read this section's footnotes,
del nort the 18th July 1849
Mrs J. R. Lane & J. B. Yager(2), E . Watts(3)
I reached this place 2 Days since contrary to Expectaian though it is 70 miles on my way from the trail. I have traviled slower to favor my stock which is reasonable well. I have lost none & with care they will all go through. I did not write from Santafee (4) The Reason I stoped my wagons in 15 miles of Santafee & went in to see to my businef ther & stayed 2 days & I learnt that there was good Warter & grass on the galestere 25 miles from Santafee on my Way & I returned To the Wagon To move them there & then Intended To Return To Santafee and write home but finding Bad fare for my stock I Was forced To push through to this place & it is to far To return and to fare write from here, I asertained What I could there and think The most of my Expectency is lost in the hands of Swindlers in Whom confidence was improperly placed. It was not spent asome Reported by Prodigality, the same men swindled others out of Thousands at the same time, it is thought some will be got and some never will. I saw a mister Ward Whom lives in Layfayette County(5) when at home and have been there some time, was on trial when John left Santafee, He thinks John (6) sent home the Rest of a thousand dollars and have The fersane receipts part of that was payable to me & part to J. R. Lane that was sent after hugh Hambleton(7) left for home by a man in Jackson, Ward forgot the name but John has his Receipts, it seems he has sent twice which has not been Reported, they think in Santafee that there is a large amount & J.F. coflin is -[illeg.]—alful. John is with Lin(8), and Will get that, but I was not –[illeg.]- able to collect a Dollar here in Santafee or sell anything as there is hundreds of companies selling out at cost & packing through. Oxen & provisions are all lower & mules high can make it through in a shorter time to pack but make grat lossess in Selling out their outfits. My match horses bee some but I think can go through with care, will not sell here for their Worth. We have all enjoyed good health, not an hard sickness amongst us. I have stood The trip as Well as any of The Boys(9) & am now better than When I started & have flatring hopes of health & high pay for my Treble. all the information we get is favorable. I swapted 2 of my cows for a mule & one for an ox. There is a boat here To cross this River(10) Which We shall cross Tomorow & go on To Sacaro(11), 50 miles. There we shall join a larger company, there is only 13 men of us together at this time, part of our company have packed through. We have only five wagons together here. We left Samuel Berrys(12) company 60 miles back, we shall meet again at Sacaro. There we shall get as large a company as we Wants. One wagon with us belongs to John Reddick(13) Who lived at Majors(14). Berrys is in, he has his wife with him. I have only been able to sell as much here as furnish Expence money, therefore I can send none now & you must manage my business to the best advantage & my family must do the best they can till I Return. I hope to send money by Samuel Berry who will Return before me perhaps Unless he stays till I am Ready to Return. I think I shall Return within The 2 years & across the Ismass(15) & by new Orleans(16). I would not advise any friend To move through these plains with a family for no Expectancy. I want some of you to write Immediatly to Wm R Watts(17) teling him where we are & how John(18) has not been as harty nor as fat for three yrs. He says Will(19) & McKinney is also Well & I want one of you To Write to me as soon as you Receive this. Write to the office at the bay of St. Francisco Calafoney(20) by Way of new Orleans and it will meat me there & give me the news and the –[illeg.]-Health and situation of my family. Spanyards(21) have not Malested us though frequent Depredations By Indians & many troops are after them. I found aquaintances in Santafee then already waited on me before I Reached there as I had got aquainted---- [The last page of the letter is missing]
[from John S. Watts]
Lawrence County Mo. May 17th 1850(1a)
I received yours of the April the 21st week and was well pleased to get a letter from you as I always am. We are all in reasonable health though not well my I have not Enjoyed good health for the last two years my wife(3a) has also has been complaining for a long time.
