January 1860

January 1, 1860

Sunday. Went to church. Very cold day. [Cousin] George Stratton came over in early part of evening & I went back with him, thence to church & staid all night with him.

January 2, 1860

Came home early. Cleaned up 90 bushels of oats. Very cold day. No letters yet. I don’t see why. I am worried considerably.

January 3, 1860

Rather cold. Afternoon, went to Owego. Got a letter from Johnson. Went up to Peck’s. We dissolved partnership. Mr. Peck wants me to take an agency to sell his butter worker by the 1st of March. If I cannot do better, I will do it. He thought that we had better go alone in the picture business as it is not so extensive as to require two & pay. He agreed to settle when he came back from Pennsylvania to which he intends going next week. Put a letter in [post] office for the Postmaster of Oswego to send me letters if any in his office. I wrote that many persons write Oswego indiscriminately either carelessly or otherwise. West had a ball to which we were invited. We tried to get George Rice to go but he would not. They had quite a nice party, but I did not feel well & consequently could not enjoy it. The Wallace’s with 2 Willard boys were there, [and] Horton’s. It was a mixed affair, but _______ nevertheless. Lew Willard & J. K. Horton were playing euchre with C. Wallace & Mr. West, & cheated most outrageously, whereupon West waxed wroth & damned off Lew Willard & said he was enough for any damned Willard. The Wallaces were wroth & lead Lew in & went home. I did not see Willard cheat but did not think he was to blame & West’s rage was uncalled for & highly uncourteous, especially to his own company. Did not have much of any supper. Staid till after one o’clock. It was snowing. Jack [Thorn] rode back with us. I am sorry I went for I feel very miserable & will tomorrow. My legs ache & my stomach is weak. Louisa Wallace said they were going to get a barrel of cider brandy & invited me to come down & drink some. I doubt whether I shall do it. The father I go on the less hope I have of doing anything. Each day passes without bringing any letters of importance & I am fairly sick. This picture arrangement is going to be, I fear, a bad speculation. Though if I can not make anything after a week or 2 trial, I will leave it & go study law again. Oh, I do wish & pray that I could get into some good business, but God only knows best.

January 4, 1860

Got up feeling tired & sick. Drew wood. Went to Owego in evening. Cold & blew terribly. Saw that Aunt Lucy [Fiddis] had received a letter from [her daughter] Lucy. She was in Penola.

January 5, 1860

Went to mill. Got some logs down. Evening, walked to Owego. Got the frame & mats & I intend to go to Binghamton tomorrow. Cutting sausage.

January 6, 1860

Got up early [and] had an early breakfast. Took my case containing a large frame & two pictures & started for the depot to take the eight o’clock train for Binghamton. I had many misgivings, but I tried to look every obstacle in the face. I knew that probably I would see someone I knew which could not but add to my embarrassment. When I arrived in Binghamton I was gloomy enough. On the cars were Spencer Peck & Julia & I managed to keep away from them. The ride would have been pleasant had it been for another reason. Union is quite a pretty place & the scenery must be very pretty. The flat topped hill is quite a contrast. Binghamton is quite a large place containing about 10,000 inhabitants. There are some pleasant residences — one on the west side of the Chenango [River] near the railroad bridge, & one on the east side, also near the railroad. The seminary is on an elevation a considerable way out on the west of Chenango. John A. Collier has a very pleasant place but it is too near the railroad. The court house is very fine. The hotels are large & commodious. It is very irregular, especially the streets, and the land is uneven so that it does not look like houses on a plane.

