Between Wayne County and Michigan

Jedediah and Mary (Pearsall) Allen resided in Sodus, New York, from about 1820 until their deaths in 1855 and 1856, respectively. They are both buried in Joy Cemetery. They had 12 children: George, Sarah, Wilson, Sidney, Charles, John, Eunice, Margaret, David, Matilda, Mary, and Julia Ann.

Matilda, who married Ambrose Brown, is my GGGrandmother. Around 1852 Ambrose and Matilda, along with their sons Henry and Thadeus, traveled by oxen and wagon from New York to Michigan where they settled in Galesburg. Thadeus died and was buried along the way.

The following letters (with the exception of the 3-8-63 letter, which gives a fascinating glimpse into the family's life during the War of 1812) were written by Julia Ann Allen to her sisters. Julia never married and lived with Matilda and Ambrose the last 25 years of her life. She died in Michigan at the age of 56.

These letters are transcribed exactly as written, with the original spelling and grammar. The only change is in punctuation in an effort to improve readability. Footnote numbers are in parentheses.

Barb Triphahn

December 1st [1853]
To: Matilda Allen Brown
From: Julia Allen and Mary Allen Calkins

There has been two men here from Marion to try to get the farm to work, but father(1) told them James(2) was a going to work it, if he couldn't sell it. Father has been to the Ridge(3) he bought some saleratus(4), and two chamber mugs for seventy. Now after writing that, Peter called in just Candle light, and Father give him the hogs heads & feet, and he took the tails.

2nd    Father has been over to the Blacksmiths, and got the money for the Apples, they had. John(5) was here he fetched my Acordion Book. Sidney(6) brought it down there, and Charley King brought it to his house, so I have got it now. Sidney has killed a beef today and so has John. 2nd Father bought some fore quarter of beef of Sidney. John fetched it here for him. I went to Jims and took the Acordion.

3rd    We went down to Alberts, I carried the Music along and then we had quite a concert. James come brought me home to night.

4th    We washed and boiled mince meat. They got a letter from Sarah(7) after I went away Saturday John fetched from the Ridge. Father brought it home from Johns just now and then I read it whilst i was eating an Apple. They are all well there.

5th    There is a going to be a great Meeting over to the School House next Wensday & Thursday, the Christians has it. Doctor Ostrom, and Wife, has come here to night to stay with us. They are a going to the great meeting over here.

6th    I thought that i would get a chance to go over with them so slick, but they said they shouldn't come back here, so my bread was all dough again, my luck though. Father has been over to Jane Pulvers after his coat. She didn't charge but six shillings(8) for mending it.

7th    It is very pleasant weather here now. Peter went by here & Father got him to help cut down some straw. Sidney come after the Bier to cary the hogs on he is going to kill tomorrow. Uncle Bert and Alferd has stoped here to stay all night, started for Lyons.

8th    Johns Brother Stanton come here this morning just as we got done eating for Father to sign a subscription paper for another Meeting House over to Joy. He signed but i dont know how much. Enoch Granger said that the Women of their Society had got up a sewing Society the proceeds to go towards a carpet for their church, and they wasn't going to have every boddy runing in with there dirty feet. Father had a writing drawn up for them to sign before he paid them. Enoch said he would fifty for his part, but when they come to see the writing there was one Clause that said the Sucsessors in Office, and they wouldn't sign it, so Father didn't pay. Jane, and Cornelia, and her Aunt come here a visiting. Janestay on a spell.

9th    James & Mary has come they got a letter from Margaret(9). Jane and I has been over to Johns I thought Moll would stay all night but when we come back she had gone off, she is to bad.

10th    It was so pleasant that we went up to the other House. Whilst we was gone Jane's Father & Mother come after her.

11th    I have made emptyings & baked bread. Father has been to the Ridge got some pepper, and nutmegs, and the News Papers.

13th    I see that I have made a mistake in the days of the month but this is right now I believe. I had to go to bed before breakfast so Father would go after Mrs Creeck to wash. She was gone but she is a comeing tomorrow. Charles(10) came after the sheep. Father was gone to the Blacksmiths, so he staid here an hour and a half I guess. There was a man come just noon to look at the Pigs and Cattle, and just as we got done eating Bill Fowler come. Father asked him to eat he said no but he walked up to the table and took a piece of pie just as if he had been to home now. Mother(11) has complained more to day than she has before in ten days. There has been twenty different people here to eat in two weeks. That suits Mother. Well it is enough to kill any one off to stay here as we do most always.

14th    Mrs Creek has been here and washed. Mrs Miller has been here a visiting. She is almost blind of her left eye. It come blind all at once. She says she can see a light spot as large as her thumb nail and that is all. Mrs Creek says her Jane is real smart and she has got such a good man to.

15th    Father has been to the Ridge he got a stick of salve & some sugar. He has been over to the Blacksmiths too to day. I have mended Cals coat & Pants, and bound Mothers shoes over to the heels. I have got my old woollen dress made over new.

16th    John has been over after the candle rods. They didnt have good luck with the moulds. Mother has got the sorest arm that I ever knew her to have where she burnt it. She says her head feels better. I am makeing netting for a living now.

17th    It is nasty fogy weather as ever was I guess. We have had about a dosen Indian Summers this winter. James come to go to Van Marters Vendue(12), and Mary has come here. If she hadn't she would got a scolding I'll bet a cent. It is raining to night.

18th    We have got lots of snow this morning. It is drifted some Father says. Mother says she never felt so bad as she does now. It seems as though she had lost the use of her limbs entirely. She can't get up out of the chair alone nor walk alone either.

19th    We have washed and just as we got done Jim come up with part of a sleigh load of oats so Moll had to go home. Mother feels better to day but she cant walk any better. Jeddy(13) had on short cloths, and shoes and stockings, looks funny. John was over here he had been over to Holleys and they had a letter from John Holley. He wrote that himself and Father & Mother lived on the old place yet and was doing well. Lucys and Janes and Ruths familys was all well. Martha died in 1851 with the Consumption. She left three Children.

20th    Mother isn't any better she dont walk one step without holding on to something. Sidney was here a few minuets. Till(14) you said i mustent be mad at them because you went off but i be, and i shall, and i will be.

21st    They have Deddicated the new Meeting House to day. John was over here. He says that he and Schult has drawn writings this morning, so he is sure he has sold now. Mother is very sorry for it.

