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Abbie Bright correspondence

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[Page 1]

U.S. Sanitary Commission


[E.] Camp


[Faisons] Stations Wilmington  [XXXX]


Dear Friend Philip


I received your letter yesterday and I take this opportunity of writing a few lines in reply.  [Debroke] Camp near Wilmington on the 15th of March and after some days of very hard marching we reached Cox landing on the Neuse River, a distance of about one hundred miles from Wilmington.  We stoped there, three days.  Gen Sherman and part of his army passed by our Camp.  While there, a party from the brigade was sent out to forage.  I had command of the squad from the 203rd Regt. 16 men, we went out seven miles beyond his lines. We loaded two Wagon’s with hams, beef, pigs, turkeys geese, ducks, and chickens, and various other things with plenty of Apple-Jack and cider to drink.  The last house we visited we drove five or six


[Page 2]


rebs away from it, and took all the meat, and chickens they had and  [XXX]  a barrel of cider [XXX]  a keg of molasses.  But we found it was getting late, and that we might get caught in a trap if we stoped there much longer as the woods, they told us, was full of rebels and we beat a hasty retreat for Camp.  I can assure you there was some fast traveling done we arrived at Camp about ten o’clock.


On the 24th we marched back to this place a distance of 15 miles and went into camp and are now performing all the regular camp duties.  We have guard in the morning, then drill from 9 o’clock, until 11 o’clock in the forenoon and from 2 o’clock until four in the afternoon dress-parade at 5 o’clock and plenty of fatigue only to perform besides everything goes on [very] pleasantly.


M. Simonson came back to the camp the other day and he told me that you had been suffering very much from your wound.  I was very sorry to hear it.  I hope you may get better without losing the use of your hand.  Mr Laing is back again and has resumed his old position as [Calvary] Sergeant.  We have had some changes in our Camp.  First Lieut. Mulberry is Capt., and orderly Sergt. Anderson is 1st Lieut., Albert Magnin of the 99th Regt. is 2nd Lieut. & M.J. Warner is orderly Sergt. & Ricker 2nd Sergt. I Fleming 3rd and I your humble servant 4th Sergt., W C Turner, 5th Sergt.  Dougherty and Boice and Conners have been made Corporals.  Two from our Comp. have died.  Albert Kenedy shot at Wilmington and Andrew Pace at [his] place.


I got a letter from Solomon some few days ago, he is at a Hospital in New York.  He is doing right well and says he will soon recover from his wounds.

Write soon again

Yours &c [D] Smedley




[Page 3]


U.S. Christian Commission

Front of Richmond Dec the 1st.


Friends near Danville.

I take an other oppertunity of writing a fiew lines[.]  I have answered every letter that I received Peninah’s was the last one.  The Col Received a letter he told me and that I should answer it for he haden time then, he got very cross for thinking that I diden wright[.]  I wonder if the postmaster don’t expect pay-day or else some one takes them out at the post office[.]  I dont  know any thing of important.


[Page 4]


I stated in one of my letters that I was at the Hospital I was thair fore or five day I was sick with the measles but have recovered and returned to my Regiment with my own will.  I sean Ed Thatcher[,] he was driving team in the 18 Corp this Corp lay on our left and the Drafted men ar in that corp [Andy] Capp dont make avery [Spry] Soldier.  In my other letters I ask for some things if they can be sent by mail[.]  I should like to have sent Arithmetick Map if it can be had paper slate and some postages stamps the stamps may be put in a letter, or per haps you could send a small box, any way you please but the Arithmetic I am very anxious for, no more at present  Write soon[.]  I will direct this letter to  [XXX]  nearby it wil gow safer.

Philip Y. Bright

Co. F. [20330]

10th  [XXX]  Brigade  

Send one of my Gold pen you will find it in my trunk


[Page 5]


To Philip From D. Smedly





[Page 6]


Camp Reynolds

Indianapolis June 29/61


Ds Mother

We leve for Virginia to day the orders came late last night we ar packing now.  I am well and very busy no time to write much[.]  Boys are beside themselves with joy when the word came they set up a roar that continued for ¼ Hour and could be heard for miles[.]  I wrote 2 or 3 days ago we ar going by Cincinnati.  That looks like going to wards home.


