This Week in History: August 25-31

To Hugh Campbell
St. Louis
August 30th

Mr. Hugh Campbell
Richmond
Virginia

St. Louis August 30th 1831
Dear Hugh,
I have just returned from the lower part of the state after  performing a journey of 8 days in company with my friend (Mr.  Keyts) as I apprised you in a former letter was my intention.  We crossed the Mississippi river at St. Louis and descended on the  Illinois side of the river as far as Kaskaskia about 70 miles on  account of the roads which are much preferable to those on the  Missouri side of the river.  We descended to Jackson a little  distance from the river say 12 miles over a rolling and somewhat  barren country much less desirable in my estimation – than the  upper part of this state.

The counties of Perry and Cape Girardeau through which I  passed are settled by the Carolinians and Tennessians who are  commencing to cultivate cotton with some success – Perry county  will export about 200 bales this season.  Cape Girardeau more but I could not ascertain how much – a good many beef cattle too are round for exportation but business is done nearly exclusively on credit and merchants are obliged to take produce for debts due  them –

[Pg. Break] A most shocking duel has been fought during my  absence which you may probably already have heard of – both the  parties were my acquaintances – Major Monas Riddle U.S. Pay  master for the troops on the Mississippi some time in the spring  wrote a pretty severe piece in one of the newspapers of this  place against Spencer Pettis the member of Congress under the  signature of Missouri – Pettis replied to this while Biddle was  gone up the Mississippi and in his reply he spoke of Biddle as  the supposed author – on Biddle’s’s return he left his name with  the editor avowing himself the author and wrote another piece  still more severe which brought in answer a most abusive  publication from Pettis – Biddle wished to have satisfaction but  was so “near sighted” that if he challenged Pettis and the  distance taken such as was usual say 10 steps  he could not  possible have any chance as he could not recognize a man at that  distance nor could he see to shoot more than 5 or 10 feet –  Accordingly one morning he came to the Hotel where Pettis boarded (and where I now board) towards the latter part of July and  waked him out of bed and cow hided him pretty severely although  he gave Pettis time to arm himself with a sword (cane) although to no effect – Pettis was at this time a candidate for Congress and his (the Jackson) Party would not allow him to seek satisfaction until the result of the election was known which terminated in 3 or 4000 majority for Pettis – On Monday 22 (Augt) Pettis  challenged Biddle which was accepted and the distance five feet,  they fought Thursday 25 (inst) the muzzles of the pistols could  have touched – they fired and both pistols fired at the same  moment and both combatants fell mortally wounded – Pettis was  buried on Sunday and Biddle is to be buried today they both  suffered very much could speak for 24 hours after they were  wounded – Major O’Fallon (Col O’Fallon’s Brother) was second to  Biddle and Lieut Thomas (formerly US Army) to Pettis.

[Pg. Break] A great deal of excitement now prevails in St. Louis  – both parties being dead justice will be done to their character – Biddle was brother to the Cashier U.S. Bank in Philadelphia – he was one of our best citizens you may have heard me speak of  traveling with him we the Mississippi when I lived here- he was  son in law to Mr. Mulanphy the richest man west of the Aghenys –  With Pettis I have been frequently in conversation with since my  arrival here, he was a fine young man although not possessed of  the same degree of talent as _______[page ripped] or Barton his  former unsuccessful rival candidates.

It is yet too soon for any candidate to be spoken of to  succeed Pettis as member of Congress- It is supposed Genl Ashley  will be brought out – if so I think there is no doubt of his  election

It is somewhat singular the second of Biddle (Major O’Fallon) is a Jackson man and Pettis (Leiut. Thomas) a Clay Man both  Politically opposed to their principals Pettis was a native (I am told) of Orange County Virginia I will endeavor to obtain the  publications which led to this fatal catastrophe and send them to you.

In the course of a week I shall probably go up the Missouri  in company with Mr. Kyle and remain in the upper part of each  state until sometime in October.  Mr. Smith’s arrival will  regulate my movements.  Any letters you write I shall receive –  My health is very good.

Present my kindest respects to Mary – and thanks to her for  her very interesting letter which is just to hand – in a few days I intend to do myself the pleasure of writing her.

Mr. Kyle (in whose room I now write) desires to be (Tartive)  duly remembered to you – he would be glad that you and my friend  Breank would each of you write him respecting the Richmond  Tobacco Market – the people in the upper part of the state raise  a good deal of tobacco and by exhibiting your letters to them it  may have a tendency to encourage them in raising that article –  direct Mr. James Keyteville – Maritan County – Missouri – Present my respects to my Richmond friends in general

Believe me dear Brother yours most  affectionately,                                                                                Robert Campbell

[Pg. Break – top of front cover] James Irvine (formerly  Louisville) is in this place a present I am informed although I  have to yet seen him – I only arrived here last night – Should  anything occur worthy your attention I may possibly write you ere long – this country is a little  sickly at present but after  next month we may expect it healthy again-

[Pg. Break – bottom front cover] Mr. Kyle’s dwelling House is  finished the rent – $400 Mr. Sproule has probably written Mr.  Kyle on the subject I have not seen him since my return and as it rains dreadfully now I shall not be able to see him today – when I last wrote you Mr. Sproule supposed the next would have been  800 – but he has since ascertained $480 – This store House will  not be completed until 1st November the workman told me but I  presume W. Kyle will have little difficulty in renting a house –  There are five stores winding up their business at present.

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