22nd    They have had meeting to day again to the new meeting house. James has moved up to the other house to day again. John and Albert and Wallace helped him move. Father went down and brought Mary and the children in the Cutter. They staid here all night with us.

23rd    Mary has mixed the bread, and fried cakes, and helped do up all the work and now when Jim and Cal gets back from the Ridge we are a going up to the other house to work. Well now it is night and i have got back they have got to liveing.

24th    There has not been any school to day. Cal has had his boots mended. Father has been over to Johns. They was a greasing their harness. Rach(15) was up stairs to work. Mother is pretty well to day but I guess that she never will walk alone any more. We tell her she may as well laugh as cry about it. James had been to the Ridge, and wonder of wonders he has got a letter from Ambrose(16), dated the 15th of december. You wrote you was all well but you didn't write what Tille and Henry(17) was a doing, so now I won't tell you what I am a doing cause you see I hain't a writing. Well any way I won't tell you what Frisk done to day.

25th    It is Christmas but not a merry one here. I have been up to Jims a writing and I do hope you will get what we have wrote for I am sure we could not think of it all again in two months time there is such a mess of it. John was over a few minutes. Mother asked him if they was all well to home. He said yes. He said he had been over to the meeting house to meeting this afternoon. There is to be preaching every Sabbath at two oclock. He says they have got a very nice meeting house. They have got a sofa in the Pulpit, and three chairs that cost three dollars and a half apiece, and a centre table, and eight lamps, and the aisles is all carpted not in the Pulpit and all in front of the Pulpit and it is very nice, very.

26th    Father had the colic or something else last night. I got him some Wintergreen drops before i went to bed and then got up once and warmed some cloths and got him some pills to take. I wanted Cal to go after the Doctor but Father said no he couldn't do any good, so I went to bed most scart to fitses. This morning i wanted to dress Mother. No he could. He felt well enough only some sore. Sid was here. He had been to Johns. He said Rach hadn't slept much last night. No wonder I said _______ _________

27th    Mary had been down here to day whilst Jim was gone to Lyons. He took Caper(18) out to Armses(19) but Lawson was gone off south somewhers. If he concluded to take to go west and take the dog Charley would let Jim know. Mother has felt pretty smart today, but yesterday she got cold in her head and she felt very bad with it.

28th    I have been up to help Moll some about her Carpet. Five breadths just reaches from north to south but it lacks ever so much the other way. She says never mind when they get rich they will build to suit the carpet they will so they will. Mother staid alone while Father come up to Jims and whilst he helped Jim unload the last load of hay and then I rode home too.

29    Wells has been here and borrowed 15 dollars & Jake Andrews has been here beging for the Cooper at the Center. Father give one dollar and John J Allen come this afternoon. He had been to a wedding last night. John Todd and Miss Fish, Thomas Fishes daughter was married.

30th    Father has been to the Ridge John I rode down with him. He got some coffee for John. He carried it in for him. Rachel is raveing crazy. They have got her in the recess and got it boarded up. I don't know how long it has been so. Uncle Stephen(20) has come to see us. He says he has got tiered of waiting for Phebe to come. She is down to Johns yet he says.

31st    Father and Uncle Stephen has been over to Johns. They say that Rach talks all the time. Uncle Stephen says it sounds to him just like somebody a reading. They did not see Rachel. It seems he has got it boarded up tight and a door to fasten on the outside of it. Sidney was in there yesterday and she took hold of him and would tore his coat off, but John boxed her ears so she stopt. Wensday morning whilst John was gone to take the children over to school she burnt up a vest, and a pair of mittens and some Books. When he got in the house she had got some Cloths and Papers piled on the stove and the bottom ones was all on fire. If he had staid a very few minuets longer the house would been on fire. Father says the floor was burnt some, where John throwed the things off the Stove. Mary has come to stay all night and help me cook the old Gobler tomorrow. I wish you was here to help eat him. They think they can't wait for me to get maried you know. Never mind. Albert Pratt said he would let me have their old Rooster.

This from Julia Ann Allen, to A. M. H. Brown(21), good bye.

[The following portion was written by Mary Calkins]

Friday evening January 6th, 1854. Julia said last Sunday, that I must finish this letter and start it on, and it is now 7 oclock and i have just got the baby to sleep. It is the first time i have had to write any. This week, and my last week mending is not done yet. Julia received a letter this week, on wednesday that you wrote, the 6 of Nov, and we received one from Ambrose 2 weeks since, and we started one wrapper full on the next Monday. Rachel is herself again and the rest of us are all well as common. Sarahetta(22) has got the saltrheum and she scratches so much i have to put gloves on her hands nights, and to night when i put them on she says Mother, i will act naughty and you know the sound, I had to box her ears. i staid to Fathers Wednesday night. Julia went to Orin Parsonses to a paty. She said there was not but a few their, only about 64 eat supper. Julia and Judith Ann was here last evening. Now Matilda you need not make any excuses about writing or spelling. We can read all you can write, and we want you to write if you are pleased with the west, or if you are homesick or not, every one of you, and which way the road runs, and which way the shanty stands, and how many windows, and doors, it has got and if the sun rises in the East, West, North, or South to you, and we want to know 500 other things that we never shall know, and so you must write every thing you can think of and more too, and please write if you got all your things safe their. I am very much in hopes of geting the rest of those missing letters, now that Julia has got hers. Julia says that she will not go any where again, it makes so much trouble. Jim took Caper back to Abraham, W and he wants to keep him untill you can get him. How did he get away from you. Write what Henry says & does. Good bye Marys love to all if it will be acceptable.

[The following was written upside down between the lines] Sarahetta wants me to read Aunt Matildas letter to her every day. Jedediah can't but just wear them shoes that you gave him. Tell Henry for me to eat a quart of beech nuts.

