The Letters of Joseph G. Klock

Compiled by

His Great-Great grandson

Earl Herbert Klock

Letter 14 gives us some more current history for the year 1840. Great grandfather tells more of what he thinks about "Whig lies", and gives some of his reasons for supporting Van Buren. There is also a very interesting bit of York State history in this letter; and first hand information regarding public works in that state; regarding money spent on her canals, and the coming of the railroads.

This letter also tells that my other Great-grandfather, Judge Jacob G. Klock, supported the two Adams, a fact which Joseph G. can scarcely seem to forgive.

Letter No. 14

St. Johnsville, May the 8th, 1840

D. Sir:

I received your letter the 5th day April 21st wherein you stated you wanted to know about Benjamin (*son of Jacob G. Klock, nephew of Joseph G. Klock). I saw Benjamin passing our house about 12 days ago. I hailed him & said to him, you pass us as if you did not know us. I mentioned "I thought you lived at the Black river". He said "No, I have not moved yet.". As he could not make out his first payment, he had been at Lawyer Nellis' to borrow money, but got none, that he had to raise about $800 now, or soon, or else he would lost $100 that he had paid, besides the Land was worth double, or about what he was to give. Daniel was down here this last winter, & fetched his potash kettle, and said he had taken a small farm to work for a third, to the man, about 30 acres improved with a good sap bush. They were all well then. George Lasher wished me to write to David about his mother Lana. He said that it was hard for him and John Michael to maintain her, and David must see about it, or do something for her, which you please let David know. George said he was this same time in Kring's Bush at a Mr. Hose' & he, I think, is tired of her, by George's talk.

Your letter on politics reminds me, what I said as times grew hard, and produce low, that if the Republicans were at the helm, the Whigs would lay, or blame the Republicans for the times. They were very wise about the times till of late. I suppose now that they think the people have forgot that the Whigs have had the Majority in Congress, in the lower house till this winter, in the year 1837 and in 1838, except the Senate, and in our state, the Whigs had a majority in the elections in 1837, 18,878, and in 1838, it was reduced to 10,322, and last fall it was whittled down to 3,697. Yet the senate in our state was republican till this winter and in spite what the senate could do, the Whigs carried through, with the help of some Republicans, the appropriation bills. In the year '38, the legislature passed a Law, see page 266, to provide for the more speedy enlargment of the Erie canal. Section 1st. The Commissioners of the canal fund shall borrow on the Credit of the State the sum of four millioni, besides what other canals may cost. How you may see who are to blame for our disgraceful attitude as a state. Mr. Ruggles, chairman of a committee, a Whig, in his famous report, on which G. Seward builded his project of a Forty Million debt, the following ulogium, "the treasury is full and needs no replenishing." G. Seward, himself, in his inaugural message, the following sentiment. "History furnishes no parrellel (sic) to the financial acheivements of this state, and Mr Ruggle's report showing the opinion therein expressed the ample resourses (sic) and ability of the state would warrant the state in expending in internal improvements 40 millions annually for a period of ten years, perhaps means 4 millions a year for 10 years." G. Seward, in his message, Janry. 7th, 1840 making the state debt over funds $9,020,899.20, which I beleive, is much more. (Note: we're breaking up the original long paragraph here)

I saw in a Whig paper that the legislature passed a law to loan 2 million more. Now this day I have seen in the Argus, a number of appropriations made, & says that the committee reported yesterday, directing the comtroller to issue $400,000 to the com. of the N. Y. & Erie railroad com. for work heretofore performed & for which they have already received $400,000 from the state treasury, virtually giving them $800,000 for the present year. So it passed to a law. The Governor stated the public works already begun will be 23 millions. Now if his financial rule means anything, how can he proceed a single step except to advance backward? He stated in his message that last year he recommended the N. York and Erie rail road, the Ogdensburgh and Champlain railroad, and a Mr. Dickerson in the senate, or house, a Republican said he did more, the half is not told us. He recommended, if recommended it was, the great lines of communication by railroad between the Hudson river & the border of the state, one of which was to keep in vicinity of the Erie canal, and unite Albany with Buffalo, besides other projects of railroads and canals, without designating where, which, or how many. He stated in his message that the Assembly passed a law in 1839, or recommending the authorizing the Commissioners of the canal fund to borrow $1,000,000. The truth is, that it was $4,000,000, the Assembly bill, and so became a law. The Argus says the Governor is convicted of uttering and publishing an untruth, and a libel on the senate, when he was bound to give the whole truth. Did ever you hear such things? of a Republican Governor? What is to become of us if Whigs have the rule much longer? They blind the people with their lies they send out among them, and I am sorry they have been able to blind one Klock. (Note: we're breaking up the original long paragraph here)

