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1834: Maryland Doctor Heads to the Wild West of… Illinois!

Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on January 22nd, 2011

I’ve been transcribing a wonderful letter from 1834 that I wanted to share.  Dr. William Grimes of Maryland is writing his childhood friend Adam Glossbrenner, a newspaper editor in York, Pa. who is writing a history of the area at the time of the letter. Grimes wants Glossbrenner to move with him to the “frontier West” – Illinois!

Note that only two years prior, the Black Hawk War had been fought in Illinois, and Chicago had only been founded the year before this letter!

“Clear Spring, 22 October 1834

Dear Sir,

As the return of my friend Mr Oswald to little York offers an opportunity of sending a letter, I have taken the liberty of writing one & addressing it to you. If the hebdomidal and gelling, which a man’s brain must of necessity receive in conducting a public journal , have not obliterated every vestige of former days, you must still recollect a “Waife upon the worlds wide common” who, in the by-gone days of childhood, answered to the familiar cognosence of “Bill Givens”. Now sir, stop for one moment & take a step thro’ the “dark postern of time long elapsed” &, unless your memory is very treacherous, you will find some your own acts associated with that, which, if unattoned for at the last day, will send you in company with all those who have spent their Sabbaths in early life on the banks of the Antietam, fishing for chubs. For my own part, I have long since eschewed my piscatory habits, as I doubt not, has been the case with yourself & not choosing to come within Franklin’s or Swift’s (I forget which) deffinition of a fishing rod: viz, “a long pole with a string on one end & a fool on the other.”

Ah! Adam, those were the days of sunshine & gingerbread – they have past, & bread & beef must now be had, for our wives & little ones! “Wut in Got’s name” are you about? I am told you have abandoned the “Editor’s table” & turned antiquary, going about in an old green buzecoat, & a little bag, picking up “Indian darts” & six like things – it is further rumored that you intend before long to prove to a mathematical demonstration that York County did certainly emerge from the great ocean of waters, with the other parts of the state of Pennsylvania, & at the same time. – I suspect it will be a difficult matter to make all the people of your county believe that – You might as well tell them that the world we inhabit is round & that it revolves on its axis every twenty-four hours. they would just as soon believe it.

But my object in writing this letter was to ascertain one thing, or perhaps two. Are you permanently located in York? or have you ever turned your thoughts to the great West? Do you not think that, as you are a practical printer, & a tolerable fair specimen of Editor, that you could do well by establishing a paper in some of the towns in Illinois? Now I have allways had a fondness for the art of printing, & I flatter myself that I can write a paragraph for a newspaper – I have disposed of my property here & am anxious to remove to some part of the west, & I would like to engage in conducting a newspaper with some practical printer, & pursue my profession. I will purchase the half, or the whole of the printing materials – I need not point out to you the power & influence a well conducted paper will weild any where – nor need I tell you of the inducements held out in the west to enterprising young men – Indeed, I not time now – but, if this proposition shall meet with your views, you can write me, & let me know your mind fully upon the subject.

We will then come to an understanding about it.

I do not know how soon I can get off as I am here now only because I have been disappointed in getting the money for my property – perhaps next spring & perhaps not before a year.

yours &c in haste
W.H. Grimes
I shall be pleased to hear from you soon.”

1834 Letter of Dr. William Grimes

I will be listing this letter Saturday on eBay for a client, and will update with the listing number for those interested.

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John F Kennedy Inaugural Program

Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on March 20th, 2009

Just a quick update, as I had large shipment of clipped autographs and letters come in late today, and I’m still sorting them.  I had to take time out to get this listed right away, however.  This is a beautiful John F. Kennedy Presidential Inaugural Program, still in its original mailer!  Absolutely wonderful condition.




See the listing on eBay here!

