Volume 7, Number 7, Spring 1981
This is the second letter taken from the old round-topped trunk in the library of AVIS HAWKINS. The first one was published in Volume 7- Number 5 and gives the background of the trunk. This letter was written from Virginia by Julia Layton to her sister, Susan Layton Lowry in Missouri about 1850.
Danielsville, Spotsylvania City, Va.
I received your letter three weeks ago and have delaid answering it until now waiting to get the other half of notes but have not received them yet nor have I ever received Mauranas letter. I had thought she had forgotten me as long as she could not write.
I think I have received a letter from Thomas since I wrote you last. The last letter was dated February 20th. He was well when he wrote and making money very fast, himself and Dr. Perham made from Thursday to Saturday six hundred dollars. Mr. Stamps and three others made in one day 875 dollars countain gold at 16 dollars per ounce. He said some men were making fortunes.
Barnard Cuba left for California the last of April. Mr. Corbin talks of going this summer, but the Cal. fever is not as bad as it is in Mo., it is not as fatal. Thomas had not seen John or Archibald when he wrote. He had received two letters from me and John had received one from home. He said he saw one Kelly who crossed the Plains with Thomas. You must let me know what Kelly it was.
John had a bear fight. He went out one day to hunt deer and missed his way home by their being many Indian trails and had to stay in a deep hollow all night and while he was setting by the fire smoking his pipe he heard a fierce growl of a grisley bear. He turned and sized his rifle and the first shot stinted him. Then he drew his revolver and shot him six times killed him the bear. Waid twelve hundred pound. He got six hundred dollars for him and paid three hundred to get him in market, we have a bear John now haventy? Virginia dont you want some bears oil to grease your hair. It is so much better than lard.
I suppose you have hera the death of Mrs. Larrel. She died in March I think. I spent the day with Aunt in April. She was well and said she intended writing to your papa the next day. I expect to go see her next week to eat strawberys. I went to see aunt Gordon and Elizabeth Monday. They were well. Aunt Gordon said that she wrote to your papa twice since Feb. and had never received any answer.
She sais you might write if papas hand trembled so he could not. She sends her love to you and all the family.
Susan, Aunt Janes youngest son Joseph is dead. He died the 7th of May with the Typhoid fever. He was a professor of religion and the gentleman who he lived with gave him a first rate caricter. Grandmother and Aunt Jane are well and send their love to all my relations in Missouri, and grandmother sais if she could but go to Craigs with Aunt Sally and Aunt Sukey once more how glad she would be. Tell Aunt Sukey she would hardly know her old place. They have put a two story house up and it looks first rate.
Mr. Faulconer have made money like all boston. His chicken pick commenced there yesterday and it will last until tomorrow evening.
Susan, Sarah Ann Shelton that was in dead. She married Joseph Ballard about two years ago. I believe I wrote you of the death of Mrs. Hodges but I am so forgetful that I hardly know what I write.
Susan, you must answer this immediately and let me hear all the knews of everything and everybody, even my old white hen and red cow and tell your Papa when I come back he must let me have her. Let me know if anyone lives in our house.
Give my love to your papa and mama and tell them I would he very glad to see them. Tell Marana and Sarah I would be ashamed of myself to act as they have, Why didn't they do as I have, not having little cryers going all day, then they will say Poor little Jony and poor little Tomy dady will come by and by with his pockets full of gold. Give my love to all your papas family, to Thomas. Also tell him that Betty and Monroe talks of him and Charles often that he must not go to California. My love to all excepted my relations joins me in love. My love to Aunt Betty, tell her her children are well and may God bless and protect you is the prair of your
Julia A. Layton
You must excuse mistakes and all the words that is left out. You must put them in. Tell Sarah and Murana to write.
The third letter is written on another trip. The exact dates not easy to determine from the information in the little books.
Poker Flat, California
July 31, 1656
My dear wife,
It gives me pleasure to write to you this morning.. knowing that it will meet with a hearty reception by you. I received a letter by Mr. Kimbrough dated the 29th of May which is the latest dates that I have from home. He stated that you had just been in the store and was well. Was truly glad to hear it.
I expect that you have stopped writing as I thought of getting off in June and so stated to you... but I have been compelled to stay to get through... as I could not sell on foot only at one stop besides this unless I sold lower by two or three cents on the lb. than I was getting.
I have made a sore sale of the shop to Sampson and Ward to take possession 22nd August. I bought one of the shops from Sampson at $800 and now they give $2000... but I only get 1800 as I had agreed to let Page have it for that and he made the sale. However he had put something like $75 work on it in addition to what I had. I am well satisfied at the trade. We bound ourselves in bonds $500 if either should fly the track. I would have put up a $1000 forfeit if it had been required...
After getting through here I have some horses and old cows to sell, and perhaps may have to stay until the 20th Sept. if I see that I can collect up pretty clean by that time. It will be more healthy on the Isthmus then and I will not run such risk of sickness at that season. I have stayed a long time away from you but it has been caused by uncontrollable circumstances. I will go by New York, as that is the most certain route.
Morehead drove up the last trip. He said Archibald was nearly over his sickness. Tom Jeffries was going to Shasta to see about the reward for arresting Carter. Last Sunday Lambert Whitlock, Hollet Hollingsworth, Marion Fulbright, and Calvin and Taylor Beal were here. Whitlock has not sold all his cattle yet... and stock are still falling so you can see that I am not the only one that has had a tedious time of it... Times are growing harder daily in California and the people becoming more dishonest and desperate.
I wish you were all in Virginia again that I might go through that way and spend a few months but I shall delay no time in getting to Springfield when I start.
I herewith inclose duplicate for $2750 which you will please hand to S K and Moss. I sent down $1775 yesterday for them which they will receive by this mail.
The Vigilance Committee at San Francisco have hung two other men. I wish they could get hold of all the murderers. I think they are doing a good service.
I have nothing more to write. Give my love to all. Kiss the children for me and believe me as ever your devoted husband.
Thos. F. Layton
Addressed to Mrs. Julia Ann Layton
Springfield, Greene Co. Mo.
There is one other interesting note addressed to Mrs. Susan E. Lowry, Springfield, Mo.
Great Salt Lake City, June 30th 1853.
To your query concerning your brother William C. Layton, I regret to inform you that I can obtain no information concerning him, although I have published your enquiry in the "Deseret News." at an expense of $1.50.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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