1835: Franklin Houpt to Chauncey Houpt

This letter was written by Franklin Houpt (named spelled Houpt/Haupt) who had just arrived in southeastern Illinois after a journey of several days on Lake Erie and the Ohio River. He came to Illinois from upstate New York. He was most likely originally from Berks County, Pennsylvania, where the Cawley family resided. Content suggests that Franklin worked as a miller and was probably associated with the Haupt’s Mill in Berks County.

The dateline on the letter reads “Centreville.” Centerville was the first county seat of Wabash County, Illinois. From the letter, we learn that Franklin is staying with his relatives, Dr. Ezra and Elizabeth (Haupt) Baker, and Abraham and Catherine (Van Billiard) Haupt — early residents of Wabash County, arriving in the 1820’s.

Franklin wrote the letter to his cousin, Chauncy Houpt (1815-1845), the son of Samuel Haupt (1773-1857) and Elizabeth Sweitzer (1778-1848) — residents of the Village of Newville, Town of Danube, Herkimer County, New York. Chauncey’s siblings included Henry Sweitzer (1804-1870), Nancy (1806-1893), Lewis Sweitzer (1810-1855), Elizabeth (1818-18xx), and Catherine (1818-1873).

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mr. Chauncey Houpt, Newville P. O., Herkimer County, New York

Centreville, [Illinois]
August 1835

Dear Cousin,

I take the opportunity of addressing you with a few lines to let you know that we arrived here the 2nd day of August 1835 in good health and our relations enjoying the same comfort, and hope this may find you the same. Also, Mr. Raney died the day before we arrived here. I attended his funeral.

We had a very pleasant journey. We left Solomon & Cawley on Lake Erie at Coneaught [Conneant] and we took stage for Pittsburgh. Fare from Buffalo to Pittsburgh [was] 7 dollars each. We spent 4 days at Pittsburgh, then took steamboat for Evansville. Fare for steerage passage [was] $5 and cabin $16. We spent about 4 daya at Cincinnati and one at Louisville. It was very healthy for this time of the year on the Ohio River. At Pittsburgh, there were a few cases of cholera. I did not hear of any at Cincinnati and at Louisville there were some cases when we were there. About two weeks before we come there to Louisville, it [was] midling bad.

We arrived at Evansville the 1st day of August and there hired an extra coach for to take us to Mount Carmel — fare 10 dollars — and when we arrived there we met Uncle and Aunt Baker and Uncle and Aunt Houpt from Center. They were come on horseback. They insisted on us for to get on horses with them and we got along very well and we have been perusing the country pretty well since we are here.

We have been out most every day perusing the country and as to the country, I think it a fine country. It is very level and generally a good soil and for a person that wants to go to farming, can find a good chance with a little capital if he intends to be industrious. As for my choice, I would take improved farm which can be got for about from $4 to $5 per acre, I think, first rate, and if Lewis intends to come to farm, I think he can suit himself. But I think he would better bring Miss F. along or else he might soon want to go back to York again.

And I want you to write soon after you receive this to let me know when he is a coming and also to let me know whether any of you is a coming and how soon, or any of your old acquaintances for we have not yet given up the notion of going to Alabama and may perhaps go as soon as the weather gets a little cooler. Uncle still talks of building a mill. We have not yet come to a conclusion. We have not heard anything of Solomon or Cawley since we left them and if you have, I hope you will let me know. They promised to write to me as soon as possible but have not yet received a single line from them.

I must conclude by telling you to write soon and all the rest write. Aunt wishes to be remembered to all her relations, friends, [and] particularly to your mother. I give my best respects to your father and mother, brothers and sister, and all inquiring friends.

I remain your most obedient cousin, — Franklin Houpt

N. B. Mr. Samuel Long fell in with us at Pittsburgh and accompanied us to Centreville. He was here all week and then returned home again. Brother Abraham and his wife and sister Elizabeth intend to visit us this fall. Please let me know how you get along with the mill and whether she runs well yet. — F. H.


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