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USA - 1811 New York By Favour

 
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Posted 12/11/2018   10:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add jamesw to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Picked this up a few weeks ago, and have been looking into. It's an 1811 letter sent by a brother to his sisters in New Jersey. Looks to be sent 'by favour', as there's a line inside that reads, 'Direct you letters No. 26 Nassau St. care of B.E. Bliss it would be better to send them by Mr. Duyckinck whenever he goes to Newark and father will send them to us thereby save postage'



Mr. Horatio Holden writes to his sisters Emma Holden and Mrs. Hannah Duyckinck after returning to New York. He had been visiting his sisters in New Jersey. The letter looks to be addressed to Somerton New Jersey, but after closer examination, and the town name repeated inside, it looks to be Lornerton. BUT there is no Lornerton in New Jersey, that I could find. In fact I was quite stumped on Google to find any info about the locale or the parties involved.



So I contacted the New Jersey Postal History Society and was promptly messaged by a lady named Jean, who was quite enthusiastic and incredibly helpful. She found me some names on a genealogy website, and some other clues.



We have the writer Horatio (as he calls himself) or Horace Holden (5 Nov 1793, d. 25 Mar 1862) and his sisters Emma Holden (b. 31 Aug 1791, d. 21 Mar 1863) and Hannah Duyckinck (b. 30 Jan 1790, d. 10 Jul 1867). Hannah had married Richard Bancker Duyckinck (b. 26 Aug 1781, d. 1 Jul 1849) from Lamington NJ.
Now, Lamington is not mentioned in the letter, but it is central to many landmarks and locations mentioned there. All the dates match up pretty well. Hannah would have been 21 years of age, Emma 19, turning 20 the month after this letter was sent. Horace/Horatio would have been 17 years old. He was travelling with companions he did not name.

If these are indeed the right folks, and all the evidence points to it, their dad would have been Levi Holden, who was a lieutenant in George Washingtons bodyguard. Horace would eventually become a New York lawyer.

The Duyckinck family was a long standing Dutch clan in the area. Their home was called Lornerton Farm in Horace's letter. Jean from the NJHS found some reference to a Lomerton farm in some old newspapers from the area.
The Duyckincks remained on the land until it was sold to the the Cowperthwaithe Family in 1917. In 1939 they built a new house, to be called Lamington House (after the nearby village) on the site of the old Duyckinck home. The Cowperthwaithe's maintained the property until 1981 when it was purchased by John DeLorean. When he declared bankruptcy in 1999 the property was purchased by a guy named Donald Trump.
Oh, did I forget to mention that the property is in Bedminster Township? Mr Trump built his Bedminster golf course on the site. Lamington House became the clubhouse. Of course it's now known as his 'Summer Whitehouse'.
So the bottom line is, this letter, delivered by hand in 1811 makes a connection, albeit rather tenuous, between US President Washington (#1) and US President Trump (#45).

Jean has encouraged me to do a write up on this one, which she suggested could be published in their journal. You know, I think I may do it this time. I know I've talked about it before with other letters, but she's sent me a lot of info. So I feel a little obligated, and she was getting pretty excited about this one too!

I have Christmas week off. A fresh bottle of port, and some quiet time. Happy holidays to me!
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Edited by jamesw - 12/11/2018 10:40 pm

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Posted 12/11/2018   10:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add No1philatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Really nice job done on that letter James. Nice work in connecting all those dots. That sort of investigation of "real" and not "fake" history is what really makes this hobby enjoyable.

Mike
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Posted 12/11/2018   11:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jamesw to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you No1philatelist, but Jean from NJPHS really deserves much or most of the credit. She research this over a couple of days (got quite excited in fact!) and left me all the bread crumbs.
For those interested, here's my transcript of the letter.

