Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pioneer Letters

Granite County Historical Society thanks Pat Close for providing us with the following correspondence from the A.S. (Stearny) Blake archives.

#1028-16th St. S.W.
Washington City D.C.

My Dear Stearney--
      Last fall, after working for over 16- years for Blake &McKibbin I was discharged by McKibbin--This was opposed by L.L.[Levi L. Blake] but he had not the power to prevent it. Since then I have not done anything & now I am in need of some sort of work to live on--
       I write to you to ask you if there is anything for me to do in Your neighborhood. I can Keep books or do any kind of clerical work, and  have still good health.
        As you may remember, in the old times, I helped you and Bud MacAdow, and all my life have been willing to help others.
         Now I want you to write to me and let me know if there is anything in which I might be able to help you, as you must have need of helpers in your various works. Or if you know of any openings for me in the Bitter Root Valley.
          The Major and his family are all well, and a few days ago Eliot Smith was here in Washington & his folks are well.
           We have had a very cold & rainy Summer so far, and the Steamboat business has not been very good.
            If there are any openings in the vicinity of Victor put me in, and send for me.
            Please do not fail to drop a few lines, & give me the news of the Country, and all of my old friends in whom I have always taken a lively interest, & am glad to hear of their prosperity.
            We have not heard a word from Granville Stuart since he was here. You know Bill Hamilton, (Deaf Bill) could you give me

This letter is incomplete, without a date  and stops mid sentence. Obviously the recipient is A. S. (Stearney) Blake and the writer is assumed to be Thomas Adams. The subject adds to what is known about Tom's life in Washington City and leaves the reader with a sad picture of a very desperate unemployed, proud man.

The first part of the following letter to  A.S. (Stearney) Blake from Fred Burr is missing.

...built especially for their Mt. Vernon business- in connection with the Marshall Hall work. The Macalaster is the fastest and most elegant boat in these waters. Carries about 2,000 passengers, and was crowded to her utmost capacity during the busy season, making three trips a day.
        Marshall Hall is the finest summer resort on the Potomac and is always crowded with pleasure seekers in the summer that together with Mt. Vernon and the work down the river carrying freight and the mails to different points on the river, gives plenty of business---and will require both boats this summer-- the boat lately purchased is said to be first class and large enough to carry 12 to 1500 people. She is now in Baltimore being overhauled, painted &c. I am writing to you these details not knowing if you are posted or not, but as I imagined that "paralyzed hand" of your brother had not gotten well enough to allow him to write much. Thought he had not told you very much news. Mrs. Blake is a fine looking and good woman---and the baby has lots of friends, when the next one comes (it may be expected before many moons) then the Major will be proud sure enough.
          Tom Adams is about the same Form-- though greyer--in fact white as a white cat. He has not married. We often sit down and talk over old times, and he declares he will go to Montana some of these days. Do you ever see Tom Harris if you do I wish you would push him to write to me in answer to my letters about my Claim for the value of the horses stolen from me in 1857 --- he knows all about the matter and his evidence would help me to get my claim through, now that there is a fair prospect of getting it allowed. My lawyer has written to him as well as myself but lately we can not hear from him. While I was asking for favors I will say that now appears to be a good time for Power and Sanders to urge upon the Interstate Commerce Commission the increase of my salary, as the Commissioners will want to make all the friends they can among the Senators and members to get themselves put on a firm footing.
         I was appointed at a salary of $75.00 per mo. and was glad to get that as I thought when once in an increase would come, but if my backers do not push the matter it may be long before the promotion comes.  I say it (not to boast) and without fear of contradiction that I do more work and of the same class of work as the Clerks who sit around me getting $100 and think it is only fair that the same salary should be given me. If you can stir those fellows up please do so.
                                                                                               Remember me to all friends
                                                                                                     Yours Truly
                                                                                                       Fred H. Burr

Dec. 14, 1891
A. S. Blake Esq.                         
                                                      Friend Blake
                                                                                                                  I learned from L.C. Powers that I was indebted to you for your exertions on my behalf in regard to my procuring a position in the Inter State Commission and I hasten to thank you sincerely and kindly for your interest in my welfare. Your brother the Capt. told me that he had mentioned the matter to you, and I am thankful to him also. He has always proved himself to be a good friend to me and also to Mrs. Burr.
           At the risk of "riding a free horse to death"  I have another request to make of you. There is a rumor of changes to be made in this office, and there may be a chance for me to be advanced. Although I am thankful for $900---still would like $1200 better. and with out undue credit to myself I know that I do the same class of work and more of it than many of those who get the Larger salaries. I thought if you saw Power or Sanders you might prod them up, sometimes they forget little things like this matter, in the press of their business. Remember me to all the Boys, and when you have time and inclination please write to me.
             I sent you a paper. I would like to see some Montana papers.
                                                                                                          Yours Truly
                                                                                                           F. H. Burr
                                                                                                            612 B. Street N.E.

Dec 28
            The foregoing was written as you will see some time ago but was not mailed for some reasons, one of which I did not know your P.O. address. Today I met the Capt. or Major, he told me that Victor was the right address. The Major is looking well he has been a little under the weather with a bad cold but is all right now. He says your Sister is (or has been here) and was anxious to hear from you directly. Major told her "a fellow came to borrow a dollar from me the fellow said he worked for Sternei", he had come here to get a pension ($5oo) per mo-- and was broke.
                                                                                                   As ever
                                                                                                     Yours Truly
                                                                                                       Fred H. Burr

Victor Jan. 9th" 1892
F.H. Burr
Washington D.C.
        Dear Friend
Yours of 14th" Dec. came to hand, and I was glad to here from you and here you were in the land of living yet- and had a position. I did not get your letter in time to do anything for you as our Senators had come and gone. How ever my intention is to visit Washington in May and if I can be any help to you will be glad to do so.  Granville Stuart was at my place about six weeks ago and stop with me two days and we had an old fashioned visit. Talked about you and all the old timers and had a good time. Granville is looking well and feeling well. I made a start for Washington with my Partner and got as far as Chicago and he took sick with the Gripp and stoped with him two weeks, and in the mean time Congress adjourned for the holidays and they was so much sickness I thought I would come back and take in California this winter. Frank Woody and Myself will start next Wednesday. What has come of  Tom Adams. I don't here from him any more, quite a number of your old friends have died since I wrote you last--Lomprey,  Silverthorne,  Higgins and some other I can't think of now.  Fred I am always glad to here from you as that big Brother has quit writing to me  I guess he has to much to do to write. I will send you some papers and say good by. Yours Truly AS Blake