April the 1/66
know you will be surprised when I tell you that I am now writing at my
own home being Sundy and a very pleasant day. I thought I would come
over and spend the day at the old home. Some ten days ago the men of
our neighborhood concluded to put me up a small house so they went to
work and have put up a very neat little log house, will be a very convenient
one when finished, it is fifteen by seventeen feet large, it is built
over my sellar. I have very good room above it, can be completed in two
days. They intend building me a kitchen when they get time. Everything
looks so bad, the fencing down, my nice young orcherd all destroyed.
Mother this is the fourth, my letter not finished, have had company all
week, last night Frank Thomas(2),
Jimmy Hornbuckle(3)staid with me.
They are finishing off my house, they have been working hard to get it
ready for me to move in tomorrow so they could have a Dance tomorrow
night but it has turned so cold they did not finish it today. Tonight
it is snowing hard, the ground is covered with snow. So far we have had
a very cold disagreeable spring, farmer is jest commenced plowing this
week, done no gardening yet. John(4)has
not commenced plowing yet as I wished to get moved before he commenced
plowing. He will not put in more than 1000 achers(5) as
I have but one old horse, will borrow a yoke of oxen to brake up with,
will rent the rest of my ground. I bought me a cow a few weeks ago, paid
45 Dollars for her. Cows sells hear from 50 to 60 dollars per head. I
got mine under price as my means was rather limited. I have a dozen chickens,
was gave two me. Chickens sells from 10 two twelve Dolars per dozen and
Scarce at that. I always have Plenty two eat and plenty to ware, not
of the best or the finest but plenty good. I think if I could get a start
again I could make a good living if I could manage like you Mother, I
know I could make a good living. I am a very poor manager and have know
confidence in mySelf, have to ask advice about everything I do. I have
know hogs, they are like chickens, scarce and high.
Mother you will think I am very careless, the month almost gone and my letter not finished yet. I am now at home(6), been hear over two weeks. Have had a good deal of company, have had one man helping John brake up his corn ground as the oxen that I have was not gentle enough for John to work and then my fence needed fixing up, will commence planting tomorrow. I have part of my garden in, I begin to feel like I was getting home again, but Mother, the house does look so funny, sutch a little bit of a thing, it is not quite as large as my kitchen was, it is on the foundation of the kitchen. I have to cook, eat, sleep all in the room. I tell you I am often embaresed cooking before company as I am rather Awkwerd about anything I go at.
My children(7) is all at home and sends a great deal of word to you grandma and their uncles. It has been two or three months since I heard from any of you, have been looking dailey for a letter from you. Write often as you can. I must bring my letter to a close as I have the headache to night very bad. So give my love to my brothers a large share for yourself from your Daughter
Mag J. Hays(8)
Westport Mo July the 18/66
It is Sabbath evening and I am all alone, it has been raining almost constantly ever since yesterday morning. I have been sleeping the most of the day. Yesterday I was at Kansas City, was in the rain all day, you may be sure we all looked nice when we all got home. We are all enjoying good health at present. I have suffered very mutch with pneuralgia this spring and summer. We have had more rain and cool wether than we usually have during the summer season. Crops all look promising, wheet crops very good, corn rather late but look very fine. I have but nine or ten achors but the nicest corn I know of. I have plenty of vegatables, a very good garden. My meadow will not be good, I think their was to mutch stock run on it last winter and spring, killed out a great deal of it.
Times is About as usual, old Citizens all returning to their homes(9), some coming in nearly every day. I think that about all that went south has come home and more new commers than I ever saw from every direction and every state, some from Verginia, Carolina and other Southern States, but the largest integration is from the Yankey States. Federals that has been through hear fell in love with our country or the people one, now they are mooving their families and friends hear.
Mother I had company to call in to see me so I had to lay by my letter and have neglected writing for a week or more, have received a more than welcom letter from you during the time, part of writen by Willy Yager(10). I was very sorry to hear his health was still bad. I had not heard from him for some time and had hoped he had gained his health by this time. I think now Mother he is with a good nurse, his health will improve. Uncle Jemmy Yager(11) is still living with Henery Harper(12). He has rented ground in the neighborhood, has been plowing all summer, he works very hard, his eyes has improved so mutch that he can see to read and write some little. Lou(13) has been going to school for the last eight months, the school is out now. She was to see me a few days ago.
