January the 6th 18541
My own Dear Husband,
I commence a letter to you with very little hope you will receive it. From your last I perceive you do not get near all my letters. I sent one by Emma Smith that was. She married a man from San Francisco by the name of Rings and left the same day for that place. The poor old man took it very hard.
You have no idea what a satisfaction your last letter was to me. I told some of the many inquirers about you, how you were doing, and it flew like lightning over the town. The people seem to take great interest in you. At any rate they are always inquiring after you.
We are all well. I have written three or four letters to you telling you all about my going to housekeeping. I presume you have gotten some one of them and it is useless for me to write anything more about it. I have collected very little money since you left and you know I had none. I found with the kind of Negroes I had—women and children—it would not do for me to board and rent a house for them. It would bring me deeply in debt in spite of all I could do, besides running the risk of loosing some of them by not being taken care of them. Kit will have another child this spring and Bet, you know, has always one or like for one. Kit’s child is just one year old and as a matter of course no one would give anything for her this year, so I have to keep her at home and try and make her do something. I have one day-boarder and intend to take more if I can get them, and I make her and Bet try to earn something that way. I have hired out Jim for twenty five dollars this year. I have not hired Wash yet. He is such a tricky mean rascal no one that knows him will have him. I am trying all the time to hire him. I will get him off after a while.
It has cost me two hundred dollars to go to housekeeping and lay in my wood and everything. Two hundred covers all my expenses and if you will send me that much I will not ask you for another cent while you are gone, for I know with an even start I can keep so unless some accident occurs. Remember I have a helpless family of children to take care of and Kit is having children twice as fast as ever Bet did, and you know I can get nothing for her to hire her out. It will make a fortune for some one a-raising there children for her and Bet will stock the town in a few years at this rate. So you see my independence is a slim one, the way I am situated, but if you can and will send me two hundred dollars I think I will not have to ask you for any more. Please send it if you can as soon as you get this. I do assure you I am trying to do the very best I can.
I know I get all the letters you write. I can tell by the way you write—
Jane Graves is here a part of her time with me and a part in Lexington with all of her
children a-spending the winter. They are all well. She sends her love to you John and Dave. I wrote a letter to you for Jeff Shepard’s sake. Tell me if you got it Isidore Burns sends his best respects to you and says, “tell him I have not nor ever will forget him.” I cannot tell you all that wish to be remembered to you, but almost everybody. Poor old brother Smith will have me read your letters to him and seems to feel a deep interest in you. Tom Barclay has brought Frost’s house and gave six thousand dollars payable in four years.
Oh, if I could only know tonight while I am writing this rest how you are, what a pleasure it would be. Eleven months of time has passed off. As long as you have gone there for the purpose of making money and have gone through so many hardships, try and preserver until you get enough to settle us well some where. Oh, how hard the separation—but if ever we are fortunate enough to meet again nothing on this earth will ever separate me from you again. I will follow you, go where you may. Oh how I long to see you, my own, I cannot express it—but when I think of you coming and having a plenty to situate us well and all being together once more it makes me bear it. I long for the time to pass off, for I feel lonely without you and ever will; it makes no difference how many people I see. I have lied with you so long that it seems almost necessary to my existence to have you with me. I do pray God he will prosper you and my dear boy, and from it me, and I pray to once more in this world clasp you to my heart and feast my eyes by looking at you and hear the sweet familiar tones of your voice. I feel like good old Simon, that then, and not till then, I could lay me down and die. Give my love to Dave and tell him to be sure to come home with you when you come. Tell John to write to me. Farewell my precious husband.
Your devoted wife until death,
|Metadata: Sender’s location: Georgetown, KY | Recipient’s location: Nelson Creek, CA|
- James Haun recorded the receipt of this letter March 28 1854.