[Page 7]


I will write as soon as we get settled in the mean time give yourself no unecisary on my account[.]  I must close  your Son Dennis Bright






[Page 8]


Front of Richmond Oct 27th, 1862,


Friend Mary,

I received your letter the other day but then I just sent some home, and I should have wated longer with this but we have been in a ingagement since just came in last night, we had been under fier to days and maid one [faint] charge.  I gess you here more about it then we do, even

of our own fighting we was on the wright of [Shapend] farm but we diden expect to gain evry thair we maid a great show marched backwards and forwards then formed


[Page 9]


fore lines of battle then advanced sow we [crep] up afire on them al of the time just to hav their attention from Petersburg we supposed Grant plaid the [slip] on them thair thair was a corn field between the lines, then we drove them of what horsemen was thair was  [XXX]  to [feed] their horses be fore we left.


Thar is some very heavy fireing on our left, we ar on the north side of the James River one mile.  The last letter I send home dated the 24th  had $20 in if Pappy/Mother don’t get a letter from the Col wife she must right and tel her how she must send it. 


Mary I don’t know what to right that would interest you here.  I will send yo some righting I found in a [Johheys] house we just captured, I cant tel weather it is a song or what.  What is William [Curry] going to do and Snyder [Clate].


[Page 10]


Write Soon,


Philip Y. Bright

Co. F, 203P.V.S.S.

10th Corps 2nd division 2nd Brigade

Washington D.C.





[Page 11]


Point Lookout Jan 18th 1863




Friends near Dansville


I take my pen to let you know that I received the box everything is good but the turkey and chicken the can I cant open yet but I think it is good the butter is very nice.  It is [miserable] cold here for afiew days.  I received a letter from Rebecca she was at Washington.  I would have written oftner but I was awaiting for the box, wel I hardly know what to write, busyness is agoing on here agan.


[Page 12]


Well the doctor took some 8 or 9 names and mine last weak.  They have gon to Was to be maid out then they are sent back and the Doctor in charge sinds his name then we get them the last ones waited 4 or 5 weaks the last letter I sent a small paper and one to Dennis Young


No more at present.

From Philip Y Bright

Hammond  [XXX]

Hammond General Hospital

I thank yo very much fore your trouble.

Write Soon




[Page 13]


Fortress Monroe [Va]

November the 27th 1864

Dear friend

I now take this opportunity to write you a few lines In hopes you may get them.  I am in a hurry going out on Picket and therefore I cant say much.  As Christmas time is fast Approaching and I thought I would Let you Know, of the Wishes of us poor Worn out Soldiers In Dixie Land.  Any thing Like the nessary Articles of Nourishment for Clime and as the Killing here [Is] fast.  I intrude on you to Lend me A Little of Your [Sausage] And some Little apple Butter and Couple of your Apples.


[Page 14]


You must think this very Forward of me, but I hope you will forgive all forwardness As our Lives is a Dreary one far Away from all the Comforts of home and Friends on those Christmas times.


My wife is going to send me a Box and anything that You Would Wish to send me Will be Acceptable by her.


I would send this Letter in your name but I Could Not think of your Christian Name[.]  I Direct It to your Son – I must Now Close by Sending you all My Kindest Love And Remain Your Kind Soldier Friend.

Joseph Rose

Co – C 3rd Pa Artillery

Fort Monroe Va


[Page 15]


I send you the Map or picture of Fortress Monroe Virginia Along With this Note it Is Rolled upon a Stick.  I hope you will get it.  Framed It Looks good


[Page 16]


[Address on Envelope]


Mr. Dennis Bright


Montour Co.


O – Franklin [Furnace]


[Page 17]


[Copy of back of envelope]





[Page 18]


Beaufort Harber, N.C.

Dec the 21st 1864


Friend Near Danville,


I take another Opportunity to write a few lines, I wrote when we was at Fortress Monroe, and got your letter with the pen in it.


We have been on water since the 8th.  We layed at Fortress Monroe til the 13th then we sailed up the Potomac and got with in 25 m or 30 Miles of Washington then turned back and went South.  We kept in sight of land til we past Cape Henry then we coulden


[Pate 19]


see anything but water diden stop til we got near Wilmington layed thar til the 20th, then we got out of cole and water the 20th we started for Beaufort got thar this [morning] this is a very strange place one large fort near the entrance and very crooked channel to get up[.]  it was very rough when we [layed] at sea we never in sight of land and so the water was very rough, the ship rocked sow bad that the masks nearly  [XXXX]  the waves a great many got sick but I felt the better we got to see some of the large fish, on the sea is a great place to live.  We don’t know where we are going nor nothing else til we see it some times we can


