Letter written by Betsey Jane Fackrell, 2 January 1848
Camp of Israel, January 2nd/48
I suppose by this time you want to hear from home, at least I should like to hear from you. We
have heard nothing from you since you left home and only Harvy Allred told us he saw Dowe
and heard you was at Jackson’s Mill hauling logs.
We are all well at present and hope these few lines will find you in possession of the same
great blessing. We have been well the most of the time since you left. Father has had a lame
back some two weeks but is now well. Mother has a bad cold now but that wont hurt anybody,
but I must tell you some of the things that have transpired. Since you left here there has been
__________ except ________ Tremane who married a little girl names Julia ________ down
by the River. They live at Clifts. Mr. Bemus and Solomon Hancock have died. Mr. Gould came
here the same day you went away, he says John went back to the valley when he met the Camp.
James Myler and Russel Brownell came home two weeks ago yesterday, also George Hancock.
His brother Charles and Uncle Levi are in the valley and going to raise a crop.
You must know there was a great rejoicing in the Camp to see the soldiers returning. Sprague has
reenlisted for another year. so has Hawk. Some of them have gone to the Bay to work where they
got big wages.
On the third day of December last Jonathan Smith came home. Mar. Cox and family, except
Mary Jane came with him. also Mrs Burns and her youngest girl, Maria. Mr. B. died last Feb.
Samuel married one of the Garwood girls. Mary lives with her mother and is yet single. Sally
married a man that lives in Niles. Maria, the one that is here, is quite a good looking girl, is
nearly 13 years old and almost as large as I am. They live at Harmisons.
Mr. Cox has built a house joining Thomas Smith’s. They christened it last Thursday night by
dancing all night, the next night after you must know was what we used to call Watch Night
or the night before New Years, so to improve the time in a proper manner they made a party in
Willy Norton’s house. They moved their beds out and had a first rate time. William Henry Cox
played the fiddle, he is a good hand at it you had better believe. Richard Smith was up with him,
he played the flute some and called off the rest of the time. You have ought to have been here,
you might have seen your Mother dance a French 4, the Scotch Reel and a Cotillion for instance.
They danced till about one or two o’clock and they sung songs two or three hours longer. After
the rest of them had gone home Richard Wm. Melissa and myself went into the other house and
took supper. it was then nearly bed time. The week before I was at Wm. Allred’s to a party being
soon after Redick got home; they handed round some good pies.
I think I said enough about parties only they have built a big meeting house ________ Henry
Millen hollow and christened it. They held a conference of four days length in it. The meeting
commenced the day before Christmas. Father and Mother went to the whole of it. Relief Cram
came here the night after they left and stayed with me three nights and two days. We went over
to Me Harmisons and got a good Christmas supper.
It is getting nearly dark, I must cut my work short. Mr. Cox does not at present seem to be
satisfied. I think he will get over it by Spring and go on with the Church. M. J. went to J.
Damont’s to live. James Vanderhoof sold his place and got almost ready to come but was coaxed
off by his folks. They expect a good many from there to come here some time if not before.
Daniel Rowe wrote you a letter. There is not much news in it. He says it is painful to you as
well as to him. Matilda is married to Samuel Melcum, Laura waits yet. Uncle John Crumb died
about a year ago. Uncle Joseph lives in Ohio, his son Harvy was out to Mich. the next Spring
after we left. Daniel writes he is almost a mind to come and go with us, but his father would
never give his consent. He wants you to write to him. We received a letter from Joseph a week
ago dated July the 18th he wrote he wanted to come and thought he should be ready to start by
the first of Oct., he wanted company. Clarissa wrote she wanted company through the dangerous
parts. I have written them a letter to let them know there was no danger on the way and there
was settlements all the way. If we had got the letter last fall when we ought to you could have
gone after them, but now it is too late now and I have written for them to come immediately and
expect them to start as soon as they get the letter. You had better believe I wrote a good one. I do
not know where that letter was that you did not get it when you went down, but perhaps it is just
as well they can come on frozen ground better than muddy roads.
James you must try and content yourself as well as you can. Take good care of yourself and
team. Be a good boy. We will meet again some time, then we will talk it all over. Write to us as
soon as you can. Excuse me for not filling this full as I am in a big hurry. When we all meet in
the valley I hope it will not be parting all time.
Melissa and Susan send their best respects to you. Now I wish you to accept the best wishes and
sincere love of your sister.
B. J. Fackrell
I suppose you would like to know how we get along. Duke __________ dime were brought
home two or three weeks after you left. We have bought two tons of hay of Mason and pay in
work. We can get along for hay without paying or promising any money. We milk three cows
and make what butter we want to eat a present. We should like to have you send us a little port if
you have a chance. If not I expect we can get along some way. Father wants you to get some iron
for a shovel plow and if you can get some iron that will do to make ox shoes, they say the oxen
and cows will all have to be shod.