This letter was written by Hannah Shattuck (1788-Aft1841), the unmarried daughter of William Shattuck (1750-1840) and Hannah Spencer (1758-1831). William was a farmer in Torringford (a part of Torrington, Connecticut) until his death at which time his estate was divided among his children: Sally Shattuck (b. 1782), the wife of Warren Foote; Spencer Shattuck (b. 1784); Ansel Shattuck (b. 1786); Annis Shattuck (b. 1793), the wife of William Arbuckle; and Chauncey Shattuck (b. 1795).
Hannah addressed the letter to her brother-in-law, Capt. Warren Foote, Sr. (1778-1843) who resided in Erie, Pennsylvania. Capt. Foote commanded a military company during the War of 1812.
Addressed to Warren Foot, Erie, Pennsylvania
February 13, 1841
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
I thought I would write to you all informing you that I keep house alone the same I always have since Father died. Have bought my wood and provision. My health is not very good to work out. I think sometimes it would be better for me to work for my board than to keep house.
You wrote to Gen. [Uriel H.] Tuttle since the distribution that if it did not injure the land for me to buy the house lot. There is not an acre of land. They took the old lane — that is, the most of it — and it was called two hundred dollars and Ansel’s is in front. The old house & barn are getting down and wants considerable repairing. I don’t think it best for me to buy it. I should have to sell my land to do it.
I wish you all to write me what is best to do. Hileman Tyler will buy the place if he can have the whole but I shall have to sell myself outdoors to oblige you and him. He says he is not never calculating to live here [and] wants nothing said about it. If there is something I cannot see into, I ask you all your advice as there has got to be sold the land. The time that things [were] distributed, I asked for what belong[ed] to me. Have on the south side of the lot Mr. Halt thought not best. He gave no reason why. I thought of asking Spencer to exchange with me. If you think I had better keep mine. I should then have a garden and some wood. Ansel remains as captious as ever; thinks no one had ought to have anything except himself [and] makes it unpleasant living.
I hear there has been a letter written by Doctor [Luman] Wakefield to you and signed by others for you to give in on the avails due on the notes that remain. He does no work [and] goes to Winchester about every day. What for, I cannot tell. I wish you, Chauncey, to write how the cider mill was built. Ansel has said Father never paid anything [and that] none of it belongs to the farm here. I want to know if you give Ansel the pasture, all the apples, the gardens, and the fall feed for nothing. He took in ever so many creatures to my cow was here. I sold her in the fall for ten dollars [as I] had no hay to keep her through the winter.
At the time there was a division made, you four and I had to have all the old things set to us. I had more than my share in proportion. Mine was between twenty and 30 dollars more than what I know to do with. Yours was sold to vendue fetch very little. Ansel, he would not have his part. All they put to him was between six and 7 dollars worth. I have never thought it right for Mr. Hall and [Anson] Colt to do as they have — give him seven dollars [at] the time of distribution. Only eleven meals eat at the time they was here. I see to the cooking of what they had no better for it. Ansel said everything to get his notes as little as possible. I think he has had his pay for all he ever did for Father without you giving him anything. Let him go to work. He is able as any one. The disposition is wanted. He had rather ride uptown everyday.
My respect to you all. Some of you write to me as soon as you receive this. Let me know your minds in every particular here without fail. I shall be looking for a letter every day from some of you [and] wish not to be disappointed.
Direct the letter to me, — Hannah Shattuck
If you have anything for General Tuttle to see to, put it in when you write to me.