Westport Jackson Co. Mo.
Saturday June the 9/60
It is with pleasure that I write these few lines to let you know that you are not forgoten but thought about a long time. I have said that being away from friends a long time they would get so they would not clear about seing them then or think of them. But it is quite Different with me for the longer I am away from my friends the more anxious I am to be with them. I think some times that it is impossible for me to do without ever seeing my Dear Father, Mother or Brothers. It is hard though than to think of but it seems that it will have to be, so the thought makes me become as a Child again. I have to take some big crys over it.
Brother I hardly know how to begin to thank you for that kind presen you sent me. you could not have sent me anything that I would have apreciated as mutch as I did that minature(2). It came unexpected. I had begged so often for my Brothers minatures I had began to think that you all did not want me to have one. But Brother I cannot find words enough to thank you for it. I look upon it, it takes me back to days that has past and gone. I knew not what trobble(3) was when the word of parting went. It has been a long time since I heard from any of my friends in California. The family is all well at this time. John is going to school, he has to walk over two miles ever morning. He is an uncommon good child but could you expect anything else having the name he has. He favors Father a great deal. Betty is called a pretty Child, Elfleda a misievious one. She is the worst child I ever saw. She goes where she pleases, she can talk as plain as anyone. All three has black eyes.
Mr Hays is fraiting. He has an interest in government frait. Henry Childs(4), John Bartleson(5), James(6), Amazan Hays(7) is his partners. They sent out fifty two wagons, they got a better price for frait this year, common hands is cheeper, they are [illegible] Dolors per month, oxen from [illegible] to seventy per yoke. William (Watts)(8) was to see me last Saturday, he staid with me Mondy night. Jemmy Lobb(9) started to Pikes Peak last week, he is taking out provisions. Dea(10), I have long heard talk of drought but I think this year we are bound for one, at least we have a fine prospect for one now. We have had no rain hear this last Spring or Summer to do any good. Watter is gettin very scarce every where, their is hardely enough grass on the pararia(11) to keep stock alive. Fraiters has their oxen some in Cass(12) some in the teritory(13). Some fifteen or twenty mules [page torn] wheet all gone. We had to plow up some fifty achors, their is but little corn up yet. What is up is up meadow and oats is all dried up.
Frank Thomas(14) has not got home, the man that was trying to get money for those oxen that Harten(15) had. He saved about four hundred but had to sell them for sixty Dolars per yoke, the same they sold for at Salt Lake. We look for him this month. I heard from Letty a few days ago, they were all well. I received a letter from Eliza Dickerson, I get letters from her regular, her head is as gray as Father. She has worn a whig for the last eight or ten years. Letty brakes very fast, Mary(16) is about grown now, though very small, Margaret(17) is as large as she is. Jemmy or John(18) neather one grows fast. Jemmy is grow but very small. I do not what he is doing this summer. He has been crossing the plains for the last two or three summers.
[The last part of this letter is missing]
August the 20, 1860 Cal.(19)
Dear Children & frends & relations i wonce more set my hand to try to write you a few lines. It has been some time since i wrote & it appears a great Deal longer since I heard from you. We are all about, i cant say your Father(20) or myself is ether write well. He has spells of colic very often & i have not been as stout as comon since i was sick in the spring, i cant stand the same hardships without making me sick(21). Cleon & Jackson(22) is well, tha are in town today with thare team, thare Ranch(23) is seven miles from town. The wether is very worm & Dust is unresonable. We have had very goods crops of all kinds & plenty of all kinds of fruit & stocks of all kinds has fallin in there prices very much. Our town & vecinity are very healthy & i don’t no of but one person sick to my knowledge. I heard from the vally yesterday where DeWits(24) & Nely(25) & Mitchells(26) live(27). Thare is a Smart sicknefs in the valy among the children a good meny deaths of Scarlet fever. Margaret you must write often my Deare Child for it is a very poore chance for me to write. The letter i got you Stated that Upton was going acrofs the plains, i hope he has good luck & will bee at home soon. i feare that is the reson you dont write or some of you are sick. Write enyhow good or bad for I am very uneasy. Marg i write there is no Sicknefs but there is Still Death amongst us. About a week ago one morning we got up and suching around i went in the garden write on the street. I heard some boyes say thare a ded man but afered two go to him i called your Farther, he went put his hand on him & he was cold & had got drunk & fell on his face & never moved. It was not more than twenty steps from our house. Margaret i have nothing of importance to write. There is a Smart Stur at this time agoing to see tha Osimity(28) falls. It is about fifty miles from heare. you must give my love to all enquiring friends & relations, i would bee very glad to write to all of my Brothers & Sisters but I have not the nurve. It hurts me so to think i am so fare from them all & no i can never see eney of them in this life, my nurves is two week to exprefs my feelings.
