New Orleans - Merchant Samuel Wright Oakey letters
NEW ORLEANS - MERCHANT SAMUEL WRIGHT OAKLEY LETTERS
Two autographed letters signed by the New Orleans merchant and cotton factor, Samuel Wright Oakey. One is written on June 11, 1844 and the second written on June 16th, 1844. Both of the letters are written to Okley's nephew Samuel O. Seymour (1823 - 1888) at the St. Louis firm of S. O. Butler and Co. instructing the young Samuel concerning the business world. It is interesting to note that at this time Jefferson Davis was one of Oakey's clients. Letters read in full with spelling uncorrected:
Letter No. 1
New Orleans 11th, June 1844
Mr. Samuel O. Seymour Care of Mifs S.O. Butler and Co. St. Louis
My Dear Sam.
Since Peter came from St. Louis to this City I commission(ed)? him and his brother ____to keep up the correspondence with you; but similarly to the habit procrastination into which you, as well as they have fallen, at all events, so far as correspondence is concerned, they did not write to you by every St(eam) Boat, as it was their duty. They would run their legs off, to get a letter from you, and after when a Steam Boat from St. Louis was supposed to have arrived, away they would scamper to the Levee to get your letter. Disappointment on disappointment was all they obtained excepting one instance and only one instance, was a letter arrived from you, since the letter received from you by Peter. I tried to demonstrate to them, that if they required you to write to us, by way of St(eam) Boat, they must give you a practical example, by writing to you by every boat. It appears to me, that with them as it is with you, it is the hardest of all lessons to attain and to be in ____ your mind, and ____ you to determination to fulfill this duty, ____ by every opportunity and was to write when you have nothing to Communicate and only to day in your letter, think you Communicate nothing because you have nothing to write about. That nothing is in reality something, it is a letter - an important letter - no news is important; it is good news - it serves to show you are in great health, that there are no accidents, - ____all fears for your wellness, finally - a letter of no news and gaining and saying nothing is an important, _____letter and is some thing interesting and ___ this written up this letter ___ ____ thanks in the estimation of the recipients.
Your noble cousin St. P. at St. Louis, sailed or rather steamed off in the St (eam). Sloop N(ew) York for Galveston Texas on Saturday 9th in high spirits and with much self satisfaction. They have many claims to attend to there and on their arrival will record their names as Citizens of that Republic, but, before their probationary term expires, it is hoped Texas will be United to the United States.
I send you ten dollars and a certified Copy of the ___ of W.C. ______ and Co. no letter from you from Illinois, but I will send you a letter from the _____
Yours S.W. Oakey
Addressed to Mr. Samuel O. Seymour.
Care of Mifs. S.O. Butler and Co. from St. B. Ben Franklin - St. Louis
notation that Col S.W. Oakey received the letter on June 7th 1844 and answered it on June 11, 1844.
4 pgs, letter on one and address on one, very legible for the most part, usual minor wear, chip where wax seal was, overall in vg cond. Letter 2:
New Orleans 16th June 1844 Mr. Samuel O. Seymour St. Louis, Missouri
my Dr. Nephew
Last Evening I wrote to you per Steam Boat Eclipse, containing original of Bill of H. Bran and Co. an Parker Brothers and Co. of Philadelphia for fifty dollars. I know hand you herewith enclosed the 2d. of the Bill.
I hardly need to say, that when you cash or sell the bills, at St. louis, you will be required to produce both, or give security that the missing one, will be produced to the purchaser. If it should so happen, that one is lost, you will probably have to stay at St. Louis , until you hear again from me, or until you can get Messrs. S.O. Butler and Co. to forward the one you to receive to Phila. for you, for payment. If one happens to be lost you will of course not delay to forward the other, to Phila. for pay't unless you can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the purchaser, that one is lost and he becomes contented with your good faith on the subject. I enclosed by the Eclipse a letter from Harry Eddy of Shawneytown, Ill. of Tu'day last, wherein he gives bu a sorry account of my claim on the estate of Haileman now amounting with interest to about $1,900 and an H.L. Webb which perhaps now amounts with In't $1700.
I now hand you the letter of Mr. Eddy of 6th Aug't 1839 wherein a grand amount is given ___ prospects of pay to and also a Copy of the deed of trust given to him by Webb of Webb's property in Caldonia including his dwelling House, _____ and stone house and 200 acres of land besides _____ then at 5 to 6 thousand dollars.
Mr. Eddy from Aug't 1839 to 2 Aug 1844 may have written me a letter, but I don't find any on file. At all accounts, I want you to go their, on your way to Louisville.
A ____ will Steam Boat from St. Louis will land you at Shawneytown, and then see what you could do then.
You may manage it and give me such information, that I could buy up the other claims at a _____ and then buy in all the property of both Haillman and Webb, if you by inspiration with your estimates of their value, and deemed it justifiable.
I will write to you again to St. Louis, but if you are ready to Start, don't wait for any more letters from me, but Start at once, when ever you are ready, by St. Louis for Shawneytown. Mifs S.O. Butler and Co can forward my letters that may arrive to you from me on _____ to you at Louisville. You can also direct the Post master of St. Louis to forward your letters to you at Louisville. Besides I may not write again to you directed to St. Louis. There are ____ no good _____ for St. Louis.
The letters of Mr. Eddy you will preserve so as to send them to me, after you get to Louisville.
The draft of Thayer, you can place in a lawyer's hands at Louisville on my account and let him write to us, ____ Mr. Thayer pays the _____ an presentation to you. You will be at Shawneytown and c. perhaps same days and about a week from now I will write to you directed to Louisville.
Messrs Butler and Co. will give you letters of introduction, Take only, or rather deliver only letters of introduction of "Great to Great" - you are as great as any, but that need not prevent your manners from being mild and modest. Keep only the best company.
4 pages, 1 1/2 are the letter and the 4th is the address to Mr. Samuel O. Seymour. Care of Misf at S.O. Butler and Co St. Louis.
Also notation that C. W. Oakley received this letter on June 21, 1844 and answered it. Sealing wax intact, for the most part very legible and in vg cond.
Samuel Wright Oakey, although a native of Albany New York by birth was in New Orleans by 1818. By 1838 he and his partners George E. Payne and G.S. Hawkins were merchants of foreign and domestic dry goods and cotton factors. Between 1838 and 1844 the firm handled Jefferson Davis' business. Oakley was a colonel in the Louisiana militia. Oakley was also noted in a New Orleans newspaper for winning a duel against the newspapers editor who had attacked the city's cotton factors as being dishonest.