Thursday, December 16, 2010

E.F. Manning to A.J. Tharp June 28 1868

Andrew. June 28th 1868

Olde Friend Thorp,

As I just founde out your address yesterday I now hasten to drop you a few lines that I hope may at least be wellcomed by you. My health is very good at preasent & I am just enjoying my self just to the best of my knoweledge. I have not done over three dayes work since I have been home. Tharp I must first tell you of my good luck thank the Lord I am once more my own man, turned out into the world with out being subject to military order. I am now entirely at the mursy of the girls.

Thorp I wish that you would speak a good word to mis Henderson for E.F. for if I come out your way this fawl to see you I should like very mutch to call and get acquainted with my old late-yet-unacquainted-with correspondant.

Thorp I was down to Clinton this weak to see about some of my back pay & there I found your address in Bakers returns & now hasten to write to you. Thorp if you are not yeat mustered out you had better goe rite down if you are able. I was mustered out three weaks last thursday. Tharp if you do goe down, I want you should be shure to stop at Low Moor it is just 10 mile from Clinton & I will be at that place any time after the Fourth. you will find me there.

the weather is very fine & we are all antisipating a very nice time on the Fourth all togeather prossed [?]. We shall all of us have nearly as good a time as we had last fourth.

I saw W.F. McCarum yesterday. he is enjoying  very good health & is the same old much as he ever was. there is not any change in him. I allso received a letter from J Smith yesterday. it brought to me the sad news of the death of some more of our worthy companions namely Wellington Thayer drowned while attempting to make his escape from the enemy. Welcom Master in hospital at Baltimore M.D. on the 15th of April.

Well Thorp as this is so very poorly written & spelt that it will be very tiresum for you to read it I will close requesting you to write just as soon as you gett this & I remane your Old Friend and Obedient Servant.

give my best respcts to Mis. Henderson & I remane as ever then.
E.F. Manning
Andrew Jackson
It looks like the author is spelling the name "Thorp" and "Tharp" which probably means the pronunciation was changing. It also sounds like perhaps Andrew was also in the military at some point? 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

JJ Moore to Washington Tharp 23 June 1867

Goldfield, Iowa June 23 /67

Mr. W Tharp

Dear friend, as I have been writing to almost all of the Connection and get no answer, I thought of trying you to see if you would write me a few lines so that we may know how things is a going on Shellrock. Well I will tell you that this is by far the wetest summer that we have had since we have lived on Boon river. The present propect for a crop is very dull. The wheat & oats that is on wet or even on flat land is gon. Now comes the corn. there will come one or two dry days so that men commences to plow in the corn then comes an awful heavy rain that stop all corn working. So you see that we have not got our corn worked once through yet Corn looks quite well considering the constant rainy weather.

If the weather does not soon become settled I think that some of the people here will have to imigrate if we can find the place where there will be a surplus and I may be amongst the number as my farm is very levil. if we have to leave you see we will be about once through.

Now I should like to know how the crops looks there on Shellrock. The past season has been a hard one on us as the early frost cut our corn short so that we through this part have to hall our corn from 20 to 40 miles and pay $1.50 per bushel $1.00 for Oats $1.50 for potatoes & $9.00 for flour corn meal $4.50 other things in proportion. There has been much people come into this section the past season more than there was grain raised for so you see that it makes hard times for them.

Now Wash I tell you that I have just about got the blues and will sell at the drop of a hat if I had the chance that I have refused more than once, which is $20 per acre but I was not ready to sell then. well I tell you that I have made considerable property since I saw you and it has cost me hundreds of dollars to live with as large a family to see after as I have. Well I calculate to take a tour south this fall if I can to see if there is not someplace that we will not have to feed stalk eight months out of twelve as we did the past season. I think of going into Missouri or into the East part Kansas. 

Now I wish you to give me the county and Post office address of your father for I may pass that way or if I do not I will know where to write to. Also tell me how they like where they are and what the chance is for getting a farm there as I suppose you and them have correspondance. 

you may tell James D. Moore & J.K. Swim of this letter and tell them to write to me as well as yourself. also tell them that I have no bid on the Company farm yet. I have two strings of the fence reset and have the other two to move and rebuild yet.

So I will close as I have no more to write at present.

Yours as ever,
JJ Moore
W Tharp
Andrew (and Jane, from the sound of it) moved to Missouri at some point; from the sound of this letter that may be where they are now.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

No escaping....

Tax time! The next document is Washington's tax receipt:

Butler Center, January 8th, 1867
Received of Washington Tharp
Five and 74/100 dollars
in full of the following Taxes for the year 1866, on Poll, Personal Property and the annexed Real Estate:

Kind of Tax $ | cts
State                    70
County             1  12
Co. School            28
T fund                  84
School House F 1  96
Bridge                    84

Total                 5  74

The receipt is numbered 42.

