1855: William Boughton to Edward H. Boughton

This letter was written by William Boughton (1794-1864), the son of John Boughton (1770-1824) and Currence Downs (1772-1810) of New Haven county, Connecticut. William was married twice, first to Ann Wakely in 1817, and second to Makinda Enos in 1832. In this letter, datelined from his home in Pipestone, Berrian county, Michigan, in October 1855, William speaks of two of his children— Cordelia, and Newell who we learn was deceased.

Cordelia Boughton (1831-1857) died in Clinton, Rock county, Wisconsin. Samuel “Newell” Boughton (1817-1854) was married to Eliza Wright Bent (1815-1887). The couple had been married in 1839 and had four children at the time of Newell’s death in 1854 at Baraboo, Sauk county, Wisconsin.

In this letter to his cousin, Edward H. Bouton of Onondago county, New York, William expresses surprise at the intelligence and resourcefulness of his daughter-in-law who has taken over the operation of his deceased son’s farm in Wisconsin. He also gives us a hint of his political leanings referring to the events unfolding in Bleeding Kansas.


Addressed to Mr. Edward H. Boughton, Jordon, Onondaga county, New York

Pipestone, Michigan
October 25, 1855

Dear Cousin Edward,

On the account of the pressure of business, you must excuse me from writing much at this time. Last evening I received your letter of the 15th inst., together with your likeness for which you have my sincere thanks. Your said likeness I call a very fair picture and I prize it highly and will endeavor to keep it through life.

I have just returned from a visit to Wisconsin—gone 3 weeks. I found my daughter Cordelia very sick with an ulcerated liver. Has been sick all summer. She was a good deal better when I left her. From her residence I went on a visit to Newell’s family in Sauk County. I found them well and they appeared very glad to see me. Newell’s widow, who I will call Eliza, treated me with the greatest friendship. Before I went out she offered to pay all my expenses going and coming. She did so. She owns a farm of 200 acres, fifty under improvement. Also a house and one acre of land in the village of Delton, 4 miles from her farm. She has $700 out at 12 percent interest. I never saw Eliza before but by staying with her 6 days, I got satisfied that she was a smart, intelligent woman, a great economist, and well-calculated to take care of No. one. Her neighbors gave her a good name.

Myself and wife are in usual health. We have no election this fall in Michigan. I discover that your politics are the same as my own. I hope we may yet live to see oppression done away in these United States. It appears to me that the Kansas troubles and Missouri Mobs are enough to open the eyes of any honest man. I shall feel anxious to hear the result of election in the Empire State. Will you please inform me as soon as ascertained either by letter or newspaper. Also let me know of your next residence.

One of your Bartlett Pear trees bore two pears this season that got ripe. They are excellent eating and had you been here, we would have divided with you. Yours in haste, — William Boughton

[to] E. H. Boughton

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