Tag Archives: Wheeling

This Week in History: June 29 — July 5

Philadel­phia 4th July 1835.  Saturday
My Dear Robert
I arrived in safe­ty and in good health on day before yes­ter­day, after a pleas­ant tour of about eleven days from St. Louis, in com­pa­ny with Mary and her lit­tle broth­er David, who we brought on here for the pur­pose of plac­ing at school for a short time and oth­er­wise prepar­ing him for being use­ful to the fam­i­ly.  You can scarce­ly imag­ine how com­fort­able home feels to us after our tire­some jour­ney — I say tire­some because in addi­tion to the actu­al fatigue of trav­el­ing there was the anx­i­ety which must always be felt while trav­el­ing through a sick­ly coun­try — and such has been our lot since we left home — for the cholera pre­vails from Nashville to St. Louis and thence east­ward to Wheel­ing — but in some places to a greater extent than in others.
Per­haps it was part­ly owing to this cause that we did not enjoy the soci­ety of St. Louis.  Mary was there three weeks and I was there four days — and except our good and unchange­able friend Mr. Sub­lette no one offered us any hos­pi­tal­i­ty.  I con­fess I felt dis­ap­point­ed in this respect and so does Mary although she attrib­ut­es it to the unhealth­i­ness and gloom which pre­vailed while we were there.  It may be so but you will par­don me for repeat­ing a for­mer­ly expressed opin­ion.  I do not like St. Louis and I believe it defi­cient in the warm heart­ed soci­ety else­where found in the [?]____ (USA maybe?)
Enclosed you have Andrew’s last let­ter to any of us.  I was received before my depar­ture west­ward and I had laid it aside to take along but omit­ted it in pack­ing.  I then wrote Mary to send it, but she had left here before my let­ter reached her.  It will still be new to you how­ev­er and will reach St. Louis long before you are like­ly to return there.  You will see by the P.S. of Bet­ty that your very accept­able dona­tion had been received.  Andrew (poor fel­low) writes as he speaks — and if we could only per­suade him to adopt some sys­tem and care in his busi­ness there is no per­son of whom we would feel more proud as a broth­er.  What will become of his house full of daugh­ters?  I cer­tain­ly must take one of the young ones.  What think you? [End of pg 1]

[Side of first page] The fam­i­ly spoke most kind­ly of you in St. Louis.  I was grat­i­fied to hear so much said on the sub­ject and am sure you deserved it.  I think it like­ly they will soon remove to a coun­try town where their expens­es will be less­ened and the means of sup­port be pro­cured with less sac­ri­fices than in the extrav­a­gant city of St. Louis

[pg 2] My west­ern jour­ney as antic­i­pat­ed places it out of my pow­er to cross the Atlantic dur­ing the sum­mer.  At present I can­not say whether I will be at lib­er­ty to avail myself of the win­ter vaca­tion for we like school boys have our sea­sons of relax­ation.  My time is equal­ly the prop­er­ty of my part­ners and self.  Should they not object I will cer­tain­ly go and I intend propos­ing the trip after a few weeks.  Before your return from the moun­tains I will prob­a­bly be able to “see how the land lies” and I trust they will make no objec­tions to an absence which will cer­tain­ly not exceed four months — say betwixt Nov and March Next.
Mr. Gill has been on a vis­it to his broth­er Robert for some days and of course we have not seen him since our return.  The soci­ety of our lit­tle cir­cle is great­ly changed since we left here in May last.  Mr. Gill has bro­ken up house­keep­ing and sold out his fur­ni­ture.  Mr. and Mrs. Bak­er and Miss Har­ri­et Camp­bell have embarked for France (as I have already writ­ten you) and Mr. G and Arch are board­ing.  John is an [?]_____ (looks like inmate?) of my lit­tle fam­i­ly at the urgent request of Mr. G.  I con­sent­ed with much reluc­tance for I fear it will be no easy mat­ter to man­age him.  Should it prove so, I will not have him a sin­gle day after he becomes troublesome.
Mr. Sub­lette seemed desirous to obtain the store house in which K and Edgar did busi­ness but was dis­ap­point­ed.  He thinks it a good stand and so do I — yet it is only so for a retail busi­ness.  From all I have seen of St. Louis I would be inclined to pre­fer a dif­fer­ent loca­tion, either on Front street or high­er up on Main Street.  Should you enter into busi­ness in St. Louis, the only prospect of doing well is in sell­ing whole­sale for at the moment I do not believe that the retail is either more expen­sive or less prof­itable in Rich­mond (the worst point in the coun­try) than it is in St. Louis, owing to the great com­pe­ti­tion which now exists there.  My own opin­ion is that a stand is not impor­tant and that you can enter slow­ly and cau­tious­ly into busi­ness, with more advan­tage in a more retired house than that occu­pied by K and E. unit­ing of course with a gen­er­al whole­sale busi­ness, a good and com­mand­ing stock of Indi­an goods, in which you will have no for­mi­da­ble rival­ry. [End of pg. 2]

