Lucretia Sewall on Portland economy, neighbors, 1837

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Lucretia Day Sewall, who was living in Portland with her parents, wrote to her husband, Kiah Bayley Sewall in New York, reporting on the economic woes in Portland. The Panic of 1837, caused in part by land speculation, led to a recession that lasted until the mid 1840s.

Kiah Sewall was in New York trying to get out of debt and find business prospects. His failure to do so led to his wife returning to Portland temporarily.

Lucretia Sewall wrote, "I believe the business men are tolerably quiet here now. Monday H- Winslow reported that Hinkley had failed."

She also wrote that Mrs. Longfellow (probably Zilpah) had visited and told Lucretia "she could have warned me before I was married, but now I must find things out myself." Apparently the warnings were against marrying Sewall, an 1829 graduate of Bowdoin College. Zilpah Longfellow's son Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, graduated from Bowdoin in 1825.

After his graduation, Sewall had been involved in speculation in Portland, and gotten into debt.

Lucretia also wrote that Nancy Preble copies "a great deal for her Father& received so much of the fees as are due for that purpose." Lucretia offered to do any copying her husband might have, adding, "though my hand would have to be improving first."

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About This Item

  • Title: Lucretia Sewall on Portland economy, neighbors, 1837
  • Creator: Lucretia Day Sewall
  • Creation Date: 1839-05-18
  • Subject Date: 1839
  • Locations:
    • Portland, Cumberland County, ME
    • New York, NY
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 25.2 cm x 20 cm
  • Local Code: Coll. 105, Box 1/1
  • Collection: Sewall family papers
  • Object Type: Text

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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