1864: DeWitt Davis to Robert Field Crowell

This letter was written by DeWitt Davis (1833-1905) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. DeWitt was the son of Joseph Wheeler Davis (1798-1858) and Henrietta Newton (1802-1852) of New Haven, Connecticut. He was educated at Wesleyan Academy and attended Wesleyan University at Middletown. He came to Wisconsin in 1858 and taught school at Milwaukee while studying law. He passed the bar in 1861 and entered into a partnership with F. W. Pitkin.

DeWitt wrote the letter to Robert Field Crowell (1830-18xx) of St. Paul, Minnesota. Robert was the son of Joshua Crowell (1777-1860) and Sarah Negus (1792-1866) of Ware, Hampshire county, Massachusetts. After graduating from Wesleyan University in 1857, he entered law school at Albany, New York in 1857 and graduated in 1858. From 1859 to 1869, he practiced law in St. Paul.


Addressed to R. F. Crowell, Esq., Atty at Law, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Postmarked Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, [Wisconsin]
March 31st 1864

Dear Crowell,

Have you been able to do anything with Sanborn & Lund, & Mixer & Clark claims? What are the prospects?

I returned home about two months ago, visited England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy & France. Spent about two weeks with Van Home at Marseilles. Had a good time generally but did not fully gain my health.¹

Business is very good though we are not driven. I have just returned from a State Convention at Madison called to nominate delegates to the Baltimore Convention. Lincoln seems to have the inside track though there is no very great enthusiasm for him. I would prefer Banks, or Chase, & perhaps Fremont. I think there is some doubt whether Mr. Lincoln will be nominated at Baltimore. I think I perceive a growing reaction in the winds of the people against him.

What do you think of Idaho?

I may possibly be up to St. Paul sometime during the week on business.

Yours truly, — DeWitt Davis

P. S. I received a letter from my brother Jonah ³ a few days ago wherein he requested me to write you & ascertain whether you had paid taxes on certain lands.

¹ Passenger lists indicate that DeWitt arrived in Boston on 26 December 1863 aboard the ship Asia from Liverpool.

² “There is much talk and figuring among the politicians to arrange the programme for the Presidential Election which takes place next November. A crowd of hot-heads and sore-heads have gone to Cleveland and nominated John C. Frémont for the purpose of controlling the Republican Union Convention which will assemble in Baltimore on Tuesday, June 7th. These sore-heads do not like Honest Old Abe because he could not or would not give them all offices and because he would not allow them to control him,—hence they are busy to break him down in the Baltimore Convention….It is difficult to say which party denounce the President the most—the radical Abolition sore-heads or the radical Democrats….It is these extremists who have deluged the country with blood and brought the present disaster upon the nation. They both are now standing upon the same platform and are as full of mischief as ever.” [Boston Herald, 1 June 1864]

³ Jonah Newton Davis (1827-Aft1880).



Griff View All →

My passion is studying American history leading up to & including the Civil War. I particularly enjoy reading, transcribing & researching primary sources such as letters and diaries.

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