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Chronology, 1841-1872
Based on Letters fom the James Monroe Papers
Click here to see the second part of the Chronology, 1873-1898.
Oberlin, Ohio 9 March 1841

This is the first item of the Monroe collection and is probably directed to Oberlin since Gerrit Smith, the writer, requests that Morgan gives Monroe the enclosed money. The second letter, dated problematically “1842,” suggests that Monroe might be near Dover, New Hampshire, which would be a logical location since the Summary shows that this is his period of New England lectures pursued under the aegis of the Anti-Slavery Society. Following these two letters is one to

Canterbury, Connecticut 4 January 1842

This is the town in which Monroe had been teaching in 1841, and that it is Monroe’s first certain location is shown by a second letter which gives him his credentials as an agent of the Anti-Slavery Society. Now he is enabled to spend from January to May 1842 on a tour of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut (see the Summary for details). There are five more letters addressed to him at Canterbury, the third suggesting that Monroe might be in Massachusetts in April. (During his trips, Monroe evidently retained Canterbury as his home address). The fifth letter of August 1843 might easily have been sent to Oberlin, since his correspondent is an Ohio man who asks Monroe to visit him, and since Oberlin might be Monroe’s official address during this Western tour which he began in July 1843. There are two more letters, one of which does not involve Monroe as a correspondent or as subject matter. The other of 18 April 1843, he wrote from Providence during his New England tour. The next entry is definitely directed to

Oberlin, Ohio 5 September 1843

This is a single letter and so is the next to

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1 October 1843

Monroe is still on his Western tour as an Anti-Slavery lecturer. There is only one letter directed here and the next entry is to

Cincinnati, Ohio 2 October 1843

This single letter reveals that Monroe is to be in Cincinnati by 10 October as an Anti-Slavery agent. The Summary leads us to believe that he was in Greenwich, R.I. (home from his travels) by December.

Canterbury, Connecticut 13 February 1844

The Summary of his life discloses that Monroe was in Central N.Y. in January, and the cancelled post mark of this letter shows that it had been forwarded from, Utica to Canterbury, reflecting Monroe’s recent movements. No other letters are sent to this address and the next is to

Oberlin, Ohio 24 March 1844

Monroe arrived in Oberlin for college training on 3 April 1844. We merely assume that he remains at this address for the college terms at least because a second letter is not received here until 9 February 1845. We do know, from the Summary, that he spent the summer vacation at Canterbury and Greenwich. These first two letters, and the following ones, reveal his activities, and their nature would seem to demand a fairly steady college residence.

Seventeen more letters are received here, the last one dated 5 March 1848, during which time Monroe was mainly at Oberlin, though he might have accepted some of the invitations to speak in various Ohio towns. In 1846, moreover, he spent about a month East from the middle of April until the middle of May; earlier in the year, he had returned to Connecticut for a short visit home.

In the winter of 1846-1847, Monroe went on an Anti-Slavery tour to Litchfield and to other Ohio towns. He was occupied in the summer of 1847 with teaching at North Amherst, returning in the Fall to his Oberlin teaching position. In the winter of 1848-1849, he preached in Sandusky, which accounts for the letter to

Sandusky, Ohio 4 December 1848

A second letter is directed here on 1 January 1849. Out of six more letters sent here, only the last two bear addresses. The final letter is dated 15 February 1849. Monroe accepts a new teaching position of Belles-Lettres and Rhetoric at Oberlin early in the year and starts receiving letters there on

Oberlin, Ohio 27 April 1849

There are only seventeen letters received here during a span of four years, or until 1854, and no letters received during 1852. Monroe’s Summary pads out our knowledge of where he was during this period. He remained largely in Oberlin except for those times that he left town in order to collect endowments for the college. In the spring of 1851, he was traveling through Ohio in the interests of his endowment agency, and in 1852, he combined teaching with the agency work. In 1853, he was occupied at Oberlin with his teaching, until in 1854 he apparently left. At any rate, we suddenly find him receiving mail in

Utica, New York 25 January 1854

One letter is directed here, and the reason for Monroe’s visit is unknown. Possibly this was one of the towns in which he was delivering Anti-Slavery lectures. He is again receiving letters in

Oberlin, Ohio 29 May 1854

The Summary affirms that Monroe has been teaching here in the winter and spring, though he had discontinued for reasons of health by June. At this time, he was able to visit his sister in Worcester, Massachusetts, while he necessarily traveled to Hopkinton, Rhode Island for his mother’s funeral. Monroe was gone approximately a little over two weeks in New England. He taught the remainder of the summer, but was absent from Oberlin much of the time during the autumn and last few months of 1854 because he was again traveling as the college’s endowment agent.