New York 18th July 1811
My dear sisters, I suppose you begin to feel anxious to hear from us and to know how we got home. We had a very pleasant time after we got over the mountains. When we passed over Long-Hill we were very much delighted with the beautiful and extensive prospects. We arrived at 'Square' Littles about 12 o'clock, took a little gin sling. (?) and started for Newark where we landed safe and sound in wind, limb and eye sight, a half past 2 o'clock p.m. We found mother much better than we expected, however she was not well. Sunday afternoon we rode down to Elizabeth Town, spent the afternoon there, very pleasantly. I returned about sunset; we had a delightul time indeed. When we got home we thought it time to begin to prepare for N. York, a ???? we fitted ourselves out for a trip, which, "I guess was nicely done to it" and took our departure on Monday morning. We arrived safe at half past ten o'clock in this great City of Gotham, where we were heartily wellcomed (sic), and our return greeted with hard shaking of the hands and smacking kisses - well ; now you see we are safely home but, to return to Lornerton (?) Lord bless you, girls how do ye do? Is Emma's stomach any better? Does our friend Betsey Parker remain in good health? I should like to have a frolick (sic) with you all this evening - but alas!
Richmond says he will write to Emma and prescribe some remedy for her sickly body. I hope the Somerton/Lornerton air will have as good an effect upon her consumptive habits as it did upon us. - Oh! my/with a sigh/we wish for another jaunt. We were so well pleased with the last. But I don't know when we shall come again. Perhaps we shall be able to come next winter, when you all will be at leisure. When we reflect upon the pleasant time we enjoyed at your house, going and returning from Schooley's Mountain and we really feel ourselves much indebted to you and heartily wish for a return of so happy a time We now see the difference between the city and country and we are firmly persuaded, if you could realise half the blessings which Providence has profusely lavished upon you, and enjoy the comforts within your reach you must be happy if you are contented. A contented mind is a continual feast but as the fellow said, "there's the rub"_ However I hope you can philosophise (sic) enough (with the numberless enjoyments which continually surround you) to be perfectly contented and (as far as this world affords) perfectly happy
(turn over)
Well what more shall I say tell Em, " I feel queer all the way down" and I should like to wet her head with a little cool water
Give my sincere love to your "husband" with many thanks for his kind attention. It is uncertain when we shall repay him, but if we are unable to requite his kindness, we will come again and increase the debt and some time or other, pay you all a lump, for we have no notion of doing business on a small scale. The Schooley's Mountain has almost cured Sarah, and I have no doubt but that the jaunt and water together will have an
admirable and good and great effect upon Mrs. B and if "I had only time enough I'd tell you all about it" strike up the music, Yankee Doodle.
Give our sincere respects to the old Gentleman, with thanks for his politeness and kindness. I hope his horse will arrive safe home, we are much indebted to him for the use of it. I gave directions at home to have him well taken care of. remember us to Wm. (William) tell him we shall not forget him as long as a twig grows on the Lornerton Farm.
I believe I have written almost enough and I will leave the rest for my worthy friend, Madam B.
Emma must not forget to bring that book home with her and send it to me. I never thought of it when we started Upon the receipt of this, we shall certainly expect a long answer from each of you.
I hope you will have a prosperous time in gathering your harvests and I trust Heaven has in store for you and your beloved husband, many returning "Harvests" of prosperity and rational pleasure, and many feasts to come of joy and mutual love.
Accept the sincere well wishes of your affectionate
Horatio
"Farewell"
n/o
Mrs H. Duyckinck and
Miss Emma Holden
Lornerton
Emma must not forget the book _
notes on back
Mr Duyckinck's tickets are all blanks except No. 2.950 - a prize of $10
Direct you letters No. 26 Nassau St. care of B. E. Bliss
it would be better to send them by Mr Duyckinck whenever he goes to Newark and father will send them to us thereby save postage

Image showing notes.



Me again! Jean also noted that the reference to New York as 'this great city of Gotham' as coming from a Washington Irving book, the Salmagundi Papers in 1807.
She also figures 26 Nassau St. is probably in New York City, as there is not Nassau St that we could find in Newark. This address in NYC is now Chase One Manhattan Plaza in the Financial District. Couldn't find any reference to anyone named Bliss living there 200+ years ago.

