This letter was written by 27 year-old Enoch Lloyd Cowart (1807-1889). the son of Enoch Coward (1768 – 1851) and Eleanor Lloyd, widow of Ruliff Vandervere. [Note: the surname is spelled Coward or Cowart]
“Enoch Lloyd Cowart was born at Prospect Hill farm near Freehold, New Jersey. After the death of his father, Cowart’s mother removed to the Leonard farm in Cream Ridge, where Enoch spent part of his childhood and attended the district school. From ca. 1825 to 1828, Enoch served a clerkship in the store of Thomas J. and Samuel J. Stryker, merchants in Trenton, then worked for John Bowne in Freehold (1828 – 1834). Desiring additional education, he attended Lenox Academy in Massachusetts (ca. 1834 – 1835). After leaving Lenox Academy, Enoch studied law under Daniel B. Ryall (ca. 1835 – 1836), and clerked for John T. Woodhull in Freehold (1837). About 1838, Cowart returned to the mercantile business. During his successful career, he formed partnership with a) Charles Hasbrook (ca. 1838 – 1840), b) David Clark Perrine (1840 – 1852), and c) Henry Clay Patterson (1852 – 1861). They maintained general stores in Freehold. After 1861, Enoch retired from his mercantile career.
From that time on. Cowart devoted himself to farming. He utilized property owned in Manalapan Twp, on the Monmouth battleground, but maintained his Freehold residence which he had built in 1852. In 1862, Cowart volunteered for Civil War service and was appointed Quartermaster of the 14th Regiment, NJ Volunteers, from which he was mustered out in 1865. He served in the same capacity in the 3rd Regiment, 8th Army Corp under General HS Briggs in 1863. Returning to Freehold, Cowart continued farming, sold his Freehold home in 1877, and removed to his west farm on the battleground. He returned to Freehold in 1888, where he died.
Enoch L. Cowart married Anna Maria Bowne (1817 – 1898), daughter of Peter Bowne and Amelia Craig (1777 – 1855), on 1836 June 14. Their children were: Ellen Amelia, Edward Henry (ca. 1849 – 1852), Anna Maria (1851 – 1851), Enoch Lloyd (1852 – 1926), William Tennent, Samuel Craig (1854 – 1943), and Frederick (1856 – 1858).
A Democrat turned Republican, Enoch Cowart was active in local politics during his early life. While never seeking a political office, he gave speeches and sang campaign songs. As a poet, his literary subjects were civil and political in nature. In 1854, he was a member of the Committee of Arrangements for an anniversary celebration of the Battle of Monmouth. Cowart was elected as Freehold Twp School District superintendent (1854 – 1859), and was one of the incorporators of the Freehold Gas Light Company. A Presbyterian, he was a member of Old Tennent Church, and served as the clerk of its Board of Trustees. Enoch L. Cowart is buried in the Old Tennent graveyard.” [Source: The Monmouth County Historical Association, Collection 33]
Enoch wrote the letter to his sister, Clemence (or Clementine) S. Cowart (1813-Aft1880), who later became the second wife of Monmouth County farmer William S. Combs (1804-Aft1880). Another sister, Eleanor Cowart married Sidney Woodward.
Addressed to Miss Clemence S. Cowart, care of Sidney C. Woodhard, Esq., Upper Freehold, Monmouth Co., New Jersey
Lenox, Berkshire County, Massachusetts
June 21, 1834
My dear sister,
I received your very acceptable letter dated June 1st and perused its contents with a mingling of sorrow and satisfaction. I was very much surprised to hear the death of Uncle Thompson and also the illness of Ellen N. I received a letter few days since from Ellen wherein she mentioned the death of Mrs. Scureman which I regretted very much to hear as I considered her one of the most pleasant woman I have ever met with. I cannot feel too thankful for the continued preservation of my health which has been remarkably good since I left you.
Many of our boarders have been quite ill. James Bagg, my room mate, was taken very unwell about three weeks since — so much so that he was compelled to leave for home. He returned last monday, resumed his studies, was taken unwell again yesterday, and today started again for home. I regret very much his having to leave on account of his company. He is is a young man of fine talents & amiable character. He expected to prepare himself this term to enter college in the fall but owing to his misfortune, I am apprehensive he will be disappointed.
I continue much pleased with my school. Mr. [John] Hotchkin ¹ frequently boasts of his having the most attentive students that can be produced. I think his method of discipline & instruction cannot be excelled.
The weather continues very unseasonable here and it really appears as if we were to have no summer weather. Jacob Conover wrote me a letter giving some account of his Upper Freehold visit and mentioned the flight of your veil at June Meeting. We have abundance of music in our village. There is at present four piano’s and Mr. Wilson — the gentleman we board with — has lately purchased one but has not yet received it. His sister-in-law plays very handsomely and I expect when it arrives we shall have a full share of drumming.
You mentioned in your letter sister Eliza’s complaining of me for not answering her letter. I wrote to her about ten days since and expected ‘ere this she had received it. My clothes have arrived safe. I feel a great anxiety to see you all. It really appears I had been absent a twelve month. I expect Tenedore by this time is quite a large boy. You must kiss him, Ellen, Eliza & Scudder for me as that is the only satisfaction I can have for the present. Remember me particularly to Aunt Ann & the family, Ruleph, Lydia Ann, Hellen C., Dr. Taylor and all my friends.
Respecting your interest money, I know of no other plan that to let Ruleph hold it until I see him and pay it to you as you require it. Tell Father I begin to despair getting a letter from him. He may probably think me very negligent for not writing to him but it has not been owing to the want of a disposition, but rather the want of sufficient news to render it in any degree interesting. Deliver him my sincere love and respect; also sister Ellen, Sidney.
And receive this scrawl from your affectionate brother, — Enoch L. Coward
N.B. I am very sorry that I have not something to say which would excite your interest much, but there really appears to be no news with us at present worth relating. Our term closes about the first of September when I shall hope soon to see you all. Yours, E. L. C.
¹ Enoch wrote this letter while attending the Lenox Academy in Lenox, Massachusetts. The principal of the academy was Rev. John Hotchkin (1794-1862) who also is credited with being the founder of the Lenox Library.