1903 autograph letter signed by college student Francis B. Cantwell, who would mostly like to know how his horse is doing.
Written from "My Room, May 11 1903," a letter from a young man at university to his younger brother back home. "How is mamma, is she well and happy and does she work too hard? Is the new man any good? Does he take good care of the horse? How is Tommy? Do you ride him much...?" Indeed, the majority of the letter concerns the horse, his welfare and material needs. He tells his brother, "take him up and go fishing to Bellmont or Chateaugay Lake. Is the blanket worn out? You had better take some of your money and get a new saddle blanket." He asks a run of questions ("Answer these questions well and fully or I will tan your hide,") but never quite gets around to asking Willie (his brother) how he's doing. He does offer to pay Willie to have his picture taken--with the horse. He also gives a brief report on recent sports team losses to Rutgers and Cornell ("everything gets beaten here"). Our writer, Francis B. Cantwell, would have been a student at Williams College at the time he penned this letter. He later made a name for himself as a horse-riding attorney who hunted and fished the protein for bar association dinners:
His obituary in The Adirondack Daily Enterprise, May 22, 1972 (emphasis mine): MALONE — Francis Barry Cantwell, attorney and sportsman, died today in Alice Hyde Hospital following a short illness. He was in his ninetieth year.
The lawyer, dean of both the Essex and Franklin County Bars, was admitted to the bar in 1908. He practiced in Malone with the law firm of Cantwell and Cantwell from 1908 to 1913, and then rode his horse to Saranac Lake to open his own law office where he practiced from 1913 to his retirement in 1962, following the death of his wife.
An ardent horseman, fisherman and hunter, he founded the Adirondack Fair Association and operated the St. Armand Racetrack. He was a director of the Saranac Lake National Bank, a justice of the peace, a captain of the Home Guard, member of the New York National Guard, Company K for seven years; the first scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America in Saranac Lake, a member of the Northern Constellation Lodge Free and Accepted Masons, the Eastern Star, the Saranac Lake Lodge of Elks, and a Sigma Phi and Phi Delta fraternities.
For 50 years he was either the marshal of Winter Carnival and other parades at Saranac Lake or the head of a mounted troop. He also organized the first dog sledding races between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid as a Winter Carnival event.
When challenged, he was always able to produce enough trout or game for a bar association dinner, which he did frequently.
Mr. Cantwell was born at Malone, the son of Thomas Cantwell, also a lawyer, and Rebecca Barry Cantwell, and was the grandson of William Cantwell, founder of the Franklin County Historical Society. He was educated at Franklin Academy in Malone, attended Union College for two years, transferred to Williams College, and was graduated in the Class of 1906. He received his bachelor of law degree at Albany Law School in 1908. He was married to the former Genevieve Godfrey Nugent of New York in 1914. She died in 1962.