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Historical Letter from Eden Baldwin working in Gerard, Alabama
to his daughter, Roxy Jane Baldwin, Clockville, New York

Letter 21/1840s

Transcribed by Celesta Dailey

Excerpted from Please Write Again, available for $19.99 at lulu.com. To see a preview of the book, click here.

To: Roxy Jane Baldwin
Clockville, New York
From: Eden Baldwin
Gerard, Alabama
 

(cover)

(page 1)
Date: December 26, 1847

Accrostick [acrostic] (is a type of poem in which the first letter of every line spells out a name)

"Remember life is short-uncertain too;
"O strive, dear youth, to 'scape eternal woe,
"Xert yourself to serve the Lord above,
"You then shall triumph in Redeeming love."

"Peruse Gods' Holy Word with constant care­
"Here Truth, as in a mirror, shines most fair,
"In evry Promise strive to have some part,
"Let heavenly truth sink deep into thy heart.
"Let Christs example shore before thine eyes,
"Implore his grace to make thee truly "vise,
"Pray to the Lord till life's short date is o'er,
"So shall you then rejoice forever more.

Eden Baldwin Born August 17-1802.
Roxy Phillips Born jan. 22-1807.
Were Married April 12-1827.

Eden Augustine, Baldwin Born Aug: 28; 1828.
Roxy jane, Born june 28, 1830.
Jonathan, Born Febuary 3, 1833.
Lamira, Born August 19, 1835.
Ephraim Born Novber 17 1837
Benjamin F. Baldwin, Born july 9, 1840

Roxy P. Baldwin Died, Feb. 6 1842.
Benjamin F Baldwin Died, May 22 1842

Day after Christmus Dec. 26 1847
At Gerard Alabama,

On Sunday.

Dear Daughter,

With much pleasure I received your leter, and one from Gus, at the same time a little more than a
week ago. I had them the soonest, after they were mailed, of any that I have had before. in your
letter was enclosed a lock of little son'y Ephraims hair. I was scared when I first saw it, thinking
some of you might be dead, but to my great Joy, I soon found that you was all well. and it
pleased me verry much to see a lock of the babys hair, and if I could only see him, and all the
rest of you and have you with me, it seems to me that it would make up evry thing we have lost
allmost. Jane I cannot but think that there is something in store for us yet. I cannot be made to
believe, that a man possessing the ingenuity that I do, was ever made for nothing. I do not speak
of this in the way of boasting because I have nothing to boast of. it is given to me by that great
Mechanic, that made Earth and __ this vast arch over our heads. Jane, this acrostic, (I think is
called.) is one that was written, and composed, by Daniel Forbes, of Ashfield, a schoolteacher,
for your Mother, when she was a little girl, 1 think about Mira's age, when she was staying at
Uncle Nathan Howes. I think, and it will apply to you, and Myra, and the rest of us, as well as it
did to her. you must excuse the manner in which I have executed that mode of writing, for I have
never wrote a word in that fashion before since I went to school. but if I could compose as half as
well as Mr. Forbes, I would write one for each one of you. when I have leisure I must write this
sameone off for Lemira too, and do it better. you ask me how I like those verses of yours, I love
to read them, and thinks you done verry well considering the chance that you have had, and I am
pleased to think your mind is on something that will do you some good. I hope you, and your
little sister will learn well this winter at school. O how I long to see lemira, she looks like her
Mother. I can see exactly how she looks thouch probably she has grown a good deal cince I saw
her. be kind to her, Jane, as I doubt not you are. you must be extremely carefull about taking
colds many girls at your age, have been cut off, by takeing cold. have your boarding place as
near the schoolhouse as posible. I feel conserned about all of you, in regard to the cold, in that
part of our Country. you must see to Mira as to her dress, there is a plenty of Mothers wooling,
under clothes, that you and Mira can make you some out of. I am amazeing sorry for Jonathan,
that his uncle should be hard with him. but, Jane, tell Jony, that he has one good Earthly Friend,
alive, and I shall be there, as soon as I can posibly. but probably, not till spring. I am now
engaged making bobins for the factory, but this is too small business for me. I intend to have you
all with me, and locate in some good place probably on red river in Texas, and go to making
cotton gins, it is the most profitable business there is agoing at the present day. I calculate to
make some this winter. Gus, thinks I could not stand the cold there. but I think him mistaken. I
suppose I could stand it as well as any other man. I have gained my usual health and strength and
my flesh has come on, I am as well as ever

