March the 26(1)
Dear Father & Mother
I take the presant opertunity of writing a few lines to let you know that we are all well at presant. We have received one letter since we returned from Caliway(2), it was dated January the 1. I was very glad to hear from you all for it had been a long time since I had heard though the time appears longer to me when I dont hear from you all than it really is. We received three papers from you week before last. I saw in one that you wer all well. We had a beautifull winter and a very pleasant Spring. So fare the perrairs(3) is beginning to look green in the botoms, stock could live very well. People is beginning to break up their ground for oats, some has had potatoes planted for three weeks, wheet crops look fine.
There is a great many people fixing up to go across the plains and Upton among the rest. He has not decided whether he will go across to Salt Lake or Mexico(4). He had rather go to Mexico. They think that cattle is going to bee mighty scarce and high prices of everything is down excepting work animals. It is thought that they will keep up their prices for some time yet. Money is mighty scarce, their is more people braking than ever I heard tell of before.
The health of the people is good at present. Their is som few cases of newmony(5) fever. I heard from high Blue(6) yesterday, the people were all well then. Mary Cumins(7) as uste to be is Dead, she married Alderson(8). She left two children. Old Aunt Polly Burton is Dead, she has been dead very near two months. Mary Hammelton(9) was laying very low last week, she was not expected to live. They were all well at Georges(10) last Sundy. Jane Yocum(11) is married, she married about two weeks ago to William Yong(12), a nephew of Saul Yong(13). She has moved home. Larrinda Hays(14) is very sick and also her babe is near three weeks old, it is a son, they call it Eugene(15). This is her third child since you left hear. Becky Poteet has four. Cousin Pap(16) has four, her youngest child was a boy, it dide. It was the age of Larrendys(17).
Amberson(18) is now down in Caliway, he expects to cross the plains this summer. Sam(19) has been out South for over two months buying up cattle. Father, John is now learning his letters, he thinks that he will soon be so that he can write you a letter. Bett can say anything she pleases. Father I must bring my letter to a close as Mr Hays is getting in a hurry to start to town. Excuse this letter for I have not been but a few moments writing it. Mr Hays sends his love to you all.
Mother, tell Brother Jack that Mr Hays took Henry(20) down to Independence to sell him. He would not go for more than one hundred and 80 Dolars and he brought him back home. He had got so contrasy that we could not do anything with him. I think that someone had put him up to it. They thought that they could get him to cutting up Mr Hays would sell him for a little or nothing. He got dissatisfied and wanted to go to town. Their was a while that he was afraid of Mr Hays but he found out that Mr Hays would not whip him, he would then do as he please. He says he wont whip and old negro. I perswaded him to sell him as he wanted to be sold so bad. He was afraid that you would not like it and he hated to do it. He went and talked to Uncle Jemmy(21) about it. He thought it would be write(22) with bouth of you. He said if had been him he would have sold him some time ago for he was doing no one any good. Brother Jack write to me soon, I want you all to write, give my love to my Brothers when you see them, so fare well to you all from your affechonate Daughter
Margaret J. Hays
to J. S. Watts
E. E. Watts
[First part of letter lost] [May
we have a very late spring but very little warm weather, a great deal of rain. Small grain looks well, wheat is headed out and in bloom but it is feared that it will take the rust being so mutch wet weather. Oats and meadow looks fine, corn is beginning to come up a little. The first that came the frost cut down. Now their is a little cut worm that is cutting it down. It is not as healthy hear as has been, their is such suden changes in the weather though we have had no fatal sickness in our neighborhood. John does not have his sick spells as often as he uste to, I think that he is out groing them. Betty has never had any sickness worth speaking about. She is the fleshiest little thing you ever saw and always at some mischeif. She goes anywhere she pleases and talks almost as plain as anyone. Her and Johns eyes is about the same culler, they are blacker than mine.
I heard from Uncle Dicks family a short time ago, they were all well. Aunt Becky has three children, Hugh, Mary Jane, Charles Richeard(24). I have now saw Jemmy or John(25) since last Summer. The last time I heard from George Rolands they were all well, they are building a new house. Jane(26) is living on her old farm, I have not saw her since she was married. They are all well at Uncle Jimes(27). I saw Aunt Mary(28) yesterday eavening, Rachel(29) was jest getting home from St Louis, her health is getting good again. Dick(30) has taken a train across to Santefee. Louise(31) is going to school at Westport. Uncle Jemmy is staying at home this summer. Amberson and Linvel(32) is both going across the plains this summer, they will start this week. Amberson has already sent one train out. Sam has been at home since January, he has been out on Arkensaw and Texas buying up oxen. They look for him home the 10 of June. Cousin Becky(33) has another Daughter(34), it is about three weeks old.
