Preface: ( Dear Children in Wisconsin )
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Dear Children in Wisconsin

Letters from Pine Plains ca 1855


2003

§2 Preface

by
Bruce Bruder


A collection of seven letters from Peter and Catherine Hidorn, Pine Plains, NY, to John Hidorn and his bride, Sarah Simmons Hidorn, 1855-1858.

Peter Hidorn, born 1805 in Columbia County, NY, son of Thomas Heydorn and Maria (Coons) Heydorn, was a blacksmith in the hamlet of Bethel, but a mile from Pine Plains, from about 1832 until his death in 1866. John, his son and only child, born about 1832, had moved to Farmington, Jefferson County, Wisconsin ca. 1853-54, with his wife Sarah, born about 1835, daughter of Anthony and Catherine Ann Simmons, also of Pine Plains. They were part of the western expansion, and had hoped to start their own farm in the New West.

The letters could have been written today. They depict the ever concern of parents for their children in a far away land. The letters hint to the tribulation, hopes for the future, illnesses, and eventual return to Pine Plains. John and Sarah returned in 1858 or 1859. John and Sarah had a child, Frank Hidorn, born about 1862. It is from his papers that these letters come.

After John's death in 1865, Sarah went with young child, Frank Emmot Hidorn, to Chatham, Columbia County, NY, to live with Barton Husted, possibly as a house keeper. Barton, twenty years her senior and whose wife had died several years previous, married Sarah about 1868. By him she had two children, Cora and Bethia. Sarah died in Chatham in 1911. Cora married Munroe Sylvester and removed to Rensselaer County.

Frank remained in Chatham, married Margaret Van Alen Phelps, and had four children who lived on the Phelps-Hidorn farm. He died in 1921 from Bright's disease.1 Margaret died in 1931, at which time the letters were disbursed amongst those who had an interest.

Catherine Hidorn lived in Pine Plains until her death in 1883. Both she and husband Peter are buried in Pine Plains, under "Hidom."

To date, nothing has been found after 1865 of Sarah's parents, Anthony and Catherine Ann Simmons. Sarah's sister Ida married Benjamin Haight Sisson and moved to California. Edward E. Simmons, Sarah's brother, may also have gone to Wisconsin, and returned.

The great granddaughter of John Hidorn graciously photocopied the original letters for me. To her I give my thanks for uncovering a window into life in Dutchess County, New York, of the 1850's. John and Sarah Hidorn are my great, great grandparents.


Bruce Bruder
Darlington, Maryland
March 2003

Notes:

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  1. << Nephritis; kidney infection


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