Until the opening of spring, 1855, he continued as an agent to be unsettled in his residence. From spring until Commencement in June 1855, he remained in Oberlin, having resumed his teaching duties. The summer is unnoted in his Summary, but probably he spent it in Oberlin (see letter no. 66) as he did the following autumn and early winter, except for those political appearances he made during the fall in Ohio towns. All together, there are seven letters directed to Oberlin, the last one of which is dated 28 January 1856. The subsequent letter is probably directed to

Columbus, Ohio 1 March 1856

Monroe at this time is sojourning here as a State Representative to the House. During his first session in Columbus, he received five letters, all undirected.

Oberlin, Ohio 2 May 1856

A little earlier in the spring Monroe returned to his teaching which he completed in June, but he stayed on in Oberlin during the summer. In the fall, he was often speaking in Ohio for the Anti-Slavery cause and for Fremont, while he maintained Oberlin as his family headquarters and while he continued his college teaching. Four letters were presumably sent here before he left for the State legislature.

Columbus, Ohio 12 January 1857

There are eight letters received here during Monroe’s second, until 21 March 1857. As usual, he returns in the spring to

Oberlin, Ohio 2 May 1857

Here he continues to teach through the spring, summer, and fall. Autumn finds him making political speeches in Ohio towns. Thirteen letters are apparently sent to Monroe in Oberlin. He is re-elected as State Representative and returns to Columbus the first Monday in January.

Columbus, Ohio 1 January 1858

This is the sender’s date, and so the letter might coincide with Monroe’s arrival in Columbus. The next eight letters are uncertain in their direction, but I have assumed the writers would know of Monroe’s winter residence, and the contents imply a Columbus address. A letter of 1 April is uncertain but it is situated after a Columbus letter and I assume it is to Columbus as well.

Another letter of 26 April 1858 is undirected, and since Monroe at this time could be in either Columbus or Oberlin, and this letter is from Oberlin, I conclude (perhaps rashly) that it was directed to the state capitol. Five undirected letters were sent approximately in the middle of this term, and since they must have either been directed to Columbus or forwarded there, I have placed them in this group of letters. Six more letters were directed to Monroe at Columbus. All together he received sixteen letters before his return home sometime in April.

Oberlin, Ohio 3 June 1858

Nine undirected letters follow the first one sent to his Oberlin address. I am confident that most, if not all, were sent to Oberlin because the method by which Monroe spent the spring, summer, and fall was well-known by now to his correspondents. Four directed letters follow these, closing this Oberlin period on 24 December 1858.

Columbus, Ohio 13 January 1859

Monroe received seven letters during the first of his winter in the Legislature, if we count one that was to the whole General Assembly. Then, unaccountably, there is a letter directed to

Oberlin, Ohio 11 February 1859

He is at home here for a while to the surprise of his correspondent, Hunter. There is just one letter, and the next is to

Columbus, Ohio 22 February 1859

Seventeen letters in all were directed here through the duration of his legislative term. The first one is only problematically directed to Columbus, but since it is unlikely that Monroe would have remained in Oberlin such a long time, I have imagined that the correspondent sent it to Columbus. I have assumed that those other letters without addresses were sent to Columbus because the Legislature would be in session this time. In April, as usual, Monroe starts opening letters almost certainly sent to

Oberlin, Ohio 22 April 1859

He may have resumed his teaching earlier than this letter indicates, because there is another letter to Oberlin which, though dated only April 1859, might have been sent to him sooner than the twenty-second. Twenty-five more letters are sent to Monroe in Oberlin through 21 December 1859, plus three which don’t concern him as a correspondent by which were written while he was in Oberlin and probably referred to him in this period. During the fall, Monroe was no doubt making speeches through Ohio towns, since he was elected a member of the Ohio Senate in October.

Columbus, Ohio 14 January 1860

Two belatedly discovered letters with only year dates are laced at the end of this year out of necessity; apparently, Monroe was in Oberlin when he wrote them. The first letter definitely directed to Columbus is dated 16 January 1860. Fifteen letters follow, directed and undirected, making seventeen letters in all sent to the new state senator. The last is dated March 1860.

Oberlin, Ohio 17 April 1860

Monroe is usually home by this date, but the first directed letter does not occur until 23 April 1860. There follow nine letters, all unaddressed except one, which are justifiably placed in the Oberlin category because they are buttressed at either end by a directed letter. Monroe may or may not have attended the Chicago Convention, 15 or 16 May. If he did, he was gone for perhaps three of four days (see letters of 10 and 26 May 1860). No letters were sent there.

Columbus, Ohio 11 June 1860

Monroe is staying in Columbus for the Republican convention and it is likely that he was there by this date. He was certainly in Columbus before 15 June 1860, when two letters were probably directed to him. He receives three more letters here. After these trail two letters, which, by their contents, might have been sent to

Oberlin, Ohio 23 July 1860

This letter hints that Monroe has returned at least by this date, although the first directed letter was written 24 August 1860. Following the first three letters are nine unaddressed ones. I am sure that eight of them were sent to Oberlin, sure for several reasons. First, at this time Monroe is usually employed in teaching; second, speaking dates are suggested to him, which he would find it impossible to accept were he in the Senate; third, a letter of 26 November 1860 proves that Monroe is in Oberlin because it provides an introduction to a man who is seeking a good college for his daughter. The letter [6 December 1860] suggests Columbus, but it does not incline heavily towards any particular location. The last letter is dated 18 December 1860. Two letters claiming only year dates are accounted for at the beginning of 1860, and including them there are fourteen letters in this period.