I found a period map (1812) of New Jersey which shows some of the landmarks around Lamington. Also regarding the discrepancy in the letter writers name (Horatio/Horace) I found several references online to the 'fact' that at one time these names seemed interchangeable. Reference Horatio/Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford.
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Edited by jamesw - 12/11/2018 11:24 pm
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Posted 12/12/2018   01:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Great research on this. Should you go ahead and write it up I might suggest that you point out that it is an interesting peek at a family' communications in 1811, but it is not postal history as it never went through the mails. It is a good example of how more than a few people got around the postal service delays and fees by having traveling friends and family carry messages, just as is still done today. Over the years I've carried many hundreds of such messages for friends when I travel internationally, especially to places where the mail is slow and uncertain. I might also leave out the link between Presidents Washington and Trump as it is so very tenuous that it comes across as a bit contrived and would take away from the more interesting research on this family's personal lives in 1811.
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Edited by Kimo - 12/12/2018 8:35 pm
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Posted 12/12/2018   01:14 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bobby De La Rue to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
.....and this is why I love postal history!

Thanks James
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United States
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Posted 12/12/2018   07:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Swscfdc87 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Great job! I love the history behind the letters! Postal history is so much fun. I think the link between this family and Trump is quite interesting. Loved reading all your research. Thank you for sharing.
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Posted 12/12/2018   8:52 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
...Over the years I've carried many hundreds of such messages for friends when I travel internationally...


Kimo,
Were those communications sealed? People typically seal correspondence to maintain privacy. Publicly publishing personal information, even when the people are no longer alive, still makes me uneasy.

Once someone dies, do their privacy rights die with them? If you died tomorrow, can someone publish all of your emails and other personal documents from your computer?

Perhaps one of our lawyers can weight in but from what (little) I know this is a legal gray area. There have been some landmark privacy cases after a person has died (like releasing autopsy information) but it may be that these were based upon HIPAA (privacy of medical records) laws.
Don
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Posted 12/12/2018   9:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add No1philatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am no legal beagle, but in Canada I understand that government census public records are open to anyone after 100 years has passed. Medical records have always been private. Besides, the letter is out in public domain and more than 100 yrs passed so it would be normally assumed that there would be no privacy issues. As well anyone can go to public archives and delve into almost anything that has been archived, donated or saved, including personal letters. But I understand your concern Don, especially with the mention of that dreaded consumption.

Mike
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Edited by No1philatelist - 12/12/2018 9:32 pm
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Posted 12/12/2018   10:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jamesw to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hey Don. I understand your concerns, and I guess they could be legitimate - I really don't know. I look on these as historical records. Historians often use old correspondence in their research, and much is available in archives and museums. When I read these I see it as a glimpse into the past and maybe a view into how people lived. It's a learning experience. But I do get where you're coming from.
I do have limits though. I own an aerogramme sent to a Canadian airman during WWII. He never received it. The letter arrived several days after he was shot down and killed. He's buried in Berlin. Folks have asked me if I've opened it and what it says. But in this case I figure since he never read it, it's still private, so it's not mine to open. I'm just its custodian.
On the lighter side, I once found a letter written by my Uncle Harry (he was a cartoonist) for sale on an autograph web site. He would have scoffed at the $600 price tag.
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Posted 12/13/2018   06:02 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi James,
Understood and I support your efforts, my post was only meant to stimulate discussion and thought.

In the US there is no explicit right to privacy in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. But there has been a number of court decisions which seem (to my untrained legal mind) that interpreted the Constitution as a document that does indeed provide a right to privacy. Certainly many of us would cringe at thought of our personal communications being considered public domain just because we died. This would not change just because someone is considered 'important' or historically significant.

I am also unsure of any possible 'statute of limitations'. Even if a person has passed many years ago, surviving family could still be harmed or at least wish that the communication be kept private.

I have first hand experience at how family communications, which were 'outted' by a stamp collector (myself), can cause significant pain and suffering even through the family members were long ago deceased. I had no idea at the time (1970s) that I was getting into something that was not widely known in my family but even to this day some of the relationships have not healed. Just food for thought.
Don

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Posted 12/13/2018   08:23 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Swscfdc87 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm certainly no lawyer, but according to rules:

For unpublished works (if personal letters fall into this category) would be life of the author + 70 years.

So.. we have "the writer Horatio (as he calls himself) or Horace Holden (5 Nov 1793, d. 25 Mar 1862)" 1862+70 = 1932 this letter would have entered into the public domain.

