This 1836 letter was written by Cyrus Strong (1777-1866) who lived in Norwich — the county seat of Chenango County, New York. He wrote the letter to his son-in-law, John Clapp (1801-1886), the son of Thomas and Huldah (Bull) Clapp. Clapp became a lawyer and settled in Oxford, Chenango County where he met and married Cyrus’ daughter, Lydia Strong (1807-18xx).
Addressed to John Clapp, Esqr., St. Augustine, East Florida
Norwich [Chenango County, New York]
November 14th 1836
Your last letter to Mrs. Clapp was mailed “Steamboat.” I therefore conclude you are off for Florida. Wheeler is making a great fuss about the Sheldon & Co. judgement. He says it was obtained by fraud, that you represented things different from what they were, that he never told you that S. S. R. might give a cognovit, & that you never said a word about his giving one in that suit. Randall says you told him that Wheeler had given his consent that he (Randall) might sign a cognovit. There is a mistake somewhere. I wish you were here to attend to it. Wheeler has moved to set aside the judgement on the ground of its being obtained by fraud. The motion is to be argued on the 17th. Randall has gone down to attend to it. James Clapp advised him so to do.
I made an affidavit stating that during your illness, I was in the house, that Wheeler was there, & you was talking concerning this debt, that after Wheeler left, you sent me for Randall. Randall swears that you told him Wheeler had consented to give a cognovit, that he believed it, & still does believe it. He has made out a strong affidavit & thinks they will not be able to set aside the judgement. He will write you from Albany as soon as he learns the fate of the motion.
Wheeler has acted very meanly towards both you and Randall. He says you have combined together to defraud him. He is angry because he has not been able to prefer some of his creditors here at home & cheat Sheldon & Co, out of their debt.
Mr. James Preston of Oxford has been here today to enquire about the Randall farm in Pitcher. He says that previous to your leaving, he made an offer of $1,500, that you said you would write & get the terms of the owners. He wishes to get the farm & would probably give more than he then offered. I could give him no information as I knew nothing of the arrangements you have made. Have you got the terms for which it can be sold?
Our town is so stupid as usual. Nothing going — but two or three failures since you left. Horatio N. Walter is among the number.
Our election is over. We elected the [National] Republican ticket in this county by over 1,000 majority. Cook’s dreams of Washington have all vanished. He was corned regularly everyday for a week before election. Pennsylvania has given a small Van Buren majority. I suppose we must give up Ohio to “the Hero whose eye never blinked.” ¹
Let us hear from you often. Foote has returned & again taken up his abode in our office. Yours truly, — Cyrus Strong
¹ “The Hero whose eye never blinked” is a reference to William Henry Harrison. The phrase is the trailing line that repeats at the end of each stanza in a poem that glorifies the General’s trumps. For example:
“They talked about Washington, Jackson, and Gaines,
Of Yorktown’s surrender, and New Orleans’ plains;
Such names and such acts become wholly extinct,
Compared with a “hero whose eye never blinked!”