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The following letters were obtained from Howard Hickman (E-Mail:


Lucile Kimball, San Luis Obispo, Ca. possesses original letters. Transcribed by Howard Hickman III, April 1994. Punctuation was added for easier reading, while spelling errors were left unchanged. Please note that one letter says "Day Co", They lived in an area that was Day County, prior to the creation of Marshall County.
Letter written by Celestia A. Moore, age 40, to her parents Carolus and Nancy Burch. She mentions her husband John and her children Fred 17, Willie 14, Myron 8,and Winnie 3. John and Celestia Moore had just moved in 1883 from their home in Michigan and homesteaded a claim on open land in the Dakota Territory [now near Britton, South Dakota].

Miller, Day Co. Dakota Nov 8th, 1883

Dear Father & Mother,

I will try to write to you again tonight. We are as well as usual. John took some cold soding up the house. The sod were so wet and cold and he and Willie hurried for they thought it was going to freeze up, but we are having a beautiful weather here now. Fred and Willie have been to the hills twice this week for wood and are going again in the morning. The wood is mostly elm, but it burns well when it gets dry.

Winnie sits by the table talking about Grandpa & Grandma. She remembers all about living there and riding on the horses and chasing the old gobbler. She says Grandma gives Winnie and Myron fride cake and apples to eat and Charley let her ride on Nelly.

We are putting a partition through the house and we will live in the south end of it this winter. There is a family north west of us that came from Missouri. They staid in Dakota last winter and they said they did not feel the cold anymore than they did there when it was the coldest. The wind does not blow

December 11th

Well, after so long a time, I will try to finish my letter. We have got about 10 cords of wood all worked up and piled up back of the house besides some chunks that they pound away at when they have the chance. They will have to go for 18 miles after it, if they get any more. The place where George went with them is all cleared out.

Five weeks ago, last Sunday, Aunt Mary fell out of the buggy and broke her left arm above the elbow. They were just starting to come down to Edwin's. There is a Doctor from Detroit, Mich. lives on Section 20 in the town south of us. Fon[?] went and got him to come and set it. It is doing nicely so that she can take it out of the sling part of the time.

We have had one cold spell. The thermometer was down to 10 below zero one morning, 8 once, 2 once and zero twice, but it is warmer since and some nights it doesn't freeze at all. There was two mornings in October that the ground was just white with snow but it melted off when the sun shone on it. Last Friday, it snowed a little. That is all gone now, but a few drifts.

The station is to be 4 miles east and 1 1/2 south. The Railroad Co. bought 80 acres, 20 off of each section 23-24-25-26. The surveyor came last week and surveyed the town and staked out the lots and the railroad buildings and yard. It is to the first division station with round house and shop_as[?] is named Britton. But remember it isn't built yet, but every one thinks the road will be laid through here next summer. There is to be another road about two miles west of us, an extension of the North Western from Columbia to Waupaton[?].

Next summer, I am going to save some of all the different kinds of grass. I might have saved them this year if I had known that I should have a chance to send them.

Fred and Willie went up to Oscar Churches two weeks ago and got seed, wheat and oats. They were gone 4 days. It must be nearly 45 miles. The first night they slept in a claim shanty. They had hay with them and a thick quilt and Edwin's Buffalo robe. It was pretty cold and they took the oxen in with them. Stayed to Em's the next night. Got there at noon and started back home next morning. That night they stayed at Black Stone and got home about 4 the next afternoon.

I haven't had but one cold since I have been here. That was when George was here. It is getting late and I must close for I want to write some to Abbie. With love from all to all.

Celestia A. Moore

Letter from Celestia A. Moore to her sister, Abbie, in Michigan.

Britton, Day Co, Dakota Nov 21, 1884

Dear Sister and friends,

I will try to write to you once more. We have thrashed. Had 234 bushels of wheat and 162 of oats. Willie has been to Andover once with wheat and brought home coal. Was gone a little over two days and a half. He got 46 cts a bushel. It is 42 now, but we are in hopes it will come up some before long. Fred got home day before yesterday. We have had beautiful fall weather but it froze up Sunday and is snowing now for the first time. 25th it was quite cold, down to 18 below zero, but is warmer now. Fred went to Andover Tuesday morning with a load of wheat and got home last night a little after midnight with another load of coal. He bought 25 hundred. John sent 20 bushel to Columbia mill by one of the neighbors and got 600 lbs of flower for it and we thought it was a good trade for we had paid 3 to 4 dolars a hundred for all the flower we had bought since we came here.

I dont think we shall have school much before spring. The school house is nearly done. It is a half mile north of here. The children will only have a half mile to go.

John will send 10 dollars in this. I was in hopes to have sent it all but will have to wait. It is getting late and I must stop. Write soon. Good bye.

Celestia A. Moore

Letter written by Celestia Moore, age 45, to her son Fred, who had moved back to Michigan.