February 19, 1854
To: Ambrose, Matilda & Henry Brown
From: Julia Allen and Mary Allen Calkins

February 19th 1854

I now take my pen to try to write to you again Ambrose, and Matilda, and Henry. I have not took a notion to right before and now there is strange things to write about. Jacob Brown is dead. He hung himself yesterday in their Barn, in the stable by his Horse. His mother found him first. He went out in the morning with some grain in a dish to feed the fowls and was gone so long that his mother went to see what was the matter and there she found him dead. She run in to Ben Millers room and Ben was off to work so his wife run over two Sids and he was gone out to the ______ mills. Then she went to Grangers and he was gone too so she went to Van Slikes. They was some of them at home so she got some help at last. Albert Pratt(23) had started to come here after some straw. He met Ikey(?) Wilson somewhere along by Charles Carpenters. He told him to hurry along for there was a man hung in Browns Barn. When he got there Granger and Vanslike was there too. They thought it wasn't best to take him down till they sent for a Coroner but Albert persuaded them to take him down and carry him in the house. The blood was runing out of his nose and mouth too I think he said. Albert said he never had such feelings in his life after they got him down. The wind come up off from his stomach. He said he couldn't help but think that he was comeing to life again. He took his linen to hang himself with. Albert says that his feet wasn't more than three inches from the floor. He says he could reached the manger just as well as not if he had tried. Jim was up there towards night. He says that the old lady is most crazy. She says she had warning enough but didn't think of any danger. She said that he had been to the Barn the most of two days this last week when she knew that there wasn't any thing for him to do. She asked him what he had been at. He told her he had been busy. Friday evening he took the Bible and began turning the leaves. He begun at the fore side and turned clear through the book. One day he went up stairs and whilst he was up there she heard him make a strange noise. She tried to look up by the stove pipe but she couldn't see anything was the matter. He come down pretty soon after that didn't say any thing about it. Father and Jim went up there today. Daniel Grandin was Coroner. Albert was one of the jurymen and Jim was one. I didn't hear who the others was. Merryman was the doctor. Jim & Albert come hear when they got through. Mary asked what they made out. They sayed they had made out that it was self murder and that was all that could be made of it. Father said there was no use of all that expence for nothing either. They had got him laid out before they come away. He had on his Cap and gloves, and he had on his overshoes over his Boots. The doctor said that his neck wasn't broke it was bent over to one side considerable. Jim says he looks very natural now. They found some writing in his pocket. It said that such money belonged to Reynolds at Pultneyville. They searched all over the Barn to try to some other writing or something else, but they couldn't find any thing. Albert says that they didn't look amongst the tin in his Cart but it is no ways likely that he would left any thing there. Ward says that he heard someone twiting him about the Chains up to the Ridge the other day to Election. He is to be buried Tuesday at ten oclock, the meeting at the Methodist house to the Ridge, 22nd and he is buried there by Parsonses. His Father was buried there by Wards School house. Granger told Father it was so wet there that they didn't like to bury there any more. Jim was in here Monday evening. He says that writing was in his trunk up stairs and not in his pocket and it was wrote in this way. You will find so many dollars in such a purse that belongs to _____ Anman at Pultneyville. Randolph Reynolds partner, Jim didn't remember his name. It seems now that Ben Millers wife tells that she seen Jake go in the Barn and fasten the door on the outside after him. About half past eight in the morning, and about nine oclock, she heard the horse a makeing such a fuss but she thought Jake was cleaning out the stable. They think that he had hung himself then, and the horse new something was wrong. She said the horse whinerd and made a terrible fuss, but she didn't think of any danger then you now. And then Mrs. Brown went in the Barn to feed the fowls about eleven oclock and didn't see any thing of him, then after noon she went to look for him and found him dead. She screamed so hard that Bens wife heard her. She helped her in the house, and then went to Sids and to Grangers. They was to home there and Minerva went to Van Slikes and told them. He must hung there about five hours Jim says. Olin says he must of done it to get rid of trouble, and he has certainly now I think.