I went in almost at the first house from the depot & the woman – a miserable specimen of her race – ordered me out saying, “Out with you. I don’t want any of you round here.” Upon remonstrating with her, she said she did not want any nasty peddlers in there and there upon shut the door in my face. The next house I went into, the woman – the only one there – was pleased with the picture, but did not feel able to get it. About every other house I got a sorry rebuff. Some would not even look at the picture. All the time I felt chagrined and mortified but a kind of determination backed by obstinacy nerved me up. The politeness which I received at some places alleviated in a measure the real insolence of others. I worked assiduously for some time but my case was too heavy. I could not stand it so I went to a hotel intending to leave the case & take a large picture, but a fellow there wished to trade of 2 rings for my picture in a frame. One was broken, the other was plain but they did not look to be good & so I declined. He said the two [rings] were worth $6.00 & got a lot of fellows to say [they would pay him] $50. I declined & left. I went into another where they seemed to be more gentlemanly, but I could not get them to buy for they were hard up. “Hard times” was all the word at every place. I left the case there & told where probably I could still sell some. I went to the bank, but wasn’t able was the answer. I found a man that wanted one but could not pay for it then. I went to a place some distance out & was received at the door by a little boy. On my wishing to see his mother, he went for her. He was gone some time & I had time to observe. The room was nicely furnished but things were crowded. [They had] nice furniture & paintings which looked as if they might have been in a better house once. The house was not very good. I conjectured it was inhabited by a family who had met reverses, which appeared to be apparent after I came away. The lady appeared & treated me courteously & appeared to me a lady in the full sense. The boy asked me my name before the mother came. She said she like the picture & would get one if she were able. They had quite a number of pictures without frames & nowhere to put them. She said her husband had just gone to New York on the train. She talked kindly to me & told me she thought I could sell some. I left & received a very pleasant box from her. The boy showed the way to the places. I went & received the same cold rebuff. At one place the people were at dinner with all the paraphernalia of wealth but it was a hard matter for them to pay for a picture. Where I supposed the wealthy lived, then I gave the shortest answers but still did not treat me indecently. The really vulgar which wealth could not alter did me disrespect… I labored till night tired & hungry, & severely disappointed & came back to the hotel where I left my case. Then I saw C. Stone & a fellow that was admitted to law at Ithaca. I had supper & the proprietor said he would let me have it for three shillings. I went to the depot & came down [to Owego] on the 6.25 train, feeling very vexed at my ill-luck, & more so at the cold-heartedness & uncharity of the world.

January 7, 1860

I feel tired yet. Rainy. Ma thought it best [for me] to go to study law again. Wrote to [cousin] Ed Stratton & went to Owego. [Nathaniel W.] Davis said I could come back. Saw Prindle. Said he was housekeeping & want my sister & I to come & see him. Said I would sometime. Expect [cousin] George [Stratton] over. I cannot make it go selling pictures & I am losing by staying at home doing nothing so the best thing to do is to study, I believe. So at it I am going.

January 8, 1860

Sunday. [Cousin] George [Stratton] came over last night and stayed here all day. Got a letter from [his sister] Lucy Stratton.

January 9, 1860

Went to the [post] office & sent a letter to N.Y.

January 10, 1860

Went up to Aunt Lucy [Fiddis’] with some fish. Commenced to study…

January 11, 1860

Quite warm. Met Peck. Said he had sold 14 pictures in Ithaca. Got a letter from N.Y. and one from [Harry] Handerson. Chet Roy died the 5th of September, 1859… Getting along very well in law. The weather has changed some & is tonight rather cold. A queer person was in the [law] office today. I hardly know what to make of him. He was a hard case.

January 12, 1860

Snowed a little. Send a letter to Rev. James Aiken, Massachusetts. Got one from a gentleman in Camden, South Carolina who wished me to go there. He wanted me to answer in Latin, French, or German. I think of answering in German & have been busy to that effect this evening. I took it to Mr. Rankine. He said that he would write in English. Mrs. Mosher is here.

January 13, 1860

I have puzzled my brain considerably to get up a good German letter & have pestered Hymes too. After writing & rewriting, we got out a fair looking case. I spent nearly all day writing. Got a letter from the Bishop of Mississippi. Said he would try to get me a situation. Worked on the German letter all the evening till nearly 12 o’clock.

January 14, 1860

Saturday. Went to Hymes’ to have him correct the letter & wrote it off twice & finally succeeded & then concluded to write in English  & put in a little German, which I did, & sent it in the afternoon. Did not open a law book to study today. Baldwin, the student at the [law] office went to Pennsylvania last night to be gone a few days. [My cousin] George Stratton lent me January No. Atlantic Monthly. Went up to Aunt Lucy [Fiddis’. She has] got some new boarders. Mrs. Mosher left here today. [My sister] Mary [was] up to Eph’s [and] got home after nine. Been studying Frrench [and] writing a letter in it.

