This letter was written by Alexander Hamilton Holley (1804-1887) of Windsor, Connecticut. Alexander H. Holley, lieutenant-governor and governor of Connecticut, &c, married, first, October 4, 1831, Jane M. Lyman, born February 7, 1808, daughter of Erastus Lyman, of Goshen, Conn. Holley went into his father’s business, and in 1854, became president of the Holley Manufacturing Company (spoons & cutlery), a position he held for life. He also served as director and president of the Salisbury Iron Bank, and he was director of the Connecticut Western Railroad. Holley was nominated by the Republican Party and elected the 25th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut in 1854, and became the Governor of Connecticut in 1857. During his term, his administration endorsed the requirement for recently naturalized citizens to wait one year before being eligible to vote, and the Supreme Court ruled on the Dred Scott case. He left office on May 5, 1858. He was a delegate to Republican National Convention from Connecticut, 1860, and retired from public service.
Holley wrote the letter to Julia Maria [Jayne] Trumbull (1824-1868), the wife of Senator Lyman Trumbull (1813-1896) of Lakeville, Illinois — famous for sponsoring the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery. In the letter, Holley pledges his support for the “Great Northwestern Sanitary Fair” that was held in Chicago from 27 October to 7 November 1863, by sending spoons manufactured by his company in Windsor, Connecticut.
October 20, 1863
Mrs. Lyman Trumbull
Your letter soliciting aid for your Fair at Chicago has just been received. The noble efforts made by the Ladies of the Northwest to ameliorate the condition of the suffering and dying soldiers of our armies are only equalled by the splendid achievements of their husbands & sons and brothers in these armies, all of which command the admiration of every intelligent Nation on the earth.
We are proud of the noble event and we are equally proud to realize that New England stands shoulder to shoulder with her in all her efforts to put down this unrighteous and most unnatural rebellion. That we shall succeed in humiliating the insolent and arrogant slave armies and compelling them to flee the land or yield obedience to the constituted authorities of the Nation even if they escape the deserved ____, I have never doubted.
But we must continue to work and wait. Our own calls from Sanitary Commissions, Soldiers Aid Societies, Freedman’s Associations, &c. &c. are constant, but I cannot find it in my heart to stand aloof from your call in Chicago, and will furnish as soon as possible by Express a hundred spoons or so and whatever other articles I can find that I think may be of service to you.
I will also enclose your appeal & one of your circulars to Windsor from whence I hope you may have a favorable response.
We are pleased to hear from you personally again and Mrs. H. joins me in fondest regards to yourself and the Senator, while I am truly your friend, — A. H. Holley