Sorry this looks weird; I can't get the columns to line up.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mary White and Washington Tharp Wedding Certificate

Certificate of Marriage

State of Iowa Brewer County

March 1, 1866

This Certifies that on the first day of march A.D. 1866, at the residence of Ja. Tharp Esq in said County, according to law and by authority, I duly Joined in Marriage, Mr. Washington Tharp and Miss Mary J White

Given under my hand, the first day of March
A.D. 1866  Mr. Hodges Min of the Gospel

Check out the so very Victorian artwork on the Certificate:

Monday, September 27, 2010

O.N. Neff to Andrew & Jane Tharp Jan (?) 21, 1864

Mount Flathead Jan 21 1864

Dear brother and sister I take my pen to inform you that we are all well at presant and hope these lines will find you and your family enjoying the like blessing. So far we are much pleased with the country the land through all this region of country lays high dry and rolling and has every appearance of being ****tly [letters blurred]. the soil is extremely fertile after leaving the water corses a short distance. the soil is from one to two feet deep after going through that you come to a brownish yealow clay that is from eight to ten feet deep. after this you come to blue clay below this is gravel and pleanty of pure water. not quite as strong with lime stone as the water in your country. Rachel says it dose [sic] not take as much soap to wash as it did when we use to  live along the water courses. the land is verry rich generally speaking. there is large quantities of first rate building stone such as the common lime stone and hydraulic or water lime stone and marble susseptible of a very fine pollish. This country is well situated for mill streams and mills. the Kankakee River, Oplane, Dupage, Osable and Foxe River & hickory Creek all the above name streams have water enough to keep up mill the year round except the Osable. for a rich and fertile country it is the best water of any I have ever seen. springs are tolerable plenty and water not surpassed anywhere. by digging we get water from 20 to 30 feet.

Grain is scrancer [sic] this year than usual owing to the draute during the summer. there was not rain enough to wet the ground thoroghly during the summer and fall. when potatoes was dug the earth was dry below them. Corn is selling at 31 cts oats 25 potatoes 25 to 31. Wheat 75 cts at Chicago butter is ready sale from 15 to 18 cts Eggs 12 1/2 pr doz in fact all that the farmer rases he can sell ready and at fair prices. Pork from $2.50 to 3.25 pr hundred. Beef is selling at $2.25 and more money made than you can make by rasing cattle and selling at $6.00 pr hd. the rasing cattle cost nothing but cutting prarie hay to winter on.

the weather since we have been here has been extremely dry and pleasant. there has not been more then five or six dayes but what a man could work comfortable. it is so dry the prairies have been burning. a day or two ago yesterday afternoon and today it has been misting rain. there has not been scarecly any snow this winter. snow fell about two weeks ago 3 or 4 inches deep. I hope we shall have more snow.

I have between three and four thousand nails to hard about 20 mile and a quarter. Any apples might be sold here at one dollar and fifty cents by the quantity if they could be brot before navigation opens. tel John Ryon or some of our friends to bring a load this winter while the ground is frozen.

Christian societies are tolerable plenty here in the town of Juliet three miles from here. there is a large Methodist church Babtest presbyterians New lights Episcopalians Universalits Unitarians and Roman Catholicks. the Washingtonians are doing wonders in this county as well as most other places. Joseph Beomalt that lives on brandywine has been living in this county 9 years. he says he would not give one acre of land in this county for five there. he lives about 2 1/2 miles from us and has a first rate farm of near three hundred acres.

We live on one of the publickest roads I ever saw during the fall four stages passed daily since winter 2 daily stages passes.

Rachel has her heath better than she has had it for five years and I am so hearty that I could eat a stone fence if it was made of Pie.

when you recieve this letter I want you to write. we have not Read a letter from any of our friends since we have been here. we hope they have not forgotten us. we think it is neglect we would be much pleased if you would come and look at the country and satisfy your self. the expense of comming is but small. James Yates moved to this country it only cost him about three dollars. tel Susan that Rachel would like to have her come and stay one year if she could. She is very lonsom without any of her relations here.

Direct your letter to Juliett [Wi]ll County Illinois.

Yours in haste
O.N. Neff

Andrew Tharp
Jane Tharp 
He is clearly writing "Juliett" with a U, but just as clearly they are near Joliett, IL. The names of waterways lines up, and that would make sense with the reference to Chicago (and the amount of stage travel).

He addressed them as brother and sister, so on a guess, this may be Jane Tharp's brother, or at least brother-in-law?

