History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Thanks to Judy Dolanski, Typing Volunteer, who typed this section.
This article was sent to us by Elizabeth (Klock) Hoagey. It appeared at some time during the late 1920's or early 1930's in the St. Johnsville Enterprise and News. The owner of the E & N at the time was Lou D. MacWethy. His granddaughter has permitted articles from this time period to be used on the Fort Klock web site.
Letter No. 25
Newville, July 14th, 1830.
I rec'd your some time ago, and have had no time to answer you until now, we are all in tolerable health at present, my wife has been unwell since last winter but is on the gaining hand at present, hoping these few lines may find you all well.
You stated in your letter you had rec'd several letters from me which you did not think proper to answer on account of them being wrote in such a spout--I merely answered your letter and made some remarks on your letter and told you no more than the plain truth. I did not send all the Methodists to hell, because they don't think as I do, but you sent all the Masons there if report be true. Now if report be true, could you send us all to hell, I do not know what reports you have in your vicinity, their is a great many false reports in our quarter, and I presume there are in your quarter, against the Masons, to my knowledge that is. I read four papers a week and if I was to believe all I read in the papers, the institution of Masonry must be bad but I know better than that, I do know the institution of Masonry to be good, and you don't, all you know about it is from report and I know it to be a good moral institution, you say why are so many coming out from Masonry, there are a number of reasons they say, one says his church is opposed to Masonry, the other that his connections are oppossed to the institution, another wants office, it is true the preacher can hold no office, but he must preach for a livelihood, if he won't renounce Masonry, he is turned out of his church, rather than go to work with his hands, he renounces Masonry.
There is a Baptist preacher who lives in Montgomery Co. who has renounced Masonry a short time ago, and he now goes round and preaches antimasonry in the place of preaching gospel, he has renounced religion, he says antimasonry is the true religion now a days, he preached an antimasonic discourse in our town on the 6th inst. and I went to hear him. After service was over a number of the anties asked me how I liked the discourse, I told them I did not want a preacher to tell so many lies and it came to his ears, and in a few hours he called on me and wanted to know if I had stated that he told lies. I told him I had, he wanted I should point out where in he had lied and I told him, where in he had lied and I told him I could prove it by more than five hundred persons He said he took truth for his motto and all he stated was true. I told him if he had stated the truth he of course could swear to his statements to be true, I would give him fifty dollars, he refused to swear to his own statements to be true. Now what must we think of such men that will make long antimasonic speeches and will take truth for their motto, and bring them to the test, and then they will not swear what they have stated to be true, the only construction that can be put is that what they have stated is false, they are trying to connect church and state together then we shall have priest Craft Enough. If we let the priests go on in this way, that is, to mix religion and politics together, if that is their and your religion, away with such religion, I don't want such kind of religion about me. This same man told his church about an year ago that Masonry was Bible principle, if he renounced Masonry he must first renounce his Bible. What must we think of such men that will lie as this man does. Is that a preacher of the gospel that tries to make all the disturbance in community he can, he ought to make peace not war, if he is a Christian, he ought to set good examples not bad ones. We must make some allowance for the anties, their cause is of such a nature, that a man with half an eye can see their object, their object is anti republicanism, under the cloak of religion, the Lord have mercy on such infatuated man as their sense have run crazy since they have become antimasons, and some have murdered. Look at the two Adames what they have done since they have been anties, look to the east of us and see what the anties are doing there, they are trying to break up churches and families, they are setting wife against husband and husband against wife, son against father, father against son, they are now trying it in our quarter. That is the principle of antimasonry, if they can only carry their political objects in force that is all they want, they don't care what it will cost, whether if will terminate in an inland war or not, we can't tell yet, I am fearful it will unless there is something done to stop their career in telling lies. I understand in some parts, a Mason is not safe in going alone, he is in danger of his life by them anties, it is nothing less than an inquission on Masonry. I am as willing as you are to have the perpitrators brought to punishment but am not willing to have the innocent to be punished for the guilty, if I ( ) you are guilty of an infamous act ( ) ought to be punished for it, but if you are guilty of an infamous crime w( )should I be punished for you b( )deeds, we can take on the same r( )the anties do, because som( ) Masons have abducted mor( )must all be punished for that one ( )fence, it don't look consistant with reason nor scripture that all its members should suffer for the offence of some of its members. I don't uphold any Mason that is guilty of murder or any other vice, no more than you do. I have no more to say on this subject at this time but will give you some more of the anties conduct in my next letter.
