April 19, 1856 letter to Matilda Brown from Julia Allen

April 19, 1856

To: Matilda Brown

From: Julia Allen, Sodus, NY

Is planning on coming “out west” to visit Ambrose and Matilda and recounts the various people she may hitch a ride with. She has been staying at her brother Charles’ house. Her belongings are packed into boxes and are being stored until she is ready to go. Writes about their old house which her sister-in-law Cornelia’s father now lives in and how filthy it is.

Scan of 1856-04-19 Julia Allen to Matilda Brown

Sodus, April 19th [1856][1]

Matilda[2] I have just got your letter that was wrote April 9th and so I thought I would answer it right straight off and let you know that I have got all your letters and the reason that I have not answered them was because I have been a comeing to Michigan for about five weeks and so I thought there was no use of writing. I seen old Mr. Miller eight weeks ago to-day he had come from Alberts and Emily sent word to me that Benjamin was a going west in three weeks and I could go and he would go to Brown’s with me, so I made up my mind to go of course, but the going was so bad all the time after that that I could not see nor hear from them until two weeks ago yesterday. I seen Albert in the store he said that they expected Ben up that day and he would come and see me, but he did not. Albert was here last monday he said that Ben started for Michigan the monday before. He said that Caroline and her husband talked of comeing west. I told him to let them come then but I should not think of going, (Caroline was married last February to a Daniel Keisler). I thought for a spell that I should get a chance to come when Thomas Seely come but he has give up comeing so Moses Seely said last saturday. Thomas was here Monday he said that he had a letter from Ambrose[3] Saturday. He wanted to know what he should write for me when he answered the letter. I told him to write that I was a comeing as soon as I could get a chance. John Smith and Betsey & William and his wife expect to go out west next month about the 16th Jane[4] sayes. Grangers folks has invited me to go with them and that is the only chance that I know of so if I do not come with them dont look for me until next fall or spring there will be fifty-leven chances then to one now. I come to Charles’es[5] two weeks ago yesterday Charles took me back a week ago yesterday to pack up my things he and Charley King made the boxes. They had to be made of hemlock boards for it was imposible to get pine ones. I have got the things all in two boxes. I have sold Harriet[6] the lounge and best bed-stead, and Charley King the Boston Rocker. Sidney[7] thought that I had better have my things moved down to his house and wait for better going to get pine boards but I thought if I went west I had better box them up out of the way. He said he would take the boxes down home but Gilbert Hill said they could stand in his barn so I have left them there. Hills folks have moved where Sid lived they have got quite a large farm now. I have not been to Sids since they moved nor dont know when I shall for it is such awful going, and has been all winter it has been neither sleighing nor wagoning nor walking nor staying at home. Pauline Parsons got home last Sunday. She had to walk from Newark to fairville. Her father went there after her he went saturday and got back the next day. Jane was here a few minutes last sunday she said I must come and stay with them a spell. Johny P[8] goes to the Academy[9] this term. He has been here and eat dinner twice since I have been here and Pheny[10] was here to-day. She had been to her Aunt Elizas. Almira[11] goes to the district school it commenced last Monday. She likes to go very well she says.

20th  Mrs. Carpenter[12] has gone to meeting. Charles has just been sleeping his sunday nap. Harriet is eating apples she says I can tell you that she hasnt got home yet here. Myra is trying to set still a half an hour. She says she dont want anything wrote for her Mary.[13] Harriet says you must kiss the baby for her. She says you had ought to give her that baby she did love it so well. She cries every time she sees the little apron you give her. Adaline King stopt here to fix up before she went to meeting. This is the third sunday that she has been down a-foot this spring. I have been to one funerel, and to the post office once with Wealthy Parsons. I tell Charles that I am a village lady all but the lady. I like it very well here. We can see the scholars at the academy play ball and jump the rope. Harvey H. Pound is one of the scholars. He and Hugh hire a room and board themselves. He says that I and Ann Hanby must call and take tea with them. Now if you dont he says I wont come to see you again. He was to Sids the sunday before I come here. Mary he was as clever as he was vendue[14] day, Cornelias[15] father[16] come up to the post office yesterday afoot. He said that C was homesick and I dont wonder for such a dirty place I never seen. I should not thought they could get it as dirty in two years if they had cleaned at all. Sid and Ann and I was there four weeks ago today. I had to think three times to make out that it was the place where I had lived. It was hard telling wether the sink was wood or stone and the other things was about the same. Mr. Hood said that Ann was a going home next week to stay. He said that Sid was a going to Lyons next tuesday on the farm buisness I suppose. I did not think that Sidney would have sold his farm but there is nothing imposible now days only comeing to Michigan. I suppose that I am as contented here as I should be there but I had made up my mind to come and told so many that I was a going that I do want to go now. Parson’ses folks says that Dan and Pheb is comeing home next fall and I can go back with them. John Granger is going if God is willing when it comes warm weather and then I can go, and if I will wait till fall Harvey H will go to Galesburg with me, and if I will wait till next Febuary John J. will come with me. He was to Sid’s four weeks ago. He said that Mary-Jane is married and Isiac is married and Joseph is a going on a farm with him, so Ella and Ann Elizabeth is all that will be at home now. He has hired out for ten months this time to the same men that he worked for last summer. His uncle Isiac has got home from California just as rich as when he went.

I don’t think of any-thing more to write now

you may write just as often as you will all of you,

This from Julia Ann Allen to one and all

[On top of last page is:  “Sarahetta[17] this is Myras writing,” which is followed by scribbles]


[1] While no year was given, in the body of the letter on the 20th, she writes that Charles is taking his Sunday nap. According to a reference calendar Sunday, April 20, was in 1856

[2] Matilda and Julia were sisters

[3] Matilda’s husband, Ambrose Brown

[4] Her brother David’s widow, Jane (Paddock) Allen

[5] Her brother, Charles Allen

[6] Charles’ wife, Harriet (Carpenter) Allen

[7] Her brother, Sidney Allen

[8] Her nephew, John P. Allen (David’s son)

[9] The Sodus Academy

[10] Her niece Josephine Allen (David’s daughter)

[11] Her niece, Harriet Almira “Myra” Allen (Charles’ daughter)

[12] Charles’ mother-in-law (name unknown at this time)

[13] Julia’s and Matilda’s sister, Mary (Allen) Calkins. Since Mary was living in Pavilion, Michigan, it appears that this letter was meant to be shared with her

[14] A public sale or auction

[15] Her brother Sidney’s third wife, Cornelia (Allen) Hood

[16] Samuel Hood

[17] Her niece, Sarahetta Calkins (Mary’s daughter)