Letter to Cyrus Merriam in Indiana from his brother Chas. Merriam of Essex, NY
The text was transcribed from the original letter by Jane & Forney Miller.† Commas, periods and assumed spelling in parentheses have been inserted to make reading easier.† The letter was probably written about a year after Cyrus Merriam arrived on Indiana. Charles (1827-1887) and Cyrus (1833-1912) were sons of Jonathan Merriam (1787-1835) and Fanny (Hall) Merriam (1792-1872).
Essex Oct. 19, 1851
Dear Cyrus, why don't you write to us and let us know where you are and what you are about.† I have been awaiting for you to write to us to know where to send a letter to, but I begin to think you never will, and so I am agoing to send one by gess [guess] and if this should happen to find you, we are all well and nocking [knocking] round to obtain a livelyhood, which we do by hard digging.† How are you and what are you about.† What have you bin [been]about all Summer that you have not writen to us.† I can tell you what I have been about and that is work and nothing else.† Sunday evening after milking / and Jonathan is taking care of the horse. / It has bin one of these rainy Sundays such as we sometimes have but that have bin so rair (rare) this Summer / (now Jock [Jack ?] is abed and snoaring [snoring] ) / We have not had so much rain since the first of July as has fallen today, and now there is not a drop of water to be seen standing on the ground.† It has bin mainly dry for three months, no rain more than a lite [light] shower.† Nothing but what an hour's Sun would dry up.† [Today it has rained stedy all day.]
We have got our work pirety [pretty] well along.† Potatoes dug and grain thrashed.†† We had about 100 bushels of potatoes, 100 of oates, 30 of wheat, 15 of buckwheat and some whears [somewhere] between 40 & 50 of corn.† It is not all husked.† We have sowed out five bushels of winter what [wheat] angowing [and going] to sow three more.† The folkes as I said before are all well.† We had a leter [letter] from Jain the other day.† She was well & so ware [were] the rest.† Hiram is married.†† The summer has passed away without anything worth mentioning.† Cropes [crops] ware very good.† Wheat is worth 80 to 85 cts, oates 25, corn 67Ĺ, potatoes 31, hay $6 a ton. †The fall has bin so dry and hot that butter is worth 16 cts. lb.† There has bin a few marages [marriages] that may be worth your reading such as Baryilla Boardman to Sena Stafford, Wm Vannornam to a Miss Lewis, Norlan Church to a Palmer & Abram Winslow to Fidelia Collins.† There has bin but a very few deaths this summer.† Perry Gravlin is ded [dead] and Anton Vannormab was murdered and they have got three men in jail for doing it: Charles Purse, old Auris and his son Henry Auris.† The general opinion is that they will all hafto [have to] swing.† They will have their trial January next.†
We have not heard from Orson since last fall.
Sunday October 26
Another rainy Sunday has come and I now after reading through one book, sit down to write you a few more words.† Since I wrote the previous part of this Mary has received your letter.† We began to think you would never write again and we are glad to hear that your are well and appear to be enjoying yourself.† You say you donot [do not] calculate to come home this fall nor perhaps until a year.† What is the reason.† Haven't you got money to come with.† If that is the case and you want some just say so and we will try and send you some.† Is that the fact or don't you want to come.† If the later is the fact and you think it best, then stay, or if the other and you think you can do better here, let us know your opinion and we shall know what to do.† I wish you would come home and work the farm for mother and let me go to California.† You may may think I would not go but you try me and see what Iill [I'll] do.† I will sel [sell] you my horses and things and you go on and work the plase [place] for mother [what do you say to kthat0.†
It is evening and a black one too.† Jonathan is gowin [going] to bed and mother and the old dog is all the company I have.† They are asleep.† The one in her chair, the other under the stove so they do not bother me much, only by their loud snoaring.† You said you was to work for Mr. ________ but you did not say what you get for it.† You can tell us the next time you write which will be soon I expect.† Mother wants to know wheather [weather] you have got any clothes or not and all about it.† I have not said anything about the folkes this week.† We are all well heare [here] but Uncle Rialts Rosima has been very sick and got better but we have that she is worse than ever.† She has fites [fits] and is crazy.† Mother is going out there soone [soon].† The rest of them are well.† Mrs. Putman, Torrents mother is very sick.† They do not expect she will get well.† I donít [don't] think of anything more to write.† Chas Boynton has just got back.† The rest of the boys are all over.† Perry, his dead Sid, he has got to be a great lazy fellow, and Marthy, she is the largest one in the family and there is only ten of them (children I mean).†††
Prety well filled up.† See that you do the same.
Yours with respect, Chas J. Merriam