Folded Letter Sheet.
Apl 27 Manuscript rate:
Mrs. Mary Aten
Aaron H. Aten
Centreville Fulton co. Illinois April 25th 1838.
My Dear Madam,
I am at this moment here, and
in reasonably good health, but not in
the very finest spirits,. You will see that I have been absent 23 days, in
which time I tell you, I have traveled 1200 miles & more -- It was on Tuesday
Inst. that I left. That day I reached Marietta, where I stayed till
waiting for the Fulton, a boat for the Illinois River. The Fulton
not still coming, but the Thames for St. Louis, Mansons & I got aboard
voyaged along. The next Monday night sometime we reached Cincinnati. There I
got one to Louisville --- Lay there ½ day as at Cincinnati. -- Did not go
over the Falls -- they were too low -- Went through the canal & lock. --
Thursday P.M. hauled to at Shawneetown -- That night stuck on a sand-bar
above the mouth of the Cumberland River -- Friday passed Mouths of
Cumberland, Tennessee & Ohio Rivers & took up the Big Mississippi. Saturday
night late landed at St. Louis in state of Missouri. Passage price to St.
Louis $6 apiece. Sunday Morning hired the little Old steamboat to take us on
up [the Illinois River] for $15 apiece -- Mansons landed Monday noon at
Meredosia 16 miles below Bairdstown, I, [Beardstown Illinois] Monday at
Grand Island, a little above Sparkes Landing by a trick of the boat, save
them trouble, & give me bother. Next night got to Argos Richard and Robert
had been there 2 weeks before; but had not been heard of since. For 2 more
days I followed round where they had been, & finally heard that they had gone
to Quincy to enter land for Robert, & take steamboat on the Mississippi for
home again -- Richard was, as usual, in an awful hurry.
Robert wanted to go home and
work for the Old man this summer. So I
suppose if nobody followed & killed them, they are home long ago. And I not
seen them at all!!
David Snowdon & John Marshall,
two of our old Virginia neighbors are now
buying close by our land. I was with them, & saw it. It is much richer land
than you have seen, but hardly any body lives near it yet. There is water
enough on it, if I got at the right lines. Richards own piece I have not
seen at all it is nearly 2 miles off. If one half the land were prairie, it
would be vastly easier to begin upon it. As it is, I do not see whether I can
get anything done on it very soon, or not. I may be able perhaps to think of
something before fall. Till this time I have not found a school vacant, &
worth any thing, though I travelled 100 miles of Fulton county quite from the
Schuyler line on the South West, to the Peoria line on the North East. I am
now at Uncle Kuykendalls with one or two possible chances of school in
prospect, but no certain ones I would have written a week or two ago, but
that I expected to settle for the season. Still, however you can write. For,
if I go away from this, I can arrange with the postmaster to send your
letters on to me. For I want to hear from you as soon as possible.
And I think I can tell you more in
my next. I must get at something soon
as I can, and when I act I will try to let you know.
Perhaps it is well that Joseph
did not come along; for I know he would not
relish the low wages offered this season. The last land sales took nearly all
the money out of this state & there has not been any demand for any specie of
produce or stock since.
If he were here now, he could got $12
dollars per month but hardly in
cash. Money was always plenty here till last fall & believe it will be by
next fall, or winter, plenty enough. William, if he were here could do better
at $35 or $40 for the wood-work of a wagon. There are but few here that
understand his trade, and the timber here is as good for wagon-work as the
famous New Jersey wagon timber.
When you write tell me if William has
come home and what about him -- if
Joe has got well -- where he is -- what doing -- if Joshua Fisher has come
on, or said any thing -- Things are reasonably cheap here & plenty as they
can be in new country. Millions of bushels, I am sure of corn, could now be
had for cash at 20 cents a bushel. Tradesmen continue to ask high prices, but
are beginning to sell at credit.
Tell me all about yourself & the children
& how you get along-- What
Willie says about me. Poor fellow, he cried so hard when I started, & realize
Jane cannot mind me. If cannot do pretty well I may get back soon. A month
earlier, I could have done better. Many summer schools that would have
suited, were taken & all the best ones.
I am sorry I have no more to write.
But I will look with patience for an
answer. Write soon Direct to me at Cuba, Fulton co. Illinois.
Affectionately Aaron H. Aten.
This letter was re-folded and then re-mailed.
This second address below is on the opposite side of the paper from the original
address to Beverly Ohio. When a folded letter sheet or envelope is re-folded and
re-used, it is called a turned cover.
Fairview Brooke County
to the obituary of Mary Gatwood Aten, on February 5, 1835, she was
married to Aaron H. Aten, of Fairview, W. Va. [then Virginia].
Aaron H. Aten died in McDonough County Illinois 9 Aug 1889. Mary
died in Warren County Illinois 5 June 1907. Please visit the Schuyler
County Illinois Trails webpage with Mary Atens
Letter from the Collection of Fred Smoot