January 15, 1860

Sunday. Went to the Methodist [church]. Wrote a letter to [Harry] Handerson. Read some & arranged some things. Mary & Lee & Steve have gone up on Catlin Hill to a meeting. Washed all over today and fell good. I hope I can get that place in Camden, South Carolina, but it is very doubtful. [1] A little thing may turn the whole concern against me & I will fail to get the place. Time will only show.

January 16, 1860

Called at Peck’s. They were just going to Pennsylvania. Went to Aunt Lucy [Fiddis’], to [law] office [but] did not study much. Got Joey No of Knick[er]bocker of George Stratton. Read some in it about Irving & quite a horrible ghost story.

Bayard Taylor (sitting second from left) and the N.Y. Tribune Editorial Staff.

January 17, 1860

Called at Aunt Lucy [Fiddis’]. She had gone to Pennsylvania with N. Miller. Went to the [law] office. George Stratton came & said [his brother] Ed had come. Just before noon, he came in [and] we went to the store & exercised on the ropes. He thought he would come over here in the afternoon but did not.

Evening. [My sister] Mary & I went to hear Bayard Taylor lecture. He is a fine looking man, rather tall — 6 feet I should think — & well formed, straight limbs. [He has] a high & long head, not very large, a rather full forehead & not very high & a little narrower than his face at the cheek bones. His face is not square, but a slight oval. Hair dark & curling slightly. Mustache & a thin beard. He delivered well but there was a kind of huskiness in his voice sometimes. He spoke without notes in a quiet way. His subject was the life in the North. The farther you are north till you get to the far northern regions, then the people degenerate. The far northern Swedes possess the real berserk fury of the forefathers. They are generally tall, well built, light hair, red cheeks, a clean sparkling eye, blue as the heavens above them…. Kissing is not the far northern custom. The reindeer never digs into the snow for moss with his horns as Owen says, but with his feet. They are stupid & have no affection. They will sometimes turn around with the sleigh & look the driver into the face. He says of the long days that you never feel sleepy but always tired.

January 18, 1860

Did not feel very well. Called of J. Tinkham.

January 19, 1860

Studied some. Saw Wash Gladden. Said he had left the school, had a license to preach, [&] was going to Chicago in a few weeks. Got a letter from rev. J. Aiken & wanted me to send my recommendations to him for the school. Lee came down in the evening & we played card till rather late. Wrote to Aiken & I am going to send the recommendations tomorrow.

January 20, 1860

Wrote to Aiken. Saw Mr. Burt & got a recommendation. Got one from Mr. Rankine. Ruth Goodrich here in evening. Went down to spelling school & then to C. Duels to a ball. [My sister] Mary did not go. Got home about 2 o’clock.

January 21, 1860

Did not study much. Felt tired. Got a recommendation from Mr. Smyth & sent to Aiken. Went to Owego again in the evening to the book auction. Got Kenilworth. George Stratton came home with me.

January 22, 1860

Pleasant day. It seems like a spring day. so pleasant & so mild. Walked over to church with [sister] Mary. Mr. Rankine preached a good sermon. Wrote to [cousin] Lucy Stratton. Evening, went over to Aunt Lucy [Fiddis’], staid there till most nine o’clock. [Cousin] Anna [Fiddis] starts for Fairport tomorrow. She does not know when she will return. She expects to go into the salaeratus shop & put it up in packages as they have quite a number of girls to do it. [My sister] Mary has gone up on Catlin Hill with Lee Goodrich to meeting. The wind is blowing & it is very dark without. A storm of some kind is coming on.

January 23, 1860

Rather pleasant. Went to Peck’s. M. Peck had got home. He could not sell the sewing machine. He was just starting for Pennsylvania to sell one of the American. Mr. Peck said he would pay me for that one as soon as M. came back. Rode down town with him. Put letter in [post] office for [cousin] Lucy Stratton. [Nathaniel W.] Davis was moving the county into the store underneath the [law] office [where] I assisted. An old Irish woman was scrubbing. I went out the lower door. She was in a room above & threw a pail full of slop out [a window] & the whole of it came down upon me. I got pretty well ducked & dirty too. In the afternnon, Col. Davis was served so too. Got a letter from Camden [S.C.]. He wants me to go. I think I shall. Evening, wrote to him accepting the offer.

