Joseph Raynes papers
Correspondence between British immigrant Joseph Raynes to his family in Bonsall, Derbyshire, England, describing an Atlantic sea voyage; the Chesapeake Bay; Baltimore life in the nineteenth century, including buildings, prices, and Lexington Market; slavery; the failure of the Bank of Maryland; and the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Cincinnati. Also included is news of friends, family and deaths.
Important Information for Users of the Collection
This collection is open for research.
Joseph Raynes papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.
Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.
Digital copies of the letters in this collection are available at http://digital.lib.umd.edu/results.jsp?newsearch=true&query0=raynes in the University of Maryland's Digital Collections.
This collection is PROCESSED.
Members of the Raynes (also spelled "Rains") family lived in Bonsall, in Derbyshire, England, in the nineteenth century. Francis Raynes (b. ca. 1768) and his wife Susan Bunting had at least five children who lived to adulthood: Joseph, Benjamin (d. 1833), Jacob (d. 1833), Ann (1795-1865), and Harriett (1813-1890).
Most of what is known about Joseph Raynes comes from his letters home. In May 1831, Raynes left Bonsall for Liverpool, where he reserved a space on the brig The Russian. He arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 26. Raynes found employment almost immediately with a saddler and soon after went into business on his own.
Raynes moved his saddling business to Lexington Market in 1832, where it prospered. Sometime in 1833, his father became ill, most likely of typhus, although the exact nature of the illness is unknown. Of more pressing concern were the deaths in October, 1833 of his brothers, Jacob and Benjamin, in a rail accident. The brothers were returning from Manchester and Liverpool, where they had traveled on behalf of their tortoiseshell comb business, when the railway coach in which they were riding derailed. Benjamin died almost instantly; Jacob was horribly injured and died the next day. Benjamin left three children, at least two of them sons. Raynes promised to send for either Jacob (b. 1830) or Isaac (b. 1831) as soon as they were old enough. It does not appear that either of the brothers ever made the journey; Isaac died in Bonsall in 1877 and Jacob married and lived in Bonsall through at least 1861.
By 1836, Raynes had married. The poor economic situation in Baltimore, as well as riots related to the Bank of Maryland scandal of 1834, provided impetus for a move to St. Louis, Missouri. By 1840, Raynes and his wife had settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, and had adopted a six-year-old orphan girl.
Raynes is believed to have died sometime in 1849.
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Papers of Joseph Raynes consist of nine letters sent between 1831 and 1843 by Joseph Raynes to his family in Bonsall, in Derbyshire, England, and one letter written by his cousin, Jane Cliff, to his sister, Harriett Raynes in 1849. Subjects covered in the correspondence include news of friends, family and deaths; an Atlantic sea voyage; the Chesapeake Bay; Baltimore; the failure of the Bank of Maryland; and the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Cincinnati.
Custodial History and Acquisition Information
The University of Maryland Libraries purchased this collection from Harry Kessler in January 2002.
Processed by Jennie Levine, March 2002.
The letters were placed in acid-free folders and stored in an acid-free box.
EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Henry Allen, July 2004.
Arrangement of Collection
The collection is organized as 1 (one) series.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series 1: Correspondence, 1831-1849 (10 items)
Series I consists of nine letters he wrote between May 1831 and July 1843 to his family in Bonsall, in Derbyshire, England, and one letter written by his cousin, Jane Cliff, to his sister, Harriett Raynes. Raynes wrote to his family in great detail about his journey to America and his subsequent struggles as an immigrant, beginning with his departure from Liverpool in 1831. Of particular interest is his letter dated July 16, 1831, in which he describes his first glimpse of the Chesapeake Bay. Raynes accompanied the captain of the ship and some other passengers on an excursion to the shore before landing in Baltimore, and he mentioned seeing "beautiful horses," "negroes" loading tobacco, and a planter's house.
Raynes was impressed with Baltimore, and in the same July 6th letter, states that there "are a many elligent [sic] buildings in Baltimore, two very handsom [sic] monuments are erected, one to the memory of Washington." He also compared the relative prices of clothing, tortoiseshell, rent, soap, and groceries with those in England. Raynes was impressed with the work ethic in America. In February 1832, he wrote, "it is too often the case when people come to this country they expect great things without putting their shoulder to the weel [sic]. That is a mistake with such people. I will assure you people must work _hard_ who come to America to get a livelihood."
Following the deaths of his brothers Benjamin and Jacob in October 1833, Raynes became very concerned with the well-being of his sisters, his aging parents, and his nephews. He wrote that he intended to send for one of his brother Benjamin's sons as soon as he was able. Raynes gave advice to his sisters regarding the settlement of his brothers' affairs and offered to give a portion of his inheritance to his sisters so that they would be financially secure.
Raynes's business may have prospered, but the overall economic situation in the United States was in decline. In a letter dated September 1, 1834, Raynes referred to the closing of the Bank of Maryland in March 1834, and commented that he managed to move his account to another institution on the advice of a "particular friend." He was able to further enlarge his business in March 1835. He took up residence behind his shop, which he considered "much safer as there is a set of evil disposed men going about burning people's property."
Two of the letters were written by Raynes from Cincinnati, where he had set up a saddler business. He was very impressed with the Methodist church he attended in Cincinnati, especially the annual camp meeting outside of the city. In 1840, he told his sisters, "...you may think it was a very disorderly place, but there was as much order kept as if it was a place of worship in the city."
Included in the collection is one letter written by Jane Cliff, Raynes's cousin, to his sister, Harriett Raynes, in 1849. In the letter, Cliff wrote, "We were extremely sorry to hear of the death of your dear brother. . ." Although she did not mention him by name, Cliff is probably referring to Joseph Raynes, since all other known brothers were deceased by this time.
The arrangement is chronological.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame||Item|
|Correspondence, May 1831 - July 1849||series 1||box 1||folder 1|
|Letter written by Joseph Raynes, in Liverpool, to his family (Online), May 10, 1831||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 1|
|Letter written by Joseph Raynes, in Baltimore, to his family (Online), July 6, 1831||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 2|
|Letter written by Joseph Raynes, in Baltimore, to his family (Online), February 4, 1832||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 3|
|Letter written by Joseph Raynes, in Baltimore, to his family (Online), September 1, 1834||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 4|
|Letter written by Joseph Raynes, in Baltimore, to his family (Online), March 4, 1835||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 5|
|Letter written by Joseph Raynes, in Baltimore, to his family (Online), May 14, 1835||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 6|
|Letter written by Joseph Raynes, in Baltimore, to his family (Online), March 24, 1836||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 7|
|Letter written by Joseph Raynes, in Cinncinati, to his family (Online), September 14, 1840||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 8|
|Letter written by Joseph Raynes, in Cinncinati, to his family (Online), July 24, 1843||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 9|
|Letter from Jayne Cliff to Harriet Raynes on the death of Joseph Raynes (Online), July 14, 1849||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 10|
Digital copies of the letters in this collection are available at http://digital.lib.umd.edu/results.jsp?newsearch=true&query0=raynes.
For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.
Selected Search Terms
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.
- Baltimore (Md.) -- Economic conditions -- 19th century
- Immigrants -- Baltimore (Md.) -- History -- Sources
- Raynes, Joseph -- Correspondence