Columbus, Ohio 5 January 1861

There are four letters with only the general dates “1861” which I am unable to date more fully; tentatively, three are to Columbus and one to Oberlin. Although the 5 January 1861 letter is undirected, it was probably sent to Columbus because a letter of 10 January bares its destination by mentioning a bill before the Senate and the duties of legislators. It seems safe to assume that Monroe has been in Columbus for a comfortable period. Fifty-three other letters, also undirected, comment on legislative business, such as petitions, or give internal evidence of a different sort of their having been sent to Columbus. Interspersed are fifteen directed letters that imply by their position the destination of the others. Altogether, we have seventy-five letters before one to

Oberlin, Ohio 23 May 1861

This is a directed letter to Mrs. Monroe, which, by enclosing regards to Mr. Monroe, suggests his return home. Two subsequent letters from the governor on 28 May 1861 strengthen the theory wince they request information that Monroe must wire to Columbus. The first letter directed to Monroe here is dated 10 June 1861, and there follows seven directed and nineteen undirected letters. The date of the last letter written to Oberlin before Monroe moves is 11 December 1861.

Columbus, Ohio 2 January 1862

The commencement of another senatorial term includes ten undirected letters and three addressed ones. One of these, 4 February 1862, mentions that Monroe had been in Oberlin, perhaps for Willie’s sickness, which Monroe spoke of in his letter to his wife, 28 January 1862. It is just as probable that he returned for his wife’s ill health, that definitely drew Monroe home sometime before her death on 20 February 1862. The last letter here could have been sent to either city.

Oberlin, Ohio 21 February 1862

This letter and one other comment on the death of Mrs. Monroe. Monroe was back in the Senate at

Columbus, Ohio 1 March 1862

A directed letter follows this one, and then a letter to Oberlin, missent no doubt since the preceding letter and another letter of 4 March 1862 would seem to establish his Columbus residence. There are eight more directed items balanced by eight without addresses. The last of these was written 25 April 1862.

Two letters of 21 and 23 April were sent to Oberlin; one was mistakenly directed there (for evidence see letters 375, 379, and 381), and the other from Brazil would take weeks of traveling time and therefore was doubtlessly sent to Oberlin, Monroe’s home for every part of the year except winter. The three final letters included in this Columbus block are very vague as to their possible direction. I hazard the guess that they were sent to Columbus because of the following letter to

Oberlin, Ohio 19 May 1862

This letter too is undirected but its contents suggest that Monroe is at home at this time, or will be soon after. The writer has not found Monroe at home before, but now he asks him to pay the bill he left at his empty house. This information furnishes the basis on which I relegated the last three “Columbus” letters to their position above. Monroe received seven more letters in Oberlin, the last one dated 24 June 1862. Of the whole number, six were undirected and one had an address.

Columbus, Ohio 21 July 1862

The media correspondent would know of Monroe’s whereabouts; moreover, the letter is directed and suggests a summer congressional session. The following letter was sent to Oberlin from whence it was probably forwarded to Columbus.

Oberlin, Ohio 26 July 1862

I assume that the writer (a former friend and now a soldier) used the Oberlin address, not relying on any temporary removes that Monroe might make. Three directed letters are contained in this section, inducing us to believe that the eight more letters without addresses were probably sent to Oberlin. Besides, several letters were sent in November and December, during which time Monroe must have been at home setting his house in order and preparing for the journey to Baltimore which took place on 19 December 1862. There are two letters and one joint letter that were written on 18 December 1862, but these were probably handed to Monroe as they were written by Oberlinites who would know that date of his departure (recorded in the Summary).

Baltimore, Maryland 2 January 1863

The direction of this letter is very uncertain. It may have been sent to Baltimore, from which Monroe did not leave until 10 January 1863, or it may just as possibly have been sent to Rio de Janeiro where he would be sure to receive it. (One incompletely dated “1863” letter is placed at the end of this year because it was discovered too late for the usual position).

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 23 February 1863

Although this letter is undirected, Monroe’s aunt would know and make use of his proper address. There is evidence in this letter that Monroe passed through Plainfield, Connecticut on his way to Baltimore, between 19 December 1862 and early January 1863. The 3 March 1863 letter from General Webb, Minister to Brazil, welcomes Monroe to Rio. This it sets off a rich series that reveals perhaps the most colorful character in the whole Monroe collection.

