Crawford, George (1794-1876)
Correspondence and Papers of Hon. George Crawford, of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania State Legislator, Superintendent of the West Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, Associate Judge of District Court, and father of George A. Crawford, of Fort Scott, Kansas, papers dated 1817-1868

Collection of 268 letters, 390 manuscript pages, mainly folding stamp-less letter sheets, dated 28 February 1817 to 9 January 1868; with 31 manuscript documents and papers, and 54 pieces of related printed and manuscript ephemeral materials; most of the correspondence consists of incoming correspondence to George Crawford, with the bulk of the letters (211 of 268) written to him at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, while he was serving as a Pennsylvania State Legislator during the years 1831-1834.

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Biography of Hon. George Crawford (1794-1876)

Judge George Crawford was born on 7 November 1794, in Wayne Township, Clinton County, Pennsylvania. His mother was Elizabeth Quigley, of German descent. Judge Crawford was the grandson of James Crawford (1730-1817), who was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention which framed the Pennsylvania State Constitution; and also served as a Major at the Battle of Germantown during the Revolutionary War, where he was wounded.

George Crawford married Elizabeth White on 29 January 1822; both were said to be from Pine Creek, Lycoming Co., Pennsylvania at the time of their marriage. They were married by the Rev. Grier. Elizabeth was born Elizabeth Weitzel (1800-1863), the granddaughter of John Weitzel (1752-1799), a member of the Provincial Congress and a member of the Northumberland Committee of Safety in 1777. By the time she was married to Crawford, she was already a widow, her first husband being James White, Jr. (1777-1819). Her son from her first marriage was Allison White (1816-) he was elected to the U.S. Congress from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, on 5 March 1855. Allison White married Sarah Chamberlain Lawshe, and had a daughter, Elizabeth White who married Henry Collins Parsons.

George Crawford and his wife Elizabeth had at least nine children: Robert Allison Crawford (1825-1871); George Addison Crawford (1827-1891); William Henry Crawford (1829-1906); John Weitzel Crawford (1831-1916); Elizabeth White Crawford McKinney (1833-1911); Charlotte Emeilene Crawford (1834-1886); Thomas E. Crawford (1838-1901); Mary Josephine Crawford (1839-1921); and James Allison Crawford (1841-1852). All the children appear to have been born in Pine Creek, Lycoming Co., Pennsylvania. (Several of Crawford’s sons wrote letters to him included in this collection).

George Crawford represented the counties of Lycoming, Potter, and McKean in the Pennsylvania legislature from 1831-1833, and was a colleague of Thaddeus Stevens and Chief Justice James Thompson and Ellis Lewis. From 1 April 1834 to 1 April 1835, he was general superintendent of the Pennsylvania canals of the north and west branches of the Susquehanna River, from Farrandsville via Northumberland, to twelve miles above Wilkes-Barre, over 120 miles. His duties included adjusting damages arising from the construction of the canals, and disbursing the funds required in their operation (see below).

His office with its great labor and responsibility required his absence from his family, in consequence of which he resigned. He was county commissioner of Lycoming, and after the organization of Clinton County, served two terms as associate judge of the district court – one with Hon. Thomas Burnsides and the one with Hon. George W. Woodward, after which he refused all overtures to be drawn into public life. He was a farmer and the owner of mills. In politics he was a Democrat, taking sides with Senator Douglas and his son George A. Crawford, against President Buchanan and his stepson, Congressman White, on the Kansas Question. For a long-time he was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He died at Chatham’s Run, 18 June 1876. Crawford Township in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, was named to honor George Crawford, who was one of the first Associate Judges of Clinton County.

       West Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal

The West Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal ran 73 miles (117 km) from the canal basin at Northumberland, Pennsylvania, at the confluence of the West Branch Susquehanna River with the main stem of the Susquehanna River, north through Muncy, then west through Williamsport, Jersey Shore, and Lock Haven to its terminus in Farrandsville. At its southern terminus in the Northumberland basin, the West Branch Canal met the North Branch Canal and the Susquehanna Division Canal. Through these connections to other divisions of the Pennsylvania Canal, it formed part of a multi-state water transportation system including the Main Line of Public Works.

Between Northumberland and Muncy, the canal lay east of the river. Beyond Muncy, where the river makes a right-angle turn, the canal lay to the north. Started in 1828 and completed in 1835, it had 19 lift locks overcoming a total vertical rise of about 140 feet (43 m). The locks, beginning with No. 13, slightly upstream of the Northumberland Canal Basin, and ending with No. 34 at Lockport, across the river from Lock Haven, included two guard locks and an outlet lock in addition to the 19 lift locks.

The state intended to extend the West Branch Canal from Farrandsville further upstream along the West Branch Susquehanna River to the mouth of Sinnemahoning Creek. Plans called for 33 miles (53 km) of canal, but the project was abandoned along with the idea that the West Branch Canal would eventually connect to the Allegheny River in western Pennsylvania. George Crawford was supervisor of the Lycoming Line of the west Branch Division, and also upon the Wyoming Line of the North Branch Division. The exact location of his supervision was for the West Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, from the tail of the lock on the right bank of the Loyalsock Creek to the head of the division, including the Bald Eagle Side Cut.

       Bald Eagle Side Cut

Additions to the West Branch Canal included the Bald Eagle Crosscut Canal, which ran 4 miles (6.4 km) through Lock Haven and Flemington along Bald Eagle Creek. It linked the West Branch Canal to a privately financed addition, the Bald Eagle and Spring Creek Navigation, that extended the canal system another 22 miles (35 km) to Bellefonte along Bald Eagle and Spring creeks. Beginning in 1837, large quantities of pig iron and bituminous coal traveled to distant markets via these canals. The “check rolls” or labor lists in this collection are for the “Bald Eagle Side Cut.”

      Correspondents of Hon. George Crawford

    The collection offered here includes letters of 12 Pennsylvania State Representatives; 7 Pennsylvania State Senators; 2 Governors (PA and KS); 2 Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices; 5 US Congressmen; and 2 US Senators. The collection also includes letters of men who at one time were the US Treasurer of the U.S. Mint; the US Secretary of War; the US Minister to Russia; Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and Auditor General of Pennsylvania.

The bulk of the letters were written while Crawford was a state legislator, or superintendent on the Western Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal. The letters are from constituents, or fellow legislators, judges, lawyers, who all are looking for Crawford’s support on their bills, need for a charter, petitions, remonstrances, and inquiries. There is much on the development of Lycoming County, such as the building of roads, dams, and the canal, as well as the founding of banks.


The majority of the correspondents are from Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, George Crawford’s home county. The correspondents from Lycoming County, and the number of letters they wrote are as follows:

Amos Addis, Washington Township, Lycoming Co., PA (1) and Robert Allen, Trout Run, Lycoming Co., PA (1).

Henry Antes, Nippenose Township, Lycoming Co., PA (3); presumably Col. Henry Antes who erected Fort Antes, a stockade surrounding his home in Revolutionary Pennsylvania. It was on the east side of Antes Creek, overlooking and on the left bank of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River on a plateau in Nippenose Township. He served as a Justice of the Peace from July 29, 1775 until January 24, 1776 when he was appointed captain of 58 militiamen under Colonel James Potter. After participating in a raid conducted by Colonel William Plunket against settlers from Connecticut in the Wyoming Valley near Wilkes-Barre, Antes returned to his gristmill, home and future fort in mid-1777. He also was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel that same year.

