The Letters of Joseph G. Klock

Compiled by

His Great-Great grandson

Earl Herbert Klock

Note-- The following letter tells of an affliction of the bladder which Great grandfather Joseph G. likely contracted in his service to the country. He gives some more cures for different ailments of the time. I am certainly glad I did not live them and have the "kanker rash."

The railroad was coming, and Joseph G. tells about their advent, and the construction of one line. He, like his great grandson, was a temperance man, and did not believe in selling liquor to the Irish laborers on the new railroad construction gangs. I am sure he would be a "dry" today. More glory to him.

There is information relative to the price of land in those days that is of value, or at least very interesting. When my great grandfather was receiving money for a rightaway through some of his land for this railroad, which I understand is now the New York Central, he little dreamed, I presume, that a great grandson of his would some day be riding over this same road enroute home from the Spanish-American war.

True to his inclination toward politics, great grandfather gives some very important and interesting facts about political conditions of the time. He was much in favor, evidently, of Van Buren, a son of York state, and he expresses his ideas of Clay, Webster and Calhoun.

Letter No. 9

Oppenheim, January 6th, 1835

D. Children:

I received your letter dated the 22nd Dec. last, wherein you mentioned that you would be glad to hear from us, and that you had not heard from us or received a letter since the death of Father which took place, I think, the 14th of July last. I think that I have wrote twice since that time, & sent by travelers I can state at present that the Lord is good to us and has preserved us thus far and has kept us in interceding turn with him, and we have a promise that he is a prayer hearing and a prayer answering God; and no good thing will He withold from them that walk uprightly before Him, and I can tell you, my children, that is my aim. Mother I think is not in as much misery as she used to be. Maria has not yet been restored to health. I think she is much better of her liver complaint. Christina has got about well of her cold. She got in the mumps last spring, or first of summer. As for myself, I seem to be as hearty as ever, yet have a complaint growing upon me which I think will bring me to the grave. I have been troubled some this 20 years, or more, about making water, which I think since the winter sot (sp) in is getting much worse. I used to think I had a touch of the gravle (sp). One Doctor Smith said it was a weakness in the kidneys which I thought was so, till a few years ago, our doctor Riggs said that it was a stoppage in the bladder. If I waited too long in making water that would crowd the pipe shut. If I sleep long, I can't hardly make water, and that shows he is right, and says there is no help for it, only make water in time, and I am not my own keeper. My life is in the Lord's hands, and I trust he will do all for the best of me, and all of us. Amen. You stated that Peggy was afflicted with sore eyes. For inflamation in eyes, take a teaspoonful white vitrial, two teasonsfull gun powder, one quart rain water, put the whole in a bottle & shake it 6 or 7 times and apply to the eyes. The man said it cured some that were almost blind, that had an inflamation in eyes for about 2 years. I now send you a receip (sp) for the kanker rash. Some call it scarlet fever. A man & woman told us that there were a great many deaths among them with that complaint. At last there was a cure found and no more deaths. They were directed in case of kanker rash to put a draw blister on each side of the neck. Leave that till it draws a blister; then drip with cabbage leaf abut the time the blister begins to draw; give them a portion of callomel to physick. Then give one or more physicks of Epson salts. If salts physick too much, give a little opium. You also in your letter ___ that Peggy was in want of money to help Aaron to some land, and she would be glad to have me sell the land that I have reserved for her in Remsen borough Patent, which I have thought would take place before now as I thought six years ago, that that land would all be settled before 5 years came about, as it lays descending toward the sun & warm; but the case is there is no equiry for land in our quarters. People go it seems all westward. I pay the taxes and think soon will be in demand, as lands are ageting high westward. There are Irish people to work on the Schenectady & Utica railroad, and I think there will be more than 10,000 wanted next summer to finish the embankment which is said must be done by the first day of November next. I keep a temperance house at present, and when they come in and want whiskey, I tell them I do not keep spirituous liquors to poison or kill folks, and that they had better save their money and when done with rail road, they should come to me and I could tell them where they could get lands for one dollar per acre, and the best for 2 dollars, and get them a farm. Then they would not be beholden to the Dutch. Some seem to be well pleased, and think they will do so. I make no doubt but that land will be settled soon. All the land I saw when I was out, & I was within 3/4 of a mile of mine, was worth from one brother to another $3 or about. As to a conversation with Daniel about paying some of the Girls, I do not remember now, but he has seen some of your letters that spoke about it, but he never says any thing about it, but it will have to come, and perhaps before long. I think there would be a chance to pay some before long. We shall receive, I think about 5 to 600 dollars soon for damages of railroad crossing our farm, which I thought should go toward paying the Girls, of which I think I will have to give Daniel half, or else he will look sour. I think he has not want of it, so he might pay Peggy and Caty. As for the other half, I shall want myself, or nearly for being bail for other folks, and one a brother in our church and the other a son-in-law of my wife. If I do let Daniel have half, I shall mention it to him. I shall promise him to secure him by note against my farm in case I shall not give the farm to him, which will make him save, and he had better do it than to pay after a while, & money perhaps gone, and Family increasing and getting large and expensive. I shall be glad to see you come and pay us a visit next summer. (Note: the original long paragraph is being broken here.)

