1853: John Treadwell Pingree to Thomas Perkins Pingree

How J. Treadwell P might have looked
How John Treadwell Pingree might have looked

This letter was written by John Treadwell Pingree (1835-1881), the son of Thomas Perkins Pingree (1803-1865) and Abigail Garland (1802-18xx) of Essex County, Massachusetts. He graduated from Williams College in 1856, then studied law at the Albany Law School where he graduated in 1858 and in the office of Hamilton Harris, Esq., of Albany. He practiced law in Auburn, New York. He was married in 1866 to Lucy Cochran (18xx-1869) of Buffalo, New York.

In 1871, John humorously posted a notice in the Auburn Daily Bulletin [2 October] stating: “Wanted Muchly!! — The names of those two sympathizing friends who so kindly cast their ballots for me for County Judge. Oysters and adjuncts are waiting.”

John wrote the letter to his older brother, Thomas Perkins Pingree (1829-18xx) who married Catherine Colt (1830-1909) in 1858 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he practiced law. Catherine was the daughter of Ezekial R. and Electa (Campbell) Colt.

John and Thomas’ father was a Salem merchant who established the Lanesboro Iron Company in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, in 1847. [This furnace was later known as the Colby Iron Works.]

1853 Letter
1853 Letter

Addressed to Thomas P. Pingree, Esq., Jerseyville, Illinois

Williams College
November 24, 1853

Dear Brother,

Your letter of October was duly received by me and contents duly noted. This is Thanksgiving Day and a tremendous cold day too. The folks at home are all going to Uncle Asa’s house. Father, you know, has been elected to the Senate and [Emory] Washburn — the Whig candidate — will be the next Governor — a graduate from this college.

The Furnace at Lanesboro is working well. Frank Whitney ¹ — a brother of Charley — is dead. He died of the brain fever. Kate Talcott ² is in Ohio about 20 miles from Cleveland. You can go and see her if not too far from your abode. If you are in Virginia near Mecklenburgh County where Randolph College is, you may see me there shortly. Wherever you are, I hope you are doing well. I forward to you at this time a Catalogue of this Institution.

Goods advertised by Thos. P. Pingree in Salem, Massachusetts
Goods advertised by Thos. P. Pingree in Salem, Massachusetts

How foolish it is for you, if you are away from Illinois — say in some Southern State — to send your letter to Jerseyville Post Office. Never mind. You undoubtedly will pursue your own course and I have but a little mind to know where you are or what you are doing, if you are only doing well. I have been busy lately. Since I have been in college, I have wrote 3 addresses. Two I delivered in Vermont and one I am to deliver in Hancock the 3d Wednesday in January. I have forwarded to you the papers containing the account of my first two addresses — one of which has an extract of my speech.

Perk, don’t think I am any bigger in feeling than I ever was. A student anywhere’s mind here is considered the biggest kind of a man. I wonder if you are mind stump speaking, or have you turned a minister? You don’t seem to stay in a place long. When you get short, I will send you one of mine.

Elisa Osborne and Frank have got disengaged. What foolishness love is, in getting engaged so young, for they are then as fickle as fickle can be. Never marry unless you can marry $50,000. Then marry a sick one who must die in 3 months. I have now nothing more to say. I have said all that I know and so close.

Your brother, — J. Treadwell Pingree

¹ Silas Frank Whitney (1830-1853), the son of Richard Whitney (1800-1869) and Clarissa Tower (1802-1887) of Lanesboro, Massachusetts, died on 20 November 1853. His brother, Charles B. Whitney was born in 1827.

² Kate Talcott (1832-1870) was the daughter of Platt Talcott of Lanesboro, Massachusetts. She married George Lyman Ingersoll (1830-1910), a Cleveland lawyer. 

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