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Title:[Letter] 25 Dec. 1846, Memphis, Tenn[essee] [to] Mrs. Charles E. Haven / Charles E. Haven : a machine readable transcription of an image
Author:Haven, Charles E.

This work is the property of the Special Collections Library, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Special Collections Librarian, Hoskins Library, University of Tennessee, 1401 Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996. (865) 974-4480.

Date: December 25, 1846
Extent: 4 p
Summary:This document is a letter dated December 25, 1846 from Charles E. Haven to his wife. Haven writes from Memphis Tennessee about his attempts to get to St. Louis by way of the Mississippi River. The letter is filled with details about small towns along the Mississippi river and a particularly elegant ship named the Peytona.
Collection:Charles E. Haven

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Memphis Tenn. [Tennessee] Christmas 1846
My Dear Wife

I expect you are astonished at finding that I am spending my Christmas in this place after what I wrote in my last letter to you from Paducah , & in truth I am so myself, & wish I was now in St. Louis , (as I am obliged to be away from home), After writing that letter I made up my mind (how much that letter had to do with my decision I dont know but very likely it had some effect) to go to St. Louis. I waited patiently at my friends store, which commanded a view of the river, until 10 O'clock in the evening, & no boat coming, I went to the hotel & retired for the night with directions to be called if a boat came down, I slept on quietly till about 10 O'clock, when I heard boats & expected any moment to be called, but no person came to do so for a considerable length of time, & I concluded they were going up the river, at last the boy came & told me that there were 2 boats at the landing, one for St. Louis & the other for N. [New] Orleans , I was up & down to the landing in a very few minutes, but when I got there the boat I was going to take, viz. the one for St. Louis, was going, the other was still there & they [added: said] they would overtake the St. Louis boat by the time they reached the mouth of the Ohio , So on board I went, but as something was the matter with her forcing pumps, we went very slowly, & when we reached the mouth, the other boat

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had been gone about 2 hours, I however got off the boat I was on to wait for the first boat for St Louis, either coming up the Missi [Mississippi] or from the Ohio, It is a very dreary place, scarcely any houses although once they said it was going to be one of the largest cities in the world, millions of dollars were spent in embanking the margin of the rivers to keep the water from overflowing & some distance back, those levees (as they are called) were united by another crossing from one river to the other, they also had a Bank, but, it would not do their money gave out, & now is only the ruins of what they did, what business is done there is done on the river, in old steamboats or flat boats stationed there. I wandered about, saw all there was to be seen, among other things, 2 bears & an Arab family whose little boy was very interesting, he begged so prettily for a "picyune [picayune] to buy candy" that I could not refuse & he enjoyed it much, & when I left on the boat, he called out "good bye" to me very affectionately, with the exception of the bears & arabs there was nothing interesting. if I may except "the rivers of Cairo " for such is the name of the place, I waited patiently till about sunset & no boat came for the direction I wished to go, but just at that time the finest boat on the rivers came along for N. [New] Orleans, the "Peytona," I had been on board at Louisville & knew what she was, the temptation was very strong whether to remain at that disagreable [disagreeable] place & trust to getting a boat for St Louis or go on board the P. [Peytona] for Memphis, besides, I had heard whilst there that the Miss [Mississippi] river to St. Louis was falling & only small boats could run up & that very few were running there, fearing being frozen up there, I was told that sometimes it was [added: so] cold there as to close the navigation in one night & I did not like to risk it. besides I had Thom's experience there before my eyes, taking all things into consideration I concluded to go on board the P. [Peytona]

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for this place, believing that I should not have been able to have got to St Louis in time for christmas if I waited. I found the P. [Peytona] all that I expected & more too, She is a large boat with every convenience about it, the staterooms are supplied with everything one would wish in a room. the beds & bedding wide & good, & as for the fair at the tables it far excelled anything I have seen since I left home, everything was of the best kind & served in the best manner, the dinner table surpassed anything I had ever seen, all kinds of meats, pastry & fruit, & there was an air of style about everything which I liked. the waiters too were numerous & attentive, I wish you could have been there to enjoy it, between meals we passed the time reading. I was alone, not knowing any one, & I wished for company — I regretted leaving it very much, but this morning about 6 O'Clock I was [gap] obliged to, as we arrived at this place. The house I expected to [gap] stop at here being closed. I came to another which was reccommended [recommended], but it is a very small one, but and every thing is so different from what I had yesterday. I dont like it much. We had a very good christmas dinner, but there was no style about it, & the company dispatched things so that although I hurried through (& You know I am not a slow eater) yet one half the company had gone from table before I had commenced my dessert, & I was the last to leave the table— The Guyoso [Gayoso] house is to be reopened tomorrow & I think I shall go there — This morning I walked round the town, the weather being warm & balmy like Spring, no needing an overcoat— it has improved very much— & such are the changes on this river that when I landed the first time I was here, a bar formed extending out several squares into the river & on which there are now a large number of brick stores, I went to the Methodist Church today. the Episcopal not being open as it is undergoing repair. I have not called upon any body yet, thinking I would wait till tomorrow,

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I write to Earl & Bros [Brothers] today sending them 3 notes & a check on that Bank of America N. Y. [New York] to their order. I mention this in case of miscarriage — You must excuse my spinning at such a long yarn about nothing, but I believe you are interested in what I am or I would not write so— I am very anxious to hear from you as it is now a long time since I had a letter, I trust you are all well & enjoying yourselves — write to me after the reception of this directed to New Orleans —


Mr Chas [Charles] E. Haven Care of Earps, Haven & Tucker Philadelphia Penn. [Pennsylvania]

I hope you are passing a pleasant Christmas, & as you will probably be at fathers on new years day, I trust it will be a happy one to you; You must not feel at all uneasy about me, but imagine me enjoying myself wherever I go, for I take things pretty [added: easy] now days, I find I get through the world fast enough without hurrying — Give my love to all the family & kisses to the children & lots of both for yourself — Hoping to see you before a great while. I remain

Your true Husband —

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