Family Notes

Willits Letters

Letters received by Charles Willits, Henry County, from his brother Job E. Willits of New Boston, Illinois.
Letters courtesy of Henry County Heritage Trust. Transcribed by Alex Augustine, University of Northern Iowa Public History Field Experience Class. April 2020.
New Boston Ills. Dec. 15th 1856
Dr. Brother & Sister
     We now see the blasting frost of another winter. Which has already bridgd the great Mississippi sufficiently for footmen to cross with safety. Frost is one of the peculiar atributes of nature which cloths its-self in a sparkleing white robe. And falls to the earth a blight to all young, and tender, vegitation. At first it only nips the buds. But as the season advances, It’s work it accomplishes. Though nature will have its cours. Spring must come. And frost abandon. His work is done. True he leaves behind a forest of rubish. But Spring comes with a smile and brings a gentle shour, and clenses both woodland and bower. With her beautifull sunlight rays, She perfumes the night and adorns the day. But I am getting rather poetical. The season changes from one degree to another each year marking on our brow the events of the past. And now when we think back over the few short years gone by to the time when we were all little prattlers, together scipping over the Old Cabbin floor, with our home Spun apperal, nothing to care for, Our minds as free as the air we breathe. We can say with wonder, how comes this! But a few short days and I was quite a child. But now it seems that I am Father Master and Manager! What a change!

     Sarah is still in bad health, but I think her health materialy improved in the last week, by good nursing and water treatment. She is staying at Maxfields and her sisters, Ett and Lide, Spare no pains in making her comfortable. She has been haveing chills ever since you was over and she has become very much reduced since you saw her, but I am very much incouraged now. The friends are all well at present. We have not been out to Fathers, since you was here on account of Sarah’s health. As soon as she gets able and the weather fair we shall go out there and to Jesses. I am sorry to say to you that John E. has not shoed his face to me yet, and I have got no money from him for you nor me. Father got a letter from J.E. Ware some time since, Stating that he had some notion of comeing out here again. He wished to know what the present prospects of Aledo was. He had heard a greateel about it &c. I wrote him an answer. Stating that in all probability Aledo would Make a good in-land town. But that I thought there were towns in the west that would keep in the advance for instance Chicago and a number of other towns I might mention have advantages that Aledo can’t have. Even New Boston the western turminance of the great-western air line R.R. situated on the Mississippi river, Must un-questionably Make a better point &c.

     Charles if you don’t write to me I shall most assurdly give you one of the worst Scoldings you ever received from pen and paper! Now Mark that! What ails you! Have you lost controll of the pen, Or have you forgotton that there is such beings as Myself & Wife on top of sod. No it can’t be the latter, for I wrote to you a few days since a few lines, enough to assure you that I was still in the land of the liveing. Come sir I want you to gobble. If you can’t gobble Cluck, and if you can’t Cluck, Make a Strate Mark and send it to Me.

     Business has been pretty good this fall. I have not yet determined what I shall do next Spring, but think I shall sell if a good opportunity presents it-self. I be-lieve I should like to west out a little farther (as the yankee said.)

     Jesse was in town the other day lamenting affully the loss of a lengthy letter he had written to you, but he was still in hopes that he had forgotton it at home and that it could be restored to him on his return. I Suppose that the poor fellow had to Sweat & Toiled for some time to get out the contens and then to have the burnd thing to give him the Slip in that way it was to infurnell scandless bad.

     I suppose you have sold your Pork. The price here is $4.25 & $4.40 to day. Wells is buying largely, doing a good busness. Chas tell Fred that I am much ablidge to him and his wife for the Short call they Made us when they were over. Would be glad to have them Call and stay longer next time they come over, but be sure and call longer and louder. However Fred I will excuse you this once as you was so newly married. I suppose Henry is still single but he is just waiting till all is ready. Mrs. Wm. Drury didn’t like it Much because you Missed them when you was over, but I reconsiled them by telling them that you would Make it up with interest next time, As you did with us &c.

     Chas you Must excuse My nonsense. Start to Mt. Pleasant and get some paper & Ink and write Me a letter. I know you can take time. Sarah has weaned Eva. She is fat and harty, Saucy as a wood-chick. Don’t forget to write to Me.

     I seen Thos. Willits the other day he asked Me if you disposed of your R.R. Stock before you left. I told him you had, and how. He allowd you would do, for a jockey. Willits is a good fellow - I think a heap of him. Chas don’t forget to write to me. I guess I shall close. My pen is bad. My room is cold. My paper is out. Beond a doubt.