Your relation here are all well as for what we know, and I hope these lines will find you all well, and I hope God will help us all in our way to Heaven. The one thing needful seems too much neglected among us, yet we have good Preaching among us. We have about eighteen inches of snow & has been very cold since Saturday. I have been down to Peter P. Walraths the day after New Year to fetch a barrel cider, and a couple bushels apples. Apples are about 6/ per bushel; cider abut $4.00 per barrel. These articles, I think, never or perhaps these many years have been so scarce among us. And found them all well. Your Caty's husband, Esqr. Ashbel Loomis has gone to the Assembly which meets today in Albany. I want to know if you Anti- (torn out) have done as I told you when I was up, that the next thing would be they would be joined with the Federals, which I beleive (sp) the most of you, did which error I think, you might have seen by reading the speeches of the Senate of the U. States. They charged Jackson trampling on our Constitution & Laws, and they were guilty of it themselves all proven by the speeches. The Senate drew up a resolution in Dec. 1833, condemning Jackson, which they had no right to do, & Wright, one of our senators said in his speech that they debated thereon about 3 months and had to withdraw it, & Benton, another senator from Missouria said, in his speech, in opposition Daniel Webster, altho they had a Federal majority in that House, they could not find men enough in that House that would say that resulution should stand. It had to come down. Now hereby you may see who trampled on our Constitution & Laws. The committee brought in wrong statements as to the post office; all done to gain the election. All this would not help. Truth will stand, and I hope it ever may. I hope you will all use your influence for Van Buren for the next presidency, as our state never had one, & we need not look for a better. A very capable and smart man. As soon as the Federals got the majority, they called him home from England. If Clay, Webster and Calhoun were here, I would tell them to their faces that he is as capable as any one of them and of a much better Character. I want to write more, but have no room.

John B, David & Peggy & Caty Klock

      Yours Etc.,
Joseph G. Klock

P.S. They got a majority by four men betraying their trust, one from Main, 2 New Jersey & 1 Ohio. I do not beleive (sp) a man will betray his trust without being well paid for it. Sporage (?) from Maine ran for Governor against one Dunlap & lost it about 4500. So much for betraying his trust. The Jersey people served one of theirs, Bell, just so.