[Page 20]


count 36 vessels that belongs to our fleet our Iron Clads keep out of our sight when in the dangerous places, - that Rebel ram that was at Philadelphia last winter when I was thar is with [out] her name is Atlanta.  [XXX]  I don’t know what to write that would interest you, if you could’ve sean some of our vessels you would be surprised and bee on one of the ships for awhile and [not] the big waves some and lay the ship on its side.  I don’t know [who] to write this letter but all can read it, while saying off Wilmington done got very tired, for pastimes I tried [to] draw something, I don’t know wheather I can  [XXX]  letter off or not, T.Y.B

Co. F  [XXXX]  10th Corps


[Page 21]


We will get the letters as soon as we get [Quit] some place, Do you hear from Hiram and where is he  the weather is very warm here we can go in our shirtsleeves but I ges you Penna it is colder.  I ges I should better stop writing



[XXX]  Miss Mary Bright


Montur Co.




Please [Post] [Master]. Hand this  [XXXX]  and send it right to Miss Mary Bright,  I had it got anything better for you but we are  [XXX]  [XXX]  With Butlers Fleet we left Monroe and [onto] sea – we did  [XXX]  [XXX]  nothing but hard tack and  [XXX]  We would all rather be  [XXXX].




[Page 22]


Hamton Hospital

Feb the 23rd


Miss Rebecca

I take the pleasure of writing a few lines to let you know th I am a getting along very well.  I expected to get out of bed by March but I don’t, the 24 I diden get my letter finished yesterday be cause I got kined cold, I woulden written this letter but I expect you ar looking for me home.  My wound has commenced too heal a little a person must have pacence.

Write Soon


[Page 23]


They have planted potatoes am I ar plowing for something [else]


Has Pappy got well


It is raining now.




Philip from Hospital

Philip from Wyoming Oct 1868

Philip from Wyoming 1863

Philip from Phila Dec, 1863

Philip from Phila 1863

One letter B Cramer/1873

Philip one letter from D. Smedly

One letter from J. Wilson

One letter from J. Rose


[Page 24]


[Front of Envelope]


Miss Rebecca Bright


Montur Co.



[Page 25]


[Copy of back of Envelope]


Hampton Hospital

[Est 1865]




[Page 26]


Hampton Hospital

April the 18th


Miss Rebecca,

I believe it is my turn to write now, and sow I can try it, but it don’t go as well with the left hand as with the wright hand, but my hand doing very well and now I am able to get around some, it has been just a month to day since I been wounded


Well the box came all rite, of corse some of the eggs were broken but the rest of the thing was nice.  I don’t care, as much for such things as what I did before, I got use to Uncle Sams grub[.]


[Page 27]


I think that I have herd of Mr Wilson.  One of the prisoners say he knew a Wilson a little Irishman and alsow a drafted man.


This ward is composed of fifty patients 6, nurses one ward master and one ward Mistress, there patients an all paroled prisoners, but another and myself who ar wounded[.] 


They was parold prisoners at Wilmington after we took it, they are from all [sorts].  You wished that you knew more of Soldering but you may be glad that you – folks knew as little about it as you do, Some of the Virginian’s know to much I will bet,

P.Y. Bright

Hampton  [XX]



[Page 28]


[Front of Envelope]


Miss Rebecca Bright






[Page 29]


[1865:  I Presume]


Hampton Hospital  [XX]  5-6


Miss Peninah

I received your letter too day and all sow the box, every thing was nice and in its place, their mite have been more Bredd put in, for my bredd is toasted that I get the Sausage is very good.  Well Peninah I don’t know what to write but the best news is with me is that my hand is doing well, I got that letter you spoke of.  Peninah I diden open the box, for I have only one hand now to work with and that has to keep quiet.


[Page 30]


I have that Arithmetic yet and it is very interesting.  I have a heavy Artillary drill book I got in fort Fisher[.]  I wishy it was home.  I wish you could see the monitors playing on  [XXX]


nomore at present

P.Y. Bright


[Page 31]


[A page with math written on it]





[Page 32]


Head Qts 9 Div.  [XXXX]

Pleasant Valley. Md

Apr 20 – 65


Miss R B

I presume it is unnecessary for me to submit an apology for this intrusion as you expected a desire to know who would prove the recipient of your contribution to the wants of those whose [privations] have so frequently been alleviated through the


[Page 33]


medium of the charitable and ameliorating society the “Sanitary Commission.”  I might say much in admiration of its sterling worth and the magnanimous ones who so nobly and unhesitating by contribute to their means and labor did I not fear I might [let] you with a lengthy missive.


It was not I however who received your favor but one of my men.  He presented me with your selection (“A [Fremont] Song”) and I have presumed to acknowledge the receipt in lieu of him.  I trust my message will not be discorded because of this.


