This letter was written by Gurden Grover (1782-1841) to his brother, Joseph L. Grover (1773-Aft1829). Gurden and Joseph were the sons of Joseph Grover (1748-1828) and Betsy Reynolds (1751-1826) of Springfield, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. From this letter we learn that Joseph — as the oldest son — was serving as executor of their father’s estate but that he had recently been removed from that role and the case turned over to a Court of Equity. Gurden expresses some anxiety to his brother about receiving “what in justice” belongs to him.
Joseph Grover — the deceased father — came to Bradford County, Pennsylvania, settling at Springfield Center in 1806. During the Revolutionary war, from July 1775 to March, 1777, he served three enlistments in Connecticut regiments, mostly under Col. Charles Webb. He was given a pension in his declining years. His death occurred in 1828 and his remains repose in the Grover cemetery.
Other brothers mentioned by Gurden in the letter include Ebenezer Grover (b. 1778), Gamaliel Grover (b. 1784), and Harry Grover (b. 1798).
Joseph’s address is given as Southport, Tioga County, New York. Southport is near Elmira in present day Chemung County. Parts of Chemung County were at one time part of Tioga County, however.
Addressed to Mr. Joseph Grover, Southport, Tioga County, New York
Sherman [Huron County, Ohio]
November 7th 1829
No doubt you are seized with wonder and astonishment at my not answering your letter sooner but it is owing to several reasons. One is that I received a letter from Uncle Gamaliel stating that the farm would not be sold or the estate settled this season. Therefore, I supposed that an explanation on the Matthiewson note was not so immediately necessary and an other reason was my wanted negligence in such affairs. And now, after my respects to you & all your family for our former friendship and esteem, I would inform you that we are all of us enjoying good health & hope these lines will find all of you enjoying the same blessing.
As respects the Matthiewson note, I thought you knew the situation of that as you had so much of father’s affairs to settle with me, but if you do not, I tell you the note I only held in security for a debt which I owed to M., which father agreed to pay. So if that debt is settled, I am to give up the note and the other notes. If you cannot collect them, keep them safe till I see you or send them back to me.
I understand by a letter I received a few days since from Harry who lives at Madison Four Corners to work there at the blacksmith trade that he learnt from Brother Daniel T. B. that for the want of jurisprudence (i.e., the knowledge of the law) that you were put out of the administration business and that the Estate was a going to be settled by a Court of Equity and if that be the case, I wish you to attend to it or employ Dr. Bulbeck or some other fit person so that you save for Ebenezer & me what in justice we ought to have as you must of course consider him as the honest orphan that belongs to father’s estate as you express so much anxiety for his welfare. I expect you will do all you can for him as you say the devil is to be bound. But I do not see but that he has his liberty as much as ever and I rather think he has a number of deputies under him running at full speed.
You wished to know about my situation and family. I have bargained for a lot of land containing 160 acres & built a house on it last Spring & moved into it. The last of May last, Eliakim & Gamaliel moved here and I have let them have forty acres each off of my lot & they have each of them a house on it & have moved in. But we have not been able to fence and break any prairie this season, but calculate to next season. But we have had some land of our neighbors to till this summer. I have forgotten whether or not I told you that Gamaliel was married, but he is & has a daughter about two months old. He was married a year ago last August. But you must [know] that it is hard & slow getting along for a poor man with a large family and no property to help himself with.
We lived about a year & a half after we left Pennsylvania without a house that we could call our own and the most of the time on expense so that we spent the most of the property that we had so you may fudge whether or not I stand in need of what in justice belongs to me. I do not state to you my low circumstances altogether for the sake of touching your commiseration, but because you requested it although at the same time I should wish that when it goes well with you that you would remember me. But for two reasons, we ought to be thankful. One is that we are located in the best country for a poor man I think that ever I was in and the other is that we have been remarkably blessed with health since we left Springfield.
As respects Joseph’s broken leg, it came so nigh being his leg that there was no lure at all in it. But it was his collar bone which was occasioned by a fall from a horse. But it soon got well & rugged & hearty.
If Ebenezer & I get what in justice we ought to from father’s Estate, and if you think it would be profitable for me to come there to attend to it, I want you to write immediately. But write at any rate & let me know the situation of affairs. It has not been thirteen years since I saw you but still I have a heart susceptible of friendship as when you lived in Junius near Seneca Falls. Please to accept this from your affectionate brother, — Gurden Grover
P.S. Please to remember my regard for all your family & tell the children I thank them for their particular esteem for me.