The Washingtonians were a temperance society.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Washington Tharp to Andrew Tharp Nov. 21, 1863

Nashville, Tenesee Nov, 21 1863
Dear Father,
I take my pen in hand for purpose of writing a few lines to you. My health is improving slowly, and I hope when these few lines reaches you they will find you in good health. Well I did expect to have at least two or three letters awaiting me when I should arrive at Nashvill, but not one have I got yet. I suppose you have been as buissy [sic] as I have been myself, and have had but little time for writing.

Well after a long and tedious march of fourteen days we arrived at Nashvill Tenn. I have had the opportunity of viewing a considerably portion of dixy and of beholding some of the disstruction and desolation that ungody Rebellion has made. I saw thousands of acres of land that had been in a high state of cultivation that was thrown out to the commons, and large mansions that are deserted, and hundreds of others that have been burned. Nothing remaines to be seen of them but the large chimney wich stand to mark the place where the mansion once stood. I think that I love my prairie home the best of all the places that I have seen since I left the far distant West.

We have had nice wheather all fall. We have had but little rain since we left Camp Roberts. The dayes are warm and the nights are cold and damp with heavy frost.  I have just received today that Soldiers Companion. I will name the articals that I received with it. One inkstand one pair scissors one pencil one pen w holder Big without holder and pens four needles one hank thread. Now I want to know what the whole rigg cost. I have taken another look and have found two combs.

Produce of all kinds is verry high here. Corn is 1.50 per bushel potatoes 3.00 per bus. or 5 cts per pound. Salt 16.00 dollars per barrel. Flour 12 dollars per barrel, Butter 75 cts Molasses 4.00 dollars per gallon, and Everry thing else in proportion.

Nashvill is an ancient looking citty. It has a splendid new Capitol. It is the nicest building that I ever looked upon in my life. Allso President Polks mansion in another splended building. 

We have marching orders for tomorrow morning at six oclock. We are to go west on the Tenessee River but to what point I cannot say. I do not think that we will go to the front this winter as they have got more men ther now than they can feed. They are sending away there horses and mules by hundreds to keep them alive. That is they send them north. 

I want to know whether you paid Mr. Phillips my share of the charges due on what I had expressed through. Write as soon as you get this, without fail and no delay. Please give us all the news. So no more at present.

From your obedient son.
Direct to Nashvill.
Write soon,
W. Tharp
A. Tharp.
This is the letter that is pictured behind the blog title on the blog's front page.

I'm a little confused about how to reconcile the letters from Washington with what I can find of the movements of the 8th Iowa Cavalry during the Civil War. He writes from Louisville on Nov. 1st that they're going to Chattanooga, then writes on the 21st from Nashville. Even if the first letter is from Louisville, TN (near Knoxville), it doesn't make sense that they'd march from there to Chattanooga and then up to Nashville--and they'd already been in Chattanooga for 8 days according to this web site (the information from which is replicated everywhere).

If anyone can shed light on this, please let me know! I'll ask some folks on campus tomorrow if I can.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Washington Tharp to Andrew Tharp Nov. 1 1863

November the 1st 1863

Dear Father
I take my pencil in hand for purpose of answering your kind letter wich I received the other day but Wich found me quite unwell. I have been havening [?] the ague, the old sort. But I think that have got it broke. yes we was hurried off from Camp Roberts sooner than we expected. We have been badly treated as a Regt, in that respect. We are no where and expect to leave day after tomorrow for Chattanooga. I do not know now when I shall be at home. Father, I want you to take the charge of my property in your own hands, and do with it as your own. I want you to see to things just the same as if they belonged to yourself.

I am going send my money home and am going to send to you, and I want you to pay my debts with it. I want you to pay Br. G Searkins 4,00 dollars out of it, and aply the Balance on my other acounts. as yet I have had no Chance to get my likeness taken neither do I no now when I will, as to Renting my farm out, do the verry best you can, as you are rite there.

well Father I am in town today and have sent home $48,00 dollars by express. There was five of us that has sent our money together. We have had it expressed to Cedar falls, all in Care of Mr. Phillips.

Mr. Phillips is my bunk mate, Father. He lives 4 miles above Shell Rock. I shall writ to him and have him leave it with Carter. I shall get my likeness taken today. I cannot get but one taken now and I will send it to Mary and as soon as I can I will send all the Rest one. I have sent home one Company Record that I want James to take care of for me until I return.

So no more at present, but still remain your obedient son,
Direct your letters to Co. J 8th Iowa Cav
Washington Tharp
Andrew Tharp.
I assume "Mary" is Mary White, his fiancee. I guess she got the first photo--tough luck, mom and dad!

