Octavius Catto Letter to Jacob C. White, Jr.
Washington, Oct. 2, 1870
1531 I Street
Dear Jake – You have no doubt received a letter from me advising you of my present state of preservation.
I write again to ask you one or two additional favors. You must excuse the trouble to which I am subjecting you – and believe me Sir, sincerely, that had I not full confidence to believe that all I request will be fully and satisfactorily performed, I would not, I assure you, annoy you with its commission. I hope you will deem the excuse logical at least.
I am yet busy at the [greater?] cause of Instruction. I have got through the six Primary Grades, and three of the four Intermediates. I have one more Int. and [21?] Gram. and the High Sch. which is to be organized.
They must then be reviewed, submitted to the Board and then Published. I have to write a series of Rules and Regulations for the Supt. Teachers & Schools.
Mr. Newton – who is the Supt. is here and Geo. Cook, I hear, has left for Oberlin.
Jno. Frith of the West Indiea is here. You may remember him. He asks to be to be remembered to you and all the Boys. Tell [Dad?] Jones.
Well now to Business.
Will you go to Stoke’s under the Continenetal – he who made my pants and cheated you and order him to make me a fine and tolerably heavy pair of black pants. You can see if [he?] has not my measure still on his Book. If he has not, of course you need not have them made. I want them fine and heavy. Pay to the extent of from $12 to $14.
Will you also go to Adam’s – 7th and Market – he has my vest measure on his Books – (if not don’t order) and order a fine black cloth vest for me – let it be [pleace?] – fine enough to keep time with the pants and my famous “pigeon tail.” It must show the second stud – have four buttons close together and be rounded at the lower corners. Let him make it precisely as you order it. I will try to show you what I mean by rounded lower corners – by this Drawing –
[Sketch of Vest] A fine Drawing.
I would like to have these by Friday or Saturday if possible. The Trustees have not paid me anything as yet, but I suppose all will be right, however.
They must pay all – or I will take nothing. If you have money enough over, will you send me on the receipt of this – [$5.00?]?
How are affairs going at the Institute?
Drop me a line immediately, will you? My regard to the Madame. Remember me to Bob – Doc – Dad – Bill – Bolivar – Needham – Venning – Knight – Sammy, and the fellows generally one and all.
Yours as ever – but more hastily than usual –
In this letter, dated October 2, 1870, Octavius V. Catto wrote to his friend Jacob C. White, Jr. Writing from Washington, D.C., Catto inquires about news from Philadelphia and orders supplies to be sent to him.
Image: "American Negro Historical Society, 1858-1898," Leon Gardiner Collection [0008B], Historical Society of Pennsylvania.