1832: Jonathan Korn to Dr. Samuel Korn

Millersburg, Ohio (1846)

Millersburg, Ohio (1846)

This letter was written by Jonathan Korn (1799-Bef1860), a blacksmith residing in Holmes County, Ohio. In 1848, Jonathan served as post master in Millersburg, located 83 miles northeast of Columbus.

Jonathan wrote the letter to his brother, Dr. Samuel Korn (1803-1872) who we learn has recently taken a wife — Elvesta Elston (1811-1863). The marriage took place on 23 February 1830.

Jonathan and Samuel were the sons of Jacob Korn (1769-Aft1850) of Berlin, Holmes County, Ohio. Jacob set up a sawmill/gristmill operation in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in the very early 1800’s but left for Holmes County, Ohio circa 1810-11. The book “Holmes County Historical Sketches” by the Holmes County Historical Society, states that Jacob Korn was one of several German mechanics (as opposed to farmers) who came to the Berlin, Ohio area from Pennsylvania “immediately after” several other people who came in 1812. Jacob Korn is credited with having the first blacksmith shop in the area, and is described as being a “jack-of-all-trades”, whose work was in high demand. For example, he is said to have made the metal parts for gristmills.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter


Addressed to Mr. Samuel Korn, Tippecanoe County, Lafayette, Indiana

Millersburg, Holmes County, Ohio
[Summer 1832]

Dear Brother,

I received your letter dated the 31st of March on the 30th of April which were gladsome news to us all to hear from you and more, but I had rather concluded that you had met with some misfortune or was dead until I seen Mr. Hornback and your letter together has relieved me of my opinion on that case. I am happy to hear that you are well and that you have taken to yourself a companion of whom I hope will be a blessing to you while you live, and you to her. In my communications, I let you know that we are all in reasonable health at present. Likewise, all the connections.

As it respects Henry, he has been living in Berlin [Ohio] at father’s almost two years and is occasionally working at his trade. Father and Mother are getting old and middling frail. It is their wish for you and your companion to come and see them as soon as you can. Make it convenient. Father and Mother are not able to stand so long a journey as ever to come and [see] you.

As it respects Joshua, he left these parts in the fall of 1829 in October and went down the river to the state of Mississippi and worked in Port Gibson during the winter. And in the spring of 1830, he went to [New] Orleans and in August last, he returned home and stayed five or six weeks and then went back to Port Gibson and resided there during the winter. Brother Henry received a letter from Joshua dated the 9th of March last stating that he is in tolerable health and that he intends leaving there this Spring to go to the Island of Cuba or South America.

Brother John has been with brother Charles in New Philadelphia [Ohio] during the winter and Spring.

Brother Levi is leaving the carpenter trade. He left his first boss before his time was up and is now with the second boss at low wages. It is likely that Henry or John or Levi will be to see you next fall. As for my part, I don’t expect to get the liberty of leaving home until my term of office is out.

Dear brother, I will here inform you that Doctor Raiff ¹ is no more. He departed this life the 23d of January last at the same time I lay very low with the fevers in Columbus. I was there 12 days; then hauled home in a sled. A few days after I wrote you the letter, I never expected to see home though Providence spared my life and I had been reduced to a mere skeleton then. I am now heartier and fleshier and enjoy my health better. I will give you further statement about Doctor Raiff and his concern. He hd been sick but a short time before he died. He ate at the table in the morning and the night following, he died. Mr. Ambrose sent a letter of his death and for father to come on [with] some of the friends. I was not able to go at the time and father went on there to see about the affairs and before he got there, John Sheppard administered on the Estate and had made sale on all the books, medicines, and other loose property — all of which were sold for not more than half its value. It’s rather my opinion that those who had claims against the Doctor there had it done in order to get the property for a mere trifle before any of the friends could there. Father brought Benjamin with him and he is now living with Mr. Henry in Millersburg.

As it respects times, our markets are getting better than they used to be in consequence of the canal. Wheat rates from 70 to 80 cts per bushel and corn 37 to 43, and all other markets in proportion.

The Legislature of this state passed a law last session for the sale of the school lands in this and Tuscarawas County. It will come to sale this fall or next spring.

As it respects politicks, our parts are full of ___. General Jackson will be generally supported for his re-election to the chair.

I want you to give in your next some account of the _______ politicks and of everything about the prices of your markets and the price of land. Also an account of blacksmithing — whether it be good business in that [country] or not.

Joseph Vail moved on to the Wabash last fall about 25 or 30 miles below Lafayette. No more at present — only that I remain your affectionate brother, — Jonathan Korn


¹ This is undoubtedly Dr. Alexander Raiff who was married to Elizabeth Korn (probably Jacob Korn’s sister). A History of Tuscarawas County says that Alexander was a native of Germany and a physician by profession. “He came to America about 1818, read medicine at New York and Philadelphia, and about 1820 came to Tuscarawas County. Shortly afterward, he removed to Darbyville, and thence to London, Ohio, where he died in 1827, his wife preceding him to the grave one year.” From other dates mentioned in this letter, I feel certain Alexander’s death date must be an error; it should probably be 23 January 1832. I also conclude from this letter that given their family relationship, it was probably Dr. Raiff that mentored Dr. Samuel Korn in the medical profession.

One of Dr. Alexander and Elizabeth (Korn) Raiff’s sons, Aquilla T. (or “A.T.”) Raiff was apprenticed to Jacob Korn in Holmes County and taught the blacksmith trade. Aquilla came to New Philadelphia, Ohio, in 1846 and engaged in his trade manufacturing wagons and carriages. In later years he was in the livery business, was the landlord of the Exchange Hotel, and then entered the hardware business.

A “T.B.” Raiff was enumerated in the household of 81 year-old Jacob Korn in Berlin, Holmes County, Ohio in the 1850 Census. This was likely another nephew.


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