A google search indicates that Camp Roberts was near Davenport.

Another teaching certifcate

The next item is another teaching certificate for Mary White dated Oct 10, 1863. It certifies her to teach in McHenry, County, IL. It's signed by Thos. Mead. I'm not going to transcribe the whole thing.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eliza Scovill to Washington Tharp 15 March1863

March 15th /63
Remembered Cousin

All alone this evening I take my pen in hand to to try to write a few lines to you to let you know that there is such a person as I in the land of the living. we are all well at present and all of the relations as far as I know. uncle John was here not long ago. they was all well. they had just received a letter from you and one from uncle Andrew. he brought them with him. we were glad to hear from you once more but would rather have the pleasure of a visit from you all. I received a letter from Josephine stating you talked of coming to see us this summer. I would be glad to see you. it has been so long since you moved away, I have almost forgot you. well enough of that without it was better. I have been going to school this winter but did not graduate. I studied grammar arithmetic geography reading & writing. our school is out now. I expect you have graduated as you wrote to Sarah Jane like you would like for her to hunt you a wife. well there are plenty for sale I expect. if they could get them they wanted. most all of the boys have gone to war that lived in this neighborhood. it is most to hard times now so get married it is for me anyhow. pa and mother have gone to see Amanda this afternoon. they live close by us the farms join. not changing the subject we have had a nice mudy winter. it just froze up and snowed & thawed out and rained every week. it looks like spring now as we have had two nice days. yesterday and today was quaker quartly [sic] meeting at spiceland about two miles from here. I did not go. It was much to mudy. pa went but was to religious to go in the house. most all that have camps are making sugar but us this spring for orlean sugar is fiveteen cents a pound. I expect I had better quit my scribbling for it will not be of any interest to you. I don't suppose. I expect you will not think this worth answering. so no more this evening. write if you think it worth your while.

Eliza J[?] Scovill
Washington Tharp
Google suggests that there was a large refinery in New Orleans in the 19th century, so I suspect "Orleans sugar" is refined sugar.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

J.J. Moore to Washington Tharpe 14 Dec. 1862

Liberty Wright Co, Iowa Dec 14 '62

Dear friend

I imbrace the present time to inform you of our health. we are as well as usual. I had the good luck to get home on Thursday night and found all well. I stoped in Iowa falls and went in to a store to buy a plug of tobacco. well who do you suppose I met there. well I will tell you it was our young war widow that come to Munsons to stay all night withe us. She appeared to be as glad to see me as if she had found a straw. She conversed quite freely about matters and things. Well I got my tobacco and left for Popejoys where we fed in the bank barn. they thaught the chaps was quite handy. I kept dark never told them that I was one of them. they also wanted to know if the fellows fed there own grain. I told them that I was quite sure they fed their own Corn for I knew that they had corn in their waggons.

Now I suppose you would like to heare something else. well Eliza and me got into the buggy the next day and went to see that land. well it is good land a good building place on the N.E. Corner of the 80 acre lot with shelter on the north. you can have a bank barn on the county road leading south. The land is mostly dry. the timber lays just 80 rods north of the prairie. the timber is better than I had calculated it was. there is quite a young groth of timber besides a number of large trees and a quantity of fire wood. There also is 20 acres of good timber being the west 1/2 of the 40 acre lot that lays between the prarie and timber which can be had cheap. it belongs to a man by the name of Alexander. he had a chance to sell his prarie and keep the timber now he wants to sell the timber. Now I should rather have the unimproved prarie than the improved with the improvements on them tho the upper timber is the best. Now if it was not for the disputed title of the Sill farm and the farm South of the lain I should like to have them.

Now if you folks trade for the Hannan [?] land Eliza wants to give you a swap. Now this is all that I shal write at the present concerning the land matter. I had a good time to get home. Eliza sais the weather was fine all the time that I was gone. Friday it rained some in the evening Saturday was quite a fine day and this morning the snow fell to the depth of 3/4 of an inch on a level. 

We went to preaching today. I will stop writing until I get a better pen as I want to write some to father. write soon as you get this.

J.J. Moore
Washington Tharp.
I'm sure Dad will be horrified that I had to google what a bank barn was.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mary White Teaching Certificate, Oct 18, 1862

Teacher's Certificate

To all to whom these Presents shall come:
Be it known that we, ARTEMAS D. KNAPP and ALEXANDER B. DOUGLAS, School Commissioners for the county of Delaware, having examined Mary J. White and having ascertained her qualifications in respect to moral character, learning, and ability to instruct a COMMON SCHOOL, do hereby Certify, that he [sic] is qualified and entitled and is accordingly Licensed to teach Common Schools in any Town in this County for the term of two years from this date.