We have had a wet disagreeable winter and a cool wet Spring we had a hard frost the 5th of May though there is a good many peaches and some apples at that time. it is dry and warm the wheat and oats is suffering for want of rain corn is worth 25 and wheat 75 cents per bushel you say you can't hear from me without you write first i have never been in the habit of writing to my Relations oftenor than they write to me. my reason is this you know I was born 2 or 3 years too soon and for that reason I have on the back ground and for fear of being thought troublesome I have not in that respect probably done by duty , but be assured I think as much of a letter from you as you possibly can for one from me. As i never shall forget the kindness and respect from you and your family and loving father(4a) especially and I am truly sorry he could not have been spared a longer time to have enjoyed the blessings of so lovely and affectionate family But a few years and likely not so long and you and me and all of us will be laid in the same elliment with your loving father though a long way of.
I received a letter from your uncle Robert(5a) last fall he stated he had been in Ky the fall before and your mother had sent twenty dollars to me and that he would come to see me about Christmas and fetch it I got another from him the first of this month dated the 10th of February in that he wrote he started and got some 40 miles and his beast got crippled so bad that he had to return home he also wrote that his family was well his son-in-law was going to start to California this spring that his son W L(6a) went last spring that he has heard he was doing well I want you to say to your mother that I am satisfied she has sent the money and that i shall get it some day and whether or not I never expect her to pay it again. one of my son-in-laws Reuben Ireland(7a) started to California this spring and never heard from, his wife and seven children all girls but one and that only 2 years old and I think in poor circumstances in the whole I think the California gold will do more harm to this state than good there is thousands of acres of good land that will lay idle for want of hands to work it this season. you say W.Watts(8a) wants to move to Arkansas I wish he may be pleased with the country when he gets to it if Mr Dickerson(9a) goes I want you to write when you get there as you are the only one of my relations that Ever writes to me except brother James(10a) and him seldom. I should like to see your smart little children I have some smart little grandchildren I think about 37 or 38 and some of them of course ought to be smart. I must think of coming to a close as can't keep the lines my eyes fail me so much therefore I hope you excuse my bad mistakes give my respects to your mother and the children and my relations and especially my good old stepmother(11a) and say to her that I never shall forget the many kind she done for me when I was a poor friendless boy I add no more but remain your loving uncle till death.
Martha A. Dickerson
say to your mother(13a) that if the commissioners will not give her a credit after seeing these lines I will send her a receipt I would do it now but it looks like putting the cart before the horse. J.S.
Letter 2 Cold Springs(22)
Mis Margaret Jane Watts
Dear and Remembered Sister
for the first time in my life I take the opportunity to write a dear sister to answer one I received from you, I owe you an answer. I had not thought of Ever hearing from or Seeing you again. I Thought you all had forgotten me. Your letter has given me more gratifycation than any news I Ever recieved from the hans of anyone in my life. I Do Sincerely hope that you will Continue to write me untill you See me. MySelf, father and brothers are all well trying to get ready to return home. I do not know when you will See us. I have Set a determination never to return untill I can return independent, Settle Everything that is owing and then I will return. I have had the pleasure of Seeing Some of our old neighbors from high blue(23). They are all well so far as I can learn. Covelins younger and family is all well and Well Satisfied, I have Seen none but what was well pleased but William McClelan, he says he will return to grand river again. Our friends that went to Oregon were all well the last time I heard from there. I was at old Mrs Riggses(24) the other Day, they were all well and well pleased with the Country. They talked to me about you a great deal. William Mitchell(25) and family were all well. You want to hear something about California. I will tell you what I think of it. California Certainly is the best Country in the world, it lacks nothing but good society. The vallys are the most beautifull Scenery in the world. You Can Stand on the Mountains and See the Ships under Sail(26) in great numbers and the greatest variety of Beautiful flowers that Ever you Saw in your life covers the hole of the land. Sickness is allmost unknown in this Country to the old Settlers. Emigrants were Sick, Som last summer and fall from exposure on the road to Say the least of it. It is the most healthy country that ever I saw.