January 24, 1860

Rather pleasant. Wrote to L. McCandless [2] accepting his offer. Went to Mr. Rankine’s. [He] advised me to go. Did not study much. Received a letter from Bishop Davis of S. C.  It had been mislaid. Ma has to go to Aunt Lucy [Fiddis’] to stay all night. Ruth Ann Goodrich here & staid all night. Been getting my books together. Read some Greek.

January 25, 1860

Pleasant day. [Nathaniel W.] Davis & [Willoughby] Babcock gone up to Binghamton, Evening. Almarin Warring & wife here. Staid all night. They are going to California. After they went to bed, [my sister] Mary & I went over to Lewis’ to a party. Had a glorious time. Came home about two in the morning. Harvey Smith came with us.

January 26, 1860

Little colder. Went to the [law] office. Tired & sleepy. Did not do much work. Davis & Babcock back. Evening, read & studied a little in Homer.

January 27, 1860

Snow about an inch deep. Went up to Aunt Lucy [Fiddis’]. In the [law] office all day. Did not read much law. Felt lazy. Evening, got a letter from Rev. J. Aiken, Massachusetts. Said that they had engaged another gentleman for the school. I do not know whether I shall succeed in getting that place in Camden [S.C.] or not. I fear he is expecting too much from me. I have not confidence enough in my abilities. I hope I shall succeed — at least I shall try.

January 28, 1860

It was a cold & blustery day. Davis & Babcock gone away. Baldwin came back today. Read the [New York] Herald. Did not study much. Some expected Peck tonight but it was too cold I think. Evening, studied Latin & put together some of my papers. Busy till late.

January 29, 1860

Sunday. Went to church in the 2 horse sleigh. Went to the Methodist [church]. Afternoon, arranged some of my things. Steve & Mary took a ride. Gone almost the whole afternoon. Evening, George West’s sister came up. Wanted them to go up on Catlin Hill to meeting, as they did, got home about half past 10. Read some such stories where the study of human character is essentially necessary, yet how poorly I have acquired any correct judgments from them. If I do not fail in securing this [teaching] situation, I wish to improve as much as I can & to give satisfaction.

Harvey Baldwin, 1858

January 30, 1860

Peck came over just as I was starting for Owego. Got the pictures & I rode over with him. He was going to Ithaca. Got a paper from [cousin] Lucy Stratton containing a watch-case for a philopena present. I have to pay 8 cts. on it. Got a map of N.Y. City.  Boxed with the gloves with Baldwin. He gave me some hard raps. Did not study much. He let me take one of his watches. Wants to sell it to me. Evening, went down to Lee’s. Read.

January 31, 1860

Cold. Fire in Owego. Archibald’s Tannery burned down. Went to it & worked all the forenoon. [Nathaniel W.] Davis fell into a vat & got wet very badly. So tired that I could not study. [Harvey] Baldwin teaches in ___ Seminary. [Henry Hobart] Van Deusen is teaching in Ct.


To obtain the teaching position in Camden, South Carolina, Ralph was requested to respond to the advertisement by submitting a resume in any language (other than English) of his choosing. In responding, Ralph wrote the following in rather broken German:

Dear Sir. Your nice letter from the 12th of this month was received and I answer in the German language. I have taught as a home teacher for a young lad. He is being prepared for college. My mountaintop is 5 foot 4 inches, weight 130. I was 23 last August. My personal appearance would be difficult to describe. I can’t think that I am either beautiful or ugly. My hair is neither red, nor flaxen, nor black, but it is brown. I have a wide nose but it has to be good. – Ralph Goodrich [Box 1, Ralph L. Goodrich Collection, Arkansas History Commission]

Considering the quality of the letter written in German, it is wise that Goodrich followed the advice of Rev. Rankine and responded in English instead.

Alexander Leslie McCandless ("Mack") ca. 1860

Alexander Leslie (“Mack”) McCandless was born about 1820 in New Jersey. According to one source, McCandless was “taken from the Charleston, South Carolina Orphan House by those who perceived the latent talents of the boy and given a thorough education, graduating from the South Carolina College in 1838. When he began teaching the next year [in Camden, South Carolina], he was only eighteen years old. From 1839 to about 1846, McCandless taught the “Classical English School” in the Pine Grove Academy in Camden. From 1846 to 1849, McCandless conducted the Orphan Society Schools in Camden, marrying another teacher — Miss Frances (“Fanny”) Augusta Coleman — in 1848.  Fanny was a graduate of Patapsco Collegiate Institute of Baltimore, Maryland where she was the pupil of Mrs. Emma Hart Willard, the celebrated educator and advocate of women’s rights.