[Left side of 2nd page] Mary directs me to speak of her and says that I do not men­tion her half enough when writ­ing you.  This is all non­sense.  I beg you will sup­pose (and you can­not exag­ger­ate) that she val­ues you much.

[Pg. 3]
Per­haps you will not com­pre­hend the mean­ing of “slow­ly and cau­tious­ly” as con­nect­ed with a piece busi­ness.  The first year I would not wish to sell more than half the quan­ti­ty of goods you cal­cu­late on being your aver­age take.  The sec­ond year the sales may be mod­er­ate­ly increased and not untill the third year ought you to cal­cu­late on extend­ing ful­ly your busi­ness to its legit­i­mate extent.
I know you will be sur­prised at my con­tra­dict­ed views but they [?]_____ (dark spot and big crease) from expe­ri­ence and I felt muc reluc­tance at first in admit­ting them.  [?]______ (dark spot and big crease) not done so in this city.  Had we not declined sell­ing in many instances where oth­ers would have been glad to do so we should not have suc­ceed­ed in [?]______ (dark spot and big crease) oth­ers would have been glad to do so, we should not have suc­ceed­ed in this city.  I will at a future time explaine the caus­es which lead me to these con­clu­sions.  At present it suf­fices to say that I wish you to enter into busi­ness [?]_____ (dark spot) or dash and to make an exceed­ing small amount of cred­it sales the first year.
Mr. Sub­lette sent on an order which has been care­ful­ly sup­plied dur­ing my absence by my part­ners.  The goods had reached St. Louis on 20th June in less than 3 weeks from this city.  They are design[?]______ (dark spot and big hole) small out­fit which I fan­cy you will meet in your return.
Goods of every descrip­tion are scarce and high — Domes­tics par­tic­u­lar­ly.  It is believed that heavy orders have been sent out to Eng­land and France and [?]_____ (dark spot) the quan­ti­ty of import­ed goods will exceed the demand.  If so (but one can­not know in less than 60 to 80 days hence) there will be sac­ri­fices in many [?]_____ (dark spot) about the close of the full sales in Oct and Nov and I think it prob­a­ble that a [?]_______ (dark spot) assort­ment could then be laid in.  Domes­tic goods (a most impor­tant [?]_____ of every stock in St. Louis) I fear will be high and even advance on present price.  In short the mar­ket is in an unpleas­ant state just now, so far as prices are con­cerned — yet there appears to be a good demand for everything.
I have pur­pose­ly avoid­ed Irish news — for one of the best rea­sons — I have none to give!  The last date is the enclosed and I hope before my next I shall be enabled to say that I heard from some of them.  God bless you.
Hugh Campbell
[Left side of 3rd page] I had a let­ter from Hugh Reed dat­ed at New­berg (New York) where he was at work.  I pity the poor fel­low but can do noth­ing for him.  He has nei­ther a good trade, nor an edu­ca­tion to fit him for busi­ness and to crown all he will not go westward.

[Pg. 4]
[Left side of page] At my request Mr. Sub­lette put up and sealed two bot­tles of water from his sul­phur spring.  If I am not great­ly mis­tak­en it is pre­cise­ly the same as the cel­e­brat­ed white sul­phur of Vir­ginia.  Pro­fes­sor Rogers is under some oblig­a­tions and I will cause him to have the water [?]_____ (looks like armal­ized?)  His broth­er (pro­fes­sor in William and Mary Col­lege Vir­ginia) [?]______ the Vir­ginia springs last sea­son and has pub­lished a work on this subject.

