Compiled and written by Kimberli Faulkner Hull © Chasing Light Media
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Citing this page: Kimberli Faulkner Hull, transcriber and author, “1848 Letter: L. W. Gunther to Charles H. Blake,” Chasing Light Media, Cool Adventures (https://cooladventures.com/genealogy/1848-letter-gunther-blake-kentucky/ : published 2021);
L. W. Gunther (Cadiz, Kentucky) to Charles H. Blake (Blandsville, Kentucky), letter, 18 Mar 1848;
privately held by the Faulkner–Hull Collection.
Item: L. W. Gunther (Cadiz, Kentucky) to Charles H. Blake (Blandsville, Kentucky), letter, 18 Mar 1848; privately held by the Faulkner–Hull Collection.
Others mentioned: David Unsell; Mr. Spratt [?]
Locations mentioned: Cadiz, Kentucky; Blandsville, Kentucky; Louisville, Kentucky
Item acquisition: Auction 2021.
Relationship: None known.
Outside of letter, Address
Mr. Charles H. Blake
Blandsville, Ballard County, Ky
=1848= [different ink]
18th March 1848
Filed with Dess. [?]
Aug 24th 1853 [?] W B. Wall [?]
Letter, page 1
Cadiz, Ky March 18, 1848
My friend Blake,
Your letter dated Columbus 14th march came to hand on the morning of the 17th, I am sorry to hear from you that you can not come over as soon as you expected but still hope that you will make it convenient to be here in about a week from now – Should you not come by that time I shall be compelled to start alone I will try to buy those Goods for you but in your absence will have to buy them on our name
When we buy Goods in Louisville we give our note at 6 mos payable in Bank which will have to be met promptly. Spun Cotton Whiskey and articles of in the Grocery Line are Cash as you know yourself– I will if I can possibly manage it buy some Whiskey for you and will ship the Goods direct from Louisville to Bland [?] for [?] David Unsell. If you can not go along to Louisville I want you to come over here from the 5th to the 8th of April when I shall be home –we will then go to Blandville together to attend to the shopping of the stores I want you to have the big stores ready to that when we come back
Letter, page 2
we can stamp them and start with a copple Boats – It is very important for us to start with them about the middle of April and if possible sooner.
As I wrote to you before we want to have a talk with you about the Ship building entreprise– Spatt [?] as well as myself are rather dissatisfied with our present location as we are to far from the River and being in correspondence with European houses of first Standing it will be necessary for us after the Contact with you has been filled to select some favourable points on the River where we can operate to an advantage – we write to you this in private and don’t care about mentioning this subject to anybody else –
We might probably make some arrangement with you which might prove advantageous to all of us – It will therefore be necessary for you to come and see us that Mr. Spratt [?] can make your acquaintance and that we can arrange our matters next fall when we go East together.
Truly Your friend
L. W. Gunther
I expect we can take a Lot of Sugar and Molasses from you at reasonable prices.
Ludolph Wilhelm Gunther
The author of the letter, L. W. Gunther, is believed to be Ludolph Wilhelm Gunther.
Ludolph Wilhelm “L. W.” Gunther, was born about 1820 in Germany. Ludolph, a merchant, came to the United States at 19 years of age in 1839, arriving in Baltimore. 1
Ludolph married first to Martha Catherine “Kate” Upshaw and, in 1850, they were residing in Ballard County, Kentucky.2 The couple had two sons, George and Marius, before Kate’s death about 1852. Ludolph married second to Martha Cecil.3
By 1863, when L. W. Gunther registered for the Civil War draft, the couple had moved to Govanstown, a neighborhood located in northeastern Baltimore, Maryland.4
A lifelong merchant, Ludolph lived to the age of 68, dying on 10 July 1889 at his residence located at 1418 Eutaw Place in Baltimore. Ludolph’s will was probated in Venango County, Pennsylvania..5
Martha Gunter died on 24 September 1898 in Staunton, Virginia.6
Charles H. Blake
The intended recipient of the letter is believed to be Charles H. Blake, born on 11 May 1814 in Virginia.7 Charles married Mary Upshaw about 1838 and the couple and their children were living in Ballard County, Kentucky in 1850.8
Major Charles H. Blake died on 3 July 1895 and is buried in Granbury Cemetery in Granbury, Hood County, Texas.9 Mary Ann Upshaw Blake died 22 Mar 1872 and is also buried in Granbury Cemetery.10
Relationship between L. W. Gunther and Charles H. Blake
As the letter begins with, “My friend Blake,” L. W. Gunther and Charles H. Blake were friends and business associates.11 However, it is also possible (not proven) that their wives, Martha Catherine Upshaw and Mary Ann Upshaw were related as both were born in Virginia and both believed to have the maiden name of Upshaw.
- Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore, 1820-1964, arrival 31 Oct 1839, Ludolph W Gunther, age 19, merchant, Germany; Record Group Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004, Records of the US Customs Service, RG36, NAI no. 2655153, group no. 85, National Archives at Washington, D.C.