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1864 Union Soldier’s Letter: “Fighting Rebs & Copperheads”

Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on January 27th, 2009

This is the complete transcript to a letter home written by Corporal Erastus Winters of the 50th Ohio Infantry in General Tecumseh Sherman’s army.  He talks about the fall of Atlanta and fighting General Hood’s Rebels across Georgia, and his feelings about the Rebel sympathizers back home.  This letter is currently up for auction on eBay (see the link at bottom)

Decatur Georgia Sept 28, 1864

Dear Parents
Your kind letter received a few days ago reminds me of my duty of writing to you in which I have been too negligent.  With duty pressing me I am to apt to forget that you may feel lonely without me , but rest assured that I never cease in my affection nor forget for a moment how much I am indebted to the best of Parents.

I am in very good health at this time, our campaign is over and we are resting from out labors. In the last four months we have performed a great work one that we may well feel proud of and indeed we do feel proud that we have gained so noble a victory as we have.

I may also point to the splendid success of Farragut at Mobile and of General Grant’s victory on the Weldon Railroad and of Sheridans and Averills grand success in the Shenandoah Valley.  Summing all those great victories up it is enough to rejoyce the heart of every true American Citizen and especially of the careworn Soldiers who have been fighting for the Union for the last four years. We have been fighting two armys you may say one in the rear and one in the front. Hood and Johnson Commanded the Army in our front and Vallendingham Pendleton and Pugh the army in our rear and as much as I dread to meet Hood’s vandals I believe there is whiter hearts among them than there is in those poisonous Copperheads of the North.

The 23 Corps was the last to withdraw from the works in front of Atlanta and so we was on the left flank of the army and did not get to see any of the fighting but the army of the Tennessee the 18th and 16th and 17th corps and the Army of the Cumberland 4th and 14th Corps got in it pretty hot. The Rebs charged them three or four times in which they was badly used up our men then charged them capturing two Batterys and many prisoners. We retook Loomis’s old Battery which they took from us at Chicamauga. They left all their dead and wounded in our hands but as we were not in the fight of course I can give no particulars but I suppose you have read the full account of it before this in the papers. We followed the retreating Rebbels till we reached Lovejoy Station where we found them strongly fortified and in a Splendid position so we built strong works to protect us from shells and rested two or three days and then withdrew and left them and they did not dare to follow us. That shows that they was used up pretty bad.

Click here for Auction: Ends February 2, 6:15pm Eastern

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1831 Annual Return of 2d Brigade of 7th Division GA militia

Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on January 25th, 2009

Here is a bit of history you don’t see every day. This is the annual “return” (report) of the 2nd Brigade of the 7th Division, Georgia State Militia. At this time in our nation’s history, most of the armed forces were state militias, and in Georgia’s case, their troops were for anything but show. Tensions and outright war between Georgia and the indigenous Indian tribes was almost constant until the tribes were forcibly expatriated west of the Mississippi River in the infamous “Trail of Tears.”

In 1829, gold was discovered in Georgia, which resulted in the first “gold rush” in the United States. The problem was, the gold was mostly on land belonging to the Cherokee Indians. This didn’t stop most people from invading their lands in search of fortune, and hostilities soon broke out. The 2d Brigade, 7th Division, stationed in Decatur, Georgia, would have remained on a high state of readiness during this time.

Annual Return 2d Brig 7th Dvision GA Militia

On this Annual Return, dated August 10, 1831, William Ezzard is listed as Brigadier General Commanding,  Thomas Akins is Brigade Major, Cyrus Chance is Adie de Camp and William J Howard is Brigade Quartermaster.   Brigade strength is 3,008 infantry, 105 cavalry, and 58 artillerymen.

Link to this auction on eBay: Ends February 1st, 9:30pm Eastern Time

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Confederate Veteran Writes Former Commander

Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on January 19th, 2009

May 26, 1900 letter written by BP Haynes, late Second Sergeant of the 1st Arkansas Cavalry, to his former brigade commander, General WL “Old Tige” Cabell.

In part:

“My Dear General and Friend — It is with pleasure I acknowledge the receipt of three copies of your report of the part that Cabell’s Brigade took in Gen Price’s raid to Mo in 1864. I have read and reread it, and being an eye witness to most all the engagements you describe, I give it my hearty endorsement, and prize it very highly…

I belonged to Col. Monroe’s Regt and was on duty all the way round and as you know the “Raw-hide” Regt was always on hand when there was any fighting to do. I was slightly wounded at the charge on the fort at Pilot Knob where our beloved Col was badly wounded but our gallant Lieutenant Col Reiff was still with us and led us the balance of the way and after your capture he being the senior officer that was left Commanded the Brigade until we got back to Washington Ark.

