Bear Creek Allamakee, Iowa,
Dear Father and Mother,
We are all well. Hugh went to Dubuque
the day before yesterday to buy 80 acres of land that
lays between us and Yellow River. The sugar bushes on
the two pieces of this property will make beautiful
camping spots. There is a good amount of water on the
piece we are on. The springs come out of the hill not
more that two or three feet apart. Our chicks look
well. Our garden is doing very well for the time it
was made. Our Irish potatoes are doing well. So far
we are getting plenty of pickles. I think if frost
stays off a little while, we will have a good crop of
sweet potatoes. Our little onions has beat our big
ones all to pieces, and we'sll have lots of sets for
next year. We have eaten a good many of our onions.
We have a pretty little calf. We had seven little
pigs, but one did not come home last night and one of
Rathbun's boys said it went down the hollow last
night which we do not believe one word of it as they
are a set of loafers.
Jane has commenced dressing bonnets.
She is a little at loss for our bonnets and hat
blocks and other ingredients for dressing as we have
to go so far for everything. She does not have any
money. She has nine chickens. We have to pay 18 3/4
cents a piece for dry hens. Mrs. McClellan wanted us
to tell you to fetch her half a bushel of _______
when you come. We want our old flax wheels stuck in
and brought along. There is any amount of nettles
here that would make pretty thread or flax. There is
not much wild fruit on account of burning the grass.
The boys went down the creek and found where the pig
had been butchered.
We have quite a comfortable home to
what we had in the first part of the summer. The boys
put up a little house cabin and there was a little
one where they made an entry between the two cabins.
You had better bring that little side saddle as we
have two miles to go to our garden and when we ride
we have to go bareback. You had better fetch some
horse radish roots. The vermin eat the cherry seeds
and other seeds we planted. Turkeys are a dollar a
pair and acarce at that. The wheat is very good, but
there is not enough of it. They have lots of
buckwheat in full bloom. There is a small quanity of
winter wheat in the settlement.
We have been looking for a letter. We
are at a great loss for something to read. If we had
the Pittsburgh Gazette or anything in the printed
line we would read it. Everything runs away for two
or three nights every chance they get. There is any
amount of grain down on the prairie and everything is
plentiful. Meat is scare. I donn't think there is ten
pounds of meat in Allamakee, only ours. There are
sheep down on the prairie. We would have to herd all
day and pen them up at night. There is a hollow to
the east of called Wolf Hollow, to the west, Raccoon.
If we had Mother's case of drawers, money could not
buy them. It is unhandy to grab to the bottom of a
store box. There is so much trash. If we could get
something like blue drilling for skirts and socks and
ticking for pants, stores would be serviceable, L
think Clem, Lorenza, Clara and Albert may have
written only a little drop to us. Bring all the
brimstone left. There is the greatest war for bed
clothes. There is not as many as we have in a dozen
/s/ Louisa Ross
Louisa says there is not as many beds
in the township inclufing bed clothes as we have. We
do not think the weather so cold as they say or they
would freeze to death. They wear Hickory of what you
would call blue stripes sheeting and low shoes and
cotton stockings in the winter. Calico is to prevent
scratches from the brush. The nettles nake very
pretty thread. We will gather it this fall, so we can
spin it this winter for clothes next summer. The boys
have cut a couple of ricks of hay and got them up.
James and Moses have gone down to the crick to look
for bear. They said they would not return until after
sundown. It's not more than three-quarters of a mile
from the house. The horses are picking up finally.
Billy as we call him is almost as fat as when we left
home. Hugh and Dick went to Dubuque. Your good sorrel
colt is a fine one, but you didn's mention the cows.
We want to hear how they are? And Buff, what of him?
We wish Mother was here forty times a
day to keep house for us. We dare not leave the house
one minute because the bear is so close by. We have
to go alone to the garden every time. We wish we had
that Shakespeare Albert talks about. The boys are
wishing for Lorenza all the time. They say the team
is hard to break without him and Albert to help them.
The girls say they miss us and we hope we will not be
long parted. The people say you must try and get here
by around the first of November or the upper
Mississippi will freeze over soon after that. Tell
the girls to bring all the rags, patches-everything
of that kind about the house. Bring Louisa's parasol.
Robert has not written us one scratch nor Alexis, nor
Lorenza, nor Mother. We are obliged to Lorenza for
his kind words. we want the girls to get bonnets,
caps, capes, men's pea jackets, dress patterns and
vest cloaks and everything they can get their hands
on of that kind. The boys are back and did not find
Saturday Morning Aug 21st
The bear came last night and took the balance of the
pig. A neighbor came by last evening and told the
boys that they would come and bring their dogs and
guns and make a general hunt for him. There is some
eight or ten neighbors within the sound of our conch.
Now as I think of it, be sure and bring the conch
shell with you. Should have brought it with us. We
need it every day. The boys are gone to tell the men
that the bear came and Louisa is going to the garden.
I am writing on the breakfast table with all the
dishes on it. Our other pigs have left the diggings.
Cleared out last night. Come out as soon as you can.
We want you all. Tell Alexis there is no sickness of
any account here. I can tell you we want him to come
out bad- him and his boy. the county is not settled
but will be in a year or two. Tell Harriett she would
like to live here. They are going to build a school
house this fall near us. They want us to teach. They
are after us all the time.
/s/ Jane Ross