An 1860s letter from Abia Minor to his father, John P. Minor: Amanuensis Monday

ABIA MINOR was a resident of Moultrie County, Illinois when he wrote this letter to his father, my great-great-grandfather, JOHN PEARSON MINOR of Greene County, Pennsylvania.

It is an undated description of the winter weather–I have yet 160 rods along my fence that was 30 feet wide and was between four and five feet deep(with snow) but it has settled down to about 3 feet–and reports about his children’s plans.  His eldest boy, John, is of age (b. 1839?) and wants to be doing for himself talks of going away this spring.  

Abia talks about his farming plans and how he want(s) to put a corn crop for I think we will raise good crops next year and I am trying to make some more fence so I can keep some stock without so mutch (sic) trouble in winter; before discussing arrangements for the mailing of daughter Isabel’s saddle and some much coveted flannel for himself.  You said you would send her saddle and some flannel for me a warmth that would be quite a present to me for sutch (sic) flannel is hard to get here and if you send it box them in a light box and send them from any point on the railroad or if any one was comeing out you could put them in a trunk and they can bring them through for nothing.  But, he continues, if his father wants to send them by railroad direct them to

Abia Minor


Coles County, Illinois 

and take a receipt from the station agent for them and send it to me by mail.  

Abia then requests his mothers likeness which you can have taken and send it in a letter and Isabel says you have yours taken on horseback I wish you would send me a copy of it it can be taken on paper or leather and sent in a letter.  

Abia Minor closes his letter with salutations to his brothers and sisters, a plea for letters from them and a pledge to answer back.

I remain yours Truly     Abia Minor

Forever Young–a letter to Abia Minor, 1837: Amanuensis Monday

The four by three inch paper appeared to be just one more scrap of Minor business.  Unfolded, the 1837 ink revealed a delightful conversation  between one Phineas R—- and my great-great grandfather’s eldest brother, twenty-two year old Abia Minor. *

Eaton Ohio, June 12th 1837

Respected Sir

I received your letters dated as afforesaid. It gave me a great deal of satisfaction. By golly I want if possible to give you a dis?nphon of the past and present times. For Instance….I am now setting here at a great Large Desk with my Noggin pretty darned well tumbled up, I tell you about matters and things.  But says i, heres what ear stands it. I now stick my penn in the ink stand, lean back in my chair, touch back my hair and study something, that I think will be pretty darned good to you. I suppose you want the truth, do ya? AYE (but I’m not so shure that you get it)

As I walked out the udder evening I went through a tolerable thick spatch of bushes and hiked my self up on a darned big stump and was setting there a studdying about old times   Behold, the first thing I new my pockets troused over and all were full of these helish big piss ants a going there dep?h, by Golly. So I began to jump Gim Crow, thats a considerable of a fact(there is a great many pis ants this year) Well now, what next my something I have no doubt.  Girls is plenty and Gentlemen is plenty . ——-is plenty. Candles scarce. Consider some are beautiful.  Some is ugly, some is large of mere size, some small but the most pretty best of all.

 But although some of mine has got the Fidgets their like a real old hip and go, constant mare.  But I think if you had put a Little stirrups of Spirtentine in your Horses (ass) and a little in yours you would both rode off in a tolerable fast canter. You would both fell big like Martin Van devil our most Honerable and not verry well respected President at this time (he’s going the hole hog, by Golly) with a Tump___hop___step___& fall.

Both you and Benjamin Evans must quit this practice of going a courting until you have some notion of marrying.

 Boys, how fast can you run.  The young men of this place is celibrated for running.  We can run a 1/4 mile in 55 seconds and repeat, that a considerable of a fact. Don’t doubt for pity sake.  This is one evenings employment I’ll try it —- tomorrow.

This is 13th day of June I will try to give a few more whats on Politicks. Lerigion Ave or the free Masons on the 24 of June walks at Richmond Ia (Iowa?) all thats in the state, I suppose. They will have a great time. I wish you was here, by Devil. I think that we would have lots of fun.  Oh, I’ll  tell you we have thespians in this town.  Such performing you never in your life. Some will come on the stage half scared to depth while others is fiercing for it.  I don’t .  Now anything else at present to write till I git an answer from you. You must write wright off. You told me to scratch of a letter some how. I think that I have —–well.  Oh. I want you to something about Mr. Van Buren, Good or Bad whither you are opposed to him or not. For my part I think they are a —?– to the middle regimes of Damnation.

With these words I remain yours   Phineas R p——–


* I left the spellings as I found them, but I have introduced current standard punctuation.  Otherwise the letter would have been two very long sentences.  Ha!