Mother I received a present from you a short time ago and also a letter. Mother you have no Idea how thankfuly I received those presants. Mother I have nothing to send you in return excepting my thanks to you for those tokens of love. Mother if I could be with you to wait on you and comfort you in your old age then may be I could show you my love to you for all the kineness and trouble you have been to for me. Father how oft do I think of the times that I uste to sit on your knee and comb those gray locks of yours, then I think of all the kindness you have been to for me and all the return I can make to you is a few lines once in a while, it is not enough to make me sad once and a while. Altho Father I can say that I have as kind a husband as anyone has got and two as sweet little children but still that dont keep anyone from thinking of those loved ones that is off in a forren(35) land, those that you would always have with. But Father if we never meet in this world let us be prepared to meet where their is no more parting.
So Fare well from your affectionate Daughter
John S. Watts
E. E. Watts
July the 19/58
You will be surprised in receiving two letters so near together. I wrote to you Saturday and sent the letter to Russell for him to send on to you. I thought that it would be very uncertain wheather the letter would go or not. Uncle Jemmy sent me word to write to you this morning and send it in to Foglesons(37) and you would be sure to get it and I thought it would not go amiss even if you got both, that is if you are as anxious to hear from home as I am to hear from you. We are all well at this time excepting John, he is not well, he looks worse than you ever saw him, he is so very poor. He is not near as heavy as betty. He has not had as many sick spells this summer as common.
Their is a yong man hear that met with a very bad axident Saturday eavening. We have two yong men hired to work through harvest. They both went to town Saturday morning and came home in the eavening Drinking. One of them had wrode the little mule. He came up to the house and took off his saddle off and the other one got on it to wride down to the barn. The mule got scared and threw him and broke both bones of his arm and mashed the bone all up. The Dr had been to see him twice. He is so hard headed that we cant keep it bound up. I bound it up a few moments ago, it very badly Swolen and I fear that he will loose his arm if not his life by it.
We have a good many hands in the oats mowing today. They have all blowed down so bad that they Cant Cut any of them with the Cradles(38). They wont hardely pay for the cutting of them now how. We will commence cutting the meaddow tomorrow or next day. We will cut it with masheen(39) if it is not blowed down to bad. Corn is verry badly injured by the wind.
I have nothing of importance to write. Bob Stone and Miss Sarrah Ringgold is married, that is Mrs Stones sister. Sam Brumfield(40) is about like he was when you left hear. He cannot see any yet. Tell Mc that I have writen one letter to him, tell him Puck stays sometimes hear and sometimes at Jakes. Mr Hays I have three of the prettest little hounds you ever saw, they grow mighty fast and I have a pet of my own, a little Spanish Dog. Louis(41) and Mary(42) both sends their love to you, give my love to Frank and Mc and receive a large portion for yourSelf. You must all write often. So no more but remains as ever your loving wife
M. J. Hays
to Upton Hays
Westport Jackson Co MO August the 27 (1858)
Dear Father & Mother
Once more I am permitted to write you a few lines to let you know that we are enjoying good health at present. I received a letter from you yesterday. I was very glad to hear that you were well you may be sure that a letter is a welcome thing with me espeshly from you as I am so lonesome this summer and not as well as common eather. I heard from Mr. Hays(42a) a few days ago he was well and getting a long very well he expected to Sell his oxen in Salt Lake. Lin and Amberson is Still on the plains. Dick Yager has got back and will Start back in a few days. Jemmy Berry (42b) was hear last Sundy he is talking of going with him across the plains.
