January 1867

[January 3, 1867]

I got letters from Johnson & Austin.  Johnson has graduated at Albany Law School, & George Dodge is _____ slow in my school. No new scholars.

January 25, 1867

Been teaching small school. Dr. Hartt wants me to study medicine. Lent me work on anatomy. He spoke to Judge Eastman & so did Syberg to get him to hire me as assistant teacher in his school. Said he would think about it. Dr. Hartt, I think, is my friend. I don’t get enough to pay rent & half the time not half enough to eat. It is hard. The Bishop (Lay) is down on me for something, I do not know what for. I helped Syberg make a plan for a public school. He is to make a plan for the city council & I suppose they will get imported teachers & there will be no chance for me. I am deserted by everybody. I am nothing but I will keep a stiff upper lip & live so they cannot find any fault with me. [Ed] Sauter is a drunkard but a master & he will get along. They say if he will keep sober, they will give him a place in the college, but as for me they would not give me enough to butter my bread. It is strange that Episcopalians will beat me so since one of their own ministers (the Rev. Mr. Kerr) is a notorious drunkard, & I have drank with him & on Sundays too. I shall tell the Bishop so some day too.

January 28, 1867

In school. Cold. Nothing new. Called on Dr. Hartt. Reading The Amenities of Literature by [Benjamin] Disraeli. Very good. Some not worth the trouble of reading. Tom came back from the country today.

January 29, 1867

In school. Whipped Fred Syberg. Emily went off today & I got nothing to eat all day till eight o’clock at night. It is hard to be poor. I never suffered so much as I have since I recommenced my school. Not half enough to eat & scarcely any clothing on my back. I think somebody will be charged with the uncharitableness which they exercise toward me, but I hope & pray God that I may see better times. Oh! God grant that my affairs may get better, that I may be more prosperous than I am at present. Prosper me in my school. O Lord, grant that I may be able to do my duty well and faithfully & that I may forgive sincerely all my enemies.


The Albany Law School has no record of any student named Johnson graduating from their Law School in 1867. Furthermore, no student named Johnson graduating in years immediately preceding or following 1867 seem to match the description of Goodrich’s friend.

Letter Number 253

The following letter was written from Goodrich to Charles H. Cole. Though the copy is not dated, it was obviously written in January 1867.

Dear Cole,

I received your letter a few days ago, but delayed to answer it until I had heard some news, since you expressed a wish to hear what was going on in this country, so near Hades, that one step would bring you to that more delectable dominion. Aand with this intention to learn something, I called on Mr. Redmond, or rather met him on the street. I told him I had just received a letter from you, and that you wanted to hear the “news.” And as he was probably more conversant with that article of merchandise, especially about the State House. I respectfully requested him to let me into the secrets of that trade business. He replied that he had received two letters from you, but he had no news to which to invite our attention except that things were going on in about the same dog-trot, half-lazily-sleepy-legal way. So I was compelled to fall back upon my own resources, confounded little though they may be at this present moment, and from the various true and imaginary rumors that are floating around in the Little Rock atmosphere to cull some for your entertainment.

In the first place, I am glad to hear of your safe arrival home and the good health of your family. Your way of living I should judge is better than medicine to take the rheumatics out of your pedal extremities.

My school is in status quo, just where it was when you left, nor does it seem to be in any danger of growing big. I called on Mr. Lusk. He said he would pay that note, and when I called again, he couldn’t pay it. So I called again and again, without getting it. I had to sell it to some saloon keeper. They offered me five dollars, and from that down to nothing. I offered, if they would give me $25 [for it], I would drink it out. No go. I ought to keep sober. Finally I resolved to put it at the hands of the constable, but the Justice told me that there were more judgments against him than a horse could carry. But in the meantime he mysteriously eloped for parts unknown. So that is the finale of him and his bill too.

Ashort time after your departure, I received a note from Mrs. Egan but in Mick’s handwriting and in his own vulgate orthography, requesting that if I had the “leaste sparke of a gentleman” — I quote verbatim — “I would come up and see in reference to  &c.” I replied as gentlemanly as I could, and stated that it was considerably of an up hill business to reestablish my reputation as a school teacher, which had been greatly damaged by the disgraceful business of a saloon keeper, with its other undignified associations. I don’t think the abused gentleman stands so well as he did with his pets and cubs, but since I left off going to saloons, I do not hear much of him. By the way, I swore off drinking [last] Christmas and have stuck to it, for I have refused to drink beer with Syberg, and whiskey with others.

The election came off. The judges of the First Ward were Sarasin, Palmer, and Cribbs; clerks, A. L. Slaughter and R. L. Goodrich. For fulfilling the duties of that high and honorable employment, we get five dollars per head — sometime. Hopkins was elected Mayor, beating Henry badly. Syberg was elected Recorder, nearly one hundred [votes] ahead of Rison. Sauter got two votes. Miller is Treasurer, Scott [is] constable, Pope [is] Justice. George, Hooper, Weeks, Wassell, Hagar, Donahue, Krebs, and Peay [are] Alderman.

Our ward polled the highest vote. It was next day’s morning when we got to bed. Miller, Henry, Varn, McKenna and Syberg furnished the others of the “board” with whiskey, all of us with dinner, supper, and cigars. I did some heavy business in smiking, I’ll bet. Barney electioneered heavy for Scott and Syberg. Currier did not hardly get a smell at the feast of good things.

A little fire occurred the other night at Fitzgerald’s stable. Dr. Wilkin’s wife had a youthful offspring. It was said that an unmarried one was blessed with another Christmas morning. It must have been a squalling toy for Santa Claus to tote in his basket, but I don’t know how true it is.

Bernays and his wife made up, condoned, and she has gone to New York with the boy, and Syberg and the Jew are good friends. Bernays takes back all he said and accused her of. He invented it all, he says, and Syberg and he went with the madam as far as Duvall’s Bluff when she retreated from the field of her various conquests and the voice of slander is thereby stopped.

The next day after you left, I found myself unconsciously wandering toward the State House. I had the gate partly open when I thought that I had no business there now, and I come back. You did not write whether you had seen Wally, or my relative Hollister in Memphis. But as you are silent, I took it for granted that Hollister was not in the city.

I have turned surgeon now. I helped Dr. Hartt the other day amputate a limb — a thumb too many. attached to the carpal bones of a human biped called “boy.” The doctor wants me to study when I have time and he will give me all the assistance he can and to initiate me into the medical profession. He has given me a bill of $20 on Wilkins to collect. [He] said the bill was for obstetric services for which I was to receive 10 percent. But it looks extremely billious. They say that he fooled Scott most outrageously abouthis license. Scott came for the money, and Wilkins begged off, for a little while longer, but the mouth had slipped away and then he told Scott to get it if he could.

[End of letter — Goodrich]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: