This letter was written by William Davidson (1812-1863) of Charleston, South Carolina. Written on the eve of the Civil War, the letter was addressed to William Manifold Menlove (1832-1875) in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Edward Menlove, with whom he partnered in the cotton export business. Menlove & Davidson had their business on East Bay Street & Adger’s North Wharf in Charleston. In 1849, William Davidson resided at 66 Church Street.
A notice in the Charleston Courier on 4 October 1861 tells us that the partnership between Edward Menlove and William Davidson was disssolved by mutual consent on 31 October 1861. William Davidson was married to Julia Emma Antrum (1815-1902) in 1836.
Addressed to W. M. Menlove, Esq., Care of Edw. Menlove, Esq., New Orleans
Charlestown [South Carolina]
15 March 1861
I have your letters to the 3rd inst. I have been quite sick and had business admitted, I would have been in my bed. I am now a little better altho’ far from well. With this month, I think our business for the year will about close. We are nearly through with all our Sea Island [Cotton] orders except one or two limited ones which I have no prospect of doing anything with. The same with uplands. We have had a brisk demand this week and middling and under in a pile ½ C higher — the other grades not quite so much — a good current style of middling is worth 11½ if not 11 5/8 C.
I have a letter of the 23rd from your father this morning. He had been complaining of a cold but was again better.
Do you know anything of a Mr. Chas. A. Clifford of Markham, Canada West. We have a letter from him requesting us to send him occasionally a statement of our cotton market. This I have done. He says it may lead to business but without knowing who he is or good confirmed credits, we shall of course execute none of his orders.
Yours truly, — W. Davidson
Mr. Frazer has called to enquire after your father & yourself. He intends leaving about the beginning of next month.