Fanny Coleman McCandless, ca. 1860

In 1849, Mr. and Mrs. McCandless resigned to teach their own private schools and about 1854, they moved their schools into a new frame building erected by the Educational Association on Laurens Street. It was in this schoolhouse that Goodrich came to work as an assistant to Mr. Leslie McCandless in February 1860 and teach the sons of wealthy planters and other members of Low Country aristocracy. By this time, Mrs. Fanny McCandless was managing the Camden Female Seminary in a separate schoolhouse next to the McCandless residence. It was widely reputed as one of the best institutions for young women in the state.

Of Leslie McCandless, the book Historic Camden (p. 412) reported that “his besetting sin was his temper.”  He was described as “dyspeptic and morose at times” but “for all all his crabbed and ugly temper he had a warm heart, and often exhibited tender emotions. Sometimes for a whole day he would be in real sunny mood and laugh heartily at the humors of the school-room, the grim wrinkles of his face relaxing into smiles.”  The boys in his school usually referred to him as “Old Mac.”  Finally, “in school duties he was most thorough, systematic and faithful. His scholarship was superb. He had perfect mastery of the Greek and Latin classics, also of French, German, Italian, and Spanish.”

The U.S. Census for South Carolina, Kershaw, Camden shows the McCandless’ family with six children in September of 1860:

1860 US Census, Camden, South Carolina

Alexander Leslie McCandless, age 40 (born about 1820 in NJ)
Frances Augusta [Coleman] McCandless, age 38  (actually 41, her birth date was 29 May 1819 in Vermont)
Frances D. McCandless, age 11 (born about 1849 in SC)
Sidney C. McCandless, age 9 (born about 1851 in SC)
Edward S. McCandless, age 7 (born about 1853 in SC)
Linnie McCandless, age 6 (a female born about 1854 in SC;  later married a Wilson)
John M. McCandless, age 3 (born about 1857 in SC)
Kate Leslie McCandless, age 8 months (born about January 1860 in SC; just prior to Goodrich’s arrival)
Victor Eugene Manget, age 23 (born about 1837 in Conn.; a “Teacher of French” and Goodrich’s room-mate)

One response to “January 1860

  • Grover Hinds

    Hello, I was researching an 1844 letter by Fanny Coleman (McCandless) from the PFI and found your website. First The Patapsco Female Institute(PFI) was in Ellicotts Mills not Baltimore. The school was run by Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps the younger sister of Emma Willard. Mrs Willard ran the school at Troy, NY. John Phelps was Mrs Phelps second husband. They were both widowed. Mrs Phelps had a number of step daughters that were teachers. One, Stella Phelps taught at the girls school run by the Hatfield family at Camden, South Carolina. In 1841 she married the widowed Henry Hatfield. In 1845 they sold the school in Camden with the intention of opening a school in Augusta, Georgia. That seems to have not happened. They ended up going running a school at Eutaw, Alabama, the Mesopotamia Female Academy.
    Mrs Phelps specialized in training young woman at PFI to support themselves as teachers and tutors in private homes. She expended some efforts at finding positions for the girls. Since Fanny Coleman had a job teaching in Camden I can see the Phelps family referring her to Stella.
    I never knew the name of the school at Camden. The info I have is from letters Stella’s father, John Phelps, wrote to her sister Helen about events in Camden. Considering the date range you have the McCandless’s must have made job changes about the time that the Hatfield’s sold the Camden school.
    By the way the diarist Mary Chestnut attended the Camden school. She used Stella as a character in her unfinished fiction work, “Two years or the way we lived then”. The character is a teacher from Vermont. The Phelps family was from Vermont. The letter that I have from Fanny was addressed to a male friend in Benson, Vermont. May give Fannty another connection to the Phelps family.
    By my 1844 letter Fanny was on her own and attending PFI with the specific purpose of becoming a teacher. She aspired to obtain a diploma.
    Nice to have an image of Fanny. There is a devoted group here at Ellicott that are trying to recover as much info as possible about the students at PFI.

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