This letter was written by Thomas P. Nodine. He may be the same blacksmith born in New York in 1824 that relocated to Connecticut prior to the Civil War and enlisted in Co. B, 28th Connecticut Infantry under the name Nodyne. I could not verify this or his parentage given the absence of information in early census records. William wrote the letter to his brother William Nodine (1804-18xx) who worked as a cartman, later as a blacksmith, in Williamsburgh, Kings county, New York. William was married to Catherine K. Richardson in the 1820’s and had at least two children by the time his letter was written in 1836.
It’s difficult to discern from Thomas’s letter what he was doing in Mobile, Alabama, in 1836 besides hunting reptiles which I assume was only a pastime and not the “excellent job” he claimed having. In any event, it’s easy to understand the fascination that visitors from the northeastern states experienced when they first encountered an alligator. Thomas may have been employed by a merchant in the trade between New York and Mobile which was well established by this time.
July 15th 1836
I received with much pleasure a letter from you daed June 14th. I expected it before but am happy to get it. Let it come when it will. It is still quite healthy here and all prospects of continuing so all summer as I hope it may. We have an excellent job and one that will pay well. We have two black boys to work for us and profits from them will be something nice. It is out of my power to bet when I will be home but it will be as soon as possible as I am anxious to see you all. But you must not expect me until you see me. Tell Mother to give herself no uneasiness as I never enjoyed better health in my life.
There is stacks and cords of game but I think you would not like such game as much as you do the northern as they would not be so handy to pocket. We have been out a hunting several times. I suppose you would like to know what kind of game it is that is so handy. Well them, just imagine yourself a locust log floating in the water about fourteen feet long with a mouth one half the length of the body with four short, crokked legs with nails about 4 inches long and then you wil know exactly what our game is (Aligator).
When I come home, I will be very glad of an introduction to that Miss E. Lambert you talk about so much in your letters. I don’t know who she can be. I am well acquainted with a young lady and a particular friend of mine by the name of Lizzy Lambert but it cannot be the same. But whoever she is, give her and all her family my love. The same to Miss Crawford. Remember me to all inquiring friend.
My love to Mother and Father and sisters. My best respects to your wife. I remain your affectionate brother, — Thomas C. Nodine