- Parents names are listed on child’s marriage license, Health Department, City Hall, New Orleans, Louisiana, Orleans Parish, Marriages vol. 13, part 5, 422, 502, 1881, Gunther–Aroné, 18 April 1881. Groom: Marius Harrison Gunther, native of Virginia, son of Ludolph Wilhelm Gunther and Catherine Gunther (nee Upshaw). Also,
1850 U.S. census, Ballard County, Kentucky, population schedule, p. 286 (stamped), dwelling 489, – – L W Gunther household.
– L. W. Gunter, age 28, merchant, born in Germany
– Kate Gunther, age 25, born in Virginia
– C. Krupp, age 21, merchant, born in Germany
– G. Benzke, age 27, farmer, born in Germany
– Louis Gunther, age 22, merchant, born in Germany
Note: L H. Blake household was dwelling no. 414 in Ballard County, in 1850.
- No record of Marta Catherine “Kate” Upshaw’s death was located. Per one of her descendants, both of her sons, George and Marius, left memoirs, held by the family, stating their mother died about 1852.
State of Tennessee, Department of Vital Statistics, certificate of death, no. 3982, Memphis, Shelby County, George Frederick Gunther, 5 Feb 1933. Parents: L. W. Gunther, born in Germany, and Katherine Upshaw, born in Virginia. Also,
State of Tennessee, Department of Vital Statistics, certificate of death, no. 23718, Memphis, Shelby County, Marius Harrison Gunther, 17 Nov 1942. Parents: L. W. Gunther, born in Germany, and Caroline Upshaw, born in Virginia. Note: Mother’s given name is error.
The memoirs reportedly also state their father, Ludolph, remarried to Martha Cecil. This is supported with the gap in children’s birth and the middle name of son, Ernest Cecil Gunther, “Ernest Cecil Gunther Marriage to Nannie Huot Campbell,” marriage announcement, The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 13 June 1892, p. 8, col. 4.
- U.S. Civil War Draft Registration, Maryland, p. 22, no. 13, L. W. Gunther, 2 July 1863; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records, Provost Marshal General’s Bureau, record group 110, vol. 3 of 5, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.
L. W. Gunther, residence Govanstown, age 43, occupation merchant, place of birth Germany.
- Ludolph Gunther’s death notice appeared on 11 July 1889 in Baltimore, “L. W. Gunther, death notice, The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 11 July 1889, p. 2, col. 2. Also, the date of his death is listed as 10 July 1889 on page of 136 of his estate’s probate files, which includes Ludolph W. Gunther’s will, naming his wife, children, and grandchildren. The estate entered probate in Venango County, Pennsylvania on 16 July 1889, Venango County, Pennsylvania, Register of Wills, Will Dockets, 1819-1916, p. 130-137, last will and testament of Ludolph W. Gunther, deceased, April term 1889, probated July 1889.
- “Death of Mrs. Martha Gunther, obituary, Staunton Spectator and Vindicator (Staunton, Virginia), 29 Sept 1898, p. 3, col. 5.
- Headstone reads: Maj. C. H. Blake / Born May 11, 1814 / Died / July 3, 1895
Find A Grave, memorial 10632391, Maj Charles Henry Blake (1814-1895), Granbury Cemetery, Granbury, Hood County, Texas; headstone photo by Ken Jones, memorial managed by R. Dodson (contributor 48659552). Also, birth location from 1850 U.S. census, Ballard County, Kentucky, population schedule, p. 280 (stamped), dwelling 414, C. H. Blake household.
– C. H. Blake, age 36, farmer, born in Virginia
– Mary Blake, age 34, born in Virginia
– Joel Blake, age 11, born in Virginia
– Thomas Blake, age 9, born in Virginia
– Mary Blake, age 6, born in Kentucky
– Samuel Blake, age 3, born in Kentucky
– Kate K. Blake, age 4 months, born in Kentucky
- Marriage date based on birth of first known child, Ibid. Maiden name from death records of children, State of Texas, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, certificate of death, no. 22136, Mrs. Kate Haney, 1 May 1944. Birth: 15 Jan 1850, Kentucky. Parents: Major C. H. Blake, born in Virginia, and Mary Upshur, born in Virginia. [Maiden name likely misspelled.] Also,
State of Texas, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, certificate of death, no. 10654, Mary Francis Evans, 6 Apr 1917. Birth: 16 Mar 1844, Kentucky. Parents: C. H. Blake, born in Virginia, and Mary Uphar, born in Virginia.
- Find A Grave, memorial 10632391, Maj Charles Henry Blake (1814-1895).
- Headstone reads: Mary Ann / Wife of / Charles H. Blake / Born July 27, 1811 / Died Mar. 22, 1872
Find A Grave, memorial 68233549, Mary Ann Upshaw Blake (1811-1872), Granbury Cemetery, Granbury, Hood County, Texas; headstone photo by Ken Jones, memorial managed by R. Dodson (contributor 48659552).
- L. W. Gunther (Cadiz, Kentucky) to Charles H. Blake (Blandsville, Kentucky), letter, 18 Mar 1848; Faulkner-Hull Collection, privately held by Kimberli Faulkner Hull.