I must now return to our own individual business--you stated in your letter that you would write to me in short concerning our affairs, I have been looking for a letter from you this some time, but have not rec'd none as yet, what is the cause is best known to your self, I am anxious to hear from you and want to know to what you intend to do concerning the money I have paid for you in paying your taxes for your Black River land and the money we paid for you in the Indian Castle affair, I want you to state what you intend to do in the affair, whether you intend to pay your share or not so that we shall know what do. You said that you did not expect to do much of any labour any more, if that is the so, you may as well come down this summer and see what we can do with uncle George and Christian, we may get the whole of them or a greater part of it, if you would only come and see to it, as long as you are up there and they here, so long this thing will remain as it is, I think it is best for you and us, for you to come down as soon as possible, Uncle George has property and Christian has property, if you was here I think we might come to some conclusion with them, if not, it can't do no harm. Christian's property can be sold during his life, I know a number of instances when the property belonged to a man's wife and the property was sold during his life* if you can come down this season, to arrange this business. I want you to write to me when you can have the money ready for me and I will come up and get it if you can't pay it all at once, state how much you can pay and then I shall depend on the money and will be up on the time you appoint to have it ready.
Please answer this letter as soon as possible.
Mr. John B. Klock.
*It is evident that Christian's property was in his wife's name, but it should be borne in mind that at that period 1830, women had no property rights under the law.--Ed.
Notes by Milo Nellis:
Ashbel Loomis married Joseph G. Klock's sister Caty. No doubt David's wife Caty who Joseph G. Klock's daughter was named for her aunt who married Ashbel Loomis. This letter is interesting in that it names Ashbel Loomis' children and reveals the fact that he had three daughters and a son by his first wife. A letter written from Lockport, N. Y., Jan. 5, 1850 by Ashbel Loomis to Christian Klock was published in the Enterprise June 6, 1928 in which he mentioned Althea and Maria as being there with hin, revealed his extreme poverty and writes in endearing terms of Uncle Christian and Aunt Eva--uncle and aunt to his first wife.
Letter No. 26
Oppenheim, July 30th, 1832
I am informed by your father in law who, is now present with me, that you wished me to write you, and feeling willing to correspond with all my friends, I embrace the present opportunity. He wishes me to inform you that he would have written you if I had not. His family are in health except his wife who is as usual rather weakly and Cornelius's wife who has lately been confined with a young son and is not in a usual state of health. Daniel's wife has a young daughter about 14 days old.
All your other friends in this region are well as far as we know. He also wishes me to state that he received Caty's letter and you can inform her that he thinks there will be no particular danger on the canal as we know of, although the disease will be likely to prevail along the canal if anywhere. In the country we have heard that there has been a few cases in all the western villages, chiefly foreigners. We should all be pleased to see you and all yours if it could be convenient.
Henry Failing died last winter and his wife this summer. The season has been favorable, crops are good on the lowlands but rather short on the upland. I suppose that Mr. Klock wrote you concerning the decease of Caty in May 1831, she left four children viz. Althea now 14 years old, Maria 11, Betsey 8 and Ashbel who will be five in August next year.
Mother yet continues to live with us and I have the pleasure to state she and all our family have enjoyed a good state of health, except the little babe which Caty left behind, it was weakly and only survived here eleven weeks. You will probably feel anxious to know whether I have changed any situation in regard to a companion. I have the pleasure to inform you that I was married on the 5th July inst. to Miss Julianna Washburn, she was a maiden about my age and was formerly from Massachusetts, but has the last 2 or three years taught the Johnstown Female Seminary. I confidently hope that she will be an agreeable companion and a kind and useful mother to my children.
