Description

    President Grant aids the widow of his Secretary of War

    Ulysses S. Grant Autograph Letter Signed as President. Four page bifolium, on Jay Cooke & Company Bankers stationary, 5" x 8", Washington, D.C.; September 8, 1870. President Grant writes to Mary Emma Hurlburt Rawlins, widow of General John A. Rawlins, who died a year earlier, concerning financial affairs connected to the estate of the late general:

    "...Enclosed I send your check for $767.44 is all that I now have in my hands, save the principle, belonging to the estate of Gen. Rawlins. Gen. Smith has also about an equal amount which I have instructed him to forward to you as soon as he makes up the report which I have to make to the Probate court. These two sums, about $1500.00, in all, is all the means you will have until the 7th of Jany, unless the house should be rented before that. I have but little hope of being able to sell the house now but expect to rent it by the 7th of Nov.

    The money in my hands was six months interest in $38,500 bonds, and unappropriated principle of the 'Rawlins House.' The 4700 check, check for $300 in my own means to pay a subscription handed to me as I was leaving Washington, and the $500 I gave you when you was here, just squares the account with the enclosed check.

    You will be able to judge if you can pay $500 in your house now. I hope you may see your way clear to do so... U.S. Grant."

    John Aaron Rawlins (1831-1869) was an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War, serving on Grant's staff throughout the war. After Grant was elected president of the United States in 1868, he chose Rawlins as his Secretary of War. His tenure as secretary of war proved to be controversial, as he supported insurrection against Spanish rule in Cuba, established an anti-Mormon policy for the Utah Territory, and reduced the authority of General William Tecumseh Sherman, Grant's successor as commander of the Army. In December 1863, two years after the death of his first wife, Rawlins married Mary Emma Hurlburt of Danbury, Connecticut. That same year Rawlins developed a persistent cough that was later diagnosed as tuberculosis, and died of the disease on September 6, 1869, during Grant's first year in office. There were rumors at the time that Grant's and Rawlins's relationship had become strained at the time of the latter's death. Some point to the fact that in his memoirs, Grant only mentioned Rawlins a few times, and essentially ignored their professional and personal relationship. However, the letter offered here shows that Grant tried to help Rawlins's widow financially in the year after his death. Ex. R. Douglas Stuart.

    Condition: The letter has two horizontal folds with slight separations thereat in the margins, and wear at the intersection of the folds and the middle crease. Good condition.


    More Information:

    Jay Cooke(1821-1905) was an American investment banker and railroad developer who helped finance the Union war effort during theAmerican Civil War. Jay Cooke & Companywas a U.S. bank that operated from 1861 to 1873. Headquartered inPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, with branches in New York City and Washington, D.C.,the bank was quite successful until is became overextended in the building of theNorthern Pacific Railwayand failed, contributing to thePanic of 1873. It appears that Grant used Jay Cooke & Company as his personal bank.



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    October, 2017
    19th Thursday
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