Letters from Charles Devol Curtis

[No envelope present. Most of the punctuation was already correct, I just added commas. Hanah is E. W's wife]

Marrietta College April 21st [18]49

Dear Brother

In accordance with the fulfilment of my promise, I send you a few lines at this early period. I had a safe and pleasant trip up and landed here about ten o’clock; came up to College and finding my room in good order as when I left, I read until eleven when "I disrobed myself, extinguished the nocturnal illumination, and retired to silent repast". Waked up the next morning and found the ground covered with snow. Had the blues all day as I always do after leaving home, but have finally got fairly started. So much for the trip. I have nothing of importance to send you in the way of news. I am quite well and the friends here in town are all well.

There were three stores broken open hare a few nights since. The buglers went down on a steam boat the same night. A despatch was sent to Pomroy the next morning by telegraph ust as the boat was landing at that place. The thieves were found on board with the goods and all immediately shipped back here, have had their trial and are now in jail awaiting the setting of the court when they will in all probability be sent to the penitentiary for ten or twelve years.

A young man from Pomroy who is a student here; had yesterday at one o’clock am an apoplectic fit and is now lying in his room senseless. His name is Bosworth and his mother is the lady that used to teach at Hocking (Laura Reed). It is feared that he will not recover. His father is here and his mother is expected soon

Many of the student are yet absent and the number here is rather small. The people here seem to be some what apprehensive that this College will ere long be in want of students. The friends of the institution here in town have given money enough this spring to finish the new building. The amount, I believe, is between twelve and fifteen hundred dollars.

Give my respects to Hannah and the folks at home and permit me to subscribe myself Respectfully

Your in haste

C. D. Curtis

PS I have made some enquires here in town concerning money borrowers.

I suppose if you had your money here you could lend it to good advantage as there seems to be quite a want of that article at present.

If I were to advise you on the subject, I would say put your money in a buggy or on a boat and bring it up here and then you can see just how you can best suit yourself in making the loan.

I suppose Hocomb would take 500 if you would come up before the first of May as he told me he wished to borrow about that amount to pay a debt in the bank.

Wm Curtis said he would write you on this subject which I suppose he has done and can tell you more about the matter than I am able to do at present. He seems to think you might get 8 or 10 per cent but fears that you might be disappointed in getting your money again just when you wanted it as the merchants go East in October. I think there would not be much difficulty on this score.

I think you had better come up next week if you can as the sooner you come the better and I doubt not you can fix the business to suit yourself. Please say to Bucanan that the teachers institute will not be held here until in the fall.

If you don’t come up, please write as soon as possibe and let me know what Leander has concluded to do

C. D. Curtis

[Ruhama is Charles' sister. Hanah is Eleazer's wife. Sid is his brother. Two years later, he was in Sacremento, California]

Addressed to: Mr E. W. Curtis, Hocking Port, Athens Co Ohio

Lane Seminary May 28th 1851

Dear Brother

This, the close of a long hot day, finds me here in _ 20 solitary and alone. The clock is just getting ready to strike 9. The tree frogs are mingling their (toots) voices with the sound of bells and piano 40ts [forte] and the lightning bugs are entertaining the various other bugs with a fine display of fire works. In short, it is an old fashioned summer evening, hot enough for all practical purposes and no mistake.

Having performed the various duties of the day such as walking over to my school and teaching the various sciences, walking back and resting myself slightly, I have concluded to write you a letter in answer to your last which came to hand not many days since. I have nothing of importance in the way of news to communicate at this time. I am still in the enjoyment of very fine health and very busy.

Time passes very pleasantly and rapidly away. This is the most beautiful time in the whole year at this place. The trees on the green in front of the buildings are in full bloom and the country around here is a sort of 2nd edition of the garden of Eden.

The locusts are coming out of their under ground habitations by thousands. I counted over thirty on one rail in my walk today. We shall undoubtedly in the course of a few days have an abundant supply of these septenial visitants. It seems like old times to listen to their songs of fa ro, fa ro from every bush and tree. I wish they would stay all summer , but they are a short lived insect.

I heard from Sid a few days since. I think he intends going up with me in August. Hope so at least.

I was glad to hear that you had purchased a house and lot. I hope you will keep it no matter how much of a speculation you can make by selling. It is my present intention to be up there about the first week on August if nothing happens to prevent. Shall stay about three weeks.

