Spring-Summer 2010

Prose

Poetry

Images

Photo of sawtooth sunflower (Helianthus grosseserratus) by LeAnn Spencer. Copyright © 2010. All rights reserved.

Photo of sunset by Jason Sturner. Copyright © 2010.
All rights reserved.

Letter From Iowa

LeAnn Spencer

The following 1856 letter is from Abner and Louisa McIntosh, in Iowa, to Malinda and William C. McBride, in Indiana. Abner was the brother to Malinda, my great-great-great-grandmother, who lived from 1814 - 1907. I found the faded and fragile original in a dusty box of family keepsakes; it is written in lovely flowing script on both sides of a single sheet of paper. I’ve transcribed it but did not correct for spelling or missing punctuation, such as periods at the end of sentences, capitalization, or idiosyncrasies. It offers a tiny glimpse of early prairie life and seemed appropriate to publish it here.   
— LeAnn Spencer

State of Iowa, Ringold Co. April 9th 1856

Dear Brother, sister & family. It is with much respect and through the tender mercies of an All wise Providence that we are permitted to communicate a few lines to you to let you know that we are enjoying good health at this time and hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing.

We received your letter, was glad to hear from you that you are all reasonably well and expected to move shortly. I want you to write me a letter when you start so that I will know about the time you get there and I will come down.

I wrote a letter to John G. McBride & Thomas McIntosh but I don’t expect they’ve received them before you wrote.

I have been over to John McIntosh’s in Missouri. I have heard from them since and Betty has a fine son.

Write in your next letter how Beverly’s Malinda is getting long and whether you are going to bring her with you or not and write about Mother’s family and all the connections. I want to hear from them all. David Slige’s landed in Missouri not long since.

I have been all along a little doubtful about my school land claim but but (sic)
Charles Sherman was out on west Grand River and saw the school fund Commissioners he says that I am (illegible) safe in my claim. I have gotten the better part of my rails made and allow to fence twenty acres of my prairie and break all I can. Grass is just making its appearance and in ten days there will be plenty of grass for stock this is April the 9th.

Aaron and family is well. Old Brother Poe is very poorly.

There is no sicknys in this country of any consequence. Old Buck Freeman died the other day supposed to be caused by an over gorge of Buckeye sprouts. I speak of the Old steer that I got of Fletcher Freeman.

A few words to Thomas.

Tell Thomas that I have not forgotten him. I received a letter from him and since that (sic) have written two letters but have not received any more since. Tell him that I would like to see him and I expect to come in that country again if I live and have my health. Tell him that we have a pair of the prettiest twins that belongs to the connection. Charles Sherman says he is writing to that one of them has not been healthy the little boy though now he begins to grow off right fine.

William tell Harvey Wilson that it would be a great satisfaction to me for him to write me a letter tell him to write about the old acquaintance and about his father and old uncle Billy Mattox & family. I would like to hear from them.

So I know of nothing more that would interest you and will conclude by sending my love & best respects to all enquiring friends.

Abner & Louisa McIntosh

To Wm. C. McBride & family. 

A 2010 Postscript: Abner and Louisa were back and forth between Ringgold County, Iowa, and Mercer County, Missouri, until about 1865, according to Tom Arnold, a descendant of Abner and Louisa who has been researching the family tree. The couple eventually settled in Taney County and Ozark County, Missouri (all located in southwest Missouri), for several years. Louisa died in 1881 in Taney County and Abner died in 1892 in either Ozark, Taney, or Oregon County, Missouri.