And we further certify that Mary J. White has attended the Teachers' Institute held at Delhi, in October, 1862, by the School Commissioners of the County of Delaware, as required by law, and by constant attendance and active participation in the instruction given, is entitled to the special consideration of Trustees as possessing the ambition and zeal of a true Teacher.

Given under our hands this 18th day of October, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two.

A D Knapp
A B Douglas

School Commissioners of Delaware County.
Mary White will eventually be Washington Tharp's wife.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Josephine Scovell to Washington Tharp 29 July 1862

This is the last one from cousin Josephine for a while, so we'll have a break from the boy-crazy teenager for the next few weeks. I for one am glad (although this is the most interesting one so far). The ink on this one is much darker, but her handwriting has deteriorated and the pen is splotting like crazy.

July the 29 1862
Dear Cousin
Once more I take up the old pen to write a few lines to tell you I am getting along. I am well at presant and I hope when these fewe lines come to hand they will find the same. we recieved your and uncles letter wich gave us much pleasure to read and to think you had not forgotten us. I wrote three letters to you last winter and as I never recieved no letter I concluded you had forgot us or you did not want to write and so I did not write no more. Pap says he has write to uncle but I did not know it or I would have wrote but you must not think bad of me.

we have not got our harvesting rite [?] done we have got our out of doors. the war times is raging most powerful all of our boys is all going of to war. we have had tolerable good times all along but I don't know what we will do now all of leading ones is going to Float tomorrow. I would like to go if I could but I feel so sorrow for the poor fellows having to leave theire good homes and at this time of the year. 

supper is over. ones the work all done and I resume my seat again. it is clenching up to rain and thundering vary loud. well & you don't imagin how or know what I would give to see you and have one good time once more. I wish you would come out and see us this fall and stay all winter: and we will have some good times. it is so dark I can't see the lines but I have one soldier that is not gone. he was in the three months soiree and in the years service. he lives in Gonnvill [?] he was hear last Sunday night and we sit up till half after four. we had a nice time I don't want him to go back. he promiced he would not. some of the boys that have came back is got to be vary hard and it takes a person pretty cute to keep ahead of them. it is to day I cant see and I wont have time in the morning. you must write to me as soon as you get this and tell me all of the news concerning of every boddy else.

you must come if you can. I want you to write as soon as you recieve this. well pap is waiting one. So we have had a splendid Sabbath scool and temperance sosiety all of the girles that belong have got white bonnets. this is the way we are know. so no more at presant but am your 
Cousin Josephine Scovell
To Washington Tharp.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Josephine Scovell to Washington Tharpe Jan 24, 1861

Again, this is very faded and hard to read.

January the 21 1861
Dear cousin
I thought I would try the progress of my pen once more on paper although it is not vary much but perhaps you can be able to read what I do write. I recieved your kind letter last friday evening how it made my heart leap for joy when I read it. it always makes me so glad to recieve a letter that you ....[words illegible] I am enjoying good health and hope you the same. I am at school today we have a vary good school. we had a good spelling school last tuesday night. you had better believe I had a good time. I wish you had been here it is allmost my thought daily about what I will do first when you come if you only did know how well I would like to see you come. you would not stay away  that so you sayed that you did wish that I could be there to take a sley ride with you [illegible] it nearly makes cry to think we are sepperated so far from each other. I have had several sley rides since I wrote that last to you and have been at several parties and I am invited to three more. you said if you had been here at our spelling school we have had a good and to see that sweetheart of mine hug and kiss me he may do that with all ease imagined. I would like to see you and Ella preform such an opperation if you had been at our house you would have more than all of this started. there was three couple at our house. Ella was there and he was there on friday night a week ago we was out till twelve than we spiced [?] till morning. it was last sunday night that all that caravan was at our house. I would like to come out to the Shell Rock and take that [illegible] set. I would like to know what his ...[rest of line illegible] Ella down at our house every night and we will take a dead set. you stated that you expected that me and Ella had our companions picked out for the future but I can tell you one truth. that we can not find one to suit us for life and some times that is a long time. Ella is waiting to see you. you will have to come and pop the marriage question yourself for I don't know to go at it. I think she is ready to emigrate all you will have to do is to come and stay at our house till you can fish around for a while. she is vary particular about keeping her house neat and clean. I think you could not do any better she can do all kinds of work. I told her all you said and she seemed to think it was all right. you said you expected that I would not tell one of my beaus name till my name was changed to his. I can tell you before that time. I have three and I will tell you how I do. I talk with John Burgess on saturday night and on sunday nights with Jackson Ganze and Charles Morrow. he is not Ellas brother. but I like John the best and he is the best looking. you need not think that I am going to get married any soon for there is one thing that will make me stand back for a good while. you wanted me to tell you when I was going to get married but that is so far ahead in the future that I can not tell. I expect you and Ella would make a handsome couple for waiters. I guess I will have you and she for my waiters if it is after you and she is joined in the bands of matrimony. tell milt that he might leave susanah long enough to come out and see the folks anyhow. if you don't come and see us when you go out to Michigan I don't know what I would do. I would go up to never come down. 

