1832 letter from Greenville New York, travel by stage/wagon, Cholera!

$70.00 CAD

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Letter written by Olivia Eliza (Botsford) Callender to her husband Charles in Burdette New York. Discussing how she will get back home from Greenville (stage, wagon?) and where there has been cholera.

In 1832 there was a cholera outbreak in New York City.

Her father-in-law was Levi Callender (1777-1849), member of the New York State Assembly, representing Greene County from 1816-1817 and he was one of the founders and original directors of the American Bible Society. 

Charles Callender (1803-1859) operated an early-day general store in Burdette. By 1850, Charles and Eliza, and their three sons were residing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Charles’ occupation is given as bookkeeper.

Greenville is located SW of Albany NY, Burdette W of Ithaca.

On front:

Greenville NY   18 3/4 
Mr. Charles Callender Burdette Tomkins Co New York



Greenville Sept. 1 1832
Dear Charles
I write to you once more from Greenville to let you know ----conclusion. It is our present intention to return home in the stage as you proposed before receiving your last, we had thought some of coming in a waggon but we concluded it would be about as easy for the children to come in the stage as in that way, as Gideon would be able to take almost the whole charge of George.
 Pa is summoned to Catskill next week as a witness or we should think of going at that time, but we intend starting on Wednesday this week after which will be the 11th of the month. I shall not make any stop if I think the children will be able to go through, so we shall probably reach home Saturday, or Friday if there should be time. I should not mind riding in the evening as the children would probably sleep. You will of course do as you think about meeting us at Ithaca. We do not consider it safe to travel upon the canal and I hope we shall find it quite comfortable in the stage. I believe the Cholera has not yet made its appearance in any places we pass through. It is pretty well proved that it is contagious at Athens, there has been a case at Coxsackie a pilot belonging to one of the sloops. I believe to Ms Keitlands.
The children are well as usual. I took Lucy to Mrs. Previts yesterday, she was a very good girl. Natalie moved Monday to Broome. Edward has taken the place formerly occupied by the Bartow family. Our neighbours are well. Mrs. Woodbridge arrived last Thursday is not very well. I have written in haste as you see. I thought best to let you ---- conclusion or you might expect as next week. Love to all
Yours affectionally,
Olivia Eliza


Front of letter has written postage rate paid  “18 ¾”.

Envelope folded to form an envelope.

Paper toned.


Cholera in 1832

During the early 1830s, New York grew exponentially in population and wealth. The completion of the Erie Canal that linked the city with vast agricultural resources solidified New York’s central role in the nation’s economy. By the 1830s, nearly 250,000 people lived in New York City. Traders, bankers, shipbuilders, craftsmen, canal-diggers, and general laborers all occupied the city. Unfortunately, this came with divisions in social class that prompted a lack of response to the epidemic that soon was unleashed on the city.

Class differences were partly to blame for the lackluster response to the cholera epidemic of 1832.  Many Americans believed that the United States would not suffer from diseases transmitted from the Old World.

The epidemic started in Eastern Europe and then made its way across the continent before finally reaching the United States. When cholera hit the city in 1832, it affected the working class the hardest. The upper class viewed this as further proof of moral depravity among the poorest of New Yorkers. Even physicians upheld moral stature as paramount to the health of an individual. Unfortunately, this caused the spread of cholera to intensify within the city limits. By the end of the summer of 1832, roughly 3,000 New Yorkers had died from the disease.

Nearly 100,000 people fled to the countryside to escape the epidemic that killed roughly 3,000 New Yorkers.