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Transcriptions of actual letters written from 1859-1861 a real look at early pioneer life in Jennings County
These are as they were written, names frequently not spelled as now, so search may not find what you are looking for.

28 February 1859
Jennings County,Indiana

Esstemed friends many years passed but not forggoten through that great blessing I am numbered among the liveing we had almost come to the conclusion that one or both of you was gone to that long home from were no traveler returns. I rote you a full large sheet about 7 or 8 years ago directed it to Pinkney,Michigan. This day two weeks I saw Phebe at Hannah Eveleth's funeral she married Andrew Hulse she has left two little boys she has been very weakly for a long time. July 1st 1850 my husband departed this life with something like a cancer in his face one side of his face was all eaton away no one that came to see him ever seen anything to equal with it he suffered a great deal but did not complain he was very patient al the while for several months my daughter and family moved out here from Ohio November 14th 1851 she died four children the youngest not 3 months old. I have him to raise and her other son is now in his 17th he is with me both been here since their mothers daeth one of the girls is in Ohio the younger one here with Euphemia Brown. My eldest son is yet in Ohio and poor James is my next son. I dare say you remember him poor boy he had traveled about over the country many miles twice to Iowa and to Kansas. Dear child he is now no more he expected to of made Kansas his final home he got a claim of 228 acres paid for it put a house on it went to Ohio on his last visit he said was there but 2 or 3 days was taken sick with fever he died October 13th 1857 he was entered in the Lebanon burying ground. I was present a few minutes but he did not notice anything more had his sences he asked but a short time before I got there if Mother had come yet. Dear Polly my tears has to flow the death of your dear little Hermen. I had never had that tryal. I can now feel for you and others the strongest ties of nature. John is not married he is liveing with me tends the farm on share's. Charles is married has one son liveing their other son upset a cup of coffee on its breast died in a few days 11 months old. My daughter Rebecca not married she has been teaching school several years this winter she is going to the high school at Lucensville a new town since you left 3 miles from Scipio. Euphemia married John Brown's son Allen six year they have 1 son and a daughter 7of next July Hannah and my babee Sarah expect you will remember her when you was so kind as to take her. I believe she is a favorite with one and all six of us in family father Snowden and Judy is yet liveing. They are both very feeble aunt Judy fell last June year ago she has not walked any since without crutches and cane and crutch they moved out to Joshua two miles from Scipio last fall. I went to see her she was then sick she crid when I went in and when we came away. Benjamin Sutton lives in the same that you lived in it is just as it was he has a frame barn on the hill I cannot say how much land but a great many acres here and elseware. I expect you have no idea whare we are located we are on the east side of the gividen old deading vane. I can sit by the fire we see our old apple trees none of them thickets here now. Hughes has sold out he sold for three thousand 230 acres he has been out to Illinois and rented it out one year. So Clark an irishman bought out Hughes Waldorf and family is here. Peter Hulse is our neighbor in your absence. There has been a great many changes. Oh Polly, if I could only see you I could tell you great many things that I cannot think of to rite or scribble. I cannot compose a letter as I use to when I was sick of Indiana. I feel perfectly sattisfied we have a large farm and a good house and water. Do step over and see us. I would be so glad to see you. John and mysilf was passing Aunt Sally's she was out in the yard she has buried all her girls. Charles and Phebe Tombs has but one little girl he name is Mary. Mary your sister is left the 2nd time a widdow. Amos widow married a man by the name of Muster he has 6 or 7 children she has 2 Musters they are liveing on the farm she buried her oldest girl her boy is at C. Tombs the other little girl is at Joseph Smiths. Uncle and aunt Eastman I guess is well now she was very sick a short ago. I think you would be lost here now to see the improvements we have very good markets for all kinds of produce for want of room I must conclude by saying if this is worth answering to rite and I or Sarah will rite to you again my best respects to you all none exception. Rachel Wilkins We will try to tell you more in our next if this reaches your destination.

19 May 1859
Mutton Creek,
Jennings County Indiana

Dear Friends I will now try to address you by way of pen and ink I received your most welcome letter was glad to hear of your health and whealth I expect we are both better off than if we had of moved to Iowa we gave up our first tract of land to old Tom lost the first payment, bougth this Gividen 80 acres for 1.33 dollars 14 years ago 50 or 60 acres under cultivation and a variety of fruit, in the year 1846 built a frame barn 30 feet by 54 last summer had to stack hay and wheat out wheat here was very good last year we sold wheat to the amount of 134 dollars and 4 cents cash, 110 and 115 when we sold ours now it is 140 cents at Scipio our house was put up as soon as we bought built out of some of those large poplar hewed down to ten inches we had to give possession so we moved in your house one month wile they was building the neighbors volunteered on sunday put the shingels on one side the same is on yet the other was covered with boards till they could put it on 20 feet by 30 one story and half three rooms down two up, kitchen on the east end 12 feet wide seller under it 3 twelve light windows in it but we expect to rebuild after harvest the seller is walled up with logs they are on the decay 5 years ago we had a new brick chimney built house wheather boarded and painted white, in side is all plastered and painted downstairs on the south side a porch the whole length A nice bed room on the west end A good well of water at the kitchen door pump in it A lattice work all around it and the side of the porch we don't have to go in the sun or rain to get a bucket of water also portice at the north door all white it is decorated now with the snow ball and sweet brier nice green yard boarded in garden on the south I have four biervaues in the house one is because one set of cane bottom chairs cost 8.50, carpet all over the floor downstairs. I am making more, for up stairs six beds and give two away and feathers enough for another two cupboards one with a set of 7 dollar dishes in, also one glass jar of cand blackberries. To step oven and I will soon have the cap of [written on side - don't forget to rite Mrs. Powel sends her love to you. I hope this may find you all well as this leaves us]

