I got two emails in two consecutive days from fellow genealogists who had stumbled across my blog. One was interested in an old letter that my ancestor had received, another shared old letters that my ancestors had sent.
The first letter had been sent to Will and Clara Pearson by their pastor, C.O. Granlund in 1920. I wrote about that letter in a previous post. Pastor Granlund wrote a touching letter of encouragement to Will and Clara; I suspect that what prompted the letter was that Will had confided that his condition was terminal.
A descendant of Pastor Granlund stumbled across my blog in preparation for a Granlund family reunion later this summer. I was thrilled to be able to send her a scan of the letter. I sent greetings from the Pearson descendants to the Granlund descendants.
A second researcher contacted me with letters that had been written by my ancestors! These concern the Dill family – one was written by Daniel Dill, the other by his brother (and my 3x-great-grandfather) Peter Dill. So exciting!
From Daniel Dill to his half-brother Ezra Dill
Daniel Dill’s father Peter Dill had two wives. Daniel’s mother was the first wife, Phebe Brown. Ezra’s mother was the second wife, Sarah Wimmer. This researcher is descended from Ezra Dill. She was able to send me transcripts, I’m hoping to scanned images soon.
I have written extensively about Daniel Dill, my quirky 4x-great-uncle who was a confectioner in Mobile, Alabama.
Mobile Sept 11th 1854
I am in Recpt of your favours of Aug 17th and June 18th the first in Refference to my Land & 2nd Noting your Sicknys & Bad Crops in Refference to my Lands I don’t know what to say not knowing what Lands are worth in that part of the Country I Aught to get a good price for it as it is about all I ever got or had from the Estate Others of the family that had there Share Several times over Come in at Last for Equal Shares with me that has had nothing
You will Please inform me what Lands are worth also what Peacock has done with my Portion of the money of the Estate also what Michal asks for his Share in the Land Estate
And what Post office I can address Brother Peter My health is some better this Summer than usual I am at Porterlee<?> 30 miles from Mobile on the Lake <Gaking?> Salt Baths which has improved me much I have done no businys for the Pas 3 Years but hope to be able to do Some this fall
I am nearly out of Debt & See my way more clear & my health I hope will be Sufficient
You speak of your bad health and bad Luck you might Probaly improve both by changing Climate Come down this way and try your fortune or <?> the country it will be a change & may be for the better You may probaly get Something to do if you do it will Probaly be as good if not better than where you are
You have got in the manor<?> of writing more we can here from Each other Every week if not two Lazay
Our Crops are veary good though all the west Ohio Kentuck Tennysee all are burnt up with drouth
Flour<?> high 10 to $11 Corn $100 Cotton 8 to 9 all businys <?> hard times Close at hand
This is so awesome, and reinforces so many things I had already learned about Daniel. He talks about his poor health and trying to get treatments at salt baths. It’s also interesting that he talks about his debts – I guess he may have been cash-poor even though he had considerable assets.
He would have written this letter just nine months before he died.
I had wrongly assumed, I guess, that Daniel was not on good terms with his step-mother and step-siblings but apparently not. In the letter, he also references my 3x-great-grandfather Peter, and also Caleb Peacock – a brother-in-law to Ezra, Daniel and Peter and who was the administrator of their father’s estate.
From Peter Dill to his half-brother Ezra Dill and Ezra’s wife Susan
Morgantown, Morgan County, Indiana
Sunday Evening, January 6th, 1856
Dear Brother and Sister:
We now take this favorable opportunity to inform you that we are all well at present; hoping that these few lines may find you all enjoying the same <?> Benediction.
We received your letter dated Dec. the 17th 1855 which informed us that you had been sick but were convalescent; and also that you have fitted<?> in that <?> which in a state of single <?> is lacking; we did not know that you were married until we got your letter. Of course we did not wish you much joy prior to the reception of your letter. But is an old saying that it is too late never to the good”
We do heartily congratulate you and Susan.
We hope that you may so live and conduct yourselves that your names may be handed down to future generations as an example of piety. I have spoken a little too fast or rather from supposition, by saying that you are Married for you did not say that you were married but merely signed your names Ezra and Susan, yes<?> and<?> told us that you had two children; but did not tell us Susan’s Maiden name, or how long you had been married.
Our three oldest children are Married. Lucy Ann was to a man<?> by the name of Joseph C. Coles on the 24th of February 1848 And lives in a town called Tipton in Tipton County Indiana. Erasmus was married to Delila Lang on the 21st of October 1852. He lives in Morgan County. Miss Lang inherited about <?> thousand dollars worth of property. Richard Monroe was Married to Miss Matilda Lang (a cousin of Delila) on the 3rd of September 1853. He lives in Johnson county an adjoining county. Matilda’s father is a man of considerable wealth.
The <?> <?> <?> in <?> still remain home. We were favored with about <?> crops<?> last year the best that have been known for many years: Produce bears a good price in market. What has been worth as high <?> per <?> but is only worth one dollar and forty cents now. Corn is worth from 30 to 35 cents per bushel. Hogs have been worth four dollars and sixty cents per hundred gross<?> but they are not worth more than four now.
The weather for the lat two weeks has been not only cold but very cold but at present it is rather moderate.
Thursday night January 10 1856 The weather for the last three days has been deceptively cold I believe the coldest we have had for many years. Several persons in our vicinty have got “frost bitten”
If you write brother Daniel tell him that we would like to hear from him; and that we would write to him if we knew where to direct a letter. Tell him that if he wishes to write to us, to direct his letter to “Morgantown Morgan County Indiana” We would to hear from the rest of our connection that live in your state. We have understood that Step Mother is dead, and also that the estate that was in her hands has been sold. I have not had the opportunity of finding out the particulars of the sale or the condition of the estate. If you will write a letter to me, containing the condition, it will be a great favor to me. I would like to know how much is coming to me from the estate.
I would like to know what has become of brother Michael, the last accounts I had from him he was living in West Alexandria in the state of Ohio We are living four miles North of Morgantown on Stotts Creek, where we have been living for the last fifteen years I own 293 acres of lands with about one hundred and fifty acres of improvements. I have built a brick House 36 by 20 feet: and expect if I live to build a barn next summer and is worth from 25 to 50 dollars per acre.
There is a rail road running from Franklin to Martinsville through Morgantown.
Yours respectfully Peter and Emily Dill
Some observations about this letter:
- Peter seems more literate and educated that I would have surmised
- He asks about his brother Daniel – he didn’t know at the time but as of the date of the letter, Daniel had already been dead for nine months.
- Two years after the date of this letter, Peter and his brother John would travel to Mobile to challenge the administration of Daniel’s estate.
The researcher has several other letters between the Dill siblings. Contrary to what Edwin Gould said in the court proceedings, the Dill children were in fact quite literate and I believe on friendly terms with one another.
Such a thrill to fit more pieces into the puzzles of my ancestors!
Isn’t it interesting how the currents of time reconnect descendants like this.