I have now kept my mother in law about eleven years last May and received no compensation, except Benjamin left a cow worth $15 or 16 when she came to live with me. I should now be pleased if she could by some means find a situation with some of her children and also do something to renumerate for the time she has been with me, but I have some reason to fear that my friends are willing that I should bear their burdens without any just compensation.
I have but little to communicate to you as to news. The cholera is raging in New York and Albany and is very alarming throughout that region. I will just mention that I have a share in a pail factory and store near the house where Benjamin lived, I am in partnership with Mr. Lloyd in the business.
Please write me as soon as convenient.
Yours and your wife and family and Caty and David.
Mr. John B. Klock
Letter No. 27
Johnstown, April 8th, 1838.
To whom it may concern, I hereby certify that some time since, Capt. Klock and Mr. Rappole, left in my hands, an article of agreement, made by the Holland Land Company, for the conveyance of certain bids therein described--Rappole had not made the full payments to Capt. Klock for the article--and it was left with me with directions to give it to Rappole, in case he made two certain payments, in a given time--if the payments were not made I was to give the article to Klock--the first payment was made at the time, excepting a small sum, which by mistake in computation was left unpaid--Klock was willing to accept the money paid by Rappole, and to wait for the small sum omitted, till the next payment and I paid him the money--when the last payment became due Rappole called with his friends to make the payment--Rappole as I understood borrowed the money of his friends and paid the money due--I made a list of what each man paid, and gave it to those interested, after the money was counted, I asked Klock to exchange what money he had taken, which was other than Chautauga, to which he agreed, the money had not yet been taken off my table, I exchanged 17 Dollars, among it was a five Dollar United States bill, I put the $17 among money belonging to Judiah E. Budlong. I had taken of Amasa Gillian $83, it was all Chautauga money and no bill more than $3--the money remained in the chest about one week, when I carried it to the bank, and the $5 bill I had of Klock was pronounced a counterfeit bill--I then kept it until I see him and he was willing to take it and pay me other money, which he had since done--I then took a minute of the bill and gave it to him, I have the memorandum of the bill at this time, at the time I presented the bill to Capt. Klock, he recognized it as having been among the money he had let me have--I have kept the bill in that manner that I am positive that it is the same one paid by Rappole to Klock--Capt. Klock even manifested a great anxiety to settle with Rappole--the transaction happened the first of January last--on the day fixed for the trial between Klock and Rappole. Esqr. Marvin called on me and wished a statement of what I should testify on the trial and particularly if I knew that Klock did not put the money in his pocket after taking it of Rappole before he let me have it. I told him that the money was not taken off my table till I took it--he told me that he was counsel for Rappole and left me--soon after Rappole came into the justices office and confessed Judg't--I believe the preceeding statement contains the substance of the affair--I am ready however to answer any question which may be asked in reference to or in explanation of the transaction.
Letter No. 28
Newville, July 23th, 1835
Yours of the 13th inst. came to hand yesterday. We are all well, hoping these few lines may find you and all my friends enjoying the same blessing.
You say you have not rec'd. a letter from me since I left there, I never should wrote you a letter in time, if you had not sent me one. When I reflect on the scene of your conduct towards me at Jamestown, when you left me in that place. My blood runs cold in my veins to think of it, so unhuman, unjust, unbecoming, unmanly, unfriendly conduct of yours, towards me, is beyond description. I was almost lost in amazement to see you drive off in the manner you did.
Oh shame, where is thy blush. It appears from your letter that you have come to some natural feelings again towards me, when I came home I thought I would send you a declaration immediately. I went to my attorney, he advised me to go on, I concluded it would ruin you, and that I do not want to do. I concluded I would give you time to reflect on it, perhaps you would come to your right mind again, that is if you would call on the Lord to direct you in the path of duty, if not, I was willing that public opinion in your section should be satisfied as to the justness of our demands against you. I have ascertained since that it has been decided against you, and I presume it came like a mighty rushing wind over your conscience, and may the Lord so direct you, that you will be willing to do unto others, as you would wish others to do unto you. That is the great golden rule, which we ought to be governed by, if you come to that conclusion once, you won't say as you did in your last letter (these pretended claims of ours) by shame, you know better, you must be satisfied that we have paid this money, for your attorney told you so in my presence that you could not get rid of it.