23rd The first day of February Father bought two Calves of a Pulman, and Cal and Major drove them home. Father went to Tomas Harbertsons and got Ruth Fuller and her boy to work for us. We got my bed down that evening for me to sleep in after thist a spell. Thursday Ruth ironed after we got the work done up. I went to kniting whilst. After dinner she was sick and went to bed. She didn't get up to eat any supper. Friday she got up and dressed Mother. We made pies in the morning. Jim was drawing out wood for us and Father broke through the ice. He had to come in and put on dry cloths. Mary come down in the afternoon. Saraetta & Frank pieced bedquilt. They made some noise when they played. Ruth begun a bedquilt for me pieced in sawteeth. It is out of Mothers dark calico dress, and my light one, that one that was so darnd mean about hooking up, you know, Till. Saturday we got the work done pretty quick. Ruth put some pockets in a couple of aprons for Mother. I finished the other stocking of Fathers. Pauline and Sarah come here about eleven oclock, staid till after supper and then we went up to Jims and staid all night Sunday when Moll got her work done up we went down there all of us. Ruth didn't fetch her things when she come. We told her we was most sorry that we spoke to her about comeing now Mother had got so smart. She said that needn't make any odds. She said she didn't see as she could stay unless she could get a place for her girl, so I believe they concluded for Moll to take Laurie and Ruth to work here, or try it a spell. After we eat in the afternoon Jim and Moll and I and Sarahetta went and took Pauline and Sarah home. It snowed. Monday they went down after Laurie, and Ruths things. Afternoon Borodail and Tindle Calhoun was here to borrow money. I don't know how much they got. Tuesday we washed. Ruth seen to the dinner she baked beans. Father went to the Ridge. He got a letter from Sarah. They was as usual. She was very sentimental about things. Wednesday Ruth cut out some shirts for Cal. She said she would make them, but she had got so much to fix for Laurie to get her ready to go to Jims. I told her I would make them, so I asked Mother if I could go to Jims. She said yes. Just then father come in. He said Mary told me to tell you to come up there and stay all night so I put out. Thursday Jim and Father went down to Blosses, and Father bought a new milch cow. They brought the calf home and then killed it. That was _____ Friday I helped Moll iron and she fried some cakes. We got dinner early and then we went down home and I fixd(?) up and we stopt for Pauline and then we went to Phebes a visiting after so long a time. Pheb she took care of Jeddy whilst we went a trading. I bought a Deloine dress one and ten a yard and some cloth for a quilt border, and a money purse, and some darning needles. Moll she got some notions. Dan says that they shall come to see you when they get out west. Pheb says if they board next summer she shall come and stay a week with you. They are a comeing to Otsego in the County of Alegan. Jim come after us. In the evening we made to visit to Parsonses. When I got home there was two little girls in my bed so I had to go in the north bed room to sleep. I didn't get warm till morning. Saturday I didn't get up till they had got most done eating. The girls was basket pedlers. I didn't do much of the work. I finished Cals shirts. Laura hemed the flaps to one. Mother was real smart Sunday. Sid and Sammy(24) was here and eat with us. He don't talk one word yet. Moll and Jim was here in the evening. Laura went home with them to live a spell. Monday Ruth washed. I have got cold a real old he one. Father went to the Ridge. He got some hard soap, and some Pictens. Mother is catching cold. Cal went to school. Frank he plays horse as much as ever Henry did, and talks more. I heard father tell him he would give him a dollar if he wouldn't talk so much. John was in here. He said he was going to start for the west tuesday. He is a going to take Cape. I thought he needn't fret himself about Cape. I wondered Till if you would tell him what you said you would. Moll said no, I hoped yes. Tuesday we had fowls. Ruth made a Potpie and baked bread. I didn't do anything but make the beds, then I to mending fathers jacket. Our colds no better very fast. Ruth is another Dr. Fuller. She said I must make a sling so i made a half a glass full and asked her if it was right. Now go long to bed she says and I'll fix some. So she made ever so much more red hot. Wednesday I didn't help do any of the house work. I worked on my dress shirt some. Jim and Father went to some kind of election. Moll come here. Laura went to school. Mother is hoarse. Thursday I didn't do much. Ruth does the work firstrate. If it wasn't for her boy we couldn't have any one that would do better. Friday she ironed. I didn't iron but a few things and we had a big wash. Mr Crum drove a steer here and father give him fourteen dollars for him. Ruth cut out my dress and worked some on it. Mother is some better. They have got a new medicine to Pultneyville. It is called Chloride de Calcium, or water from the Artesian well Canada. It is found in the solid rock 550 feet. Ruth is takeing it for the salt rheum. It cures every thing. She has us take it every time she does. She says if I take it it will cure them spells. I tell her it won't. Well she says your to blame if you don't try it, so I spose I must. Saturday we churned three pounds and a half of butter. Sid started to go to mill and fetched your letter. I read it loud. There says I now i guess i shall go out there a great deal. Oh, Father says I _____ for a chance for you to go the other day. Where says I. With Dan and Pheb, he said. They was a going to start the first of May, and he thought it would be a good time to come in the spring. I seen through him. He thought I would be ready to come back in the fall. He didn't say it though. He took Mother up to Jims, and then he took Ruth down to her Fathers. She was a going there to make a visit the next day after father went after her to Toms. He took the Acordien down to Albert Todd to tune up right. He lives there by his Fathers. Father went to Higginses and got me some worsted for to work the roses to my quilt, and to Renyolds and got a bottle of that water. It was a dollar a bottle, quart bottles. We take one spoonfull of the water and put in one quart of pure water, take three times a day. It is as strong as salts. Then Moll says, it tastes bad. Sunday Molls folks was here. Olin was here a spell. He had been to Joy to see a patient. Father and Jim was up to Browns you know. Monday I didn't work I was lazy. Tuesday father and Jim went to the funerel. There was a great many there more than could get in the house. Father seen Tom Herbertson. He wanted to know if we would spare Ruth till next week. His wife had the measles and they her to do the work. He told him yes. It seems he went after her mother the same day that she went home. He found Ruth there and took her so she won't get that visit made yet. We have still times this week. Wednesday Sid bought 22 bushels of wheat of Father give 2 dollars a bushel. He is haveing it floured I believe. Thursday Charley Boradaile was here after some oats. Olin rode as far as the gate and then he went to see his patient. Mother asked how his patient was. He was comfortable. And there was the fish pedlar here. He took a chops and he let us have three dozen perch. What a trade. And Balch was here to see if he could get a load of straw, and bert Wells was here after straw. All come at once. Friday, when I got the ironing done I went up to Molls to have her show me a little about my dress. I found her on the bed about sick with a cold. Laura was ironing. Moll got up and combed my hair and by that time I had a bit of the desperit suss (?) and had to go to bed too so I didn't do one stitch of work. Moll said she wasn't a going to work so we poped corn and had quite a time. Saturday, Balch came after his load of straw and Jim drawed a load for Albert. Jim said that they didn't have a mouthfull of fodder hardly besides the straw he took. Charley went to Joy and found your letter for us, But his father got home before he did. He says that he wrote to you after he bought Calf went home to make a visit so father and Mother and me was alone. I milked the new cow. Sunday, Jim and Moll and I went to Johns to see the folks. Rachel said she was sorry when John told that he had bought but she says she will try and make the best of it. John says you was real homesick Till, but you mustn't be. Father says that I had better come out with Johns folks when they move and comfort up Tildy a little. Now if you think it will comfort you any I'll come, But I think it will be poor comfort, yes I do.

Monday, Sid and Sammy was here. They come to fetch the bags home. He says that wheat isn't but 14 shillings a bushel now so father hit the nail on the head once. Cal come home this forenoon. Jim is drawing logs to mill. It rained and snowed a little so that it made a crust, and they can slip around with sleighs a little, but we haven't had any sleighing this winter. Father hurt his foot some today. A stick fell on it. Tuesday, Mother is some sick at her stomach she says. Ben Atwater was here after some oats for Boradaile. Moll is here this afternoon. Sid said yesterday that Doc and Jane Granger started for the west last week. Father said if we had knew it I could went with them then so it seems that he wants me to go the first chance. Till, you wrote that Ambrose said you and Henry might come next fall. Now if you will come and stay all winter if mother lives till then I will come with Johns folks or else with Dan and Pheb and stay till you can come. Ruth hasn't got back here yet.