Letter No. 10

Oppenheim, October 10, 1835

D. Sir:

I received your letter dated September 30th yesterday, wherein you mentioned that you were in a usual state of health, excepting your wife, that she had inflamation in her eyes, and hath lost the sight of one of them, which would be bad if it should remain so. I have heard of people that had lost sight that got help at a Doctor in New York, one man said for inflamation in eyes. Take a teaspoonful of white vitrial, 2 teaspoonfull gun powder, one quart warm water, put the whole in a bottle and shake it well through one another and apply it to the eyes. He said that it cured some that were almost blind, and those that had the inflamation in for about two years. I had calculated to write this some time and was hindered by Daniel who talked to go up this fall, but I do not think that he will make it out as farmers generally are backward with their work. Harvest later than common this year. Wheat, corn, oats and potatoes very good this year with most of us. I asked him this morning and he said he did not know how it would go with his work, and I do not now think that he will go at all, since Christina shewith your letter to his wife, and daughter Levina, who I expect has told him what you wrote about Daniel should have said to Wm Youker when down that the girls were always complaining, or dieing did not do anything, yet they would eat like a bear. You wrote that you thought either hard speech for Daniel. Yes and I think so too. It is astonishing to me that a man would injure his character as Daniel does using such language about our family as he does. It seems that he has done it even while living with us, but when we say anything to him about it, he denys it, but we are satisfied tht he does so, but we believe it is much as you wrote, that you feared in your heart that he wishes all of his sisters dead, so that he could possess all of my property. The Bible says the liars have their place in the Lake that burned with fire and brimstone. That is, I take it if they do not repent of all dead works. It seems to me hardly possible that Daniel could talk so since his sister Maria has been confined to her bed agoing on 6 months & has not been down stairs but once in the time. And then she had liked to faint away, and had to take her back right back which is quite hard enough without being belied; and it has brought tears in my eyes to think that a young person that wants to see what's going on in the world to be confined, and Daniel has passed the door when she lay many a time and, I heard, never opened the door & looked in & asked how she did. We have had two doctors, one, I think, for more than a year, besides counsel of otheres. But it all seems to no avail. We have hopes tht she may get help. Our Christina is better, and a-mending, but Mother seems to suffer more than any person that keeps about as she does, but opium seems to keep her on her legs. She has to take every morning about regularly. Without it, I do not think she could live. so it seems we must all be afflicted. I have been troubled about 30 years about making water and since last winter seems to come and stop, that is, by spells, but not entirely as yet, yet am fearful it will sometime or other, which might make it very bad. But all our lives are in the Lord's hands, and He will do with us as seemed good in His sight, but I trust will all work for the best. Dr. Riggs said that it was a stoppage of the pipes that leads from the bladder. One Doctor Smith said the complaint was in my kidneys, and Doctor Daniel Ayers, who doctors our Maria at present, thinks it might be the gravel, and said he could cure me and gave a vial medicine. I took of it about a week and found no benefit. He gave me another and did no good. He then said he would fix me something, and it did not help, he would not charge any things, & I took that all & found no benefit. The day before yesterday I was talking with a Mr. Toole, an Irishman. He said his father had been so for years, doctored with about all the doctor (s) and got no help. At last he came to an old doctor about 80 years old. He said he could do nothing for him, but he might try one thing. That was to get a double handfull of black current leaves and boil them in clear quart spring wter down to about a pint, or more; strain off the leaves, add to that syrup a quart of good Holland gin and 36 drops of turpentine and shake that well together, and take every morning, fasting, from a spoon to 2 spoonsfull, at a time; and he said it cured his father. He knew him 20 years thereafter never to complain, which I have fixed, & have taken two mornings, but what effect it may leave with me the Lord only knows. Maria was doctored first along for the liver complaint but it was found out to be something else. I have forgot what the Doctors call it. (Note: we are breaking up the original long paragraph here for ease in reading online.)

What I wanted to write to you mostly for was to find out when Grand Father George Klock died, which I expect is wrote down in your Father's great Dutch bible, (Note Dutch, not German bible) which your sister Lana left at David & Caty's when up there. I want you to go to David's as soon as possible and see whether it is entered therein, and if it is, to have him send it down the first opportunity. If there should no chance offer, or occur, I want you to get a Judge of the Court, if he be had. If not, then a Justice of the Peace, and have grandfather's age and death taken out of the Bible, or the leaf itself, and enclosed in a letter and send it down to me, and certified to be a Judge, or Justice under their hands, that that stood so recorded, or the leaf was taken out of your, or said to be your father's old Dutch Bible. I can't tell here when Grand Father George Klock died, and I expect that I, and your brother, George I. Klock, will have to show that he gave me and George a deed for three thousand acres of land that he had bought of the canajohory Indians in 1766 including (part of the letter torn out) antonies Nose to the west Canada creek excepting what Patents hath been taken up where I live and along the river, and I beleive at grandfather's death, your father Jacob G. Klock and the rest of the proprietors called upon our state Legislature for a patent, and they granted them Forty Eight thousand acres over west Canada Creek therefore and kept it themselves, and gave us nothing. I have found out that undivided Lands do not outlaw; so we mean to call on our legislature the insuing winter for our Lands, or pay for the same. We can't find the old Indian deed that George Klock, John Van Size, Henry Hanson & others took from the Indians. I am afraid it is destroyed as George said that your father had a great many old papers lying in a closet and were eaten and destroyed by rats. Yet George said Lawyer Waggoner said we could get all the information we wanted in the Secretaries office, I think, in Albany. (Note: we are breaking up the original long paragraph here for ease in reading online.)

You wrote that Peggy wanted that I should sell the land intended for her in Black river country. I think I have answered that in Caty's letter a few weeks ago and that letter, I think, I desired her to let you see it, and you say in your letter that you have not seen it. That is strange doings. I think I stated to her that I knew of no chance to sell it at present, yet I think as Land is so much on the rise, I beleive all over, that that land will so on sell. I keep paying the taxes thereon, and I really wish my daughters were all here. I would give them each a deed for 125 acres. Then they might do with it as seemed them good. Yet I think they had better keep it & take care of it a little longer or else they may get served as Henry Cline, my brother-in-law, and some others of my sister's husbands were. They sold, I understand, for one dollar per acre which lands I do not think could now be bought for $10 per... I handed Daniel your former letter wherein you stated that Peggy wanted money to buy land for your Aaron; but he says not a word about helping, which I think he might do just as well now as hereafter. I heard him the last spring, or fore part of this last summer give up to the Assessor, that he had two hundred dollars on interest, and I expect that's not all. If he would pay his sisters, or some of them now, I would be willing to give him a writing as a lean on my estate if I should not leave it to him, after my decease. As for myself to help you now is not in my power, as I am situated at present. If I have luck in my undertaking, I may do something before long. Your relation down here are all well for we know besides us & John Michael who it seems is somewhat in a weakly state & his father, old Andrew Michael, was buried last Monday. I think I will try to state Maria's complaint below, which you may tear off before you let this letter in other hands. As for eating like a bear, we wondered sometimes how she lived, she eat so little.