Like I said, not sure if you would call a personal letter an unpublished work. Also, this doesn't cover what is morally right. However, if 156 years after I die, someone thinks what I wrote in letter was interesting and wanting to share it, I personally wouldn't mind. I might think they were nuts-

I'm glad you posted.
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Posted 12/13/2018   08:47 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Swscfdc87,
I assume that ownership of the letter or correspondence is important in any legal action, it certainly would be applicable in any copyright action.

But keep in mind that civil action law suits are very expensive. Who wants to test the waters by publishing an old letter and then spending big dollars trying to defend yourself in court? Seems to me that this just adds to the caution postal historians may want to consider.
Don
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Posted 12/13/2018   10:02 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Revenue N Covers to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Re Don's question/statement I thought of a couple of things worth considering..
US Census records are typically released 70 years afterwards so the 1940 just became available which fits time wise with the copyright range.

Many many museums and historical organizations who have archives of peoples papers indicate clearly whether or not there are any restrictions to researchers (which donating families or institutions may put in place). These can be either for inspection/examination and/or disclosure in publication.

Obviously its different when private individuals delve into papers of other private people as the above might work as guidelines rather than hard and fast rules or legal precepts.

Don, hoping I am not putting words in your mouth but I think you are on the right track about essentially letting your conscious be your guide. I do disagree about the notion of a right to privacy you made - I think the 4th and 5th amendments to the BoR is pretty clear (if no longer in practice).
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Posted 12/14/2018   08:28 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Swscfdc87 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don, I would also assume ownership would be important. I also think finding family to get permission is always the way to go. However, with over 300 million people in the US it can be nearly impossible. Worth a try? Certainly.

In no way was I saying it's ok to publish personal letter without permission if you can get it. There are a lot of gray areas. I always appreciate your voice of experience.
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Canada
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Posted 11/10/2019   8:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jamesw to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
following up on this one, and possibly reopening the 'reading someone else's mail' discussion.
Picked up this letter today. Sadly not a folded letter, and no envelope, so the postal aspect is lost, BUT there is a connection to the 1811 letter shown above.
This is an 1850 letter sent to Horace and Emily Duyckinck by their nephew Aaron L. (Longstreet) Stillwell. The Duyckinck's still live in Lamington (Lornerton) NJ, one of the variations in spelling of the town. Horace is the fourth child of Hannah and Richard Duyckinck, Hannah being the recipient of the 1811 letter.
What's interesting, to me, is the historical connection, and also how much young Aaron, who is studying to become a minister, sounds, on paper, like his Great Uncle Horace/Horatio who wrote the letter above.


https://www.ebay.com/itm/-/617168003695 target _blank rel nofollow 617168003695 /a a4863233.jpg" border="0" style='cursor:default' onClick='doimage(this,event)'>



The dealer I bought both these letters from, a year apart, has a number of others. I'm considering a major investment, since she's not going cheap on them. It'd be interesting to 'complete the set'. Already invested heavily mentally and emotionally in this family I've never met. Why not financially too?
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Edited by jamesw - 11/10/2019 9:52 pm
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Posted 11/11/2019   8:28 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Unless there is something exceptionally historical with the letters I would not think they would have only a very modest commercial value should you ever desire to resell them in the future. Paying a high price for them is not an investment other than in satisfying your personal curiosity. And this is especially so for any communications that are without their covering envelopes. The first one you showed is no mail as it did not go through the postal system - it is simply a personal written communication carried by friend on his travels. When I do this for friends, they simply give me their communications in a sealed envelope and write the name of the person to whom they wish it to be given when I arrive somewhere on my business or personal travels and they put a notation "By courtesy of Kimo". I sometimes also carry things that the recipient really wants and cannot get locally such as certain brands of food (I draw the line at carrying heavy things like cans of food or liquids. Though one time I went over the top and carried some small engine repair parts that they could not get locally. Those things are not mail either. Or when my friends and colleagues want me to carry something like a stack of bill payments they put them in sealed envelopes and put domestic stamps on them and whenever I get back to the States I simply drop them in a the first postbox I happen to see where they are carried through the mail as if the person had mailed them in the US. My carrying things like this is not mail, it is simply a personal favor. If I drop them in a post box somewhere, at that time they become simple domestic mail as they are carried by the Post Office through their official means to their destination.
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Edited by Kimo - 11/11/2019 8:31 pm
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