Hamblin Family Letters
Letter No. 1
Edited with comments by compiler
The first letter was from Abraham Hamblin, the son of James and Charlotte Hartwell Hamblin, born in New York State
in the year 1794. He came to Antwerp in Jefferson County, N. Y. with his parents. His letter stated that he served
in the War of 1812. One researcher, a Mr. Densmore, whose letter may be found as No. 27, suggests that Abraham may
have been a school teacher; however, at some point it appears he returned to Jefferson County where he pursued
farming. In 1853 he and several of his children moved to Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. Information from a
Wisconsin researcher revealed that four sons served in Wisconsin Civil War regiments - Hartwell, Spencer, Holland
and Miles. The area in which Abraham settled is now a very scenic area -- very popular as a tourist attraction.
According to the text, Abraham addressed the letter with multiple names; however, the envelope was not found with
the letter. The reader will find this letter an enlightening account of pioneer purpose, spirit and courage -- and
yes, there are reflections, regrets, and a sense of saying good-bye to this mother.
Forest July 11, 1856
Long, Long, it has been since I have written to any of you or heard from any of you (except incidentally) or you
from me, I suppose. Neglect is how cruel in us. Probably you have heard that I have left New York State. I left
there for the want of wood and to get more land. Therefore I sold my small place there and on the fifth of May,
1853, and with my family started West. On the 16th of the same month we arrived in Northern Wisconsin, all safe. I
have located in the Town of Forest, Fond Du Lac County, about half way between Sheboygan on the west shore of Lake
Michigan and Fond Du Lac, at the head of Lake Winnebago. The two cities are forty miles apart, plank road between
them and a railroad now being made from one city to the other. So you can see by looking at any recent map or atlas
that our chance of market is good. Though prairies and openings are in abundance in this State, I have chosen heavy
timber of sugar maple, white and red oaks, basswood, butternut, red elm and white ash; not a hemlock in all this
region. My place, which is a quarter Section or 160 acres is neither level or hilly, but all good plow land. Wheat
is our staple crop, but we grow corn, oats, barley, potatoes and grass. It will be three years the first of next
August since I struck the first blow on this place -- nothing done before. Now, I have a good and comfortable log
house and back kitchen well done off and a well, stabling and so on. I have now 25 acres cleared and well fenced
with oak rails; 15 acres more chopped for fall wheat. I have 10 acres of wheat, 9 of oats, 5 of corn and potatoes
and five of grass; also, 4 acres of the oats on a neighbor’s land. It is decidedly a wheat country. The timber
and face of the soil is beautiful to behold, exceeding the lime ledge on our Father’s old farm, but no rock under
it. The trees are tall and many large with considerable underwood, yet the limbs are so far from the ground one
can see 40 to 60 rods in the woods when the leaves are on. Enough about my place and the country. This, I believe
is a healthy place and my health is remarkably good. I chop and log and do a great deal for one of my age.
(Abraham, born in 1794, died between 1870 and 1880.) My wife’s health is quite good (His wife, Susan, Connecticut
born, was still alive in the 1880 Census.). Our children are all here (except two who are in York State yet).
They are all well. Those who are married are doing well. As I know not who of my brothers or sister is alive or
who are not, my first inquiry is: Is my Mother alive? (The mother was still living and lived until 16 March 1860
at the age of 94. Her name was Charlotte Hartwell Hamblin.) How is she faring? Harmon, James, Niles, Hiram,
Luther, Charlotte -- how are they? (these were six siblings out of the 11 children of James and Charlotte Hartwell
Hamblin) Where are they and how are they doing? Will someone write me when this arrives. Now, if Mother lives,
do comfort her in her very old age. May each of us trust in God, believe in Christ, live the life of the righteous,
that we may inherit Eternal life. Farewell each, farewell all. Give my best respects to all.
A. H. Hamblin
N.B. My address is Greenbush
Sheboygan County, Wisconsin
I have heard Martin was dead. I place two or three names on the envelope, not knowing which is there. I am entitled
to a land warrant of 160 acres for my services as a soldier at Brownville in the fall of 1814. I have made
application for it, but fear I shall fail because the letter “b” is not in my name on the Muster Roll at Washington,
and perhaps not on the receipt which my father gave when he drew my wages. Now, is Capt. John Howe there or alive?
Or anyone else who knows that I am the identical person who rendered such service? If there is, please do write me
who they are, what they know, and what their address is. They will, no doubt, recollect that I was the only one of
our name out on that service. Please make inquiry touching the above facts and write to me.
Yours, A. H. Hamblin
Dear Mother (if yet I have a mother),
Three years ago last January when I sold my place, I thought I would see you before I went west, but I found all I
could was to sell my stock, hay and grain and prepare for our journey. I could find no time but to leave home. Be
assured I should have been very glad to have seen you one more time. But, alas! Do we meet not again on earth.
How solemn the thought! O! How cheering the hope that we may meet and enjoy peace -- that rest prepared for the
true child of God. I hope and trust you are like a shock of corn, fully ripe. May the widower’s God comfort,
bless, guide, sustain and save you -- is the prayer of your unworthy Abraham. Susan sends her love and best
Editor’s Note: Note: As stated above, Mr. Hamblin’s mother was indeed still living and we hope she was able
to read the letter. Charlotte Hartwell Hamblin died 16 March 1860 at Lowville, N. Y. A family history written by
her grandson, William R. Gladwyn, indicated that she spent her last days with her daughter, Mrs. Charlotte Gladwyn.
It is known that these Gladwyns lived in or near Lowville, N. Y., but exactly where hasn’t been determined. In that
the letter was preserved by a Gladwyn descendant, it is very likely that Mrs. Hamblin’s residency in the Gladwyn
household provided her access to the letter and its contents.
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