Original Muscatine Co IA Genealogy Home Page-Old Letters

Muscatine County Genealogy 
A Letter Sent Back Home

This letter was transcribed and donated to the Muscatine Co Genealogy Page by the Burns family of California. If you are related to this line please contact them at:  [email protected]

 We are looking for someone who might be interested in the contents of this letter from Ellen E. GIBSON, wife of George STEVENSON, to Samuel and Mary LYNN, of Pennsylvania, as follows:

Muscatine County, Iowa, September 26, 1849
When you write direct your letters to Muscatine, Iowa, as this is the name of our town, is changed.

 Dear Brother and Sister,
I embrace the present opportunity to write you a few lines and in the first place I would inform you that through the tender mercies of an all-wise providence we are enjoying good health at present although I have had several attacks of liver complaint but by resorting to medicine in time I was relieved in a few days, and Eliza had a severe attack. She had the cholera symptoms and was very bad for two days, and after that she was able to sit up some every day. It was in July that Eliza was sick. I have had a very uneasy summer of it owing to Alexander being on the river and this dreadful pestilence sweeping of hundreds and thousands. As many as one hundred and fifty a day in St. Louis. And aboard the boats as many as fifty five and from that to sixty five until they would have to tie up their boats and abandon them for a time, and clean and paint their boats. But recollect the most of those that died were emigrants and deck passengers. And my Tom has been in the midst of all of it and had the cholera whilst running on the Missouri and a second attack at St. Louis where the mortality was so great. And he is still on the river and was well two weeks ago. But I have not seen him but once since the last week in February and that was in June. He was up and hired a horse and buggy and came out but did not stay more than an hour and a half as the boat was taking on freight and would leave before daylight.

But I do assure you I have suffered both in body and in mind more than anyone could imagine except a mother in similar circumstances. Although I must say he was one of the best and most thoughtful sons about writing that ever was for he has written as often as four times in one week whilst laying in port and would write when he intended to leave and when he expected to return. But I wrote him time and again to come home and urged him to do so but it was all in vain.

 Gibson is working at his trade. He was three months at the city working at the Capital and he has got to do both in town and country near home at this time. So Mary and Mr. Lynn I want you both to excuse me for not writing sooner as I had to write to Stevenson last winter whilst he was at the city and this summer to the boys and Margaret. For I do assure you there is not anything that gives me more pleasure than to write and receive letters from my friends and don't think that I have forgotten you or your kindness to me whilst visiting amongst you.

And I want you to remember me to all the children and particularly to them three little black-eyed girls and tell Margaret Louise that I want her to write to me as soon as she can write. And when you write please tell me where Mother is and how she is for I am very uneasy about her for I fear she is dissatisfied at Alexander's. I think she would like it better with you or Jessey's. I do wish you would take her to your house occasionally and I think it does a great deal of good to get to your house. If you recollect how poorly she was when you brought her last summer and how she mended up and got so cheerful. I want you to tell her I have not forgotten her and that I said I wanted her to go around and stay whoseever she could enjoy herself to.

 Mr. Lynn, I want you to write us as soon as you receive this and inform me how Harbison and Margaret (Is this Alexander's daughter who married William H. Miller?) is getting along or if he is still working for his father. And if he intends moving out west in the spring. And how Jessey (Covert married Henrietta Potts Gibson) is getting along in the mercantile business.

 And as for Alexander I suppose he is adding farm to farm for neither his family nor Jessey's ever writes a scratch. But I suppose they have forgotten they had a sister in Iowa. Stevenson has threshed out his grain and is hauling the barley to town. He sold two hundred bushels for fifty cents a bushel and one hundred of wheat for the same price and the balance is put up for a higher price. The girls is with us yet and Mary is the largest of the three. Eliza threatens leaving me this fall and making her home with a bachelor who has a fine farm about three miles from us. And Gibson talks that he will try and get married before he is thirty which would be next July. George is as tall as his papa and looks very like him.

My paper admonishes me that I must draw to a close, so no more but remains your affectionate sister to Samuel and Mary Lynn,

Ellen E. Stevenson."

Do you have an old family letter related to Muscatine County you'd like to see online? Email your information to

[email protected]

Muscatine Co Genealogy Home Page