I have 25 head of cattle in the woods 3 yoke of 5 year old steer 6 young calves soon have two more sold one for 20 dollars. I have 2 horses and a young colt our cattle doe not do us well now in the woods as when you was here 17 head of hogs and only 3 head of sheep 3 years ago I bought 100 acres lying south of this 80 ware we lived. I am now paying tax for three eighty every poplar tree was taken off and some oak was to pay 13 hundred dollars. I cannot say like Polly that I am out of debt I am in debt for the land 95 or 97 dollars near as I can remember 20 acres partly cleared when I got it the next year had it in corn it made a fine field of corn last spring it was wet John only got about half in corn now in wheat and oats on the east side we have ten acres in corn this spring of new ground. John got done yesterday planting corn we have 22 varieties. John tends the farm for a share of the grain and hay he has one horse one colt one buggy three calves is all the stock he has and four forty's in this state one eighty in Iowa with James 200 and one eighty in Kansas with James 228 acres. Hughes is no more here I guess I told you the price he sold for but I will tell you again 230 acres for three thousand dollars. John got a letter they say they like better than they ever did here but I think when the ague and milk sick gets them down they will think of their old home they are near Paletine Ill not far from Vincenees. I said all Susan is at T. Wilkerson's David is married liveing at a saw mill by David Forces. Oh Polly waht a family they have been more than I want to put on paper perhaps you seen or herd of Victoria name in the Cincinnati Commercial on the times last winter year ago. I believe I will tell you about Wm. Brown as I think you knew him they lived in the house you first moved in after you sold to Hughes if you remember his wife had a daughter she has ever since live with them first on the second week of last month sunday night it was then court week he got word of having to go before the grand jury him and the wife mounted their steed and away they went in two weeks the family in three wagons down to Seymour went on the car to Vincenses the word is they are near Hughes's. He had a great supply of stock and every thing about him got high wages. He just left all and I may say not near enough to pay his debts. John T. Butler moved to Iowa. his oldest son is keeping store in Scipio. Allen Tyler is here his brother Presley moved to California Peter Hulse has built a net cottage five rooms a frame barn. Simon Wimple lives ware you first moved he has built a one story house with four rooms frame barn and waggon house and crib. Wm. Waldorf has build a one story house with four rooms a log barn one can stand in our north door and see Waldorf house. Mills old thickets is no more here. Wm. Dean lives on the 40 you sold to Powel they traded land Powel had his property set off to him. I think they ay he ha 8 dollars over what the law aloud him. Dean was his security on a tax bill. B. Luttress built the second steam mill on Mutton creek very near ware Mills got out his puncheons for his floor just north of us but we cannot see it for the hill four family living by the mill one house we can't see for the hill all this south side of the creek. Tom Wilkerson bought the Prescett farm. Wm. Beaty lives on the Section it is now a nice farm and first rate spring he built a log house and log barn we have a number of steam saw mills now here cutting all the poplar timber they can get, haul to the cars shipped to Cincinnati and other places a steam grist mill at Queensville also a large merchant steam mill at Scipio a Catholic church also a large Presbyterian Church at Scipio we can hear the bell on church days when the wind is still. Mrs. Broderick Griffith has united with that church. I expect you will remember her, you know we started to see her baptize your sister Mary has not been to see Phebe but once since she was left a widdow the second time that was last July Egbert went after her in the waggon I believe she is about 16 miles from here. I think she has two daughters one White and on Thadenby her stepchildren farm the place Phebe said she was very well provided for I think farm of 4 acres I would have been so glad to of seen her she only staid one week poor Dela came to Toms on a visit and died there I think January three years ago. Toms sold his 40 bought 20 of J. Britten ware they now live I was there last summer they have a large beautiful gated garden when I was there he is constable again Egbert and wife has moved back with his parents. They have not herd your letters yet.
[22 May 1859] John Hobbs burried his wife and I think they say he is in Texas. Mrs. Snowden is very low she cannot be with her long without an altercation. I expect to go and see her soon. Peter Clapp is no more we was to his funeral when I got your letter he was deeply in debt their sale to be on the 27th next Friday, several deaths in Vernon of scarlet fever. D. Burts wife died last week of consumtion in Vernon Becca has been teaching school several years and bleaching bonnets she is now in Ill teaching school and visiting to her uncles, Eveleth got a good frame house and barn and sheds. Davis Day move back here again he has been in the sawmill business ever since he came back this spring he sold out, the mill is a short distance east of him and another one on old road. Hiram Whitram grist mill and saw mill on the Ohio and Missipii road we can hear the card every day. 3 times a day on the road they make a good market for our produce last week wheat was worth 1.52 cents oats 55 and 60 cents corn 75 cents potatoes 1.00 to 1.25 cents butter has been 20 and 25 cents all winter two weeks ago it was reduced now 12 1/2 cents per lb. Cow and calf from 17 to 25 dollars I forgot to say I sent for paper two or three times got a chance to go myself so you mut excuse if you will to hear of anything more. I want you to ask and I will try and inform you. Polly I want you to tell me about your youngest child or children when you left here as we are disputing about how many you had when you left here. I have forty four young turkeys come over next fall and we will have a roast, last fall I sent 23 turkeys to Rockford got 50 cents each cash, it is almost a shame I have been so long riting this letter. I cannot rite as I did when I rote so often to Ohio also you know I am 16 years older and 20 lbs heavyer. Polly I can truly say I feel perfectly sattisfied here now, I cannot say as we will know each other as here below when we meet our blessed savior - I have been to meeting very seldom this spring. I have went to meeting more in the last 8 years than I had in 12 years and had sattisfaction in going. I have a spring carriage it is often filled in going to meeting as this sheet is full I must quit you get tired of looking over such poor inditeing in that love that has no bounds to one and all. Rachel T. Wilkins

20 January 1860
Scipio,Jennings County Indiana

Dear Friends, it has been a long silence between us but I hope you will forgive me when I give my reasons for not answering your very acceptable letter. I have wanted to see Phebe but have not saw her yet and other household affairs that I have not felt like riting. Dear Polly we have pretty near to be connections by marriage as I will tell you hereafter, Charles told John they know nothing of your brother's widdow your Sister Mary is married the third time to a neighbor an irishman married by the Irish priest So is the story your nephew Frank Sprout has been boarding and going to our school he i reading in the 3rd reader he is now going to the uper school the man he was boarding with moved from here I have not saw him his sister I expect has a good home she is or was at J. Smiths his wife was a Peabody. Poor Mrs. L. is no more she departed this life in August 27. John and me went to Ohio three weeks before she died she had had her reason till the last but oh what a poor skeleton she was she requested to be burried here in our burrying ground by Peter Hulses, also your sisters Matilda's mother is enterd there her Tom is liveing down on the Wiliver land she died the 4th of July last Mary McConnel I expect you knew her she went to the Eastern states married a James Kelley moved back here again she has one son and daughter. Father Snowden has got to be quite young he goes without his cane and carrys a watch in his picket, I think told you nothing about Bikelys they are here yet their oldest daughter is married. I oft times think of the time we have had together in our visits. Down there they have a large family and neighbors near the irish has settled in south of Millers. I must tell you we have got a road up the stoney branch after harvest we expect to open it on through to the township line. Mrs. Hughes has been back for money. I did not see her but oh they are so well pleased with their new home they are sorry they did not sell sooner. Old John was very sick they did not think he could live all the family was sick but Mary and she had the chills wile here Susan went out there had a spell of sickness came back she is at T. Wilkersons again she is a good looking and a smart it will not do to say girl, their dead daughter was brought home a corss from Cincinnati next day after she was burried they made snoe confess the old man run Dave off he was gone about two years his mother herd ware he was went and got him home such child and her mother look as though they were twins one 3 weeks older than the other both girls Dave never saw the child it died at about 15 months old even after that they all went down one thing after another then two years ago this winter Vick's case was in the papers after Dave came back he acted very prudent all seem to pitty him but such was just the other way every one talking about her and all their own opinion about her it seems the girls is all inclined to do bad or at any rate that is the chat of them that is liveing and the two that is dead and gone. I thought of sending you the paper but I do not know as I can find it. A number of times old Jony would get drunk run his wife and 3 or four of the children she would go to Toms and Eveleth's stay 2 or 3 days he would send or go for her most generaly they have I guess lived an unhapy life them and us never had a word she used to tell me all her troubles concerning him before they came, Margaret is in Cincinnati some says Vick is at St. Louis Elviry the baby when they came here is with them or with her parents they have 3 sons at home and 2 small girls they have found burried here. Do you know what has become of Ann Eastman she went to Queensville to wait on a sick woman the old man Rich's wife she died, in a very short time after her death Ann married the old white headed widdow she is now a widdow with a good home liveing in a brick house or I have not herd of her leaveing or marrying she has buried one of her children since she went out there, this morning made a serch in a pile of papers for Vick's case but did not find it her mother went up to Cincinnati three times to attend court against a married man he came out clean and she got nothing. I guess I will quit or I fear you will be tired of hearing so much about them. Rowly you would not believe the wheat that we harvested here now I formly had an idea it would not grow on this poor land, wheat is worth 115 corn 45 to 50 cents oats 37 to 40 cents butter 15 cents egg 12 ½ pork 550 to 600 one hundred cash for it now turkeys 50 cents cash yesterday 23 John been and myself went to Queensville to see Roderick Griffiths wife she is not expected to live but a short time she cannot sit up but a short time she has 6 children the youngest only 14 months old. I expect you will know who she is the one you went to your uncles to see baptised, we had forgotten about your children. I well remember your dear daughter, Mary. I must now tell you of my heart troubles it was and is tryal my babe my youngest daughter was married on the fifth inst. to John M. Green an uncle to Tom's wife he is called a very nice man he is teaching school in the Dean school house Mary Toms and Horris Eastmans children is going to his school he is a carpenter by trade I thought it hard to part with my other girls it was hardly no comparison as I may say. I do not know how I can see them move away from me she has always been more company for me than either one of the others. They do not know yet ware they will get to move when his school is out. Egbert's wife was only about 15 years of age when they was married she is a granddaughter of Aaron Green he did live when you was here west of Vernon he sold out bought near North Vernon. I would like to send you a North Vernon paper if I knew you had none of them in your state it would inform a little abut the town and new mill in operation at the crossing of the two roads. I guess I must come to a close as my pen is bad and you may be tired of reading Polly why did you not tell me the size of your house and fixings I told you as near as I could how I am situated so you may know that we do not live in the Mills old cabbin our school house was on the section with well finish house it was burnt the first of this month. I hope this may find you all well as this leave us at this time. John is going to the office. Polly I hope you will excuse me and I will try to do better next time. I do hope I will feel as I have for the 2 or 3 months my best wishes and love to one and all your family you may not think you are forgotten you never have been since you left Ind. Don't forget to rite soon Rachel Wilkins I must send you a sample Sarah wedding dress of blue the [other] her second day dress.

