Monson, Maine--Early Nineteenth Century

During the fever for land speculation in the early 1830s, Seba Smith acquired a piece of land referred to in letters usually as "#8," presumably because what would become Monson, Maine was more of a camp (and, as the illustration below indicates, a mailing address) than a village or town at the time. As one can see from early maps of the state of Maine, there were many "number 8"s in the state, designating parcels of land or future townships, the rights to which were bought and sold. When the Crash of 1837 arrived, Seba seems to have had either title in or the right to buy land of a much lower value than he had originally invested. In her autobiography, Elizabeth Oakes Smith looked back with some pique at her husband's poor financial dealings writing,

Xerox of envelope courtesy of The University of Virginia Library, Special Collections Department