          Julia Allen

Tuesday evening. I was going to try to finish this letter. We are all as well as common except Colds. Jim has got a lame wrist, but it is geting better. Jedy is not as fleshy as he was in the summer. We weighed him this afternoon and he weighs 19 pounds. Now Matilda I thank you a great many times for them things. Sarahetta makes a great fuss about sleeping with Laurie. She says that she breathes at her, and Laurie wakes her and tells stories for her, and yet she does not like to sleep with her. Johns folks are all pleased about going to the west. Father says he thinks Rachel is not verry well pleased. Rachel laughs at John some about giving more for his land in Michigan than he got for this here. And now about Uncle Stephens folks. We have heard often enough, but have all forgotten whear it is. Matilda Julia is in a great quandary about going west. She says she does not feel right about going and leaving Mother. If there should any thing happen she should never forgive herself for leaving and I tell her to go. Perhaps it will be for the best. I think they would be glad to have some good help when she gets back.

          goodbye Mary M(?) Calkins

April 19, 1855
To: Matilda Brown
From: Julia Allen

          Sodus, April 19th, 1856(25)

Matilda(26)    I have just got your letter that was wrote April 9th and so I thought I would answer it right straight off and let you know that I have got all your letters and the reason that I have not answered them was because I have been a comeing to Michigan for about five weeks and so I thought there was no use of writing. I seen old Mr. Miller eight weeks ago to-day he had come from Alberts and Emily sent word to me that Benjamin was a going west in three weeks and I could go and he would go to Brown's with me, so I made up my mind to go of course, but the going was so bad all the time after that that I could not see nor hear from them until two weeks ago yesterday. I seen Albert in the store he said that they expected Ben up that day and he would come and see me, but he did not. Albert was here last monday he said that Ben started for Michigan the monday before. He said that Caroline and her husband talked of comeing west. I told him to let them come then but I should not think of going, (Caroline was married last February to a Daniel Keisler). I thought for a spell that I should get a chance to come when Thomas Seely come but he has give up comeing so Moses Seely said last saturday. Thomas was here Monday he said that he had a letter from Ambrose Saturday. He wanted to know what he should write for me when he answered the letter. I told him to write that I was a comeing as soon as I could get a chance. John Smith and Betsey & William and his wife expect to go out west next month about the 16th Jane sayes. Grangers folks has invited me to go with them and that is the only chance that I know of so if I do not come with them dont look for me until next fall or spring there will be fifty-leven chances then to one now. I come to Charles'es two weeks ago yesterday Charles took me back a week ago yesterday to pack up my things he and Charley King made the boxes. They had to be made of hemlock boards for it was imposible to get pine ones. I have got the things all in two boxes. I have sold Harriet(27) the lounge and best bed-stead, and Charley King the Boston Rocker. Sidney thought that I had better have my things moved down to his house and wait for better going to get pine boards but I thought if I went west I had better box them up out of the way. He said he would take the boxes down home but Gilbert Hill said they could stand in his barn so I have left them there. Hills folks have moved where Sid lived they have got quite a large farm now. I have not been to Sids since they moved nor dont know when I shall for it is such awful going, and has been all winter it has been neither sleighing nor wagoning nor walking nor staying at home. Pauline Parsons got home last Sunday. She had to walk from Newark to fairville. Her father went there after her he went saturday and got back the next day. Jane was here a few minutes last sunday she said I must come and stay with them a spell. Johny P(28) goes to the Academy this term. He has been here and eat dinner twice since I have been here and Pheny(29) was here to-day. She had been to her Aunt Elizas. Almira(30) goes to the district school it commenced last Monday. She likes to go very well she says.

20th    Mrs. Carpenter(31) has gone to meeting. Charles has just been sleeping his sunday nap. Harriet is eating apples she says I can tell you that she hasnt got home yet here. Myra(32) is trying to set still a half an hour. She says she dont want anything wrote for her, Mary. Harriet says you must kiss the baby for her. She says you had ought to give her that baby she did love it so well. She cries every time she sees the little apron you give her. Adaline King stopt here to fix up before she went to meeting. This is the third sunday that she has been down a-foot this spring. I have been to one funerel, and to the post office once with Wealthy Parsons. I tell Charles that I am a village lady all but the lady. I like it very well here. We can see the scholars at the academy play ball and jump the rope. Harvey H. Pound is one of the scholars. He and Hugh hire a room and board themselves. He says that I and Ann Hanby must call and take tea with them. Now if you dont he says I wont come to see you again. He was to Sids the sunday before I come here. Mary he was as clever as he was vendue day, Cornelias(33) father come up to the post office yesterday afoot. He said that C was homesick and I dont wonder for such a dirty place I never seen. I should not thought they could get it as dirty in two years if they had cleaned at all. Sid and Ann and I was there four weeks ago today. I had to think three times to make out that it was the place where I had lived. It was hard telling wether the sink was wood or stone and the other things was about the same. Mr. Hood said that Ann was a going home next week to stay. He said that Sid was a going to Lyons next tuesday on the farm buisness I suppose. I did not think that Sidney would have sold his farm but there is nothing imposible now days only comeing to Michigan. I suppose that I am as contented here as I should be there but I had made up my mind to come and told so many that I was a going that I do want to go now. Parson'ses folks says that Dan and Pheb is comeing home next fall and I can go back with them. John Granger is going if God is willing when it comes warm weather and then I can go, and if I will wait till fall Harvey H will go to Galesburg with me, and if I will wait till next Febuary John J. will come with me. He was to Sid's four weeks ago. He said that Mary-Jane is married and Isiac is married and Joseph is a going on a farm with him, so Ella and Ann Elizabeth is all that will be at home now. He has hired out for ten months this time to the same men that he worked for last summer. His uncle Isiac has got home from California just as rich as when he went. I don't think of any-thing more to write now you may write just as often as you will all of you,

          This from Julia Ann Allen to one and all

[On top of last page is: Sarahetta this is Myras writing, which is followed by scribbles]

March 8, 1863
To: Matilda Brown
From: Sarah Allen Lunn and Julia Allen

Envelope is addressed to Mr. Ambrose Brown, Galesburgh, Michigan

          Janesville March 8, 1863(34)

Dear Sisters(35)