Marga you must write to Eliza Dickerson(29), tell her that we would bee very glad to heare from them often. Tell her we are old & cant make much of a hand of writing. Your Farther cant write a word & i make a poore out, i dont no whether you can read it or not. Tell her we are aliving alone & get along very happy. He is a little to industrious, he complains he wants more work to do, the garden is to small, i expect we will have to go on the Ranch so he can get work a nough. Andrew J. has got his likeness, he will send it soon. i must come to a close, you must write as soon as this comes to hand. Kifs(30) them sweet children for me & tell them thare old mothers think a greate deal about them deare little ones. So farewell from your old Farther and Mother to the loving children
E. E. Watts(31)
Upton Hays, Margaret J. Hays & little Children
Tell the blacks howdy for me, tell them i want them to do well for themselves & in so tha will do well for my children.(32)
West Port Jackson Co. Mo. September the 26/60
Dear Father and Mother
Once more permitted to write you a few lines in answer to a most welcom letter I received las Fridy, the second since early last spring. I should have answered it immediately but I was so buissy getting ready to start on high Blue to a protracted meeting. I started on Saturday mornin, came home yesterday (tuesday). I found the friends all well. I was at Cousin Dicks(33), Bill Youngs, Jane(34) is not very well, they are going to rent out and Board somewhere this winter. She thought that she would spend most of her time with me. I was at Cleat Bunes(35), they are camped near their old house. They are building a new house on the right hand side of the orcherd in that pretty little grove. I was at Old Uncle Billy Bryants(36). They built a new house near the graveyard where fathe used to talk of building. I was at the graveyard, there has been a many person Buried their since either of you was their. I saw George Roland(37) their at church, Letty and the children was all well excepting whooping cough. I saw Mr and Mrs Hearlson(38), they sent their love to you Both. They insisted very hard on me going out to their house with them, the made me promise to go out their soon.
Father and Mother did you notice the date of this letter, it is my Birthday. I thought I could not employ my time in any better way than writin to you. I flater my Self that you are all thinking of me today and wondering if I am well and what I am doing. I am all alone, my company all left me a few moments ago for to go to the Pleasant Hill fair. I thought a while that I would go, then I concluded I had Better Stay at home as I had been away from home several days. I did not like to leave the Children so mutch. I was at the Independence fair four days, saw a great many of my old accuaintences their.
Mr Hays started accross the plains mondy after the fair. He went to Bents fourt(39) to see what prospect their would be in wintering his oxen. He went out with the mail but expected to stop with one of the trains on the road when he overtakes them. The company has several trains now on that road, they have six trains started the first two or three done well, the last one is loosing a great many oxen. They get bigger price for fraiting this year than common, pay less for hands and oxen. The company will have the frait for two years. We did not get but about seventen or eighteen hundred dollars of our California money and felt very thankfull to get that mutch. It was between 25 or twenty eight cents to the dollar.
It has been several days since I began my letter. I will write a few lines and send them to the office. I have not heard from Upton yet, he expected to be gone some forty days. I do not look for him so soon. The children dont miss him so mutch. He has not been away from home but a few nights since he came home from Salt Lake. The time seems very long. I visit around a great deal to pass off time. I cant make Fleda believe anything els than her pa has gone to see grandpa and grandma.