John B. Klock

      Joseph G. Klock

Note by E. H. E. This letter settles definitely who owned the old Dutch bible from which so many important facts relative to Klock family came. It also likely proves how the bible's owner, Jacob G. Klock, came into so much land.

Letter No. 11

St. Johnsville, August 12, 1839

Dear Children:

I take pen in hand this Monday morning to answer your letter recd. last Satuday the 10th, which was dated July 12th. I do not know its delay; in which you stated that you had not heard from me since last December. The reason I had nothing of much consequence to write. I received your letter, I think, some time last spring wherein you mentioned about exchanging farms with some man near Rome; and wanted me, if I could, to give you some information about the quality of the land, or country, and I not knowing anything about it, so did not write. You stated in your last that you were all in usual health, yet I know not a word whether, and how you come on with your complaints in your neck and kidneys, or whether you are cured. Neither did you mention a word about David's family and whether their son, Daniel, has ever been heard from, or come home, which I should have been glad to know; and also of their prosperity, as to this and the world to come; and yours likewise. You say you have sold to a man from the east; but not for how much, and that you and Peggy had been to the Ohio on a visit to see your friends, and the country, of which you speak highly and you had been at John I. D. Nellises' and that they were all well. You stated you had an idea of going west again, to Indiana and Illinois, and if you liked you should buy a farm. I feel sorry to think that you should still move farther off so that there would not be a liklihood of ever seeing any of you more on this side of Eternity. Yet I think of what I have heard, & if I had a rising family and was young, I should want to go so far south in Illinois to where the land begins to decend (sp) to the south. It has been said that that was the best part of the country. If you buy, be very careful about the title. Government title I expect is good, but perhaps you might locate and buy where the lands were not in market as yet. Then remember if you should take up such land, and if it should be sold at any time, and you not being ready, or able to make payment, it might be sold to some one else, and you lose your labor. Christina's husband Isaac I. Finhart has given up working my farm, and thinks he can do better at working at the mason trade, and now works at the aquaduct of the canal across the river 10 miles below Schenectady. He came home about a week ago unwell and came by the way of Saratoga Springs. He told the two Zimmermans that work my farm that there was a very cheap farm for sale about 4 miles from the Springs on the road to Johnstown of 140 acres for $2,000 dollars. The wood that was on it was worth all the land would cost and that he was very sorry that he was not prepared to buy it. It was owned by a Frenchman of Leaming, and did not want to keep it, yet it may be sold before you could get there. Yet should be glad on my account to have you come nearer, but that's hardly worth while, as I can't expect to stay here but a little while longer. I am in my 71 year since the third day of April last, and as to my complaint -- making water, find no relief. (Note: we are breaking up the original long paragraph here for ease in reading online.)