We have not heard a word from you since John was here until a week ago last night we received Matildas letter and you had not heard from us either. Well I have thought a good many times I would write to you, and I have wrote to Margaret and sent her that letter of Julias 3 weeks ago to morrow. The reason I did not send it before I wanted to coppy it for there was so many things in from Sodus and my memory is not wat it used to was. Well it is not likely that I shall ever see Sodus again. Julia, you wrote that Sidney was a going to build a new house this year. Well I should like to see the old house that father and mother went home from but I cannot that is sure. But there whispering spirits seem to say be patient and since I have so many ways to crook and turn to get along how often I think of them. I can look back on times that were not very prosperous with them and it seems as though they must have had some hard times to get along especially in 1814(36). In the fall father was drafted to go to war but he got off without going by his haveing a sore on one of his legs something like a fever sore and after the Hudson River frose he teamed cannon and balls from the arsenal at Albany to newyork. I don't know how many load yes and thashed his own grain in the barn and drawed his firewood 4 miles for a very large fireplace and got out his flax all alone for half the men or more was gone to war. Well Mother spun the flax and tow and clothed us all and there was 6(37) of us besides father and mother. I(38) was in my 11 year and she had me try to spin some that winter and as there was no school that winter she had us read and spell a good deal. Oh one would think her patience was tried. Well she overworked herself in them days that was certain. Father came home one day and when John and Eunice had got on his lap and he was looking rather sober and us older ones was looking for bad news he spoke and said they were having another hard time in newyork and amonght the rest he said sugar was 18 pence per lb. Well, mother said we could do without sugar. Do without sugar, said father, that is a likely story. Well she laughfed and told him she has most a barrel in the cellar. Well it was no more nor less than a barrel of English sweet apples and she stewed them and mixed and made a good many batches of fried cakes without a spoonful of any other sweetning in them.

Well that was not a war of murmuring as this is. I lived to see that war begun and ended, but it is uncertain about this for I think it will be a 7 years war. We heard from Margaret last week by the way of William Stinehart(39). He said they was well and George had gone on to Tennesee. I think his time will be out in June if he lives and I expect if C L(40) lives to be old enoughf he will have to go and why is not our hearts lifted in one petition to God for peace. But no it is to be no union any more. I believe one party is as much to blame as the other. I shall try to think it is all right for there is one that knows better than we do. Mathilda you wanted I should go and see M(41) but that I cant do for we have not the means. We had 22 bushels wheat sowed last year and we have only 30 bushels from it. The bugs eat it so and we got only 8 cords of wood cut last winter and that sold for near 40 dollars by carrying it to Janesville. And then we sold our 4 hogs on foot for 25 dollars and then we had a note of 37 dollars to pay out of it and our taxes 12$ and now we have sold a heifer for 20 cords of wood chopping but that will do us no good now and we want to get a harness and a new plough and C L has traded off the oxen and got another colt. He wants me to write to you Julia and see if we can get 50$ of you this spring.

(Unsigned - believe it was written by Sarah Allen Lunn)

January 1, 1879
To: Margaret Allen Styneheart
From: Julia Ann Allen

          Comstock(42), 1879

Dear Sister Margaret

January 1st, We went to Keiths(43) and held New Years Hanks(44) family there too. Nancys(45) Pa plays on a violin, & her Brother(46) on the Organ so we heard good music. Hank give both familys pictures of himself and family all framed (in a Group) and Nancy me one of the Baby (Lela May) taken with her night cap on looks cute.

2nd    Stormed all last night & all day & awful cold too, yesterday pleasant, A.(47) has butchered a Beef for Mr. Jackson, W.(48) Lazyd around, done chores, M.(49) is making him shirts, I am knitting some Blocks for a standcloth found pattern in Book. It will keep me busy a long time.

3rd    Everything freezeable was froze this morning, men got wood, M. sewd, I knit.

4th    Not so cold, Sister Mary 56 years old today. Men to Burg(50) bought butter 14 cts a pound got over 3 pounds. W. staid to Burg.

5th    Not a person here today, they have all gone to Burg, I would went but didn't. M. baked pies, fried cakes, popped corn. I done the dishes, swept. W. mended harness. A. chored.

6th    We washed. Men got 2 loads of ice in the icehouse. Hank come here afoot took horse and Cutter went to Town after Picture frames. Says they got done washing at 9 oclock, then he mopped the House, retouched 1 picture, then come.

7th    Men got Joe(?). We ironed, I knit, read lots. M. sewing Carpet rags. Warmer.

8th    We went to Hanks, M. ironed for Nancy, I tended Baby. We come home before night. Mr. & Mrs. Flanders here in the evening a visiting.

9th    Men to Streators a helping clean up, and draw off wheat to Galesburg. Get all of 87 cts per bushel. M. sewing rags. I got your letter Margaret. Glad you got the things New Years.

10th    Men to Streator, M. footing socks. Willis hasn't camped out yet, to cold.

11th    A. went to Burg sold 2 quarters of Veal 3 cts a pound. Brought Nancy and her Grandmother(51) over. She went home tonight and Hank come. I began mittens for Will.

12th    One of A.'s Nieces (Mrs. Town)(52) her husband and 2 children here visiting today. W. has got a hard cold. Hank fishing, caught 2 nice ones. All gone home now.

13th    A butchered for Jackson. W. laid around. We washed. M. has a bad cold.

14th    Mrs. William Ralph & Baby here visiting he spent the evening here. A. has them spells again. W. drawed load of sawdust to put on the ice.

15th    Storms again, & my knees aches like split, I have got 1 mitten knit, A. and M. went to Burg, she got binding for Coat, he, horse medicine.

16th    A caught a small Owl in the Doves box, (it had killed one), they put it in the Grainery and it has caught 2 mice that they have seen, Claude(53) and his Grand-pa Keith(54) here to Dinner, W. chopped, we mended & knit.

17th    Men drawed some wood then A. went to Burg, & W. fishing ------

18th    W. went to Armses(55), this morning a fishing. A to Burg this afternoon. M. is writing to C. Lunn(56). Got a letter from him last week, not a word about his wife in it, nor not much else. I have got Wills mittens done, got the blue too.

19th    A. has done chores, M. has knit more than a sock foot, I, 1 block, snow squalls.

20th    We washed, A. and M. went to the Burg this afternoon. I had M. get me a pair of Dollar Gaiters(57). A. got his Calfskin Vest tanned with the hair on, is to pay 3 Dollars for making & Trimmings. Pretty but very light. Claude come with them.

21st    A. done chores, borrowed a Churn, took theirs off to be fixed (the one they moved from York State). Claude talks all the time been out to the Barn & brought in a Puppy thinks its nice. W. got home tonight got quite a many fishes.

22nd    A. has been doctoring a horse that got kicked, it is Streetors. Last week he bled one, for the Mr. Ralph that was here visiting. M. has churned twice what she could done at once in her Churn. A. took Claude home, Lela not very well. W. has chopped some. I am making him some blue Wristlets.