28 November 1860
Mutton Creek,
Jennings County

Respected friends I will try to answer your welcome letter received a few days after date was glad to hear you was all well I intended to answer it immediately but I did not we have had so many work hands all this fall they have left now on the account of cold wether the carpenter not done neither is the plastering done he put one coat on the kitchen and made me a cistern then left till warm wether our kitchen is 16 by 20 feet but my on the north 5 feet a seller under the kitchen with a good stone wall a foot thick our house is now 46 feet long and two storry high the room over the kitchen is one room, over the old house is divided in three rooms upstairs two 12 lighted windows on each end and four on each side of three lighted windows possibly 16 inches makes a long window. They do very well and look better than I expected we have good corn this fall 9 acres of new ground, our wheat in general was pretty good although some had plenty of deat, we had 290 bushels, billy Beaty bought the section he died last May they have a nice farm now and a never failing spring the widdow had 234 of wheat Wm Waldorp had some over four hundred bushels of wheat, the Snowdan farm is vacant this summer it is to be sold next spring the old man is at his sons James out North, none of the Dividens has been here to see any thing about the property, Peter Hulse is the only near neighbor that is left when we came here, and he has very poor health his daughter was married last spring John Dutch has two daughters married, Mrs Roderick Griffith died last April he has got a young wife of 14 summers one year ago Mary Waldorp married an old widdower with 6 children their oldest is 21 married lately, your uncle Rowely [Eastman] looks about like he did when you was here. I see him at Scipio church he came and chated a while with me him and J Griffith was there together in a buggy your aunt Sally has got a new addision to their house, I have not seen Phebe only at meeting so I have not heard Mary name yet Charles could not recolect her name Egbert is pap they have a daughter 6 or 8 months old, among the rest my daughter Sary is mother she has a girl 5 weeks old they call it Lucy bell Green they live in Redington in Jackson County about 6 miles from here he has been to work at his trace this summer, my daughter becca is teaching school over on sand creek by George McConnels she get publick money 70 dollars for four months boards herself last spring she taught a three months school for 2 dollars a school and at Redington she teaches about 6 months in a year if she does not go to school she has been in the same house two or three times before, she went out to our state fair was gone 3 weeks visiting one place and another connections and friends, Hannah and myself has had quite a hand through this fall haveing so many to cook for they have been so long at work here. Oh I do miss Sary so much she was my best company she was always very kind and affectionate lively and cheerful also her tunes in the kitchen. John and hannah has no voice for singing. Miran Eveleth is teaching he get 20 dollars his first school in our school house on the section this side of the creek, there is quite an addition added to old Scipio. Joel Amick and brother has built a large two story apart of it story and half store house for John T. Butters son manlove. I expect you have not forgotten him, every one seems to like him he makes all trade goes to buy all the goods and gets the most custom he is a very smart turned fellow his two brothers is not here one of them went off and left his wife, this fall John sold 21 head of stock hogs for 1:17 dollars all cash I have 8 in the pen for our meat yesterday the boy went to Queensville with 21 turkeys 50 cents each dozen hens 150 cents butter 16 cents in North Vernon it is 12 and 20 cents North Vernon is geting ahead of old Vernon, we have two young gents here from Ohio on a visit John went with his cousins to my soninlaws last night on their way to Charles Wilkins I commence this thought I would have it done in a short time they come steping in so I laid it by Polly do not scold and I will try to do better next time I had no idea but I should have wrote sooner, before I got answer from you I thought you had not received my letter, I expect you will think so again, it appears as though I had every thing on my mind that a woman would have you have not had the management of all in door and out I hope you may not have it ever to do, it is a tryal to manage, many tryals and troubles in this world that I hope we may be prepared to meet in another world ware parting is no more, we have had some sickness through this fall but no deaths, when I think of your huckleberries how I would like to have some with you I was so fond of them when I was young in New Jersey many years ago we have plenty of blackberries I have 8 or 10 gallons cand up, grapes and tomatoes last year we did not use all we had cand we had but few apples in our orchard not a peach any ware about here this fall I would be glad to see you one and all but I do not expect to, your sisters does not visit after two years this summer since Mary was here to see Phebe then Egbert went for her, Egberts motherinlaw and Phebe has been coming here all summer not come yet now I do not look for them I guess your relatives is all well as far as I know I must tell you there is another young Muster, I believe did not tell you John McGehans son and only child has been to the asylum but he is home again some time since his stepmother is very kind to him they say she was very much concerned about him she is Charles Griffith daughter Margaret. John is in business on the rail road I see Margaret but seldom she is dressed fine she taught school here she does seem so glad to see me they live up at Franklin now I believe. Now this is the last page and nothing of importance passes my mind since I can now go up stairs and see Waldorfs house and barn ware you know it was all in woods when you left from the Snowden farm hardly a tree up to Hulses all cleaned up on the North sise of the creek. Simon Wimple farm ware bill Brown lived he has no more to clear, P. Clark has deeded 20 or 30 acres on your south line to his west line joining mine the land you sold Hughes the Stogel (?) 40 is nearly all cleared, James Rogers has moved back he has been living ware or by his uncle Prewett he says he is bad of[f] in that place or country no land for a home in his latter days two of his girls at home yet here he sold out to Tom Wilkerson it is rented yearly the same old house but not alight of glass in it only one room 8 or 10 in family.
Now the 5 day of December and almost night I must soon come to a close Joseph Powell traded land with his brotherinlaw M. Dean to get out of debt got I believe 18 acres now apart of that is taken from him for a stove debt and some other property also Now friends please excuse all mistakes and enditeing and rite soon. So farewell with my best respects to yourself and family, Rachel Wilkins

