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John Brown/Boyd B. Stutler Collection Database
Item Details:     Record Id: 1265
I.D. Number: MS10-0050 A-I
Title: Letter. Louisa Williamson to Jedidiah Williamson, 1859 December 8
Location: New York, New York
Date: 1859-12-08
Media Format: Letter and typescript
Description: Louisa Williamson to Dear Brother, December 8, 1859. Discusses personal matters, the weather, her family. Discusses the presence of John Brown's body at the undertaker McGraw and Taylors. Mentions Dick, Jimmy, Sam, Thomas, William Taylor, Uncle Jim. The damaged envelope is addressed to Jedidiah Williamson, Stony Brook, Long Island and has note "Louisa at the time of the [missing] John Brown affair at Harpers ferry."
Biographical or Historical Notes:
Text: [Page A] New York December 8th 1859.

Dear Brother,
I have got out of all manner of patience waiting for Dick to get at writting [sic], and I think it is high time you heard from us, so I will just give you some kind of a scratch to let you know we are alive yet. I would have written immediately upon reception of the butter, but I was very busy and not very well either about that time. It came all right and we are very much pleased with it.

Mother ought to have sent the bill with it if she will yet we will pay her for it. I have got to making bread again and we have our own fun eating good bread & good butter a luxury indeed which every New Yorker does not enjoy who pay enough to have it. I suppose you were enjoying with us [Page B] the delightful rain storm, it rained here steadily for five days, but it has at last cleared off as cold as christmas. blue noses are all the fashion more general among all classes than any other, fashion. We had a little bit of an excitement here last Sunday Evening and I must tell you about it. Well Saturday night about eleven oclock the remains of John Brown were brought here under strict privacy no one knew of it but Thomas and the undertaker and it was kept so till Sunday noon (although we all had our surmization) when Thomas had to go to a funeral and he let William Taylor into the secret, because the friend that came with it was to call & see it and some one must understand it But it proved to much for him he told the shop men first and told them the first one told he would immediately discharge.

They remained true to their trust [Page C] Dick not even telling me, but they soon found out that it had escaped for William Taylor again told only a few friends three I believe and they went out and brought their friends till they began to come by dozens and fifty's, all to purchase coffins of course from 2 oclock in the afternoon till eleven and twelve oclock when it was positively closed and then our entire block was filled with anxious men to see the body of John Brown all the talk. There was six Policeman on our walk all night to keep them from ringing Tom's night bell off or breaking down our gate. I think at least fifty went through our house in about two hours and that was when we sat and heard them knock till we got tired and then we would let them in. I never had such illustrious guests the very biggist bugs and no mistake. I went with the crowd to see him too, and think I was paid [Page D] none of his pictures that I have seen do him justice. I never see a finer looking man of his age after such a death too. his countenance was as serene as if asleep just red enough to look life like. When he come he was black in the face for they slung him in the coffin with all his clothes on with his head under his shoulder and the rope he was hung with in the coffin, and strange to say his body still warm, but the ice soon restored his looks and he went to his bereaved family all the better for his stop at M.Graw & Taylors.

The rope has been given away in inch peices [sic], the screws all taken out of his coffin as relics The friends would not part with the clothes he was hung in for no consideration & the undertaker wanted them washed so I washed them for him, his coat was peirced [sic] with bayonet stabs and through his vest too in his pantaloons pocket I found a cap for a rifle which they tell me is one of the most valuable relics left, but I guess when I realise any real benefit from it I shall be extremely fortunate, dont you?

[Page E] We all esteem him here in reality a Good man but mistaken, or misguided, or he would never have done that last deed when he did, where he did, or in the manner he did. for he must have known if he were not monomania on the subject that he would be sure to fail. But enough of this we have had laugh enough over Boss Taylor's secret, like the old womans who told everyone in the villiage [sic] herself and told them not to tell anyone.

I have made quite a scratch of it and have not said anything about the children, of course I must not omit them. They never was so well in their lives and for this blessing we are truly grateful. Jimmy shows more boy about him every day. he was dunning his Uncle Jim to day for a sled and we for a pair of skates, but I guess he got enough of the latter article in his attempts to slide [Page F] on the ice he came in the house with his nose pretty flat and the blood streaming down, he thought he was dead and I at last convinced him that he might recover, and he went out again, he has taken up singing and can sing Happy Land quite good. Sam is the owned up boss of this establishment and if I dont be pretty careful I will have to take my walking papers before long. He gets under the table now when he is mad and calls me all sorts of names among them "Old Naughty Boy" seems to be the favourite. They both talk of Stony Brook and all of you, one day Jimmy was telling one of his playmates something about you going down there and the little fellow asked him what he meant. "Why dont you know my uncle Jed and where Stony Brook is, then you are a goose"

But I must proceed to change the subject or I shall write all night with [Page G] out getting to the end. Dick has a little business I beleive [sic] with you, and if I can succeed in waking him up I will get it out of him. He is napping on the prospect of going to Belview Hospital to night and it is now nine oclock to get a stiff (as they are called) and make an extra dollar. I have succeeded, and he says he has had another application for that horse, and would like to have you write and find out if he is sold yet, as soon as you can conveniently.

There is a Doctor wants him in Harlem. He wants to know the particulars about him wether [sic] he is long legged or well proportioned generally. He wants to know so if he thinks he will suit, he will go right up and see the man about him.

Dick told him he thought he could get him for $200, and if he should come he wants to fix it with the man so as to make something. Write as soon as [Page H] you can about it and Dick will write again or come up with the man, he will arrange it by that time if the horse is not sold.

I must bid you Good Night now I am expecting a summons from Master Sam every minute.

Dont forget to write as soon as you can and for the present beleive [sic] me to be Your very affectionate Sister
Louisa Williamson.

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