Hon. Joseph Biles Anthony, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA and Washington City, [D.C.] (16); Joseph Biles Anthony (1795-1851) was a lawyer; member of the Pennsylvania State Senate 1830-1833. He was elected to the 23rd and 24th U.S. Congresses (1833-1837) as a Jacksonian from the 16th Congressional District. In 1844 he was a district judge in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and served until his death.

Hon. James Armstrong, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (5); was an attorney, appointed by PA Governor Pollock to fill vacancy on the PA State Supreme Court in 1857, which he served for that year.

Maj. Robert S. Baily, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (3); one letter has signature clipped; merchant, had for a time canal contracts; moved to Virginia, then Indiana, where he had successful mail contracts, and later returned to Williamsport.

 Charles Baird, Larry’s Creek, Lycoming Co., PA (1).

Hon. Solomon Bastress, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (7); surveyor, and a member of PA Legislature 1827-1830. In 1846 he was elected Associate Judge and served until 1856; and also served as a Justice of the Peace.

Charles Bodine, Hughesville, Lycoming Co., PA (1); Isaac Bodine, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

W. Brindle, Muncy Creek, Lycoming Co., PA (6); presumably the William Brindle who was State Legislator 1849-1850.

Solomon Bruner, Montoursville, Lycoming Co., PA (4); first postmaster at Montoursville when it opened in 1831 and held that position until 1835, and again from 1837 to 1839;

J. D. Caldwell, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (2); (signature cut out of one letter).

F. C. Campbell, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

Wm. G. Carpenter, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (3); agent for the Lycoming Coal Company

 Daniel Clapp, Muncy, Lycoming Co., PA (1);

Francis Clark, Adams Township, Lycoming, PA (1)

William Colly [Colley], Cherry, Lycoming Co., PA (5); appears to have been treasurer for Cherry School District, helped build the school

Jesse Conn, Six Miles west of Newberry, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

      T. Coryell, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

      George Crane, Larry’s Creek, Lycoming Co., PA (2)

      Michael Crane, Nippenose, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

      J. A. Crawford, Newberry, Lycoming Co., PA and Lock Haven and Pine Creek, Clinton, Co., PA (3)

      John W. Crawford, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

      Moses Crawford, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

      Wm. H. Crawford, Mon’s Township, PA (1)

      A.B. Cummings, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (2)

Hon. John Cummings, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (2); served as a Judge and namesake of Cummings Township in Lycoming County.

       A. Davidson, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

       H. D. Ellis, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

William Cox Ellis, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1); U.S. Congressman 1823-1825; PA State Legislator (1825-1826)

R. Fleming, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1) Robert Fleming, PA State Senator 1836-1842; as a trial Lawyer, Fleming’s most sensational trial was as defense attorney for John Earls at the February term, 1836, (Lycoming) on the charge of poisoning his wife. He was elected to the state Senate in 1836, a member of the Constitutional Convention 1837-38; re-elected to the Senate for a second term in 1840.  He was the first president of the Lycoming Law Association, 1870. 

H. Frick, Sunbury, Northumberland Co., PA (1); Henry Frick who served as a U.S. Congressman 1843-1845; he was previously a PA State Legislator 1828-1831

       D. H. Goodwin, Cherry, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

       Alexander Hamilton, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

David Hanna, Dunnsburg, and Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (4); he was a Lycoming County assessor and surveyor

Abraham Harris, Cummings Township, Lycoming Co. PA (4); veteran of the Revolutionary War; settled at Waterville; old-time Whig, admirer of Henry Clay; served in various township offices and officiated as Justice of the Peace for many years.

       James D. Harris, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA and Bellefonte, Centre Co., PA (4).

William Harris, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (6); William Harris was shoemaker and served one term as a Commissioner for Lycoming County; he worked in Williamsport.

       A.D. Hepburn, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (2)

       M. Heylman, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

       Samuel H[imes], Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

R. Kelton, Lycoming Works, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

       Robert King, Level Corner, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

       A. Lawshe, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

      James Lawson, Clinton Township, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

Lewis, Hon. Ellis, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1), Ellis Lewis (1798-1871) was a Pennsylvania lawyer and judge. He served on the state's Supreme Court for six years (1851-1857), the last three as Chief Justice; prior to which he was the Attorney General of Pennsylvania in 1833.

       Samuel H. Lloyd, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (2)

      Thomas W. Lloyd, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

      Robert McMasters, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (2)

      R. Moffet, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

      Wm. E. Morris, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (2)

      John Murphy, Newberry, Lycoming Co., PA (2)

      Samuel Numes, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (2)

Wm. F. Packer, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1); William Fisher Packer (1807-1870) worked at the Lycoming Gazette and founded the Keystone Gazette. In 1832, he was appointed by the Pennsylvania Canal Commission to serve as Superintendent of the canals. He was appointed Canal Commissioner 1839-1842 and Pennsylvania Auditor General 1842-1845. Packer won a seat in Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1847 and became Speaker of the House (1847-1848). Packer won re-election in 1848 and then successfully ran for the Pennsylvania State Senate in 1849. He was president of the Susquehanna Railroad (1852-1854). He worked hard for the nomination and successful campaign of James Buchanan for President in 1856. He was Governor of Pennsylvania 1858 to 1861. He backed efforts to seek a peaceful solution to the North-South difference after the election of Abraham Lincoln as President.

Hon. A.V. Parsons, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (5); A.V. Parsons (1799-1882) studied law under Andrew Porter, Lancaster, Pa.; private practice; elected state senator, 1838, to fill vacancy, vice Alexander Irvin resigned; played an important role during the Buckshot War; appointed Secretary of the Commonwealth by Governor Porter, 1843; President Judge, Dauphin, Lebanon, Schuylkill district; moved to Philadelphia where he served as Associate Judge of Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Hon. William Piatt, Esq., Lagrange, Brady Township, Lycoming Co., PA (7); Piatt was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives 1830- 1831 representing Lycoming, Potter, and McKean counties; he became a judge in 1857.

Gen. Wm. A. Petrikin, Muncy, Lycoming Co., PA (2); he was postmaster of Muncy from 1822 to 1841. In 1842, he was appointed major general of the Ninth division, Pennsylvania Militia; founder of the Muncy Female Seminary established in 1840; one of the originators of the Lycoming Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and was its first secretary. He was a prominent politician in the Democratic Party.

     Jacob W. Pfants, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

     Benj. Pidcock, Hepburn Township, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

     Wm. Poorman, (1)

     W. R. Power, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

Jos. F. Quay, Bellefonte, Centre Co., PA (1); Quay (1794-1877) was a PA State Senator 1844-1847; he was a founder of Clinton County; surveyor, helped lay corrective lines of Lycoming County in 1831; Commissioner attending to the construction of the Bald Eagle and Clearfield Turnpike Road Company, 1839; auditor of Clinton County

     William Riddell, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

     Mark Schlonesker, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

Wm. Sedam, Road Hall, Brady Township, Lycoming Co., PA (2); he was a county auditor in 1836; county; commissioner 1847; he operated an old inn called “Road Hall.”

