August 9th, 1861

Dunkirk Chatauque County N.Y. Augst 9th, 1861

Dear Brother,

After I came to this place I Recd the letter you wrote to me last spring (May I think) it was forwarded on here from N.Y. I intended to have answered it before but thought I would wait a while and see how I liked the country generally and the [same?] I am on particurlally [sic] and am now ready to report.

The country around here is cold, windy & frosty the Land is generally of a strong quality and would be very productive were it not for the late + Early frosts and the wire worms the whole country is full of them so that when a farmer sows or plants a crop he is in doubt whether he will get back his seed again. Some do not. Our farmers have not yet found out how to get rid of the wire worm only to let the land lie idle. Keeping it well summer fallowed Early and late and starve them out but they return again on cropping the land with any thing almost. I concluded the bargain for the place in N. Y. before I had seen it. It was recommended very highly and I got our Nephew James D. Easton[1] to look at it on his return from N. Y. He made a flattering report of it. I then closed the bargain but it seems that James was deceived by persons of whom he inquired and Especially by the tenants there on it who it appears were in the interest of the owner. I made no money payment on it. I got it by way of exchange of other property in part to which I attached but little value. I shall not remain here but a short time for I find from causes already stated and sundry others too numerous to mention that the farm cannot be made to pay the interest on the purchase or rather the balance of the purchase for which I gave a Bond & Mortgage. I shall surrender the farm to the owner of the mortgage and if that will not satisfy him he may sue the bond if he pleases.

When I came here I was in hopes that I should not be obliged to move again very soon if ever but it seems I am doomed to disappointment in that respect I have not yet concluded where I shall go or what I shall do. My hands are tied so that I can not do anything from the fact that all my means or mostly so are in Bakers [sic] hands and while these awful times last I don’t Know as he will be able to raise the money for me to do with. He sold my Lockport place for $2500, and was to pay over the amount to me when ever I should need it or want it. I now need it very much but don’t Know as I shall get any of it at present. He was to pay for the balance due on this place but he can’t do it now and if he could I would not let him or I had rather take the amount and invest it in some other locality and in a smaller place. This farm is too large for me. I did not buy it thinking to keep the whole of it any longer than till I could sell the whole or a part but on becoming acquainted with the farm and the country round about I conclude I don’t want the farm or any part of it.

Alex Whalan[2] was very anxious to have me take his farm in Louisville on a life lease both before and since he mortgaged it to you but as there were no buildings on it except a Barn I thought it would be rather a hard bargain but as times have turned and prospects now are perhaps it would have been as well for me if I had taken it. He executed the life lease so I can take the farm at any time subject to your mortgage. I don’t hardly think he will be ready to pay the mortgage at maturity but if I can raise the means out of what is due me I shall probably pay it myself and hold it till it can be sold for something near its value if I don’t occupy it myself. This war is making [sic] terrible work not only with the government but with individuals and when, where or how it is to End no one Knows. All hope for the best and I hope it will not End till this monsterous [sic] wicked and abominable rebellion is crushed out and the getters up of it made to feel the strong arm of the Union and the constitution as it is. I would hang them higher than Haman if I had the power to do so and the rascalls within reach.

We have enjoyed very good health since we came here and from rheumatism and from old ailments Have had very fine hay weather. That crop is all secured in good order though light farmers are now harvesting Barley and spring wheat. No winter wheat raised here. Corn looks well though late. That is what the wire worms left. Early potatoes are struck with rust the stalks dieing [sic] & the potatoe [sic] itself will undoubtedly rot. I should be glad to hear from you often and Know how your health are, Howe [sic] Harriet is getting along and what you and George[3] are doing and many other things about Potsdam.

M. B. joins in Kind regards to you all individually and collectively and should be most happy to see you all. This place is 37 miles west of Buffalo and 3 miles East of Dunkirk village on the Lake Shore or Buffalo & Erie Rail Road. I do not reside in Dunkirk but that is my Post office address. Direct letters to that place. in S Raymond Potsdam NY

Truly yours &c

J. Raymond

J. Raymond, Potsdam, N. Y.

[1] Probably the son of John’s sister Sarah and her husband Perry Easton, then of Huron County, Ohio.

[2] Probably a family relation of John’s wife Elizabeth Whalan.

[3] Sewell’s son, George B. Raymond.


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