23rd    A. has been to Flanders a butchering. M(matilda) churned again. Sent 7 pounds of butter to Town got 15 cts a pound. W. went, he sold a Dollar & 70 cts worth of fish, 8 cts a pound for them. Got coat binding & Groceries. Took the Owl out but had to give it away. A Boy come (Willie Wagner) home with him to stay a spell. There is lots to do here, 3 new milk Cows & 2 Calfs to feed. You see the men is away so much there is nothing got along with here. M. is worried all the time, she always works. I am sorry for her (if we do have lots of Spats) They have gone to Streetors tonight. Claude 4 years old today.

24th    A. went a butchering, W. shelled corn to grind. He went to a dance this evening.

25th    Both Wills went to Mill. A. home. We worked, knit. Hanks folks(58) come tonight.

26th    Hank fished. Boys rode down hill. They, Nancy & I played bards. M. Churned 4 times last week and again today. Nancy had her hair cut off. Hank gone home.

30th    Snow going off fast. Nancy went home, I helped her to weave the hair she had cut off. It made a switch that looks nice (hers was falling out so). Marg, I have got a switch worth seeing that I made out of my combings, rooted it, & wove it all myself, They have got the Churn home. Like it well churns so much easier. Men has butchered the old Cow today. M. hopes it's the last greasey job for this winter here, I too do.

31st    A. sold all the Beef of the Old blind Cow before he got in Town. Got 3 and a half cts a pound. Got 14 cts for butter 18 cts a dozzen for eggs. Willie Wagner went home. Will went to dance tonight & last friday night. Is to be 5 more. Hank & Nancy goes too.

February 1st    Colder again. A. and M. to Burg this afternoon. Took Claude home. W. draw'd a jag(59) of wood to burn, painted the Churn over once. Marked 10 Bags. I helped work, knit, had a good read. Its so still when Claude goes home.

2nd    A. has done chores about all day. Brought a Lamb in and fed it half a dozen times. M. finished a sock run heels. She has the toothache nowdays awful hard. I read & knit some. W. painted Churn again. Fixing Tent over some to paint it.

3rd    We washed, men got wood. A. to Burg tonight, M. to Lukes(60) to get binding stitched on Wills Overcoat. The lamb is dead, for all they tried so hard to save it.

4th    They went to Town. M. got Calico sixpence a yard for her a dress, a rocking chair 10 shillings, chamber mug 6 shillings, 43 yds factory sixpence a yard, got for me 12 yds of Gingham 9 cts a yard, spool of thread 5 cts. I havn't had a new dress before since a year ago last fall and that was 8 ct Calico.

5th    A. off butchering to Steators. We all made a visit to Jacksons to-night.

6th    Men draw'd some straw. M. ripped up old Dress to get the lining. I done most of the churning this time, not hard work but my hand shakes yet. I had a numb spell this afternoon. We went to Hanks this evening. M. got a letter from Saraetta she is not very well, weighs 100, her Baby 18 and a half pounds.

7th    M. is making Drawers for Claude. A. has a cold. I am making a Dress shorter. W. to school, & to the Dance to-night. We to Flanders a visiting.

8th    Men draw'd 3 logs to the Sawmill. M. done most of the work. I had another numbspell. Went to bed after I swept my room laid over 4 hours.

9th    Alone all day. W. off tonight. M. Churned, knit, mended. A. got shaved(?) just night. I lazzy. That Ruth M. wrote about Died last Thursday. M. would write some but I have told it all, will 1 more sheet then think you will say enough. Will send piece of our dress cloth. Write when you can.

          This from Julia A Allen


1  Jedediah Allen

2   Sister Mary's husband, James Calkins

3   According to The Ridge: Ontario's Blossom Country by Arch Merrill (Louis Heindl & Son, Rochester, New York, 1944), "Its bed was built by Nature and it stands as a geologic memorial to a mighty storm that lashed the waters of a swollen glacial lake against the gravel and the boulders of a buried shore and then built a dyke from Sodus to Niagara. The Ridge might also be called 'The Road of The Cobblestone Houses' for there are more such buildings in the 25 miles of Ridge Road between Rochester and Gaines than on any highway in America."

4   Potassium or sodium bicarbonate for use in cookery

5   Brother John Allen

6   Brother Sidney Allen

7   Sister Sarah Allen Lunn

8   Coin of Colonial America, varying from about 12 to 16

9   Sister Margaret Allen Styneheart

10   Brother Charles Allen

11   Mary Pearsall Allen

12   Public sale or auction

13   I believe this is James and Mary Calkins' son, Jedediah

14   Nickname for Matilda; also uses Tildy

15   Brother John's wife, Rachel

16   Matilda's husband, Ambrose Brown

17   Matilda's son, Henry Brown

18   Possibly Ambrose and Matilda Brown's German Shepard dog which accompanied them on the move from New York to Michigan. He disappeared very soon thereafter, was gone several days, and came back in the night with sore bleeding feet. They later received a letter from Sodus, New York, saying that the dog came back but they couldn't keep him. They never knew how he made the trip as they traveled by wagon.

19   Ambrose Brown's sister, Cynthia, and her husband, William E. Arms

20   Stephen LeRoy, husband of Phoebe Pearsall, who was Mary Pearsall Allen's sister

21   A[mbrose], M[atilda], and H[enry]

22   James and Mary Calkins' daughter

23   Husband of Emily LeRoy (daughter of Phebe Pearsall and Stephen LeRoy)

24   Her nephew (Sidney's son)

25   In the body of the letter on the 20th, she writes that Charles is taking his Sunday nap. According to a reference calendar Sunday, April 20, was in 1856.

26   Mary is also addressed further on in the letter

27   Brother Charles' wife

28   Nephew (Brother David's son)

29   Niece Josephine (Brother David's daughter)

30   Niece (Brother Charles' daughter)

31   Brother Charles' mother-in-law

32   Probably Almira's nickname

33   Brother Sidney's wife

34   While the year is hard to decipher, because she remarks that there "is to be no union any more," I believe the date is 1863.

35   Matilda Allen Brown and Julia Ann Allen, who lived with Ambrose and Matilda for many years.

36   At every place where the digit 4 appears, it is hard to determine in the original letter whether that number is a 9 or a 4. Because she talks of Father being drafted to go off to war, I believe that those numbers are all 4's.

