Friday, February 25, 2011

1856 July 18 Letter to William Chandler (3562) and Hannah C. Blain (3565) from Sarah C. Hess (3563)

The letter is written in ink on paper. It is a single page folded once. It is dated July 18, 1856, and is from Decatur, Macon County, Illinois. Written by Sarah C Hess (3563), it is addressed to William Chandler (3562) and Hannah C. Blain (3565).

Decatur Macon Co Illinois July 18th 1856

Dear Brother (3563) and Sister (3565),

I take my pen to inform you of our whereabouts and welfare. We arrived at Decatur July 11 and stopped at Allen Hays where we now are. He has a small house rented - only two rooms. It is ten dollars a month. The rooms are small. Samuel has rented one of them until he can look around and get himself better. We are in middling health. Samuel is complaining of feeling very weak and strong symptoms of ague. I have a very bad cold such as I have been subject to. Mary Ellen has not been well since we arrived here. She doesn’t complain much but her feet and legs swell very much and are all spotted with black purple spots. I never saw anything like it before. Her face and hands swell also. Her father was telling the Doctor this morning how she was. He says it’s a bad symptom and originates from a diseased liver and something like the dropsy.

Decatur is not as large a place as I expected to see. I don’t see anything a bout it to blow it up and brag on like some of them. I don’t know how many trains of cars comes in here. They seem to be running pretty lively. We are not far from the depot. And when the whistle sounds, the way the buses and the freight wagons flys caution.

We had a warm tiresome trip coming out. I stood it a great deal better than I expected I would. Our horses stood it first rate and looked as well if not better than when we started. We bought all our bread coming out so that when we stopped of a night I had nothing to do but make some tea or coffee and fry some ham. But it wearied me so much to get my dishes out and in the wagon that I often thought that Samuel would never get me to start to move that way again. And I often thought of John Randolph and his sheep, that I would go ten rod to kick a covered wagon.

We passed through a great deal of pretty country coming out. I saw as pretty place in Ohio and Indiana, handsomer by far with the exception of the large prairies, than their is in this state. Dayton in Ohio cannot be beat for beauty. There seems to be a great deal of business going on - all is life and bustle. Richmond in Indiana is a beautiful place. I think we were told that about two-thirds of the inhabitants are Quakers. A few miles this side of Richmond is one the largest buildings I ever saw. We were informed that it was a Quaker college. The building stands back from the road some distance and the grounds are beautifully ornamented with trees and shrubbery.

Everything here is burning up for the want of rain. All are complaining of the draught. Corn crops must be short even if rain was to come now, but there is no appearance of it at this time. We went out to John Hays last Monday. He has a lot of hands engaged shelling corn. He has a shelling machine to which he hitches 5 horses. He hauls it to Decatur in sacks for 25 cents per bushel - 7 or 8 miles. There is a good deal of corn in this section of the country, but it looks very short for the time of the year and is tassling out. Wheat crops in Ohio and in part of Indiana look fine. In Ohio corn looked worse than in Indiana. After we passed Dayton on the Miami we saw some pretty good corn - the best we saw in the state.

I thought when I left you that I would write to you several times on the road, but I had no chance to write. Stopping at noon to feed and eat. A check. I had no chance. And at night when we got our supper over I had no time. And then start in the morning as soon as fed and got a bite of breakfast.

As far as I have seen this country is not very interesting to me. There is a constant gale of wind and the streets and roads is a perfect cloud of dust. It looks almost alarming. There is no source of any kind cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes. There is some kind of a bug that is eating the potato tops off.

I got Samuel to write you a few lines on the 4th of July while we stopped to eat our dinners. When you get this, if you do write to me, right off I want to hear from you. I don’t know how long we will stay here. We have no room here to find anything. Samuel and Joe has gone today to William Hayes. No more at present but my love to you all. Write to me, Sarah (3705), write to me soon.

To the loved
ones at home

Sarah C Hess (3563)
Direct you letters Decatur
Macon Co Ill

Sarah C. Blain (3705)

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