June 16, 1850 letter to Luke Keith from James Sprague Jr.

June 16, 1850

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: James Sprague, Jr., Pavilion, NY

Will have to give up buying the farm as he doesn’t have the means. Martha and the children would rather stay where they are, so they will stay there until they have an opportunity to sell. The body of Mr. Chilson, who drowned in the Genesee River, was found yesterday and buried today. There is a new species of fly that looks like a honeybee but is a size smaller. It is something they haven’t seen before.

Pavilion June 16 1850[1]

We receved your letter dated June 8 which found us all well. In relation to the farm we shall have to give up buying it for the want of means. I should like to buy the farm if we could sell the shop. There is no chance to sell as we know of. Martha[2] & the children[3] think they had rather stay here then sell & come there. We had a chance to sell the farm last winter & dont know but we could now. I dont know as it would be best if I could. We can get a living here if we work all of the time. We will try to stay here untill we have an opportunity to sell & then we will buy if an oportunity offers to suit. We will make you no more trouble about the Farm. Wheat looks extrordinary well genarally Spring crops or backward but the prospects is good for good crops. Wheat is worth about $1.50 pr bush corn five shillings. Mr Chilson[4] that was drounded in the Genesee River was found yesterday and buried him to day. Charles Anderson has been to Rochester and bought him a farm. He starts back to morrow. I send this by him. Marion[5] rote to some of you the other day. I suppose she told you the news – there is a new species of Fly among us that is quite numerous. It loks considerable like the honey bee a sise smaller & more yellow. It is said by some to be the W__ole Fly. It is something we have not seen before.

James Sprague Jr.

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[1] It appears that someone added “James Sprague, June 16-1858” on the envelope part of the letter; however, from the contents of the letter it is clear that it was written in 1850

[2] His wife, and Luke’s sister, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[3] Assuming he is referring to his daughter and son-in-law, Marion and George Tomlinson, since she was his only living child and they all lived together

[4] A search of FindAGrave.com shows that Alva Chilson, aged 26, drowned in the Genesee River on November 8, 1849 and that his body wasn’t found until June 18, 1850. Since this letter is dated June 16, 1850 it would appear that his body was actually found on June 15

[5] His daughter, Marion (Sprague) Tomlinson