You said in your letter that you was willing to give us three or four hundred, what you meant by this three or four hundred you did not say. I presume you meant three or four hundred dollars, but you did not say so. Now if you are willing to do what is right, I want you should say so, not say you was willing to give that, to buy peace and live in friendship hereafter with us. If that is all you do it for, bought friendship is good for nothing, if I can't have friendship without buying it, I don't want it. Hardness in family connections is like a canker you say, I presume you know that by experience, the fault lies on your own shoulders. You gave the great cause for hardness when you left me at Jamestown as you did. If you had been willing to do what is right, you could paid this debt long ago and owned your property yourself, in the place of others owning it for you. That is the reason men very often injure their credit and standing in society, and a guilty conscience besides to smite them daily, is like the canker you spoke of.
A guilty conscience needs no accusing, that I will leave between you and your conscience and your God. I want you to say in plain words what you can and will do in the premises, and when you can and will pay these pretended claims of ours. That don't look like the fair thing between brothers, if you mean to do any thing about it, say so, if not, say so, then we will know what to do in the premises as well as you. You must know that we don't want to make you trouble nor least if we did, we should not waited as long as we have. It appears you would pay them three or four hundred for friendship sake and those tender feelings which we ought to have towards each other, have you any tender feelings for us. I thought you had Pharoas Heart when you left me at Jamestown, I am very glad that your heart has been softened as it appears. You cannot think hard of me in making inquiries about your property, I wanted to know whether there had been a change in your property since I was up or not. I have ascertained from a friend of mine a few days since that you live on the old farm as usual, and that the Myerses have not paid you a cent on the place and that you do not pay them any rent for the farm.
It looks bad in the eyes of honest men to see such conduct, it would not amount to a flea bite in a Court of Justice, in blocking property in such a manner, it cannot stand, common sense will tell you better than that, if you would only look at it in its true light, it is no credit to you nor family in doing as you do. Your neighbors know all about it.
I advise you as a friend and a brother to rise out of such and do your duty as a man ought to do, and live independent of others, and not live dependent on other folks, as you have done since you lived in that place. It must be a hard life to live in a free government like ours, for the sake of trying to cheat us out of our just due. You have had a long trial of it, you must know how it feels in living as you do. Herkim(er county) would be no temptation to me in possessing property, am willing all the world should know it. I would sell one of my farms and pay my debts and what is left, I would say it is my own, not others, you can pay it as well as not, if you feel disposed. I would not live so if it took the last shirt off my back. I could not die with a clear conscience in advancing money for you has injured us very much. I am afeard it will ruin Cors. He has given a mortgage over his property to pay this money for you, now look at it, candidly, honestly and fairly and put your hand on your heart and say I will not pay this pretended claim as you call it, if you can, you must be void of feeling and void of conscience and must have Pharoas Heart. I have not seen Cors. to consult him on this subject of your letter.
I am willing to do what is right and if you are willing to do what is right, I presume we can settle it without law. In clearing my own conscience, I am compelled to tell you my views in this case, whether it meets your approbation or not, I cannot tell, but so it is, it will now depend for you to say what can be done in the premises.
Please write as soon as you receive this.
Mr. John B. Klock.
Letter No. 29.
Newville, April 14th, 1836.
