This letter was written from Massillon, Ohio, by Ferdinand Gottfried Hurxthal (1778-1858) — a retired Baltimore merchant and War of 1812 Veteran. Ferdinand was married to Catherine Dorothea Karthaus (1789-1866). Adding a page to the letter was his daughter, Augusta (Hurxthal) Rawson (1818-1845), wife of Silas Rawson (1814-1874). Silas partnered with his brother Levi as proprietors of a flouring mill in both Akron and Massillon, Ohio.
The letter was written to Josiah W. Smith (1801-1882), husband of Augusta’s older sister Pascalina Hurxthal (1809-1867). Mention is made of the Smith’s oldest daughter, Sophia Olivia Smith (1831-1886).
Josiah Smith, a native of Philadelphia, came to Clearfield County about 1822 with his brother Lewis W. Smith. Josiah became a lawyer and in 1825, became a member of the Clearfield county bar where he practiced for many years, making a specialty of land cases. In December, 1825, he was appointed deputy attorney-general for Clearfield County, which office he filled some years. In 1856 he retired from practice and moved to his native city, only to return again to Clearfield County after a few years. He died in March, 1882.
Addressed to Mr. Josiah W. Smith, Clearfieldtown, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania
7th February 1837
Mr. Josiah W. Smith
We had this day a letter from _____ and I am requested to state that mother had not wrote yesterday being unwell, the rest being gone to Canton, and that she did not write today being busy butchering and cropersmaking. I mentioned to you in my last that there was some stirs in property here and that considerable of it had exchanged hands the last few days, that I held yours at $1400. Last Saturday I succeeded finding a good purchaser for it at that price, payable 1/4 on delivery 1st of April and the balance in three equal payments from said 1 April in 6, 12, and 18 months with interest from day of delivery. You will please send your deed & mortgage for the property in favor of Gilbert Shepard (my particular friend) who is the purchaser. The rage of speculation is still continuing. Sales are still making every day. We have a good prospect of getting a railroad to intersect the one from New Lisbon to Cleveland last year.
Massillon imported more wheat by 20,000 bushels than all the towns iin the whole of the Ohio Canals from Cleveland to Portsmouth together. This speaks volumes in favor of our city. The improvements in contemplation this year outstrip our most sanguine anticipation. I have rented another of my store rooms for $200 and have got on the second story the printing office for $125. I am much pleased that you get a little share from the prosperity of this place by the aforementioned sale, but feel sorry you hit it so bad during your stay in consequence of the sickly time as you would otherwise have dipped a little deeper in property speculation and now reaped the benefit by thousands instead of a few hundreds of dollars.
Mr. and Mrs. Hurxthal will be happy to see you all here next week at our party and hope you will not fail to make your appearance. Give my love to the whole concern and receive the assurance of my sincere regard.
— F. Hurxthal
[In a different hand]
I have just finished storing raisons for fruit cake and as papa did not fill this page, I thought I would. Next Tuesday we intend giving a large party — the first this winter. We have never invited any of our friends since I recovered from the fever. I think it is almost time to return the compliments that we have received. Papa has given you all an invitation. I hope you will accept it.
Best news always first. Mrs. Shephard will be our neighbor next spring. How glad I shall be for Mary Buss will stay most of her time with Mrs. Shephard. She is a sweet girl. I like her very much.
We had a letter from both of you today and was very much pleased to hear that you were coming off so well. I often wish I could see you if only one [paper torn], the dear little children, how much I love them. I am glad to hear that Sophy improves and that she will soon be able to write to [paper torn].
Sunday. Mr. Ivan preached in Canton [paper torn] …took us in, that is, Miss Smith, Mrs. Wheeler, and myself, to hear him. He had an excellent sermon. We were well recompensed for our trouble in going to hear him. He reminds me so much of Mr. _____.
Miss Duncan is at last Mrs. Reynolds. We have not visited since she is married. I have met her twice since she is married but never congratulated. There is but few that called on her. Her mother feels very bad about it. No party given. Their pride has been mortified I hope enough for them. Well enough of this.
I have almost filled this page and have a good deal more to say [but I] suppose it must wait till next week. I had a letter from Julia last Saturday. I shall answer it this week. Eunice B. has gone to Cleveland for to spend a few weeks. Mrs. Hagur’s mother is failing. Expect she will not last much longer. She cooks miserable.
I believe all your friends are well. They always make a great many inquiries about you. You must kiss Mossy for [paper torn].. ever talk about Aunt Augusta? Oh how much I want to [paper torn] but fear it will be a long, long time before I have that [paper torn]. Give both of the dear children a kiss for me and my love. Tell [paper torn] Aunty often thinks of them. Good bye for this time. Give my love to Brother and accept the same for yourselves. Yours affectionately, — sister A.