      John Sheadle, Adams Township, Lycoming, PA (2)

Thomas P. Simmons, Piqua, OH; St. Mary’s, OH; and Newberry, Lycoming Co., PA (8); partners with Henry Sproul and kept a store for many years in Newberry; afterwards he removed to Jersey Shore when he continued in business; during the Civil War he served as an internal revenue collector

Henry Sproul, Newberry, Lycoming Co., PA (2); partners with Thomas P. Simmons in a mercantile business at Newberry

     Stn. Tomlinson, Montoursville, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

     J. B. Torbett, Larry’s Creek, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

     Wm. Turner, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

     A. Updegraff, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

     Thomas Updegraff, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

      W. W. Watson, Brown Township, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

      James Wilson, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (2)

Wm. Wilson, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1); U.S. Congressman. Wilson was a member of the United States House of Representatives who served Pennsylvania's 9th congressional district from March 1815 to March 1819. Despite his four years in office, in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Congresses, remarkably little, if any, historical documentation survives regarding William Wilson's life, including the years of his birth and death

S. Winchester, Jersey Shore, Lycoming Co., PA (4); served as Postmaster at Jersey Shore 1833-1837; taught school and was a store keeper; served for one term as a Justice of the Peace; was contractor on the Tide Water canal in 1837

      James Winters, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

     A. Woodward, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

     J. Woody, Williamsport, Lycoming Co., PA (1)

Other Correspondents from Pennsylvania, outside of Lycoming County include:

E. Appleton, Pittsburgh, Washington Co., PA (1); Jno. Baskins, Selinsgrove, Snyder Co., PA (1); Paul S. Brown, Philadelphia, PA (1); J.B. Byers, Sharpsburgh, Washington Co., MD (1); John H. Campbell, Philadelphia, PA (1); B. Claffin, Selinsgrove, Snyder Co., PA (1); Wm. Colt et al, Danville, Montour Co., PA (1); Gideon Cox, Philadelphia, PA (1); Thomas Cummings, Clearfield Ridge, Clearfield Co., PA (1); John Curtz, Dunnsburg, Clinton Co., PA (1); Thomas Curtz, Smithport, McKeen Co., PA (3); Charles Drum, McKee’s Half Falls, Snyder Co., PA (1); & Edward J. Eldred, Eldredville, Sullivan Co., PA (1).

W. P. Farrand, Farrandsville, Clinton Co., PA (5); Farrand (1777-1839) was a Philadelphia bookseller and publisher who went bankrupt and remade himself as a commission merchant about 1818; worked for Ralston’s Lycoming Coal Company as an agent; the company owned 3,000 acres along the Lycoming Creek; the land was purchased by a group of Boston investors

     James Fearon, Lock Haven, Clinton Co., PA (1); and Wm. P. Fisher, Fleming, Centre Co., PA (1).

Orlo J. Hamlin, Smithport, McKean Co., PA (1); Hamlin was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives 1832-1833 representing Lycoming, Potter, and McKean counties.

C. L. Harrington, Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne Co., PA (1); A. Hughes, North, PA (1); Jon. S. Ingram, New Berlin, Union Co., PA (1); Timothy Ives, Coudersport, Potters Co., PA (2); PA State Legislator, 1845, 1849-1850; John King, Ceres, McKean Co., PA (1); B. L. McCarty, McKee’s Half Falls, Snyder Co., PA (2); John McDowell, Fallowfield Township, Crawford County, PA (2); Wm. McKeen, Pine Creek, Clinton Co., PA (1); James Mease, Philadelphia, PA (1); J. Miller, Bloomfield, Perry Co., PA (1); W. B. Mitchell, Philadelphia, PA (1); S. S. Phillips, Auburn (1); Rorcross & Sheets, Philadelphia, PA & Trout Run, PA (2); lumber dealers; Robert M. Shaw, Wayne Township, [Lawrence Co.], PA (1); Thomas S. Smith, Philadelphia, PA (1); & M. A. Stork, McKee’s Half Falls, Snyder Co., PA (1);

Daniel Sturgeon, Uniontown, Fayette Co., PA (2); Daniel Sturgeon (1789-1878) was a member of the State house of representatives 1818-1824; member State senate 1825-1830, serving as president 1828-1830; auditor general of Pennsylvania 1830-1836; and State treasurer 1838-1839; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy in the term commencing March 4, 1839, caused by the failure of the legislature to elect; reelected in 1844 and served from January 14, 1840, to March 3, 1851; was not a candidate for re-election; appointed by President Franklin Pierce as treasurer of the United States Mint in Philadelphia 1853-1858

W. Watson, Pine Creek, Clinton Co., PA (1); Daniel Weyand, Somerset, Somerset Co., PA (1); Hugh White, Mill Hall, Clinton Co., PA (1); & James White, (1).

R. G. White, Pittsburg, Allegheny Co., PA; Wellsboro, Tioga Co., PA; & Canonsburg, Washington Co., PA (10); appears to be a relation of George Crawford’s wife, as her first husband was named White.

Hon. Wm. Wilkins, Senate Chamber (1); William Wilkins (1779-1865) was an American lawyer, jurist, and politician from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During his career, he served in both houses of the Pennsylvania State Legislature, and in all three branches of the United States federal government, including service as a United States federal judge, as a member of both the House and Senate, and as a cabinet member.

      A. Wills, Walton Farm, PA (1); to the Committee of Elections.

     Several Correspondents wrote to Crawford from outside of Pennsylvania:

These letters were mostly written to Crawford by his sons, George A. Crawford and R.A. Crawford, who had left Pennsylvania and gone west, George A to Kansas, and R.A. to Minnesota.

George A. Crawford, Washington, D.C. (1) and Fort Scott, Kansas (1); son of George Crawford, George A. Crawford (1827-1891); he was an American politician, lawyer and journalist; after graduating he went south and taught at Salem, Clarke Co., KY, among the relatives of Pres. Zachary Taylor; in 1848, he returned to Pennsylvania and studied law and in 1850 became the proprietor and editor of the Clinton Democrat. During the 1850s he took an active part in politics against the Know-Nothings and became embroiled in the slave and anti-slave factions during the years of 1857-1860 which marred the Territory of Kansas with violence and anarchy. In 1855 was a delegate to the Pennsylvania Democratic State Convention. In 1857, along with Norman Eddy and others, he purchased and founded the city of Fort Scott, Kansas, an old abandoned military outpost. It became a safe haven for Anti-Slavery advocates. He maintained his “free state” views and several assassination attempts were made against him.  At the outbreak of the Civil War he helped organize and equip the Second Kansas Regiment, as well helped defend the Kansas border areas when threatened. He was elected governor of Kansas in 1861; however, the election was declared illegal before he could assume the post. He ran again for Governor in 1864, but lost, and settled for the position of commissioner of Immigration for Kansas. In 1871, he was appointed commissioner to the Centennial Exposition by Ulysses S. Grant.

R. A. Crawford, Hudson, Croix Co., WI (1); Chengwatana, Pine Co., M. T. (10); Empire City, MN (1); Sunrise, MN (1); son of George Crawford, one letter written to Wm. H. Crawford, the rest to George Crawford; Chengwatana is a ghost town today. 10 of the 13 letters by Crawford’s son were written from Minnesota and offer an interesting look at that place as it was organizing to become a state. Two of these letters from Minnesota were written prior to statehood on 11 May 1858.