30 June 1861
Mutton Creek,
Jennings County,Indiana

Dear friends I will try to answer your most welcome letter was glad to hear you was well we are enjoying that great blessing at this time. I'd not know as I can write anything very interesting to you. I had a short spell of sickness last January the doctor was to see me twice I was quite feeble some time after my appetite is very good but not able to do much, becca is now at home she has taught another school this spring in the same house ware she taught last spring she is doing up bonnets Mary if your bonnet needs bleaching just bring it over and it will be nicely done you may think I am boasting if you see them you would think as I say perhaps, Egberts motherinlaw and Phebe has been here on a visit some time ago. Egbert has built a hewd log house on one corner of his fathers farm the word is he has a deed for half 10 acres they call their girl Ida Mary Toms is by here going to school on the section your sister Mary was very poorly with consumption when Phebe herd from her last she had rote letters to her but got no answer her stepson said he often herd her speak of her brother in Michigan he said to me she got a letter from her neace, Phebe thought not, they have rote to try and find Charles daughter is but they get no word of wareabouts she is J Griffiths has moved back to ware he started from they say I expect you will know better than myself now C Griffiths farm by Queensville not the tavern stand J McGehans brother George lives there, John Mc[Gehans] son is well as far as I can hear home with his parents, father Snowden is very feeble they have to help him out of bed he is at his sons Joshua 2 miles north west of Scipio. Simon Wimple our neighbor that lives on the farm ware you first moved to purchased the Snowden farm at 16 dollars 3 cents per acre, he put fire to the house it looks quite lonesome over there, two weeks ago this morning about sun up B R Sultons mill was burned down on Mutton Creek supposed to be set on fire rebuilt but a short time ago but our neighborhood and country, on every side both young and old has had the measles several deaths some mothers have been called away to their lasting home. I never knew so many to have them before down at Remington now in many families, my house is all plastered this spring it cost 42 dollars and 80 cents four nice rooms upstairs and a good warm kitchen in winter our seller keeps our milk and butter good and cool, our spouting put up around the house it cost 22 dollars and 15 cents 1/2 cents per foot I guess we will have cistern water in abundance if it will rain every other day as Rowly used to say. Oh Polly if you could or would stop over and see the old place and the improvements since you left we have 8 or 10 acres more new ground in corn this spring we have near 100 acres land under cultivation all in the woods when you left here our wheat about here has a great deal of cheat some has cut it for hay ours is light also our grass is thin on the ground our corn looks fine they have worked it over twice we are feasting on cherry pies have more now than ever before in the state I have 32 young turkeys Some is cutting wheat today if it is sunny my boys is out today after our houseware. John and myself went to North Vernon and got some furniture 2 steds 7 ½ cash set of chairs 2 rocking chairs one lounge one wash stand and a lot of tin ware got 15 cents for butter, it only 7 and 8 cents now in Scipio but oh such times now wheat 50 cents for new wheat I have felt so bad about the war that I could hardly sit down with needle in hand to do a little sewing so many of our neighbors and acquaintances gone to the field of battle David Days only son has gone Aunt Sally Harders son Wilders son young as he is has gone Titus Hentons oldest son I expect you will remember their parents I got a letter from one of my nephews at Camp Dennison he had enlisted for 3 years he was to see us last winter poor fellow I may never see him more, now almost knight so I must quit now Thursday morning believe becca is going to Scipio my children well I believe our neighbors also we had a very open winter no snow of any use to slay ride but plenty of ice our rode is open to the township line we have built a house on the south line for a tenant Dear friends good bye my best respects to one and all rite soon. R. Wilkins
we have hived 40 swarms of bees in 11 days.

10 August 1861
Jennings County,Indiana

Dear friends I will not wait for answer from you. I expect you would be glad to hear from your Sister Mary she is very poorly the 10 of last month they got her here to Toms, Charles Phebe and Egbert all went and moved her I went to see her the next day on the 11 we expected she would get better in a few days after she got rested and good nursing but Oh Polly we are all born to die. I was to see her this week again. I took her two ripe apples she scrape half of one and eat it she craves vituals to eat when she gets it oh I cant eat as I did Phebe says she had no appetite to eat she is very poor in flesh she has failed since she has come here she talks in a wisper her oldest girl is 15 the next one is six this month he has sandy hair curls all over her head her other girl is 8 or 10 months old the Irish man keep it she said she could not wait on herself so they give up the child the Satterday night before she came here her man got mad and abused her and the oldest girl was in liquor that you know is nothing for the irish Egbert went on Sunday the constable had him in custidy for his ill treatment poor Mary got up out of bed to save her daughter forgot she was sick he turned upon her the neighbors came to protect her she was so frighten she has been worse ever since he was willing for them to move her away the two Thadama boys is makeing their home at Toms' one of them has been to the war three months volunteers is all to meet at Vernon today to march my folks is all gone Oh is it not heart rending to think or hear about so many deaths on the battlefield J Waldorf has enlisted this very week another went to Indianapolis so many mothers left to mourn their absence Betsy Waldorf now had 3 little children they all three died with the flux the two last was both burried one day several cases around there old L. Miller has burried two, three more of the family has it Mrs. Waldorf has been quite sick but is better our neighbors are all well I believe as far as I know we have had a long droutt corn is backward now for a week past we have had several showers my cistern is full our cattle in old Jennings has a disease among them that is pretty bad they get very poorly doing without food but I have not herd of but two or three dieing with it none of ours has it yet this trouble with us has put a stop to all kind of business and ware or when will it come to a close none an tell has your son gone to the thick of battle, Davis Days only son is gone again and many others of the three months volunteers Egbert is talking of going but has not gone yet. I have got some apples and nine gallons of blackberries canned up this the 2 of you must not scold because I did not send this sooner I was waiting to see how Mary got and she is better for 4 weeks past John and becca went to see her last night becca staid til this morning she is up and can walk about some please rite soon my best respects to one and all. Rachel Wilkins

27 October 1861

Dear Polly I will now try answer your welcome letter wich I receive a few days after date we have all been to meeting today John and Hannah gone to set up with a sick child on your old farm some 8 or 10 weeks they have been watching her we had a very good meeting today Mrs. Silver and Sally Handenon Silver and Lilus Silver came home with us to dinner John Griffith leads in singing if you would come to our meeting for one week from today you would see a great change in Scipio or the people we have a very excelent minister now a Presbyterian to that church I am a member Polly will not you think strange of that, for it was news to my self but it had to be so or is so I feel at home and sattisfied with the change but oh it was a tryal I do know Thought to have rote sooner but time rolls along so fast I have been in trouble of mind both my son in law and grandson enlisted. Gary was to move back home again yesterday week they left and went in to camp at Seymour stayed one night company not full they came home again. Egbert was in company week before last I was in Seymour and in the camp some five hundred soldiers there it is quite a nice town some good buildings. A better location than North Vernon. Dear friends I have to say to you that your Sister Mary is no more she died the 10 of last month she almost died sitting up in bed she requested to be buried at Queensville if not there she did not care ware the yard there is full some time ago she was buried here at Peter Hulsers grave yard her little babe died before she did. Flanagan and his security has both gone to the war. The last time I went to see her she said I must come again I took her a piece of dried beef I did not get to her funeral it rained all day nearly they had a baptist to preach her funeral Phebe has been quite complaing since her death I don't know [how] Phebe held out to wait on her as she did some of Mary's old acquaintnance went to see her she new them all that I heard of she said I myself looked just as I used to look only my hair was changed but you know I must feel olden I am now in my sixty fourth year since 23 day of September on that day John and me went to a young man's funeral Solamon Mays son the day before was at large concourse of people to Davidson funeral both taken in to the church I believe our neighbors are general well as far as I know we dried 5 bushels of peaches 1 ½ of apples cand 10 or 11 bushels of peaches put up 8 gallons of pickled peaches we have more fruit put up than we ever had at one time but our corn crop is quite short now near nine oclock I have rote all of this tonight by candlelight so good night. Friday morning November first finds me seated with pen in hand yesterday John and myself went to North Vernon to market with 37 1/2 of butter 2 dozen chickens pickle pork and lard 11 cents for butter chickens one dollar a dozen 7 1/2 and 8 cents pork 7 1/2 for lard I expect you will remember Elden Story that he had a lame son he died the old man married his sons widow they are both liveing in the same place several years ago Joseph Powel jr had gone to war old Jo is very cross to his family they all left the house his wife says she must enforce him she cannot put up with his conduct any longer she says he does not pretend to do a hands turn not to put a stick under the kiln to dry peaches after they had carried it up to the fire they say they are very hard run to live although Peggy Ann does all she can for a liveing some is selling cattle for one and half cents per the gross hogs 2 1/2 cents per lb gross I hope this will find you all well as this leaves us at this home I want you to rite soon so I will close with my love to you all R. Wilkins