The correspondence between the two men occurred mainly within Monroe’s consulship, or from 1863 through late 1869. The 3 March 1863 letter also follows closely on the heels of Monroe’s arrival, which the Summary states, occurred in the harbor on 28 February 1863, and in the city on 2 March 1863. Fifty-two letters were written between 3 March and 17 August 1863, six of which are by Monroe. On 8 August 1863 the Webbs had invited Monroe to visit them on account of his poor health, and the chances are that he visit Petropolis for a few days since the General does not write another letter until 17 August 1863 (when he wrote two) and so observes an unusually long break in his grape-shot correspondence with Monroe. Fifty-six more letters pass before an invitation from Webb received 23 December 1863. Here the General “orders” Monroe to spend Thursday through Sunday with them at Petropolis. Since there is no further correspondence in 1863 between Webb and Monroe and since Monroe must obey his superior, we may assume that he spent a long weekend at Petropolis in the last week of December.

The last letter of 1863 is dated 31 December from the States. Four letters occur in the next year that are dated no more extensively than “1864”. After receiving forty-five letters, Monroe opens an invitation from the Webbs written 20 March 1864. There is no indication from succeeding letters whether he did visit them or not. Six more letters intervene and then Webb invites Monroe on 4 April 1864 to go with them to Santos within the week. Again, Monroe possibly could have gone but there is no answer from him in this collection. Thirty-eight letters follow until on 21 and 22 May 1864 Webb invites Monroe to his home for the next week. As usual, there is no indication of whether or not Monroe accepted the invitation. Monroe receives four letters more and then there are several pleas - from Webb on 2 June 1864 and from Milford on 8, 11, and 25 June 1864 - for Monroe to visit Petropolis as a companion to Webb in his sickness, though the letter of the 25th more probably invited Monroe to his Rio house for this purpose. From the evidence, Monroe declined these invitations and one more from Webb on 1 July 1864, which was made in the interest of Monroe’s own failing health.

In between these invitations from 2 June to 1 July 1864 are dispersed twelve letters. Eight letters from Webb to Monroe in Rio following the general invitation of 1 July 1864 prove that Monroe did not accept this invitation. A letter from Rio 12 August 1864 proves Monroe is in Petropolis, probably just for a few days; he is back by 19 August 1864 (see Webb’s letter of that date). One hundred four letters subsequent to 21 July 1864 complete the correspondence of this year, which ends on 31 December 1864 and includes three more unacknowledged invitations from Webb made in July, October, and December. From 1 January through 20 September 1865, ninety-seven letters were sent to Monroe in Rio. Of these, three bore just the general date “1865” and three were unanswered invitations from Webb for March, April, and an unspecified time. This last invitation is identical with once of the generally dated “1865” letters. One letter, supposedly written in July 1865, was belatedly discovered and therefore placed at the end of this month instead of at the beginning. The last two letters of this section were written on 28 July and 20 September 1865, and thus were sent too late to reach Monroe in Rio since he had left 26 July 1865 for his leave of absence to the States. Because they reached him at all, they must have been forwarded to Oberlin where his correspondence continues.

Oberlin, Ohio 21 September 1865

This first letter is from a friend in Cleveland who invites Monroe to visit him there on Sept. 27, 1865. It is unlikely that Monroe accepted the offer because his return home and reunion with his children were so recent (23 September 1865) that he no doubt would be reluctant to leave them. This letter was almost surely sent to Oberlin. A second letter of 22 September 1865 speaks of a letter from Monroe in which he gave the time of his arrival in the United States as 3 September 1365. Actually, this is the date of his arrival in Chesapeake Bay because Monroe inserted in his Summary that he had arrived in Baltimore on 5 September 1865. He passed through Philadelphia on his way to Ohio because Adamson, the writer of this letter, apologizes for not having met him there. A letter from Abel on 23 September 1865 reveals, through this brother’s disappointment, that Monroe had passed near Woonsocket on his way home without having seen Abel.

Three more letters occur before Job Monroe’s on 7 October 1865, which tells us clearly that Monroe arrived in Chesapeake Bay on 3 September 1865, and thus dispels our confusing this date with the 5 September 1865 time of arrival in Baltimore given by the Summary. In another matter, this letter contradicts Monroe’s personally recorded Summary. Monroe inserted in this record that his father arrived with him in Oberlin on 23 September 1865, and we deduce that the son had picked up his father in Plainfield, Connecticut on the trip from Baltimore to Oberlin. Job Monroe’s letter of the seventh, however, nullifies the possibility of such a visit occurring at the early time recorded by Monroe. From the whole tone of his letter, we gather unmistakably that lob has not yet seen his son. For instance, lob Monroe tries to picture James’ arrival in Oberlin and the happiness that he must have felt at a reunion with his children. Job also mentions that he is anticipating his son’s visiting him in Plainfield. Four more letters precede another letter from Job Monroe on 9 November 1865, in which he thanks his son for bringing him from Plainfield to Oberlin, and from Oberlin to Mt. Vernon. If we can trust the letter of 7 October 1865; where the elder Monroe gave evidence that he had not seen his son, and therefore had not arrived in Oberlin with him; we must conclude that this trip with James took place sometime between 7 October and 9 November 1865, the date of Job’s second letter.