D. Webster's speech in the House of Representatives. "There is no nation which has guarded its currency with greater care, for the framers of the Constitution, and those who enacted the early Statutes, were hard money men. They had felt, and therefore appreciated the Evils of a paper medium. They therefore jealously guarded the currency of the United States form debasement. The legal currency of the United States was gold and silver coin. This Government has a right, in all cases, to protect its own revenues, and to guard against deflation by bad, or depreciated paper, with a sound legal currency. The national revenues are not collected in this currency, but in paper of various sorts and various degrees of value. Not being a part of the legal money of the country, it could not by law, be received in the payment of duties, taxes or other debts, to Government. If Congress were to pass 40 statutes on the subject, they could not make the law more imparative (sic) than it now is, that nothing should be received in payment of duties to the Government but specie. The whole strength of the Government, I am of opinion should be put forth to compell the payment of duties and taxes of the Government in the legal currency of the country." (Note: we're breaking up the original long paragraph here)

W. C. River of Virginia, in his speech, now another Whig, spoke about specie payments, as D. Webster & so did Henry Clay in 1811, & against the Banks. Now these men are against Van Buren and his measures. Why it has been published twice that Daniel Webster got from the U. S. Banks, in fees, or loans, $58,000; Henry Clay, fees $40,000; Gales & Seaton, loans, $52,370; one Johnston, $36,000; & I have not seen nor heard of no contradiction, & that is not near all. It has been published that in the year '32, that the great Regulator regulated 59 members of Congress by loaning $322,195 to them, and in '33, 54 members with $478,766 & in 1834, 52 members with $238,586 & some others too ditius (sic) to mention. Which shows most conclusively that it was just such an institution as the Federalist labour to reestablish. They dare not say what they want in line of a sub-treasury. Thereby you will see they want a Bank, but dare not mention it. Beware of them.

You say, in your letter, Lands have fallen one third since Government wants all gold and silver for their own use and the people have rags at a shave. I recollect then they would not redeem their bills. People might go to the brokers and get specie for bills, but at a shave. I beleive the Banks had a hand in this shave to make money. You say the Republican party chartered every Bank. Lieing stuff & false. They mean to crush no banks, but befriend them. If you know the truth, Government only means to take care that the people of the U. S. get no more shaved with taking bills, or your Rags, as you call them. I remember seeing a statement of the secretary or treasurer that Government lost rising of $9,000,000 by taking paper money, banks breaking, etc. You stated that you saw a man from Illinois that should have said that thousands of people on Government land that had paper money, but could not get silver for it, or gold for it (What is the matter with your Banks you think so much of ?) to pay for the lands. Why do not your good banks change it for them? I have no doubt if they had our bank bills, they might get specie for them, and that without a shave. Therefore beware of banks and particular a U. States bank, for such a bank is worse than all the rest, for such a bank would interfere with our elections, and ones more chartered. No Jackson to bring it down. If any thing, will be a means to take away our liberties, that will, I have seen a statement that out of 27 government, 23 were hard money Governments, & why not we? Paper money is not constitutional, you complain, and the law about specie & a sub-treasury are not yet passed, without it is done lately. You say our Government so corrupt. I challange (sic) you now to show in one item where it is corrupt. I am astonished that you would suffer yourselves to be so mislead and blind, that you do not know what is for your own good. You better send immediately for the Argus paper. Then you will find out where the truth lies, & how many Whig lies are almost daily contradicted. I saw, I beleive, 6 this day. Get Duncan's speech of Ohio & you would see where the corruption is. Now supposing our works cost 40 or 50 million of dollars, how can it be paid without taxes? It is stated that the income of our revenue would only pay the interest of 14 million & how is the principal to be paid? Van Buren let his sentiments be known before elected, but it seems Harrison dares not do it. Would you or any man vote a man that dare not declare himself. It has been fairly made out that he was an Adams man & Federalist, and held office under both Adames, whom all the Klocks opposed, except one, even your Father. You will find all your leading men, or almost all are Federalists, & they want to rule us. We know what they have done. They may not go so far as to put a stamp act in force, but you may be sure that a U. States bank will be chartered, then farewell to liberty. I could write more but have not room. (Note: we're breaking up the original long paragraph here)

