, I arose, several times to leave, but yielded to his solicitation to remain, and when I finally took my hat to leave, he introduced a new subject and talked about 15 minutes, so that, after all the pressure of business, it seems that I was the anxious one to break up the interview. The status of the gun project is now this. The application for reexamination has to go through the same circumlocution as before, beginning with the Sec. of the Navy, and ending--I hardly know when. I do not expect to remain however until it has gone the circuit. McPherson returns on Saturday so that I will see him on Monday about the ruling. Every one is pleased with it, and I have no doubt of final success. But it takes forever to consummate any thing here. I begin now to look for the letter which I hope you wrote on Sunday last. Most affectionately Your Addison[?]
Thursday Morn, Oct 21/63M
Mr. Hosmer returned from N. Y. last night before I mailed what I wrote yesterday, so I concluded to add this by way of P.S.
While in N. Y. he called on Mr. Cooper who is as favorable and friendly as ever. Mr. H. intimated in a delicate way that I failed with the government that I would be obliged to look to private sources for aid. Mr. C. replied that if ten years younger he would not build an experimental gun, but a complete war vessel. So well was he satisfied with the principles of my gun that he has been drawing his business to a close as rapidly as he could, having but a short time to remain. He said that operations on the Steven's battery had been stopped on account of a difficulty in arranging the armament, but that my air gun would be most admirably adapted to it, and be so light comparatively, as to make it the fastest war vessel afloat. The present [president?] is a brother of the projected who is dead and in his will bequeathed to the former some few millions of dolalrs on condition that he completes the battery. Mr. C. then gave H. a letter of introduction to Stevens and also promised to see him personally, and said further that if he would not agree to do anything, to come back to him. Hosmer did not call, but has got me to amend my paper to suit his Stevens' case, which he will then forward to Stevens, with the letter of introduction. He was afraid to meet Stevens who is a scientific man, and this H. does not pretend to be. Prospects are strengthening every day, but how far in the future lies the consummation, I cannot say.
I am becoming quite homesick, but when I can get ready to return cannot yet say. I ought to hear from home by this time, and will waite longer with some impatience.
Yours, as Ever, Your Addison
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