[Right side of page]  I thank you for a num­ber of let­ters writ­ten imme­di­ate­ly before your depar­ture from the set­tle­ments.  Your sev­er­al favors of 4th 9th 16th 21st 26th April have been received the con­tents of which were par­tic­u­lar­ly accept­able.  As usu­al I will try to be punc­tu­al and it will go hard with me if you do not have quite as many to read on your return.  I only wish I could make my let­ters as amus­ing and enter­tain­ing to you as two of yours have been to me.

[Mid­dle] 4th July 1835

Mr. Robert Campbell
Care of Mr. Wm. L. Sublette
Saint Louis

This week in history: May 17-May 23

May 20, 1843

Let­ter from Vir­ginia Camp­bell in Mount Pleas­ant, Ohio to her hus­band Robert Camp­bell in St. Louis, Missouri.

Camp­bell House Muse­um has deduced that this let­ter is from 1843, as Vir­ginia writes that their son James is teething.  The Camp­bel­l’s first child James Alexan­der Camp­bell was born May 14, 1842, mak­ing 1843 the only log­i­cal year that this let­ter could be written.

[Front Cov­er]

Mr. Robert Campbell
Sub­lette + Campbell
St. Louis

Near Mt Pleas­ant May 20th Sun­day [1843]
My Beloved Husband
I have a great deal to tell you and I have no doubt I will  omit that which I most intend­ed telling.

First of all dear I know you would like to hear how our dear  lit­tle James is for I call him all the time so and every one else does.  He has not been very well ell since we came here but is not very sick so don’t be at all uneasy about him.  I could not write you a let­ter with­out giv­ing a true account of him.  He was  slight­ly dis­or­dered on board of the boat and is cut­ting stom­ach  teeth.  I could not pro­cure any milk the last two days we were on the boat which was not very good for him.  Since we came here he has drank the hard lime­stone water and also ate an apple the  first evening we came all of which togeth­er with teething has  giv­en him the bow­el com­plaint this morn­ing we all came to the  con­clu­sion that it would be best to give him a good dose of oil  to him, we gave him about a cou­ple of tea­spoons full.  Tonight  Dr. Bates was here.  Cousin Mis­souri’s hus­bands broth­er-in-law —  he is a physi­cian in Wheel­ing and has a very good prac­tice.  I  asked him what I had bet­ter do he said give him a spoon­ful of  rhubarb and one of cacume­mag­ne­sium once in a half hour he gave  him it over and moth­er and aunt Bet­sy are now admin­is­ter­ing the  oth­er does, he resists very much my heart is wound up my dear child I hope he will be much bet­ter tomor­row.  Poor lit­tle fel­low he is devot­ed to me and won’t go to any­one if he can help it.  I have engaged a col­ored girl to nurse him that he may have  some­one to wash his clothes and walk him all about in the he brisk  air which I do not feel able to do.

Our lit­tle son has gone to sleep and I will now tell  you how I got here and all about the fias­co when we arrived in  Wheel­ing.  I had every­thing ready to lave the boat after a while  the Cap­tain and Mr. Boone came up and the Capt intro­duce Mr.  Bak­er the part­ner + Mr. Forsyth’s son in law.  He said that Mr.  Forsyth had gone with Mr. Brady and oth­ers on a fish­ing  excur­sion, but that he would be hap­py to get me a con­veyance to  Mt. Pleas­ant, he was exceed­ing­ly kind to me.  I took his arm and  walked up to the hotel with him which is on the wharf Mr. Boone  being so kind to car­ry — child for me.  When we got there I bade  Mr. Boone good­bye and the tears came up as I said for I wished I  was back with you.  Mr. Bak­er brought his wife down to see me and she invit­ed me to go up to their house to spend the day and stay the night.  I declined and said that I would go and vis­it them  with plea­sure on my return but that I had not seen my moth­er for  a long time and was desirous to get a con­veyance (the stage  hav­ing left ear­ly in the morn­ing) to go out to Mt. Pleas­ant.  Mr. Bak­er said that the road was a bad one that the own­ers would not let a nice car­riage go but he got as good a one as he could — I  expressed some fears of com­ing alone he said he was going to send Mr. Forsyth’s son Hen­ry a lad of about eigh­teen with me.  I felt thank­ful at the time but every step that I advanced I felt more  grate­ful for the kind­ness to me.  I shall nev­er for­get it and if  either of us ever have an oppor­tu­ni­ty I hope we will remem­ber  their kind­ness.  The road is the most awful one I ever was on in  my life.  Potomac Creek + Rock Spring are turn­pikes in com­par­i­son it would have been utter­ly impos­si­bly for me to have brought the child along for to save my life I could no sit still it was so  rough.  He car­ried my child for me and once when the hill was as so steep we could not ride up and  we had to get out and walk about a mile.  He car­ried my boy all  the way for me so kind­ly — I was scarce­ly able to drag myself  along pant­i­ng to near­ly choked to get my breath, we had to sit  down and rest sev­er­al times — James became very rest­less toward  the lat­ter part of the ride.  We enquired [inquired] when we got to Mt.  Pleas­ant we asked at Samuel Jones store where Thomas Ger­rill  lived and Moth­er and Aunt Bet­sy were there on horse­back come to  meet me.  I had to pay $5.50 cts for the wag­on which brought us  out here the agree­ment was $4.50 but as cousin Mis­souri lived  about 2 mines far­ther than he expect­ed he added anoth­er dol­lar.   For the baby’s wash­ing, milk and a present to the cham­ber maid of the boat I had to give about $4.00 more.  I would have [?]____  ____ [illeg­i­ble] on stage but it did not leave till tomorrow.