you was saying something about them miniatures. I am right in all the time I am writing till I have recieve yours so I could find out how to send it to you. don't be afraid that you will not get one in return that will all be safe and sound. I want to come out there so bad I don't know what to do. if I only that you would be certain to come I would ready and go home with you and stay awhile if would not have any objections and the way we would cut a splash would be a caution. I will tell you one thing Mr. Tharp that I have got so that I my heart my head in anything I care for what before boys but girls look out for smasher. well I must be in a [illegible] for I must say my grammar lesson. I can not think of any thing hardly only I want to see you so bad that I don't know what to do. it seems to me that I that I love you more than any of my other cousins.

this is on friday evening I and on sunday night and there is meeting and one of my beaus is to go home with com over and look in at window. there will a visiting. [several illegible words] to night the teachers name is Mister Sharp [?] they schollars are saying declamations and I must bring my letter to a close for the school will close vary soon. I have not got time to fill up all the paper [illegible line]

we are going to get up strong exibit. I would like for you to be here if you could. So no more at present.

write as soon as you can and come to 

From Josephine Scovell
To Washington Tharpe

Monday, August 30, 2010

Census data on the Scovells and Tharps

My amazing friend Rachel has dug through the census data from 1860. First, I was mis-reading Josephine's surname (I thought I might be)--it's Scovell. I will go back and change the previous posts. The rest of the information she gathered I will paste below. You're a peach, Rachel!
"There's a Josephine Scovell, age 17, listed with her family in Noblesville Township, Hamilton Co., IN in the 1860 census. Two households away is a Scott family with a 15-year-old daughter Lucy M.

"The 1860 census lists Milton (age 24) and Washington (age 28) Tharp in Bremer Co, Iowa. There's also a J. W. (age 27) in the household, which was headed by Jane Tharp, age 56. She was born in Kentucky but the "boys" were born in Indiana." (A later double-check revealed that Andrew Tharp, Jane's husband and Washington's father, was also listed in the 1860 census, age 56).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Josephine Scovell to Washington Tharp 31 March (no year)

This is is very badly faded. I think probably it was written before the previous letter. Sorry! When they don't have a full date sometimes I have to just guess about when they were sent.
Punctuation and paragraphing are largely editorial, as usual.

March the last day
Dear Cousin
I take my pen in hand fore the purpose of writing you a few lines to tell you how I am getting along in this county. I am pretty well, I thank you. how do you do? this is one of the prettiest sabbath mornings you ever saw and the old folks are all gone and we are going to have a stir off of shugar. I wish you were here to help us eat it. I thought I had answered your last letter but as I never recieved any answer I thought you never recieved my letter or I forgot to write but to save my life I could not tell wich. I have recieved so many letter this winter that I can not hardly keep the run of them. last week I got five and a valentine. I we have changed our time for sabath school at three oclock. last sunday evening Ella came here and our beaus came to and you had better believe we had a good time. well he has came and I must close for the morning.

It is evening now and I have been to school and I expect he will be back tonight. I don't know for certain as it is not his regular time. I would give anything amost in reason if you only would come out here and see us. I want you to come and see us once before you marry. I have not as much to write this time as I do for common. I do want you to beshure and come and see us this spring if you can. I would like to see you now. Ella has just gone. she would like to see you. just bundle up and come wont we have a good time. there will be no use of talking if we don't. I would like to know if Milton is married yet and I would to know if you was a going to mary. I think you might tell me. I never let any boddy see them only when you write to Ella. I tell our folks you are all well and so on. this is varry poorly written if you can not read it just sent it back.

This is easter sunday. there was 21 at dinner here today. you ought to have been here to just for the fun if nothiing else. you must beshure and write for I can not wait vary much longer. it is getting late and I must draw this scribbling to a close. I just can not think of any thing to say or wright. come and I can talk fast enough. write me a letter and then I can think of enough if it is nothing but foolishness.

