1836: Lorin Reed Case to Victor Case

Lorin Reed Case (1813-1878) wrote this letter to his brother, Victor Case (1808-1872) of Knoxville, Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Lorin married Rebecca Fell in November 1841; Victor married to Rhoda A. Horton in January 1838. The case brothers were the sons of Chauncey Case (1774-1859) and Chloe Humphrey. Victor remained in Tioga County, Pennsylvania the remainder of his life; Lorin eventually settled in Normal, McLean County, Illinois, where he died.

Two other brothers are mentioned: Joseph Case (1805-1873), who married Mary Lyon; and Sanford Case (1811-1871), who married Rebecca Tabor. Both Joseph and Sanford settled in Thornton, Cook County, Illinois, in the Spring of 1835 and remained there the rest of their lives. A letter written in 1837 to Victor from his brother Sanford appears in the footnotes below.

Stampless Cover


Addressed to Mr. Victor Case, Knoxville, Tiogue [Tioga] County, Pennsylvania

Hamilton [New York]
November 28th 1836


Page 1

I received your last letter with a great deal of pleasure. It gave me much satisfaction to hear that you was comparatively well. Mr. Walker returned after being gone from home about 6 weeks which was as long again as he expected to be gone when he left home. We have been very busy ever since he returned a taking an inventory, settling up, &c.  Mr. Walker has made up his mind to leave Hamilton and go to the far West next spring. The place where he intends to locate is situated at the Grand Rapids on the Grand River [in Michigan]. He likes the country very much, gives a very good description of soil as being very rich & the climate mild and healthy as in any part of the state. He thinks that is the place to get rich, not only by selling goods but by speculating in lands. He says they make fifty per cent on their goods while we make but twenty-five here. We have been two weeks at our inventory and have just got through. We have about $800 worth of goods on hand, the interest of which is enough to reward any man.

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Mr. Walker has gone in to the farming business a good deal this summer. He bought forty-five acres of meadow land and mowed the whole of it. Bought forty head of young cattle. He thinks to make something in that way by keeping them until spring. Business has been very dull during the summer. There has been a number of families within the last month. The Caynall [Canal] has put a damper to business in this place which will be felt a great while. It is a ruinous thing to the country. Walker will probably be ready to start in May or June. I think I shall go with him if he should want me and I think he will as my time will not be out until one year from next February. It will undoubtedly be better for me to go off in the western country for it is impossible for a young man to make anything in this country as times are bad and there is no young man in the world that is any thing on that has any ambition at all about him but what will strive to get property.

Page 2

I mentioned to you that there had been a number of families in this place lately. One was a contractor on caynall [canal] and a merchant was in company with a young man by the name of Parmely in the mercantile business failed for several thousand dollars but before it was known that he had stopped payment, he made over all the goods in the store to secure a private debt of his own constructing while Mr. Parmely was absent from home. There have been a number of executions ___ ___es on the goods. There was an execution sent from New York. The sheriff went to the store to make a serve on the goods and the man that they they had been made over to were in the store. The sheriff requested them to open the store but refused to do so but told him that if he came in he would put him out — but notwithstanding his threats, the sheriff went in and done his duty after having a clench with the inmates. A few nights after the good were all stolen and that is all about it.

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You have probably heard of the robbery of the Oneida Bank at Utica that was _______ last winter. It was entered about 2 weeks ago by means of false reasons and robbed of $108,600. There is a reward of $6,000 offered for the detection of the rogue. When I catch him, I shall be rich.

Page 3

Produce is very high here. Wheat is worth 15/bushel, corn 10/ Oats 3/b.  By the land, potatoes 2/b. Uncle Medad’s folks are all well. Amanda Rogers has gone to Illinois. Our people were all well at home one week ago when I was at home. They had a letter from Joseph. He was very well and also Sanford. Sanford was at work for 2 dollars per day and found I should think he might get rich if he was a mind to.

With these few lines, I subscribe my self your brother, — Lorin R. Case


1836, 171 years ago

A daring robbery

Dastardly burglars break into the vault of the Oneida Bank of Utica early Monday morning – just hours before the new bank is scheduled to open for its first day of business – and steal $116,500 in cash and drafts. The bank postpones its grand opening at its new quarters on the east side of Genesee Street, just north of Bleecker Street.

The thieves — using keys to the bank’s front door and vault they had obtained — entered the building minutes after the guard had decided to go home for breakfast.

(Note: One year later, police learned that the robbers were out-of-towners George Harvey and William Morgan. Harvey was convicted and sentenced to state prison. He returned $44,000 of the stolen money. Morgan fled to England and was never caught. In 1865, the Oneida Bank — still at the same location — became known as the Oneida National Bank & Trust Co.)

