This letter was written by William T. Coe (1820-1872, a farmer in Deckertown, Wantage Township, New Jersey. He was married in Mach 1841 to Sarah A. Swarts (1815-1872), the daughter of Jacob and Mary (Drake) Swarts.
William T. Coe was the son of William W. Coe (1792-1869 — a blacksmith and farmer who lived in Wantage, New Jersey. He was married in February 1812 to Margaret Titsworth (1793-1860), the daughter of Henry and Martha Titsworth. It was William W. Coe that wrote the second part of this letter.
The third part of this letter was written by Jane T. Coe (1828-1863), a sister of William T. Coe’s. She never married.
The letter is addressed to John Dean (1788-1877) of Horseheads, Chemung County, New York. John was married to Catherine Titsworth (1791-1873) — apparently a sister of Margaret Titsworth. John and Catherine’s son was Richard Dean (1811-1875) who is mentioned in this letter.
Addressed to Mr. John Dean, Horseheads, Chemung County, New York
December 12th 1849
Deckertown [New Jersey]
I take this opportunity to inform you that we are all well at present and hope that these few lines may find you enjoying the same blessing. And I take this opportunity to inform you that I have hired Richard, your son, for a year — that is, if you will come out here. And if you won’t come out, he intends to come out there. And if you will come out here, I will give you six shillings a week for seven or eight months or I will give you five shillings a week for a year and I want you to come and if you do come and work for me, if you or your son gets sick, we will take care of you. I want you to write as soon as you get this letter for I want to know whether I must look out for other help or not.
I remain your affectionate friend, — William T. Coe
[Written in another hand]
Wantage [Township,] Deckertown [New Jersey]
December 12th 1849
I take this opportunity to write a few lines to you as Margaret told me that you wanted me to write to you as I would talk to you. I want to do so as near as I can. She told me that you had some mind to buy you a farm of forty-eight acres at forty dollars per acre. In my opinion, you had better not buy as it will amount to nineteen hundred and twenty dollars and then you will have to buy you a team and harness and some cows and wagon and farming utensils and that will amount to between three and four hundred dollars and you will have to buy your grain and other provisions for one year which will leave you about fourteen hundred dollars in debt. And the interest of that sum will be ninety eight dollars a year which I think will be all you can possibly make besides your living. And in case you should be taken sick, either of you would fail making that amount. I think that if you could content yourself out in Jersey, you would do better there than you can where you are and if you conclude to come, I want you to write an answer back so that we may know what to do. And if you should fetch your beds and things, I want you to write so that we can come prepared to fetch you and your things from Port Jarvis. Write [with] time enough so that we shall be sure to get the letter as I did not get the letter which Richard sent till Monday night. Make your letter at Elmira. So no more at present but remain your friend till death.
— William W. Coe
[Written in another hand]
Dear Aunt & Grandmother,
I suppose you are aware that three have written on this sheet already, yet I feel as if it were necessary that I should write a few lines although I am in such a hurry I do not know as I shall be able to write in any decent manner, for I have company in the room and have sent mother in to entertain them while I write. We did not receive the first letter our folks sent so I felt quite uneasy at times fo fear something had happened but I would put it out of my mind as soon as possible by the thought that God would take care of them there as well as if they were at home. They came home sooner than we expected. I was not at all lonely for I had company most of the time. Mother told me when she returned you had had several deaths in your family this summer. I hope these will prove a blessing to the remaining members of the family, that they will make you think more frequently that life is uncertain but death is certain [and] that it will wean your affections fro this world, as some of your family are already in the spirit land.
But I must close here. Yours, — Jane T. Coe