When this you see
remember me
remember me when far away
remember me here I stay
remember while love is sweet
remember me till next we meet
so no more
write soon

From Josephine Scovell
to Washington Tharp

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Josephine Scovell to Washington Tharp 24 Dec 1860

I'm glad to report that "writing school" has been paying off for her.

December the 24th

Dear Cousin:

Once more I take my old pen in hand for the purpose of writing a few lines in answer to your kind letter that I recieved last Friday evening. I was glad to hear from you once more. it makes me so glad to hear how times is going on out on old shellrock. I want to see you worse than ever I did. I often think I would like to start right off and come and see you all I would if I had some person to come with me. it made me feel like I had lost some of my feather to think that you could not come out and see us this winter. I am at school to day and so is Ella. she is sorry to think that you can not come this winter but I can tell you what we can do we can write and tell our thoughts on paper and Ella thinks so to. She is sitting on the desk behind me and she is writing a letter to her Cousin . tomorrow is Christmas and our teacher is going to treat us he has got the canday now dont you wish you here to partisipate in our fun. I will quit for a while

Christmas Gift. today is Christmas day. O how I wish you were here today and we would go sleighriding to night we are going to have a Spelling School to night and we will have a fine time. you and that young man step over to night and after School he will have that hug he wanted to have. I would like to know what his name is and if he is good looking. tell him to send me a pretty finger ring in your letter or write himself when you do and you must send me one to for Christmas gift and I will keep them forever tell him so. I will bet he will think I am some punkin. it snowed like all sixty last night. the snow is four inches deep perhaps I will have a sleigh ride and a beau. talk about you shugar but if I dont have a hug it will be cousin and a kiss that will be sweeter than canday. you must be up to putting your arms around the lovely girls waist and saying some of your big words of love to them. that so, I would like to love drop you some night. you said you was going to send me your miniature. I am looking every day for it to come to town. I have got me a new plaid dress to have mine taken in and a set of ear drops and a breast pin and so has Ella. tell that young man to send his minature when you do if you have not sent yours yet.

I have been going to writing school to the best teacher. he was a young man his name was JC Mendenall. I will tell you what one of my beaus name is after a while. I pitty you for the bad luck you have had for it is a heavy loss for a young man in love so deep as you and Ella is. She is in good hopes yet. I think you had better bring a two hoss wagon for I want to go home with you and Ella and see the beas [?] dance. I will tell the truth for once. I asked her if she would go and she said she would for ther was nothing like home. Ella said you must send her a presant some time. it is after recess and we have got our treat. we have had a time of it so funny.

you said you wanted to know who each Johns girl married. Sarah Jane marr[i]ed Abraham Burten and one that is rich. Nathans girl is not married yet and no hopes of it that I know of. I get a letter from Amand every once in a while. the last one she said that they was all well. tell uncle Andrew that Jacob Parkhurst was out a little while back and they was all well and all the rest as far as he knew of. there is going to be a wedding next Sunday in our neighborhood. there was one last Thursday is [read “it”] was Sarah Ann haworth and Charles Scott and next Sunday Cinthia Takins and Lawson McCod but don’t get discouraged at that. There is plenty more left. tell Milton to beshure and come and that before long if it is so he can for I would be glad to see any of your folks. tell him he need not think that he must never write any more because he is married. it would please me vary much for to recieve a letter from him and his wife. tell Milton to write a letter to me befor he starts to come so I can have so I can have a shangahi on to fry a turkey on to boil a pig on to roast and churn...

[damage to page; bottom right quarter is cut off]

the weather is vary nice and not vary cold. I can not say that I have much more to write of importance but mischief and that is about. I will bet you will think so. this ink has been frozen and is vary pale. in conclusion I will say that I want you to come if you can. there is not vary much sickness. so no more at presant.

Write soon and tell me all the news remaining your cousin
From Josephine Scovell
to Washington Tharp Farewell

Monday, August 23, 2010

Josephine Sewell (?) to Milton Tharp 7 May 1859

I suspect Milton is Washington's brother, since he's mentioned in this letter. "Aunt Jane" would be their mother. This letter is a little hard to follow, and she's not kidding at the end when she says her pen was bad.


