• Vermont Merchant, Assistant Postmaster Writes of Whigs, Later Becomes Captive During St. Albans Raid

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    MARCUS W. BEARDSLEY’s place in history came during the St. Albans Raid during the Civil War when he was cashier of the Franklin County Bank.  Twenty-two Confederates entered the town.  They forced Beardsley and his colleagues to exchange greenbacks for gold. A gun was drawn and he was ordered to bring out all money on hand, some $70,000. Beardsley and a colleague were locked in the vault, terrified that they would perish if the town was burned as threatened.  They were released a short time later but the raid remains a fascinating sidebar to the Civil War. Beardsley’s account is detailed in the book History of the St. Albans Raid. Few items associated with the St. Albans Raid ever appear on the market.


    In this 8 x 10, 3 pp, ALS, Oct. 19, 1840, Beardsley writes a witty letter to his friend attorney M.W. Swift of Ottawa, IL, with comments on the Whigs, the hard cider ticket and his new mercantile business, which includes the local post office.


    “…I have at length cast anchor permanently among the Green Mountain Whigs. The inhabitants are universally Whigs. Men, Women & children go to the hard cider ticket. You will at once infer that I am occasionally in the Society of her who in days gone by occupied a considerable share of my thoughts. I met her after a lapse of six years, but observed no particular change in appearance…I have formed a mercantile business connection with C.C. Burton…under the name of Burton & Beardsley in the Village of St. Albans…The P(ost) Office is to be kept in our store. I am appointed Asst. PM…You proposed my engaging in the study of law. I fear I should not be in a very great acquisition to the profession…Whether the climate is the most congenial to my passion, sentiment & general constitution, I do not know—but at any rate I presume it is not contrary to the Constitution of the United States…Doct(or) W. Beadsley…wrote that he and Dot. Waters intended to go to Fort Ann [N.Y.] probably after Ore.


    Nice early postal markings, circular St. Albans, Vermont, postmark.


    Circular tear where opened at the red wax seal, affecting ends of five lines on last page. Minor edge toning. Else good.


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