12 May 1862

Dear Polly I will now try to answer your most acceptable epistle I was glad to hear you was all well wich I cannot say we are all well 10 of March John Green came home from the army sick he was very sick none of us thought he would recover her is now most well again after he got better Hannah was sick but no fever the Doctor was to see her three times and before she got up my grandson John Lefevers was taken down with the typoid fever same as his uncle J. Green had he is up now and has a craving appetite I don't know as we ever had such a time before in my family we hear of sickness and deaths. I have a sister liveing over Sand creek she buried their 2nd son 7 of last month. I was there when I got your letter J. Green buried a brother last week of fever yesterday he was to of been married yesterday I went again to visit the sick at C. Toms. I found some 6 or 8 of our neighbors there I thought to rite after they got better the doctor was there said they was all better but they all look bad enough to me Egberts wife has been quite sick five weeks to day the doctor first went to see her Mary Ellen White lay in the other corner. Mary Toms on a trunnel bed Egberts little Ida has been very sick got better was worse yesterday their baby John Charles Toms is fat and hearty and so is Marys little Josephone they have both been there since their mothers death and poor Phebe was on another bed she seems to be worn out and had some fever she has had hard time sure and will have I guess I could tell you but I guess not by pen and ink you wish to know if E had gone to war you will be a little surprised to know his father is gone E was home on furlow 5 days last week they have been gone 5 months they are in the fiftieth regiment they have no garden products in at all except a few u[o]nions they have a little plowing done their man is sick now cannot put his own corn in F. Sprout [Amos' son] is in the same regiment he is now here not able for duty he has something like a tumor growing on his neck not well otherwise his mother' farm has no improvement what ever I guess your aunt Saly [Eastman] is quite spry in her old days she can walk up to Toms and not complain of being tired her girls all married and died they have no heirs living. J and his wife parted Wm. Tyler is liveing about Vernon I believe. John Griffiths has one daughter married 3 more grown their oldest son is from home to work the girls all stay at home John can't pay his debts his property was set off to him a short time ago their clothing was all appraised all his property only amounted to about 2 hundred dollars his farm he gave to the railroad company as many others did also this war makes hard times for a great many our officers has been pretty busy for some time they are here after B. Sutton every few days he lives on the hill in the same house you lived in, the wheat looks well the ground is very dry no rain for some weeks, we had a very open wet winter and March was a great deal of rain we had no snow scarce a tall not any to slay ride on I think you must have a better country than we have our wheat was very light last year corn was also now another clear day we have had no rain in three weeks all in a bustle to get their corn in ground is very dry two wool bees next Satterday we have more or less of them of late years and more log rollings this spring than is common the boys and oxen was out five days in one week it was so wet they could not plough, becca is at home this summer she is tired of being in the school house she is resting at quilting five to quilt and two to set together becca and Sue Brown went up at Toms last knight poor Loisa Egberts wife seems is no better she got up and fainted took three to get her on the bed again little Ida is worse had a hot fever Phebe no better she is very much discouraged and quite sick they have but a small room for so many sick ones and a back shanty they used for a cooper shop, they use it now for a kitchen. Elijah S. Knapp was to visit them prayed with them and gave her Phebe one dollar. I hope to be excused for waht I have said, it is the trick I don't want to hurt anyones feeling. I do not like the doctor they have as a physician he cannot treat them right my boy had the same kind of fever I fear that you will get tired of reading this unworthy epistle in that love that has no bounds farewell dear Polly my best wishes to one and all rite soon Phebe has not saw the two last I told her some of the particulars and she was quite affected and glad to hear from you. R Wilkins you wanted to hear all the news I have more but not now.

26 January 1863
Mutton Creek
Jennings County Indiana

Dear and most respected friends I am now seated in my room to answer your most welcome letter. I had to think you did not got my last letter we are all well except bad colds I expected to of answered your letter before now but it was put be to let you know about the wedding John Wilkins was married to Susan Sturges last Monday at 6 oclock in the evening she is a sister to P Clark they own your old farm the Hughes farm 8 or 10 went from here started early in the morning was knight getting down to her fathers about 26 miles in Jackson County next day they was dark coming back to my house they had a merry time for they played all knight several did not get any sleep for two knights 47 or 48 eat supper here N Eveleth wife and son was here also my nearest neighbors both young and old Polly is not John old enough to marry he was born in June 1827 his wife is about 28 I believe they say she is last one taken from her parents none left at home with them, I expect they will stay here with me. I cannot tell how we will get along together it had been a trial for me to think of my soninlaw J. W. Green has got his discharge from the service is teaching our school four months one dollar per day he has bought the place ware John Brown lived when you ware hear 80 acres 1000 log and frame house 5 rooms frame barn about 30 bearing apple trees 50 acres cleared they moved up there last week Sary has got the smartest sweetest little girl, Rebecca is teaching a four months school 1 1/2 miles from Queensville 95 cents per day she has a full school John also had a full school 50 odd names on his list, on the 15th inst poor old father Snowden was burried here by Peter Hulses he was quite helpless through the summer none of us neighbors went to the grave yard it snowed very hard all day and knight a foot deep on the level that you know is a deep snow for us it fell after raining pretty hard so it soon disappeared, now 1 oclock in raining all day and all knight we have a very open winter so far, we had a dry summer but a very wet winter some could not get their seeding done till very late in the fall although our corn crop came in good we had 3:11 bushels of wheat this summer. Phebe has been here twice lately her and myself both shed tears over your letters she was glad to hear of your doing well she is in trouble about Charles he has been in Indianapolis at the Soldiers home a long time with a lame back three weeks ago she came here to have John to go with her to see him he was better then a short time since he had orders to go in the gard house or go to his regiment, Egberts father and F Sprout with some others was taken prisoners perhaps you see it stated in the papers that a part of the 50 Ind was taken prisoners they have been home since Egbert and wife was here on a visit he said he saw a man in the army that had been at your house and was well acquainted with you Egbert is a fine looking man since he has been in service he is several pounds heavyer than before he favors the Sprout family, he has a good looking little woman for a wife they have two children Ida and John Charles she has lately united with the babtist church at Queensville with several others in their sickness last spring they all got well again I thought maybe I was saying too much about them so I did not tell you quite all Phebe was in a good deal of trouble about being put off their little home wich is only as I have said before only 10 acres three claims on it more than it will pay I guess she expects to be turned out to look a home someware. I have herd nothing about it for along time they came home with money perhaps they have redeemed it I guess they are geting along very well now. Mary Ellen White left there last fall and is liveing with her father's sister she rites she is very well satisfied with her new home, Phebe Sprout has left Joseph Smiths her mother wanted her to stay there she went to uncles one of the Jaynes she is staying with a stranger she is about 15 years old F Sprout 17 years old Harris Eastman buried their babe last fall they have 3 sons living buried 4 children their eldest girl was burnt to death by her clothes taking fire at her grandmothers while she was gone to the spring for a bucket of water I cannot tell you their ages two of them is going to school.
Thomas Johnston died last August he owned all the Johnston tract of land about 5 hundred acres he willed Peter Hulses brother Davis 100 acres here on the creek west to Simon Wimple the balance goes to James Johnston Jane Griffith and Peters children old Joseph Edminster is liveing yet he has got a buggy he drives that bald face horse that you have seen running about here when you ware here some four or five years ago he united with the babtist church here I also have that gray horse the boys bought of Mrs Dean he does his share of plowing corn last summer I have drove him to the buggy a great many times and has been my riding horse Oh Polly I must tell you some about our neighbors old aunt Judy used to say what a good neighborhood we had long before she died she says I cannot say so now I never knew the likes in a place, Mary Lithtect a sisters daughter to Mrs Waldorf 24 years old had an heir on the 26 of last month and here is Het Baty on the section has her second one, and the Dean family a connection to the Baty family two of them has had 3 apiece since they came here from Ohio that tribe has left here last spring but not so far but what we hear from them and no good report is heard of one of Clinton Deans daughter Mary east of us she is away from home and has been for some time her father is in the same reg the fiftieth with Charles and Egbert my grandson left us last August my soninlaw a W. Brown and nearly all of our neighbors left for the battle field they are the 82 they was in the battle at Murfreesboro but not one of them hurt Waldorf soninlaw ben George had his hat blowed off John Green brother was wounded in the shoulder he is in the 37 it was made up about Vernon Oh my boy I do miss him so very much he was always such a good boy always willing to do and was always interested as much as his uncle John Allen has been home 2 months or more he has been very sick and is not able to go back now, but he says he is going next week Oh dear is it not to bad to think of so many young and inocent to fall on th battle field that hardly know what they are doing or what they are fighting for but oh how glad I would be to hear of peace some way or other so many mourning their near and dear relatives gone never to return to their once peaceful homes. Polly the old grave yard is under fence at Queensville now full some time ago several tombstones set up in it, the railroad is a little north of the pond of water but it is dry two years past in the summer season the town exteries on north, I saw Mrs John McGehan their son would go to the war he got the fever he got some better it fell in his head he was taken to the asylum she was afraid he would never be any better I have not herd from him since I would like to tell you I had a new carpet I have rags cut and sewd to make a long peace but cotton is too high I made a short peace of janes and 17 yards of flannel, wheat is up to one dollar now we have sold none yet corn 40 cents pork 425 butter 15 cents eggs 10 to 15 cents potatoes 50 to 60 cents per bushel we cut no oats last summer two years they have been injured with the rust that they was not worth cutting I am glad to hear you have abundance of fruit it is not so here yet I have seen better cherries here the last two summers than I ever seen before I did used to think we could not raise wheat here but it is not so for we have good wheat. B. R. Sulton said there was over two thousand bushels of wheat raised here in view of your old house on the hill this last summer, now past 9 oclock I am left in silence except the sound of the clock, the cessor was here last week John personal property was over 12 hundred dollars my own nearly 8 hundred it has not varied much since I have been left a widow our taxes is not as high as last year by 8 or 10 dollars Oh Polly what must I quit for I guess you will get tired of reading if I cant rite as some do I would like to rite better Polly I can say thee and do generally talk that way to my children I can truly say it was a trial for me to leave my good old church to join another then neither would have been so had I been in their settlement I did not feel satisfied as I was I am very well satisfied as I am Do you belong to any church I think you have not told me when you spoke of Rowley going to it minded me of my dear son that is gone before me So I bid you good knight with my best wishes and rite soon Now 10 oclock and the 28 from R. Wilkins to Polly Sprout.

