In 1807, New York attorney John Treat Irving was waiting for his case to be called in court, and used the time to write a letter to his brother-in-law, John S. Furman of Skaneateles. Furman had come to the village in 1806, and was practicing law. Alexander Beebe, mentioned in the letter below, was Furman’s law partner. As for the wit evident in the letter, perhaps it is a family trait; John Treat Irving was the brother of author Washington Irving, who he refers to elsewhere in the letter as “Wash.” But on to his description of Skaneateles:

“Alexander arrived a few days since, and has given us most flattering accounts of your Land of Canaan, which like that of old appears from his description to flow with milk and honey. He has also made honorable mention of the eleven [law] suits in your register, detailed to us a particular…

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