I was at a picnic near Henrys some ten days ago, saw a great many of my old acquaintences their among the rest was Dr Stone(14) from Texas, he brought stock in from south, he has now gone south. He is one of the worst Rebbels you ever saw, he was broke up by the war. He sent me a horse last faul which I sold for a hundred $.
Sister Marthy(15) was to see me one day last week, her and Sue Bryant(16), she is staying at Chap Bryants(17). Cleat(18) is up at home trying to raise a crop. It was very late before he commenced work but thinks he can raise enough to do him this winter. His Houses on both farms was hauled off over into Kansas, both new houses, his young orcherds dug up and mooved over as also all the rest of the neighbors was. The people is all building Cabbins and mooving to their homes up their(19). I have not saw George or Letty(20) for a long time nor could hear from them for a long time. They are still in Kansas, George is preaching. I had a letter from Eliza Dickerson(21) a few days ago, they were all well, her sons all lived to get home. She regrets so mutch that I cant be with or near them. Aunt Nancy(22) is still alive but so helpless she keeps to her bed all the time. Uncle Bill(23) is almost intirely blind. Cousin Eliza Kimberlain(24) has moved back to the Blue Springs(25), she promised Eliza Dickerson she would come to see me but her health is bad. Jane Young and her Husband Will Young(26) is living near little Santefee(27). Will Young would not bring mutch if he was put up and sold for his worth. I do not know what kind of boy Willy(28) is, I have not saw him for several years, [last part missing]
September the 26/67
You see by the Date of this that it is my Birthday. I thought I would write you a few lines knowing that you are thinking of me today. Oh how time flies, thirty one today, it seems but a short time since I was a happy child but look again and how many changes, how many troubles have we all gone through since then, but I must not think of past days or I cannot write. We are all enjoying good health with exception of Jennie Uppie(29), she has chills. Their has been a great Deal of sickness through the country. Flux has been very fatal, great many Died with it. Aunt Mary was very low with it for several weeks, but was better when heard from last. We having a protracted meeting in our neighborhood, the first revival we ever have had in our neighborhood. Their was thirty conversions. I dont suppose their was ever a more hardened neighborhood than this, it was thought useless in trying to have a meeting here but I never was at a warmer better meeting in my life. Two of Sam Hays Daughters professed, Henery and Rachel Harper, Lin Hays oldest son(30), Frank Thomas, almost all of the hardest ones in the neighborhood.
Linville H.(31) went out with a train on the Salt Lake road. He had a fight with the Indians, two of his men killed (one was his assistant, one of our neighbor boys, he leaves many friends to moarn his loss), he had all his stock taken but thirty. We do not know what has become of him, we have not heard from him since the morning after the fight. Rob Hays(32) (Sams son), Dave McMurtry(33) son was with him. Amazon(34) has been crossing the plains, he came home night before last, left the train with his son(35) and Will Overstreet(36). They are laying by untill they can get and escort(37). I am very uneasy about them, they have had one fight with the Indians and neither one of the boys have any fear about them. Indians worse than ever known before.(38)
We have a very pleasant faul, times is changen hear all the time, things is going on now more like it uste to than they have in a long time. Their seems to be a better feeling existing among the people than has been since the war. The country has improoved so mutch in the last two years you now would scarcely think their had been a war going on hear.
Well Mother a few words concerning my buissness and I will close as I have been hard at work and very tired. Our lawsuit(39) has been put off untill March, it was to have come off in this month but Sam has had it put off. I am not concerned in it but as it is on hands are anxious to see it over with. I do not know that I will be benefited any by the administrator gaining the suit (he thinks I will). I do not think I will be injured by it as I will still have my Dower(40). As it stands I have sold my Dower to Sam for a Deed to 80 achors of land. If Sam looses the suit I will fall back on my Dower again. My love to my Brothers, a large share for yourself, write soon and often, excuse this letter as it is writen in a hurry. So fare well from your ever loving daughter
Mag J. H.