7 February 1864
Jennings County,Indiana

Dear friends I will now try and answer your letter. I am now left in silence except the sound of the clock. John and wife has gone to visit her mother. Hannah and little James has gone up to Seth Greens. Becca is there - she has been sick two weeks tomorrow. She had to leave her school - she is teaching in the same house ware she taught last winter. She gets 1.20 per day - nearly all in this township gets 1.25 per day. Polly I have been visiting this fall. Hannah and myself had a long visit in Ohio - we was there when your letter came to me, Becca and me went to the Ohio State fair - was gone one week. Visited several familys and only one half day in the fall. We had a very good time and the wether was also fine - from Warren Co., Ohio I was up in Clark Co., Ohio to see our old farm and neighbors - quite a change in 25 years, many gone never to return - our old farm is worth 50 dollars per acre it did not look as though I had ever lived there - the hazel brush is all gone it is all in timothy meadow except the timber 268 acres. I expect you will know that our land here in Jennings is not worth that price, several 80 acre lots has been sold here for 1000 dollars improved and some not. Oh Polly what a time we had drying and caning peaches - we dried some 10 or 12 bushels and apples also and plenty in the seller, they all say our peach trees is all killed by the hard freezing New Year's night and a deep snow. We had some good laying snow I was out to Scipio and to Handenburg on it. Our early frost killed I believe everything that was green the last day or night of August. Some said we would not have a grain of corn to plant in the spring to grow but as it is, it is selling at 80 and 90 cents per bushel, wheat 120, potatoes 75 to 100 dollars, butter 18 to 20 in store, eggs 20 cents now, more sickness last summer south east of us than ever was before mostly flux. Mrs. Eveleth was very low her husband and grand child was all down with it. C. Hulse buried his wife. Andrew Hulse had buried one of his children living on the John Gultry farm. I hear of several deaths north east of us. I believe our neighbors is well except Mrs. Hartman living on the Plummer farm. Polly I will tell you about the Muster family but I cannot tell you anything good - they have had 2 or 3 dances there in your mother's house - about 2 weeks ago they had one all the boys got Drunk and ended in a fight pretty near killed one fellow so they had to haul him away. The word is that it is going to court - this is the way the upper tens is conducting themselves - their parents is very much hurt about their sons. Benson Curtis's daughter was brought home across from Ohio - her brother or brothers away at such a place - she was at Oxford College. Jane Wilkerson's daughter is there going to school. Phebe Sprout was not there, I guess she is now at her uncle T Jaynes or was New Year's. I have not saw her but they say she is as tall as her mother has red hair she was going to school. S M Green built a nice school house on the widow Dean farm and is teaching it. Phebe was going to his school or expected to of went. 3 o'clock, Hannah is home - Becca is better - going to her school next week. The 11 we have had company all the week - a good old Methodist cousin from Iowa she was here 3 weeks last summer - her and her two children has been to Ohio on a visit. Phebe and her family is well as far as I know. I have not saw her this winter. They made a road choping got enough to do them all winter. They have paid some on their little home so I hope she will have a home if it should be that her husband and son should never return. Oh this great rebelion what is to become of it and when will it end. My dear grandson fell and is no more at the battle of ChatanogaOhio. Oh dear Polly he was such a good boy always so bidable - he was as near as one of my own children. Many many good men fell in that hard battle. One of our Bikley boys was cut and died in the hospital of sickness. Hyram Waldorf was the young man in our neighborhood. Miran Eveleth died on the boat coming home. Doty's son got home they was in company no one has much idea of his getting well - he got home last October. Polly I guess your man is mistaken about my size - when I was in Ohio I was on the scales twice - my weight was between 165 and 170 - one year ago it was 167. I have never never had my miniature taken but twice. If I live I will try and get one this summer and send you one. I would like to have yours. I can go over to Toms and see Rowly or an imitation that resembles him very much - it is Herman. I have just read over your letter. Mary Ellen White's address is Seymour, Jackson County, Ind. She is with her uncle there near town and it is quite a town about 2 miles south of Rockford. I expect Rowly will know ware that is. A rail road passes there from Columbus intersects at Seymour Ohio and Mississippi road. Egbert's wife has Mary's other little girl - expects to keep her - she is very fair skin light hair and very curly and is quite fleshy - you must not scold because I have not riten sooner your mistledid not stop me atoll. I have been quite busy since our return home and had several letters to rite and time goes so very fast. Today I am left all alone again - our little boy is at school. Hannah has gone to Handenburg - it is very near south of us on the rail road - it runs north of Judge Whitcomb's house. John Griffith's and family has all moved to Illinois last fall - poor John did not go for 2 or 3 weeks after his wife and Jasper they seem to talk as though John lived with Jasper and his mother. John worked out this summer by the day and his son at home - their eldest daughter is married - they went also - John's brother give them all they can make she said maybe they would raise enough to eat for they never had yet. Nancy Jane Powel has her second man this winter - she has married a widower with 5 children - I forget maybe only 3 - his name is Bonon by Vernon he has a good home - they say she has no children. Israel Whitcomb has moved Wisconsin. Oh hom I would like to havea bowl of those huckleberries and cream to see if they would taste as good as when I was young and in the State of New Jersey. I never saw any since all the wild fruit we can boast of is blackberries. They was plenty last summer - peaches was very plenty also selling green from 25 to 40 cents per bushel. I sold my turkeys at 50 cents, each chicken at 1.50 to 2.00 dollars per dozen. I have sold all my cattle off except 6 head - my oxen went at 65 dollars - they waslarge but old. John and lady lives in my kitchen. I see it is not a very good way of living we have made a kitchen of our bedroom on the porch. I must tell you about T. Wilkerson - he has had the rents and profits of the old Tyler farm ever since the old man Tyler's death and Allen Tyler and him been in law ever since. Allen has got judgment against T. Wilkerson in the amount of sixteen thousand dollars. I have not herd what is done since Allen gave his lawyer half of what he would get. Mary's stepson James Thadama married Nate Butler's widow - they live or stay in Columbus Ind.I believe I told you that he went and left her with one child and she is said to be a very industrious woman - four old and new stores now in Scipio. M. Butler is one of them, doing a great deal of business there on the rail road - has the post office. This morning the 11th, Harris Doty died - his oldest sister has the consumption - they have said they thought she would go before him. Oh Polly if I could rite you a better letter I should take some pride in so doing but do please look over mistakes. So good by for this time - my love to one as is hoping to hear from you. R. Wilkins