We had a protracted meeting in St. Johns Ville that lasted about three weeks. I should think that all of 40 experienced relegion (sic); 24 or 25 joined our society. I have signed $100 for building a meeting House which will prevent me from coming up. My complaint about the same as when Peggy & Caty left us. Maria about the same. Your brother George & wife moved from Dolly's over in Danube last fall. Cornelius' (Klock) wife has been very low, but has recovered. Your friends here are all well as far as what we know. We have had much rain last Sunday & Monday & since 3 days very windy & cold. I hope none of us will forget the Lord & He will take care of us. I would have you to let David & Caty see this letter.

John B. Klock Junr.             Joseph G. Klock

P.S. Van Buren means to carry out Genl. Jackson's plan which will be by far the best for us all.

Note: How our early forefathers did despise "Stamp Acts".

In the forthcoming letter, No. 15, Great grandfather tells of selling right-of-way to the railroad company. This road, (I presume was the Erie railroad of which he speaks in other letters) is now the New York Central. Like a real Yankee, he secured from the company all the money he could get for the right-of-way across his land.

Letter No. 15

St. Johns Ville, May 18, 1842

Dear Children:

I wrote you some time ago how that I had sold my Farm to Edwin Snell, Maria's husband, and that I was trying to come up to see you, and bring up for Margaret and Catherine each three hundred dollars, but Edwin failed in his promise to take me up, which would be hard for him at this time of the year, and the farm and fences much out of order, and his wife considerably out of Health. And she will not consent to his going, and I am old and getting feeble, and I think I am getting worse with my complaint to make water, dare not venture to go alone. So I think there is no likelyhood (sic) of my getting up to see you at this time. Yet Finehart, Christina's husband made me an offer to take me on his scow as far as Buffalo, and then go with me from there to you. How that would be, or go, I do not know, his wife brought to bed with a young daughter about three days ago. Very poor accomadation (sic), and a poor young girl for a cook on his boat, and I do not see how he could leave his boat so long, and have his hands lie idle so long, when he has to pay them. I understand that Finehart was soon near Rochester about three or four days ago. Now till he gets down to Albany and back to us, might take him fifteen or twenty days, and to get out to you by the 10th of June as I wrote, I think can't be brought about, with him. Therefore think you may give up seeing me at your house this time and perhaps never. Yet I think I should very much like to come up to see you all, and all your children once more before I leave this world, which I think would be a great consolation to me. If I do not make out to get up once more, I should be very glad to see you all at our House before I die. I stated in my last letter, if I were not up by the 10th of June, you had better come and fetch the money, or send for it with an order. The order ought to be signed by Peggy and Caty. I have been disappointed in getting money. Good men that I hold notes against promised to bring me money due me on their notes have disappointed me. I hear of one Martinus Dillenbach who owes me about $171, carried grain to some merchant, and now could not get the money from said merchant. Yet I hear he would get in and the lst of this month. Others that owe me have come and complained that they could not get the money where they had it due them. I have now together in my House about $470 and there is a likelyhood that I shall soon have $600 together. If I had the money together, I think I should have tried to have gone up with Finehart when he went west with his boat about eight or ten days ago. I have thoughts putting my money in a bank, and get a check, and sent it in a letter to you, and on the Chautauqua Bank. I know not whether that Bank is in good standing. If it is, you may write to me and give me order to do so. That is, if none of you can spare time to come down in this season of the year. But again, I do not know if any Bank among us would take such a mixture of bills as I have got. Bills on the Onida, (sic) Herkimer, Fort Plain, Amsterdam, & I beleive mostly on the Montgomery Bank. If you write, you may state if those Bills are good with you. If they are not, I do not know how to get others. You may also state if any of you mean to come down, at what time, or nearly the time you mean to be hear (sic) so that I may prepare for you. (Note: we're breaking up the original long paragraph here)

