This letter was written by George Augustus Chittenden (1805-1858), the son of Abraham Chittenden (1781-1868) and Deborah Fowler (1784-1822) of Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois. George was married to Elizabeth Irwin (1805-18xx). He eventually moved to Van Buren County, Iowa, where he died.
Chittenden wrote the letter to Nathaniel Hanson (1815-18xx) of Alton, Illinois, who partnered with Emerson in the manufacture of horse-powered threshing machines.
We learn from this letter that George engaged in the selling of farm equipment.
Addressed to Messrs. Hanson & Emerson, Alton, Illinois
Warsaw [Hancock County, Illinois]
August 1, 1849
Messrs. Hanson & Emerson,
I forwarded last night by the Lucy Bertram a draft drawn by H. Brown on Scott Naylor & Co. of St. Louis for $275 and directed a Mr. House, passenger in the Lucy who is on a visit to your place to buy a separator, to get it from the Capt., and deliver it to you. I hope it will arrive safe. This Mr. House and Tarlton Fox applied to me for a separator. I told House that if he would get his Father to go in company with him, I would write for one, but did not like Fox — a man that will not, or at least does not, pay his little debts around home and I did not consider him of any benefit to the note. They then (or Fox did) apply to one Edward A. Bedell ¹ to get it for them. I found this out just as the boat was leaving, had rang her bells, but Capt. Lean waited for me a moment to scratch a line to you. I hardly know what I wrote. I now say beware. Bedell is notorious for dishonesty, low cunning, meanness, and treachery. It is not jealousy in me and I probably ought not to say it, being in the same business. I can, however, refer you to any merchant in this place for the truth of my remarks.
He (Bedell) told Fox — so I have heard — that he could get one from you for him some $10 cheaper than I was asking them which he knew was not so. Neither was it an object. It was to get the business. But enough of this.
If Mr. House and his Father want a machine, I think they will be perfectly good. I believe they do not own any land in this county, but I think they are honest and will pay. I should not be afraid of them myself. I have some applications from men that I do not give much encouragement to unless I find they can give good security for I think it is better to have one with sold than two poor. I may be too cautious sometimes for your good but I err, if I err, in that way. I do it honestly.
A Mr. Hanson living in this county wished me to enquire of you how and upon what terms you sold the saw mill with the circular saw without the Horse Power. He has a Horse Power and wants ____ the Mill and saw. Told me that you made them. Are you the makers of them? If so, please inform me your prices and terms.
I have now to say that if you are satisfied so far with the business that I have done with and for you, I should like to continue and have all shipped to or through me. I have charged from 1.50 to 2.00 for receiving & forwarding which is, I think, little enough and have heard of no complaint. Mr. Robinson, the person who was going with Moon in a separator called upon me after I got your letter. I told him the reason. He said that Moon told him h— had paid his notes for last year’s separator and had them in his pocket, but did not show them. He — Robinson — was satisfied about your reason said by me good.
I should like to hear from you soon.
Respectfully, — Geo. A. Chittenden
When shall I look for one for Curry & Moore. — G. A. C.
¹ Edward A. Bedell was born in Syracuse, New York in 1818. He came to Illinois when only eight years of age, arriving in 1826, and eventually engaged in merchandising and real estate. Later he was appointed by President Pierce to be Indian Agent in Utah. He was a Douglas Democrat. He died in 1853 on his way home from Utah.