I presume


[Page 34]


there is a significant gloom hovering over your Village today, in consequence of the murder of our President.


How can such a people as we brought to realize the appalling fact – “The President of the United States assonated”! – The Sun of a mighty nations Chief set forever!  And at such a time! – After four years of war and bloodshed; after four years of toil and strive; just as he was beginning to witness the fruits of his labor, just as the “silver lining” was [fringing] the dark clouds, which have so long hovered over him – just as the white winged messenger of peace was about to crown his works with glory and triumph. –


[Page 35]


 What a chapter of demonical crime! – What a [lurid] page for our countrys history! –


What a sad,  [XXXX]  [XXXX]  demoralizing effects of Civil Law!  History blends no parallel! – Monarchs have suffered death at the hands of downtrodden subjects – despots have been  beheaded at the [malice] of misled people; but the [atrocious] and cold blooded murder of President Lincoln is without a precedent.


He has fallen the great, chief is no more. – His name needs no eulogy towering, monument to remind us that Abraham Lincoln once was.


His name is emblazed


[Page 36]


in letters of gold upon the tablets of our memories and he will live forever!


Sleep martyred hero, Sleep, and may a grateful people avenge thee!


You will pardon me for this [expression] of my feelings, it is entirely in [unison] with them and I cannot [avoid] it.  I feared I have been tedious.


If my correspondence is agreeable I will be pleased to have you merit an answer.


Accept for yourself my best wishes, the thanks of your done.


J. Harry Monroe


[Page 37]




Leut. J. Harry Monroe

Harpers Ferry


In care of

Capt. Geo. A. Flagg. A.I.M.


[Page 38]


[Front of Envelope addressed to:  Miss Rebecca Bright, Manner P.O., Lancaster Co. Pennsylvania]





[Page 39]


Wyoming [D.T.]


Sept. 22nd 1868



Carelessness and laziness has been the means of me postponing to answer your letter sooner.  Shortly after I received your letter at Omaha, I left there, and have been a while in one place thar is another at the present I am at Wyoming, a small village on the Union Pacific Railroad 600 miles west of Omaha is not exactly there that is where my letters ar sent to, I am just south of there about 40 or 50 miles on the Rocky Mountains.


[Page 40]


While I was at Omaha, I was working in a garden, that was but a short time.  While here part of the time I have been driving Railroad Ties on the Laramie River for the Railroad Co. at the rate of $75, a month; but since I have been hunting for the same contractor, at the rate of nearly $4. a day, to [furnish] two outfits of about 15 to 20 men each.


When you see George Britten tell him that if he was here with me that he would get his fill in about one week, so that he would never want to hunt again.  The other day while picking some June  Berries, on one side of a bush, I started round on the other side, and there stood quite a stranger, a black Bear, he looked at me and I at him a while, thar he started for the bushes, I had no gun, and so he got away.


[Page 41]


They have discovered some gold mines near where I am and the other day three of us started for them, and we lost our way and had to lay [out] through the night, we had a snow storm that evening.  Some parts of the mountains ar covered with snow.  The last of August I was on snow 12 feet deep.  It is getting pretty cold here at nights to lay out.  I have not slep on a horse since I left Omaha, so I believe I will pull out of here in a month or two.  If you wish me to inquire about anything while coming through, you can direct to Omaha or Wyoming, if very important direct one to each place.


Yours Truly,

P. Bright




[Page 42]


Miss Mary Bright


Frank sais tell Peninah to come out





[Page 43]


Wyoming [D.T.]




Yours of the 24th was received a few days before I left Omaha for farther west.  I had been a way from Omaha about one week. I went west to a place called Fremont there crossed the [Laflar] River and went South to the capital of the State (Lincoln) and then up the Missouri and up it again.  I am now stopping at a small place near [two] hundred miles west of Omaha in Wyoming Terr. [so] called; but it has not been [settled] yet at Washington.


[Page 44]


The weather is very warm and dry on the plains; but near the Rocky Mountains it is very whet and cold.  The tops of many are covered with snow, at a distance the snow looks very nice and strange.  That would be a very good place for some of you down-Eastern to make Ice Cream for there August gatherings, there it would dry the sweet  [XXX] , and the Sioux would put a chill on them.  Game is very plenty in the plains the antelope ar very plenty; but very wild, we get as much though as we want for to use. 


The fruit is just getting ripe that is here, there is not very much.  Wild Gooseberries and Juneberries, they comprise the fruit of these parts of the mountains.


