Gibson/Stevenson Family Letter

The following letter was transcribed by Anna Lynn Cauffield Burns of Anaheim, CA and submitted for inclusion at the Genealogy in Washington Co., PA web site in June 1997.

Anna writes:

On the outside of letter, postmark: Bloomington Nov 17
Samuel Lynn
Fayette Co

Inside the letter: Bloomington November 17th 1845
Dear Brother and Sister,
        I now take up my pen to inform you that I am well at present hoping these
few lines may find you enjoying the same blessing.  We arrived here safe on
the 13 of May and rented a house and went to housekeeping on the next day in
Bloomington. It is situated on the west bank of the Mississippi. There is a
very good landing here and it is quite a business place and I think it as
large as Uniontown.  There has been shipped from here to St Louis some fifty
or sixty thousand bushels of wheat and there would have been a mutch larger
quantity but for the lowness of the wateras there is great difficulty in
crossing the rapids at ____nch.  The merchants have commenced storing as our
streets is crowded with wheat waggons every day.  The crop has been very good
here.  The corn is as good as I every saw in Pennsylvania.  The land is very
ritch. The people here care nothing about gardens. They have them in their
fields. I saw one onion bed of two acres on wich they raised five hundred
bushels from the seed and a great many of them was as large as saucers.  This
is beautiful country and I like it much better than I expected. We have had a
very warm dry summer.  The weather was mutch warmer than I ever felt in
Pennsylvania. We laid with open doors and windows for more than two months.  
        We have been sick with slight fevers but are all well except Alexander. He
was taken with liver complaint the first of September and was confined to the
house and bed until the first of this but is able to walk about now.  I have
been very unwell the most of the summer and this fall had a bleading on the
lungs witch made me very weak but is better than I have been for a year.  I
was very sorry to hear that you and family was so afflicted. I received a
letter from Henrietta written on the 5 of october stating George Gibsons
death.  I feel sincerely sorry for Mary and Alexander in there affliction.  
        I want you to excuse me for not writing sooner for I feel myself under great
obligation to you for your kindness to us. I am very uneasy about M Jane as
they have not wrote since the last of August. I want you both to advise them
such as their father and me would do if present. I want you to write
particularly about how they are and tell Mother I would like to see her for I
often think I am with you all. I don't want you to think I have forgotten my
friends for I shed many a tear and would give worlds to see you all but this
cannot be.  Sometimes I think I will come in the spring but cant tell how it
may be for I am often laid by and the distance is so great that I am affraid
to undertake it.  Give my love to Mother and all the rest of my friends. 
        Mr Lynn I want you to come and see the country. I would like to have you for
a neighbour. When you write tell me if you have had any account of your
brother. There has been several of our Uniontown people here to see the
country Mr Ewing, Mr Fuller, Mr Phillips Bradberry, Mr Wallace Baily and ____
were all here this fall but made no purchase.  
        Fruit is very scarce here.  Apples is four dollars and a half a barrel.  We
got peaches for one dollar a bushel so we have to console ourselves and eat
pumpkin pie.  This is a great place for fish in the summer season.  We had
them very plenty.  I used often to wish you had share of them.  I want to see
Margaret and Frances. Tell them that Ewing sends his love to them and says he
is going to Pennsylvania.  Mary R sends her love to you and says you may look
for a letter.  George sends his love to all of you. Gibson and Alexander
sends their best respects and wishes their uncle would come and see the
country for they are delited with it.  E Eliza and Henrietta sends their love
to you and says they would be very glad to see you all.  Stevenson sends his
love to all of you. 
        Mary I want you and Lynn to write to us soon as you receive this. Give my
love to all the family and to friends and neighbours.  I want you to excuse
my bad writing and spelling as I have written but one letter beside this for
twenty years.  
        No more but remains your affectionate Sister, Ellen E Stevenson

Muscatine County, Iowa, September 26, 1849 
When you write direct your letters to Muscatine, Iowa, as this is the name of
our town, is changed.
Dear Brother and Sister,
        I embrace the present opportunity to write you a few lines and in the first
place I would inform you that through the tender mercies of an all-wise
providence we are enjoying good health at present although I have had several
attacks of liver complaint but by resorting to medicine in time I was
relieved in a few days, and Eliza had a severe attack.  She had the cholera
symptoms and was very bad for two days, and after that she was able to sit up
some every day.  It was in July that Eliza was sick.  I have had a very
uneasy summer of it owing to Alexander being on the river and this dreadful
pestilence sweeping of hundreds and thousands.  As many as one hundred and
fifty a day in St. Louis.  And aboard the boats as many as fifty five and
from that to sixty  five until they would have to tie up their boats and
abandon them for a time, and clean and paint their boats.  But recollect the
most of those that died were emigrants and deck passengers.     And my Tom has
been in the midst of all of it and had the cholera whilst running on the
Missouri and a second attack at St. Louis where the mortality was so great.
 And he is still on the river and was well two weeks ago.  But I have not
seen him but once since the last week in February and that was in June.  He
was up and hired a horse and buggy and came out but did not stay more than an
hour and a half as the boat was taking on freight and would leave before
        But I do assure you I have suffered both in body and in mind more than
anyone could imagine except a mother in similar circumstances.  Although I
must say he was one of the best and most thoughtful sons about writing that
ever was for he has written as often as four times in one week whilst laying
in port and would write when he intended to leave and when he expected to
return.  But I wrote him time and again to come home and urged him to do so
but it was all in vain.
        Gibson is working at his trade.  He was three months at the city working at
the Capital and he has got to do both in town and country near home at this
time.   So Mary and Mr. Lynn I want you both to excuse me for not writing
sooner as I had to write to Stevenson last winter whilst he was at the city
and this summer to the boys and Margaret.  For I do assure you there is not
anything that gives me more pleasure than to write and receive letters from
my friends and don't think that I have forgotten you or your kindness to me
whilst visiting amongst you.  
        And I want you to remember me to all the children and particularly to them
three little black-eyed girls and tell Margaret Louise that I want her to
write to me as soon as she can write.  And when you write please tell me
where Mother is and how she is for I am very uneasy about her for I fear she
is dissatisfied at Alexander's.  I think she would like it better with you or
Jessey's.  I do wish you would take her to your house occasionally and I
think it does a great deal of good to get to your house.  If you recollect
how poorly she was when you brought her last summer and how she mended up and
got so cheerful.  I want you to tell her I have not forgotten her and that I
said I wanted her to go around and stay whoseever she could enjoy herself to.
        Mr. Lynn, I want you to write us as soon as you receive this and inform me
how Harbison and Margaret (Is this Alexander's daughter who married William
H. Miller?) is getting along or if he is still working for his father.  And
if he intends moving out west in the spring.  And how Jessey (Covert married
Henrietta Potts Gibson) is getting along in the mercantile business.  
        And as for Alexander I suppose he is adding farm to farm for neither his
family nor Jessey's ever writes a scratch.  But I suppose they have forgotten
they had a sister in Iowa.  Stevenson has threshed out his grain and is
hauling the barley to town.  He sold two hundred bushels for fifty cents a
bushel and one hundred of wheat for the same price and the balance is put up
for a higher price.  The girls is with us yet and Mary is the largest of the
three.  Eliza threatens leaving me this fall and making her home with a
bachelor who has a fine farm about three miles from us.  And Gibson talks
that he will try and get married before he is thirty which would be next
July.  George is as tall as his papa  and looks very like him.  My paper
admonishes me that I must draw to a close, so no more but remains your
affectionate sister to Samuel and Mary Lynn, Ellen E. Stevenson."
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