31 December 21, 1853

In December 1853, Henry’s younger brother-in-law Eldad Goodwin writes from Hubbardston where he is on a peddling trip. The weather is fine, he says, but he worries of a snowstorm. Goodwin is a novice peddler, but the fact that he is traveling in the middle of winter suggests business is going well for Ashfield peddlers. Goodwin has a variety of items he wants Henry to resupply him with, including Hot Drops, ribbons, thread, needles, and tape.

In addition, Goodwin describes a visit to a customer of his father’s (Anson Goodwin made surgical splints and had a wide clientele) regarding a lost promissory note. Dr. Bemis is listed in the town history as a physician in the central Massachusetts town, but apparently did not stay long.

Eldad is traveling with his brother-in-law, but they are not peddling together. They stayed in Barre together the previous weekend and will meet up in Spencer, about eighteen miles away, on the following Saturday. Goodwin mentions that Cross is planning on returning home and says he may as well. He closes with a postscript, letting Henry know he will write his wife, Julia Cross, in the next day or two.

My transcription follows the images:


The original images are from the archives of the Ashfield Historical Society and are used with permission.


Hubbardston Dec. 21 1853

Brother Henry

Dear Sir

Agreeably to my promise, I drop a few lines to let you know of the whereabouts of the pedlar. We staid over Sunday at Barre eight miles from here and I have been these three days in getting here. I should think from what little I tried it that the pedling business was very good but can tell better when I get my hand in.

You can tell Father that I called on Dr. Bemis and had quite a confab with him about the lost note. He told me precisely the same story about it that he wrote to father. I watched him close and could get nothing new. He showed me the note which is genuine as it has Father’s name on the back in his own handwriting. We went together to the P. Master and I looked his papers over. No such letter was on his books. And I do not think that he ever saw the note. He appears to be honest and I think he is.

Bemis says the note was not due when he paid it, says he told the man he would give him Thirty Three dollars for it 35 and the man made no objection to taking that. He borrowed a part of the money of one Howard and paid it. Says he told Howard that this was the first time in his life that he ever shaved his own note etc. I have his statement on paper, will show when I get home. He has the reputation of being a horse jockey here. I fear that father will have to lose the note, but something may turn up yet.

I have sold all out of a number of little things and pretty near of several others. If you have than N. York order, wish you to send to Henry H. and get such things as you are not supplied with immediately as I shall want a small bill of goods before many days. Get something to please the children of course.

Cross thinks he shall go home the last of next week and I may come too as we shall be within a days drive of home. But can’t say certain, at any rate get the goods ready and I will take if I can make a line of it.

Have you any Hot Drops, Tape, Worsted, Braid, Harmonicas, Corking, Pins, Velvet Ribband, Ounce Pins, Coats, Spools, Thread Large Size Baylis Needles Nr. 28.

My health has been good, so has the weather. But am some afraid of a snow storm.

I expect to meet Cross at Spencer next Saturday if you have anything to communicate please direct there and I shall be sure to get it, as I will leave word to have it forwarded in case we leave before a letter could get there.

Respects to all, in haste yours

E.F. Goodwin

Shall write to my wife tomorrow or next day.

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