This Summer they have started some new gold mines near here and I believe they ar doing very well,


[Page 45]


and there is quite a rush to them they ar on [Sugler] Creek a branch of Little Laramie within a few miles of where I am at the present.  Since I wrote to Clate we have moved further in the mountains that it was impossible to write any sooner, I received two other letters since I wrote to Clate.


The other day while picking Juneberries on one side of a bush, and went to pick on the other side there sat a big Black Bear, he seemed to take it very cool, and eyed me a while then ran in the bushes and that was the last I seen of him.


Yours Truly

[H.] Bright






[Page 46]


Wichita, Kansas

March 12th, 1870


Abbie –

Your letter of Feb 13 has been received, Hiram’s two also official letter at same time.  In regard to your coming west and getting a school, I know nothing of them but if you wish to come here you can and take up some Government Land.  After living on it for 6 mo. you can pay for it at 1 1/4$ per acre.  The land is about as good as any out of doors at present, and immigration is commencing this spring very heavy.  If you wish to come I will try and hold an extra good claim for you, there is a very good one joining the one which I


[Page 47]


took last [June], if  I can’t hold it for you there are still others joining perhaps not as good though.  I have no doubt you might make more this way than teaching and I am shure it would be better for you on account of health.  Ther is not one near here that is complaining, except of a great appetite.  If you have not gone back to  [XXXX]  you might do well by coming here and staying with me, by the time you get this I will have a house built. 


If you come bring nothing but good strong clothes and quilts or blankets enough to make your bed.  You come by the way of Quincy Ill, then Kansas City, Topeka, Emporia, there get on a Stage to Wichita, here I will meet you, for 20 [m] to Ninnescah River on the Old Texas Trail.  Come as soon as possible or let me know.







[Page 48]


Ninnescah River, Kan

 Sunday, May 18, 1871



This is a beautiful evening.  I wish you were here to enjoy it; and our prairie home.


Philip went to Wichita last Monday; he came back Tuesday evening.  And on Wednes he fetched our house hold goods down here.  He hauled them all in one wagon and that was not crowded, he fetched me your last letter too, the one that Mother  [XXXXX]  et.  Tell Mother we have plenty to eat, even we don’t have much variety, besides our garden is coming on, Pease & beans will be grand without butter or milk, we can put in a piece of side meat. – Mrs. West’s garden is very nice, she has salad radishes, & onions, these two in three weeks.


[Page 49]


I don’t know what names I could have misspelled.  This creek or river (some what larger than the Fishing Creek) is the Ninnescah (pro. as if spelled Nin ny skaw) it meant good or clear water.  Some Maps call it the [Nine] Squaw.  If you folks want a Kansas Section Map, send a dollar and you shall have one, out that  [XXX].  How far I rode the indian pony?  Something over two miles.  Yes, your dress is real pretty.  I am making me a calico dress, Rhoda gave me the dress, will send you a piece.  I sent with Philip for five yards of light calico, for a  [XXXX]  in this country where two or three sleep in one room, it is impossible to do without them, and white one shows the dirt so much, it has a [stripe] in it, I will send a piece and you can see what choice he made. 


The papers came all right.  I have the almanac hanging up.  Whenever I look at it, I think of Beckie.  Now I have answered your letter, if there is anything you want to know.


[Page 50]


Philip got a letter from J. Roberts, he is at Emporia.  You must ask, I cant think perhaps of those subjects that would interest you.  You must make great allowance for this writing.  Now I guess I will go back to my house.  Rhoda gave me an army blanket, a comfort, and a little pillow. I bought, (Philip fetched them this week), enough ticking for a lounge, and muslin and made two sheets.  I did not get the tick filled until yesterday, so I was here last night for the first.  My bed only has one leg, the rest is  [XXXX]  the tick is in quite round and I have to be so, so, so careful, else I might roll off.  Philips bed is, is, is on the floor, or ground I should say, since we don’t have a floor, he has two buffalo robes & two blankets.  That is the way half the folks sleep here.


I cook in the fire place, have a pan with a long handle, and a dutch oven, and a coffee pot.  A wooden bucket, 7 tin pie plates, 5 tin cups, 2 deep dishes, a lamp, 4 knives & forks, 1 big spoon 2 little ones.  Mrs W – gave me a nutmeg grater, then I have


[Page 51]


several tin cans for salt, sugar, pepper, soda.  Philip bought a keg if molasses 5 galls. 10 lbs. of lard, a sack of flower, 10 lbs. of sugar, 10 lbs. of coffee, 1 lb. of tea, 2 of rice, 6 lbs. of dried apples and peaches, 4 qts. beans, soap, ½ bushel salt.  A nice little tub and wash board, and a plow, a very good one too.  6 lbs of side meat and a nice large basin that I use as a dough tray, wash dishes in the pan on the oven.  I baked four nice loves of yeast bread in Mrs. West’s stove yesterday morning.  It is the best I have ate since I left Hirams.  I fetched the dried yeast from Rhodas.




