1837: James S. McFadden to John Smith

Gravestone of James S. McFadden

Gravestone of James S. McFadden

This letter was written by James S. McFadden (1804-1880), the son of Sharp McFadden (1775-1852) and Elizabeth Dominy (1781-1864). James was married to Sarah W. Scott (1806-1877).

McFadden wrote the letter to John Smith in care of Francis Hillock — a cooper on Newgate Street in Toronto, Canada. The relationship, if any, between McFadden and Smith has not yet been revealed.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter


Addressed to John Smith in Care of Francis Hillock, Newgate Street, Toronto, Upper Canada

Lisbon [St. Lawrence, New York]
April the 16, 1837

Dear John,

I received your letter dated the 14 of February which was of great satisfaction to me to hear that you are well and doing well. We are all well. The children have not forgotten you yet. Malissa is thirteen months old and she weighs thirty-five pounds. She is just beginning to run alone. She is the largest child that the town of Lisbon ever produced at that age. She is one pound heavier than John Sharp.

You requested me to let you know the price of oxen. Everything has risen since you left here. Oxen is beyond all buying. They are from ninety to a hundred and ten dollars. Cows are from thirty to thirty-eight dollars. And in Canton they have been sold as high as forty dollars. Corn two dollars, oats 62 cents a bushel, potatoes 50 cents a bushel, one hog pork is worth 18 dollars alone. I have sold our barrels this season.

You mentioned in your letter concerning the money that was in David C. Gray’s hands. He paid me in the month of July last. He spoke of stopping four dollars for damages you had done to his rifle. I told him that I had paid you the money and it would be me that would be the loser. He then paid the amount of the order that I held against him in full.

Belenode has broke loose this Spring. It commenced with the marriage of Adam Flack and Martha Armstrong ¹ — the Flacks were greatly uplifted with the match and boasted much of her beauty and conduct. She had been living at Isaac H. Gray’s and he undertook to explore the facts to some of them by telling that he had been with her. His wife also saw that she had known them to be together. The Flacks commenced lawing Isaac H. Gray for defamation of character but this they failed in. They fined him twenty-five dollars for selling liquor. His own confessions is a proof that he has kept ___ house. On these conditions, they have stopped his license.

Thomas Thompson ² took license and opened a tavern and was doing well. Hard times and the scarceness of provisions drove him to the necessity of stealing a bag of flour out of a sleigh at Hamilton. He went from Hamilton to Ogdensburg and there a Frenchman stole the bag from he. He pursued the poor Frenchman and swore to the bag and sent him to Canton. This news soon went to Hamilton. They had Thompson taken for the stealing the flour at Hamilton. He swore that he bought the flour at Ogdensburg mill that was proven the contrary. It was plainly proven that he stole the flour and swore ___ he cross the river to Canada. His family has sold out and followed him. There is no particular news amongst the Madill’s. I believe they are all well excepting Martha. She is out of health. There is different opinions about her disease but time will tell all things and frost will try the potatoes.

You may let William Hurst know that his father’s family is all well and Nancy is married to Thomas Akins.³

The Scott’s are all well and Joseph wishes you to pay the taxes on the land if it is not sold yet and he will settle with you for the same. He wishes that you would write the particulars about the land and what situation it is left in.

Nothing more at present but remain friend and well wishes. — James S. McFaddin

I wish you to write as soon as you get this.


Thomas & Elizabeth Thompson of Lisbon, NY

Thomas & Elizabeth Thompson of Lisbon, NY

¹ James Adam Flack (1804-1888) married Martha Armstrong (1815-18xx) in the spring of 1837 in St. Lawrence County, New York.

² The only Thomas Thompson I can find in Lisbon, Saint Lawrence County, New York from that time period was Thomas E. Thompson (1799-1883) — a native of Ireland. Thomas was married to Elizabeth Jane Geary (1812-1873).

³ Thomas Earl Akins (1812-1890) married Nancy Hurst (1818-1870) probably in the winter of 1836-37.


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