     Matthew M. Reynolds, Peoria, IL (1).

     Sample Quotes:

“St. Mary’s Sept 17th, 1821

My worthy friend,

After my long silence I now undertake to answer your kind letter. I have made every inquiry respecting A. Copper. He is living about twenty miles from Piqua. He lives on a rented farm, but has horses, cows, hogs and sheep, and Allen Ramsey was telling me that it was his opinion you can get your money but you would have to lay out of it nine months after suit was entered. That is the law in this state and then property must be valued and if it will bring half the valuation it can be gold…as for John Shaw I understand he is dead and died a poor man and a rogue.

We removed from Piqua to this place in August. This town is situated on the Western branch of the St. Mary’s river near the line that divides Ohio and Indiana. This town being at the head of navigation to the lake, must ever be the great place of deposit for all the surplus produce of this western part of the state of Ohio and Indiana; anticipating the day as if it at hand when the great New York Canal shall be completed, the farmer will find a sure and speedy conveyance to the best market in the United States

This town must very soon become a place of considerable magnitude and established from Piqua to this place and will no doubt being continued to For Wayne in Indiana and also to Detroit by way of Defiance.

Indian trade is good. I have taken twenty dollars per day from those people. Sometimes you could see one thousand all encamped not far from this place. It would almost scare you at first, when I first seen them, I was afraid to go into the stores with them, but now I can talk Indian and can understand all they say nearly. I like to trade with them.

[G. Claim] has got a lot and is keeping tavern and store, he is at this time gone to Indiana and I have both to attend to and I do assure you George I have not much time to spare. Therefore, you must answer my bad writing. I subscribe myself your friend and well-wisher, Thomas P. Simmons.”

“Pittsburg Oct 12, 1827

Dear Sir,

I have been somewhat disappointed in my expectations with regard to the advantages to be enjoyed in this place in pursuing the study of the profession of law. I expected to obtain board it $1.50 per week, but this is entirely out of the question. Good board can not be had for less than $2.00 & $2.50. I pay $1.75 but am under the necessity of reading in a room with three others. One of whom is an old fellow student of Jefferson College & is now engaged in reading law. The only advantages that I shall enjoy here are the courts & society of law students. As I had expected when I left home to spend only the winter here & return in the spring. I have thought it advisable to purchase such books as I may have occasion to read during my stay here & not read under the direction of a lawyer. Law books are costly, but I must have a library before I can commence practice & I may as well purchase books now as at any future period. I have purchased but one book yet “Powel on Contracts” for which I paid $2.50…

I arrived at Pittsburg on Sunday last & should have written to you sooner but I thought it advisable to defer writing until I should become settled. The atmosphere of Pittsburg has been very disagreeable since I arrived & I am not certain that it will agree with me altogether. At first I entertained a serious notion of going on to Washington, but I think I shall now continue here. I wish you to answer by letter as soon as you receive it & send me some money – at least $50.00. I have written to Mr. McReynolds & made an arrangement with him to have money forwarded. He will enclose it in his letter & as there will be no postage marked on it, no suspicion will be excited in case anyone should be disposed to act dishonest. In all probability Mr. McReynolds may be gone to the city to purchase goods & in that case you will have to enclose it in your own letter…R.G. White”


“Aug 16, 1828

Dear Sir,

Yours of the 8th inst enclosing fifty dollars from G. Crawford was safely received this morning. With emotion of the truest pleasure I take up my pen to reply to it.

If I had anything worth communicating, I should again intrude on your patience with a long letter & probably shall as the case is, for ideas must [cowardly] crowd upon me as I proceed. With regard to local news I am similarly situated with yourself. I hear nothing scarcely worthy of mention. Our little village still continues to improve & I am still becoming more & more please with it. Several fine houses are now building & business of every kind still continues brisk. Indeed, there are evident signs of a great increase of business & particularly in the mercantile line. But I much fear that the completion of the French Creek feeder will damp the flame which now spreads so rapidly & glows with so much intensity. The occasional expenditure of a hundred thousand dollars in a confined section of country where all the business is transacted in one small town, must of necessity make it look up & give it at least a mushroom growth. But when this expenditure is withheld it must sink in a degree proportionate to its rise, unless some new impetus is given to is dealing interests. Meadville will in process of time receive that impetus & although the mercantile business may sink immediately after the completion of the feeder, yet when the great work of state improvement is fully gone thro with, it will again rise with redoubtless energy.

The new Episcopal Church of which I made mention in a former letter is now finished & was dedicated by Assistant Bishop Onderdonk on Saturday. It is a very tasty Gothic building with a tower, points & c. & embellished with an organ. On yesterday, the Bishop confirmed forty-four members of the church. The ceremonies on both days were solemn & highly interesting…

The court held its [superior] during the past week. I was in occasionally, but derived but little advantage from attending. The criminal list was so much crowded that no civil cases but one or two were disposed of & they were not very interesting. Of the criminal cases the principal were assaults & batteries, thefts & adulteries. For the latter species of crime there were two persons tried & found guilty. The more I become acquainted with the duties of a lawyer, the more I become disgusted with the profession & the more deeply regret the choice I have made. To go into a court of justice & listen to the fatiguing sickening & often heart rendering details of human infirmity & wickedness, which all there too often exhibited, O it is enough to appall the stoutest heart…

Since I last wrote you, I have visited Covenant Lake where it is contemplated the canal will pass the summit between Chenago & French Creek, if finally carried that way. It is a beautiful sheet of fresh water – about 4 ½ mil in length…It strongly reminded me of the large Susquehanna above Shamokin ripples. I speak of the water itself, as to the scenery which surrounds it there is no kind of companion between it & the scenery of the Susquehanna near Sunbury. Indeed, for picturesque effect I presume there are few scenes equal to the latter in the United States, or even in the world…

With you I sincerely rejoice in the result of the Louisiana election. It is a great & glorious triumph for the friends of the administration. The heir is defeated on his own battle-ground. On the very spot where beauty & booty was protected & where our military adventurer gained all the reputation he possesses & whence his claims to the presidency derive their origin entire, on that spot where he was welcomed with so much…& where ten thousand & upwards dollars were expended to decorate his triumphs. When he received addresses & made speeches, drank of the cup of flattery & boasted of his military prowess, virtues & escorted by his lovely bride attended balls, came parties & theatres, on that very spot he has met with a fatal overthrow. The friends of civil liberty in Louisiana have done their part & old Kentucky too has followed the noble example. By the “Western press” rec’d yesterday morning we have returns from nearly all the counties. According to these Metcalfe’s majority is not short of four thousand & very probably it is five or six. This decided the fate of the other doubtful states & does it not decide the fate of Pennsylvania? Our candidate will have a very respectable majority without her aid, but I think for her own credit she must now desert her military possessions. Duty, honor, interest, every motive which ought to influence a patriotic people, enforce the propriety of this course of conduct. If she acts consistently with her true character, if the principles which have heretofore governed her are to have any weight in the decision, no apprehensions of a fearful kind need to be entertained for the result. And if Pennsylvania swings “the hero” can not have fifty electoral votes. The interest which I feel in the prosperity & happiness of our country is not at all proportioned to the place which I occupy in life. I am young & perhaps my love of country is [tempered] with enthusiasm, but to be candid, I could scarce rest until I heard of the result of the Louisiana & Kentucky elections. I conceived that if they were lost, all was gone. And in the events of Gen’l Jackson’s election, I thought I could see too plainly the downfall of our republic institutions. The cloud is now rolled back & the rainbow of peace & prosperity spans one part of our horizon while the other is illuminated by a bright & glorious sun…R. G. White”