[Page 52]


Clearwater Dec 5th 1872


Mr Lane and Mrs Lane have Parted long ago, and he has gone the Lord knows where.

Write soon.


Miss Abbie Bright

Dear Madam


You must excuse me for being so long in writing to you, But I am no hand to write.  I wrot three pages of a letter to you once, But never finished it, I guiss I undertook to write to much.


The Claims are all just as you left them, your old friend Jas. H. Lane was appointed assessor last Spring and he gave every body “The Goose” in the way of taxes, he told me he had assessed them three at four Dollars per acre, I called into the Treasurer office the other day to see what the amount of your taxes and my own were, when the following figures were given me and I made a memorandum of them so that there would be no mistake P.T. Bright $45.12, Abbie Bright $42.12, John Roberts $67.68, Wm Ross $39.06.  I had not proved up on my claim on March 1st  So that is on my personel property alone.  John Dunseomb that Bought Russell & McLeans to claims keeps a little Store and his Taxes is two Hundred and Nine Dollars, he has been looking after it and he says there is no Abatement its got to be payed.  Taxes have to be payed before the 10th day of Jan.


We are all well at present hopeing this may find you in good health, Mrs. Ross and the children send their Kind Love to you, with many thanks for the Papers and Seeds[.]  I will try and write Sooner nixt time give or send my love to Philip.

Wm Ross





[Page 53]


Clearwater Sedgwick Co Kan

April 24th 1873


My dear friend Abbie


I received your letter on the 13th, and I was very glad to hear from you.  Well Abbie about your old cabin home.  I was down the river last night and I looked acrost the river and saw your cabin door standing open it looked like as if all the folks were at home, there was three wild turkeys across the river and the men killed two of them and the last one came and stayed with the turkey all winter until this spring when he led the others away, they was away one night, and the next morning Janette and I went after them on horseback, and where do you think we found them we found them in


[Page 54]


the old Indian camp we are having a very late spring here too.


Sunday April 28th

I commenced this letter two or three nights ago but I got sleepy and could not finish it.  Jake was here last Sunday.  I told him you sent your best wishes to your old friend, he sends his in return, he said you was not to whip any more boys.  Mrs Lane was here last week she said she sent you a letter two weeks ago she said she did not know whether you got it or not.  We had a tame buffalo but it died of Texas fever.  I would have liked to hear your girls read their Compositions[.]  I received the Sunday School papers and I think they are very nice and I thank you for them.  I take the Young Folks Rural and I think it is a very nice paper.


[Page 55]


I have nothing more to say at present

I remain your friend

Lizzie Ross





[Page 56]


Phoenix  [XXXXX]  Co.


May 16th 1873

Cousin Mary & Family


Remembering of promising to write to you sometime, having some leasure time now I thought best to do it, for perhaps I may stay here long enough to receive a reply.  Not likely you [can] find on any map where this place is.  I will try and describe where it is.  Phoenix is on Salt River ten miles from its mouth where it empties into Gila (hela) the main branch of salt river is the [bend] which raises near the San Francisco Mountain.  There is a Valley here fifteen miles wide and level


[Page 57]


The greater portion of it is under cultivation and scarcely any thing grown but Wheat far as five miles one can see nothing but wheat & they are commencing to harvest all ready.  The machine used is called a header and it mearly cuts off the heads leaving the straw standing.  Wages from 3.00$ to 7.$ per day[.]  Flour 15.00$ per 100 lbs.


I have been very busy this Winter and completely worn out.  I have been one of the unfortunate Diamond hunters.  I will enclose some of the stones such as I picked up on the fields; Learning the Diamond fields I came to Arizona, in time to join General Crooks scouts, fighting the Apaches, they are a dreadful bad Indian and a very large band they feared nothing, and were a good match for the Spaniards.  Crook is the only man that has


[Page 58]


ever brought them to [terms], he has put a great many of their lights out for them (Killed I Mean).  I was unfortunate again in getting a slight wound [but] this time from an arrow.  Hunting game is very nice but when it comes to hunting Indians a very little will do me. – This country would not be so bad if it were not so [mean] being so destitute of Timber and Water.  I have been several days without seeing water, and brush supplies the travelers wants for wood, the country is maid up of Canions (Canyons), and mountains.  Gold and Silver can be seen in many places.  I have seen washings where iff men had water they might from 10$ to 15$ a day to a man all summer, providing Indians would not kill them.  During my travel I have seen where the Indians


[Page 59]


have jumped the miners and killed all, nothing remaining but there bones to tell the story, this is and has been the miners fate, and yet the eastern people will call them the noble read man.


