49 October 17, 1861

This is a rare example of a draft of a letter Henry wrote to his brother-in-law George Goodwin in Boston regarding 218 pounds of peppermint oil offered by Henry’s Michigan supplier, H. H. Lawrence. A resident of Florence, Lawrence seems to be a friend of Henry’s brothers. Henry bought peppermint oil from Lawrence off and on in the 1850s and 1860s. Their letters are much more businesslike than the brothers’ letters, although Lawrence occasionally mentions that he or his wife have been to visit Lucius or Lewis.

Henry is annoyed with Goodwin’s indecision about buying the oil Lawrence offers. Henry seems to be out of the business of supplying peddlers at this point, and wants to act as a middleman for his brother-in-law and make a small profit marking up Lawrence’s oil to Goodwin. George will drag his feet for too long in this instance, and Lawrence will sell the oil elsewhere. A year later, when Henry hears from Lawrence about oil again, he will remind Goodwin not to wait too long this time to decide.

Strike-throughs in the draft seem to indicate where Henry decided to edit parts of his not that seemed to project too much annoyance.


My transcription follows the image:


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


Ashfield October 17, 1861

Dear Brother

I am just in receipt this evening of a line from my correspondent in Mich saying that he has had an offer for his 218# oil and would prefer to sell it in one lot wishing to know how much we will have from him (for I gave him reason to think we might wish for the whole of it) Could do a little better there by selling the lot together but he wishes to know immediately how much we want & asks me to make him an offer to him the best offer we can make for the lot. I have not written him since Sept 17th for I have been waiting to hear from you & he now expects me to reply immediately & decisively. I shall write him this evening and ask him to hold on, at least, until I can communicate with you.

I presume you rec’d my letter of Sept 30 to which I have not rec’d your reply

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