Three more letters follow and then we are told by C.N. Finney’s item of 23 November 1865 and by the Summary that Monroe’s marriage to Julia Finney will take place 30 November 1865. Job Monroe on 9 November 1865 speaks of this coming wedding and of the young couple’s subsequent visit to Mount Vernon, which probably consumed either the second half of December or the whole month (see letter no. 871 and 870). One letter is entered before Electa Jane Collins’ invitation for James and Julia to visit her family in Prospect Vale. We do not know whether they did or not; that Electa Jane was a favorite and a doting aunt is a predisposing factor. Four more letters arrive, the last two written in December and probably directed to Oberlin whether or not the Monroes were there. Monroe received twenty-one letters during his leave of absence and extended leave, not including two to

Mount Vernon, Ohio 29 December 1865

Since this letter (plus the note by Homer Johnson) is from several Oberlinites who want to see Monroe before he leaves, I am sure that it was directed to Mt. Vernon, the only address besides Oberlin that Monroe would have at this time. It is certain that he and his wife spent ten days to two weeks in Oberlin before they left with their children for Baltimore on 15 January 1866. This departure date plus the fact that they left from Oberlin are supplied by the Summary and by Fairchild’s letter of 22 January 1866, which was probably directed to

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 22 January 1866

We understand from the Summary that the family-sailed from Baltimore 20 January 1866; the contents of this letter point towards this date also. A second letter of 22 January 1866 has no connection with Monroe except as it relates to consular duties generally. Another letter was no doubt sent to Rio before the Monroes were there, and the date of a fourth letter (26 February 1866) coincides with the time of the Monroes’ arrival in Rio. There are 148 letters that came into the possession of the Monroes after their presence in the city, including invitations from Webb and consular business letters either sent directly to Monroe or else referred to him finally. The first of the Webb invitations (9 March 1868) apparently was not accepted, but in the second Webb suggests that Monroe leave Rionon 16, 17, or 18 April for a short trip (destination not mentioned) which they apparently had decided on before.

There is no other remark upon this trip because the next letter from Webb is dated 1 May 1868, implying that Monroe accepted this invitation. Letters from the Webbs in July and August urge the Monroes to visit them at Boa Viagem. They probably accepted at least for a day during the latter part of August 1868. Also included in the letters of this period is one with only the partial date of 1869. In his Summary, Monroe wrote that 25 September 1869 was his departure from Rio and 20 October 1869 was the time of his arrival in New York. There is one letter written 13 October 1869 and sent to Monroe in Rio, from whence it was obviously forwarded to him in Oberlin. Altogether 152 1etters were meant to reach him in Rio from January 1866 to October 1869, when his consulship ended.

Oberlin, Ohio 23 October 1869

I am only assuming that this letter was sent to Oberlin, because no other place was suggested. Milford writes that he had received Monroe’s letter of 4 October 1869 written at the Equator; Monroe arrived at Para sometime after crossing the Equator, as he said in his letter of 6 October 1869. A second letter, from Cordeiro in Rio, was probably sent to Oberlin. It is more likely that a third letter (from Oberlin) was directed to

New York, New York 26 October 1869

Electa Jane Collins mentions in her letter of 21 November 1869 that the Monroes had been in New York for perhaps a week’s visit. Moreover, this letter from Fairchild in Oberlin is a financial statement covering a period of absence up to 26 October 1869. The implication from these two facts is that Monroe (and family) must have been in New York, probably when Fairchild’s letter of the 26th was written, or from the time of their arrival, 20 October 1869 until possibly 28 October 1869. The latter is entirely a speculative date, based somewhat on the text of a letter probably directed to

Oberlin, Ohio 1 November 1869

Washburn of Elyria would like to welcome Monroe home. “Home” is not explicitly revealed as Oberlin but I assume that it is in this case. Since Washburn also speaks of calling on the family at their “rooms,” I feel that there is some ambiguity concerning the destination of this letter, which, in my opinion could have been sent to Oberlin or to Cleveland. A second letter from Rio (4 November 1869) must have been sent to Oberlin, and following it is Electa Jane Collins’ letter of 21 November 1869, which has already been explained. There is another letter and then on 24 November 1869 was written the first letter indisputably directed to Oberlin. Nineteen more letters follow, the last one written 5 January 1869. Altogether there are forty-nine letters in this period.

