1848: William Brown to William Cromwell

This letter was written by William Brown but I have not been able to confirm his identity. From the letter we learn that he owned property in Vermont and sought to not only rent residential property in North Easton, Orange County, New York, but also to use it operate a select school out of it. We also know from the letter that Brown had a wife and child in 1848.

Brown wrote the letter to the landowner William Cromwell (1800-1871), a farmer of Monroe, Orange Co., New York, who also kept a dry goods store in New York City. He was the son of James Cromwell (1752-1828) and Charlotte Hunt (1762-1839). The 1850 and 1860 Census records enumerate William Cromwell residing in New York City. Perhaps he relocated to NYC permanently after his wife Caroline’s death in 1848.

Cromwell’s agent, William Cozzens, has added a short note at the end of the letter.

Stampless Letter


Addressed to William Cromwell, No 19 Cedar Street, New York [City]

North Easton [New York]
Monday, December 11th 1848

Mr. William Cromwell,

Page 1

Being now a tenant in your house, lately occupied by Esq. Sanderson, of whom I have rented the same until the 1st of April 1849 — and being desirous to continue as a lessee or as an owner, avail myself of this conference. I was not aware that you had an agent in this place until after I had rented the same of Mr. Sanderson. Of late I have made application to you thro’ your agent for another year, providing you should not make sale of said premises, claiming however 6 weeks notice before removal in case of sale. Not knowing all the particulars in his statements in my behalf, I shall make them for myself.

1st I intend to purchase in this place as soon as I can make sale of my property in Vermont of which I said nothing to Esq. Cozzens, as I was not prepared to speak of the same before today.

2nd This location will suit me providing it comes within my means.

Page 2

3d The object I have in view is to supply the Dutch Church with ministerial labors & teach a select school of young ladies — a few lad excepted in such cases as parents demand — which is now in successful operation. My school is small & wish only for a limited number of 20 or 30, which is about the number I now have. The class that I have are select & quiet, and such is the condition of rents in this place, as well as that of my family (consisting of a wife child & maid) that it is necessary that (by proper care & guarantee) I take the same under my own roof. Which, however, I shall not do without your consent. I shall not be able to give possession of my property in Vermont until some time next summer as there is a small claim to be removed, after which, I shall be ready to purchase. I.E. As soon as sale is made. But in case I cannot take my young ladies under my own roof (by being responsible for all damages, which by the way I never have realized any thus far, as they quietly come, remain, & go in my presence, as I generally use a carpet & chairs, with a large center table, instead of the common schoolroom furniture, I have no more occasion for damage, them in the reception of a few select friends for a common, but frequent visit) I shall be under the necessity of removing to another part of the town, if not entirely out of it & leave my charge.

I can give the best of bonds to keep your property in every respect as perfect, or make it as perfect as I find it, in case of any accident, which I will do in case I am permitted to use the same as I desire to do. I will also make up the deficiency in rent until next April, & after that, pay you quarterly your usual rent, which I understand to be $6_ per annum & taxes for that part occupied by Mr. Sanderson.

Please answer me by return mail and inform me whether you can comply wit my wishes or not. Very truly & respectfully yours, — William Brown

P.S. I have about 20 engaged for next term and that is nearly as many as I want.

Page 3


You will readily perceive that Mr. Brown supposes that I have written to you but such is not the fact. I promised him last Saturday that I would & have delayed until this time. You will also perceive that he is anxious to get his school in to your house. As to that I can only say I gave him no encouragement but shall leave the matter altogether with you to determine. You will therefore act your pleasure in the ______. He has every appearance of a gentleman and I have no doubt will do as he proposes. Answer immediately as he is anxious to know your mind.

Respectfully, — William Cozzens


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