1846: Eli Blakeslee to Isaac A. Saxton

This letter was written by Eli Blakeslee, Jr. (1796-1866), the son of Eli Blakeslee (1753-1826) and Lettice Curtis (1756-1830). Eli was married to Emily Judd (1799-1859) in 1820 in Wyoming County, New York. They had several children — three of whom are mentioned in this letter: Lyman Curtiss Blakeslee (1822-1885), Albert Judd Blakeslee (1824-1902) and Julius Clark Blakeslee (1829-1854).

Eli also mentions his brother, Noah Blakeslee (1781-1845) who died on 27 October 1845 — a month after this letter was written. We learn from this letter that Noah’s wife died on 5 August 1845.

Eli wrote the letter to Isaac A. Saxton, Jr. (1799-1876), the son of Isaac Saxton (1764-1807) and Margaret Lafettera (1766-1839). Isaac was married to Catharine Allen in 1826 in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The Saxtons came to Tazewell County in the late 1830s and most of their children were born there.


Addressed to Isaac A. Saxton, Esqr., Washington, Tazewell County, Illinois
Postmarked Princeton, Illinois

Princeton [Illinois]
22 September 1845

My Dear Friend,

You kind letter of 15 September is this day received & it rejoices us much to hear that your health is good & that there is a prospect of seeing you again before we leave this country. I have received several letters from home since I wrote to you & last Thursday I received one dated 8 September. By that letter I learn that Albert and his family expected to start by land about the 17th so I suppose they are now on the road. Lyman & his family expected to start on a propeller on the 24th so I suppose they will start day after tomorrow. The reason why they did not start as I expected when I wrote to you was it was so hot & dry & they had heard that it was sickly on the road & the reason why Lyman does not start on the 17th is he is waiting for a propellor which is to start on the 24th.

It has been very sickly at Chataugua County in August at and near Fredonia. Typhus fever prevailed & Lyman wrote that as a general thing, it went very hard at Silver Creek & Anzell [?] Settlement. Billious fever & inflammation of the bowels & dysentery were very common but no deaths from those complaints that I hear of.

My brother Noah Blakeslee at Perryville, Madison County, lost his wife on the 5th of August after a short sickness but I did not hear what complaint. My family were well at the last dates & in good spirits for the Illinois. I sent my money in several different letters by mail & it all arrived safe. On Friday next Julius expects to start for Chicago to bring Lyman & his family & after staying here a few days we intend to go to Washington & have the house ready when our family arrives by land. I do not think we can get to Washington before the 6th or 7th of October. We expect to have our work here all done which we have agreed to do in about a week. We feel very anxious to go to Hanover & Washington as soon as we can.

You wrote about your going to Indiana & then return to Washington & perhaps go south this winter & as we cannot be at Washington as soon as we expected, perhaps you will think best to start to Indiana and if you are not gone more than 2 or 3 weeks, you will be there again very soon after we arrive. I should like to have you see Lyman & Albert & my family & perhaps after all you will find some business which will induce you to stay in this country. We should be very glad to have you stay near us & I very much think that you can do very well in this county if you are contented to stay & you know that the more of the old friends there are together or near each other, the more likely they all are to do well. We have lots of work offered to us here but we steadily refuse to engage although the pay is good for we think that your part of the county is much better to get land in & will give the boys a much better chance to get a permanent property than this part of the county. It is quite healthy about here on the prairie & barrens but it is quite sickly on the bottoms. I think a man will be quite likely to enjoy good health in this county if he keeps away from the dead water. It is said to be more healthy this year on your side of the river than it is this side. Please write as soon as you receive this & let us know whether you go immediately to Indiana or whether you will wait till we come.

I wish you would notify A. C. Kerr that we expect to use the house which I rented of him. I was to let him know by the 10th of October & I expect to be there myself before that time but I think it would be well to let him know now & then if anything should happen that I could not get there by that day, the house would be secure.

I have not heard anything in particular from your sister Helen or from any of the family. Yours truly, — Eli Blakslee

P. S. We have enjoyed excellent health since we last saw you. We see no reason why we are not as likely to enjoy as good health here as we should in York State. Indeed, I think that Julius enjoys better health here than he did for several years past in York State. Please write how the health is in your part of the county.


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