Tuesday, February 22, 2011

1850 July 4 Letter from Martha Bell (3700) to Sarah Chandler (3563)

The letter is written in ink on paper. It is from Martha Bell (3700) in Jefferson County, Iowa, to her aunt, Sarah Chandler (3563), believed to be in Chillicothe, Ohio. The letter is folded and written on four pages.

Jefferson County, Iowa, 7th month, 4th day, 1850

Dear Aunt (3563)

I take up my pen to inform you that we are all enjoying common health at present and hope those lines may find you all enjoying the same great blessing. Father’s health has not been so good through the past winter and spring as it has been for a few years past. Thomas C. (3697) has very poor health. His lungs appear to be very much affected. He’s not able for hard work at all and it is to be feared he will not be soon if ever. He is going to school at present. James ((3704) had a hard spell of sickness early in the spring. He was confined to his bed 6 weeks. The Doctor that tended to him at first said that it was a congestive of the brain. He tended on him 4 weeks and gave him up. Another Doctor was called on immediately. He said his kidneys were affected. He seemed to understand the complaint and his medicine had the desired affect. His strength recovered but was very weak for some time. The Doctor said he could not have staid with us many days longer had he not got some relief immediately. He now appears to be as well and as hearty as ever.

We have had the measles this spring amongst us. Mother (3559) and William Pickard only of the whole tribe of twenty-nine in number escaped them. They had the good luck to have them before. We catched them at meeting and knew nothing of it until we broke out with them. They were completely scattered over the settlement. There was not less than a hundred just around in our settlement that had them. They had not been in the settlement for several years before. Father stood them as well as could be expected. The rest all got along tolerable well, except Nancy Paxson (3696). She was confined to her bed mostly for four weeks. She was for six weeks that she could scarcely speak above her breath.

She has a set of twins a son (3957) and a daughter (3956). She calls them Jacob and Sarah. Please step over some nice day and see thy namesake. And when thee comes, don’t forget to fetch the dress. They are about 5 months old. Hannah (3695) has another son about 4 months old - they call him John (3947). John (3698) has a daughter about 8 months old - they call her Martha Ellen (3962). I have got the dress already.

We have had a very cold backward spring. There was a great deal of corn planted in the 6th month. Corn is rating here at 50 cents per bushel. Wheat is 1 dollar per bushel and scarce at that.

The people that started to California have taken a great deal out of the state. There has a great many passed through here besides a great number that started out of this state. Daniel M. Dillon has gone this spring, which was no small trial to his Mother. She done all in her power to prevent him from going, but go he would. It was thought he was persuaded off by some others that were going.

William Pickard and John I. Paxson have exchanged places. They moved last fall. Barcklay Jackson moved out last fall with his family and settled about two miles north of us. We paid them a visit the other day. They appear to be very nice orderly people. Sarah requested us to inform thee that they had moved to Iowa. She also wished her best respects sent to thee. We got a letter from uncle James Bell last week he informed us that they were all well.

There has been several weddings here since thee was here. Uncle Sam amongst the rest. Thee requested me in thy last letter to write and inform thee whether the esquire was married or not. He was married more than a year ago. A broken up scrap amongst hands for Achsah (3701) has taken his son from me, and so we are both out as slick as a whistle. Louse Ann Dillon was married this last spring a year ago, and a number of others whose names are to tedious to mention. The carpenter is still knocking around here, yet almost as much of a stranger as ever. The big shalls and double coverlids is still to be had. I think they might be had tolerable reasonable.

Rebecca (3699) was called on for a bidder but she considered the terms rather hard for one that did not fancy such. She says she would not go there to ketch a partridge. Perhaps thee does not remember our nonsense as well as I do and will not quite understand it. But it is all nonsense anyhow. She used to tell us we might as well try to run a buffalo down as to try to ketch an old bachelor. But they are getting quite tame for now. The little girls of twelve and thirteen can ketch them. It makes no difference what age or size - any thing that is big enough to say yes will do. Old Aunt Grace is still living yet. She is still hopping around as young as anybody. Her chances of dividing cakes are but few any more for I suppose there are but few that fancy one of forty-four.

We are all here yet as bad as ever. Achsah (3701) is almost as large as any of us and she is beginning to look around rite smartly. People tell us there is too many of us here and it is time to be looking out for a new location and they may not be mistaken. But I am afraid to ask mother if she could spare me for fear she might say I was too little. And that would make me feel kind of red behind the ears. But there are others to be had besides old bachelors. Perhaps unreasonable too. Take them while they are in the notion.

But if I was again to make a bargain I should not want to be governed by the old bachelor rules. I should want fifteen minutes time to study on it anyhow. It may be the will get tired of reading my nonsense before the gets through with it. And if the does, excuse me and send me work and I will try to do better next time. As long as this is the first time I have undertaken it thee must look over it - for I am very awkward as well as wild and unsteady. I have sometimes to think it is time for me to settle my self a little, but it seems as though it is almost impossible. But I hope it may not always be so for I think my twentieth year calls for more soberness. I was nineteen the 24th of the 5th month last.

Please excuse my scribbling for I have not written the scratch of a pen before I had the measles. We shall look for Uncle (3562) out next fall, although somewhat discouraged from ever seeing him. We thought to have seen him last spring but were very much mistaken. I should like to see you all in Iowa. I think there is room enough here for you yet.

I want you to write oftener. We have not heard from you for sometime. Write when this comes to hand and let us know how you are all getting along. So, no more at present, but remain in love, your niece.

Sarah Chandler (3563)

Martha Bell (3700)

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