A Connecticut Salesman in McMinnville
or Bed Bugs in Middle Tennessee?

Warren County Tennessee
~ 1840 ~

© 1997, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Manuscript postmark:
       McMinnville T Sept 5
Manuscript rate:
       Paid 25
       Mr Carolus R Byington Wolcott
       New Haven Co. Connecticut

McMinnville, Sept 5th 1840
Dearest Wife
       Your letter of the 13th of August Received in Nashville on the 3rd of this month. You cannot conceive what satisfaction it gave me to hear that you and the children are all well and got along so well since I left home.
       I felt very uneasy about you until I received your first letter which I received the 8th of last month which relieved my feelings very much on you account.
       My health has been very good ever since I left home with the exception of a few days last week in which I was quite unwell but I feel considerably well now and I hope through the Blessing of God, it will continue. I arrived in Nashville on the 3rd Inst an after I got there I unexpectedly found I was obliged to come on to this place. I found them all well here. I accidentally met with Woodward on my way here and we drove on to this place together.
       Woodward had been out in the County for about 10 days taking care of one of there Men that was sick. I have had very good luck delivering Books. I have delivered in all 200. There was 4 of us stared from Nashville at the same time with Books. I have delivered 40 more Books than any one of them.
       Dear Vita. You probably think that I have better have staid at home with my family. (which had my circumstances allowed of it, nothing would have induced me to have left. But you are well aware of the reverses of fortune which I have always met with, and perhaps always shall, but I hope not, and I could not bear to see the idol of my heart having to live so much beneath your own wishes and the situation in which you ought to occupy. I hope to be able and shall if I have my health, have money enough in the spring when I come home to pay all that I owe and have some left and if I can get clear of Joels debts we shall be able to get along a little better than we have for a year or two past.
       I wish you to be careful of your health and the childrens and not try to do all your hard work yourself. I will send you home money enough so that you can pay for any work which you may want to hire done, or purchase any thing that you may want.
       I told Jared Warner that I would try to send him home some money this fall, but the exchanges are so high that I think it would not justify me in doing it at present but perhaps I can before long. I wish you would try and have Joel pay some part of his note this fall or winter and you can pay the money over what you do not want to Warner.
       When you lie down on your pillow at night and should your thoughts then roam to me you may calculate that I am in some little log Hut with an old Man and Woman and some eight or ten children all having to sleep in one room and 4 or 5 dogs to fill up the chinks and Musquitoes Gnats, and Bed Bugs enough to eat up a Regiment of Men. ==
       Tell David he would come on here to Tennessee and lie where I have lain some nights and let the little vermin play upon his foot. I think it would be very beneficial for it.
       Tell Mr Bartholmews people Woodward is well and sends his respects to them - he will not come home, I expect, until spring shall probably come home together. Tell him I have delivered 200 Books, 40 more than any other one since we commenced delivering. The boys I think are doing very well. It is business that will bring in the money as fast as any other business that is now a going. They will send home some more money soon.
Olive says she wrote to you about 3 weeks ago she and Don send their respects to you.
       I wish you to write me at Nashville as soon as you receive this I shall have to be there on the 20th of next month you will perceive that unless you write as soon as you receive this that the letter will not reach there by that time.
       I enclose you $5 which may help you a little until I can send more.
Please give my respects to all our relatives and friends tell them that I am well and in good spirits And have plenty of Hoe Cake and Midling to eat And Coffee to drink that is not made sweet
       This from your ever affectionate Husband
/s/ C R Byington
Mrs Hannah V Byington
You must not fail to write as soon as you receive this.

From the Collection of Frederick Smoot

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