Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1862 Nov. 28 Letter to William Chandler (3562), Hannah Blain (3565), and Sarah Blain (3705) from Rebecca Bell (3559)

Letter, ink on two sides of a single sheet, dated November 28, 1862. From Rebecca Bell (3559) in Grundy County, Missouri to her brother (3562), sister (3565), and niece (3705).

Grundy County, Missouri 11th month, 28th day, 1862

Dear Brother (3562), Sister (3565), and Niece (3705),

I take my pen in hand to write a few lines to you to let you know we are still in the land of the living and are of usual health at present. I hope these lines may find you all well for I think health is a blessing we cannot prize too highly.

Well we are still in Missouri. This state has been the scene of a good deal of confusion and bloodshed. Yes, many a poor fellow has left his home and friends and all that was near and dear to them, and has lost his life in defense of his country and the loyal people of Missouri and other states. The bush whackers and gorillas bands were very troublesome in north Missouri last summer and fore part of fall. But there is a section of country in here where we are that never has been disturbed with the gorillas. No, I don’t know that we have even heard a hostile gun except at the battle of Lexington more than a year ago. We heard the cannon. I suppose it is over a 100 miles distant. But they have been around east west and south of us some distance off. It is quiet and peaceable now in north Missouri as far as I know.

When the government called for the last 300,000 men our son John (3698) volunteered amongst the rest. Sorrowful news for us. We got a letter from him yesterday dated the 23rd. He said he was well and was then at St. Louis. He said the talk was that they were to start the next morning for Helena, Arkansas, but he did not know whether it was so or not.

In consequence of the men being so many of them gone into the service, renters and croppers or any person to hire is very scarce, and old men that have not plowed any for years have had to go to the plow. I don’t think Alexander had plowed but very little for near 30 years. He tended about 17 acres of corn and 1 acre of sorghum cane. Corn crops are pretty good. Fall wheat and rye were good; spring wheat poor. We have had such a dry fall then I don’t think that the fall grain looks very well now. We had a pretty good crop of buckwheat and fruit apples and peaches. We dried about five bushels of peaches and have plenty of dried apples.

The farmers are engaging their pork at 2 dollars and 25 cents per hundred gross. All produce is low, but what the farmers have to buy is high. Salt 6 dollars per barrel; cotton yarn $3.75 cents per bunch; shirting muslin from 25 to 30 cents per yard. It is thought it will be higher. Calico from 11 to 25 cents per yard.

Our children are all in Iowa, except the two daughters that is with us, and John (3698) his family is there also. Well, I will just tell you of our once little family, of their families. Mary Jane (3694) has eight children – Hannah (3695), 8; Nancy (3696), 6; John (3698), 5; Rebecca (3699), 4; Martha (3700), 2; Thomas C. (3702), 2. 35 grandchildren in all. Hannah’s (3695) oldest daughter (3944) is married, and Nancy’s (3696) little girl (3954) that they had with them at your house was married last summer.

Well, my brother (3562) and sister (3565), it has been a long time since we have had a line from you. No, not since last winter or early in the spring. We got a letter written by Sarah C. Blain (3705). Anna (3703) wrote some time in the summer. No answer has come yet. She says she has wrote Sarah (3705) two letters that she has never received any answer to, and she don’t think she will write any more until Sarah writes to her. It seems to be all the way we can know of each others’ welfare. And why should we be so neglectful of the privilege. If this comes to hand, write soon. No more at present but to remain your sister.

Rebecca Bell (3559)

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