My ggg grandfather, Brown Comstock, a physician in Pittsfield, Illinois, wrote a letter on October 7, 1849 to his daughter-in-law Miranda Comstock. She was then residing in Columbus, Indiana but had previously apparently lived for a time in Saverton, MO with her husband George C. Comstock. He had also been a physician. He died of an illness in Saverton in 1845 at age 23.
I thought it might be of interest to post the following comment that Brown made in his letter (spelling has been left the same as in the original):
"I heard the other day from Saverton—Mr. Balthrope, Henry & Chas Millman are gone to California, Phiana at her fathers, who is about building a fine brick house. Mary Millman married a Madera of Hanibal. Cal Harkel in N. Orleans keeping a large hotel. Has left off drams and attached himself to the church. Harvey Millman his wife + child are all in N.O."
In doing a little investigation on the web, I see that there were a number of members of the Balthrope family living in Hannibal for the 1850 census. One of these is Phiana (also spelled Phyana or Phyanna in various records) Balthrope, age 27 in 1850, born in Ohio. She is about the same age as Miranda Comstock and one gets the impression from Brown’s letter that she and Miranda knew each other. Her maiden name is Wellman. She and Lewis (or Louis) (each of their names is spelled multiple ways in various records) Balthrope were married in March 1838 in Ralls County. So the “Mr. Balthrope” Brown mentions could be her husband. It doesn’t appear that Brown’s reference would be to her father-in-law since there are no Balthrope men of that age in the census. Her husband Lewis (or Louis) is age 40 in the 1850 census. There are four children, the oldest of whom is 11—apparently she started having them when she was 16. Phiana is also in the 1860 census, under the name Phyana Baltrip, living in nearby Salt River, Pike county, Missouri, with seven Baltrip children. In the 1880 census, Phiana’s son Louis Balthrope, occupation farmer, born in 1855, and his wife and children are living with her in Saverton. Her name is now given as Phiana Jeffers. One of her granddaughters has been named Phiana after her.
As to the reference in Brown’s letter to Phiana’s father, in the 1850 census there is a Harvey Wellman age 50, occupation farmer, his wife Harriet, age 49, and son Alfred, age 16, living in Ralls county (Saverton). The value of his real estate is given as $7000, which is a lot for those days. These are presumably Phiana’s parents and a younger brother. They appear again in the 1860 census, by which time the son is married and has two children. The value of the real estate is up to $25,000 and the personal property $11,000.
I haven't been able to identify the other individuals mentioned.
Presumably these are all individuals who were known to Brown, George and Miranda Comstock. I have yet to find out where George and Miranda lived in Saverton or indeed anything about their life there so would appreciate it if anyone has any further light to shed. For example, it would be interesting to know exactly where the Wellman and Balthrope families lived since my relatives must have visited them.
I will also post this on the Marion county message list.
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