We are all well excepting Mother has been sick almost all winter, but was not considered dangerous till about six weeks. Since that time the doctors have given her up, we have had two doctors to attend her in her sickness. They say they cannot help her, they can relieve her some. Her old complaint in her side and bowels has moved up in her throat, it moves once in a while down in her side and bowels, that is the way it keeps moving, when it is in her throat it almost chokes her to death. We have thought she was gone for ever, but came too again. She has not laid down in bed for about six or eight weeks, but has to be boulstered up in bed with 7 or 8 pillows, that is the only way she can breathe with any ease, when those turns come on her she tears her cap, nekf, or anything she has on her neck off and is in such distress and anguish, that she don't know what she is about. She prays long for her departure from this world of trouble, and says she is prepared to meet God in peace. Oh how she wants to leave this world, this appears to be her greatest desire. She has taken the Sacrament of the Lord, some time since by Rev. Mr. Murphy, he calls on her and prays for her. She appears to be perfectly reconciled to the will of the Lord and is willing to go at any time the Lord is pleased to call her home to himself.
I wish it was possible for you to come and see her before departure, I presume it would be a great consulation to her in her last days in this world, it appears to trouble her a great deal, in you not performing the contract between you and her, in your proposition towards her support. Oh what a hard thing it is to hear a Mother complain of her children in not doing their duty to their mother, in their old age, and on their dying beds, this I will leave for you to say whether you are in the fault or not. I tell her she shan't suffer for anything she wants as long as I live, if I had to work for a penny a day, as they did in old times, that is a sin I never will have to answer for, the neglect of my old Mother who gave me birth forty four years and five days ago, if all her children did. The doctors call it the spasms in the throat.
I rec'd a letter from you some time last summer and I answered yours the same day, have not heard from you since. I wrote to you as I felt on the subject and have not altered my mind since, and I don't think I shall untill I am better satisfied than I am at present. Oh, if I think of the time we parted at Jamestown, my blood runs cold in my veins. You know your own feelings on the subject as well as I know mine, if you feel disposed to leave it so you may, as to myself, I feel perfectly clear in my conscience. I think I have done my duty to you in calling on you for a settlement, but you was not willing to do anything in the premises. I am still in hopes you will be willing to do as you wish to be done, by that I believe to be the great golden rule we ought to be governed by. That is a rule I think every honest man can live up to, if he cannot live up to that, I don't think he is a Christian, if you come to that conclusion, I think you will write different from what you have wrote to me before on this subject.
I presume you have had a great many thoughts about this old concern of ours, now if you feel disposed to do anything about it, for gods sake say so, if not, say so, then whichever we will know what to do in the premises. You must know in all reason that we don't want to injure you, if we did, we should not waited as long as we have. I do really want you to say what you mean to do in this case, if you should come to the conclusion to pay us, I wish you to write to me and say what you calculate to do, if you don't write on the subject in a short time I shall take it for granted you don't mean to pay it.
Mr. John B. Klock, Esqr.
Letter No. 30.
Newville, May 6th, 1836.
I have the solem news to tell you of our Mother's death. She died on the 3d inst. at 7 o'clock P. M. and was buried on the 5th at 1 o'clock P. M. There is no tongue can tell her sufferings. She was buried between Father and Brother William, there was a space left for her but at first she was not willing to be buried there till last Sunday. I then told her that the burying ground belong to me and I would have a fence put around it so she consented to be buried there. She would have her shroud and c made, and saw them before she died, and wanted to have her coufin made and wanted to be laid in it, to see whether it suited or not, but this was impossible for us to do, for she was so weak and so tender to be handled that it could not be done, when we washed her legs and arms in vinegar, she would sometimes hollow out aloud. O how she longed for the time for her desolution and was ready and willing to leave this world and be with her God. O how she would clasp her hands and call on God to take her out of this world of trouble and sorrow and take her to himself.
I cannot write no more on this subject. I have written you two letters since I rec'd a letter from you and have not rec'd an answer, and don't think I shall write again, unless you send me an answer to my two letters, and say something more about our old concern. I would advise you to come down as soon as possible and see whether we cannot get it from Brother Christian. He has sold his farm for $6500 and has reserved ten acres where his new brick house stands on, and has since bought ten acres of John Zimmerman for $500.
He is now able to pay us, heretofore it was difficult to get hold of his property. I think now we can get him to some kind of settlement or may get some part of him if not all. I think if you should come and tell him you came on purpose to make some arrangement it could be effected. We are all well, hoping these few lines may find you all well.
John B. Klock.
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