1841: William Wier Stickney to Thomas West

How W. W. Stickney might have looked

How W. W. Stickney might have looked

This letter was written by William Wier Stickney (1801-1888), the son of Daniel Stickney (1760-1843) and Sarah Morse (1759-1853). William was married to Frances Alice Hough (1825-18xx) in 1850. He was an 1823 graduate of Dartmouth College and appointed to the bar in New Hampshire in 1826. Stickney served twice in the New Hampshire House of Representatives; 1839-1841, and in 1855. In 1849, he was appointed the United States Attorney for the District of New Hampshire.

We learn from this letter that W. W. Stickney of Newmarket was the attorney for George K. Perkins (b. 1814), a farmer, of Epping, New Hampshire. From the content of the letter, it appears that Perkins suffered damages of an undisclosed amount to his horse and wagon when they tumbled into an excavation made by the Boston & Maine Railroad in Newmarket. Apparently the driver was not seriously injured. We also learn that the location of the excavation where the accident occurred was in the road near the residence of Charles Smart (1780-1853) and his wife, Elizabeth (“Betsey”) Burley.

The Boston and Main Railroad passed directly through the town of Newmarket on the stretch of road between Boston (57 miles to the southeast) and Concord (36 miles to the northwest). The railroad was completed to Newmarket on 28 July 1841.

Stickney wrote the letter to Thomas West of Haverhill, Massachusetts, who became a director of the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1838 and soon after elevated to president. It was under his direction that the railroad was completed.

1841 Letter

1841 Letter

Addressed to Thomas West, Esq., Haverhill, Massachusetts

Newmarket [New Hampshire]
November 24, 1841

Thomas West, Esq.
Dear Sir,

George K. Perkins of Epping left with me for collection in April last a claim against the Boston & Maine Rail Road for damages which he sustained by reason of his falling with his horse & wagon into the ditch or excavation made by the Rail Road across the road near Charles Smart’s in Newmarket. The parties agreed to refer the claim and signed a rule for that purpose but it was not acknowledged and in order to make the decision of the referee binding upon the parties, it is necessary that the parties should acknowledge it before some Justice of the Peace. Mr. Perkins is desirous of having the claim adjusted & settled in some way as soon as it can be and he would prefer to have it settled by the referee as agreed upon, but if the Rail Road decline acknowledging the rule and going on with the referee, he has directed me to commence a suit against the Rail Road at our next court. Mr. Clark signed the rule but I suppose as he is now out of office, he would have no authority to acknowledge the rule and complete the business unless such authority was given to him by the present Board of Directors.

I wish to know as soon as you can conveniently inform me what course the Rail Road will now take in the business.

Very respectfully yours, — W. W. Stickney

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