March 24 1854 – Martha Haun to James Haun

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In this letter Martha Haun reports the unexpected return of David Haun to Kentucky. Dave had disappeared without a word from Marysville in January. 1 She also requests $200 from her husband to assist with household expenses.

March the 24th 18542

My Dear Sweet Husband,

I received your letter dated December the 28th, and, oh, how disheartened I am about writing to you when I hear you do not get my letters. I have written everything that I thought would interest you in the least and yet you have received so few of my letters that it discourages me about writing. I had been writing every week for some time before I got your last and had determined to keep it up as long as you remained out there but I have been discouraged from it by your not getting them. I have sent you several papers and the minutes of our state meeting.

Just one week after I got your last letter I was surprised early one morning before I was dressed by the arrival of Dave on the Lexington Stage. He had got to Lexington the night before. He said he could not get well out there so he come back to try and get well. He was twenty one days from San Francisco to New Orleans. He does not look as bad as I expected to see him, though he is thin. He says he is going down to Dave Lloyd’s to work and see if that will not cure him. He is certainly a singular fellow in his notions. It is not worth anyone’s while to feel any interest in him, for he will do just as he pleases. and does not appreciate kindness. He come back without money or clothes but he does not care anything about it. He says he can make as much money as he wants, he don’t want money. I see no way to ever make him right, only for everyone to be as indifferent about him as he is about himself.

Jane will start home in a few days. Graves has come for her. I told Dave if he would stay here  with me I would board him for nothing but he says he must go to work to see if he cannot get well.

I work myself. I have hired out Kit, Wash and Jim, so I have none but Bet and myself. I have rented all the house at a hundred and thirty dollars, and moved out the little dentist, and have taken Thomas Finnell and his family to board with me at five dollars a week. They furnish their own room and have their own negro to wait on them and furnish their lights. The dentist is a day boarder at a dollar and seventy five cents a week. Tom Burbridge will be a day boarder, but I myself do the work and have more satisfaction than if I had more negroes. I help to do everything myself and I feel better by it to keep myself busy, so I think I can live, if we all keep well. We did not start right last year and it took me all the year to get right.

I wrote to you for money. I do not know whether you ever got the letter. Kit will be confined very soon again. Whenever you think you want me to come out there write to me positively to come—for Tomas Kimill says if I want at any time to quit keeping house he will take the house off my hands. So if you want me to go, you must write to me to come. If you can get a few thousand to come back with in a year from this, I think you had better do so. I do want you to come back able to situate ourselves well. If you cannot do that I had rather go there, or I had rather you would stay longer, as bad as I want to see you, then for you to come back as poor as you went. There is always plenty of people to rejoice over other people’s disappointment. I think you will succeed. At any rate if you do not get enough to come back this year I think you had better come back yourself and arrange your business and take me with you—but I believe you will make enough to come home to stay.

I think I can pay my way now very well. Tomas is very obliging and gentlemanly to me. In fact, everyone is. I have no right to complain of any one. I am willing to go, or willing to do—any way for the best. Then, let us all three do the best we can for the present and do it as cheerfully as possible, believing we are doing it for our mutual benefit, and looking forward with delight tot he time when we shall all meet again.

Dave gave me a great deal of satisfaction about you and John. I thought I would not grieve as I had done about you anymore, nor I have not since he came, as yet. I do well know it is the best thing you could have done, but sometimes I would give the world if I had it see you. I can say of a truth I never knew how closely my very existence and all my happiness was centered around you. I look forward with so much pleasure to the time when we shall clutch each other in our arms again, never to part this side the grave. Keep in good spirits by thinking how happy we will be when we meet again. You must write me often and tell me all your prospects. D.H. Smith showed me a letter a day or or two since from you dated January the 28th.

Dave has gone down to Dave Lloyd’s. Lloyd Winter has been to see me. He is living in Illinois. He is a great big overgrown fellow. There is nothing new here that would interest you. John Lemon lost his wife last Sunday morning. She had a baby and left it ten days old, a boy. Poor John seems heartbroken. The Holtzclaws all leave this week for St. Louis. He leaves Pratt’s misses two hundred dollars as a  matter of course. It causes some talk. Henry Cozzens has come and brought up Kate’s remains and his baby is a very fine child.

Dave tell me you have to pay one dollar for a letter after I pay to Marysville. That is pretty tight. It is a poor solitary life I live without you, and as to real enjoyment, I do not know what it is but I have made up my mind.

Do not you or John cease to love me as well as you did when we parted. It seems to me that my love grows stronger the longer you are away.

Metadata: Sender’s location: Georgetown, KY | Recipient’s location: Nelson Creek, CA
  1. James Haun recorded receiving the news in a letter from his brother Henry in his diary entry of May 8 1854.
  2. James Haun recorded the receipt of this letter on May 21 1854.