Letter 1 James Weaver to William Beal
Letter 1: James Weaver, from Augusta (Oneida County, New York) April 27, 1831, to (Uncle) William Beal, Tenterden, Kent, (England).
Note: Richard Hughes transcribed this letter in early 2008, and he notes, "I decided to retain the original phonetic spelling .", so it may be difficult to understand at times. "Original copies" of the letter below can be found by clicking the above links.
Augusta April 27 1831
I am just set down to write you a few lines according to my father wish and I hope you exquse our not writing before as we thought we would stop to see the winter through before we wrote so that we could give you a littel account of the winter so I will begin with that first. We add a fine fawl and the winter did not begin till December and when it did begin it come pretty sharp. We add snow over the top of fencys some places and it as frost verry sharp. Father kept pretty close to the fier all the winter but this countrary people love a plenty of snow. That is the time they take there pleasure for that is good traveling then for hear is no coaches run . Hear in the winter it slays and cutters and I can tell you that is easy riding for I have add some rides in them. It like a boy slayding.
Now I give you a little account of the summer. Last summer was a weat one . There was such rain as I ardly see before and a great deal of thunder and lightening but we had a fine time for haying a harvesting and add a good crop of wheat and oats and barley but Indian Corn was short for that loves hot summers. There was a few days verry hot. The spring is just a coming on now and it is about the middle of April. We are just giting beasy hear now so now I will give you a little account of what we are doing.
Father as bought two farms, one for me and one for John and William. Mine is a farm of 34 acres with a house and stables and hop house. Mine is about 32 acres cleared and 2 of wood and I am just now begin to work the land and I like the look of it . I suppose you would not get such land in England for £50 per acre. It low land and a fine stream of warter run threw it and the price of it was 17 dollars per acre and my brothers is farm of 40 acres about 10 wood with a house and barn and stables and thorge was 15 dollars per acre. A dollar is 8 shillings of this money and about and about 4s..6d of English money. They think as much of a dollar hear as you do of a sovereign. Hear is not so many rich people hear but all of one class. More they do not think so much of there self as to be one a bove a nother . The people seem verry friendly and they do tolk better English then we do for they speak very proper and they do have good learning.
It was a year a go to day that we landed at New York and we was glad enuf to se land againe. We add one or two days pruty ruf seas.It wash my brothers dog overboard and the Captain sky light and nock the bull work a way but thank god we did not loose no lifes a coming over . Some of us was verry sea sick and father could not smoke is pipe much on the passage but calm weather he injoy is self on deck pruty well but ruf weather he keep to burth but I must tell you he injoy is self now verry much and like this country very well and he lives with William and John mostly and some times he will come and stop with me and so he works as he liks for us so father as is living for what he pleases to do for us.
We have got two large meating houses in this town. One is a Babtist and one Presbyterian but I have not been to the Presbyterian. We have gone to the Babtist since we have and we like the preacher very much. He is a verry good sort of man I believe but now I am move I are about 4 miles from the meating house and the roads are often so bad I (donít)think I shall get to go much.
Hear is a meating hear close by my house in a school house were I will be preaching every Sabath day. We are trying to get it so I have heard one of my countrary people preach hear today the 15 of April and he preach a good sermon. He come over last spring and there is another one lives just by me wich is a preacher is Methodist preaching but I hope there is some good to be learnt from it. Hear there is no English church neare then 9 miles.
My sister is a living about 6 miles from us. She as been a living there ever since we came almost and she get from 50 to 60 dollars per year and says these the best place she ever add for they look upon servants hear about the same as there one chidren and Stephen come up the countrary with but did not stop long up hear but whent back a bout 70 miles and sted is self and a gread for a twelmonth a prentice. He gread for 80 dollars per year and is bord and lodging and washing and he likes is self verry well and he says there are very religious people. Father and John as been to see him this winter and is Bos give him a good character and he says farms want him to set up aginst his Bos. They have oferd to bild him a shop and find him iron but Stephen will not do it for is Bos use him well but he will exspect to have a good deal more wages if he stop another year. They will have Stephen to shoe there horses.
If you please father wishes you to give is best respect to is uncle if he is a living and to say that we are all quite comfortable sitteuate and like the countrary verry well. Father as been verry peasey a making of sugger lately. They have made the uppers of 100 weight of suger William a father. I have not now sugar bush on my place . I can assure you that verry good sugar .We make our soap and candles and this countrary people muck ever thig they want four use. They make there one cloth and spin there own linen. They make pruty much ever thing they were and grow pruty much all they want to eat and drink.
Now I must tell you what stock we have got . I have got I yoke of oxen and 3 cows and 4 calfs and 6 sheep and 2 hogs and 6 geese and 10 chicken and 3 ducks and my brothers have got 2 horses and 1 cow and 2 calfs and 12 geese and about 18 chicken and we have wood pigeons hear by thousand and ten of thousand and grea squirrels and black one and read one we have now add bout hear esscept foxes but we have some fine timber wood lays and rot hear by thousand of coards but I expect wood will be more scarch in 20 years time. Wheare I am they do begin to to be more schouse of wood now for they do make of a good deal of wood for fenceys and a great deal for burning. Father says your headge tools will not do for this countrary for hear is some of the wood that will gap the handbills all to nothing. They never see such tools in this countrary. They make there exxes quite different. I like there exxes verry well to worke with.
I hope these few lines will come safe to hand and find you and your family and housekeeper quite well. I am happy to say that father is quite well and he do injoy is health quite well in this countrary and so do all the rest of us except my oldest boy James. He has been sick for a bout 3 month and he is verry poorly now. I have add 3 doctors to him. He add the inflamatary feaver first and then the dropsy foler after. My wife was sick for a bout fortnight but thank god all the reast of us are quite wellnow. Father send is love to you and hope you will answer this letter and father would be glad for you to give him a little account of his old countrary for we hear bad news of it now but we hope it will be sedeld with out war. I suppose you have add shocking fiers.
Please to give father and all of us kind respect to your housekeeper and to your dear children and please to except it yourself from us all and give hour respect to all enquire friends. I hope you will exscuse bad writing and bad speling and mistake .
So please to direct as follows Ė In the Town of Augusta In the Countay of Onedia In the State of New York North America.
So now we will all conclude with best wishes for health and happaness and god bless us all I hope so now now more from your affectionate friend.
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