1846: John H. Bush to Albert H. Litchfield

How John H. Bush might have looked

How John H. Bush might have looked

This letter may have been written by John H. Bush (1829-19xx), an emigrant from England who appears to have held a variety of jobs in Utica or Rome, New York. He was married to Cordelia Fuller (1827-19xx), the daughter of Orrin I. Fuller (1803-1840) and Isabella Donaldson. John and his brother-in-law, Asa O. Fuller (1836-1903), were silversmiths in Utica for a time, and then both worked for the railroad.

John wrote the letter to Albert H. Litchfield (1820-1918), the son of Luther Litchfield (1792-1879) and Elizabeth Lane (1796-1868). Albert was a shoemaker residing in Turin, Lewis County, New York. Albert later relocated to Bristol, Kendall County, Illinois.

We learn from this 1846 letter that John Bush was employed as a barkeep for Mr. McGregor who kept a hotel in downtown Utica.

1846 Letter

1846 Letter

Addressed to A. H. Litchfield, Turin, Lewis County, New York

Utica [New York]
May 10th 1846

Honored Brother & Sister,

I received yours of the third inst. last evening. It brought big news from the state of Somersville. What in the old Harry have they been about flourishing times down there. I should think you’d write to Jim & tell him I will take Miss Lyd M. F. & come down there if he thinks I can have as good luck as he has had. What do you think? I think so too. This is a great world & people what can’t live in this can’t live in now, I am sure.

You wrote your shoemaker was up in the world. I am glad to hear that. Send her & Warren’s girl out here & I will send them to the select school. Be sure & send them by the first of June & they will get educated for the first of July.

The telegraph comes here & this is a great place to do business quick.¹ I think if Jim’s girl is smart as its Father & Mother accordingly, she will do to come by the first of August. No more about young ones at present.

How is Warren & wife? Tell them J. & myself are well. I would like to see their gal. Does Harriet live with Mrs. Hunt? By the by, send Crawford’s boy with your girls, will you? I did not think of him. How is Sarah & on? You did not write a word about them.

Ab, I have got a good place. I am much pleased with my situation. How long I shall stay here, I can’t tell. McGregor is a curious man. Although he likes me now, he may get up wrong end first in the morning & he may not in a year. He has a man that works here that has been porter for ten years but what do I care for that. McGregor gives me the keys to the bar but does not to him. I tend bar most of the time. My work is not hard. I set up most all night & he tells me to sleep as much as I wish in the day time. Ask Rome. He would not let him call me when he was here. I can suit the old man to a charm as yet. I come here Sunday. When I come, the old man told me he did not want me; he had hired another man. I told him I wrote him according to agreement & had come on. Well, he said, look around & see what you can do. I told him when I made a bargain with a man, I was on hand & expected he was the same & with that we parted. He went to church & I about the city. Monday he said nothing & I still less. Tuesday morning he told a man he had here he could pack kit & leave & told me I could commence work. That fellow made some fuss about gutting. Mc[Gregor] told him not one word out of his head or he would boot him out doors. He keeps four hired men & I am head man for I carry the keys & none of the others have that privilege — even his own son. He has eight hired girls — some Welsh, some Dutch, some three Irish & our Devil — you know there always is a Devil amongst so many. What I mean by Devil is full of Cain. I told one of them I was married & the news went around the house like a whirlwind. They all think it is so — even to Mrs. McGregor — and they will never be any wiser by my telling them. It will [put] some change in my pocket.

Ask C. D. Budd how his boots suit. Tell Put to send that coke of sugar to me. I have not had any since I have been in the city. I see Alf Bush this morning in the cars. I see some of the Turin chaps most every day. Ab, my fine boots have all come to pieces. I shall buy me a pair in the morning. I can buy boots for a song & have them half worn out for me in the bargain. Ain’t that cheap enough? Tell Ed I have looked around to get him a place but do not find any yet. When pleasure travel commences, perhaps he may get a chance to drive team in some of these livery stables if that would suit him. I will try to get him a chance if he wishes.

Cabinet Schenectady 5 May 1846

Cabinet, 6 May 1846

I see Butterfield & Gardner most every day. I can then tell him to send me word if he would like to come. You said Ed had heard from Frank. What sort of a place has he got? If he was here, I could get him a place to wait on tables. He would not get very large wages but he could do better after awhile.

Ab, you write to Frank & tell him if he has got a good chance to work to improve it & save his wages for he is amongst strangers & he must carry sail straight forward. Tell him to be sure & get his pay of the man he works for & not only get it but save it. Tell him to write me & let me know where he is. I have had a visit from S. B. Rea. He was quite anxious to have me go home with him. I think I shall go down in the course of the summer & see Roset.

No more room, — John H. Bush

I have tired out my pen & now take my pencil. What did Roxanna have to say? Tell her John Van What is his name. Tell her there is a large circus ¹ coming here in a few days and if she is not married before it comes, I will come out & get her. Who cares for John Van. Tell her to look on her finger & she will recollect the circus last year. Tell her there was a man here the other day told me about Mr. John Van S. and Miss Roxanna Raymond. Tell her I have a word to say about matters & things. My love to C. Raymond & wife.

¹ The telegraph between Utica and Albany was completed in 1845. By the summer of 1846, the telegraph was completed from Albany to New York City which allowed for the rapid transmission of news from the metropolis to Utica — much faster than the intelligence transmitted by Erie Canal packets. 

² John does not name the circus that was coming to Utica but it may have been the same one that was playing in Schenectady in mid-May 1846. This was the Sands, Lent & Co.’s American Circus. See advertisement. See also Lewis B. Lent. Theirs was the first American Circus that played in Europe.

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