1839: Malcolm M. McGregor to Daniel Carmichael

What Malcolm McGregor might have looked like

This letter was written by 28 year-old Malcolm M. McGregor (1811-1840) — a young lawyer who also served as the Post Master of Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois. He was formerly of New York City. Malcolm married Maria E. Wells (who could not read or write) in May 1839. A history of Hancock County described him as a “brilliant genius” who “died young.” [Source: The History of Mormonism…, 1871]. He died on 25 August 1840 in Carthage [Source: The Spectator(New York, NY) dated 23 September 1840]. Illinois election return records indicate that Malcolm was an unsuccessful candidate for representative in the Twelfth General Assembly in the 3 August 1840 election just prior to his death. He lost to Whig candidate, John F. Charles of Hancock County.

Malcolm wrote the letter to Daniel Carmichael, a native of Perthshire, Scotland, who settled in Albany, and later in Galway, Saratoga county, New York. Daniel Carmichael was a baker, and while living in Albany was engaged in that business for several years. He had large government contracts for supplying the commissary department located at Albany and did a large and profitable business that netted him a fortune. He moved to Galway after partly retiring from active life, but contributed his influence and wealth to improving conditions in that community. Daniel Carmichael married (first) in Albany, New York, Janet McLaughlin, born of Scotch parents. She died in middle life, leaving two children: Peter and Jane. He married (second) in Albany, Allison Knox, born of Scotch parents, and a connection of the noted Scotch minister, John Knox. Mrs. Carmichael (second) died in Amsterdam, aged eighty-seven, and Daniel, aged eighty-two.

The James Campbell who’s illness is described in this letter was probably the son of James Campbell (1761-1826) and Margery Carmichael (1769-1851). According to the Cambell grave marker in West Galway, Broadalbin, Fulton County, New York, James Cambell (1810-1839) died not long after this letter was written.

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mr. Daniel Carmichael, West Galway Church, Fulton County, New York

Carthage, Illinois
October 10th 1839


I am requested by James Campbell to inform you that a letter written by you and dated “West Galway, 21st September 1839” enclosing a certificate of deposit in the “Mechanics and Farmer’s Bank of Albany” by “D. Carmichael” to the credit of James Campbell of Carthage, Illinois of $1,000, dated September 18th 1839 was received by him (James Campbell) on the 8th instant.

I am also requested by Mr. Campbell to say to you that [he] is thankful to you for the kindness you done him in attending to the business.

I am, Sir, respectfully yours &c., — M. M. McGregor

P. S. I will also inform you that Mr. Campbell is confined to his room & bed by a very severe attack of the Billious fever. He is now recovering and is able to sit up a little. His attack has been severe and hopes of his recovery were at one time but feebly entertained. I now think there is no danger but he will recover and his physician thinks his health will be better for the future that it heretofore has been.

You will please inform his Mother and Sister of these facts and say to them for me that though Mr. Campbell is distant from his home, his Mother, & Sister, yet he is here with friends, acquaintances, & Relative. I have not written his mother or sister but waited a change which took place about 6 days since.

— Malcolm M. McGregor


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