Friday, February 8, 2013

Henry's 1870 Letter: Decision not to come to America

These pages were more challenging to transcribe than the others in my last posting. For some of the words I have put questions marks in their place, some words put (?) next to which questions my deciphering. I think some of the words might not make sense and if anyone can help me out, I would appreciate it very much.

In a letter dated October 29, 1869, Henry wrote about his uncertain decision to come to America  (see last post)Then just about five months later, Henry writes to his uncle John and Ant Rouse again; he has decided not to travel to Lake County, Illinois. It is interesting that by March he seems to be having money concerns, but in the last letter, Henry thought he had enough to get by. I'm curious what happened in that short period of time.

Although Henry's letter didn't reveal as much as I would have liked, it did hand me an unexpected item towards the end. The letter also induced more questions than I garnered answers.

Henry's 1870 letter to uncle and Ant [Rouse].

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First page right.

March 11th 1870

My Dear uncle and Ant it is with plesure that i ansure your kind leter and was very glad to hear frome you you must estcuse me not ansuring your leter of so long a time fore I have had to concider over money things Bud I i ham now setled not to cum to a America this Spring I sopose that J Portus and Sister Mary Ann and thair 3 childern is a going to cum after all

This statement surprised me after reading the 1869 letter – "i ham now setled not to cum to a America this Spring" – he is having some reservations because of money, but reassures uncle John and Ant [Matilda] that his sister Mary Ann and brother-in-law John Portas are still coming. I think as I read further, there is talk of more siblings taking passage, but he didn't elaborate.

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Second page left.
I think that you will Sune have a new(?) of us if they keep cuming   you niver menchened cuson Eliza when you rote   bud pleas to give my Love to her when you see her My Mother and father send thair kind love to you all  Mother is not so well as she ust to be i think bud is up on the ? as usule And i think that she Bracks(?) very mutch now i should think you would scarce(?) now them now if you could see them   I went home the other week ant

I don't know who "cuson Eliza" is. I checked my tree program with no luck. John and Matilda Rouse had 10 (known) children and none of the girls were old enough to get married by 1870. So I will leave that question to a Rouse family historian to answer. 

"Mother" is still not well. What was her ailment of five months now? I just wonder how she was getting on during the time between 1870 and 1906 when she passed. "i think that she Bracks very mutch" I have no idea what Bracks means or if that is the word used. I checked in my dialect book "Wodds and Doggerybaw - A Lincolnshire Dialect Dictionary by J.M. Sims-Kimbrey" and the closest word I found was Brackle which means brittle. This might mean her bones are (or health is) brittle. I don't know... I've been to Lincolnshire several times and have talked to many rural Lincs residents...I can assure you, I couldn't understand half what they said! I was always asking them to repeat what they said.

I guess the old saying about England and United States is true: "We are two countries separated by a common language."

Henry must still live down in Skirbeck because he said "I went home the other week." I am sure his apprenticeship must be over, but maybe there are projects or work down in the Boston area more than up in Tumby Woodside area.

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Second page right.
tried to git you Mrs Bailey that now Mrs Baileys adress Bud did not git it she Lives Summers on the boders of Notinghamshire She tould mother that she should like to hear fron you bud when she cums again Mother will tell er wat you said she cums a bout twice a year fore the rents   I think I about don all you wished me to doo in your leter and if you want to ? eney think   Eney time if you will write to me i will try to a blige you if i can whe have had rather a sharper winter

This "Mrs. Bailey" collects rents. I wonder who she is. Is she a Vamplew married into the Bailey family? Hmmm... Does she collect from properties she owns or is she collecting for someone else? Is one of the places she collects from the Vamplews? I know there are still Baileys in that area so I wonder if this Mrs. Bailey is part of that Bailey family? Maybe this is a question I could pose to the RootsWeb Lincolnshire mail list. I'll think on this.

Henry again gives a little casual information about the area "whe have had rather a sharper winter" – Was it colder than usual? I wonder what was happening in 1870? This winter (2013) Lincolnshire is getting an unusual amount of snow and cold for that area. 

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First page left.

hear then usul and by all a pearence it will be a Backard Spring all traids(?) is looking very dull hear hat the presant witch i think will make peple emegrait if they can git of eney wear it is talked of not that gover ment is going to say an emegraison rait on the cuntry to send peple fall a ? I ham very mutch Abliged to you fore writing to me and hope to meet you sum day I should like very well to converse with you a litle on gods work in a America

Henry predicts the bad weather will "make people emegrait"; I'm wondering what the government is up to, also. This page was hard to understand or to make sense of. 

According to a Vamplew family historian's account of Henry's life, as an adult, he had an affiliation in the Wesleyan Methodist church in Boston, Lincolnshire. But as a child and young adult, Henry attended the Wesleyan Methodist church in Mareham le Fen and he played the concertina at church doings. When uncle John lived in Lincs he taught men's bible class in that church. 

Henry is very religious and am sure he has heard that uncle John was, too..."I should like very well to converse with you a little on gods work in a America..." I guess it is natural for Henry to look up to his uncle and want to talk about God's work and all. Here in the United States, one of Henry's grandsons became a minister and lived up in Michigan.

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Third page front.

fore if there is no time fore puplick worship i ham shure it wauld not Sut me Long now Mr Portus that is cuming is not so mutch fore it i think it is our duty to live fore a nother and a beter world fore as life is unsarton feth is sure and after Deth the Judgment wear we must all meet wither prepaired or unprepared I ham hapy to say that you with me was born in a cristian land

"if there is no time fore puplick worship i ham shure it would not Sut me Long" Henry seems to be worried he won't be able to have time for church and is sure it wouldn't suit him very long to be without going to services.

Oh my! On the other hand, here is something I was surprised with: "Mr Portus that is cuming is not so mutch fore it..."  Sure seems Henry doesn't have much regard for persons who, in his eyes, aren't religious including his brother-in-law – my great grandfather John – "Mr Portus"! This is new to me. This seems to trouble Henry very much. I'm sure Henry or any of us will never know if g-grandfather went to Heaven or Hell. John and Mary Ann Portus joined the Ivanhoe Congregational Church in Ivanhoe, Illinois May 6, 1877. I'm sure g-grandfather redeemed himself before his Judgement Day. 

Now I'm curious how the relationship was between Henry and Mr Portus once both of them were here in the same area of Lake County, Illinois. I'll keep my ears open for any hints in family stories.

Why would Henry call his brother-in-law Mr. Portus? Was it with disrespect because of his perceived religious non-values or just because uncle John didn't know Mary Ann's husband and this was a way to place him? I can only guess and wonder.

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Third page back.

May we one and each live a christions Life and ? and meet each other in heven hat Last for crist sake So i must conclude with my kind love to you all oping to find you all in good elth as it leaves me hat the present so I remane yours and tenley(?) H Vanplew
tumby Wood Side
Near Coningsby

Does Henry not believe he will be coming to America and that he will only meet uncle John in Heaven? I do know Henry did immigrate to America the following year. I love Henry's expression " leaves me hat the present..."

I'm glad Henry signed off with place names. Wait a minute, he wrote this letter from the place he was presently at. Does he still live in Skirbeck or not? Did he go home to visit or to live?

I do love these letters. There are so many things learned and so many more questions to ask. And so, this leaves me "at the present," also...that is until I transcribe another letter from the past.

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