I have often wondered that any of us escaped with our lives. I was in line not more than ten feet from you when your horse was killed at the fort in the fight at Pilot Knob. I was in all the battles of note that you recount and most of the skirmishes.”

He goes on to say that he regrets not being able to attend the United Confederate Veterans reunion in Louisville, and urges Cabell, as Commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department of the UCV to organize an effort to bring the reunion to Arkansas,

“…as we have never had it here and Ark was a veritable battle-field as you know.”

Signed “B.P. Haynes 2nd Seargt Co E 1st Ark Cavl (Col Monroe’s Regt) late of the Confederate Army in the Trans-Mississippi Department”

This letter is part of an archive kept by General Cabell after the war.

Letters of Confederate Veteran of Price's Raid

Link to auction of this letter, ending January 26, 9:10pm Eastern

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1910 Christmas Postcard: Santa on Early Curtiss Flyer

Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on January 17th, 2009

Just listed tonight is a delightful 1910 color with embossed gilt holiday postcard featuring Santa Claus flying what appears to be a very early Glenn Curtiss “aeroplane” over a town, and using a signal lantern to beam “A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL” into the sky:

1910 Santa in Aeroplane

eBay listing for 1910 Holiday Postcard – Santa in Early Aeroplane

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1836: US Army Seals Border as Texas Revolution Rages

Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on January 15th, 2009

(This item ends Jan-17-09 18:02:16 PST)

March 1836 Front Page

March 1836 Front Page

Back Page

Back Page

Description: ALS 2pp. 4to, Natchitoches, Louisiana, March 21, 1836.

Sutler and former explorer and Indian scout George Kennerly writes home to St. Louis as US troops on the border of the US and Mexico at the Sabine River await the arrival of General Gaines. Gaines, commander of the Southwest District, was overseeing operations against the Seminoles in Florida when Santa Anna’s victory at The Alamo sent Sam Houston and the Texian Army fleeing towards the US border.

At the time, some people speculated that Houston, a former protege of US President Andrew Jackson, had an understanding with the US that he would be able to flee across the US border to safety, should Santa Anna gain the upper hand.  The presense of Stephen F. Austin in New Orleans as official representative of the Texas Revolutionary government led credence to this theory.

Kennerly writes the day of the Battle of Compano, and only two days after the Goliad Massacre, and news of these events have not yet reached the US forces on the border. The news of the Fall of The Alamo of course had already raced through the United States, Santa Anna’s execution of all prisoners further inflaming passions in favor of intervention.

Kennerly adds a postscript asking his wife to let General Atkinson know that Kennerly has decided to sell his negro slave Clayborn in Natchitoches instead of selling him in St Louis upon his return, as the price of slaves was so high in Louisiana.

Complete Transcription below:

Natchitoches March 21st 1836

My Dear Aliziere,

I wrote you a few days since by Maj Herron, with a request that he would on his arrival in New Orleans place the letter in the hands of some one of the Captns running a Boat to St Louis, it being the shortest route, as the Mails is one month in going. I have also written to you by the Mails, this I shall send by the Swiss Boy, a Steam Boat that runs to Natches.—

The troops are still in the neighborhood of this place encamped, and very disagreeably so – It appears that we have gotten out of the way of all news, as we can hear nothing from Florida, or from Genl Gaines, which leaves us all in suspense as to our future destination, and until his arrival I cannot tell when it will be in my power to come home. – I am now comfortably fixed at a tavern in this place where I will remain until Gnel Gaines arrives, and we know where we are to be located. – I have made many acquaintances in this place, and have been treated with great kindness and Hospitality by many of the Citizens—

The boat will leave directly, and I can only say kiss my dear little children for me, and be assured of the ardent affections of a devoted Husband—

