This letter was written by David Belding Drake (1804-1869), the son of Asaph Drake (1775-1871) and Louisa Belding (1770-1854) of Weybridge, Addison County, Vermont. David Belding married Caroline Wilson (1806-1865) in Weybridge in 1830, and moved to Stockholm, Saint Lawrence County, New York sometime prior to 1840.
David’s father, Asaph Drake was born May 27, 1775, and came to Weybridge, Vermont, in 1793 from Massachusetts, settling at Belding’s Falls, and began work for David Belding, finally taking the daughter of the latter ( Louisa) for his wife; she was born May 13, 1770, and their marriage occurred December 15, 1796. They had nine children, six sons and three daughters, as follows: Elijah G., Lauren Isaac, David B., Mary L. B., Sylvia L., Cyrus B., Polly A., and Solomon.
Addressed to Mr. Asaph Drake, Weybridge, Vermont (Middlebury Office)
Stockholm [New York]
November 12th 1837
I have long neglected your kind letter of August 20th & 29th and have now received a prompter of October 21st & 23d for which I am very thankful for I am negligent to expect to keep any correspondents at all and should not have were no my friends really indulgent. But I know Father always will forgive upon the smallest pretense. Well Father, we have all lived nearly a quarter of year since you were here and as to my business, it has joyed [?] along as it has. Sometimes crops wasting for want of cure, sometimes destroyed by cattle, and some by frost. We have had a very wet cold season, I think. As to our crops, we have had no reason to complain. Wheat nearly a middling crop. Oats — early [and] good. Early peas good. Corn early on highly manured land middling but not ½ as good crop. Rye not much sowed. Wheat grain will be worth the coming winter, I cannot tell. Those that want to buy say one dollar per bushel for wheat. Those that have to sell say $1.50 per bushel from all that I can learn and judge it will be from 10/ to 12/. We have sold none except now and then a bushel which we have charged 12/.
This country is probably as well off for grain as it has been since I have been in it. Hay, I think, will be quite plenty. There have been raised good crops of potatoes & rutabagas which will help considerable. We shall have about 200 bushels of wheat to sell and as many oats. If some of you Vermonters want it, we shall be glad to sell it to you. We sold a three-year old to Mr. Simonds of Shoreham, Vermont, for 115 dollars. Have but 13 two-year olds for $135.50.
The news of Mrs. Robly’s death was very unexpected and must be a very severe shock of Providence to all her friends & relatives. She was truly a worthy person and will be much lamented by husband, mother, & sisters & brothers, and those who are acquainted with her. We certainly feel to sympathize with all her friends and mourn her departure, but God’s ways are past finding out. Neither should we wish to know more than is our advantage. No doubt we shall have as much revealed to us as is for our good. Truly our ranks are falling continually and do we heed it? Do we lay it to heart? Do we reflect? Soon it will be our turn and it will be said we are dead.
Dear parents, do pray that we may keep our ____ and in view that we may be prepared to die in peace. There has been no deaths in this neighborhood lately. It is a general time of health. We had heard of the death of Doc. Judd but have heard no particulars. Has Mr. Elisha Smead got to Illinois? Has Mr. Lake gone to the West? Has Lucy written me a letter? Is her health usually good or rather as good as it has been? We rejoice to hear that you have preaching in Weybridge — especially by so good a man as Mr. Bushnell — and hope he may do much good in his last days and that you may have a revival in Weybridge soon. The Lord grant that it may so be and in our day.
You ask what is the state of our Church. I answer I cannot tell. As to the little band, I hear of no new alteration except they have left off eating meat and rather claim immortality or say they don’t know that they shall ever die. I believe they do not know what to do with themselves. They mind their own business pretty much and seem to be planning to get rich as fast as possible. [They] claim holiness and practice none.
As to doing our duty, I have no idea that we have or anything like it, but we have done much that was not our duty for we have done everything that we ought not to have done. We hired a Mr. Foster — formerly of Fort Covington — to hear one third of the time for a year. He appears to be a pretty able man and I hope will be instrumental of doing good.
As to grain, if you want to buy, let me known is season and I will contract for you at as low prices as can be bought for, or at such prices as you may direct. It is possible I may save something. It may not be worth over 8/. I think more will be sold for 12/. It probably would be best to flour it if you was going to do much __ it. We have not threshed any of our wheat except to dow & eat. Would spring wheat for seed be an object with you people? Write me soon and I will let you know what can be done. We had bout 1000 bushels [ruta]bagas this year [and] 400 potatoes.
I have received a letter from Cyrus a few days since saying he was comfortably situated. I hope he will not disappoint the hopes of his friends nor rob the world of its due and especially those he has undertaken to teach.
13th. In looking my paper over this morning, I am quite ashamed of it but shall let it go as it is. It’s doubtful whether we shall see Vermont this year but we hope something will induce you to come here. Remember us to friends. Accept of our best wishes. Write soon. I shall write Lauren in a few days.
Your affectionate son, — D. B. Drake