Washington, D.C. 10 January 1870

From 5 to 10 January 1870 no letters occur. We may say that this span was used for traveling time. The first three letters ask Monroe to speak to Cox (Secretary of Interior) and to Congressman Welker for appointments, so Monroe must be in Washington by the 10th, the date of this first letter. That he did not arrive in Washington much before the 10th is urged by a 5 January 1870 letter, directed to Oberlin, and by the lack of letters in between that date and 10 January 1870. The second letter of 11 January 1870 really betrays its Washington destination, and by so doing almost insists that the letter of the previous day was sent there too. Various correspondents had hinted earlier that a Washington visit would occur; that is, in letters of 11, 23, and 28 December 1869 they gave Monroe business to accomplish while he should be in Washington. We learn also that the apparent personal reason for Monroe’s visit was to interview Secretary Cox about possible positions for himself, or about his chances in the congressional race.

There are four more letters before an undirected letter intervenes (19 January 1870), which was probably meant for Oberlin. I guess that it was missent to Oberlin because the writer wants Monroe to speak in Cleveland. The contents of the next letter indicate its Washington destination, which strengthens the theory that Monroe is settled in Washington. Two more letters bring the total number up to eleven before one to

Oberlin, Ohio 24 January 1870

This letter is directed but since it is from Brazil, like two more letters of the 24th, it is no indication of Monroe’s immediate location. Two domestic letters vaguely suggest an Oberlin direction; one shows that Monroe will speak soon in Elyria, and another invites the family to visit Harrisburg on their “trip” which I take to be their journey back to Washington in April, rather than Monroe’s short jaunt to Woonsocket, R.I. A letter of 29 January 1870, ostensibly to Woonsocket, was probably the one forwarded to Monroe at Oberlin (see letter of 8 February 1870 for explanation). Although he did not receive this letter until his activities had changed, it does describe his movements from 24 January through 3 February 1870, which, contrary to a first impression, were not confined exclusively to Oberlin.

The letter of 29 January reveals that Monroe was still in Washington 24 January 1870, because on that date he wrote his aunt a letter in the city; and it also shows that before 28 January 1870 Monroe had begun to visit his brother Abel in Woonsocket Rhode Island, where he probably remained until a day or so before 3 February 1870; the latter date is supplied by both the 29 January 1870 letter and one of 8 February 1870. There is practically no possibility, since Monroe did not receive the 29 January 1870 letter until too late, that he visited the Collins’ for a day or so in Laurel Glen, Connecticut on his return to Oberlin from Woonsocket. He is certainly back in Oberlin by 4 February 1870, as the letter of 8 February 1870 demonstrates. The twenty-eight letters of this period, including the one to Woonsocket, seem largely to have been directed or forwarded to Oberlin. Monroe might have left town occasionally for a few informal speeches because there are invitations for him so to do.

Washington, D.C. 15 April 1870

Monroe is definitely in Washington because his wife writes this letter to him there, as well as one other. Monroe was in the city only for a few days probably, since a stream of letters start with one directed to

Oberlin, Ohio 26 April 1870

There are ninety-three letters received here through 12 September 1870. One telegram suggests that Monroe will be in Columbus for a day or so between 25 and 31 August 1870 for a consultation of candidates for Congress. An earlier letter (18 May 1870) mentions an address that Monroe will make soon in Elyria. Political business undoubtedly took him from home occasionally during this period, although he began his real

Electioneering in Ohio’s 14th District 14 September 1870

This letter from Julia reveals that he just left, as does the letter of the 12th written to Oberlin with full knowledge that Monroe was still there. Seven subsequent letters were missent to Oberlin, but at least two of then were forwarded to Monroe by his wife. The fourth of these, written 24 September 1870, tells that Monroe will be traveling until 7 or 8 October 1870. According to Julia’s letter of 28 September 1870, Monroe came home to Oberlin between 24 and 27 September 1870 for about a day. On 27 September 1870, he left. So far, there are eight letters in this group.

Medina, Ohio Forwarded there from Oberlin after 24 September 1870

Julia sent this single entry to Medina because the following letter from her informs us that Monroe will be there 28 and 29 September 1870.

Wooster, Ohio 29 September 1870

This letter shows that it was sent to Welker’s hometown, which happens to be Wooster. Monroe was probably there by 30 September 1870. The destinations of no more letters can be ascertained definitely; we just know that the two following were written while he was

Electioneering in Ohio’s 14th District 30 September 1870

This and one other are from his wife. The Summary and a 6 September 1870 letter specify that Monroe was concentrating on Huron and Erie counties during the last part of the campaign.

Oberlin, Ohio 3 October 1870

One letter of 3 October 1870 is definitely directed to Oberlin and seven others were probably sent there, although Monroe did not return home until 7 or 8 October 1870 (see letter no. 1192). The letters themselves, concerned mainly with mass meetings in Ohio towns, suggest that he was away while they were sent to Oberlin. We are sure that Monroe is home by 11 October 1870, when a stream of telegrams starts, telling him the results of the campaign. From 3 October through 30 December 1870, there are altogether ninety-six letters and telegrams apparently directed to Oberlin.

