Obviously, not every letter written to Myron through his lifetime was saved. And, most people did not keep copies of the letters they sent. As a result, it is inevitable that some letters raise questions that will never be answered.
A letter to Higley and Graham from H. Dewey of New Marlboro, Massachusetts, expressed concern that the men had not been paid for their testimony in a Tariffville case. “I think it very strange as I gave Sanford money for that purpose and he said that he paid all the witnesses, so that if you were not paid, it was by carelessness or intentional on his part.”
William Holmes, of Tariffville, complained that although he did owe $236 to Myron’s partner Asa Higley, it was not due until April 1, 1861, and Higley was demanding the money in February.
A mysterious short note lacks a clear explanation as well as any punctuation.
“March 5th 1861 M W Graham Esq Sir The trade made between you and the said Lyman Beman on October last on cows left to me to decide I have come to this decision that you pay to said Lyman Beman twelve dollars and fifty cents in all Marcus B Alling”
Lawyer William C. Case wrote Myron in 1868, that he was involved in a close election in Tariffville and had to postpone the lawsuit of Myron Graham vs. Widow Holcomb.
Did Sanford ever give them the witness money? Was it carelessness or intentional? At that time, witnesses were paid for their testimony. Why did Asa Higley need the money he lent before it was due? As to the cow, evidently Myron and Lyman Beman could not decide what their cows were worth, so asked Marcus Alling to arbitrate. And why was Myron suing poor Widow Holcomb?
Another letter asked Myron, as a Justice of the Peace, to issue a complaint and prosecute Watson Percy for theft. “E. W. Jones has undoubtedly been robbed of his money at the house of Watson Percy. Jones had the bill of Loomis and Percy passed the same bill to Mr. Underhill.” The letter does not explain how the bill was identified or why E. Howard was making the accusation.
Despite his many business ventures, Myron may have had his own cash flow problems, because he also borrowed money. He received an official letter from the State of Connecticut Treasury Office in 1864. He was asked to pay the interest due on his loan from the Town Deposit Fund and make arrangements to pay the principal. The official helpfully suggested “Perhaps you can obtain a loan from the School Fund and so enable yourself to pay the loan from this office.”
Connecticut claimed to own all the land extending from its borders to the Pacific Ocean. It managed to keep the claim on land in Ohio, called the Western Reserve. This was sold in 1796 with the money placed in a School Fund, to be used for public schools and loans.
Difficult to believe in this time of trillion dollar deficits, but in 1836 the U. S. government had a surplus from the sale of western lands. After the national debt had been paid, they returned the rest of the money to the states. Connecticut used the funds to help pay for public schools and also used it for loans. This was the Town Deposit Fund.
James N. Loomis, of the Loomis Bros. Store, sent a rather questionable letter to Myron in 1866. Loomis wrote that awarding a contract to build a bridge was adjourned. He encouraged Myron to “Come on, take the job and make some money.” In a postscript he added, “I have the plan of the Bridge in my possession. It now stands on Mr. Forsyth’s bid at $390.” It does not seem ethical to reveal the amount of a bid to a possible competitor. Again, we are left with questions. Who got the contract to build the bridge? Was it fair (or legal) to do this? Interesting to note, there is nothing in the Granby Town Records about this bridge.
School Board Letters
Myron dealt with a variety of school matters. F. J. Bancroft, a teacher in New Jersey, was looking for a small school in the Granby area, because his health “will not permit me to teach so large a school as I now have.” He evidently previously taught school in Granby and hoped “the school is conducted on the same plan it was when I was there and if there will be no larger number of scholars.” He offered to take lower wages.
One responsibility of the School Board was to make a yearly count of school age children in their district and report this to the State. Myron also contracted to purchase school books from a Boston publisher.
An unsigned letter about the schools was sent by a Granby resident. The letter started with praise, “I have witnessed with pleasure the repairing of our school houses, the establishment of libraries, the introduction of school apparatus etc. but we need to have teachers with a good moral character.” In particular, the anonymous writer complained about Mr. Kendall, who was teaching in the 8th District or Bushy Hill School.
Supposedly, Kendall “came to our house with low company on the night of the 22nd of September last, at midnight, disturbing a child of ours (who lay at the point of death) with hideous noises. Her disease was typhoid fever. Is such a man fit to train our youth?” There is no indication of what happened to young Mr. Kendall.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Myron was looking for a government job. Governor Buckingham of Connecticut wrote, “I would be glad if there was a vacancy which could be offered to you. Thank you for your patriotic sentiments.”
There is a letter from Myron to U. S. Representative Dwight Loomis, claiming “I have become affected by chronic disease until almost incapacitated for hard labor, and looking for something to employ myself, had thought of clerkship somewhere, and my friends have advised me to ask you if it would be possible for me to obtain a remunerative situation under “Honest Abe’s” administration either in this state or in Washington.”
This letter may have been a first draft of one that was mailed, or perhaps it was never sent. But something happened to worry Myron, because a letter from Dwight Loomis, eight months later, assured him that he had” heard nothing to shake his faith in Myron’s integrity, moral worth or fidelity to the right principles.”
At any rate, Myron Graham did not get a government position.
(to be concluded)