“Jersey Shore January the 4th, 1832

Respected Friend,

I gave Capt. Piatt a few words of advice before he took his frolicking spell, now I intend giving you a few words after your scrape. I saw some time since that the Capt. wanted to have an Island moved out of the river into Clinton Township. I have been thinking where he intends putting it and for the life of me, I can’t contrive he may justly say it is none of my business. True, but surely it is your business to see that he does not put it on some other persons farm, since we have heard of the death of our friend Stephen Girard some of us are willing if you get two hundred thousand dollars for the West Branch to say well done good and faithful servants. Anything less then that you may pay off your bills and say good by Capitol. I suppose five hundred dollars less would not pleas all of us – foolishness enough for once, now sincere…

My friend George as you are on the committee on Inland Navigation it will be your policy to endeavor to have the bill of last year and see how the west branch was [stricken] so that you get it in at the same place or order if you can, the Capt. can tell you if you stick her on so close to the lower end she may go with the tail all sections that are after you for yours. I remain you friend, Sol’m Bastress”

“Sunbury 16 July 1832

Dr Sir,

Our County meeting is just over – it was numerously attended & resolutions unanimously adopted in favor of the re-election of Jackson & Wolf - & recommending Dallas for Vice President. Charles G. Donnell & myself were appointed delegates to the convention. Yours, H. Frick”


“Jersey Shore, Jan’y 22d 1832

Dear Sir,

Enclosed, I send you a petition for the Bald Eagle Navigation with banking privileges, which you will please have presented to the Legislature. I have taken it for granted that you would be favorable to the object of the petition as it will have the effect if made of directing much of the trade in this direction which now does & will continue to pass to & from Centre County by the way of Lewistown. It will have a general influence in enlivening business when its benefits are felt putting the central parts of the state more on an equality with those nearer [to] market. The reason for asking for banking privileges was solely for the purpose of accommodating the country with a banking institution which is now required & to enable the company to accomplish the main object of the petition, the improvement of the navigation of the Bald Eagle which cannot be done now without the aid asked for. It is computed by men who have an opportunity of knowing that there is now banking business done at Harrisburg, by the business men of Centre County along the amt of $100,000. This might just as well be done at home & we would then keep the interest among ourselves. This with the banking business of the neighboring counties which is now of the real business safe kind would be fully adequate at this day to support a bank if well conducted which from the experience we had might be safely relied on…For my part I am well persuaded that a good and a safe business can be done by discounting the business paper of the county now & that in this way only the improvements can be made & that there will be no risk in granting it at this time.

I have had no certain accounts from the dams at Muncy & Shamokin. Report says the Muncy dam is damaged (the old part of it only). From the inquiries I have made it appears to have a high an ice flood as has been seen in the river for the last 30 years. That the old part of the Muncy dam should be injured was to be expected. It does not however discourage in the least the completion of the dams above. Such floods were to be expected & were calculated on, and with the expectation that they would occur. The dams now under contract are planned to resist the forces of any flood. The plan together with being much better calculated withstand the ice floods are double as large in the cross section for the same height as any dam heretofore erected on the river & are to be built with much stronger & heavier timber to be filled in with better materials, better secured with iron & altogether the workmanship will & must be executed with much superior care. It is not by any means reduced to certainty that a dam cannot be made to stand in the Susquehanna. Let us make a fair trial. Then maybe some exertions made by some of the people of this country (tho I am not sure that any thing like a strong effort will be made) to get the location changed. Let us go on make a fair trial before such a weak step is taken… I am very respectfully yours,

Jas. D. Harris”

“Williamsport January 27, 1832

George Crawford, Esq.

Be pleased to present the annexed petition for the Williamsport Elmira rail road. We hope the day is not distant when we shall have a connection with the Erie Canal by the proposed rail road & unless our dams in the Susquehanna are made more substantial, we shall have to substitute railroad in place of canals & pass to Philada by the Sunbury, Danville, & Pottsville rail road; It is disheartening to the friends of internal improvements to see so much labor rendered useless whenever the ice breaks up & the canal unfit for business the whole summer season. What can be done? Cannot sufficient water be obtained from our large creeks to answer every purpose?

I am pleased to observe that you and my friend Pratt voted against the York & Maryland rail road. I did so last winter because the Yorkers always opposed our interests & it would be doing good for evil with a witness to let the Baltimoreans tap our canal & drain off the trade from Phila as after our state has expended millions in its construction. I derived nearly all the means of expenditures from Phila. Your reply, J.B. Anthony”

“December 7th 1832 [Larry’s Creek, PA]

Dear Sir,

Our friend Stephen Winchester, Esq., has a mind to apply for the Postmastership in the place of Samuel Humes, which of course must be turned out – there is only two spoken of, Winchester & Sam’l B. Waters. They are the only men that is near the center of the town that is friend to the present administration & it will be one of them two. I would say at once that Winchester is the most capable & would make the best officer; he is a very attentive & sturdy man & I think him more permanent than Waters. I do not think Waters can stand it very long as his capital is small. I wish you would consider upon it & if you should agree with me, I wish you would use your influence to have Humes turned out & have Winchester appointed in his place. You can get Pitriken & other members to write on to the Postmaster General in favor of Winchester. You will have to come out against Humes for he is one of the Antimasonic stockholders. I believe he is more than a stockholder. I understand by his Journey printing that Mr. Humes is treasurer of the Antimasonic Press & has paid all his Journeyman for printing. Now he must go out if our party will suffer such a man to hold an office then I will say at once I will forsake the party myself. You must excuse my hastily remarks, I wrote I a great hurry. I am firm friend & true friend to Wolf & Jackson & now let us like men resist the slander & abuse we received from the opposition. I am your friend, &c., George Crane”

“Cherry Dec 24th 1832

Dear Sir,

I received your letter of the 17th instant – wherein you stated that it was doubtful whether the legislature would be able to elect a Jackson Senator. I was rather surprised on hearing such news as I expected there would be a considerable of majority in joint ballot in favor of the Democratic candidate. I have not as yet received the reports if it was directed by Berwick it would arrive here in two days but if comes to Muncy it is uncertain when it comes. When you have leisure please let me know what you think the prospect is about the United States Senator as it would be rather an unpleasant circumstance for either Rush or Sergeant to be elected to that important station. Your obedient servant, Wm. Colley”

“Farrandsville Jan 15th, 1833

Dr Sir,

I have received your recent letter. The reason you assign for not coming up applies to my situation for not going down. I agree with you that it is not worth ones while to quarrel with anybody about our improvements. The money is gone & it now remains to us only to do what we can to improve our situation as it is. A tow-path to the mines will certainly be useful and I suppose the commission will try to represent or make it because they think it may stop some opposition. We must also try to obtain a free-lock. I cannot disguise my sentiments that there has been a monstrous waste of money here and now we shall find it difficult to obtain more. The West Branch resources I fear are nearly destroyed, I mean as to canal income. The Hollidaysburg country will now be left with the whole coal market. I shall be disappointed if the W. Branch cannot pay its own repairs & expenses with the next five years.

