This letter was written by Charles H. Ogden (1822-1876) to his wife, Theodosia (Tubman) Ogden (1824-1899). The couple were married in January 1843 in Cumberland County, New Jersey, and resided in Dividing Creek. Their first son, John Ogden (1844-1880), is referred to as “Bub” in this letter.
Charles was the son of John Odgen, Jr. (1782-1839) and Charlotte Jones (1788-18xx). Theodosia was the daughter of Nehemiah Tubman (1790-1861) and Ann Pierce (1794-1880). Theodosia’s brother, Sylvanus Tubman (1821-1905) is mentioned in the letter.
From this letter we learn that Charles found temporary employment during the late summer of 1846 as a “picker” on a Maryland peach farm in Cecil County near the north shore of Chesapeake Bay, some 75 miles northwest of his hometown of Dividing Creek, New Jersey. A county history claims that the southern part of Cecil County, in an area known as Sassafras Neck, was known for growing peaches. One of the earliest and largest peach farms in Sassafras Neck was set out in 1830 by Mr. Cassidy, six miles southwest of Cecilton. It is reported that Cassidy planted 50,000 peach trees. “The Cassidy farm soon became famous through all the region both for the quantity and the quality of its peaches, and for many years this reputation was sustained.” Judging from the description of the farm provided by Odgen in this letter, it seems likely he was employed by Mr. Cassidy.
Addressed to Mrs. Theadora Ogden, Dividing Creek, Cumberland County, New Jersey
Care of Sylvanus Tubman
Friday, August 15th 1846
My Dear Wife,
I take this opportunity writing home to you and expect you are anxious to hear from me. I should like to hear from home very much to know how all of you are and to hear from Bub. How I should love to see him.
It is very hot here indeed. We have carried all of the early peaches nearly and will only have a few to carry until the late peaches come which will not be until the middle of next week or the last of it. I have been quite unwell for the last week or ten days but I have took some medicine and am weller than I have been for the month past. I have had a very severe fit of the ague and fever — the worst I ever had in my life — but I broke it of me immediately and have felt nothing of it for two or three days.
If you write to me, direct your letter to Perryville, Cecil County, State of Maryland.
I wish father or Sylvenus could come here and see the farms that there is here. There is farms here that has 1400 acres and 800 and 1,000 acres in [cultivation]. I went over the farm that we carry the peaches from yesterday and I never saw such a far, nor I never saw such corn in my life. The man that lives on the farm is a very nice man and says he has had a field of corn with seven hundred hills of corn in one row across the field. I saw the field. It is a very large field. The Peach orchard is a mile and a half long and the farm is over two miles in length. There is more peach trees than I ever saw in my life altogether.
I do not know how long I shall be here to any certainty. It is owing to the peaches, how long they last. I will send some money home in my next letter. Please to write to me as soon as you can. Give my best respects to all the family and all others who may inquire for me.
The Oregon is the ____ boat here as we can find nothing here that can shine the same day. I do not know whether I can get any peaches home or not. They rot so bad and it is so far to bring them, but I will if I possibly can. We have had peaches till I am tired of them and the pirtyest peaches you ever saw in your life. It would make your eyes water to see them. I wish I could send some home to you but there is no way for to do it. Excuse my bad writing for I am in hurry.
I remain your affectionate husband, — Charles Ogden