Westport Mo August the 17 /8(41)
Mrs E. Watts
Again I am permited to answer a more than welcom letter which came to hand a few days ago. Mother I cannot tell you how glad I was to hear from you and my Dear Brothers as it was the second time since last Oct. We are enjoying good health at this time with the exception of myself, I have been suffering very mutch with pneuralgia for the last month but up and able to go all the time, or the most of the time. We have a very fine prospect for crops if we can have rain, we need rain very bad. Crops is late, the Grasshoppers(42) took pitty on us after they had taken all the Gardens crops of small grain. They took the corn in spots, someplaces they woould take ten or twelve achors of corn and leave and go to some other feild. Their was good wheet crops below hear, flower(43) is now six and a half, a month or six weeks the best article was 12 Dollars per hundred, corn was up to a Dollar and 75 Cts and two Dollars.
Well Mother I am getting along as well as could be expected. Johny has been working out all summer excepting the time when he was plowing his corn. He would get from 50 to 75 cts per day. He says when he gets some money that is owing him he will have his photograph and send to you. He is now working on the road to pay road tax. Well Mother I will tell you how mutch feeling the Radicals(44) have when they have the power, how mutch Sempathy have for widows in assesing land. The land was valued at from 10 two 25 per achor, mine they put up to 32 per achor. Their is but one peace of land as high as 25, Sams land joining mine and a great deal more valuable than mine in fact a part of the same farm and the best part is valued at 20 per achor. I suppose they think they did not make enough off of me During the war or else they think I am more able to pay than my neighbors. That lawsuit will come off this faul, Sam and his family is very kind to me, I am not any ways concerned in this suit.
My children is all at home, Fleda came home a few days ago from Kansas City. She had been down their two weeks. Berry Yocum(45) staid two or three days with me last week, all friends well as far as I can learn. I was at a Sothern widows and orphans Barbacue the 24 of July near Independence. I came by Uncle Jemmys and staid all night, they are getting along very well. I had a letter from Eliza Dickerson a few days ago, she is very anxious to come to see me. I also heard from sister Letty, she is coming in this faul to see me, they are still in Kansas, whenever they moove to Mo. I will go to see them. I have not saw Jemmy(46) since he was married, John Ed(47) is still south, not be home before faul. Laurenda sends her love to you also Mrs Self. Jake(48) and family is very kind to me, they live on Sams part of my farm. Mother you must write to Jemmy McMurtry(49) if you have not, I gave you his adress some time ago, my love to my Brothers, the Children sends a great deal of word to you and there uncles but my pen and ink is so bad that I can not write. So fare well Mother from your daughter
ps Mother tell my Brothers to hurry and get rich. I suffer so mutch with my teeth I want to have them taken out and I wont have them taken out untill I see some chance of having some more put in.
September the 23(50)
I am permitted once more to write a few lines to you in answer to a fine letter received a few days ago. Mother I dont know whether you can read my wrighting or not, I am so weak and nerves that I can scarcely wright, only sit up a little while at a time, can walk from one room to the other. Near four weeks ago I was taken down to my bed with fever for about three weeks. I thought my time had come. I tell Laurenda(51) if it had not have been for her I should have dide. She Staid the most of her time with me day and night. I would not come near waying 100 now I have fallen off so mutch but think I will soon be well now. I can eat. My family is in good health, all relations well as far as I know.
