Some of the pages after being separated from the insulation and brushed off.
The wall spaces in the upstairs front room open directly into the attic over the front porch. These spaces were later filled with vermiculite and blown-in cellulose insulation. During demolition of the lath and plaster we found that a couple of the wall spaces had been partly filled with trash. This turned out to be a mix of correspondence and newspaper scraps dating from 1851 to 1869.
A cursory examination of the letters seems to indicate that they are either drafts, or copies kept by the writer-a common practice. I've had a chance to do some preliminary research into the author and those he wrote to. I'm fortunate in that our local library has a collection of city directories-one of which dates from 1860. It is possible that William Stocking is related to the owner of the Tecumseh Herald in that year. In 1858 he appears to be contemplating going off to a university. This would jibe well with his father being a Tecumseh businessman at that time.
I've also had the chance to check the records of Brookside Cemetery and have located what are probably the graves of two of the people he wrote to. William Stocking himself is not buried there, however. The letters are now in the collection of the Tecumseh Library.
A PDF of all the pages cleaned and scanned so far.
Dale Austin 2007
One of the letters after flattening and cleaning up a bit.
The Stocking family plot- Brookside Cemetery.
Tecumseh March 1858
As I am about to start for Ypsilanti & have not yet had a chance to see you any length of time, I thought I would drop you a few lines & ask you to bestow the honor of a correspondence upon me.
Dear Friend do not feel
All images and text Copyright Dale Austin, 1962-2008