9 August 1864
Jennings County,Indiana

Dear Friends, as I am left to keep house today I woul try and pen a few lines to far away friends but nothing very interesting but I am always ready to brake a seal of a letter my health has been quite poorly all the spring two weeks past I feel much better my children is all well Euphemia has a son four months old we had good staying last winter I was not out all winter not off the place for six months. Oh Polly you spoke of robberies in your state I never heard of so much meanness as we have with us four men or boys went and destroyed Toms bees upset the hives they do not know as they will have 2 out of 4 bert says we will know who they are when court comes on, Tom Wilkersons store has been broken open twice about 3 weeks ago. A drunk man in day light got to throwing clubs at his store one of boys shot to scare him he still pelted away so they shot to kill with shot gun but he is yet liveing they say he will not see if he gets up again, no body blames them for shooting, we have so many little dirty tricks in our neighborhood it is not so it was when you ware here and for 10 years after you left and here is our neighbor Sutton that lives ware you did on the hill got a letter before they burnt his mill now just got another letter that he is to die in 6 months if he does not leave we have a set here that has got mad at him I guess they will suffer before they are aware of it perhaps, Fulton is a man of property and a great trader in stock. George Swarthout that owns the big new mill at Scipio got a letter to the same almost that his property would be burnt if he did not leave in 6 months he gave John the letter to read he has no idea what it was come for. I thought I would say no more about mishief but tell you about Sarah Galtrys she was now Mrs. Wm. Dean them and the Hulses cant agree no way Dean is accused a great deal of bad doing their children went in our grave yard and broke C. Hulses tombstone down and tried to turn over Old Tom Johnston monument it cost 125 dollars Peter Hulse saw them doing what they done they live on the hill the land you sold to Powel old J Powel has been back to live with his wife again but she said she supported him as long as she expected, their acres is sold for taxes your aunt Nancy had quite sick spell this spring last for some time and poor George McGchon is no more died in the asylum he was burried here at Queensville the 15th day of May last, we have several deaths time back I believe it is quite healthy now four grown people died in Scipio, billy Waldorf is very feeble has made his will their girls is all married their youngest Jack Brown so they have two Brown girls married brothers. I hear Frank Sprout says this the last year for the Muster family on the old place. I have got my bit of dinner today is the sabbath school celebration out to Burnsville 9 miles north of Scipio 5 or 6 schools to meet there the Scipio brass band to accompany them oh my pen T Wilken has a piano for his daughter she has been 2 years at college They all say we have good wheat this summer our meadow very heavy and good oats we need rain now to bring out a good crop of corn corn in general looks very uneven and a bad color, I forgot to tell you Mrs, Egbert has they say a big girl call her for both grandmothers Phebe Elizabeth the 2 familys is all together in bert's house. Mary tried to get a school but did not succeed I think she is too near sighted she was capable other ways poor girl she does not look rite out of her eyes holds her head side wise to read she is not a bad looking girl. I hear nothing of Phebe. I guess she is in Vernon, my love to one and all. I hope this will find you all well as it leaves us hopeing to hear from you soon. R. Wilkins”

2 March 1865
Jennings County,Indiana

Dear Friends, I will now commence to answer your letter. I was glad to hear you was all well except bad colds. I don't know as I have anything of very much importance or interesting. I have been visiting distant acquaintances and relatives. I can't knit or sew yet with my lame hand I hurt it last fall about 3 weeks that I lay on the lounge without endjuring myself no rest day or night with pain in my left hand it is quite crooked now and smaller than the others my hand has been very stiff but they are much better except the one fore finger my hired girl was back to see us she said it was a fine thing something had happened to me to keep me from work but Oh I had rather work all the time than to suffer as I have my hired girl left in the fall about 3 weeks before I hurt my hand I done all I could to far [spare] our hannah we was afraid she would get sick again then she had all to do and me to wait on besides but she got along very well she is not stout as she was before she was sick her doctor bills was 57 dollars I hope I may never experience another such a summer we have had a number of deaths old Charles Griffith died about one year ago his widdow died this summer with the flux Mrs Cone also died this fall they both lived in Queensville The old man Kilden died some 3 weeks ago and Mrs Maynard four weeks ago some 3 or 4 in Scipio, and now Peter Hulses only child by his present wife is in a very singlar case of sickness. I was to see her today I never saw the like some say it is the St. Vitus Dance one week today she began to jirk she is 17 years old, old drunker French of Scipio has been tending on her 6 weeks, today the water doctor was there again now Monday 6th yesterday at 2 oclock we all went to Peter Hulses to pay the last respects of their daughter quite a number there for the roads is almost impassable we have had considerable of snow here this winter. I was out twice to our big meeting 12 united with the church we had a very good meeting our minister was called to preach uncle Ethen Wilders funeral they all liked him so well at Handenburg the corpse was taken to the old babtist church so he could preach 3 or more there before he left, Joseph Edminsten is yet numbered with the liveing but he is very feeble. I saw both the Mrs. Tombs yesterday at the burial they were all well their men got home on New Years day well and hearty, both holidays I was at J Greens waiting on Sary she has her 2nd daughter born on the 25 of December. I saw her yesterday her babe name is Laury Amy she looks fat and sweet they have 3 little ones now it does not seem possible does it Polly here just the other day as it ware she was in our arms my soninlaw Brown was in the army over two years he could not stand the marching got his discharge moved to Scipio partner with M. Butler selling goods June 64 the officers was sent to Nashville for rest then sent for their wives. Mrs. Brown with others was gone about 3 weeks at 7 dollars per week. Euphemia has a daughter one week old I have not saw it yet Her other little girl would of been now in her 9th year if she had of lived they only have two now their son is a big boy becca hardly knows what she will do this summer or rather locate herself as they have left Handenburg she has bought two lots there but no house on either she has had all she could do the two past summers she is geting tired of teaching school we had nearly all female teachers here this winter 125 per day and board themselves all publick money all ready for them as soon as their scool is out old Tom Wilkerson built a stileish looking brick house he says it cost him five thousand dollars it is now standing idle his son lived in it a short time the house he built for himself is only one story built some years ago since you left.

