Friday, October 14, 2016

1833 Letter from Elias Mellen Carter at Bethel, Maine, to his Brother, the Hon. Timothy Jarvis Carter, at Augusta, Maine

February 17, 1833 letter sent by Elias Mellen Carter at Bethel, Maine, to his brother Timothy Jarvis Carter at Augusta, Maine.

The letter is comprised of one large sheet, approximately 15-1/2" by nearly 10", folded once for composing the message and then folded several more times to the mailing size.  Images of the letter and a transcription appear at the end of this post.

From brief online research, hopefully correct - corrections and additions requested:

Timothy Jarvis Carter, who would very soon after this letter start a term representing Maine in the U.S. House of Representatives, was born at Bethel, Maine, on August 19, 1800, son of Dr. Timothy and Fanny (Freeland) Carter.  Timothy Jarvis Carter studied law at Northampton, Massachusetts and then opened a law practice, first at Rumford, Maine and then at Paris, Maine.  In 1833, the year of this letter, he was serving as Secretary of the Maine State Senate.  His term as a U.S. representative began in 1837 and ended with his death in office in 1838 at Washington, D.C.

In 1828 Timothy Jarvis Carter married Arabella Rawson, daughter of Samuel Rawson and Pollla (Freeland) Rawson.  He had at least one child, son Samuel Rawson Carter.

Read an interesting blog post, entitled "Politics Will Make You Crazy", that details the swift mental decline that Timothy Jarvis Carter suffered after his good friend and fellow Maine representative, Jonathan Cilley, was killed in a duel.  The post was written by a descendant of the letter writer, Elias Mellen Carter.

Elias Mellen Carter was born September 11, 1811, son of Dr. Timothy Carter and Frances (Freeland) Carter, "Fanny", who died when Elias was barely four years old.  Dr. Carter subsequently married Lydia Russell.

Elias married Irish immigrant Rebecca Williamson, and they raised their family at Bethel, Maine.  For more information on Elias Mellen Carter and his family, see a series of blog posts written by the author of the blog referenced above.  One post features a wonderful group photograph of the family and links to other posts.

Loose transcription

Bethel, February 17, 1833
Dear Brother
There is going to be an officer meeting tomorrow and I expect that Col. Bolster will be promoted, and I understand, too, that he intends to make an appointment of paymaster before he returns from Augusta, and I was so much engaged the fore part of the winter and not knowing that he was going away, I did not go down to see him as I intended when I last saw you but Mr. Chapman informed me that he had some conversation with Mr. Frost and he told him that he thought from what Bolster told him that he would appoint me.  Now as you are there, if you should think it advisable I should like to have you see Mr. Bolster about it.  I am engaged in a School this winter or I think I could have gone down to Augusta this winter ["this winter" crossed out], but instead of that I have not been out of the town but once since I was in Paris, then I went to Portland, which was about two weeks ago, saw James [presumably James Freeland Carter, brother of Timothy and Elias] and family, they were well.  Father has been quite smart all this winter.  He and I have not brought our business to a close yet, but I expect we shall not be able to make a trade.  I expect that Francis [or possibly Frances] will have us this spring.  I have not heard from N.Y. this long time.  Wish you would send me some of your proceedings, if you have done anything down there this winter.  Write soon and let me know about these affairs.
Yours affectionately,
Elias M. Carter
[to] T. J. Carter, Esq.

If you have corrections and/or additions to the information above, please leave a comment or contact me directly.


  1. Elias is my great great great grandfather on my mother's mother's side.

    1. Neat! (Did you notice any errors that need correcting?)