I Seat My Self To Write You A Few Lines – Samuel Minor: Amanuensis Monday

Last week I published a letter written on the 22 September of 1872 by Samuel Minor of Linn County, Iowa to his brother, John P. Minor of Greene County, Pennsylvania.  He provided updates about his sons but not his daughters; he talked about the weather and described the town’s new bridge.  THIS letter was written a year later, and Ellis has had another daughter; AJ “Jack” has moved to Adair, Illinois; Elly has been traveling; and Samuel has been butchering hogs.

Once again, I have translated the original letter, so the reader can focus on the newsy descriptions rather than the idiosyncratic spelling and punctuation of an 80 year old farmer.  You can click on each image if you would like to read the original.

December the 25, 1873                        Linn County,Iowa

Dear brother and nephew,

I seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know what was the reason I did not answer yours long before.  I had a geathering on my hand that I could not write.  We are all as well as common at this time.  George Minor is married and lives on Sias’ (Josiah’s) land over in the woods.  Ely Worithington with him. They are hawling wood to town. Sam Minor’s wife has a sow. They have a turkey roast at Si’s today and Elly is gone over .  I could not go. I got my butchering done and I have one large hog for sale. He will weigh about 4 hundred live weight at this time.

Jack was here since you were and Elly went home with him and Will and his wife came back with her.  She said Will and Jack has quite a large store there in Adair on the railroad.  She was at Thomas McGee’s; he is Clerk in the express office.  Gets 75 dollars a month and his boy 10 for opening the gate in Bushnell, Illinois about 9 miles from Will’s.  And Jack’s has put him self a house, Will one and a kitchen and stable for Will. Their lots join not far off the depo. Jack’s brother-in law is Clerk and gets 65 Dollars a month.  His name John Eperson.  Jack’s wife’s folks live not far from there.

Sy got a letter from Ellis and they have another girl. It is fat and hearty like all the rest of us two month olds. When he wrote they have 6 children, 2 boys and 4 girls.  They have a school handy and the children is learning very fast.  He sold some cattle; he got 15 dollars for two year olds, 18 to 20 for 3 yearlings, from 10 to 13 for spring calves, 6 to 8 for cows,  from 12 to 18 wheat from 75 per bushel.  (no, I didn’t understand that last bit either.)

I can’t see to follow the lines but I do the best I can.  We have a very pleasant winter here not very cold nor windy as yet a good many snows not very much at a time. Our markets is pretty well supplied except potatoes. The farmers did not raise more than will do them selves and some of them will have to buy their  ? wheat .  Hay is plenty; butter and eggs plenty .  I work a little every day, as I feel better when I work than when I do nothing I find.  And cut my wood when brought to the door a foot long and make on fires.  Elly cooks and does the house work except washing.  She is much better and knits a great deal for her grandchildren and our selves.

No more at this time but remain your loving Brother and uncle to John P and Samuel Minor

Samuel Minor

PS You can let any of the friends see this.

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Are You My Cousin? : The Legacy of Migrating Minors

How many of us stand on the hopes and dreams of the pioneering Minors?  With yesterday’s publishing of the 1872 letter between brothers Samuel and John, I am reasonably certain that I have many unmet cousins in the Midlands and West Coast states of America.

Collating the data from the letter, a Thomas Minor Society register, and Federal and state census reports from 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880, I can track one piece of the Minor Migration.

Somewhere, out there, beneath the waning gibbous moon, I have cousins in Iowa, Illinois and Oregon.  If you are one of the migrated Minors, I hope you will leave a message, continuing the conversation begun almost 140 years ago between brothers Samuel and John.

“Write soon.”