(page 2)
man is not confined to one climate I suppose that I
could live in a snow hut of an Esquimaux, or under Africa's scorching Sun. the suny South, here
where I am is a glorious climate and if it were not for slavery, and was inhabited by a good set of
people, it would be a happy land indeed. I have seen ice here this winter about quarter of an inch
thick one day there was a few flakes of snow flying in the air, being the first I have seen for four
years. then Ephie can shoulder a bushel of corn. I expect he will get so that he can shoulder as
much as I used to, when I was a little boy and tended Daniel Willamses mill at Goshen I was 13
years old when I got so that I could tend the mill alone, when your Grandfather Baldwin was
absent. he was gone out where, you now are, five weeks. I had to carry 3 bushels of rye up stairs,
in one bag. Ephse hair is Just the coler of mine. I hope he is a good boy, for he is living with one
of the best of men, I have known Mr. Palmer, for more than twenty years. I came accrost one of
his neffews, out here in Georgia. he is a millwright he has been out here 13 years now, he had a
family at the North. Jane I dont know as you can read my writing, if you can not you must just
tell me of it in your next letter. I will quit for to night. its late.

Jan, 19 1848. Jane the reason that I neglected my leter so long, I am pestered to get my pay for
work. the cotten trade is verry dul here now. and the consequence is, it stops the circulation of
half as much as I intended to. but I must send it as I can get it along. I maild a letter for Ephraim
this evening with 2½ gold piece in it, and shall put a five dollar gold piece in this for you, and
another, in a letter to Lemira, in sending it in several letters, we shall not be so likely to loose the
whole. that in Ephes letter is for him. and that in Lemira's is for her, but I thought that if you
could not get along until I could send you some more, perhaps she can lend it to you and I give
her another one. maybe I shall put something in Jonnys and Augustines hands, so that they can
help you to some money, without Mira's. 1 shall try. when the first letter is received there from
me, let it be which it will, you may expect money daily, for there will be one for Ephraim, and
you, and Lamira, Gus. and I regret that I have no change to pay the postage on them. I should
like to hear from Templeton and know about them things. and what is going on there S.C. and
which of the Baldwin boys got on the railroad if either. I never intend to settle in that
snowy region again. what I want is, to get a lot of land, in a new place, and cut the first tree
myself and have you all with me. and then we could get along well enough, and have evry thing
as we want it, we can make any thing that we want. and I want to get where I can have a water
power, and build us some mills, so that my children can have them after me. I shall soon be old if
I live, now in such a climate as this, in the winter is the right time to do work, such as clearing
land, or any thing else. to be shure it is more pleasant there in the summer than it is here. but go
where you will here, and you will find Northern people, all the business men are from the North,
and they scarce ever go back to live. the road here where I am, is lined with waggons all the
time, loaded with cotton, but the price is so low, here now, the planters who are able to keep their
cotton, get it stored, at Columbus. hence the scarceity of money. there is money, but not in
circulation. its occasioned, by the great failures, in England. it is warm and pleasent weather here
now, they will commence plowing soon. nothing has transpired since I commenced my letter of
account. I saw mr. Gildersleeve, the greatest runner on foot, known in the world, run, round the
race track in Columbus, ten miles in one hour. he did not stop and second untill he had run ten
miles. thats ten times round the track. our nearest neighbor died, day before yesterday, from
wounds received by fighting with another man. there has been nothing done as yet, with the man
that killed him. they are white men. the one who died had a family two or three small children
this is the fourth to my knowledge within a year, that has been killed here. Jane it is past one
oc1ock at night and I must retire. I sleep upstares rite here in my shop.

(page 3)

January 20ith

Jane I must close my letter this morning, for I have not time, to spare, neither do I practice
writing enough, so as to write in a way to suit me, or to be interesting for any body to read. my
mind has always been on mecanical affairs. one man cannot do evry thing, for he does not live
long enough. and most meloncoly thoughts I have is, that as soon as I get acquainted with the
world, and things, I must leave it allthough its a world of _____. Daughter you must never
despair, but be of good umer, and comfort. always looking on the bright side of things. there is a
wide field before us, and the wheel of fortune may come the right side up one of these days.
your Brothers are geting old enough to help me, and if we live, we will get right after a while.
time goes so fast, I can hardly tell where it has gone to. you must write to me after you have all
got your letters, and let me know how you get along, can myra write; or Jonathan; if I should
begin to make a fortune by any of my inventions, I allways intended to give your Uncle Moses
children one thousand dollars apiece. I can think of nothing more now worth writing. I want you
to be exceeding carefull of your health. do not go out in the cold, except its necessary, and then
put on warm clothes. keep your feet dry. and be kind to your ememys, if you have any, this
doctrine, is from the highest authority, read the fifth chapter of Mathew, I think you will find it
there.

I remain your Efectionate Father

Eden Baldwin

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