This letter book contains around 105 pages of personal letters that John Dillon of Baltimore, Maryland, and Zanesville, Ohio, wrote from 1808-1811 and 1857-1858, as well as 12 pages of newspaper clippings collected during the Civil War.
The earliest letters (May 30, 1808-March 7, 1811) are almost all addressed to Dillon's father, Moses Dillon of Zanesville, Ohio, and pertain to both personal and business matters. John Dillon offered advice regarding his father's attempt to establish an iron foundry along the Licking River and discussed his own finances, especially those related to the Baltimore shipping industry. Along with reporting personal news, Dillon occasionally commented on political affairs such as the Napoleonic Wars (August 24, 1808) and trade relations between the United States and Great Britain, particularly in relation to the Embargo Act of 1807. Some later letters in this early group concern acquaintances' legal troubles, and one 4-page letter describes banking practices (January 17, 1811).
The second group of letters (January 14, 1857-February 24, 1858) is addressed to numerous members of the Griffith family, based in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. John Dillon shared and solicited information about the Griffith family genealogy, particularly related to his grandfather, Isaac Griffin, and Griffin's marriage and emigration from Wales. Dillon's letters also refer to a possible family inheritance in Wales belonging to descendants of the Griffith family. These letters are followed by an undated cure for a cancer of the lip that utilizes red oak bark, mutton tallow, and rosin, among other ingredients; the cure was originally given to Moses Dillon and later recorded by John Dillon.
The remaining pages have pasted-in newspaper clippings. Many clippings are dated during the Civil War and pertain to soldiers from the Zanesville area and from various Ohio regiments. Recipes, cures, marriage and death announcements, and poems are also present. One clipping (December 12, 1862) is an obituary describing the pneumonia-related death of Sergeant J[ohn] Morton Dillon (b. 1841).