Copy of a letter addressed to Elisha Hyde West N.Y. [West Meridian, New York]
Dec 14th 1860 [Friday 1860-12-14]. Superscribed to Elisha Hyde or Alva [Beman]
Mr Elisha Hyde. West N.Y. [West Meridian, New York]
My Dear Sir, It occurs to me that some thirteen years ago you and I met, and owing to the fact that both walked upright with heads protruding above our shoulders and other homogenesis [indesations ?] one came to the conclusion that both belonged to the same race, and that certain women whom we were in the habit of sleeping with who claimed the endearing title of wives also [disonerd ?] some tender ties which betrayed a [common] origin. To be sure in this fast age after the [lapse] of so many years in which no further light has been elicited upon the subject , such antiquated notions might be deemed out of place and any attempt at the revival of such absolete [obsolete] ideas highly improper. Yet despite these considerations or if by the hallucination of a dream they continue to flit across my brain, leaving a sort of undefined [impression], which has finally induced me to write you on the subject and to inquire whether you [sic] ever have any such manifestations, magnetic, Electric, spiritual or otherwise. If so what have been your deductions therefrom, and to request you to communicate any light you may have upon the subject, with such geneological [genealogical] and statistical information in your possession as will tend to the solution of this mystical problem.
A few years since my eyes met a card on which was printed the name of a Mr James Deputy Sheriff of one of your western counties. The name struck me forceably [forcibly] as one connected with our race and seizeing [seizing] my pen I wrote him a long letter, and requested of him any information which he might be able to import in relation to our common origin and our mutual friends , but as I heard no more upon the subject, I supposed it was wrapped in profound mystery to him, and that my letter was regarded as the eminations [emanations] of some strange spiritual medium. Lest you also unhappily fall into the same error, permit me to assure you that in my own “Propria Persona” have I indicted this letter and written it with my own hand composed of flesh and Bones. And if the Union holds together so long, which is very uncertain, I may be addressed at this place for at least the next two months.
Permit me further to suggest that my, virtuous, noble, and true hearted wife feels also a lively interest in this matter and should you fail to appreciate its importance on its own merits, your gallantry and desire to please the gentler sex, will I trust stimulate you to such action in the premises or [fremiser ?] s will result in her extreme gratification. Allow me also to hope that a carefull [careful] inquiry into this subject may result in a closer affiliation between us, meanwhile accept assurrences [assurances] of my esteem and distinguished consideration.
I have the honor to be [etc]
Erastus Snow [Elder Erastus Snow 1818-1888]