Chapter 12

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Edward Coles to Senator W.C. Flagg, 1861--Journal of the Illinois Historical Society, no. 3 [1910], 59-64. Back

Coles left his post--The Almanac Dates show that Edward and his sister Sally arrived at Enniscorthy from Washington on March 22. Since Coles wrote to Madison from Dumfries on March 17 (Edward Coles to James Madison, March 17, 1815, Chicago Historical Society) that he had left Mt. Vernon and spent the night of the 16th in Alexandria, we can assume that he had left Washington for home on the 15th or the 16th. A letter from Madison addressed to Coles in South Carolina dated March 7, 1815 (Princeton University Library) must be misdated, since Coles was in Washington on that date in 1815 but was in South Carolina in March of the following year. There is also some internal evidence in the letter that indicates the date is incorrect. The 1863 autobiography states that Coles resigned the office of private secretary to the President in May 1815, but this seems also to be in error. Back

From March 22 to May 20--Almanac Dates, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

All of your old friends here--Tench Ringgold to Edward Coles, April 12, 1815, Princeton University Library. Ringgold mentions Monroe as particularly against Coles' scheme. Back

Isaac writes to cousin Walter Coles--Isaac Coles to Walter Coles, May 18, 1815, in William B. Coles, ed., The Coles Family of Virginia, New York, 1931, pp. 148-149. Back

My objections and abhorrence of slavery--Edward Coles to "RLM," March 31, 1815, Princeton University Library. Back

Even this friend--Robert L. Madison to Edward Coles, April 23, 1815, Roberts Coles Collection. Back

On May 30 he went to Richmond--The dates of Edward's comings and goings are in the Almanac Dates, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

a mulatto man--1844 autobiography. During the trip west Coles was to become angry at Ralph for neglecting his duties. Coles was detained at General Taylor's for a week because his horse had developed an ulcerated sore on its back. What makes this difficulty even more provoking, Coles writes John, is that it has arisen entirely from shameful neglect on the part of Ralph . . . (Edward Coles to John Coles III, July 28, 1815, Historical Society of Pennsylvania). The matter is of some interest because Coles had a high opinion of Ralph and was to give him some unusual responsibilities a few years later. Back

He traveled through Ohio--In the 1863 autobiography Coles describes his 1815 trip to Illinois as follows: In the summer of 1815 E.C. went via the Virginia Springs to the West as far as St. Louis--Bought El Prado. Early in the winter went to New Orleans stopping en route at New Madrid and Nately, where he stayed about 6 weeks and from there went by sea to Savannah and from there via the sea to Charlestown and from there to Mr. Singleton's some 80 miles from Charleston and 30 or 40 from Columbia. Here he spent some time, returning to Virginia in time for Mrs. Rutherfoord's marriage in the spring of 1816. Emily Coles married John Rutherfoord on April 24, 1816 (Almanac Dates). Richard Singleton was the husband of Edward's sister Rebecca. Back

In 1815 the area around Edwardsville--W. T. Norton, Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois and Its People, Chicago, 1912, p. 233. Back

The effects of the war upon this state--Edward Coles to James Madison, July 25, 1815, Chicago Historical Society. Cole's descriptions of the price of land and the mud in Ohio are also from this letter. Back

Columbus, the future state capital--Edward Coles to John Coles III, July 28, 1815, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. This letter contains many passages that duplicate those in the letter to Madison cited above. The descriptions of Mr. Kilbourn and of the company at General Taylor's are also taken from this letter. Back

Coles writes Madison--Edward Coles to James Madison, November 6, 1815, Chicago Historical Society. In the winter of 1811, a series of severe earthquakes struck Missouri near the settlement of New Madrid, making the ground untillable. In 1815 Congress gave settlers in the region certificates for land in the Boon's Lick country to indemnify them for their losses. Many of these certificates were bought up by speculators. In this letter Coles incorrectly places the Boon's Lick country in Illinois. Curiously, in 1818 Coles himself bought for $2,300 more than twenty tracts of Military Bounty lands in the northern Illinois wilderness from a speculator in St. Louis named Moulton, three parcels of which he gave to his former slaves, each identified by the soldier Moulton had bought them from (deeds in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania). Back

In the Missouri lead mines--Edward Coles to James Madison, November 24, 1815, Chicago Historical Society. Back

In another letter--Edward Coles to James Madison, January 12, 1816, Chicago Historical Society. Back

Continued warfare with the Indians--1844 autobiography, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

I think of going as far as Vincennes--Edward Coles to John Coles III, September 11, 1815, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

Coles did invest in land--Edward Coles, Account Book, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Edward sold 1/2 of the Debreuil tract to Isaac for 1/4 of the Enniscorthy estate, which was then valued at $6250. Thus his profit was over 400%. In 1832 he exchanged 1000 acres of the Debreuil tract with Walter for 750 acres of another tract of Missouri land, the Bryant's Creek tract, for which no value is given. In 1836 he sold the remaining 2000 acres of the Debreuil tract to James Clark for $6000, yielding a profit of 600%. Back

There is no record--In Norton, p. 127, there is a reference to Coles' ownership of 148 acres in Pin Oak township, Madison County, Illinois, in 1816. This reference, however, is probably an error, since Coles is known to have bought his farm in Pin Oak township in 1819. It is unlikely that he already owned land in the same township and settled elsewhere, at greater expense. It is also unlikely that neither his account book nor his tax records would record his ownership of a second piece of real estate in Pin Oak township. Back

Coles had written John--Edward Coles to John Coles III, July 28, 1815, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

Coles sailed down the Mississippi--Edward Coles to James Madison, January 12, 1816, Chicago Historical Society. He had sent Ralph back earlier by land. The Almanac Dates record Ralph's return to Enniscorthy on December 17, 1815. Back

He sailed to South Carolina--Edward Coles to Dolley Madison, February 22, 1816, New York Public Library. Back

pregnant with her fourth child--The child was a daughter, Sarah Angelica Singleton (February 13, 1816-December 29, 1877), one of the most beautiful and talked of women of her time. On November 27, 1838, Angelica married Major Abram Van Buren, the son of President Martin Van Buren, in the White House, and took over the duties of first lady. She had been introduced to her husband by Dolley Madison (William B. Coles, The Coles Family of Virginia, New York, 1931, pp. 111-112 and 220 to 221). Back

until April 21--Almanac Dates, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

Nicholas Biddle, for one--Nicholas Biddle to Edward Coles, April 11, 1816, Princeton University Library. Back

Payne Todd has heard something--Payne Todd to Edward Coles, December 1815, Princeton University Library. Back

Circumstances have arisen--James Madison to Edward Coles, July 7, 1816, Princeton University Library. A version of the letter printed in Clarence Alvord, Governor Edward Coles (Illinois Historical Society Library, 1920, p. 39), and a typed version of the letter in the Princeton University Library, give the date as July 7, but the date on the letter itself was changed to July 8, probably indicating that the letter was written on the 7th and sent on the 8th. Madison sent two copies of the letter, one to Enniscorthy and the other to Richmond, not knowing where Coles was at the time. Coles had left Ennicorthy for Richmond on June 30 and returned on July 17 (Almanac Dates). On July 9, Madison wrote again, saying that he had written a previous letter two days earlier (James Madison to Edward Coles, July 9, 1816, Princeton University Library). Back

Coles replied from Richmond--Edward Coles to James Madison, July 11, 1816, Chicago Historical Society. Back

Edward Coles

Chapter 12