Josephine to Milton Tharp
Noblesville, Ind May the 7th 1859
Dear Cousin  Dear cousin
I take my Pen in hand to inform you that I am well at this time and hope that these few lines may find you enjoying the same State of health   the weather is vary fine and spring is comming on and everything looks beautiful all the fruit trees are all in full bloom I am so glad to see all of this for I want some apples to eat so bad   do come out to see us this fall and I will save you some choice apples just as many as you can eat in a month.  you stated that you could have come to Westfield for one dollar  O how foolish you were for not coming, without a great chance you never will see the old homested on them feet.  O how I would like to see you and talk and laugh to gather once more   O what a pleasure it would be
I have the most good thing to tell you but I will not tell vary many of them in this letter it would be to funny   this is Friday and I am by my self and there is nobody to bother me just come over [Sunday?] night   You see I am a going to meeting sunday evening at three o Clock and than he is a going to come home with me he is the prettiest young man this side of iowa  would you not like to be here O yes I Know you would.
did you know that Martha White was here yet one? she is waiting for you I know she is and she had a [quilting?] a few weeks a go and I was there we had quite a funny time. I have had her talk about you a great many times. we have meeting twice and some times three times ever[y] sabbath .  tell aunt Jane that mother had got so she can go a visiting she is gone to day tell Mary that I want her to write me a letter I have not from her but once since she moved away. I have sent word to her severeal times and she has never sent me one word. tell her to write me a letter and than I will answer it right away I just know she might--yes and there is washington he has not writ one word to me for a three years. I want him to see if he can send me a few lines anyhow I want to here from him and know how he is getting along through life I know he is not married yet. it has been so long since I got a letter from James that I nearly forgot witch wrote last.  I begin to think that him and washington had forgot me entirely.  Well now Milton I would like to come to Iowa and see how you are getting along to see all of the nice prairies. I know it is nice when they are all in full bloom.
well I believe I have not mutch more to write. I wish you could have been here last winter we had the most best selling [?] schools one about once a week. And the best of it was the last day we had the best time I ever saw for the last day of school we had the gratest exibition it lasted till about midnight and than we did not get half through. every body was there Young and old little and big. Zigabo [?] Cary was one school Teacher Last winter and he taught a very large school and a good one to. Our spring school commenced last Monday I will not get to go any I ought to go to for I missed all of my Winter school all but five or six weeks. O teacher thee first day said that the one that left off lead in...
[handwriting changes]
Mr. Tharp
Although you are a stranger to to me Although it looks very foolish I thought as Josophine has has stept out of the house I would write a few lines just for bedevelment so I will tell you who Josephines lover is. first I will discribe him well he is very good looking and rich and thats all I know about him his name I cant tell so no more. M Scott
[handwriting changes back]
...the spelling class the most times that he would make them a presant of a nice book. I recieved Seven and after I left school than some of the schollars said that now I would not get the book but they was mistaken for there was not any one that got three tickets but I kept it a secret how many I did get myself and when the last day came thee teacher asked me how many I had got myself.  I told him I had seven well he told the schollars that I had gained the book he gave me a vary nice book and it was a usefull one to.  That is Sunday morning and I am by my self again all others left have gone to chruch but I am a going this evening. you have not forgot that I told you about that was a going to happen. this You may answer this young ladys few lines. I can not write mutch more for my pen is so bad I told you over on the other side that I was by my self but she came in after I had commenced my letter. I do not expect you can read this for this is the worst pen I ever saw.
So no more at present write soon your affectionate cousin from Ann Josephine Sewell
they have got to calling me ann out hear and I go by that name
To Milton Tharpe
So good bye do not forget me Milton.

What's all this about?

I am going to use this blog to transcribe the letters and documents preserved in my family for generations since the 1850s. There are hundreds of these documents, and they give a fascinating picture of daily life in (mostly) the nineteenth century. Since the two people most involved in preserving these letters, Mary White Tharp and Anna McPeak Thorpe were women, they also give a glimpse of women's lives in the decades covered. Mostly I am doing this so family members can read the letters, but anyone else interested in this kind of cultural history or in local history might also enjoy reading these.

I may footnote some of these as I transcribe them, or just put in links to web sites on (for instance) the WCTU or Doane College. I hope very much that some family members who remember hearing about some of our writers will chime in in the comments with stories or clarifications. Please correct me! I'm going to be guessing sometimes at relationships between correspondents.

I'm going to try to post 2-3 letters per week, maybe more maybe less when the semester is ending. At this rate it will take 2-3 years to finish all the letters.

I am apparently better at reading Anglo-Saxon handwriting from the Middle Ages than I am at some of these scripts. If anyone suspects I got something wrong, tell me. I'll let you know if I'm completely guessing at a word by putting it in square brackets with a question mark; if it is illegible due to damage I'll put in asterisks. I am transcribing these, which means I'm not editing. Spelling and grammar is all original. I'm going to add some punctuation to a few letters as needed, though. Cousin Josephine knew not the full stop, or even a comma.

I have moderated the comments because we'd be overrun with spam otherwise. This is not going to be used to filter anything any real reader has to say on here, just to keep the Viagra ads off.

That's about it for house-keeping stuff. Enjoy!