There are some very pretty women and Senoritas in this country,

[Cannot read entire sentence]

other people, they build them with Dobies (mud shaped like a brick [dried] in the sun and cover them with ground, the men are [scarcely] [seen] without a knife and revolver all men carry them here.


Remember me to  [XXXX]  and Lizzie and write as [soon] as  [XXXX]


Yours Truly

Philip Bright

Phoenix  [XXXX]  Co.

Arizona, Terr.


[Page 60]




Miss Abbie bright


[Barksta]  [Peny]





[Page 61]


Phoenix Aug 7 1873


Folks at home, There has been no mistake Philip had papers in his pocket with Hirams name on them and the inquest on the Examination from Hirams pacular way of writing had it Herman.  He had bin decently and respectably buried in the only burying ground in the place.  There are about twenty other graves.  I have engaged a Carpenter to make a board and place name on it to mark it and I will place it on the grave[.]  There are no Stones here and no Iron foundrys so I can only use a board.  Mother I could not bear the sight to take him up and examine his [hand]  - but that would all have bin for nothing as there are those that came here from Kansas with him and knew him personaly to be Philip[.]


[Page 62]


The wound on the right wrist was found on the Examination and he had papers which I will bring home and other articles which leaves no doubt he died without a Single Shot through the back of the head we are at least spared the pain of thinking he died in agony.


The people here have been very kind to me an respect Philip, those that knew him.  His Murderer is from Scranton Pa. and the authorities here are still expecting to hear of his whereabouts do not mention the fact his being from Scranton[.]


I will start in the morning for Sanfrancisco and if I stay more than two or three days I will write.  I think I will only stay a few days not more than a week at the most it will take me eight days to go to Sanfrancisco from here and eight from there home making Sixteen[,]  I was twenty days coming here.

Respect Yours

D Bright




[Page 63]


Clearwater Oct. 12th 1873

Mrs. A. B. Achenback


Dear Madam - I hope by this time, that you have returned from Iowa, in good health and that your Mother has been benifited by the change.  I wrote you from Wichita on the 10th of having made the necessary proof concerning your Brothers claim.  The condition of Claims is just the same as when you left them, with this exception.  Some one had, this Spring, taken away part of the roof of your Dug-out, and I hauled away the rest of it, as it was only going to loss by rotting.


There has been a great many Texas Cattle held in this country this season and as the owners cannot get wood as plutifully as they used to, I have had some trouble keeping them out of Philips place, it being the only


[Page 64]


place along the creek they could get access to, I would of [sued] different party’s, But my authority from Philip being only verble I had nothing to show therein I had my right to do so. 


If your father wishes me to continue to look after the Timber – I ought to have a Power of Attorney or Something of that kind.


For two of us going to the Land Office and being detained so that we could not return the same day I will have to Charge your Father $8.00.


I may let you know that we are all getting along very well for Settlers on the frontier and the place is looking some different to what it did when you was here, the trees I planted about the House are over 20 feet high.  I have a fine 2 year old hedge around the farm east of the river, it will turn Stock in another year


[Page 65]


Outside of the Hedge along the road on the north line, I have a row of trees a rod apart, Cottonwood, Boxelder, and Lumbardy Poplar, besides Hedge round our garden and six acres of orchard, I raised 50,000 Hedge plants this Season.  I will plant cross hedges and Hedge in 80 acres North of me, that I bought last Spring, our Stock is also increasing, we have Sixty head of cattle, and a lot of hogs and poultry.  We had a County fair, I took first premiums for largest corn, finest Pair of Turkeys, and finest osage orange plants, and second premium on Sow.  My wife has had quite a Sick spell for the last two weeks, and she is not much better yet.  Allow me to say in conclusion that Short as your Stay was amongst us, we miss you, But the impression made in your transit, will always remain upon our memories, and we could


[Page 66]


wish that you had always stayed with us.


But thou’st gone, and we never more behold thee wading in the Ninnescah again, or gliding nymph like gentle Abbie, where the wild flowers were scattered or’r the plain.