Please say to Ruhama that her letter was received and shall be answered soon as time will permit. Give my respects to Hannah and the Friends at home. Let me hear from you as soon as may be convenient.

Respectfully yours in haste

Chas D. Curtis

E. W. Curtis

[Added commas. Notice that the letter is signed Curtiss with two esses instead of one.]

Lane Seminary March

Dear Brother

I owe you an apology for not having answered sooner your very aceptable leter which has been on hand for some weeks. I have delayed that I might be able to give some definite information in releation to the prices current of lumber &c but in vain.

You are aware, I suppose, that there is at present and has been for some time past a great stringency in the money market here. Such is the fact and as a result of this; there is little doing in the way of building or shipping hence, at present, prices are low. Business men say they hardly know whether business will be better this spring or not.

Many think the worst time has not yet come. How this is, I know not. This has been one of the hardest winters for all classes that has been known for many years. Thousands are thrown out of employment and obliged to live at the charity soup establishments. Hundreds are begging from door to door for bread. Money is scarce business as dull as ever known and provisions high hence much suffering. But the winter is over, times will be better when things again grow. If I were to advise you in relation to your lumber and stave, I should say hold on for the present though my opinion would not be worth much as I do not know enough about business of that kind to advise judiciously. Perhaps you could contract to tolerable advantage. I would write at least to some the business men of the city before I should start with my boats if I were you.

I have nothing of importance in the way of news to send you. I was glad indeed to hear from you. My health is good and I expect to be up some time this spring perhaps in Aril. I can’t say just when. I had a letter from Sid a few days since. He was well when he wrote and in business up at volcano City. Had purchased an interest in the diggins and hoped to strike some thing soon if nothing but a large rock. He don’t seem to like the country as well as he had hoped.

I hope this may find you all in good health. Please remember me to your Sady and tell Alice that Uncle Charles wants to see here very much.

I shall be pleased to hear from you as often as you can find time to write. Having long since sold my horse and buggy, I seldom go to the city. Severett is the only person I have seen this winter from about home. The weather during the past 8 or 10 weeks has been very unpleasant and even now, though much warmer yet, the mud is such about here as to make it unpleasant to go out. Hence I stay mostly at home hoping soon to see some beautiful weather. This has been rather a long winter with me as I laid up about the first of October and have kept rather closely housed since. I shall probably remain here until the last of May or middle of June when I expect to migrate. Where, I know not. I suppose I shall find a place somewhere in this wide world where my services will be needed. My regards to your Family and the Friends at home. I hope to see you in the course of 6 or 8 weeks.

Respectfully Yours

C. D. Curtiss

E. W. Curtiss

[The letter from Sid would be Sidney Walter, Charles' brother who was in Sacramento, California]

Walnut Hills May 22, 1854

Dear Brother

I send you a few lines in answer to your letter written on the same sheet with S. W’s and for which I am much obliged. I should have written you sooner but for the fact that I had just written home. I thought that two letters so nearly contemporaneous would not be desirable.

I have nothing of importance to communicate in the way of news. My health never was better than at this present time. I am still pursuing with all possible zeal the same vocation as when you were here. Looking with anticipation of pleasure to the time when the labors of my year shall conclude. It is rather tedious to be confined during ten months to the same routine of business and yet I soon become uneasy when not thus engaged. Such is the power of habit.

I had a letter from Sid a few days since. He reports himself well and progressing finely. He thinks that that side of creation would not suit me and consequently I had better remain on this side which I suppose I shall do.

I advised him to return to some of our civilized western states and buy him a farm and live right during the rest of his life, which I hope he will do.

I hope to see you all about the first of August if not sooner and spend a few weeks among those ancient hills. I would send you Sid’s letter but I suppose he always writes home and to me at the same time. Say to Alice that her book shall be forth coming when I come up in Aug.

Remember me to Hannah and the Friend at home also to Le Due. I shall be glad to hear from you as soon as you may find time to write. We have had a cold and rainy time here for the past week. Hope this may find you all as well as I am. Say whether you have given up the idea of going west to look for a farm. In my opinion, there is no more pleasant business under the sun than that of farming on a large and scientific scale and I would advise Leander to sell that place if he can get enough and the folks are all willing and go to some of the healthy rich sections of the west and purchase. Athens Co. is not adapted to farming and never will be.

I will close this hasty letter by wishing you all the greatest possible amount of happiness and prosperity during you entire sojourn on this terraqueous ball.

Respectfully yours in haste