GH Kennerly


Give my best respects to Genl Atkinson and tell him I will write him soon, tell him also that I think I shall sell Clayborn for at least $1200 – though I now hold him at $1500—and may probably get it, as Negroes are very high here – My respects to all enquiring friends ——-


George H. Kennerly (1790 – 1867): Soldier, explorer and Indian agent, George Hancock Kennerly was an officer in the War of 1812, serving under lifelong friend William Clark of “Lewis and Clark” fame. He later served as an explorer and Indian agent under Governor Clark under Clark’s capacity as Supervisor of Indian Affairs, his name appearing on many Indian treaties through the 1820s as agent or witness. Kennerly was the leader of the expedition in 1828 that took representatives of the Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes to examine the lands west of the Mississippi River that had been set aside by the US government for their relocation. General Clark later married Kennerly’s sister, making them brothers in law.

Kennerly had a mercantile business in St Louis with his brother James from 1813 to 1827, when they won the sutler contract for the Army camp at Jefferson Barracks, south of St Louis, relocating their business there. George Kennerly was made Postmaster of Jefferson Barracks in 1828, and served as Assistant Quartermaster there during the Mexican-American War.

Condition: Usual folds, with wear repaired in some places with archival tape. Chipping along right edge. Otherwise, Good condition for a letter written “on the spot” in a little-publicized area of the Texas Revolution.

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Auction of Civil War VMI Cadet Autograph Ends Tonight

Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on November 26th, 2008

Here’s something you don’t run across every day. This is the clipped signature of John S Wise, who was a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute during the Civil War, and fought as cadet at the Battle of New Market.  Later in the war he became a Lieutenant in the Confederate Army.

After the war, he got his law degree, served as US District Attorney in Virginia, and served in Congress.

Ebay Listing

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Durbin Ward (1819 – 1886)

Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on November 22nd, 2008

Thought I’d get back into the the habit of really updating the blog, instead of just posting “twitters” in the side column.

Today’s look is at Mr. Durbin Ward of Ohio. Self-taught and a voracious reader as a youngster, as an adult he passed the bar and became law partners with fellow Whig Thomas Corwin, who would later serve as Ohio’s Governor and as both US Congressman and Senator.

By the eve of the Civil War, he had switched parties to Democrat and served in several state offices, as well as being an established attorney. When President Lincoln called for volunteers to put down the Rebellion in April 1861, Ward was the first man in his Congressional district to volunteer.  He refused a politically-appointed commission as an officer, preferring to enlist as a private in Co. “F”, 12th Ohio Infantry.  By August 1861, he had been promoted to Major of the 17th Ohio, Lt Colonel 16 months later, and commanding the 17th Ohio as Colonel in November 1863.

It was leading the 17th Ohio at Chickamauga that he was severely wounded, crippling his left arm for life. At the end of the war, he received a brevet promotion to Brigadier General in recognition of his “gallant and meritorious conduct” at Chickamauga.

He returned to the practice of law after the war, and served as US District Attorney of Southern Ohio.

Here is his clipped autograph, formerly mounted in an album, but now unmounted. You may bid on this item by using the “Hollingsworth on Ebay” link to the right.

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Only YOU…

Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on September 15th, 2008
Original Smokey Bear Illustration by Rudy Wendelin

Original Smokey Bear Illustration by Rudy Wendelin

Folks of a “certain age” can immediately finish the saying in the title of this post, and probably remember getting the comic book in school that told the story of the real-life Smokey Bear, a black bear cub found up a burned tree after a forest fire, his paws and hindquarters severely burned.

This original pencil and ink illustration of Smokey Bear is signed by Rudy Wendelin, with the comment in pencil along the bottom edge Paul – There is no “the” in Smokey Bears name. R

That comment dates this illustration as 1952 or later, as the hit song “Smokey the Bear” was released in 1952. The authors of the song, Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, added the “the” in Smokey’s name to match the rhythm of the song. This has caused confusion ever since!

Rudolph Wendelin (1910 – 2000), a US Forestry Service employee, became the first full-time illustrator of Smokey in 1944, and remained the “guardian” and chief creative mind for this national symbol until his retirement in 1973.

This is a consignment item from Alexander Autographs, listed on eBay.

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