1825 letter from New Orleans by Capt Theodore F Jewett
New Orleans 25th April 1825
My Dear Wife
No doubt you will think by this time that I am on my way to Liverpool, which pleasure I hope soon to Enjoy & when I last wrote calculated now to have been ready. But the weather has been such as to prevent our Loading together with some detention for the purpose of making suitable selections of Cotton – at suitable prices – I hope this will find you all in good Helth & Everything in a comfortable Flourishing way. I hope my friend Rice has been Fortunate in making safe & profitable sales of our Iron & Salt. Business in this Quarter Extreamly dull & unprofitable. Should no alteration take place, Ship owners & us poor Sailors will be badly off. Barnes thinks it will be necessary to Enlarge the work House & I think myself as much, if no alterations for the better take place. However, under Existing circumstances I feel Thankful that I have obtained Business that has the appearance of affording me a Living, & I hope something binds to bye the child a Frock. I requested to have Insured upon my 1/4th of Freight & cotton 2100 D, which I hope is done – 100 Bales I shall take upon our acct. Tell Mr. R & not to be alarmed for fear of the result but to await patiently for it. The Quantity shipped from here this season has not been near so large as the last to Liverpool, & the Quantity here has become Very small now to ship. Our own Ports-th Vessels are all Idle here with the Exception of Brig Lucy & Liverpool Packet Load of upon owns acct. with Flour, & ourselves, and what is worse I believe no Ship now in the port can obtain ¾ of a penny – this please tell Mr. R. Should he think me precipitate in taking this present Freight – Some of my Townsmen Faces has become a foot longer or much Longer at times in consequence of the Hard Times. Last night I Visited the Theatre & there saw old Gen. Jackson, he is here on his way to Pensacola, & should have Enjoyed myself Very much. I thought at the time If I had been accompanied with my old woman & children – I hope please god to be with you by the Last of August or first of September. This Letter I send by Capt. S. Rice via New York. Olive you must Council Thomas, respect of William to be Very cautious of His Morals, & by no means to allow him too many Indulgences. Give my love to Sister Betsy & Maria, & remember me to your Father & Mark. Likewise Aunt Betsy & all of our good friends & Relations. I have had strong hopes of receiving another letter from you here. But I fear it will not be—the Case as you no doubt. Think us off before this.
Your Affectionate Husband T. F. Jewett
I shall soon write Mr. R & calculate Likewise to write you when ready for Sea or at the Bar – Yours TFJ
I wrote James Orn—a few days p___
Postmarked Nw York May 20
Addressed: Mr. Theodore F. Jewett Portsmouth New Hampshire favored by Saml Rice Esq via New York
NOTES – Wendy Pirsig, Old Berwick Historical Society 5/25/11
Theodore F. Jewett (1787-1860) married his second wife, Olive Walker, on Oct 15, 1821. She was born in 1790 and died July 15, 1826. Her first son was Samuel b. Dec 12, 1823, who would be about 16 months old at the time Capt. Jewett wrote from New Orleans. Olive would also have been about 4 months pregnant with George Campbell Jewett. If Capt. Jewett made it home from Liverpool as predicted in this letter, he would have witnessed George’s birth in September. George lived about 11 months, dying three months after his mother. Jewett then married Mary Rice in February 1829. Her brother, Samuel, ran a packet line along the eastern seaboard to Portsmouth, and delivered this letter back to Olive, as well as evidently advising Jewett in business affairs. His home still stands on Main Street, South Berwick, and his cousin married another trader, the future NH Gov. Ichabod Goodwin (more on Samuel Rice http://oldberwick.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=109&Itemid=209)
Samuel, the “child” Capt. Jewett was buying a cloak for in the letter, was the Jewett son who eventually went to sea; while captain of the Berwick, built here at the Jewett shipyard, he was lost at sea in 1846.
William Durham Jewett mentioned in the letter was Capt. Jewett’s first son with his first wife, Sarah Orne Jewett. Born 1813, in April 1825 he would have been 12 years old.
Thomas Jewett was Theodore’s younger brother, married to the daughter of Samuel Lord, and their oldest child was 4 years younger than William. He was Theodore’s business partner, and thus while away at sea Theodore entrusted his store and shipyard to Thomas’s care, as well as his two oldest sons.
Gen. Jackson: After the War of 1812, where he was the hero of New Orleans, Gen. Andrew Jackson defeated the Seminoles in Florida and helped push out Spain and acquire the territory for the United States. He served as military governor there in 1821. In his home state of Tennessee Jackson was a cotton plantation owner, and thus in 1825 may well have been overseeing shipments of the product that Jewett was in the process of acquiring. At the time, he was Tennessee’s United States Senator. He was elected President in 1829.