Thursday, January 20, 2022

1848 Letter from Lumber Merchant Charles Peavey in Eastport, Maine, to Hon. Samuel E. Smith in Wiscasset, Maine; Purchase of Timberland

March 22, 1848 letter from Charles Peavey (1787-1854) in Eastport, Maine, to Samuel Emerson Smith (1788-1860) in Wiscasset, Maine.

A Transcription appears at the end of this post.

Charles Peavey was a lumber baron and a general in the Maine Militia.  In his younger years, during the four year stretch from 1814-1818 that the British occupied Eastport, Peavey, a New Hampshire native, took his family to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Once Eastport was returned to the US, the Peavey family returned. 

Charles' son Albert Daniel Peavey (1824-1859) died when his children were young. The eldest of them, Frank Hutchison Peavey (1850-1901), found his fortune in Minnesota and funded the construction of a library in Eastport, Maine, named in memory of his father Albert, in the 1890s.

Samuel E. Smith was an attorney, a Representative, a Judge and Maine Governor.  Interestingly, Charles Peavey was a member of Governor Smith's executive council in 1831 and 1832.
In 1848 Peavey is looking to pursue one of two courses: 1) sell the timberlands he has or 2) purchase more timberland to make his enterprise worthwhile.  In view of the second option, he hopes that Smith has land to sell, with favorable terms of payment.

He refers to No. 10 "in this County", which presumably meant a plantation or township in Washington County, Maine.  Edmunds Township was once called Plantation # 10 Eastern Division, Bingham Penobscot Purchase. 

If you have information to share on the Peavey and/or Smith families, please leave a comment for the benefit of other researchers.


Hon. S. E. Smith

Wiscasset Me

Eastport March 22d, 1848


Lat fall you wrote me concerning your land in East half of No. 10 in this County. I would not allow any terms to go on under a permit the last ___ [winter ?]. I shall go on next week to hunt for trespassers as logging has been done in that vicinity the last winter. As your lands and mine are in common in that township, my part is 4500 acres. What will you give or take per acre. If I should purchase I should want a long time for payment but would secure you in your payments to your satisfaction. It will save divisions by other men - any time you can have on mine with the same surity that is reasonable - have you other lands in this vicinity. If so in what Township - what amount in each parcel do you wish to dispose of them. If so, at what price and payments. My object is in asking these questions is I wish either to be free from lands or have a plenty to work on. I have neither. Will you please answer me soon.

I am Yours Respectfully

Charles Peavey

Bear in mind, while looking at the map below, that letters in 1848 would likely have been carried by sea and land.

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