Apalachicola, Florida: 1843. This one-page letter is dated “Apalachicola Janry 15th 18,43”. It bears a circular, red “Apalachicola FTy” postmark with a bold red “25” rate stamp. It is in nice shape. A transcript will be provided. In this letter, Russell, the Captain of the lighter Ida replies to a query from the ship’s owner, Nathaniel L. Griswold, a prominent New York merchant: “You say that you are supprised at the small earnings of the Ida this is owing to the large number of lighters here and the low rates all striving to do something she has made her Bills more than any other Boat in Bay I was told by the Captain of a Lighter a day or two since that he had been here five weeks and had earned but $23 in fact their has been little or nothing doing for the past month “ Russell also addresses several other issues with Griswold: “The Beef & Bread has not yet arrived but presume it will in season as I am not yet out. . .. The Texter I am expecting to day from New Orleans we are – getting along very well with the new Lighter I sent you the draft for Sails Rigging some time ago presume you have Recd it before this I will make enquires about lands for raising tobacco and write you in my next. . ..”. Item #009404
Apalachicola was established in 1831 to serve as a shipping port for cotton and lumber, and it soon became the third largest port on the Gulf of New Mexico. It’s waterfront was line with warehouse ahd shipping agents, and the port itself was filled with lighter—shallow draft schooners—that transported cargo to and from the ocean going vessels that had to anchor off shore. The port was so prominent that a US customs house was opened in 1821, and the French established a consulate office to monitor their commercial interests. An interesting letter describing activity at the port with a scarce Florida Gulf Coast post mark.