Collection of Correspondence of the Craig-Kline Family of New Germantown and Clinton, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, 1860-1875.

41 letters, 103 manuscript pages, plus 32 retained mailing envelopes, written in ink, in legible hands. Four of the letters (10 pp) are incomplete. Most of the envelopes are separated from the letters. Of the 41 letters, 15 are not dated, with the rest of the letters dated between 18 November 1860 and 10 April 1875. The letters are mostly incoming letters to Sarah "Sallie" E. Craig, later Sarah E. Kline, written by her sisters Gertrude and Mary, as well as others. Those that are not letters written to Sarah are written to other family members by relatives.

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The letters in the collection provide a picture of the social and domestic lives of young women in rural New Jersey in the second half of the nineteenth century.  The letters discuss the latest fashions, household furnishings, social activities and of course the latest news of New Germantown.

Biography:

Sarah E. Craig Kline, the focus of the correspondence, was born on 9 June 1846 at New Germantown, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and died on 19 July 1907. She was the daughter of Robert Craig (1815-1892). The Craig family had been living in North Jersey since the early 18th Century, in the Hunterdon and Somerset County areas. Robert Craig was born on the family homestead, where he lived his life as a farmer. He held several local town offices and served as treasurer during the Civil War, handling the monies for the volunteers. He married Elizabeth Field, daughter of Richard H. Field, of Lamington, New Jersey. The couple had nine children, four sons and five daughters: William (married Mary W. Dawes and resided on part of the family homestead), Richard F. (married Alice L. Welsh), Sarah E. (married Henry M. Kline of Clifton), Gertrude P. (wife of David Dunham of High Bridge Township, near Clinton), Henry F. (married Mary Wyckoff, formerly of Lamington, later of Kansas), Mary L. (wife of William Dunham, of Pottersville, New Jersey), Margaret V., Anna B., and Robert.

This collection includes letters either written to, or by Robert Craig's children: Sarah, Gertrude, Mary, and Margaret, as well as Henry M. Kline, the man whom Sarah eventually marries. The main correspondent is Gertrude, followed by Mary. The main recipient is Sarah E. Craig/Kline. There are several letters from members of the Field family, Sarah's maternal side of the family, and, there are also a couple of letters from the Welsh family, which Sarah's brother Richard married into.

Sarah married Henry M. Kline (1845-1921) on 21 October 1868. The couple does not appear to have had any children and lived their lives at Clinton, New Jersey.  After the couple died, they were both buried at Riverside Cemetery, in Clinton. Henry M. Kline worked as a store keeper, general merchant, and later a real estate agent and was a one time mayor of Clinton in the 1880s. Gertrude married David Dunham in 1871 and she died in 1882. Mary Craig, the other main correspondent was born in 1853 and died in 1931. She married William B. Dunham, presumably the brother of her sister Gertrude's husband.

           Sample Quotations:

“Sunday Nov. 18th, 1860

My Dear Friend, It is a long time since I have written you but you are the only one that has deserved a letter and got none…..I attended the Hartford celebration last Wednesday and a glorious affair it was I assure you. I never saw Hartford so crowded as it was in the evening. We had a fine illumination of lanterns and fire works at Mr. Whites. I got so wide awake that I did not get home until Friday evening….I suppose you see Mr. Colton often. Is he looking very badly? I think he is very much disappointed at the turn affairs have taken, though he may try to throw it off and make the best of it. He was almost sure of success with Augusta and it was rather hard to give her up, still if she had not, nor ever could have, a proper feeling for him it was better to separate now than go on any longer. I should like very much to come to Westfield but do not think of it until next spring. What do you think of Ellen Copeland’s marriage? I wonder if money had anything to do with love in that case but I will stop writing nonsense. Fannie.”

 

“Clinton Oct. 7th, 67

My Dear, I received your letter and also hope that mine had been reached. I thought I would write you a short letter this time and if you will set the day we will go and call on Kate. If you will think it well too I will come next Sunday to church and then in the afternoon go there, that is if I could not come the time you set. Will is failing fast and this is between you and I. He told a lady that he was going home Saturday afternoon. Was afraid that he would never get back to the store again and said it seemed so strange that a young man as he to be taken away so young when thought of his young friends enjoying themselves and then look to himself. Thought it was hard to cut off so young then burst into tears. I am thankful that I enjoy good health and hope all my friends may. It is the main thing and if we have health we can enjoy ourselves and without it we cannot. There is no one [who] knows how much he has suffered within the last six months. I went up to his room the other day; he was sitting on the bedside thinking about something. I talked with him two or three minutes and then left and when I came back it was an hour after, he was sitting in the same place, thinking. Hope to get an answer this week, From Yours, Henry.”

