Monday, November 18, 2019

400 turkeys walking to Washington City (D.C.) market in 1826

“A drove of turkeys amounting to nearly four hundred from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania just now passed the door on their way to Washington City. They go at the rate of 8 miles per day. Saturday February 4th 1826 8 o'clock AM"

Jacob Engelbrecht (1797-1878) lived in Frederick, Maryland and kept a diary for 60 years starting in 1818.  His German father was a prisoner in Frederick during the Revolutionary War, (1782), stayed, and married a local woman. One of the L shape Hessian Barracks  remains, photo.  Jacob was a tailor and at the time of his death, Mayor of Frederick. His home was on the "National Road" to DC, (now West Patrick Street), across from the Barbara Fritchie reproduction house, currently an Airbnb.

The Historical Society of Frederick County, Md made a large two volume set of his writings in 1976

Other turkey entries in his diary -

Christmas this year came on Sunday -- At the United States Hospital (barracks) sick & wounded had a real Christmas dinner. Plenty of turkeys, geese & chickens &c. All the Barracks were rigged out with evergreens, flags &c all in first rate style. All persons (loyal) were admitted. I was there the first day. The dinner was the second day. At night the soldiers had a exhibition & fun & also another dinner &c.  Tuesday December 27, 1864 3 PM

Tomorrow being Christmas the Tuesday morning market, was changed to Monday afternoon previous and the market is now in full bloom. Among the rest a good assortment of Christmas turkeys dead & alive. They sell (turkeys) generally at 18 cents a pound Monday December 24, 1866 3 o'clock PM  Today it is 52 years since the Treaty of Ghent "December 24, 1814."

Fine Turkey - On yesterday, Tuesday, the Independent Fire Company sent to Captain James W. Shaw of the Salvage Corps of Baltimore a fine Turkey weighing 24 lbs. It was sent to him as a kind remembrance of when they were in Baltimore.  January 12th 1881

On a quirky, what-was-he-thinking, totally unrelated topic -- while Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was failing and would die two years later on July 4 - Jacob wrote him asking for a letter he could frame after his death.   And Jefferson wrote an entire page.

Frederick-Town Md 14th February 1824
The subject of my letter will perhaps appear of rather an odd nature, but their being persons of many difrent notions in the world, and mine being of a peculiar cast, I do hope you will favour me with my request.
I mearly wish a letter from you in your own hand writing, which I wish to frame after your death, which I wish to preserve in honour of you,—as to the Subject matter. it may be what ever you think proper—moral, Religious, or Political,
I hope sir, you will favor me with this little request, as it will be of great pleasure, to me, and of very little trouble or inconveniance to you.—please let space sufficient at the margin to frame it,
Respectfully I. am. your most Obdt Humble Servt
Jacob Engelbrecht

Thomas Jefferson reply  Feb 25


The Diary of Jacob Engelbrecht, 1818-1878 Pub. by the Historical Society of Frederick County, Md. 1976

National Archives Founders Online - Engelbrecht letter  HERE
Library of Congress  - Jefferson response  HERE

Image - "Driving Turkeys to the Picking-House" in Harper's Weekly, December 2, 1871   
E.M. Peck's poultry-house at Newtown, Ct.

More posts on Thanksgiving HERE
More posts on Turkeys HERE

©2019 Patricia Bixler Reber
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