The health of the people is not so good now as has bin. their has been a great deal of Sickness about hear lately Aunt mary (43c) has been very Sick but is now mending. Aunt Peggy (42d) is still living up near leavensworth (42e) She has been very Sick but was getting better when I heard from her last. I heard from high Blue a few days a go the people was all well Cousin Dick (42f) had got So he could go about I don’t think that he can live long for ever Spell of Drinking he takes it comes very near killing him. Susan Bryant (42g) has very bad health the Dr don’t think that she can live longer than a month or so. John Ferrels wife Ann Bryant (42h) as uste to be has very bad health the Drs don’t think that she can live this month out(42i). The hight Blue Campmeeting commences the Second Sundy in September the grand River Campmeeting is now going on. I will not be able to go to either one of them.
Mother, I wrote to you and Father last week or the week before I have writen som three or 4 letters to you or more since I received your present you sent to me. I have not made it yet but will make it this faul if nothing happens more than I know of. You must not feel uneasy if you do not receive a letter for some time for this will be the last one that I can write for 4 or five weeks (42j). you must all write as often as you can tell Brother Jack that I am in hopes that him nor eathe one of my other Brothers will not go to those ~ new mines. I think that could make enough their to live on and that is as mutch as anyone need wish for. I believe in letting ever day provide for it self and not to be laying up treasures hear which they will soon be called away to leave . try to live as mutch together as possible for it is mutch better than to be Scatered all over the world. Give my love to all of my brothers tell them that I have given up ever receiving a line from any of them tell them that I think of them as mutch as ever they have always felt to near to me to be forgotten as easly as they have forgotten me. Give my love to all enquiring friends and receive a large portion to yourSelves. So fare well Dear Father & Mother ever your loving Daughter
September the 28/58
Dear Father and Mother
Once more I am permited to write you a few lines to let you know that we are all well at this time but have all been sick since I wrote to you last. Betty has has two spells of the chills and also hard fits. I think they were caused from worms and fever flying to her head when she would chill. John has a spell of phthisic(43) ever week, he has been worce this Summer than he ever has been or has his spells oftener. The young man that has been living with us has had a very hard Spell of fever since I wrote to you. After he got about he was taken down with Chills(44) and has not been able to do anything for about six weeks.
I have not heard from Mr Hays for a long time, the last time I heard from him was the 18 of July. I got a letter Dated the 18 and that is the last news I can get from him. Mother you will be a little surprized when I tell you that I have another Daughter(45). She is nine Days old to Days. She was born the 15 of September, she wayed nine pounds. She is the fleshest young Child I nearly ever saw though she looks very mutch like John Did when he was a babe. I am up going a bout, I have not been visiting yet but am going in a few days. Marry(46) Cunningham is with me and I hired a woman to come and stay with me some three or four weeks. My neighbors has all been very kind to me. Aunt Mary was hear about two weeks ago, she has been up to the high blue Camp meeting and to the camp meeting down by cousin Quillers (Loob)(47). Aunt Mary has not been well for some time. She looks mighty bad and Rachel looks like she hardly has a drop of blood in her. Aunt Peggy(48) has been sick for about two months with the same disease she had last winter.
September the 25, thirsday. Whilst I was writing Mr Hays got home. I was very
mutch Surprised in seeing him for I was not looking for him. He came in by mail.
He looks fleshyer and better than ever I saw. He done very well this Summer,
he maid his wagons and team Clear of all expence and some money besides but he
had to sell the most of his cattle on time. He Sold to a man from California.
He is owing him eight thousand Dolars on his cattle, it will not be Due untill
Aunt Mary and Uncle Jemmy was to see me yesterday, they send their love to you. Upton sends his love to you all, he will write soon. Mother I received a letter from you the day before I commenced this. I was very glad to hear that you were all well and very glad indeed to hear that their was some prospect of me seeing you and Father once more. You thought you and father would pay us a visit. I am in hopes that you will still keep in the same notion for I think that their would be no Danger in crossing in the Stages(49) now. I must bring my letter to a close, give my love to my brothers, write often as you can. So fare well Dear Father and mother and Brothers from your affectionate Daughter untill Death
M. J. Hays
October the 24, 1858
Dear Father and Mother
It is with the Greatest of Pleasure that I take my pin in hand to Let you know that we ar all well at presant and I am in hopes that these fieu lines will find you all InJoying the Same blessing. Times ar Dull here at presant, money is Scarce here. Their is some fieu going to Pikes Peak(50), yet we hear Differant tales about it. Their is Some gold their but from the best imfermation we can get they make about two Dollars per day. I have done very well this Summer. I figet my pay in that country of Mr Harlin. I have got Mr Frank Thomas their to get it. He Oes me Eight thoughsand Dollars. He will come to you all and I would like for you to Help him all you can if you pleas. I will make to thousand Dollars besides that. I cant tell what I will do the next year yet. Mr Thomas will write to me what the chance is to sell cows their and I want you to do the same. I would lik to sell them as soon as I got their for the cash so as I could come back against spring. Noth more at present but remain your friend untill Dath.
