Letter to Cynthia (Williams) Johnson
Feb. 11, 1852
I have been sitting by the fire this evening and thinking what you all were about. I suppose you are sitting by the stand smoking and mending Jo a pair of socks. Hannah is making her a new dress that she got when she went in to town the other day a sleight riding, and plaguing Bet about some of her beaus, and Bet is piecing up some quilts; Jo is in the kitchen with the other boys eating apples & telling big yarns and Jeff says "I wish I knew what Uncle Jo was doing." Well, I will tell you. I am keeping batch, the most independent life that is out. We cook when we are hungry, go to bed when we get sleepy and get up when we get tired of laying in bed. We have got a house this winter fixed up 4 square. 2 corners has bedsteads in, kitchen fixings in another corner, table in the other. Around the fire of an evening, 1 long bench and 2 short stools which forms a circle on which the little boys and I sits, some darning, some mending breeches and the rest amuse ourselves by reading the Journal and some interesting books. The children stood the trip very well. John and Newton jump out of the wagon and run ahead of the team and play until they was tired and then get in and go to sleep. They were less trouble than I expected. Mother well this is very hard way to get along but I intend to take the world as it comes and not trouble myself because I ain't fixed up nice, and good things as I used to have and wish myself back-no, no, never. I am happy as an old coon in a hollow log. We can make a good living in this country and easy and if I was as I was 12 months ago I would come to Oregon. If there is anyone in all that country that wants to come to Oregon come on-men, women, & children. Those that doesn't want to come, stay but don't come and be dissatisfied and say I persuaded you to come. I must write mother a letter soon.
Note: Joseph "Jo" Williams was killed by Rogue Indians on the Snake River in Oregon in May 1853. His children were returned to Illinois later that year.
Submitted by: Stephen Burke