I sent to Albany for a phial of the Sanative drops, or Matchless Sanative drops, which you recommended. Cost 20/ then and used it about 4 weeks, but it seemed to no purpose. It bound me so in my bowels that I stopped taking of it. I took once physic yet it kept doing so. I was not quite so badly off during the hot weather, as I am now again, and I am in such a situation that I dare not venture far from home. Yet Maria and I had calculated, if possible, to come up once more to see you all, in time, but now have to give it up. I had thought if we came by land, I have a smart young mare 5 years old the 1st day of June last that could have taken us up decently if nothing happened. I do not know how Peggy and Caty are to get their deeds that I wrote for each of them for each 100 acres of land in Remson Patent. I paid the taxes on said land a year ago last winter, and you will have to pay the tax for the time now, and to come, or else it will be sold for the taxes, which you do by sending to Albany, perhaps elsewhere. If you know the numbers. Peggy's is number 3; Caty's number 5 in great lot No. 39 in Klock and Henry Remson's patent which I had subdivided in 100 acre lots. The deeds are acknowledged and the same paid for. It seems that land will not come in market yet but it appears to me that after my paying taxes so long, now to let it be sold and neglected might be wrong. The wood that is on it is valuable and will soon be wanted for railroad. The wood land is much out off in our country and I think there will be a way provided by canal, or railroad to get it from the back country. I should be very glad to see you all if possible, and if I can't come, I hope some of you will come to see me once more before I die. I expect after my decease, there will be something left for each of my children. I do all in my power to keep myself free from debt, and have made it out so far. My profits are small off the farm. I have let the farm for 5 years from last February to two brothers in our church Jonas and Josiah Zimmerman, Frey's Bush, sons of John Zimmerman, who had before he died for his wife, Nancy Diefendorf and sister to my last wife. They have to maintain me and Maria with good vituals and all the necessities of life except our clothing, give me $25 for my use yearly, pay $10 more yearly for or toward our doctor's bill. If I should die, $10 more yearly & if Maria should die $10 more yearly, keep one horse, one cow, 7 or 8 sheep yearly, pay all taxes, make 50 pannels new fence yearly, give me 10 bushels oats, 5 bushels potatoes, the eighth part of the pumpkins yearly. Then I have reserved the east room above and below in my house, the cider house, the half of all the fruit, the one half of cellar and garden. The reason I let it so cheap the times are hard with us on account of the weavil destroying our wheat and farm very much out of order. (Note: we are breaking up the original long paragraph here.)

I took down my west shed and made a barn of it in my upland year before last, and now this spring I paid Isaac I. Finhart $120 for repairing cider house and making 24 feet addition to it for a corn house, stable and wagon house. Last year this summer and spring, took down the remainder sheds, or had them taken down, laid about half of my waterworks new, had to make new garden fence where the shed was, and the boys after my finding boards, fenced in our dooryard, and had to repair part of my cellar well. Our men sewed about 7 bushels spring wheat this spring on our upland. They say the weavil has not hurt it much. They planted the largest piece of corn this year on our Flatts from 10 to 12 acres. Looks promising. I think we shall be able to boil corn next week for eating. Yet backward for the time of year. Our barley, oats, grapes, potatoes, pease seem to come in well. We have had good young potatoes to eat rising of 3 weeks. A deal of rain this season; bad for haying and harvesting. Our men have got in 31 loads of hay, and about 8 or 10 to mow. They have to cut their barley and spring wheat, or part of it before they can finish haying. I also reserved the west room in my house for 1 year for Isaac and Christiana to live in till they can build. He also bought a lot in our village with good buildings thereon this last spring for $400 of Berry Caldwell who has moved this spring with his family to Missouri which lot is leased for 3 or 4 years at $40 per year, of which Isaac can't get possession of title till the time the lease is run out. Wages on account of widening the canal is high among us, laboring men get from 8 to 10 shillings per day, yet they must find themselves in provisions. (Note: we are breaking up the original long paragraph here.)

We, and all your relatives among us, are all well as what we know. Except I and my Maria, who has been considerable smart till of late took some cold which made her complain more as usul. Yet, thru the blessings of God, were twice to meeting yesterday, and in prayer meeting evening at our house. One of the texts yesterday was Ezekiel 36 Ch. 37 verse. The other I forgot where to find it, but it was that we must all be brought to judgement. We have several deaths among us this summer. Jacob H. Failings' wife, one Suitz his wife who lives on your old place or house, quite a number of children with canker rash, so it seems one after another till we are all gone, and our Savior left of record, "Be ye also ready", and in one place, I think he said your time is always ready. I hope that I for one and all my children and their children, and their children, and the world universally, may so improve the time that we may be found ready when death shall overtake us. Daniel was at our house last winter and his daughter Levinah, said he had 100 bushels wheat to sell, and he brought 40 bushels part of the way & sold, 14/per. I think Daniel is more serious than he used to be. I hope God will convict and convert him and his. Yours with the blessing of God, Joseph G. Klock.

John, Peggy, David and Caty Klock

P.S. -- I just see on the outside of your directed letter to me Fulton county. I live in new town called St. Johnsville, Montgomery County. The Whigs had a mind to put us back and add us to Fulton, but the Republican Senate took care of us.

Note by E.H.K. -- Can this be the beginning of St. Johnsville?

Continue on to Part 4, the 4rd installment of the letters of Joseph G. Klock.

St. Johnsville was formed as a town at the division of Montgomery county on April 18th, 1838. Previous to that time it formed a part of Oppenheim, Fulton county, which joins it on the north. More Klock letters will be posted in December. There are 18 full letters, two partial letters, and a letter written by Margaret (Peggy) Klock, Joseph G. Klock's daughter. These will be posted up through February 1998. The spellings and punctuation are those of the writer of the letters, Joseph G. Klock.

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