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travel, manuscript, Social History", From Michael Brown Rare Books, LLC


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Manuscript Journal of Richard Wheatley, Boston, Massachusetts, 1805-1807, including manuscript poems by his daughter, Ellen W. Pease, 1835-1839

By Wheatley, Richard

12mo, Includes the following: 14 pp., Richard Wheatley's Journal dated 13 Sept 1805 - 26 Nov 1807; 10 pp., Richard Wheatley's business ledger; and 12 pp., of Ellen W. Pease's manuscript poetry and verse, dated February 5, 1835 - February 24, 1839, plus blanks. The last leaf is missing. Bound in contemporary vellum, worn, rubbed, scuffed, text block nearly detached from binding, written in ink, some fading, though largely legible, else good.Manuscript journal of Richard Wheatley (b. c. 1770-80 d. c. 1840) describing his travels including a trip to Savannah and elsewhere in Georgia. The journal commences with Wheatley's return home after an eight week "passage." He takes a stage from New York to his home in Boston, making several stops along the way. Upon returning to Boston he visits a number of places including Canton, the home of his future wife Hannah Dunbar. Wheatley, who appears to have been in the textile business, begins another trip, traveling by steam packet to New York, before boarding a brig for Savannah. Here he meets fellow business men and inspects cargos upon arrival from Liverpool. The journal contains a four page description of his travels within Georgia. He meets a Mr. Macky, "a Scotchman who told me he could walk thru the streets of this town [Savannah] from the first of July to the end of September without meeting a white man and if he appeared to meet one he looked like as if he had come out of the Hospital...." Wheatley then set out by stagecoach for Augusta, Georgia, where he met with some businessmen, purchased a horse and rode to Briar Creek where he dined, then on to Louisville and to Milledgeville, a place that is "to be the capital of the state of Georgia. 12 months ago there was no house in it but a log house." After further travels in Georgia, Wheatley made his way back to Savannah. Here he became sick and complained: "This country is troubled with almost all kind of troublesome insects. such as sand flies, tick Myscatoco [sic] and several kinds of insects that breed in rotton [sic] food, several stories being told of Mrs. Wilson such as that no sick person ever got well in her house." Wheatley was then an unfortunate guest at Mrs. Wilson's house. Wheatley departed Savannah, upon his recovery, aboard the Brig Mount Vernon, bound for Providence, Rhode Island. While traveling he witnessed an eclipse, which he describes, before returning to Boston. Wheatley later makes a journey to Maine, here he mentions visiting a horse fair at Brunswick, on a trip from Boston to Bath, Maine. He made a number of stops at Hallowell, Freeport, "Kennebunk," as well as others. At Augusta, he relates hearing the news of a man who killed his wife, seven children, and then himself. Wheatley conducts his travels to further his textile business and interests. There is not much detail on his business the journal only mentioning the names of people he met with. Almost every Sunday that Wheatley is in Boston he attends "Stilman's Meeting-House," which would appear to be the Revolutionary War Baptist preacher, Samuel Stillman's (1737-1807) church. Stillman's Boston church was a place where the likes of John Adams and John Hancock could be found listening to Stillman's preaching. It was also Stillman's Church, at about this time (1805) that gave birth to the First African Church now Peoples Baptist Church of Roxbury. In 1807, Wheatley mentions attending the funeral for "Docter Stilman." [sic] Near the end of the journal Wheatley mentions renting a house from an "Ezra Davis" for "$400 per annum," and then getting married to "Hannah Dunbar" of Canton, MA, and returning with her to Boston. Ellen W. Pease, the author of the poetry and verse, has written under her name that she was born 22 April 1808. Also under her name are the names Mary D. Pease, born June 9, Windwell Pease, born April 19, and Gamaliel Pease, born May. While there are no years for the birth of Mary D., Windwell, and Gamaliel Pease, the names of Windwell and Gamaliel Pease are unique enough that a check of the genealogical databases of Ancestry.com shows that George Pease, of Suffield, CT, had married Ellen Wheatley. George immigrated to Ohio in 1825, and along with other Pease family members, they were considered some of the pioneers of the Miami Valley. The couple moved to Miami, OH, where George had a sizable farm. The couple had at least four children, Mary D., Windwell, Gamaliel, and Ellen. George Pease's family had been in Enfield, CT, since at least the 1680's, and before that in Salem, MA, since the 1650's. Ellen Wheatley is statedin Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of The City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio (1897) to be the daughter of Richard Wheatley and Hannah Dunbar, of Washington Township, Ohio. It would appear that Richard Wheatley immigrated to Ohio as well and went into business with Thomas Basson, Isaac Cowder, and William Black, and formed The Ohio Manufacturing Company in 1816, where they manufactured yarn and cloth from cotton and wool at Woodbourn in Montgomery County, Ohio. The company purchased the original plots numbered 26 and 33-34 in the town plan. After the Panic of 1819, the Ohio Manufacturing Company bought out some of its competitors in town and acquired the mill, dam, raceway, and all the machinery and unfinished and finished stock of the Farmers and Mechanics Manufacturing Company of Centerville, Ohio. He appears to have been somewhat successful for a time. Ellen's poetry is of a morbid nature with such titles as: "Lines on the Death of a lovely Child" and "Epitaph." In another poem Ellen welcomes death so that she can sleep with her loved one: "I come I come if in that tide, Thou sleepest tonight I'll sleep there too, In death's cold wedlock by thy side, Oh! I would ask no happier bed, Than the chill wave my love lies under, Sweeter, to rest together dead, Far sweeter, than to live asunder." Ellen Wheatley welcomed death and it came; she died the same year as some of poems were written, still grieving over her lost children.

$500.00