My health has been very good this summer. I way more now than I have since I was married. My wate is a hundred and 24, one year ago I wade a hundred and ten. Johns health has been good this summer. Cousin Becky(40) has a child seven months old. Cousin Pap(41) has a boy six weeks old. Larrinda(42) has a boy 4 weeks old. Linvel(43)has been gone on the plains all summer, he has gone his second trip now. He is one of the best men in the world, their is no brother ever kinder to a Sister than what he has been to me. Mr Hays connexion has all been kind to me, but Linvell and family is exceptions. We have never heard from Dave McMurtry(44), he is suposed to be dead. Amp Hues(45) dide last winter. Mary(46) wanted Up and I to go down their this faul and she would come home with me and spend the winter. Mother, Old Mrs Hammelton(47) is dead, she died near two weeks ago.
Times is very hard in this country, their will be a great many that will suffer something to eat and watter never was as scarce since I can remember. The people is all leaving the territory faster than they moved to it a few years ago. The most of people is leaving that is able to leave and those that cant leave will Starve if they are not healped, but I have allways heard it said that their was no danger in the bad breed. If so they will not die for they are mostly yankeys. People has all sold off all their hogs, that is most of the people I know about hear for they did not raise enough to faten for meat. They sell them with the intention of buying meat. They sell for $4 1/2 gross per hundred. We will have enough old corn to faten our meat and keep us in bread. We cut up all of our corn stocks, their was but little corn on it. It may keep our stock alive with what old hay we have. The stock is suffering worse for water than anything else I know of but few families but what has to haul all their watter for home use and stock. Their is but few out springs, people has them fenced in so stock cant get to it. Our hogs had not had any watter for over a week untill last night their came a nice little shower of rain. It took all of the watter out of our well that we could spair to give the horses and calves. It is clouding up, I feel in hopes that we will have some more rain. I must come to a close as I fear you will not read half I have written. My pen has been bad and I have run over it in a hurry. Give my love to my Brothers and receive a large portion to yourselves. Write often so farewell from your ever loving Daughter
Margaret J. Hays
Pacheco(48) California January 18, 1861
My esteemed Cousin -
It is with pleasure that I drop you a line - I arrived home the next Wednesday after I parted with you having remained at Stockton four days. Stayed at home one day then to Santa Clara, remained there several days - and once more find myself at home & feel very much like resting a while. I found all of the old friends and acquaintences well, and they are quite anxious to see you once more.
I have not met with DeWit(49) yet, have heard nothing particularly from him - do not know when he will start up to your country. I have received two letters from William(50) (my son) since my arrival at home - he is recovering his health again. If he is blessed by Divine Providence I shall expect him at home within the next two weeks. I propose leaving for Esmeralda(51) in the next month, may the good Lord bless me in my enterprize, give me abundant success too although of heavenly grace & success in winning Souls to Christ.
I sent you by this mail the "Cumberland Presbyter" published by Bro. F. M. Johnston, you will see the price and terms of the same. Please get all of the subscribers that you can and send the names and remittences yourself direct to Brother Johnston. Whatever you may do towards its circulation will be thankfully received.
I have redeemed my promise by writing a long letter to Margaret(52) before my trip to Santa Clara.
I shall ever entertain the most pleasing recollections of my visit to your Town(53) & Country. I wish to be remembered to all the kind People, with whom it was my good fortune to become acquainted, especially to Colonel and Sister Terry(54) with their family. My Sincere Prayer is that the Colonel may choose that better part that never never can or shall be taken away from him, or any that possess that heavenly germ.
Give my love to the Boys, they know my strongest desire for their prosperity & peace here, and their happiness in the world to come.
I will close by praying that your last days may be your brighst days, your relative and Brother in Christ.
Mrs E. E. Watts
P.S. Write me soon - by the by - Col Terry gave me $5.00 to assist in defraying my expences.
E. E. W. N. Y.
stamp first issued 1861
1849 -Jan 1861 Section:
Letters 25- 28: 1861
read this section's footnotes,