As to the Bank question at Washington. I do not know what you can do. Perhaps the only way will be to be governed by circumstances. There will be a terrible state of things in the country if the Bank is compelled to wind up suddenly. The small banks will begin to fall by & bye. Any more reports or important doings? … W. P. Farrand”

“Williamsport Jan’y 25, 1833

Dear Sir,

I have been requested to write to you on the subject of pensions. Two old ladies called on me today & gave the following statements & wish to know whether the Commonwealth grant pensions or gratuities in similar cases. They are infirm & poor & the benevolence of their country should be well applied in relieving their wants.

Sarah King (an old maid) daughter of William King, dec’d was taken prisoner when nearly 5 years old, by the Indians, near Williamsport, her sister & one other child was killed. Sarah was detained a prisoner near Niagara about 7 years when her father came for her & brought her home. She can prove her capture &c. by Ezereth Cleagerman & perhaps by Mr. Conoon.

The other name is Mary Dugan, aged 88 years, widow of William Dugan. They were married in Scotland in 1772 & came to Penna in 1774. They settled in Buffalo Valley (now Union Tp) where they suffered all the fatigues & privations of the war. Mr. Dugan was one of the Minute Men or guards under Col. Kelly & served regularly as a soldier till the close of the war, in guarding the frontier against the incursions of the Indians. The old lady is very poor & needy & can probably get some proof of service of her husband.

Let me know if any things can be done for them or either of them, & if so, what proof is required by the Pension Committee…

I am just informed by W.F. Packer that he has seen the Jersey Shore Associate in which Gen’l Burrows announces that A.B. Cummings has let him into the grand secret of the author of the celebrated Forged Letter; what a wonderful discovery! The great meeting at Gettysburg will now have been all for nothing & they will not get the credit of bring the author to light.

How are you progressing with the Improvements Bill? Will the great Inquisition endeavor to arrest its progress or aid in its passage? They are a magnificent body & quite masonic in their movements, & they only let one in at a time to take the oath! I think the only course left for the friend of the Administration who are evidently in the minority of the committee is to get along as well as they can & take accurate notes of everything that is done & come out with a counter proposal if the majority endeavor to strangle them with unpalatable food.

Write soon & often…J.B.Anthony”


“Williamsport, Jan. 28, 1833

Dr Sir,

I send you the enclosed petition but before you present it, I would be glad you would consult Mr. Mitchell as to the propriety of so doing at this time; while the appropriation bill is pending. If it will in any degree affect our interests by all means withhold it until that bill is disposed of. However, hear what Mr. Mitchell says upon the subject and then exercise your own best judgment.

Your constituents are delighted with the firm stand which you have taken in favor of the persecuted canal commissioners – crack away at the scoundrels who are leading on in that unheard-of proceeding – the people will sustain you in exposing their villainy. They pretend to be inquiring into the system, when in truth and in fact they are endeavoring to destroy the character of the Canal Commissioners.

Let me hear from you often. How comes on the United States Senator business? I hope you will adhere to our old friend McKean. Don’t be driven from your ground. I remain yours truly, Wm. F. Packer”

“Williamsport, February 23rd 1833

Dear Sir,

Enclosed you will find a petition signed by a number of the inhabitants of Hepburn Township praying for an election district at the house now in the possession of George Wisel five miles distant from Williamsport; there are two districts within 3 miles or thereabouts, of this town. There are a number of reasons why they claim a district separate from ours. One is that…Masons exercise an undue influence over them to the great injury of the Democratic Party. Another reason is that there are a great number of them that can’t speak the English language and don’t like to come out. Another reason is that we would have about fifty votes more on our side if they had a district of their own.

It is the wish of the Democrats here that you [xxxxxx] push the matter hard so as to have the bill passed this winter. In all probability the opposite party would get up an opposition if the matter was to lay over another session. I have enclosed a petition against Chapman to Wm. Pitriken. I suppose he will present it. You will be good enough to get me a draft of the following tract of land & send it as quick as will be convenient for you to do it.

Samuel Scott 409 ¾ acres in Shrewsbury Township, Lycoming County. When you send the draft let me know what you think of getting his bill through this winter. You will please excuse me for troubling you so much. In haste, I remain…Wm. Harris”

“Farrandsville Nov: 30th 1833

Dr Sir:

I am exceedingly sorry not to have seen you before you went to Harrisburg. And I also thought it important that you should have looked at the state & progress of the improvements along the line. How are we to get the improvements completed? I doubt whether we shall succeed in any appropriation without avowing the truth. When we are told we had all the money last year to finish our line, & now ask about the same sum what shall we say. That money has been misapplied & the main line has been neglected. I believe all the inhabitants along the W. Br. Will say so. I find the Williamsport people of all classes except those connected in the works avow it. W. Graken of [Derristown] stated to me yesterday that there was a general dissatisfaction in their country that this high dam and Bald E. works had drawn all attention from the main line. Without force-locks at all the high dams the canals will be useless for many years especially to us and all boating. Boats should always be able to go round a broken section by the river either up or down & without he can do so he is always liable to be caught in a dry canal. I will come to Harrisburg by & bye & make you acquainted with some of my Phila friends, now members. There will be some difficulty in procuring money on old terms this year. Your friend, W. P. Farrand”

“Jersey Shore Jan 17th 1834

George Crawford, Esq.

Dr Sir I have forwarded to the Canal Commissioners the amt of damages claimed as administrator of Oliphant Davidson dec’d for the destruction of a house and lot in the boro of Jersey Shore. I have estimated it at $150 a sum much less than it was intrinsically worth as it had I think generally rented for $40 per year. My unfortunate brother died rather in limited circumstances hence every farthing of his scattered estate that can be collected will be no more than sufficient to liquidate his honest debts. Would you be so good as to interpose in his behalf with the Canal Commissioners. You can refer to Mr. James Wilson (the pull down contractor) in relation to the matter…

A. Davidson”

“Pittsburgh 4th April 1834

Dear Sir,

Presuming on our acquaintance which was commenced when I lived at Jersey Shore. I take the liberty to ask your favorable notice of a petition my brother James & myself intend to present to the Legislature for relief from loss sustained in completing a very heavy and difficult contract on the Portage Rail Road, comprising the Tunnel & Section No 7. Our price for excavating the rock of the tunnel was only $1.47 per yard and ought to have been two dollars, and our price for embankment was only 14 cts which ought to have been twenty. The Engineers have stated our case to the Commissioners & to them we may confidently refer to bear us out. In the justice of our claim and I may assure you that we would not ask for one cent from the state were we not seriously injured in our property, by performing the labor we have done. We ask for no profit or for any renumeration for personal services, but only to be kept from loss which has been harder than we could bear.