The next year begins with six letters dated only “1871”. Of these, five were probably sent to Washington during Monroe’s first congressional term, and one suggests no direction in particular. There follows just one more dated letter before one that does not incline obviously towards any destination. It could not have been sent to Oberlin, although it occurs in the middle of letters so directed, and it is unlikely that it (dated 3 January 1871) was sent to Washington where Monroe will not be until after the middle of February. The writer mentions some political business in Columbus, and from this tenuous evidence, I can guess only that Monroe was in Columbus for a day or so around 3 January 1871.

Between 6 January and 17 February 1871 occur inclusively forty-seven letters to Oberlin, many of them directed. We learn from them that late in January Monroe spent about a day away from home giving a speech in Wellington, and that he was gone approximately the same amount of time on 3 February 1871 when he lectured in Elyria. From 17 to 27 February 1871, letters are mixed in their destinations, five were sent to Washington and five to Oberlin; another letter of this period indicates no address. The letters from the Finneys of 24 February 1871 are included in the Washington half of this period because it is likely, though not conclusive, that the Monroes were already in the Capitol by this date, and the Finneys, of course, would know their correct address. This “home” period, then, extending from 3 October to 27 February 1871, contains in all 161 items.

Washington, D.C. 27 February 1871

A letter from Webb, mailed Feb. 19, 1871, was received in Oberlin 27 February 1871, from whence it was forwarded to Washington. The Oberlin postmark, dated 27 February 1871, is convincing proof that by this date at least the Monroes were settled in Washington. Two more letters of the 27th were sent to Oberlin, but, if my theory is right, they must have been redirected to Washington in order to have come into Monroe’s possession at all. By 1 March 1871, letters are sent to Washington consistently, as they continue to be through 21 April to the count of 108 items in all.

Oberlin, Ohio 23 April 1871

This is a single directed entry from the U.S. Treasury Department to Monroe in Oberlin, which implies by its authoritative address and return address that Monroe was indeed home by this time. However, there are two letters of 24 April to Washington; the fact that they are baked at either end by a government letter directed to Oberlin suggests that these same two were missent to Washington. Another letter is definitely directed to Oberlin and still another demonstrates by its contents that it was sent there.

Two more letters occur, one directed to Oberlin and one without the suggestion of an address, before the 26 April 1871 letter, which the Treasury Department directed to Oberlin. The three government letters directed to Oberlin - 23, 24, and 26 April 1871 - would seem to indicate that Monroe was in Oberlin close to the dates they bear. Two following letters were probably missent to Washington, since the writers would not be as likely to know Monroe’s correct address as the government. A third letter could have been directed to either city, and a letter of 29 April 1871 to Oberlin is the second one from Horr, who sent his first letter (26 April 1871) to Washington. He is trying to catch Monroe wherever he might be, and he might be in two places.

We see, therefore, that these last days of April were without a doubt ones in which, Monroe was transferring from Washington to Oberlin, confusing his friends with a changed or changing address. Two self-explanatory letters intervene before one from Monroe on 3 May 1871, written from Oberlin, in which he speaks of his recent departure from Washington. This date is the definite beginning for a consistent flow of directed and undirected Oberlin letters, amounting to twenty-four items.

C.G. Finney, Jr. sent a letter to Washington on 25 May 1871. Since it is the only letter that was sent there, Monroe undoubtedly is on just a short visit; besides, the next letter was written on the same date and sent to Oberlin, persuading us that Monroe might have been in Washington, but only for a few days. Moreover, Laubach mentions in the preceding letter that Monroe must attend a State Convention soon, so perhaps early in June he did visit Columbus briefly. Within a week after 28 June 1871 the Monroes were in Sandusky at least overnight for a speech that Monroe was to give there (see Foster’s letter, 28 June 1871).

Monroe opened his share of the Republican campaign 24 August 1871 with a speech in Columbus arranged by Harrison in his letter of 12 July 1871. Prentice’s letter of 5 September tells us that he spoke in Cleveland 14 September 1871. The September letters of the Republican State Committees reveal Monroe’s speaking dates:

  Springfield 21 September 1871
  Fremont 22 September 1871
  Marion 27 September 1871 -- (The Marion date is verified in letter no. 1606.)
  Monroeville  3 October 1871
  Bellevue 3 October 1871

More informal letters of the same period also show that he possibly spoke in LaGrange 23 September and very probably was in Wakeman 6 October 1871. Sometime after 2 October and before 11 October he positively was in Columbus for campaign purposes, as the same period of letters reveals. A 7 November 1871 letter to Washington was either misdirected or else sent while Monroe was on a very brief visit; the former guess is more feasible since by 28 November 1871 at least Monroe was in Washington for the winter, so he probably would not have taken a jaunt just three weeks before his actual removal there. Gates’ letter of 21 November states that Monroe was to leave next week, so he had to be gone from Oberlin by 28 November 1871 at the very latest; the last letter to Oberlin, then, is dated 27 November 1871. For seven months, from 23 April to 28 November 1871, Monroe received 264 letters presumably directed or forwarded to Oberlin.

