Amanuensis Monday: A Letter Home

Abia Minor Writes Home, 1872

Sulivan Moultrie Co Ills

June 25th 1872

Dear Father I Received your kind letter dated the 5th June in reply I will Say we are all as well as usual The last I heard from Jacksonville Harriet was improving. *(1)  I would have answered sooner But I was starting to Chicago with Some Sheep I Sold them for five cents they weghed 104 lbs Made me some money they cost me about 2 1/2 cts I have about 200 Sheep on hands my pastures is good about knee high Timothy When up I saw the Burt district *(2) and no one can discribe it nor can they discribe the improvements going on it look like anything But a City The Buildings going up are mutch better then the Old Ones We have a fine prospect for corn and oats wheat will be light grass is fine Stock is low cattle from 3 to 5 cents hogs 3 cts corn 38 cts If I could get a good lot of Sheep I would come to Pittsburg But they are hard to get what I mean by good ones are some that will weigh 120 oz upwards.  I would like to hear from you often You will find endorsed my note with Mother Millers name Dated Back to the time you got the interest from Tompkins *(3) with these lines I reamain yours as ever Abia Minor.

*(1) Harriet is Abia’s second wife.  Why she was a patient at Illinois Central Hospital for the Insane, Jacksonville, Illinois, is unknown.

*(2) Abia Minor, eldest son of John Pearson Minor and first wife Hannah McClelland, was a farmer taking his stock to Chicago.  On this trip he witnessed the recovery efforts that followed the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 started, as a the folksong would have it, by ol’ Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.  It raged from October 8 until extinguished by heavy rainfall on October 10.  Seventeen thousand buildings of Old Chicago were destroyed,  and 90,000 people were left homeless. Three hundred people lost their lives.

*(3)  John P Minor lent money to relatives and friends, charging up to 10% interest.  Each act was recorded with a note which detailed the loan and its terms.  This references one such transaction.



Amanuensis Monday: Article of Agreement

Today’s transcription comes from my Minor Treasure Box and sheds light on the characters introduced in last week’s Letter from Asa Minor to John P. Minor.

The musty yellowed paper has been folded in half, then in half, then in half again.  With gloves on I gently unfold the 3″ by 4″ packet; on one panel is the notation

Article of Agreement between Asa Minor of Warren County Ohio and John Pl Minor of the State of Pennsylvania

(A tmc? copy of the Original)

I unfold the document again and read some spidery script as being a record of payments, conveniently kept on the outside of the agreement.  I unfold this record one more time to read an agreement complete with ink smudges and crossed out words. Other words were inserted between lines and into small spaces as the parties hashed out these terms:

This Agreement made and concluded upon this 25th day of May Eighteen hundred and thirty five by and between Asa Minor of Warren County Ohio, of the one part and John P Minor of the State of Pennsylvania of the other part, both children and heirs at Law of Abia Minor late of Warren County Ohio deceased. Witnesseth, that for and in consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars good and lawful money of the United States to be paid to the said John P Minor, his heirs, executors or administrators by the said Asa Minor, his heirs, executors or administrators, in five years from the first day of January next, at the rate of six per cent per annum from the first of ??? next that then and in that case the full sum of five hundred dollars, with the interest  aforesaid, being paid by the said Asa as aforesaid, to the said P Minor as a aforesaid, he the said John in consideration of the said payment having been made as aforesaid, doth hereby covenant and agree for him self, his heirs, executors and administrators to and with the said Asa his heirs executors, and administrators to convey deed in fee simple to the said Asa his heirs, and assigns forever, all the right title , interest estate property, claim or demand whether in possession or remainder in Law Equity of the Real Estate (the Personal Estate excepted) which he is, or may be entitled to, as one of the children and heirs at Law of the said Abia Minor deceased, including the reversion of that portion of the said Real Estate which has been set off to the Widow of the deceased, after her decease.  In Witness whereof the parties do hereby set their hands and seals at Warren County Ohio this 25th day of May 1835 the interlincations and er????? being made .

Both Asa Minor and John P Minor set their signatures to this document, complete with hand-drawn seals.  The agreement was witnessed by James Thompson, R.M. Rofs and Thomas R Rofs.

Folding the agreement once more, I find the record of Asa’s payments to John P. Minor:

April the 4th 1836 paid on the within $50.09

november second 1837 paid $100

january the first 1838 paid $ 100 forty three dollars

This discovery adds definition to last weeks’ transcription.  In fact I believe that the $100 payment recorded for 2 November 1837 is the money mentioned in Asa’s letter.  The Panic of 1837 did not interfere with this family transaction, at least not until 1839.  I will be curious to see if any further payments were made, or if somewhere in my Treasure Box there is a deed for this land.