With much esteem, respects, I am Dear Sir, Your most Ob’t E. Appleton”

“Washington [D.C.] Oct 28th 1855

Dear Father,

I arrived in this city on Friday night. On my way down, I stopped in Jersey Shore a day or two and remained in Williamsport until Monday afternoon…Our Lock Haven boys all seemed to be driving great land trades. Among them I saw Judge Parsons who inquired after you.

My Washington friends seemed glad to see me, particularly those who were doing the work of my desk. Judge Campbell was very kind in his greeting and is about as happy over our Penna election as any man I have seen. There is general rejoicing over that result among all the enemies of K-N-ism and the praise of Penna is on all their lips. As far as I could learn in Phila the chances for U.S. Senate seem to be in Bigler’s favor…

I am writing this in one of the rooms of the Capitol from which I can overlook the city. Our landlady Mrs. McKean is in Phila so Mc & feeling lonely, thought we would take a ride to the Capitol. We have libraries and papers &c &c all around us… Regards to all, Geo. A. Crawford”

“Hudson, St. Croix Co., Wisconsin

June Saturday 14th 1857

Father, I suppose you would like to hear from us concerning our journey. I suppose to give you a full history of our journey I must commence from the time we left home. We had a tolerable pleasant trip on packet to Williamsport. Rather cool arrived at Williamsport about eleven o’clock laid by until 3 after dinner and took the cars for Elmira arrived about ten at night took our supper went to bed, next morning started to the great Niagara, arrived at Niagara about eleven o’clock went over to Gote Island to view the falls. We saw a great many curiosities. Gote Island is heavily timbered and could be a beautiful place of retreat in the hot summer months, for those that have but little to do and plenty to spend. After viewing the falls, we left the Island for dinner, after dinner we was pestered by a fellow that wanted to haul us over the great and beautiful suspension bridge to view the falls from Canada side, at length he offered so cheap and agreeing to pay the toll we took him up at his bargain. He said he must have his pay before he started after collecting his money said that his brother should take us. So, we mounted the cab and off we went for the bridge arriving there the collector demanded his toll, the driver said we was to pay it we said the driver was to pay the toll, so we sat and argued about the matter and had some sport with the fellow. We told him that he should either take us back or pay the toll at length he paid and over we went to the fall. After viewing the falls, we went to see a museum they have there that is quite a curiosity They have animals of different descriptions, birds and fish, snakes and a great many curiosities made by the Indians such as moccasins, bark canoes, powder horn, and a great many other things made by the squaws. After seeing the different things in the museum, we walked out into an adjoining lot to see the wolves and buffaloes. The buffaloes appeared to be very savage, after seeing the animals we mounted out seats and told the driver to drive us out to Lundy’s Lane…he drove us out there. They have a pair of winding stairs we walked up and took a view of the country and of the surrounding scenery. After viewing the beautiful farms for there is such there, we left for the bridge with a dutchman, took the evening train for Detroit, arrived about eight in the morning, took our breakfast on boat while crossing the lake, took the train for Chicago. Saw a great quantity of timber, principally oak, but of various descriptions, some prairies, but little. Reached Chicago in the evening, stayed over night and had tolerable bills to pay. Left in the morning train for “Fulton City.” Some great many prairies principally wet there is some fine land on the Rock River and would be a tolerable good place to live from appearance. Hills are tolerable high and the water appeared to have considerable of fall, noticed a great many cattle that had starved or frozen from the hardship of winter, or from the scarcity of feed, but a person from Pennsylvania would not think it strange once seeing the shelter they have. We have had quite a pleasant trip and I may arrive safe at Fulton City on leaving the cars we found Wm. Gallagher. He looked a little wild at seeing us. We stayed a few hours not knowing what to do had some notion of staying with George and Wm. Over night on account of no steamer leaving, we made no preparations and was running about town when we got the word there was one about to set sail so that we was all in a bustle and I forgot my rifle barrel that was in George’s trunk. We had a beautiful trip sailing from Fulton to Galena. Took cars at Galena and arrived if my memory is right to Dunleith took steamer for Prescott. I was very much surprised to find the Mississippi so dark colored. The principal business appears to be lumbering and cordwood; chopping wood is worth from $3 to $5 per cord, lumber from $16 to $35 per m, bean $5 corn 7.50 oats same hay from $40 to 50 per ton. I will have to leave off as it is getting dark and I have been in a hurry but I must let you know that we have been laying since the 10 at Hudson intend on leaving here on Mon 16 for the great city of Neshe Dana. Hannah Eliot, Mc Cormis, Jones and Crawfords are to be the parties. We are well I should don this a little better but put it off till last, R. A. Crawford”

“Chengwatana, Pine County, M.T. Dec 20th, 1857

Father, I had written to you a few days before I received your letter. I had not heard from John until a few days ago. He wrote to I. G. Randal. He says that he had rather a slow & tedious journey on steam boats sticking on sandbars and that he was sick a few days after reaching Ft Scott. He has not been doing anything with the exception of laying out a few town lots. Likes the country well. I for my part have been doing but little since the burn. Times is hard and work is scarce. The business what little there is the lumbering and from all accounts that is about one tenth that was formerly carried on. That is carried on with the credit system a ruin. I think to the country it gives rouge to much liberty, a man can come from any state and if he can raise money enough to buy a team he can get men to supply him to almost any amount so that if a man is a little tricky he can higher a set of men in the fall and pay them very easily after driving by putting the logs out of his hands and telling them he has nothing. Charles Randal and I have been off on a trip up the St. Croix within a few miles of Neshe Dana, perhaps we went down Snake on the Indian trail a distance of 12 mi, crossed the St. Croix and struck for the Wisconsin road went to Beans and put up for the night 3 mi from where we crossed. Started the next day for Gorden at mouth of Yellow river reached Clam river about noon a distance of 14 mi, took our dinners, or a piece, I might say for all we had was what we carried with us. Started for Gorden by way of Yellow Lake reached Yellow Lake about 3 o’clock. Stopped a few minutes at Batteses. Yellow lake is a beautiful lake about 7 mi from Clam R and 7 mi from the mouth of Yellow river. Started from thence to the mouth or river reached the mouth about five o’clock in the evening. Stopped over night and next day at the town of Gorden. You must remember that a great many towns here are not such towns as our Penna towns are. They are city’s out of sight, this one consists of one dwelling house, one black smith shop, a stable and a sawmill partly raised. The day we spent at Gorden we went up the St. Croix about four miles on the ice hunting up lands belonging to one of company of Gorden and nailing up detachment papers. I. G. Randal is sheriff of this county and deputized Charles. You wanted to know how far we are from head of steamboat nav falls the head of navigation 72 mi from Saint Paul and about the same distance to Superior. I think the soil is generally rich about this place there is some farming between this and the falls they say they have raised from three to four hundred bushels of potatoes to the acre, the land about the town is generally heavy timbered with sugar maples, oak, white walnut, soft maple…plenty of elm.  R.A. Crawford”

    Inventory of Collection:

     Letters: 1817-1868

8 letters, 21 pp., dated 28 February 1817 to 16 August 1828; several letters badly torn; written in ink; of the 8 letters, 5 were written to George Crawford; 1 to Charlotte White, of Jersey Shore, PA; 1 to Elizabeth Crawford of Jersey Shore, PA; 1 to M. McReynolds, of Jersey Shore, PA.