Burch, Marshall Co, D.T. Feb 26, 1888

Dear Fred,

I dont wonder that you think I leave you to do all the writing but I am so tired most of the time and the boys have been writing quite often. We havent sold any the stock. It is to early yet to get what they are worth. They are all looking well. Pa was going to drive Prince and Dick to town last week with butter. When they hitched them up, Prince threw himself twice. The last time he broke the tongue and they had to put him back in the barn and take Dandy. Got Edwin's sleigh and took the tongue down to Franks and got it mended. The next day they took Dick and Prince again and he started all right and went all right.

A weasel got into the coop and killed 17 chickens and a turkey. Ned shot it. It seems strange to have such warm weather and have it thaw as much in the winter. Edwin only comes home a little while on Sundays. All the rest of the time he is in the store. Winnie hasnt been to school since it came on cold. Myron goes most of the time. He has had two or three bad spells of head ache. Local option seems to work pretty will. I havent heard of any one trying to oppose it and I think it saved a great many lives during the big blizzard. I wish you could get the receipt of old Docks lineament while you are there.

Help Hattie all you can. I hope Aunt Abbie will be better when you write again. Take good care of her and Grand Pa too. I wish he was well enough to come home with you and stay all summer. Guy Lewis was here last evening. They are all well. He said he left Maw and Paw playing checkers. Georgie Law[?] and Clem are at Britton at school. Law[?] has some wonderful experiences at Church and School. We heard that Jim Stokes and Bettie were married but there was nothing of it in the paper.

Mr. Pierce did intend to have another srte[?] with the Bund rocks but I guess he has given it up. I do hope Aunt Abbie will be better when this gets there. I commenced a letter to her long ago and will try to finish it.

from mother, Celestia Moore

Letter from Celestia Moore to her son, Fred.

Burch, Marshall Co, D.T. April 13, 1888

My Dear Fred,

Your letter came last night. We were glad to hear from you. Ned took the measles of Albert. He has had them very bad. They are beginning to go off now, but he is sick in bed yet and I have to keep a mustard poultice on his left lung all of the time and he coughs bad. Myron and Winnie will come down with them in about two days. I hope they will have them lighter.

The snow is all gone except around the stacks and stable, but the ground is hardly fit to work, even Phons where it is so sandy. The old man Tank dragged a little on his hill but gave it up and went to drawing manure. Annies husband works for him this summer. Pa and Myron have got the seeder together and are putting the drag together today. The last time I was over to Britton, Willie gave 4 dollars to finish paying Fenie and he told Pa yesterday that he would hire a man for a month to help do the seeding for Ned wont be able to do much in that time. If he had not been sick, I think he and Pa would have got along with it all right. Myron thinks if he wont have the measles to hard, he can finish that plowing with Dandy and Old Bill. They got 60 bushel of wheat of Rosmas to finish out the seed.

Alva is mooving back to his place today so as to be ready for work. Em has been quite sick with the fever but is better now. Pa saw Mr. Hubble in town and wanted to know your address. Did he write and send you pay.

We shall be glad to get the taxes of you for we shall have to hire it and you know what sharks they are here. I wish that you were here to help do the seeding for we might as pay you as any one and we should know ____ was done good. Mr. McCoy has sent in Pas papers for a pension. If he gets it he is to have 25 dollars, if not he has nothing.

We have had one hard rain the only one since Will and George were here. I shall have to stop writing to get the dinner. I will send that note in this if you will send the money as soon as you can would like it for I suppose there is a percentage on them all of the time now. You had better send it to Britton. Give my love to all the folks. I will try to write to them soon. From you mother,

Celestia A. Moore

Letter from Ned Moore to his brother Fred, who had moved back to Michigan.

Burch Feb 11/20 1888

Dear brother,

I thought that I would write you to night. Did you get my letter. _____ getting along very well this winter with the chores. ____ ____ ____ _____ very well and is getting fat. Jum[?] and Rock waighs twenty nine hundred and sixty pounds. The other stock is doing well.

We hitched Prince up last week and he broked the tongue out of the slays, but he did not hurt him any nor any thing elce. We are having a pretty good winter out hear. We have had too thaws hear that has lasted about two weaks and it has got to snow before it can aset up a verey good blizzard. The snowing is pritty,all of of the flowing. The roads is pritty bad now. It is all ice and they are ____rce then thear was last spring. The snow is about as high as the barn and you can walk over the hay stacks. It is drifted as high as the barn yard fence and the straw stacks is all covered up, but I have not had as much shoveling as thear was last winter. We will have plenty of hay and stacks to last us. Nail[?] has been ____ hear twice sence you have been away. Winnie says she is going to write to you. We have not sold the big team. We got your letter today. Are you going to come back as you sed. Ma says she is going to write to you, but I guess I have not left much to write. We are all well and I hope this will find you in the same fix. Is abby any better. Dakota is the place to live. I must go now and milk. Write soon and a good long letter.

From your brother,

Ned L. Moore Burch, Marshal Co, Dakota