Saturday, February 26, 2011

1856 Nov. 19 Letter to Sarah Blain (3705) from Sarah C. Hess (3563)

The letter is written in ink on four sides of a single folded sheet of paper. It is dated November 19, 1856 and is addressed from Sarah Hess (3563) in Decatur, Illinois to Sarah Blain (3705) in Chillicothe.

Decatur Macon Co. Illinois Nov 19

Dear Sarah (3705),

I am at home all alone. I got out your last letter, read it, took a cry, and sat down to transmit a few lines to you and let you all know that we are all in usual health at present. And I hope that this may find you all enjoying the same blessing

I received your letter dated Sept. 23, another of Oct. and was glad to hear you were all well. I have neglected writing to you longer than I intended, but I hope you will forgive me this time, and I will try to do better for the future.

I stay at home so close and see so little that I can give you but little information about the country. I have not been in the country but twice since we have been in Decatur. Decatur is growing rapidly. It is all noise and bustle, people hurrying to and fro as if on some urgent business. Wagons, buggies, buses rattling and rumbling along the streets, with now and then a runaway. And then the iron horse as he wends his way east and west, north and south, puffing, bellowing, and hooting at all hours. Day and night, Sunday excepted. Just while I am writing this then there is a train coming in, blowing so shrill and so sharp I am almost tempted to say hush. The town is built scattering houses going up in all directions, sidewalks not paved, with the exception of here and there a plank walk.

Samuel and the boys put in fifty-five acres in wheat some 15 to 16 miles from Decatur, which I hope may turn out well, and if prices keeps up will give us considerable of a lift. They are now engaged in cutting and hauling wood about three miles from town. He pays fifty cents per cord to the owner and can get three dollars per cord in Decatur, and more than likely before spring it will be more than that.

You wrote to me that the Kelleys, Hamms, and some other Ohio folks had moved west. They passed through Decatur the day I received your letter, I think, as Samuel told me that evening that Jimmy Kelley had stopped at the grocery next door to us that afternoon. I saw the wagons from the window. Had I known it was them I would of went out and seem them. I don’t think it is worth while for people in their old days to break up and move to these cold, open, bleak prairies to freeze and shiver for the sake of a few dollars when they could spend their days more comfortable than in such elements as this. When a living is all we want anyhow. Maybe some of them may succeed in making a fortune - I cant tell, time will show.

We have had a pleasant fall here so far. In Sept. and October we had some warm pleasant weather. The summer and fall was very dry here. For some time past we have had some good rains

James Lewis has moved up to Decatur. He has been living in Clay County since last spring. He does not like it down there and I think had some notion of moving back to Ohio. I think he likes it better here.

We have not received our boxes we left in Chillicothe at Alstons and Garfields. Samuel wrote to them in September to send them on but they have not come yet. Now he has had no answer to his letter. He wrote to them again a few days ago.

I have not written to Sarah Jane since we left. I promised her and Hannah (3565) both that I would write to them but have not done it yet. I am a poor hand at composing a letter and I feel as if I have but little of interest to communicate. Tell Hannah (3565) and Sarah both that I would be pleased to get a letter from them - also Mrs. Doddrige. You sent me a piece of your pretty dress which you say Uncle William (3562) bought for you which I think is very pretty. And I think that you ought to be a very good girl to your Uncle for such nice presents as he gets you. And I hope you are and to your mother to. It will be a satisfaction to you perhaps when like me you can’t see them. I feel like I want to see you all but that not to be thought of every few months. Now I wish I could be with you at Christmas, and eat turkey with you and drink some of your Mother’s (3565) good tea, hot cakes and butter. And then there is your apples. Sarah (3705), you don’t know the worth of these things till you know the want of them. I don’t now have the chance to come with my carpet sack and fill it with your choicest apples and pack it off in triumph.

If there was no other way of getting to Ohio than as we came, I would despair of seeing you again soon. But by railroad we can reach Chillicothe in a day and a night if the trains connect. I want you all to write to me sometimes, anything from home is a treat I value more than I can express. Write to me as soon as you get this, Sarah (3705), and let me know how you all are and how you are getting along. Send me some little memento in your letter, if it is only a leaf of the old locust tree - anything from home. Evening is drawing near and I must bring my letter to a close. Don’t do like I have - neglect writing so long. So, no more at present but my love for you all.

Sarah C Hess (3563)

Sarah C Blain (3705)

PS - When you write to me, inform me where you direct your letters when you write to Rebecca Bell (3699), if as formerly.


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