There is another objection against my coming up. If I can't start very soon, I cannot go, on account of a lawsuit. I sued one Daniel Smith on a contract. He promised last year, the last of March, that he would pay me $50 in May of last year, for a cart machine which he had in his possession belonging to me & one Samuel C. Sherwood. When I took out the summons, I told the Squire that both our names must be in the summons, that he must have S. C. Sherwood's name put in the summons, but was not done & Smith nonsued me. I suit him on the spot. We then joined issues to meet the 2nd day of this instant, and when we met he swore he could not proceed to trial for the want of a material witness he wants. I cannot think he promised to pay me in May, which I can prove by Maria if the Lord spares her life & health till that time. (Note: we're breaking up the original paragraph here)

Your relation among us are all well as far as what we know, except James, Cornelius' son. He took cold last fall, or winter, and it has settled on his lungs, and I am fearful he will die with the consumption. If he would have steemed (sic) his lungs when he had a heavy cold in his breast, it might have helped him. It has helped Mother when the Doctor said she had consumption. I have seen it highly recommended in the Christian Advocate. The way Mother did, she took vinegar and water, and put it in a coffee pot and made it boil, rolled a half sheet of paper, put it to spout of coffee pot, and sucked the steem down. Did that 3 days, once a day and it cured her, and one did it 8 days, 3 times a day and it cured him, and I think the greatest thing that can be done to take colds from the lungs, as no medicine will go there, but steem will. I have seen John's brothers & his sister, Lana, all in about a fortnite's times. They were all well, Lana told me. I think she lived with John Michael. Benjamin lives at the Castle & George with Shol who married his daughter. We have had so far a forward spring among us, plenty of pasture, what winter wheat and rye among us, look promising. What wheat was sewed came in well last year. I am in hopes the wevil (sic) is done, or about done, among us, and I hope every where else, yet for all, we have had a very cold and dry May so far, except yesterday and today, and I think two days besides, were warm. We have eaten sallad (sic) better than a fortnite ago of a land I made ready early. Corn is about coming up. Edwin Snell has been done sewing and planting nearly a fortnite ago. Cherry trees, apple & plum trees are full in bloom. Altho I have sold, I have again bought a durable lease lot with House that I have let for eighty dollars, and still another room on the lower floor, and one in the chamber to let, with very good stabling, and a good water spring up out of pump logs. Isaac I. Finehart turned the place out to me for what he was owing me, and Daniel, and about $100. That took some of my money. (Note: we're breaking up the original paragraph here)

I was lucky when the railroad company took off my flatts for their railroad. They run it out without my being by. I sold a piece what we used to call Over the Ditch, to get ground to make embankment across my flatts, as I could not consent that they should dig holes in my flatts to get ground for the imbankment. They told me the triangle piece was one acres and 7 hundreds of an acre. I was mistrustful that they only run on the bank of the river, when even they should measured down the bank to low water mark. So I made them give me a writing, that if I had it measured & found it more, they must pay me for what might be more, at the rate of $150 per acre. It happened, that Christian Klock and Mr. Veeder who bought his Farm got a surveyor. When Christian sold he took a writing if it was more, that said Veeder must pay for it, and his surveyor made it 17 1/4 acres more, at $30 per acre, and Christian took his house and the land from turnpike up the hill [Later the Moses Quimby place where Arthur Smith now lives] and so far up as his lot of House went up for. When I found a surveyor was so near, I told my, or our family, I will get him, and I did.

He ran it round, and it was not at low water neither, and he made it about half an acre more; it came to $65.41, the interest for seven years $52.5 cents, together $97.46 cents. The surveyor made a map of it and I presented it to Col. Young, the overseer of rail road. He said he would see to it, or about it. This was I think the 16th of last month. I wrote to him thereafter he sent for me to come down to the rail road House. When I got there, he said they paid us interest. I then said I take none. He stood a while, then began to count out money. When I came to count, I counted $97.51, and I gave him some change. That was quick work. How good that I did my business once right. My dear Children, I am still striving to make my way to Heaven, and I hope the Good Lord will speed us all on in the way of Holiness. If we do no more meet here, we may all meet in Heaven where parting may never come. My love to you all.

David, John, Peggy & Caty & the Children             Joseph G. Klock

Continue on to Part 6, the 6th installment of the letters of Joseph G. Klock.

More Klock letters will be posted in February. There are 18 full letters, two partial letters, and a letter written by Margaret (Peggy) Klock, Joseph G. Klock's daughter. All spellings and punctuation are those of the writer of the letters, Joseph G. Klock.

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