Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Samuel Colt Letter Signed "Sam Colt." Four integral pages, 5" x 7.75", "St. Catherine Springs, Canada West," July 19, 1861, to Thomas J. Fales regarding a position within Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company. In full:

    "Your letter of the 8th inst has just reached me at this place where I am staying a little time to try the baths upon my gouty old [illegible]. How long I shall remain I cannot say, but intend to give them a fair trial if my business (which is now very pressing, & should have my undivided attention) will admit of my remaining a fortnight longer away from home. I will not take time to write a very lengthy answer to your communication, it not being necessary at this time to say more than that I accept your proposition at the salary you ask...Twenty five hundred Dollars a year ($2500) & shall be glad to have you reach Hartford as soon as you possibly can to commence upon the duties of Secretary of my 'Patent Firearms Manug Co' which will give you full occupation, & trust you will find the business not only agreeable to you, but the salary amply sufficient for your wants & our business connection be of long & pleasant duration. I hope I will not be disappointed in my belief that your large experience in other business will to greatly aid you in this undertaking that you will readily become master of the business, perform the duties assigned to you, nearly as readily as if you had been brought up in my establishment. I hope this will be in time for the Steamer which I suppose will leave NY on the 21st inst, & that you will lose no time after receiving it in starting for Hartford, even if you are compelled to make a short trip to Cuba at some future day to settle up such business, as you must unavoidably neglect to leave at this time. My family were all pretty well when I left home Mrs C has a little daughter about 6 weeks old, both, are now getting along nicely."

    Two weeks earlier, Colt had concluded a deal with the United States government to supply the Federal Army, then rapidly arming itself for the war with the Confederate States which had erupted three months earlier, with 25,000 Model 1855 rifled muskets. Colt not only supplied the Union with arms, but the Confederacy as well. He did not view southern slavery as an issue of morality and subscribed to the idea that slavery was an ineffective system that would eventually disappear on its own. He was a business man, however, and the war was a great business opportunity. For his arms dealing with the South, he would be labeled in northern papers as a traitor or a Confederate sympathizer.

    Colt had suffered from gout for years and was currently suffering a bout, which he recovered from quickly. He had traveled to the medicinal springs of St. Catherine's in modern-day Ontario. The gout would eventually take his life nine six months later.

    Lightly toned. Folds are weakening causing slight separation at the edges with no loss of paper or text.


    More Information:

    Thomas Fales left his father's plantation on the island of Cuba in 1832 and obtained a job with Fesser Albers & Co., one of the largest import/export firms on the island. He worked for the firm for fifteen years and, by the end, he was managing the operation in Albers' absence. In the meantime, he married a native of Hartford, Connecticut who found Cuba unfavorable to her health, and the couple moved to the United States, settling in Hartford.

    In 1849, he went into business with John R. Tracy and established Tracy & Fales which manufactured passenger and freight cars for the railroad. In 1852, Tracy was bought out and Tracy & Fales became Fales & Gray. Business went well until 1854, when a boiler explosion destroyed the factory and killed 25 men, injuring 50 others. Coupled with Robert Schuyler's stock fraud the same year, the company went under.

    Fales floated from one business venture to another until he was contacted by arms manufacturer Samuel Colt. Colt offered Fales a job as Secretary of the Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company, which he accepted in 1862. By this time, the war was on and business was booming. Fales worked for Colt for six years before he returned to Cuba with his family. Civil war broke out on the island, forcing the family to move back to Harford in 1870. He again moved from business to business, returning to Colt once in 1881, before dying sometime in the late 1880s. Lots 34056 through 34060 in this auction are from the personal papers of Thomas Fales.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 918

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 March 4 Rare Books Signature Auction Books Signature Auction - New York .

    Learn about consigning with us

    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
    Charlie K.,
    Pittsburgh, PA
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 June 22 - 23 The David and Janice Frent Collection of Presidential &  Political Americana, Part V - Dallas
    2019 June 22 - 23 The David and Janice Frent Collection of Presidential & Political Americana, Part V - Dallas
    REALIZED $745,988