1837: D. March to Rawson Vaile

Rawson Vaile, ca. 1880

I haven’t been able to verify the identity of the author of this letter who signed his name “D. March.” From the content of the letter we learn that he was a teacher at the Chester Academy in Chester, Vermont. References to Millbury, however, suggest that he was from the Millbury, Massachusetts. Indeed, there were families by the name of March from Millbury. I’m going to conjecture that his name was David March and that he was born between 1810 and 1820.

March wrote the letter to Rawson Vaile (1812-1889), the son of Jonathan Vaile (1776-1863) and Polly Rawson (1778-1857). Rawson prepared at Millbury and Amherst Academies.; Amherst College, 1834-36, 1837-39. Taught Chester (Vt.) Acad., 1836-37; private school Richmond, Ind., 1840-42; prin. Wayne Co. Sem., Centreville, Ind., 1842-48; studied law, 1840-44; admitted to Indiana bar, 1844; pub. and ed. a Free Soil newspaper, Centreville, Ind., 1848-52; ed. Ind. Free Democrat, Indianapolis, Ind., 1852-54; Ind. State Journal, 1854-56; practised law Kokomo, Ind., 1857-88. D. Kokomo, Ind., D. 30, 1888.

March tells Vaile that specie in coin was scarce due to the policy of the Jackson Administration that required investors purchasing federal land to buy in gold or silver coins.

Stampless Letter


Addressed to Mr. Rawson Vaile, Esq., Winhall, Vermont

Chester [Vermont]
May 19, 1837

Dear Vaile,

Your note of the 16th I received last evening. Happy indeed too, I assure you, to hear from so good a friend. On the letter too, directed to the “Preceptor of Chester Academy” Ahem! on besides post paid the last. I liked the least though, and to be revenged on you for that, I shall have the terrible impudence to pay the postage on this.

Page 1

But in regard to my going to Albany, I expect to make a “flunk” on it. Mr. Garvin found considerable difficulty in the way of hiring a team as was proposed when you was here, or found that there were teams to start for Albany Monday which would carry him and his family cheaper than he could get conveyance by or other means. So therefore, he has engaged a Mr. Clarke (I think) to carry him or his household over to the capitol of the Empire State on Monday. So far calculations are made but unless “little Matty” recalls the “Specie Circular” before that time, it will be next to impossible for him to start with anything better than the pitiful “say money” which is scarce enough and not ______ enough. I have tried every opportunity for a few days past to get a dollar bill changed and have not succeeded yet. Not a store in the village can raise that amount of specie. Mr. Garvin has bills on all of the banks in the variety and can not get a half dollar of specie on any of the bills. You know all worth about 50 percent in New York.

Page 2

So with such bills to pay here with (as they are all that can be had) they must have some good shall of _____ as folly to start on a journey of 1600 miles. However, for all this, they calculate still upon starting and probably they will. They will be at Winshall, if they start Monday, at the time proposed and will call for you if they do not see you before at the Temperance House in Albany. Miss Townsend is here — come from Cavendish yesterday with Mr. & Mrs. Garvin & I. Goe___. All prepared to start on Monday. Mr. Garvin saw Miss Gilson A. Cavendish. She engaged to come at the price proposed or assist me in the school this coming term and will probably stay through the Fall Term so that you will see her name with mine — ahem! — blazoned forth in capitals at the head of the next advertisement for Chester Academy.

Page 3

Whoever knew such a time for money? By the way, I had a letter yesterday from Millbury. They are going to have an ordination and a wedding all the same day [10 May 1837] and be upon ___ hands shall be laid on to whom a hand shall be given is a Mr. [Samuel Giles] Buckingham and the bride is Dr. [Nathaniel W.] Taylor’s daughter [Harriet] of New Haven. Esq. Bondole says that platform must be built south the meeting house so that people can look in at the windows. The would-be rum-sellers could not get a license this year in the aforesaid _____ or robes tour of Millbury and the consequence was that a “certain person or persons on the night of the Public Fort entered the enclosure of one of the peaceful citizens, Samuel L. Torrey, and two or three did cut, mutilate, or destroy two hundred and twenty-two fruit trees, ornamental, and shrubbery trees.” My letter noted that some of the ____ _____ were whistling to the tune of empty coffers in Millbury and that Old Grafton had failed absolutely.

If Old Hickory is not satisfied with his “Experient” before long, I shall take the liberty to think that his old gray-coated skull must be thicker and a thousand times harder than the nuts of his namesake tree. Aye! And ______ about us many _____ as the above named nut hue of meats. But the old hero has found already that in trying to group the Gold logs and the cotton logs at the same time, he has lost the latter on the _____ to one if he does not lose the former at this rate.

But I hardly hear what I …. you need not read the latter part of the letter though. I would like to go to Abby, but you see I cannot. I do not know whether you are acquainted with my uncle there or not. At any rate, I wish you will call on him. Give my best respects a thousand times over if you do. It is so dark I can’t see what I write.  But now I think of it, you must write me the first letter from Amherst.

So good night, — D. March


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