37   Sarah, Wilson, Sidney, Charles, John, and Eunice.

38   Sarah was the only child who could have been 11 in the year 1814.

39   Margaret married a John Stynheart, so this must be some relation.

40   Possibly Sarah's son, Charles Lunn.

41   Possibly a reference to her sister, Mary.

  42 Michigan

43   Ambrose and Matilda Brown's son, Henry, married Nancy Keith, daughter of Charles Luke and Sarah Keith.

44   Henry Brown, Ambrose's and Matilda's son

45   Henry's wife, Nancy Keith Brown

46   Ethan Keith

47   Ambrose Brown

48   Willis Brown, Ambrose and Matilda's youngest son

49   Matilda Brown

50   Galesburg, Michigan

51   Nancy Comfort Crawford Betts

52   Simeon and Reliance Woods's daughter, Eunice. (Reliance was Ambrose's sister)

53   Henry and Nancy Brown's son

54   Charles Luke Keith

55   Ambrose's sister, Cynthia, and William E. Arms

56   Julia's sister, Sarah, married Samuel Lunn. This must be some relation.

57   Cloth or leather covering for the instep, ankle, and lower leg.

58   Henry, Nancy, and children

59   A small load or amount, as of wood, hay, etc.

60   Charles Luke Keith

These letters are transcribed exactly as written, with the original spelling and grammar. The only change is in punctuation in an effort to improve readability.

June 15, 2003: "Three years ago, I transcribed some letters written by Julia Allen to her sisters. Since then I have found another letter relating to the same family, although it was written around 20 years later. The letter below was written by Josephine Curtis, whose husband E. Curtiss, was then (1898) Principal of the Sodus Academy."
Barb Triphahn

June 27, 1898
To: Willis Brown
From: Josephine Curtis


E. Curtiss, A. M., Principal

Sodus, N.Y., June 27, 1898

My dear Cousin(1),

Your welcome letter came like a ray of sunshine after a shower dispelling many a cloud of doubt and misgiving. I have always felt that I had no relation on my fathers(2) side, so when I chance to see or hear from one I am always very happy over the event. Of course had my father lived it would have been very different I fancy. But as it is we have drifted away from each other. When Mr. Arms(3) was here, he kindly called on me and told me about your mothers(4) condition(5). I was indeed sorry to hear of her poor health, but am so glad she can be with her son(6). I have been looking for a letter from Henry(7) since Mr. Arms was here, but so far it is in vain. My mother(8) is quite smart for one of her age, she is 76, does her own work for herself and husband, my stepfather has been ill since the holidays, but is now improving a little. Yesterday they were both here with me all day, for the first time since Christmas.

My husband(9) is Principal of the Academy here, and we have two children, our daughter is eighteen, and is in Syracuse University, has been two years there, and two more to go when she will graduate. Baby boy, and Willis is his name who is now 14 and he goes to school to his papas. Of course we are proud of them and now think they bid fair to be a great comfort to us. This week my husband is in Baltimore and Boston, last week was in Chicago and St. Louis on business of course.

Well, now I must answer some of the queries your letter contained. Can it be possible that your mother has not heard of both of her brothers death here? I infer so from your letter. I will enclose the article we preserved in the paper. A year ago this June Uncle Charles(10) died, and Uncle Sidney(11) about 13 years ago. Hattie(12) died two years before her father with a cancer, the same disease her mother died with, and she left two daughters, one a young lady old enough to keep house for her father, in fact present appearances look as if she might bekeeping house for herself in the near future, and such is life. I am quite surprised for I supposed your people kept up correspondence with the relatives here. How singular that Hattie did not keep you posted in regard to her father, but she was peculiar.

Poor Aunt Cornelia(13) has been living with her daughter Susie since Uncle Sidney died until a few weeks ago she went to live with her eldest son(14). It seems Susie and her husband felt that they had kept her for 13 years, and it was no more their right that Sam should do a little toward her support, so Susie asked him if he would not help them a little as her husband was poor and now could not get any work at all this summer, and only asked if he could not pay them $1.00 a week, but Sam said no he could not, but he would take her to his home. Of course she had been with Susie so long that they both felt very badly indeed to be separated now in her old age. But it seems she has gone with Sam, and by the way it is back on her own farm, that her son Sam's father (step-father(15) took dishonorably away from them. Yes before Uncle Sidney's death that happened. It is a long, sad story. For a long long time Aunt Cornelia would not or could not pass by there she felt so badly, and now to think she has been obliged to go back there to pass the remainder of her days seems too bad. The said man Sam's father in law died since Aunt Cornelia has been there so she will not have him there to look at. Susie has four children, and she is quite hard of hearing - they live about four miles south of her old home.

Well, you must be tired by this time, and I will give you a rest. Hoping to hear from you again telling me more news. With kind remembrances to your dear mother, and all the rest of the relatives. I am your anxiously awaiting cousin,


[written on top of first page]: Think probably you are back in Chicago by this time so will send this there.

1   Based on a letter dated 10-02-1898 from Willis Brown to his mother, in which he writes, "I have thought many times that I would write to Pheenie Curtis in reply to her letter but have not done so yet. I was greatly surprised to hear of Hatties death," it is presumed that this letter is directed to Willis Brown

2   David Allen, who died December 2, 1849, while Josephine and her brothers, John and David, were small children

3   Perhaps she is referring to William Arms, who was the husband of Will's aunt, Cynthia Brown Arms

4   Matilda Allen Brown

5   According to Matilda Brown's death notice, she had been an invalid for years; her death certificate lists the cause of death as paralysis due to cerebral hemorrhage

6   Sometime in 1898, she went to live with Henry and Nancy Brown

7   Henry Ambrose Brown, Will's brother

8   Jane Paddock Allen

9   E. Curtiss

10   Charles C. Allen died June 8, 1897

11   Sidney Allen died November 3, 1880

12   Believe Hattie was the daughter of Charles and Harriet Carpenter Allen

13   Cornelia Hood Allen, wife of Sidney Allen

14   Samuel Allen

15   Believe she means Sam's father-in-law as further down in this letter she specifically states "Sam's father in law"

These letters are transcribed exactly as written, with the original spelling and grammar. The only change is in punctuation in an effort to improve readability.

Letters graciously contributed by Barb Triphahn.

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