Cousin Mis­souri has a very pret­ty 2 sto­ry dou­ble frame house  plain­ly but com­fort­ably fur­nished they keep only one lit­tle girl  [?]_____ [illeg­i­ble] years old to do what work they do not do them­selves.   They do all their house­work cook­ing & wash­ing them­selves but not  with­stand­ing they thought it quite mar­velous how I brought my  child on alone with­out a nurse and I nev­er heard so much fuss about  any­thing.  I told them all that the child was not a great deal of trou­ble to me and that I had done it for econ­o­my and would do it again.  Moth­er blamed me very much for not bring­ing a nurse with me — how­ev­er I think it was right.  Moth­er thinks James the express  image of you + they all think he resem­bles your miniature.

Good­bye dear­est Moth­er sends her best love, the baby frets so I  must go to him.

Your devot­ed wife ever,

Vir­ginia Campbell.
[This sec­tion is writ­ten across the front cov­er] They are all extreme­ly kind to  me.  Moth­ers to will­ing to go on to Phi­la [Philadel­phia] with me but wants me to  wait until you come here — which I do not wish to do — pray write and tell me when you will be on — Moth­er’s going to Raleigh from Philadel­phia and says she does not expect to return with us to  St. Louis but to go short­ly after us.  Dear­est love I left you  and my home for the best and because you thought it was  for the best, but I can­not feel as hap­py with­out you.  May god  grant that it may prove best for James Alexan­der.  I should be  mis­er­able if I thought you were not per­fect­ly well — Mr. Camp­bell + Cousin Mary wrote Moth­er the kind­est of let­ters invit­ing her  to come up spend a few months with them.

Has Dr. McPheeters heard that James’ wife died in confinement.

The mail did not leave till  Tues­day or I would have writ­ten before.  I have writ­ten this  let­ter in a great hur­ry tonight, because Dr. Bates goes to  Wheel­ing tomor­row and offered to put this on the Mon­hon­ga­hela by  which you will receive this soon­er.  Very well [?]_____ [illeg­i­ble] every­one  is atten­tive to me Moth­er looks [?]_____ [illeg­i­ble].  Please write let­ters  [?]____ _____ ___ [illeg­i­ble]?

[Writ­ten on the side of the first page] I wrote to Cousin [?]_____  [illeg­i­ble] by Mr.  Boone [?]_____ _____ ______ ____ [illeg­i­ble phrase] night.
Read­ers should note that while Vir­ginia Camp­bel­l’s hand­writ­ingw as nor­mal­ly neat and cer­tain­ly bet­ter than her sis­ter-in-law Mary Camp­bel­l’s, there were still sev­er­al illeg­i­ble words or phrases.

1st page of letter from May 20, 1843

Front Cov­er of let­ter from May 20, 18431st page of let­ter from May 20, 18432nd page of let­ter from May 20, 1843

3rd page of letter from May 20, 1843

3rd page of let­ter from May 20, 1843