Mother this everlasting lawsuit is put off again untill March, they will never let it be settled I fear in my day but hope their will be a day of reconing. Sam will be friendly, he comes ever few days to see me. Mother I will have to quit for today, have made two or three attempts to get this wrote. Mother John is going to town today, I will have to finish this as soon as possible. We have about 25 achors of very good corn, had only half crop of wheet and oats, hogs, enough to make my meet(52) this year but not a yong hog comming on for another year. It is getting in this country so people cannot rais hogs, they die with some kind of disease(53). Sam has lost about two hundred Dollars worth. During the summer the girls averaged 15 per month selling milk and butter. They milked four cows, what they made clothed the family, bought many things about the house. Besides that I laid up a little a long to pay off my Debt. The last of it is paid. I am now going to put up two of my cows to faten for beef to by me a horse. John has a very good three year old filly that he raised our crop with, a very nice mare she is. So many persons that want her that I have been afraid he will loose her, our country is full of horse theives. Their was three or four horses stolen from my neighbor about a week ago. The girls will wright soon. I have nothing of interest to wright but will wright soon again. Wright Mother when ever you can. My love to my Brothers and family a large share for yourself So fare well for the present, your ever loving Daughter
Mag J. Hays
Dec the 22nd 1868
Dear Cousin it has been long since I heard from you and being somewhat Old an carelys myself(55) have neglected writing so soon as I should have done therefore you must Excuse me. I have been uncomonly busy this fall and Summer. I calculated to visit you this fall but my businefs would not admit should not providing providence inter firs I expect to come up next fall. I paid the tax on your land about 2 months ago, it was nearly twice as much as it ever was before, it was $10 State and County tax and $16 School tax which I considered an Imposition and have brought suit against the county to recover the School tax. I want a certified copy of your tax receipt this year showing that you paid School tax in that county too. It will be strong Evidence in my favor. The Board of Equalization sits on the 4th day of febuary when it will be tried. We are all well Mage and family are well and wish to be remembered. No news of Importance, let me hear from you Immediately. Give my love to all connections, tell them to write me. Hoping these lines may find you all Enjoying the Blefsings of life and peace is my sincere prayer, your cousin
John B. Hays(56)
December the 31/68
Once more I have the pleasure of wrighting to you on your Birthday. Oh how thankfull I feel, my thoughts has been with you all day although I have had company during the day, still have company tonight, now all in bed. I do not feel like sleep so will wright to you. I have spent a very lonely Chrismas, have not visited any, have had company but could not enjoy it as I once could. My thoughts has been with my Dear ones far away from me. You may think Mother that I have been parted from you all so long that I have become weaned from you but not so, the older I get the more I take it to heart, the harder it is to bear with. It is my lot so will have to submit. My friends often Chide me for not being cheerfull as I uste to be but now have become dishartened, my past troubbles comes to my mind more than ever, cannot drive them from my thoughts as once could, but still Mother I have one consolation. God will not forsake me. He has afflicted me and will comfort me. I feel like my afflictions has been sent upon me for some good purpose if I cannot see it so plainly now when I had a kind Husband and many friends and wealth at my command and new no want, then I was careless, did not as mutch as thank my kind Father for all those Blessings. Now they are all gone, I see how unthankfull I have been, how little I appreciated those Blessings. Now can thank him for Blessings ever day, can thank him for protecting me and comforting me through so many Dangers and troubbles that I have been through. So Mother I feel like ever thing will work for the best and do try to take everything for the best. Well Mother I shall quit wrighting tonight as my feelings is sad tonight and I see that I am expressing them more freely than I should do. That keeps me from wrighting many times so you will have to excuse me for wrighting more than I should.
Happy New Year to you all, today have been called in to bake cake for a party, the third I have baked for During Chrismas. I baked at home tonight, all gone to the party but little Up(57) we are alone. It has been misting rain for two or three days, now snowing. We have had one of the deepest snows this winter I ever remember of seeing and some of the coldest weather. Health of the people generally good through the country, my health is better than was during the summer. All Friends well as far as known. Have know news of interest to wright so will close by sending love to my Brothers and family. Hope to receive a letter from Fanny(58) soon, wright often So fare well two you all from your true and loving Daughter
Mag J. Hays
Collegeville California August 2nd 1869
Mrs E. E. Watts
My esteemed Cousin I have recently returned from the Atlantic States. I spent a night at your daughters house, she desires to come to this country this fall. She has about means enough to bring her and her Children here.
The estate of her late husband has been managed in such a manner that it produces in her, an unpleasant state of mind; and she is not satisfied to remain their this mutch can say to you & do not know the manner of the management. She wishes you to writ to her on the receipt of this, her & the children are in good health - the children are good, and good looking.
I visited our native country(59), met with many old acquaintences -saw many of our friends in Missourie - enjoyed my journey extremely well - returned in possession of fine health. I weigh 201 Ibs, which is some evidence that I faired well. On my return found my children all well, have made them a visit. I have so mutch to say to you that I will not attempt it upon paper. I desire to visit you this Fall, then we can talk the old country over.
A great many send their love to you, let me know that you have received this letter, if it is only a few lines.
Your affectionate cousin until death.
"Ben Franklin 1 Cent"
1866 - 1869
Letters 71- 78
read this section's footnotes,