This is an 1841 letter from George Sturges (son of Perry 1764-1838 and Amy 1761-1825, both buried in Hobart) to his brother, Ebenezer Sturges, who had moved to Allegany County NY. I can't find George and his wife Priscilla buried in Delaware County, but I know George died in 1848. His son, George Anson Sturges, was still active in Delaware County as late as the 1860s. I thought that the letter would be of interest to researchers because it is so detailed about farm life. - Kate Hastings, great-great-great-granddaughter of Ebenezer Sturges, July 4, 2000
Large sheet of paper folded in half like a book, then folded up to become its own envelope and sealed with a red blob, presumably wax
Mr Ebenezer Sturges
<postmark in faint red >
DELHI NY MAR 6
<a large numeral 18 written next to the address.>
Delhi March 5th 1841
In your last you wished me to be more particular with respect to affairs and family, when I next wrote. Tho it is a long time since, yet I have not forgotten to attempt to gratify you in this particular. To begin then at Rosie's Brook I sold the old farm as follows. The strip and a threshing machine worth $50 to Mr. G. Webster for $600 one half I received last December the rest in two yearly installments of $150 each. The back part I sold to David Burroughs for $2400, 500 down and the remainder in nine annual installments. Burroughs has sold out & I have changed the bond of security for that of Hiram F. [H.?] Simmons. The farm is badly managed and the rent remains unpaid from the time I sold. I have collected the installments as they become due, but I may yet lose in case Simmons should fail to pay as property is lower now and the farm in a much worse state of improvement than when I left it. Mr. Webster has sold out on Rose's Brook for $4000 and purchased the More farm 4 miles east of this village for $7000. His son Samuel has married and moved on the farm. Mr. W. is coming in April so you see we have some of the old neighbors again within convenient visiting distance. We are making some improvements here-we are well pleased with our location-have a good farm when properly fixed-raised 380 bush wheat last year together with corn, oats, buckwheat & more than sufficient for family use-have extended our business for the futer [sic] by taking Mr. Sherwoods farm (the next below us) for 4 years which now produces from 40 to 60 tons of hay yearly and with good management will do more. A considerable good plough land for wheat & together with the privilege of a large orchard. The terms are - We have two thirds of the products of the farm - are paid for all the new fence we put on and pay two thirds of the taxes. We think it a good lay as this is a convenient and ready market especially for hay and wheat. We have so far been enabled to meet our engagements tho the hardness of the times makes it difficult as we have to pay $1000 and interest on the whole yearly and receive only about 500 from our own dues. We have more facilities for making money here than where we lived as there is a cash market for allmost any thing we can spare; and altho our expences in some respects are necessarily greater, our conveniences are also greater, and I think the ballance of advantages is considerably in favour of our present location. My health and that of my family being spared I shall make a strong effort to to [sic] keep my farm here let what will be the results of the payments on the old farm, tho I confess the very low prices of produce make my futer prospects for success rather dubious.
We have been blessed with usual health in our family since I last wrote you - have the addition of another son now eleven months old a fine boy but not very healthy. We have given him the name of John. Perry & Helen are attending the academy, James and G. Anson the district school. Henry and myself do the work out doors. Priscilla, Wilson, and Jonny , in the house, and all in tolerable health, such is our this winter's arrangement, but it will soon have to assume more of the WORKING complextion. On the most favourable calculation I can make it will require four years of close application to straiten out my affairs and make me as independent as I was when I sold. Should Divine Providence spare me and prosper my endeavours I intend at that time to visit you should you be in the land of the living. Sooner, I cannot now flatter myself with the happiness.
Your friends in Delaware as far as I know are in tolerable health. Jesse has married a second wife a good woman I think. Sister Huldah has purchased a lot in Unadilla village & intends building a house next summer when she intends to move there and work at her trade. Brother S.S.S. is WORKING hard and doing well. Looks very old - about like Uncle Jonny McLane - Polly I believe is quite comfortable and happy.
I am so engrossed with business and withall so indolent that unless I wanted to hear from you very much I perhaps should never write so please be in a hurry to answer this. I want to know particularly about you all. Sally, how is she? She never was rugged. Polly? Whom I used to think a reflecting character. Lucy? The little laughing girl, what is she? Charles - the afflicted little Charles, how does he get along? Samuel - that noble looking boy, has he become a man? Smith - the rover - Where? Who, and what is he? Albert! Last- tho not the least I wonder if he enjoys the same placid temper of mind and the same physical energy that he was wont when last I knew him. Your pecuniary affairs - I should be happy to hear that you had surmounted your difficulties in this respect. As many of these enquiries as is propper and any others your own feelings may suggest I should be happy to have answered in your next. And now my dear Brother that God may bless you and yours in the sincere prayer of your affectionate Brother