[name missing – Father?] talks of moveing to this Country when he returns [page torn]- friends are willing. He is making his calculation to Start in the fall but dos not know what rout he will go. I Do not want him to go untill I Can go with him, he cant make the trip by him self. [page torn] cold be Satisfied to live in this country after seeing [page torn]- is getting as lot better [Page torn]y gets better here. I could not think of making my home in this Country all tho it is the best country that Ever I saw. Margaret(27) it would be nouse for me to untake to tell you how bad I want to See you for language would fail to expres my anxiety to be with you. All that I can Say is that I am Striving and looking foreward to the Day when I Can be with you and Jack and all the Rest of my friends. I have seen nothing but hard ships Since I left home nor expect to untill I return.
Dewit(28) and Teny(29) say they will answer your letter and want you to continue to write to them. Father Shed many a tear when he read your letter. Tepee went from Sacramento City with me to hour house and Stayed Several days before he Started home. I went with him on the boat when he Started and told him fare Well. Poor Tepee if he Could lived to got home he could have told you all about us, but Gods laws must be obeyed at all times. It gave me pleasure to hear you and Jackson(30) had bee going to School. Tell Jackson god bless him. I would give all the world to See him if I had it at my command and take the Same to your Self. Teeny sends you and Jackson some specimens of gold. I send you a gold pen and want you to wear it out writing me letters. You may give hour compliments to my moriah(31) and tell her That we are very proud to hear from her and now that she hasnt forgotten us, when we return She Shall have the oppertunity of Seeing us. I hope she will not marry before we get back. Teny says to her that he will return and see her as soon he gets as much gold as he wants and she must awaite with patience until he returns. I have heard from I.Duncan Since he landed in Oregon. Milt Louis is living in a town on the huber(32) river called marysville. Cornelius J-[illeg.]- ele Mitchels Holloway McKlelands and a great many others of hour neighbors is living in puello vally. Mr underwood is living about fiftee miles from us in vacinity of Nevada City.
You must tell Mother(33) that Father(34) Sends his love to her, D and Teny also. They are all very anctious to See her. I dont nowe what her feelings is towards me. I think she had heard that I had lost the money gambling. That person who told it Swore to me that he never said not told that in his life and he would give a certificate if I wanted. He gave all the goods to me, they were considered perfectly solvent and as at the time as it was the only way I could not Collect the money and Would hold the notes. Now some of the men are in this country and Say they will pay me as Soon as they make the money. I did not know that I had Such friends at home as would take advantage of my absence to tell a great pack of lies. Tell mother if She new the facts as they are she could not think hard of me. If be able to make any money in this country She Shall have it as long as I have one Dollar left.
Tell Letty and Mr Rolin(35) they must write to me as Soon as this letter reaches home and direct their letters to Sacramento City(36). Father and the boys makes the same request of them. Tell Mr Rolin that California is the land for him. Small grain grows here spontaneous, nobody sows small grain here to feed on, it grows itself without as a great abundance. Tell Andrew Jacks that he must write me a letter [page torn] that he nows if he Dus I will answer it and Send it full [page torn], Margaret we will according to your request send you our likenesses the first oppertunity, we are 60 miles from the nearest place where we could get them taken. Margaret Do not fail to write, I have a great many fine things for you but Cant have any oppertunity to Send them to you. I know of nothing more to write, you be a good girl and learn all you can and may god in all his goodness help you to Do it. Give my best wishes to Mother and Letty, Uncle Dick(37) and all my friends if I have any left. Afor Ever remember your affectionate Brother
S. Watts, Junior(38)
Margaret Jane Watts
County, Mo. July 27th, 1854
Dear Father & Mother(39)
It is with pleasure that I have seated myself to write to you once more. It has been so long since I wrote that I feel almost ashamed to write but the fact is my health has been so bad that I could not compose myself long enough to write. I felt in hopes of after my baby was borne that I would gain my health but my child is now five months old & my health is no better & I fear it never will be any better. I am now takeing medicine from doctor Penalton(40) I have a very sore mouth, the doctor calls it the nurses sore mouth. Thire is about half of the time that I cannot eat in conciquence of my mouth being so sore. I have a fine boy & I call him John Nathan(41), the John is for Father & the Nathan is for Nathan Simpson(42). He is a large child, he weighs 18 pounds. He was burne the 2th of Febuury, he has dark skin looks very much like Father.