— Frank Tomiano, Observer-Dispatch, 11 November 2007

1837 LETTER FROM THORNTON, ILL. Folded letter with “Thornton Ill” manuscript postmark & manuscript”25″ rate, addressed to Victor Case in Knoxville, Tioga Co., Pennsylvania, with lengthy, (2-1/2 folio pgs) & interesting letter contents, datelined, “Illinois,Thornton, March 15, 1837,” from his brother, Sanford Case.

Thornton, Illinois
March 15, 1837

Brother Victor,

I with pleasure received a letter from you Saturday evening and was glad to hear you was well and doing the same. It appears by yours that you never received an answer to the one of yours dated the 6 of October which came safe to here and I sent one in answer in a few days. I now employ a moment in writing you another, hoping it may reach you without fail. I am at work at my trade in company with John Taber in a small place by the name of Thornton about 25 miles south from Chicago, on a stream of water called Thorn Creek, which affords a good mill privilege. There is a saw mill in operation at present and we have a job of putting up a flouring mill another summer which will make an addition to the place and gives us a job of about $1200, which is to be completed by the first of December next. We furnish the heavy timber frame, raise, enclose and do the joiner work inside, which with the rest of the work we have in view of putting up a house and barn for another man that lives in this place, will keep us busy through the summer and gave us a plenty of work, and we hope if nothing else happens and we enjoy ourselves to do a good summer’s work which is all cash as soon as it is done. We have done work to the amount of about $600 since we have been in this part of the world. We charge $2 per day and board $2.50 cents, board ourselves, which amounts to quite a sum in the course of a year. We have a lot in this place with a Blacksmith’s Shop on the same and tools which cost us $300 tools (illegible) shop. We intend to carry on that branch of business as there is a first rate place here for it this summer especially on account of the mill. Then we will be $1000 worth of work to be done on that in the Black Smithing line which we have the promise of if we get a good Smith. Joseph is now gone to Chicago in search of one. We intend to do something or nothing here before we leave the place although I do not think this country is the best in the world myself. There is a number of objecting to it, one is there is a scarcity of timber. Another it is in general rather too level, which makes it rather

wet in some places, but it settles fast and bids fair to make a good farming country. Around about here produce is high, flour is from 10 to $12 per barrel, corn and oats 75 cents per bushel, potatoes 50 cents, pork $30 per barrel. Board in Chicago is from 4 to $6 per week. We pay in this place $3 and not the first rate at that, but tolerable, good aplenty of pork and potatoes, not many extras to be had. We have had cold weather here this winter. The snow has been about 12 inches deep, which made most beautiful sleighing for about 2 months, and some as cold weather as I ever felt in York State in my day. The snow now is gone and the weather begins to moderate. You wrote you thought of coming out here this summer. I should like to see you here. There is a good chance to make money for those that understand it by speculation, but it requires some money to start with and close calculation to manage it right or the speculator’s money goes faster than he is aware. There has been fortunes made here in a short space of time, but in general more by luck than wit in my way of thinking. I want you to come and see the country if nothing more than to satisfy yourself. It is uncertain when I should return if ever. I want to see you as well as the rest of my friends. I had a letter from Loring the other day. He wrote they were all well. He thought of coming out this way in the summer as he had done with Walker and was out of business then in that place. Joseph had one from George at the same time. He also thinks of leaving home but in my opinion he had better stay on the old place a spell longer yet, for if he leaves home Father and Mother will be left alone pretty much and without help. Joseph’s (illegible) is good at present. He calculates to work with us this summer and intends to do something in the farming line as he has a good claim 2 miles from here of first rate land and good timber with some improvements on the same. He thinks of sowing some grain, just enough to keep a team and other stock. Thus you know what we are all about and a doing in this part of the moral vineyard. How we shall make out time alone will determine. I think however we are doing better here than we ever was at any other place. Since I have been writing this there has been a man in to sell us a lot in this place with a house frame on it. We bantered him a while and finally made a bargain with him for the same for $250. We pay 100 down and the rest in 6 months. So we now have two lots now in this place which are worth perhaps $700 as they hold property of the kind here. Nothing more at present. Write as soon as convenient.

Give my respects to Caleb and Family, together with the rest of my friends. We have seen nothing of the Lyon S. Case, V. Case folks since I have been here. They have not taken the trouble

to call on us. Emilus Bales is in Chicago I am informed, but have not seen him. Wm. Bates died at Bloomington last fall.

(illegible) for the present Your Brother — Sanford Case


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