This letter was written by S. B. Beach who was probably a clerk working for the U.S. Postal Department in Washington D.C. He wrote the letter at the bequest of Postmaster General Cave Johnson who held the office from March 1845 to March 1849 while serving the Polk Administration.
The letter was directed to Moses Baldwin (1799-1882) who apparently held a contract with the Postal Service for the delivery of mail in Illinois. Moses was the son of William Baldwin (1770-1830) and Mary Denman (1774-18xx).
An obituary for Moses Baldwin says that “he was born in the State of Georgia, July 6, 1799, and at the time of his death had attained to the advanced age of 83 years. While a very young man he removed to the State of Ohio, where, having attained his majority, he was regularly entered, passed and raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, in Columbia Lodge, No. 44, in the town of Harrison, 1821. Some years later he removed to the state of Illinois, where, in 1830, as a charter member, he assisted in the organization of a Masonic Lodge in Bloomington. On the breaking out of the Black Hawk war, in 1832, he went out as Captain of a company of volunteers and achieved an honorable record in the service of his country. He subsequently transferred his membership to Havanna Lodge, No. 88, Havanna, Mason County, Illinois…” By 1860, Moses Baldwin had moved to Lawrence, Kansas Territory, and by 1870, he had located in Coffey County, Kansas.
The letter was delivered to Moses’ son, William M. Baldwin, who lived in Randolph Township, McLean County, Illinois. The township was named for Gardner Randolph who settled in the area in 1832 near a thick grove of trees which became known as “Randolph’s Grove.” William forwarded the letter to his father with a note of his own that suggests his father had subcontracted the mail carrying to someone named Morrow.
Addressed to Mr. M. Baldwin, Bath, McLean County, Illinois
Forwarded from Havanna, IL February 4
Forwarded from Randolph’s Grove, IL February 10
Post Office Department
December 26th 1846
I am respectfully your obedient servant, — S. B. Beach
Mr. M. Baldwin, Bath, Illinois
[in separate hand] The above letter answered March the 3d 1847 and requested to be recommended
Dear father, I take my pen in hand to inform you that we are all well hoping that these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing. John is getting nearly as stout as ever. Mr. Morrow was here yesterday and brought this and the schedule from Bath. He is going to carry the mail another quarter and if you will let him have it, he will take it for 2 or 3 years. Mr. Milburn has got a petition to continue the rout on to Pekin and wants to know if you want the contract and if you do not, Morrow wants you to take it and he will take it off your hands. You will write to me as soon as you receive this. It is snowing very fast at this time. I do not know whether I go to the Post Office or not with these letters being I have wrote you 2 letters lately. I will conclude this. No more at present, but remain your son, — William M. Baldwin