Mr Hays(43) has gone out to Albuqurk (44) & I am staying at home but Dick Crump(45) & his wife is living in one room of our House & they are Company enough for me & then thire is a Lady staying with me by the name of Cunningham(46). She is a very pleasant Lady and taks charge of all my hous afairs which taks a great responcibility off of me. Cousin Amazon Hays(47) has been gone to Santi Fee(48) all summer but Cousin Pap(49) is looking for him home about the fifth of August. Mr Hays will be gone about four months & he has been gone about three weeks. Mr Hays, Amazon & Uncle Jimmy(50) is freighting for a man by the name of Web(51). They are pardners & if they dont have any bad luck they will do well. It is a money making business & they have had very good luck so fare! All of the Hayeses is gone except Cousin Sam(52), he is at home this summer.
Cousin Dolly has a daughter eight mons old, it was born the 23 of November, she calls her Louisa Catherine. Cousin Rebecca(53)has another son, she calls it Caleb Ewing, thire is only one weeks difference in hers & mines ages, Caleb is the oldest. Aunt Marys(54) health is very bad, if anything it is worse than it was when you left. Uncle Jimmy has tolerable good health, he had a very bad spell of sickness this summer but it did not last very long, he was only Confined to his bed about ten days. Aunt Marys daughters both grow very fast. Rachel(55) is beginning to think about sitting out, she rids a horse by herself to church & Lou's(56) one of the worst spoilt children in the world but Aunt Mary dont think so. Dicks (57) almost grown, he is a very good boy & a considerable beau among the girls.
Uncle John Berry(58) is dead, he died last spring. I do not know what was the matter with him, his family is still living in Osage County, his son Jimmys(59) in Calloway County going to school(60) he is a very smart boy. Caleb(61) has taken a contract on the Rail road in Osage & is doing very well, the other three children(62) is with Aunt Peggy(63). As for Uncle Calebs (64) is about as he was when you see him only he braks very fast. He & Aunt Virginia(65) is both quite stout for thire age. Uncle Edward(66) has lost one of his eyes & comes very near looseing the other one. It was caused by the sore eyes(67), he has had them for better than than two years. Uncle Sam(68) and family is well, they only have two children, a little girl and boy(69). The little boy is said to be a very smart child.
Uncle John Burt(70) is dead, he died the fourth day of January, he died of dispepsia. He had been in bad health for some three years but was able to go about untill about five hours before he died. He was taken with spasms. The family is all on the old place except Margaret & Isacic(71). Mag is up here staying with Cousin Pap & Isacic Burt(72) & Isacic Berry(73) has gone to Santi Fee with Amazon, Isacic Berry went as boss of a train. Louisas Husband(74) is still in California & she is staying with her mother. Aunt Bathsheba Burt(75) has very bad health, she has not been well this summer the greater part of the time confined to her room. I do not know what is the matter with her. I have been down to Calloway(76) to see them all. I was down about four weeks. I was very much pleased with my visit & went to see all of my relations & all of Mr Hayses. Aunt Mary went down with us. Uncle John and Aunt Peggy came over to see us while we was down, he was the stoutest looking one of the Berry Family, but it was his lot to be taken away first.
Mr Hays is a very stout man, he can stand anything & eat almost anything but he has worked so very hard this summer that he looked rather poor when he started. He thinks a great deal of his boy, he thinks he is one of the smartest boys living. Well I will have to think about closing for I have written all of the news that I think would be interesting to you. You & Father(77) must write to me for a letter from you would be a great treat & I will try to do better in the future. I will write to you again if my health should improve, if not you must not expect to get many letters from me. You must give my love to all of my brothers(78) tell them I would like very much to see them, so no more but remain your affectionate daughter
Margaret J. Hays(79)