February 19 1855 – Martha Haun to James Haun

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Martha Haun discusses her departure from Iowa and the possibility of joining her family in California in the spring.

February the 19th 18551

My Sweet husband,

I received your 16th letter of the 24th of December2 this evening. I leave W.G. Haun tomorrow for Georgetown. I will get home on Friday if nothing happens.

I wrote a letter to you last week and one to John a short time ago. In both of the letters I wrote to
 you that I expected you home this spring. I also wrote you all the news that I had worth writing. I write this merely to set you at rest about what I have said about your coming home. I do not want you to break off from a good business to come home before you have made enough to get us a home or as long as you want to stay. I want you to be the judge of what is best. You must know I want to see you and ought to know how to make allowances for my writing to you to come. I want you to do as suits yourself about it. I agreed for you to go and of course I do not want to hurry you back while you are making money and want to stay. I well know your life is not a paradise. That is the great reason why I write as I do; it is because I think you have a hard time and it makes me sorry–but if you had rather stay of course do so. I want you to be satisfied. Tell John he had better content himself a while longer if he is making money than to come back without it, for the times are very hard in Kentucky and there are a good many people a-breaking. Ben Finell for one. I got a letter from home saying that he was reported to be broke and had sold some of his property.

Now, do not be distressed or uneasy about me but do the best you can to make money and do just as you please and all will be right with me. Tell John to preserve a while longer. I will see what I can do as soon as I get home and if I can arrange my affairs, which I will certainly try to do, I will come immediately out. If I do go this will be my last letter. If not I want you to be your own judge when to come and not let any expressions I may make in my letters hurry you against your will. Should you not get a letter in a short time after you get this you may know I am on my way.

You will excuse this short letter. It is late at night and I have written it so as to counteract what I said in the last one I wrote you about coming home this spring as you requested me not to insist on your coming any more this spring. I do not want you to come under the circumstances you have presented. I think you would be wrong in do so decidedly. I am in good spirits when I hear you are well and doing well. So goodbye until you see or hear from me again.

Your devoted wife until death. My purest love to my dear boy,

M. Haun

P.S. Suppose I will start for California in April or the first of May. I just had a chat with Billy and he says start the first of May on account of the equatorial gales and he says that is the best month to be at sea. He encourages me to go, says I ought to go.

Metadata: Sender’s location: Sabula, IA | Recipient’s location: Nelson Creek, CA
  1. James Haun recorded the receipt of this letter in his diary March 30 1855.
  2. James Haun records the composition and mailing of this letter in his dairy of December 24 1854.