Dear Father and Mother as Mr Hays has done writing I will write a few lines. I received a letter from you a short time ago. I wrote to you when the babe was about a week old, she is now near six weeks old. I have not named her yet, she is the largest child to her age I nearly ever saw. Their has been a great deal of sickness about this faul. Mr Hays was at Aunt Peggys(51) shortime ago, she was some better but looked very bad. I heard from high Blue a few days ago, the people were all well up their. If we all keep well I shal go out to Mr Rolands next week or the week after. George Bryant and Lizy Lobb(52) was married some two or three weeks ago, they were married with the calculation of going to California but Cousin Mary(53) was so mutch opposed to it that they gave it out and Frank Thomas went in the place of him. The same man that owes Mr Hays owes George (Bryant) some 18 or 19 thousand. Frank promised to go see you. I have nothing of importance to write, excuse my bad writing as my hand trembles so mutch that I can hardely write a word. You must all write soon. Give my love to my Brothers, so no more at presant but remains your affectionate Daughter untill Death. So fare well Dear Father and Mother.
Margaret J. Hays
John S. Watts
E. E. Watts
November the 22, 1858
Dear Father and Mother
I Once more take my pin in hand to Let you no that we ar all well at preasnt And I am in hopes these fieu Lines will find you all InJoying the Same Blessing. We Received your Letter Dated September the 29. We was glad to Here from you and to Here that you was all well. We Received Aletter from Sister Eliza Dickerson(54) the same day that we got yours, they ar all well. Cousin Sam Kimberlin(55) was Here the Other nite. He Sends His Love to you all and says they ar all well. He has jest returned from Old Ky. He sends you a list of names of your Old friends that have dide. Times ar Dull here at presant. We have a big Snow On the ground and a prospect for more. Their has been a great many cattle dide here this fall with the Texas fever(56). Mr Byram has loste in the last fieu days Eighty five head, Amazon has lost some fifteen or twenty. Yager and others had lost a god many. Corn is worth at Westport too Dollars per Barrel Pork is worth five Dollars per hundred. Wrote you a letter not long ago and told you about my Buisness their. If you sea Mr Frank Thomas hoom is their to attend to it Or here of him write to him and tell him that we are all well and want to here from him. I cant write to him untill I no his postoffice. I have nothing more to write at presant, Margaret will write some to you.
Dear Father and Mother
After my love to you all I will write a few lines in answer to a kind letter we received a short time ago. I have nothing of importance to write, Mr Hays gave you all the news, the health of all your acquaintences is well as far as I now. I saw Will Yong(57) last week, that is Janes husband. The neighbors on Blew is all well. Uncle Jemmy and Aunt Mary staid with me a night last week. Aunt Marys health is very good, Aunt Peggys health is some better than it has been. I have not heard from Uncle Dick(58) for a long time. I believe he has forsaken his connextion for he never comes near them. Jemmy(59) has gone to Santefee, Amberson and Polly(60) has gone to Caliway(61), they have been gone five weeks. Uncle Bills (Wm Watts)(62) children has all maried off excepting one.
Uncle John Yocum(63) oldest son Tommy(64) is in Springfield(65) jale for killing Tom Farris oldest son. Tom Farris was murdered soon after his son but the murderer has never been found. Father give my love to my Brothers, tell them to write to me. Father, I would ask them for their likenesses if I thought it would not be to mutch of a favor, they have no idea how mutch I would value them. Give my love to them and enquiring friends. Mother I wish you could see my little babe, it is the fatest little thing you ever saw. It has never been sick any. I have not named her yet. Write soon. So Fare well Dear Father and Mother and Brothers from your ever loving Daughter
Margaret J. Hays
(to) John S. Watts
stamp first issued 1857
1849 -Jan 1861 Section:
Letters 10-12, 12a-15: 1858
read this section's footnotes,