Autograph Letter Signed. Noblesville, New York, Feb. 20, 1846. 3pp.+stampless address leaf. To her brother, Abel Rathbone Corbin, Washington, D.C.
Corbin’s sister was married to a Presbyterian Minister, previously Pastor in the small town of Milford, New York, to which he might return because, she explained, his successor would be forced to leave his pulpit, “in consequence of the excitement he has made in the place, by marrying a coloured man to a white girl…” Though unnamed, the embattled Minister was Horatio Pattengill, a Temperance and pioneering Abolitionist crusader. We could find no published record of the marriage scandal described here, but Rev. Pattengill did indeed move on from Noblesville (later called New Lisbon) to a newly-established Church at Hornellsvile, 200 miles away
Beyond that incident, this long letter was Mrs. Hollister’s historically significant plea to her brother – former editor of the official Democratic Party newspaper of Missouri, then the influential House of Representatives clerk who had helped Samuel Morse obtain a Federal grant to develop his telegraph invention. She begged him to lead a group of upstate New Yorkers to establish a Western “colony” in Iowa or Wisconsin, becoming their “Governor” who would “make laws for us” and to use his political influence to establish public roads, post offices, railroads and steamboats for a new pioneering community. Corbin demurred. He was happy in Washington, where, besides Morse, he would number among his friends Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge, Andrew Johnson and William Cullen Bryant. Four years after the Civil War, he would marry the sister of President Ulysses S. Grant.