Letter - August ?, 1871  

New information suggesting that Thomas Jackson's sons had fallen out with each other but "had become friendly again". Also believes that although Thomas Jackson had become wealthy, "it is not a blessing to them."

NOTE: Unlike most of the letters from other authors, this one has had punctuation added and spellings improved to aid quick reading. The news relating to Caleb Slater and Thomas Jackson has been highlighted.

Metuchen Aug 1871

Dear Cousins, one and all

I might make an apology for not writing sooner but its no use I will confess my neglect and hope to do better in future and hope you will do the same. I received your letter in Apr. informing us of your Mothers death in Feb 7 I was thankful to hear of her resignation and preparation for that event how transient are all earthly things may we all be prepared to meet our believing friends where parting is no more. I wrote to you in March I suppose the letters passed each other on the way my health has been pretty good till June, I then received what we call a slight stroke of the sun while hoeing up some weeds about noon I have not been able to be out in the sun since without an umbrella it gives me no pain but a continual noise and rumbling in my head I hope it will get better in winter if I live. I am thankful it was no worse. it is rather common for men to be struck dead with the sun, I am thankful I sold my farm as I am now pleasantly situated in my old age. my wife often complains of the infirmities of age still she does her own household work except we hire an Irish woman to wash for us Chas. boards at home since June he is a carpenter and is strictly sober and industrious and a professor of religion for which I am thankful Bro Wms health is good he is become Grandfather I told you in my last (letter) he started his son and son in law in a dry good store at Perth Amboy and they are doing very well very diligent in business, his son is law is a member of the baptist Ch his daughters are both members of the same

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Bro Wms daughter Sarah told me she had wrote a letter to you some time since and recd no answer. did you receive it,. Bro Amos is troubled with the rheumatism some. his family are as usual he has been to the state of Maryland this sumer to see his wives friends he says the farms are large and might be made very productive but they are poor farmers, their laborers are principally negroes the climate is a little hotter than Jersey they send a many peaches to NY market their are several trains of them goes by every night they are worth from 25 to 50 cts pr peck our cent is equal to your half pence Amos saw many orchards of 100 acres they also send a many sweet potatoes I suppose Wm has told you about them, I have a good crop of them in my garden we all like them better than common potatoes they taste very sweet they would not come to maturity in England a hot climate suits them the tops looks a little like ivy running on the ground I have a good crop of tomatoes more than we can use, also more cucumbers than we use they grow well with the natural heat I had a good crop of early potatoes no apples this year last year I gave several bushels away I have two trees bears good fruit 3 poor; we let them stand for the sake of their shade it is very pleasant to have large trees about a house in hot weather almost all plant them when they build a new house. We have 3 English neighbors they all have commutation tickets to New York daily one is a doctor I think for a life insurance co one is an engineer the other puts up stairs & banisters in new houses they all bought new houses here from 4 to 6 thousand Dol; hot and cold water pipes

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through the house also a large stove in the Selar with pipes through the house to heat all the rooms. also gas pipes through the house and permanent wash tubs they all appear to live comfortable each have a large garden but it cost them as much to hire the work done as the vegetables are worth we have a neighbor from St. Johns in the British dominions they say it cost more to live here than there 25 pr ct there is 3 shoe market shops all Germans, I can't tell how many Irish and German laborers they build houses worth from 500 to 1000 dol they can borrow half the money from a building loan association instituted here. they get cheap lots outside the village say 150 to 250 dol, 50 by 100 feet servant girls from 10 to 15 dol pr month places plenty which makes them very saucy and disagreeable we pay from 1 to 1 1/4 dol pr day for washing done, we have a neighbor from Sussex Co some 40 miles North; he says there are 3000 swedes at work in the mines they are very sober and good citizens. we had a dry May in this vicinity which made the hay crop very light we have plenty of rain since; wheat and oats & rye was good & potatoes, and tomatoes. there is a many strawberries and raspberries and blackberries raised here for market. so we have plenty of fruit from June they bring abundance from the South in May, also sweet potatoes a month earlier than Jersey. my wife has a nephew that moved 1500 miles west to Mesurie state on accorent of his wives health as it is a very high latitude she was asthmatically she is better. he says the land is very rich and provisions very cheap and plenty abundance of fruit and a very healthy climate but money very scarce the rate of Interest 10 or cent and often a bones to pay to get it. he says people are moving from there further west as fast as they can sell out sheer improved homes and make a few hundred dollars i think this is the way

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all over the United States and Canada too people are not as contented here as in England the country is so extensive and so much money made by the continued rise of property, land in the vicinity of towns here as risen from 2 to 5 times its value within a few years. I believe that worldly prosperity is by no means a blessing as pride and vanity has increased here to an enormous extent both in the Church and the world the great object here is making money multitudes more are asking the question, what must I do to get rich then. "What must I do to be saved." still there is more money given for religious purpose than ever was known last year the united presbyterian church asked for 5 millions dollars as thank offering they recd over 7 1/2 millions all to be used for promoting the cause of religion in its different phases after all a large majority of the people have enough to do to make both ends meet and tie by care and industry there are thousands of travelers destitute of home or money but the cause is mostly idleness & interference but this world is a little like a bee hive plenty of drones living on the labors of the industerous bees. My neighbors daughter married a minister and moved 2000 miles NW it was so cold in winter she could not live their so they have moved 500 miles S.E so I see there is nothing permanent here. this is not our rest. but what a blessing that "there is rest remains for the people of God." may we all seek & find it. I have just received a Lincoln paper dated Aug 11 I receive one form Wm & Eliz. now and then I sent Wm one last week I shall send Eliz one next I send you one or 2 a month. I hope we shall write oftener. Thos. Jackson was here this summer he said he had recd a letter from you in the spring I am glad his sons are become friendly Thos is become wealthy. I fear it is not a blessing to them.

Front of envelope: (Stamps removed!)
Mr Caleb Slater
Eastwood (crossed out)
Langley Mil
Eng Europe
Metuchen 9/6
Nottingham SP 20 71
NL??? Sep 7

Rear of Envelope
Post Marks:
Eastwood Sep 20 71
Nottingham Sep 20 71


This is the first we hear about Thomas Jackson's two sons. Thomas Jnr and Henry, falling out. It may have been little more than a passing family spat or it might reflect some more serious issue. Thomas Jr was the older sibling but was chronically unwell and died prematurely at the age of 41. In later years, Henry was the one to partner with his father and eventually took over the whole business.

We have no idea why cousin John Watson held the opinion that TJ's wealth "was not a blessing to them". That remark may have been a reflection of the fact that John Watson constantly thought that Thomas Jackson was no following the teachings of the Church.

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