William C. Hatch, Letter From Newfane Gaol 1826


William C. Hatch's Debtor's Letter From Newfane Gaol

Newfane Gaol Decr 9th 1826

Dear Sir,

I feel much gratified to you for your approaching Jas. before I was committed and the messenger who brought it carried back to Guilford the letter which was sent to give me the liberties of the prison -- The Execution on which I am committed was issued contrary to the law of this state and Genl Field the agent of the bank I am sure is now convinced of it. -- I have to my own satisfaction that it is so -- and some of the first lawyers in this County are of similar opinion -- I had wished and still wish to ____ and make a fair settlement with every one -- I feel satisfied that the persecutions now going on agt me are intended for ulterior purposes and know it to my own satisfaction that these things are intended for my ruin and it will probably be effected -- and I have only to say that notion may be my fate I will not retreat from an investigation -- I have been guilty of many follies and of many errors but of the crime of perjury I never was -- and I hope I shall ever be preserved from committing a crime so foul -- I intended to write _____ than with my present feeling. I am able to and I wish for some person to see to such of my affairs as are left at Cavendish -- in particular I wish to know what the sales of my property amounted to by ____ and Mason -- I have written to them but can get no amount -- I am confident the property sold amounts to considerable more than the executions against me and that the balance has gone somewhere and I want to know where it is, that it may go to my honest creditors -- I wish them all to be paid and with the business which I have been draged from I should have done it -- I want to get copies of the Ex- Sherman Hatch against me, John Proctor against me and that of Mr Fullerton with all the endorsements and offices returns or cash -- will you not undertake and do it as soon as you can and address all to me at Guilford -- I shall be there or here until called away by some higher authority than my own free will -- your brother the general does wrong in saying that he has always been willing and ready to settle with me -- I have urged him to it a long time and the last time we sat down for a settlement in my office he broke it off with a promise to complete it in a few days -- I still have two notes against him and great number of returns for receipts for Execution when he has received the money besides a book account to a large amount -- and if he thinks he cannot personally settle with me I am willing to submit the whole to good and indifferent men -- I wish also to make a settlement with you and should be glad to meet you any where in this County at any time when it is in my power -- The law is such that I can make no disposition of any thing except for the support of myself and family -- To Alpheus and Adeline -- I wish you to say that I want much to see them and Edward and I hope it will be in my power while in the land of the living but if I cannot may they be blessed with more prosperous times than I see and may we rest where the storms of the world cannot disturb us --

I am yours Respectfully

Wm. Hatch

Addison Fletcher Esq.


[The envelope bears the cancellation date of December 12, 1826, three days after it was penned.]

[This letter was read by scholars researching in the Charles Phelps Collection, since at least October 11, 1907, on the third floor of the old Brooks Library, long before this building was destroyed.

This entire Phelps collection was most unfortunately completely broken up, removed, discarded or sold by auction by the Brooks Memorial Library management. The Newfane gaol letter has now been effectively erased from public knowledge.


William C. Hatch And Addison Fletcher, Esq.

[William C. Hatch was born in Alstead, New Hampshire on June 20, 1782 to Asa Hatch and Roxanna Delano, who had come from Tolland, Connecticut about 1771. William Hatch's daughter Adeline Eliza Hatch married Addison Fletcher's nephew, Alpheus Fletcher.

Writing from the gaol, William Hatch refers to Adeline, Alpheus, and their first son, Edward Hatch Fletcher, who was born in 1823 and was then three years old.

Capt. William Hatch married Elsie Thompson in 1805. He died in Williamstown, Vermont on April 12, 1852 and is buried in the East Hill Cemetery.

Addison Fletcher's brother Ryland Fletcher was the Governor of Vermont during 1856-1858. Addison's parents were Dr. Asaph Fletcher and Sarah Green, all residents of Cavendish, Vermont.

The new jail in Fayetteville was brick, painted a bright red, with a narrow hallway for the prisoners to enter. The barn and sheds were painted yellow.]


[Sherman Lovell Hatch was born on July 25, 1807 in Cavendish, Vermont, the son of Sherman Hatch and Caroline Lovell. He married Lucy Haskins Brown, born on March 6, 1810, the daughter of a physician.

At the encouragement from a friend, he took the Erie Canal to Chicago in 1837, then on to Illinois. He lived in towns then called Harmon, Ashton, and Lee Center, all in Lee County.

His wife Lucy carried forest oak seed from Vermont, and planted them around the cabin that Sherman built. She died in Sublette, Illinois on November 17, 1876. Sherman died on February 7, 1903.]






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