PIONEER LETTERS TO FAMILY BACK HOME

The following letters mention (DARNELL, GRIMM, LOWMAN, WALTER, ZIMMERMAN surnames) from the pioneer days were submitted by Barbara Ryan-Baxter (Bjrb808@aol.com) at my request. I felt it would be good for us to have a taste of what it was like for our ancestors over 100 years ago. The letters are written exactly the way the author's wrote them, spelling, grammar, and all. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have. - John McCoy, Butler County Volunteer.

Letter from Rachel Zimmerman Darnell to Amanda Zimmerman Grimm

October the 14 1868

Dear Sister with pleasure i take my pen in hand to answer your kind and welcome letter to let you know that we are all well at present hoping these few lines will find you all enjoying the same blesing Dear Sister i was very glad of my present O i was proud of my carpet you sent and other nice preasant ? ? ? all of them was no comfort to me when I found out that you and mother wer not coming out this fall O i had made up my mind that we would have such a good time this Winter O do try and come in the Spring it looks so hard to think that we cant be together when there aren't any more of us but I am well satisfied with the country and like the people that lives in it that I am a quainted with cristy george is going to start home in the morning or start to the city he will go home in a few days after he gits to the city Amanda I am going to sent your bed clothes with him for i expect you need them I will keep the one mother sent tell mother and pop to take good care of there selves and come out in the Spring O you dont know how bad I want to see you and mother and the children Maty and baby takes my day about and bud and granma not coming Charly is a great big boy he can talking thing plain is smart and prety tow I am geting stout once more i have heap of work to do cristy george has bin to our house for 3 weeks they are all good to help me Sum doese the milking and helps me all the time when he is about the house one good thing we have plenty to eat and plenty for the winter our potatoes is good and cabage is good Our corn is all forost bit it did not get ripe till the frost come and spilet it everybody corn is spilt expect one or tow i have got a bushel of dried plums and bushel of dried corn Sum is going to the city prety soon to git our winter groceries an him some clothes and he wants to get us some molassas Amanda i guess I have wrote all the news i guess it is geting late and i am tired i have worked hard all day O if I could only see you I could tell you a heap that I cant write tell mother to rite and tell me what her and pop is going to do this winter I wisht she would stay with you it does me good to hear of her with you O how i would like to go over and eat a greenapple pie i had pies when i went ther but not that cind i wish you was here to eat breakesfast with me well i will bringing letter to a close for my head hurts me write soon as you get this and tell me all the news i still remain you dear Sister till separated by death

Good By dear Sister and mother

from Rachel Darnell to Amanda Grimm

tell emma to rite me a long letter and tell me how she get a long


Letter from James Darnell to T. J. & Rebeca Lowman Zimmerman

Idaho Teritory

May the 22 1869

Dear friends I am glad that I have the privalige of addressing you with a few lines to let you know how wee are getting a long wee are camped to day five hundred and seventy miles from Omaha nine hundred and forty miles from home and let me tell you that this is a hard road to travail for me all tho I am not Sorry that I started But I think that a man that has a family or a home could Enjoy himself Better than he could out here in those deserts amongst these Indians as for my self it makes no differance for I have no home that was all that indused me to leave the land I once loved we have thirty four men and two women and four children in our company and all very sivile and mind there own Business Alexander Grimm is well all But home sicknes it gose very hard with him at times the news from the mine is as good as a man can wish for there is two men in our camping that has Been there they say It is as good as reported and that is good enough for me wee think wee shall get there By the fourth of July wee are now crossing the Black hills or mountains which is coverd with cedar and pine and can see plenty of snow on larima peak about fourty miles from her This may seam Strange to you But nevertheless tru all the satisfaction that i see is when I am going for I have no one to care for now But my self if I had a should not Been here for there is nothin to induse me to work But I can tell you that this a hard life an me for I have not been a rite well day for five weeks But for the last few days I have had a very good appetite I dont know how I shall come out in the end for wee have a long road a head of us wee had Bad luck our company lost 4 horses and two mules they started yesterday while I am ritin some of the Boys say they are coming with there stock half after two o clock I will have to close for wee shall start very soon on our Journey grass is very poore our teems looks slim But wee still have some grain But grass is gettin Better Tell Sum and the rest of the friends to rite for I should Bee very glad to here from home wee have not had a word since wee left so give my love to all Enquiring friends so no more at present But remain yours as ever Beleaving you to Bee my Best friends

James Darnell
T J Zimmerman
and Rebeca Zimmerman


Here is a brief genealogy of the above "letter writers":

The parents of Rachel (Zimmerman) DARNELL are:
Thomas Jefferson ZIMMERMAN (b. 1/21/1808) Ross Co. OH (d. 1/21/1885) Ulysses, Butler Co. NE; bd. Grim Cemetery md. Rebecca LOWMAN (b. 10/21/1812) Highland Co. OH (d. 8/3/1888) Butler Co. NE bd. Grim Cemetery. They homesteaded 'upon the table-land proper' in Union Precinct, Butler Co. between 1867-1869. Thomas and Rebecca had four daughters, Eliza Jane, Amanda, Martha, Rachel:
1. Eliza Jane ZIMMERMAN md. Alexander GRIM and had five children before dying in 1862 in Illinois. Alexander then md. her sister
2. Amanda ZIMMERMAN and they moved to Nebraska between 1869-1871.
3. Martha ZIMMERMAN md. James DARNELL (brother to Sumner) and died, possibly during childbirth, abt. 1860. James never remarried, moved to Butler County in 1868, was Sheriff 1871-1872. His tombstone in Grim Cemetery reads. "Died without father, mother, wife or child." "No pain, no grief, no amnous fear Can reach the peace of the sleeper here"
4. Rachel ZIMMERMAN (b. 3/4/1844) Fulton Co. IL (d. 11/18/1904) Fort Collins, Larimer Co. CO md. Sumner William DARNELL (b. 4/16/1839) Knox Co. IL (d. 2/21/1921) Milford, Seward Co. NE bd. Grim Cemetery. They had nine children, four b. Illinois, 5 b. Nebraska.

The parents of James DARNELL are:
William W. DARNELL (b. 6/2/1802) NC or KY (d. 11/18/1862) Maquon, Knox Co. IL md. Priscilla THURMAN (b. 6/13/1807) VA (d. 1/10/1862) Maquon, Knox Co. IL. They had thirteen children, and seven who moved to Butler Co. Nebraska are:
1. Sumner William DARNELL & Rachel ZIMMERMAN
2. Lewis DARNELL
3. James DARNELL & Martha ZIMMERMAN
4. William DARNELL md. Lettice Walter she died in 1870
5. Eliza DARNELL md. Bowater WALTER and lived in David City, NE
6. Jane DARNELL md. James McKEE and moved back to IL
7. Marion DARNELL who settled in Creighton, NE
8. George (Cristy George, probably his nickname) DARNELL also later moved to Nebraska (d. 1912) in Milford and is bur. in the Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln, Lancaster Co. NE.


Darnell Family Photos

Top: Marion Darnell, Sumner Darnell
Middle: Thomas Darnell, Lewis Darnell
Bottom
: Eliza Darnell Walter, Jennie Darnell McKee. 
Another brother, James Darnell, who wrote the letters had been married to Martha Zimmerman. The wife of Sumner Darnell was Rachel Zimmerman.

William and Lettice Walter Darnell


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Lineage by Barbara Ryan-Baxter, photos by Margaret Darnell Christensen
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