This letter was written by John Tuttle (1801-18xx), the son of Josiah Tuttle (1762-1833) and Evela Gates (1771-1838). John was married to Martha Ann Taylor (1817-18xx).
John wrote the letter to his mother who must have been in declining health. She died a few months later (August 1838). The letter conveys news of the death of his mother-in-law, the economic downturn brought on by the Panic of 1837, and the notion of John’s sister, Lydia Caroline Tuttle (1798-1892) coming to live in Peoria, Illinois, with his family.
Addressed to Mrs. E. E. Tuttle, East Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut
March 7, 1838
I have not received a letter from you or Caroline since last fall. I wrote Caroline in November last — have had no answer. I received a paper from you with a present enclosed for my boy. Martha was much pleased with it and says she should like to send something in return if practicable.
Martha Ann’s mother, Mrs. Taylor, died in January last. She was confined to her bed ten weeks. The rest of the family are all well.
When I wrote you last, I thought of going on to a farm this spring [but I] have given up the idea [and] shall sell it. Have commenced business in Peoria last fall. Times have altered amazingly in one year.
A man by the name of Parker is here [and] says Caroline wishes to come to this country. I do not feel myself capable of advising whether to come or not. The fact is, I have seen too many homesick people to give any advice on the subject. If she comes, I will do all that lies in my power to aid, assist, and make her contented and happy. She must expect to see a new country in every sense of the term. It is no use to misrepresent. And when she gets here be disappointed. However, in view of all this, if she wishes to come, she may rely on my aid and assistance. Farming is the best business in this country and if I was a practical farmer, I certainly should try it. I still think altho’ the times have altered so much for the worse that a man understanding farming — it is the finest country I have seen for him to live easy and make money.
I saw Mrs. Garret ¹ today. She says she is going East in about two months and you can come with her. I shall make arrangements with her so you can come. If anything should happen that she should not go, I shall go myself this summer, come what may. If Caroline makes up her mind to come, write and let me know as I can give some instructions that may be of some use to her.
Martha Ann sends her love to you all [and] says she means to go to Connecticut with me if I go.
My love &c. — J. Tuttle
¹ This was John’s sister, Mary Granger (Tuttle) Garrett (1807-18xx) — the wife of Augustus O. Garrett (1795-18xx) of Peoria, Illinois. The Garrett’s came to Illinois from Connecticut (by way of New York) in the mid-1830s. The 1850 Census shows Augustus Garrett to have been an Inn Keeper in Peoria and his son John (b. 1830) to be a river boat pilot.