     Sarah sends her respects with my own to all. Don’t forget to write to me.
Yours &c. Job E. Willits
New Boston Ills - June 2nd 1857
Dr. Brother & Sister

     I am happy to improve this opportunity of dropping you a few lines. In consequence of My late visit with you and Father’s late return from your house I have delayd writing to you longer than I otherwise Should. It has been Some two months Since I mailed you my Last. Since which time death has been in our Midst. It has niped the bud of my future happiness. It has taken off one (to me) more dear than life its-self. One whom I felt was the fountain of all my happiness. She was a tender loveing good and benevolent Companion. With her I was happy! Oho! That I could recall Some of the past. That I could just See the living form of My dear wife in health. And hear her Sweet voice Chime the notes so often heard by me. But perhapse I am rong. If it be the Will of a Supreme being, it may be all for the best. She has only followed the footsteps of thousands gone before her. And led the way for us in a few Short days to follow. And Charles if I was shure in My own Mind that the Sole was immortal, To never die and be forever happy And that we Should all meete reccognise and enjoy each others Society in another existance, I could feel perfectly reconsiled. But to Me that is a purfect Mistery. And I think that there is no Man or woman on earth that has Sufficient faith to assure them of a final everlasting home of piece and happiness hereafter. Yet we have a hope and a certain degree of evidence that we Shall enjoy a future existance.

     The Season is unusually backward As you know. Notwithstanding the prospects for fruit is better than Common. I wish if the fruit Crops are good that you would Make your arangements so as to come over in the fall. The earley planting of Corn has not Come well. Spring Wheat looks well. And I think the grass Crops will be good.

     I Suppose you have heard of Add getting Married. I don’t know Much about her Man More than he is a dentist by the name of Libby living in Genaseo Ills. I heard that Uncle William Was not pleased with the Match.

     June 3rd. On account of an unusual run of customs yesterday Commencing earley in the day and Continueing till late in the evening I was detained from writing. So I Shall finish My letter this Morn by pening a few idle thoughts. I would here State that My visit with you was Most gorgously relished by Me. As you both Seamed to Share the Sympathy of a true brother & Sister towards Me in My Misfortune. I was verry luckey in getting conveyance home. I got to Mt. Pleasant Just as the Cars ware starting. Arived at Burling in due Season for my breakfast. After which I immediately Started on board the packet for N.B. landed here about one oclock. And in a few hours the Steamer White-Cloud arived dischargeing My Whole freight. The work on Main Streete has greatly enhansed the value of my propperty. They have filed opposite My house So as to bring My door almost on a levil with the Street. I think that Boston will improve Some this Summer.

     Charles and Rachel, I should like to write at length upon the foregoing Subject would time and Circumstances permit. But I Shall close by pening My cincere hope of a future happiness. I was out to Father’s Sunday last. They were both well and well pleased with their visit. Father was going to Uncle Dudley’s on busness for you Monday. And will write you immediately. I was out to Jesse’s Sunday week. They wase all well and Jesse was forword with his work. I don’t know much of Sarah Ann and family, More than Charles is very poorly. I Suppose from accounts he can’t get well. I have not been out to See Vol. and Vone yet. Shall go soon. The friends are generally well. Eva has been haveing the ague but She has got well, has not had it for one week. She is Well contented. I am boarding at J.T. Stannards. Shall Move to Wm. A. Willits as Soon as they can get a Girl.

     Busness is pretty good considdering the Scarcety of Money. We have a good assortment for a Country Store Consequently get our Share of the trade. I expect to hear from Drury in a few days, As the assessor is around. And I neglected to give in the old Stock of Goods in consequence of My purchase being a few days later than the law requires for Me to list it. Consequently Drury will be Compelled to give it in Which will Cost him about Fifty Five Dollars tax next fall. It will be unlooked for by him And I expect it will Make him brush his Whiskers pretty fast. But he Must not look for Me to always favor him.

     Father has just Steped in and wishes me to State that he has Seen Grayham & Roberts and they propose to put you up one of their best Wagons with two Spring Seats finished in good Stile for One hundred and Twenty Dol. (120.) And a common Wagon for Fred for Eighty five (85.) Father has also Seen Uncle Dudley about that other Matter And Uncle told him that Uncle Lewis was gone out to See Daniel McCray and as Soon as he got back he Would Write you the particulars with regard to it &c. Father tells Me to Say to you that they got along fine on their journey home and that his mair is just about as She was when he left your house. Charley Davis is not any better. Mother has gone over to Sarah Ann’s to day. I have been hindred this Morning Since I commenced writing and it is after ten now So I must Close. I hope these lines May find you all well. And I wish you to ever Keepe in Mind that you have a Brother that has and will have untill death a Confiding interest in you and your family’s well-fare hopeing to hear from you Soon I remain Your Most
Obediant Brother
   Job E. Willits

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