But if your life in your new Sphere, be all that we wish it, you will have no reason to complain.


Respry Yours,


Wm Ross


[Page 67]


[Copy of envelope]


Clear Water Ks Oct 14


Mrs. A.B. Achenback







[Page 68]


[Note written on back of envelope]


I saw the scissors after you left.  Rain yesterday and last night.  Dahlias in bloom though broken down.  Corn not ripe enough for the season.  I was at the fair in [Bloom] last week.  Nanette had Bilious Fever others all well.  Caleb & [Debie] all alone  [XXX]  house new painted all clean and in perfect order.  Tom [came] there in Spring.  Laura & Clara send their best regards to you.  Six thousand admission on Thursday, same on Friday.

Write [Often]






Gladbrook Iowa

Jan 30 – 1901


Mr W.M. Sawyer

Wichita Kans.

Dear Sir –

Yours recd. I offered the land for sale, last Summer for $2250.


If I should sell it would be for cash.  It is rented for 1901

Yours -  

Mrs. Abbie Achenback





Clear Water Kans. Dec. 5th. 1901


Mrs. Abbie B. Achenback

[Glad] Brook, Iowa

Dear friend –

Your letter of Nov. 30th just received.  Mr. Hawley offers $800.00 Cash for your West 80 acres that is the tract lying West of the River and adjoining His.  As the River divides the two tracts, I don’t think selling the West 80 would lessen your chances on selling the East tract to some one else.


This is the best Cash offer I have ever had.


We have a very short Corn


[Page 71]


Crop, Wheat is good, fall pasture is fine.


Sumner Co. raised nearly Eight-Million bushels of Wheat this year.


We are all well as usual, if Mr. Hawley’s office is satisfactory please advise.



Geo. McQuillan

Clear Water







[Page 72]


Clear Water Kans Dec. 21st 1901


Mrs. Abbie B. Achenback

Glad Brook Io.

Dear friend –

Your letter of Dec. 16th just received, full name and address is

Sanford L. Hawley

Clear Water Kansas.


East 80 acres is rented to Mr. Hawley for next year.  Amount $37.50 payable Nov. 1st 1902.  Please state amount of commission you wish to allow.  Will get abstract and formal price of land less expenses as soon as possible.


Geo. McQuillan


[Page 73]


Sanford L. Hawley





[Page 74]


[Top part of letter is torn off]


received.  If I have a right knowledge of that land, the part West of the river is the larger piece – While that East of the river is the better land.


If Mr. Hawley wants the price West of the river, and adjoining his, he can have it for $850.00





[Page 75]


Dear Friend –

If Mr. Hawley wants the 80 acres west of the river, and adjoining his, he can have it for $850.00.


If he decides to take it, let us know soon, as that offer is good only until the first of Jan, 1902


Abbie B. Achenback







[Page 76]


Clear Water Kans.  Jan. 20th. 1902


Mrs Abbie B. Achenback

Glad Brook Io

Dear Friend –

Your letter of Jan. 17th just received and in reply would say that I have an offer of $1000 Cash for your land.


I consider this a fair price if you cannot get more.


It is worth all you can get.  I think it is a good time to sell while money is easy and plentiful.


You spoke of coming to see the land, let us know when you will come and we will


[Page 77]


meet you at the train.  Please answer soon.


Geo. McQuillan

Clear Water



Your letter came today – I did think that I would sell if I could get $2000 for the land.


[Page 78]


Mrs. Abbie B. Achenback

Glad Brook


[Tama] Co.


Geo. McQuillan Clear Water Kans.





[Page 79]


Clear Water Kans June 2nd 1903


Mrs. Abbie B. Achenback

Glad Brook Io.

Dear friend –

Enclosed please find Draft Amount $1054.00


Cash recd. on land  $1000.00

Cash recd. on 18 [trees] – 104.00

Mortgage and Note  500.00

Total Amount  1604.00

Cash expenses  6.00

Commission  44.00

Total  $50.00

Balance due Draft – 1054.00

Mortgage and Note – 500.00

Total – 1554.00

Will send your Mortgage


[Page 80]


and note as soon as same is recorded.  I have had an unusual amount of trouble getting everything adjusted and have charged you $44.00 Commission over and above expenses.  If you think this is too much let me know and I’ll make it right.


Geo. McQuillan

Clear Water



[Page 81]


[Copy of envelope]


Mrs. Abbie B. Achenback

Glad Brook



[Tama] Co.


Kansas Land


[Page 82]


[Copy of envelope]


[Plain except for some numbers written on it]





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