“New Germantown N. J. March 5th, 1870

My Dear Sister, Your letters were received and were glad to learn from you last that you were improving in health, etc…..I don’t know whether I will dare go away again to stay a week unless I advertise my absence in the “Casket” or some other standard paper. Last Thursday night, two weeks after the party, and three only since he called last, Simon (?) called again. Of course he did not see me. He inquired particularly where I was, how long I was going to stay, etc. Stayed till 9 o’clock and left. He must be in earnest. Father seems to be very much pleased with his calling. Candidly, if you were in my place, would you be or not? It has caused me quite some anxiety lately. I cannot explain myself here….Yours as ever, Gert.”

“New Germantown N. J. April 7th, 1870

Dear Sister,

    … I wrote asking if you had any advice to give me reflecting what I should get in N. Y. for Mary, a dress, etc. Father and I went to N. Y. on Sunday (yesterday) got all the boys coats, white vests, Wm pants, Mary silk for Basque and fringe, buttons, cords, etc. Got Annie a very pretty green and white stripe, 30 shillings per yard, and for M. Maggie and I got a kind of poplin for $1.25 per yard, very nice goods, but altogether different from any poplins. Thicker and even more glossy. Mine is the fashionable black and white mixed but only a little way off the two colors, a fair blend in a dark silvery steel color. Mary’s and Mag’s are different shades of brown with white. I mean the goods use different shades. Mary’s and Mag’s got two yards of brown silk (not dark) to bind flounces with but last winter you did not fancy Mary’s green dress because it was bound with a different color. I wish you to write me just how you want Mary’s made and trimmed as it should be as they make them at B. If you would think it best bound with the same, write me so and I will take the silk for my drab, poplin of last summer as I would like brown on that. I did not get silk for all the dresses, as I do not want all three bound with brown. C. Drey has L. Barclay making her black and white plaid bound with green silk and one with brown. They seem to bind with silk a great deal in N. Y. as well as here. They advise me in there to have mine bound with black satin and a silk, or trimmed with something black. I did not get anything for it as did not know about having two dresses trimmed with black. Think I had better have my new one made, a small English sash to the hip and layback collar and flaps, small pleated double skirt and large scanty ruffle on the bottom and a narrow pleating about 3 in wide, fastened ¾ in from each edge above it. Double skirts are all the rage with only a big and little ruffle on the skirt. I will then have my old one Basque waist ruffles, bound with brown and more of them. Would it be unsuitable for Mag to have hers trimmed with green or blue, provided you wish brown on Mary’s. …..I dread the dressmaking. I would rather clean house a week than to oversee Miss Gulick. However we will have to make the best of her. Ans. very soon, Your sister G. P. C.”

“60 Halsey Street Newark N. J. Sept. 30th, 1872 Oct 21st

My Dear Bell, I feel really ashamed of myself for not writing to you sooner. I suppose you have said some terrible hard things about me but you see by the first date my intentions were good…..I suppose you won’t be surprised when I tell you I am going to England next month. Letilia and Mr. Edwards have made up there minds to go and I thought as long as I should have no church from January until May for I don’t want to sing in Newark next year. So I have made up my mind to go and spend xmas at home. I want to see them all so much….If God spares me I shall come back again the end of April for the first of May and I should like to come and settle down at your house for a time, “as I said before” if you will have me….I have not seen half I want to see in America yet and the voyage across the water will do me good and I am so very fond of it you know. I am not at all afraid and I am my own Mistress (and likely for to be) so you see I can just do as I think proper…..I want to know if you will please let me leave a box at your house with my bed clothes and my silver, and music and books and several things I want to leave. I don’t intend to take much with me for I want to bring a lot of new things back with me. You know I can get through the customs house without any trouble because I look so very innocent, so they say…”

“New Germantown Nov. 25th, 1872

Dear Sister, I think it very strange we don’t hear from you.  I wrote to you Thursday evening the same day I received yours (asking about going to N. Y.). Rob handed it to the stage driver Friday morning to mail. I thought of course you would get it Friday A.M. and come down Saturday and talk it all over. Don’t you mean to go to New York with us? We want you to. We would rather go (or some of us) Wed. but if you can’t anyway go Wed. go Friday then. But would like you to come home before you go. If you don’t come home tomorrow come home Thanksgiving and then go Friday. It is time for winter hats down here and winter clothes too. I feel very odd with a summer hat on. Ask Gus Fields where she gets her hats in the city. Bring my curls down with you when you come to change them. Don’t disappoint us anymore. We looked for you Sat. real late and for a letter today but none. The stage gets to town 3:30 or 4 o’clock P.M. It runs once a day now… Yours in haste, Mary.”