Before 17 December 1865 - Perhaps September??
Jennings County, Indiana

Charles Griffith is no more John Griffith has burried one of their grown daughters in Ill Harris Eastman has burried his wife she was a Cavell down by Vernon her father lived Harris married a woman with one child in six weeks lacking one day after his wife died the old folks thought every thing of her they lived in the same yard with his father and mother the one he married they say has got the Tillman spunk Roderick Griffith married sister I suppose they do not live as they aut to by a good ways but that is no reason for why Harris should not live agreablely with his wife his youngest child is sick but it is out of danger now so the doctor said yesterday she was not sick but a few days her children was all sick when they got better she was taken with the same disease and died very soon I think there is not much sickness with any of our neighbors at this time my sister and my son and his wife and two of theirs was here last month from Ohio on a visit to see they was sent for to see hannah wile she was so low but we did not have much good of their visit in such a time I will try and get my picture this fall as we have no chance nearer than Veron I will try and send it when I get it if I live to have it taken we have been very dry her corn is very short and great deal of it is fired we have had some rain now of late but to late to help corn much I guess it is not done yet or at least I hope not our garden is all burnt up in a maner we have very good oats, what prices and as you say every thing geting higher wheat 160 corn 100 dollars butter 25 cents eggs 12 ½ Muslin and prints high enough sure harvest wages generaly 2 dollars per day in my last letter I forgot to boast over my nice quilt it is called very pretty but I guess it will not get quilted under these present circumstances I've quilted a compass work one before Susan got sick I have 5 more ready to join but they will be as the other my fancy one some calls it the bewildered star it is all put together as you go, wool is 90 to 100 dollars they say I have not sold any yet but I have not got much but I will have several pounds for I have used but very little in 3 years I have it put away never expecting it to be the price it now is John and becca has gone to Columbus and every one else nearly and it is about for the boy to go and meet the train so I will bid you good afternoon with my best wishes to one and all hoping to hear from you again R. Wilkins I forgot to tell you all my children took your picture to be my dear cousin of Iowa she was her last summer about 3 weeks, a good old Methodist and her dear little Jon of 13 summers was a member. Oh he was so good he would scold his little sister when she would do wrong and did not mind her mother.

17 December 1865

Absent friends, I am yet numbered with the liveing I will now try and answer your letter of September 24th time passes so very fast I did not expect it would be so long before I should rite I was looking for a time to go to Vernon then had to wait for my pickture to come by mail and then had to send for them they all say they look very natural my boys has gone to an Irish funeral at Scipio poor man was cut in too by the saw I cannot say as you did about the health of our neighbors almost every family had their share in fact some families every one had the chills and fever and some the billious fever my family all kept well except my little grandson had fever I do think we never had so much sickness before since I knew the place none proved fatal in this neighborhood my daughter Mrs. Brown was very sick a long time her husband Tom had the chills and her the fever my children is all well and doing well I believe Charles has bought the old James Whitcomb farm it joins him on the east side there has been quite a stir of people selling and moveing west the old Paggett farm was sold this fall at 50 dollars per acre I expect Rowly will know ware it lies this side of Vernon. I believe the lots of North Vernon joins it on the east. Oh what a town it has got to be everyone seems to be very busy the day I was there all those vacant flats and wood cut away and all covered with scattered buildings Do you remember the red brige to go over to Vernon the Ohio and Missippio cars run under that bridge, last week Mrs. Hughes was here on a visit. I read your last letter to her she was so glad to hear from you I guess they are doing very well we went with her to Scipio 7 years since they left as we was going up past the Snowden lain why she said it looked like the Pararies as you said you would not know the place. I must tell you about our neighbor Toms I guess they well Mrs. Egbert has another son call him William they have good corn this season wile some of us had very short crops almost none John and me had to buy at 40 and 45 dollars each down in Jackson County it was so very wet in the spring people could not get it planted in time to wet to work it, our wheat was light also apples very scarce, hickory nuts never so plenty as this fall they say, a great many blackberries this summer, in Scipio they make about 20 libs of blackberry wine and ship many buckets to Indianapolis everything has been very high but all seem to be comeing down at present. I have sold this fall pickle meat at 25 cents butter 35 cents Rebecca is yet in Scipio makeing bonnets and pressing old hats they are all the go now or nearly so she has the praise in bonnets you may think I am boasting but I did not say so but those that has saw more of them than myself she has had help to keep up with the work two or three weeks behind then we have very cold wether now and snow and slet on the ground we have a female teacher this winter she is boarding with us she gets 1.35 per day, some districts they get 2 dollars depending. Dear Polly you wish to know how my hand became sour - I hurt it by helping to make a pen to put up my hogs to fatten I am often scolded for doing as I do but I love to work as well as ever I did. I oft times get very tired I cannot hold out as times profet my finger is quite crooked I have very little use of it in sewing I can knit first rate with it I have peace another quilt this fall I do wish you could see the quilt of that pattern I think you would fancy it so much for a scrap quilt I now have the 6th one nearly done all ready to join I must wait till calico comes down I have bougt short peace to have work to have pick up work I want to go to meeting next sabbath if I can but I fear it will be too cold for most, Love to go to meeting sunday week ago we all went to the baptist church herd a very good sermon they held close communion on that day I though it did not look very well, no Methodist church near here some 3 or 4 members in Scipio Mrs. Martin is one I think a very fine woman they bought the old Henry Clapp farm, no meeting at uncles Eastmans this many years. Phebe is from place to place poor girl no home to stay old Charley blames her mother for not haveing a home with her mother - her brother I know not ware he is working some place about here. Oh Polly please excuse me this time and I will try and do better next time I hope this will find you all well as this leaves us at this home. John is going to the office this afternoon. I wish to send this by him. Do fare well dear friends I will quit by doing my best wishes to one an all hopeing to hear from distant friends but not forgotten please excuse bad writing. I have rote but little for sometime. R. Wilkins [back of page] I have intended to send you a very good ink receipt - 10 cents worth of extract of log wood a small piece of Binkromate as large as it small hickery nut will make one gallon take rain water I suppose log wood is higher now put it in kettle over the slow fire stir it till come to a boil a little frexe does not hurt it You must tell me if you think my picture look natureal or not you know time changes all of us blossom for the grave sooner or later we all have to leave this world of trouble to a world of joy I hope we may be prepared to meet our Dear Savior when we are called.
Now there is no one going to the office. I will rite more....... Little Dave Hughes @ war when you knew him he is putting up a steam saw mill on the section so call I when you were here it is his now it is quite a good farm and a noble never failling spring. Oh Polly, what sisters he has. We never hear any good of them. I guess they live or may sometimes we hear of their being in Cincinnati and then in Indianapolis short time since the old folks had a fuss about one of the the old man left home came up here to Dave's just in his dirty clothes said he did not want to see his old neighbors as he was staid about 3 weeks so none of us did not see him. Dave has been in a mill south of Six Mile. Oh I must tell you about Mrs. Powell she left her old man last spring her son in law moved her things. Away he went to see told her he would die if she did not go back but she did not go his brother's son came and took him away I believe to Michigan. Hannah is going to the office now soon I must send you a peace of my new dress it has been several years since I have got one more than calico. I got Hannah a black silk. We milk four cows makeing butter it is 20 cents in Scipio 25 in North Vernon guess 15 cents. I have just made four blankets. I hope this will find you well as it leaves us wish you farewell this evening my love to you one and all. Hopeing to hear from you soon. I hope your little boy is yet well over his fall. R. Wilkins

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