Prelude: Here is a letter on loan from a beautiful and fun Antique Shop in Angelica, NY called Mad Hatter Antiques. It’s located at 121 West Main Street in Angelica and I recommend stopping there to browse their beautiful and unique items… The letter I have on loan from them is a gem and it was written on October 24, 1846! That’s right this letter is from the 1800’s and it’s pre-Civil War. It is written by R.S. Hatch who is now residing in Angelica and is addressed Dear Friend in care of F.H. Bitely Esq. in Easton, NY. I believe it was written with quill and ink, there was no envelope, instead it was folded, sealed with wax and stamped.
Dear Friend, Angelica October 24, 1946
I am in the land of angels once more but find still a few devils to deal with, as usual, but hope to soon to be free from their demonic influence. Be that as it may, I shall come out right in the end. Old Allen the old Bel-ze-bub himself, still opposes me because I am a Hatch, or rather because I am brother to his opposition in trade. Brother George is again a brother in earnest. The reason for the hard feelings existing between him and myself has been clearly demonstrated, and is as follows. Old Allen, as soon as I was gone, circulated the report, that I had told him of George’s using customer’s leather, and of his finishing leather secretly, for persons, who had taken the leather from Allen’s vat. Such things as these would as a matter of course, would cause him to feel hard, but since I have proved Old Devil a liar he (George) is my best friend. All with me now is O.K., except one, that is, hard feelings between Allen’s folks and ours.
As to the answer to the letter, which I received from you, I don’t know how to do it, for your letter is all beginning and all ending.
1st How I got along after leaving you, I went up where that chap directed me, but found that the office was moved two buildings farther up the river. I got my ticket changed and took hafiage on board the boat Rhode Island, for Rochester. Had a real comfortable time with the mumps just after getting aboard. Had cargo of everything, just such stuff as the world is made of. Our cabin patronage is consisted of 2 Ladies, 2 children, 2 young men, one devil incarnate, together a gentlemen like myself, only he could not come a torch to my fat cheeks. Our deck passengers thunder and brim stone, what a legend they were. They consisted of about a dozen Englishmen and as many English women and about a half dozen Irishmen, and an Irish lady or two, one Frenchmen, 10,000 squalling imps of young ones, and three dogs. The Frenchmen though was a fine fellow and lived in St. Hyacinthe, Canada, close by Franz Andris Gsuthies. Was well acquainted and spoke highly of him. Two or threw of the Englishmen were folks, but the rest, let me get my dictionary and see if I can find a word that will describe them. By thunder I’ve got to make sure or let you _______ at ______. You’re a Yankee, so go it, and perhaps you have seen such.
At Rochester I took the boat Scott to Mount Morris, there I found a man going to Rushford where Newman was. I spent two days with him then took the stage to Angelica. Got along first rate. Since I have been here I have been attending the teachers institute held at the Court House. The proceedings of this meeting I will send to you as soon as published. Have had a grand time I assure you. You don’t know how well I feel on account of being once more at liberty. Today I was examined in a class of 7 and was the only one who could get a county certificate. And also today have engaged a school about 8 miles from here. Terms $15.00 per month, for 4 months, commence the 1st of November. I have received several papers from Hempstead and have written to Ed Larn, and Miles and must to Chet. I will send you the money due you as soon as possible, $7.00 I believe.
What about our next spring aspirations. Andrew will go with us heart and hand. I will write to Uncle shortly and see what he will do. Please write soon. Give my respect to all and remember me.
First I must tell you that the blank lines at the end of the 2nd paragraph are words that I could just not figure out. The writing was somewhat hard to read anyway, but those words were illegible.
Well, Mr. Hatch, and I’m pretty sure it was a Mister, because women most likely did not travel alone in those days, was quite the man. What a trip he had by boat and then by stagecoach all the way to beautiful Angelica in Alleghany County. The deck of that boat must have been a fun time. I especially liked the “10,000 squalling imps of young ones.” What an interesting description to use, and it comes from a man who is going to be a teacher. He seemed to like the Frenchmen well enough though. Those Frenchmen will charm you every time. Oh, and how about his monthly pay, too bad he owes half of his first month to his friend. Well, I think this was a very telling letter, and gives us a good view into the travels of a man in 1846.
Here are a couple links to Angelica, NY a beautiful historic town: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelica,_New_York
Read the History of the town and woman who it was named after. Her name was Angelica Schuyler Church, you’ll find that she is the Sister-in-law of the famous Alexander Hamilton.
Here is a link to the history Easton, NY: http://eastonny.org/wp/?page_id=2