211 letters, 282 pp.; dated 14 January 1831 to 10 December 1834; all written to George Crawford, and mostly addressed to him in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, while he was serving as a state legislator; 6 of these letters are dated from 1831; 52 from 1832; 92 from 1833; and 61 from 1834; after April of 1834, it does not appear that Crawford was in office, and letters were addressed to him either at Pine Creek, or Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania; the letters were written by a variety of correspondents.

8 letters, 8 pp., dated 12 January 1835 to 21 April 1836; 5 of the letters are written to George Crawford, 1 written by him; 1 of the letters is addressed to Crawford in Harrisburg, the other 4 are addressed to him at home either in Pine Creek, or Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.

8 letters, 14 pp., dated 25 May 1843 to 14 March 1849; all written to George Crawford, at Pine Creek, or Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania; 1 letter is addressed to Crawford at West Branch, Clinton Co., PA

15 letters, 33 pp., dated 25 February 1853 to 22 December 1859; of the 15 letters, 12 are written to George Crawford; 8 were written by his son R.A. Crawford; 1 letter is by another son, George A. Crawford; and there is also 1 letter by a J. A. Crawford to his mother, Mrs. George Crawford; 1 letter to William H. Crawford is written by his brother R.A. Crawford.

9 letters, 23 pp., dated 13 July 1861 to 6 January 1868; of these 9 letters, 5 are written to George Crawford, 3 of these 5 letters are by his son R.A. Crawford, and 1 from his  son, Geo. A. Crawford; 1 letter to Wm. H. Crawford; and 1 letter to Robert A. Crawford;

8 letters ,9 pp., undated, written to George Crawford, 7 of the 8 letters, were addressed to him in Harrisburg, while serving as a state legislator, thus they can be dated c1831-1834;1 letter, c1850s, is sent to Crawford by his son John W. Crawford.

      Documents: Check Rolls for Laborers on the West Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, 1835-1836

19 lists, or “check rolls” for workers on the West Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, dated February 1835 to January 1836. Monthly lists are on oversize large folio sheets, folded, and inscribed with the names of workers, dates they worked, number of total days worked, amount per day for wages, total amount of wages paid for the month, and their signatures (when they could write, otherwise with their “mark”). Almost all of the lists have as a heading: “Check Roll. Of Labour done on the West Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal from Loyalsock Creek to the head of the Navigation including the Bald Eagle Side Cut, for the month of …” These lists were compiled by the foreman who oversaw the work, Crawford was the supervisor who made the payments to the men and signed the document with the foreman; in some cases, another supervisor signs when Crawford wasn’t present. Interesting lists for showing who was doing the labor on the canals and what they were getting paid, and how many days they worked each month.

     Documents: Articles of Agreement, Contracts, Indentures, Petitions, Etc., 1820-1863

1 – Articles of Agreement (2 pp.) between Nancy Hunt and James McAlenny, both of Pine Creek, PA, dated 1 Feb 1820; for renting Hunt’s plantation for three years to McAlenny.

2 – Indenture (3 pp.), between Robert Crawford, of Pine Creek, PA, and Elizabeth Quigley and Hugh McFadden, administrators of William Quigley, for a 40-acre tract of land in Pine Creek, dated 1828

3 – Articles of Agreement (2 pp.), between James A. Crawford & George Crawford, dated 27 October 1831; for a tract of ground in Lycoming County, next to George Crawford.

     4 - John Caldwell application (1 pp.) for an island situated in Kettle Creek, date 20 December 1831.

 5 – Articles of Agreement (1 pp., printed and mss), between William F. Packer, Superintendent on the Western Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal and George Crawford, dated 18 July 1833; for constructing fence along the Lycoming Line of the canal, through Crawford’s lands.

6 – “Financial Sketches Drawn from Memory” (7 pp.), inscribed “Backwoods Jan 1, 1834, W. P. Farrand.” Manuscript essay about the financial status of America at the close of the War for Independence, how debt was divided up between the states, etc., carries on to the late 1820s.

7 – Petition (2 pp.) for relief for Revolutionary War soldier Daniel Morris and his wife Deborah, of Muncy Creek, PA, signed by 23 individuals, with short note on second page to George Crawford, signed by Charles Bodine, dated 20 February 1834.

8 – Articles of Agreement (2 pp., printed and mss) between George Crawford, Superintendent of the West Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal and Henry Hartman, dated 10 October 1835; for a building over the Weigh Lock at Northumberland.

9 – Articles of Agreement (1 pp.), between George Crawford, superintendent for the Commonwealth of PA on the West Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal and Robert Smith, dated 29 December 1835; for construction of a manor, or building, on the Lock House lot, at Larry’s Bluff’s for a stable.

10 – Article of Agreement (2 pp.) between George Crawford, engineer for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the West Branch of the Pennsylvania Canal, and S.H. Wilson, Samuel Love, and Thomas McGhee, to build a public bridge at the Guard Lock at the head of the Bald Eagle Side Cut, dated 25 Jan 1836.

11 – Guide for writing up legal & financial documents, includes 9 pp. of handwritten examples, includes: Note with Interest; Note with Security; Judgement Note; Receipt-General Form; For Money Received of a Third Person; For Interest Due on a Bond; Notice from a Landlord to a Tenant; Assignment of a Bond; & Articles of Agreement; dated 1836-1837.

12 – Mutual Insurance Policy (4 pp., printed and  mss) for Wm. H. Crawford, Pine Creek, PA, dated 20 April 1863; for a frame water power saw mill, situated in Pine Creek Township, in Chatham’s Run, Clinton Co, PA.


[Breckinridge, Robert J.] Hints on Slavery; Founded on the State of the Constitution, Laws, and Politics of Kentucky, Thirteen Years Ago. [Lexington, KY? 1843?], 26 pp., tanned, stained, first two leaves have small hole, affecting text; inscription “Crawford” written at top margin of first leaf; first couple of pages dog-eared.

      Miscellaneous Ephemera:

9 pieces of printed material, includes: circulars, blank letterhead receipt, business card, brochures, etc.

21 receipts, mss and printed, dated 1813-1836; mostly for George Crawford; includes small receipt book with 4 pp. of receipts for canal work.

8 pages of accounts; includes a statement on the monies due on the Wyoming Canal; Boarding at Mr. R. Hamilton’s (April 1835); Accounts of Messrs. White & Crawford with J. Hasinger & Son (Sept 1815); Wyoming Line accounts, etc.;

11 issues of various Pennsylvania  newspapers, dated 1834-1861, includes: The Lycoming Gazette (10 Oct 1832);  Lycoming Free Press (23 Dec 1834); The Lycoming Gazette and Chronicle (18 Oct 1837); Clinton County Democrat (18 Oct 1842); Clinton Democrat (20 Oct 1846 & 23 Oct 1857); The Presbyterian (26 Feb 1848 & 8 July 1854); Christian Advocate and Journal (1 Dec 1853); The Democratic Bugle (9 Sept 1856); Dollar Pennsylvania (9 Feb 1856 – lacks most of front page); Fort Scott [KS] Democrat (31 Aug 1861). All in worn condition, folded, etc.

      5 used envelopes.