Washington, D.C. 28 November 1871

The first letter here is directed and proves (along with letter no. 1724) that Monroe was in the Capitol by this date if not before. Seventy further letters complete the year, including one letter which is dated just “1871” and placed at the end of the year because it was discovered too late to be put in the usual position. This item and the eleven “1872” letters bear conjectured dates; all of the latter were probably sent to Washington, and two of them were definitely directed there. One hundred sixty-seven later letters fatten this period, which is interrupted by two letters to Washington dated only April 1872. After these roll sixty-four letters, the last one of which is dated 6 May 1872. The room bills included in this series are proof of Monroe’s residence in Washington from January to March. Julia reveals in a telegram to her husband that on 16 March 1872 she had arrived in Oberlin from Washington, leaving Monroe still at the Capitol. All in all, there are 324 letters to Washington before one probably sent to

Oberlin, Ohio 6 May 1872

This first letter mentions documents sent to Oberlin, where Monroe is to acknowledge their receipt. A second entry, on 10 May 1872, following two Washington letters, is an income tax that Monroe is to pay in Oberlin. The writers might have intended their letters to await Monroe’s permanent arrival in June. It is definite, however, that he returned around 20 May 1872 for his daughter Emma’s wedding which took place on that date (see letters no. 2081 and 2119). We do not know how long this short visit to Oberlin was, during which time most of the letters must have been sent to Washington.

Washington, D.C. 10 May 1872

This letter is directed to the Capitol, and fifty-five letters follow it, among them one from Julia in which she wonders if the session is really over 10 June 1872, as she had been led to believe. Apparently, it did close then, because the last letter in this group is dated 15 June 1872. The letters of 12 and 15 June 1872 prove that Monroe is in Washington, while the first letter in the next group is to

Oberlin, Ohio 17 June 1872

In this letter, Emma Monroe Fitch writes that she is very glad that her father is home again. E.G. Johnson’s letter of 22 June 1872 also proves that Monroe is home by that date because it assumes that he will speak in Elyria very soon. A letter of 17 June 1872 was undoubtedly forwarded to Oberlin if it was sent originally to Washington. Through 26 November 1872, Monroe apparently received 184 letters in Oberlin.

Sometime after May 1872, he might have gone to Philadelphia for a convention and to Omaha to meet the Hayden-Yellowstone Expedition (see letters no. 2057 and 2078, respectively). His speaking engagements and campaign appointments account for most of his absences from home after June. On 27 June 1872 he was in Elyria (see letter no. 2126), and he might have been there again 4 July 1872 and in Litchfield the same day. He visited Medina for a convention on 17 July 1872, and was there on two different occasions before 12 July 1872 (see letter no. 2143). He might have lectured in Sandusky 14 August 1872.

Letter no. 2153 tells us that the campaign opened about 20 August 1872. Monroe was in Akron 15 August 1872 or a day or so after since a letter was directed to him there on that date; a second visit to Akron on 30 August 1872 is established. A day earlier — on 29 August 1872 — he was speaking in Seville, and during the week of 29 August he was traveling in general (see letter no. 2203). The meeting of candidates for Congress definitely drew him to Columbus on 4 September 1872, and within a week after 31 August 1872, he was speaking in Wellington. On 10 and 12 September 1872 he visited Brownhelm and North Amherst, and possibly he also visited Rochester around that time.

Moreover, he might have gone to Medina county meetings, River Styx, 31 August; Troy Corners, 7 September; and Lodi, 21 September 1872 (see letters no. 2193 and 2223). Possibly he spoke at Mt. Vernon 20 September 1872. Within a week after 3 October 1872, he spoke at Brownhelm, and at Spencer and North Amherst on the same day within this week (see letters no. 2248 and 2249). Many September and October meetings were cancelled because of Monroe’s illness at that time, and so he remained home more than customary during the fall of 1872.

Washington, D.C. 30 November 1872

The first letter is from Monroe, and in it, he mentions his recent arrival in Washington. He could have been there earlier, for the last eight letters before this one have doubtful addresses and they only show that from 22 November till 30 November 1872, Monroe could have been in either of two places. Before 1873 begins there are in all fifty-six letters to Washington. The New Year is started with five letters dated only “1873”; two of these may be incorrectly dated; two of them were sent to Oberlin and three to Washington. One hundred twenty-two letters follow these (one misdirected to Oberlin, 14 March 1873). The last letter to Washington is written 17 March 1873.

Supplementary Letters of 1872  

The supplementary letters were discovered after the bulk of the Monroe letters had been read and listed. There are thirty-one additional letters in 1872, almost all of which concern routine matters, mostly politics. On 29 January, Monroe received an invitation to a Republican Celebration in Wooster, Ohio, to be held on 22 February. A later letter would indicate that he did not attend. A letter dated 7 February reveals that he may have been in Philadelphia soon after that date. See Supplementary Index for dates.

Letter Index
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