1845: Alexander Jacob Cost to Col. Elias Cost

Signature of Alexander J. Cost

Signature of Alexander J. Cost

This letter is datelined January 13, 1844, but it should have been dated 1845. It was written by Alexander Jacob Cost (1813-18xx), the son of Christian Cost (1774-1823) and Marianne Simons (1775-1845). Christian Cost was the son of Jacob Kast (1751-1825) and Anna Maria Bruner (1753-1844). Alexander appears to have been well educated and employed in the commercial sector of New York City in 1845. Nothing further found.

He wrote the letter to his uncle, Col. Elias Cost (1777-1851), of Oaks Corners, Ontario County, New York. Elias first came to Oaks Corners in 1799 at the age of 21. His first wife was Lucretia Shekells (1775-1813), the daughter of Capt. Shekells. After her death he married Fanny Dickeson, the widow of Thaddeus Oaks. His daughters became the wives of Thomas Johnson of Maryland and Lynham J. Beddoe. One daughter was unmarried. Col. Cost was on the frontier in the War of 1812 in the regiment of Col, Micah Brooks and was at the sortie of Fort Erie.

Elias’ sister, Catherina Cost (1782-1848) was the mother of the William Cost Johnson (1806-1860) mentioned in this letter. In addition to his legislative career, “Cost Johnson” was the unsuccessful Whig candidate for Governor of Maryland in 1841, opposing Francis Thomas. He was also President of the National Convention of Young Men which met in Washing D. C. to nominate Henry Clay for President. In Congress, he was for years Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands and he attempted to disperse the money derived from the sale of public lands to the various states where it could be spent on internal improvements.

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Addressed to Col. Elias Cost, Postmaster, Oaks Corners, Ontario County, New York

New York [City, New York]
January 13th 1844 [1845]

Dear Uncle,

Your favor of the 27th December only came to hand this day. You may think it strange that I did not receive it before as you directed it properly (to the City Hall) but by some carelessness in the Post Office, it was not put with the City Hotel letters, and has consequently been laying there since its arrival, and it was only by looking over the published list of letters remaining in the post office that I discovered it.

I heard from Maryland a few weeks ago and at that time our friends were all well. Our friend William Cost Johnson you are aware is now a member of the legislature, and I know from the proceedings that he is urging his 200,000,000 project with much zeal. He offered a few days since a resolution in the House requesting that the Senators & Members of Congress from Maryland will urge upon the Congress of the U.S. the passage of a measure offered by him in Congress a year or two since for the issuing of the General Government of 200 millions scrip to be divided proportionably amongst all of he states according to their federal representation in Congress. His resolution passed the House of delegates by a vote of 44 to 18. The resolution is now before the State Senate for confirmation which today I have no doubt it will pass.

A stranger contest now going on for the appointment of a U. S. Senator in the place of Mr. [William Duhurst] Merrick and for that position there are 4 prominent names: William Cost Johnson, Reverdy Johnson, Mr. Price & Mr. [James McCannon] Schley. Who will be successful a few days will determine. I hope William may be successful as I know he would fill the position with credit to himself, and with interest to the government, but my apprehensions of opposition to him warn me not to be sanguine of his appointment.

You wrote me about a Piano forte some time since, but when Mrs. Hotchkiss was here she apprised me of your having obtained one. You write me that you had spent a delightful Christmas and that you had much company at your house. Nothing could have given me more pleasure than to have been one of the number as I have but few female acquaintances in the city. The only engagement I had was drinking eggnog and eating gingerbread — a poor way truly of passing the time, but nothing better offered and it was therefore a matter of necessity with me.

I am happy to find from your letter that [your daughter] Miss Cornelia is rapidly advancing in her studies and that she seems to enjoy the duties devoving upon her as a pupil. A good education is certainly one of the greatest treasures a parent can confer upon a child, because its capacitates them for any exigencies in after life and never fails to confer many blessings.

Our city at present in a commercial point of view is quite dull, but the importers are beginning to receive goods from abroad and I hope in a week or so business will open. It is thought, however, that it will be light this spring as but few goods are coming out in the packets.

The matter between us I will attend to at the earliest period in my power, without waiting for a gentle hint from you.

Please present my kindest regards to Aunt, Mr. & Mrs. H. Atro [?] to Mrs. & Mr. B____, and to Cornelia when you see her.

With sincere regards, I remain yours truly, — Alexander J. Cost

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