This letter was written by William James Corbett (1835-1881), the son of James Larkin Corbett (1806-1869) and Susan Ann Wallace (1810-1878) of Wilmington, North Carolina. When W. J. Corbett wrote this letter in 1870, he was working as an engineer on the railroad. He was married in May 1860 to Helen Virginia Lain (1838-1876), and had two daughters — Blanch Ballard Corbett (1861-1899) and Virginia (b. 1866).
Corbett wrote the letter to his former employer, Amos R. Storer (1841-Aft1917), in Boston, Massachusetts. Amos was born in Maine, the son of Amos Storer (1801-1895) and Lavinia Hopkins (1807-1881). Amos was a clerk in a cigar store in Boston but it seems that in the waning days of the Civil War, Amos resided in Wilmington, North Carolina. The 1865-1866 Wilmington, North Carolina Business Directory shows that Corbett worked for “A. R. Storer” — the proprietor of a saloon called the “Wilmington Bar” at 10 Market Street. Corbett’s residence was on Hanover Street between 2d and 3d Streets at that time.
Storer eventually married Hannah Josephine Smith and raised his family in Boston. HIs occupation in later city directories is given as “salesman.”
Addressed to Mr. A. R. Storer, No. 15 Broad Street, Boston [Massachusetts]
Wilmington, North Carolina
October 25, 1868
Yours of the 18th October came duly to hand and I hasten to reply. I should have written to [you] long ago but I was afraid you had changed your quarters.
Politics are just as they were when you left — only the Negroes are forming Democratic Clubs all over the state and seem to think the election of [Horatio] Seymour & [Frank] Blair ¹ secure. Those fellows never have paid me anything and I am afraid never will. I think you could have gotten. I am running on the W & W [Wilmington & Weldon] Railroad and my family are well. I did kiss the babies for you. There is plenty of business out here but few people are afraid to invest at present. I wish you would make some arrangement for a grocery and hire me over again. I know there is any quantity of money in it and I am still better acquainted and there is no credit system at this time.
Good bye for this time. Write soon and I will give you more news. I have no time now.
Yours fraternally, — W. J. Corbett
¹ The Democratic Party nominated Horatio Seymour of New York and Gen. Frank Blair of Missouri as his running mate in the 1868 Presidential election. Seymour’s campaign was marked by pronounced appeals to racism with repeated attempts to brand General Grant as the “Nigger” candidate and Seymour as the “White Man’s” candidate.