Saturday, February 26, 2011

1856 Nov. 2 Letter to Sarah Blain (3705) from Anna Bell (3703)

The letter is written in ink on one sheet of paper folded into four pages. The outer pages, 1 and 4, are badly stained. The letter is dated November 2, 1856. It is from Anna Bell (3703) in Grundy County, Missouri, to her cousin Sarah (3705) in Ohio. Note this is the earliest letter from the Bells in Missouri.

Grundy County, Missouri 11th month, 2day, 1856

Esteemed Cousin,

I can no more write to thee from the Land of Freedom. We sold our old home, as I told thee in my last letter which was written last summer, and I never received an answer. We started to Missouri the 5th day of the 9th month, and landed at Lindy the 12th , and camped in a grove near by where we stayed three days. And the men folks went in search of land but did not find any to suit them. We then went about thirteen miles and unloaded our wagons. The place we went to belonged to Dr. Hall and company. They let us have a part of their house containing two rooms where we stayed six weeks. Father has rented a house for the winter and we moved to it last week. It is six or seven miles from where we have been staying. But there is another family in a part of the house and I think they expect to stay here all winter.

Father has not bought any land yet, but expects to buy the farm he is on if there can be a good deal of it when he is through. Doubtful. The man who owns it lives in St Louis. There is plenty of land here for sale, some for 10 dollars and some for 16 dollars per acre, and some with small improvements can be had for less. I wish you would sell our possessions there and come out here. You might buy a farm here and improve it to suit yourselves, for many of the improvements here are worth but little. We sometimes see a good house - but it is seldom. Most of them are log cabins with no windows. Or if they have, it is just a little place cut out by the fire place about big enough for one to get their head out of - and no glass in them. People say it is very common in slave states to have no windows in their houses. It looks very odd to see large buildings without any windows. I think they did not intend for the women to work any in the winter time.

Stock of all kinds is high. Corn is 20 cents per bushel; wheat is 80 cents; flour is 3 dollars per hundred; beef 4 ¼ cents per pound. We gave twenty-five dollars for a cow and calf, and a dollar a dozen for chickens. It is said this is a great place for stock.

There is a creek called Medicine running along three-quarters of a mile from where we live which affords plenty of water most of the year. There is a saw mill on it near by, and a saw and grist mill three miles further down the creek.

We have not heard from our people in Iowa but once since we left. There were some of our neighbors from that part down a few weeks ago looking for new homes, and one man moved out. He came when we did and liked the country and went back and brought his family. Brother William Pickard came with us too. He liked the country very well. He wrote us though he had some notion of selling his farm there and coming out, but scarcity of schools appears to be in the way. He has always had a good school handy. The people here say they have never had a school here yet. But they are building a school house near here and expect to have a school this winter. There has been some people here 12 or15 years and have never built a school house yet.

Sarah (3705), I think thee had better come out here, for there is more Old Bachelors here than the girls here can manage. Over where we have been living they were keeping back all around us. They said there were 15 within two miles of where we lived, but whether they are that thick in other settlements or not I couldn’t go on to state. But it is to be hoped they are not, for some of them want to get married so bad they don’t know what to do with themselves. One of them said he would give one of his neighbors a good deed to a piece of land if he didn’t have a wife against Christmas. But he hasn’t got her yet that I know of. He says he has got one certain if he can’t do any better. Girls are very scarce here, and what is here are getting married as fast as they can. I haven’t got acquainted with but four since we came here.

It has been several days since I commenced this scribbling and we have had a letter from brother John (3698) in the time. He is still living in Richland yet. He said they were all well but the youngest child (3965?). It is troubled with the phthisis.

The shortness of my sheet warns me to bring my letter to a close. But I had forgot to tell you we were all in usual health at present. James (3704) was sick all the way out but is mending hourly. It is quite cold for the time of the year. The ground is white with snow, but we have had very pleasant weather all along before. When thee writes direct thy letter to Nevada, Grundy County, Missouri. No more at present.

--- remain they affectionate Cousin, Anna Bell (3703)

To Sarah (3705)

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