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ARCHIVE Of LETTERS & DOCUMENTS. Juniata County, Pennsylvania. 1819 - 1854
1819 - 1854.. Divers dimensions. 89 pieces.. Overall, a VG collection.. 66 handwritten letters and 23 handwritten documents, 6 x 3 in. to 8 x 14 in. (w x h), to and from Adam H. Atkinson of Mexico & Thompsontown, Juniata County, Pennsylvania. The letters and documents are primarily concerned with parcels of land in Pennsylvania, Ohio & Indiana which Atkinson has either recently purchased or was attempting to purchase. Many of the letters were folded to form their own mailer, as was standard practice during this era, and are complete with a postal stamp, often the amount of postage and evidence of a wax seal having been used. Adam H. Atkinson was born in approximately 1818 in Pennsylvania. He was from a well-established family in Thompsontown, Walker Township, Juniata County, Pennsylvania. Adam's grandfather, Matthew Atkinson took out, on order of survey No. 4606, November 24, 1767, two hundred and eighty-six acres of land in what was to become Walker Township, Pennsylvania. On May 1, 1813, Matthew Atkinson also took out a warrant for one hundred acres of land in Wayne Township, where he owned additional land as well. On June 29, 1813, he sold one hundred acres to Adam's father, Lukens Atkinson (born in approximately 1784/5), who moved to Wayne Township, Mifflin County to live and eventually die in what became known as Atkinson's Mills. Adam purchased part of the Abraham Lukens tract on April 1, 1842, and by the time of the 1850 census, we find him listed as a farmer, with the value of his land listed at $7,000.00. In this same census, Lukens Atkinson's land is valued at $12,000.00. As is evidenced by the letters and documents in this collection, Adam H. Atkinson was also a land speculator. In 1860, Adam is listed as owning one male slave, aged 23. Adam assisted several families to relocate from Pennsylvania to Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. Some friends of the family even went as far west as the gold fields of California. The letter of Jonathan Lukens (1851) sings the praises of Illinois and tells Adam he is ?'well pleased with this country?". While most of the correspondence and documents are related to the business of land sales and purchases, rentals and quit claims, there are other documents including bills of sale for Adam and his wife Mary (daughter of Louis Evans and Amelia Groathouse of Delaware Township) in which she has purchased cloth and other household items. Also present are several letters from family members, including his brothers Caleb North Atkinson and J. Atkinson. The six lengthy letters from Lydia E[vans?] Davis of Kirkersville, Ohio, are full of family news and business. From research done, we fully believe that Lydia is a relative of A. H. Atkinson through his wife's family. One very touching letter is that from Adam's son Louis E. Atkinson, aged twelve, written to his mother, Mary, from Airy View Academy in 1853 in which he reports that he is doing well in grammar, arithmetic, geography and other subjects. Louis E. Atkinson (April 16, 1841-February 5, 1910) studied medicine and graduated from the medical department of the College of the City of New York on March 4, 1861. He entered the medical department of the United States Army on September 5, 1861, and served as assistant surgeon in the First Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry and as surgeon of the One Hundred and Eighty-eight Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry until he mustered out in December 1865. Having been disabled during the war, he did not return to practice medicine but studied law and was admitted to the bar in September 1870. He was elected as a Republican to the House of Representatives in 1883 and served in that capacity until 1893. Taken together, the letters and documents offer the reader fascinating look into life in mid-century Juniata County Pennsylvania, and the movement west of family and friends of Adam H. Atkinson. A detailed inventory of the archive supplied on request.
      [Bookseller: Tavistock Books, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2014-11-29           Check availability:      Biblio    

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