The Letters of Sarah J. Law

These letters were written from Sarah J. Law, who lived in Charleston, to John K. Nay who at the time was living in La Grande, Oregon. John was originally from Grandview, Illinois. The letters are now in the possession of Jessie Heinzman who has graciously typed them up for us to share with everybody else. The letters mention births, deaths and marriages of neighbors so they should be very helpful to researchers...not to mention interesting reading! The original spelling and grammar have been maintained.


Charleston, Ill

April 1, 1883

to John K. Nay

Dear cousin I take my pen in hand this evening to anser your kind and welcome letter that I received from you two weeks ago and have neglected to anser until now. I was glad to heare from you and that you was well. We air all well as coman at present and I hope that these few lines may find you all the same. The measles is raging a round here now. Warn Bartmess has come back to Illinois. He was down here two week go today. They have had high water in Kentucky and Indiana about the middle of February. The water was higher then than it ever was before. Well there has been a few weddings around here this winter. W.L. Babers and one of the Willson girls from Stringtown, Henry Biddle and one of the Ingrim girls. George Wicker and Em Wiley. Salie Davis and Jim Black. So Mollie Davis is left alone now. France Goodman has gone to (illegible) Riley is going to stay in Kansas till fall. We have had the nices winter here this winter that I have ever saw and it is not through yet. I received a letter from Uncle Jake the same time I received yourn. Are you working for thirty dollars a month and making thirty dollars a week for somebody else or what share do you get when you work that way. If you make thirty dollars a week and keep it up a little while you can come back to Illinois and by you a farm some time yet if you live long enough. The folks here has not got their oates soad yet nor eny garden made. Paw and Maw has gone to Gossetts today. The boyes has bin geting the sumers wood ready. We have bin quilting this spring. I am going to weaving before long now. Well I must come to a close soon for it is amost milking time now. Rite soon and tell us all the news and how dose Mat like that county by this time. Tell the rest of the folks to rite to us. Yours as ever goodby for this time.

Sarah J. Law to Mr. K. Nay

I heard that Riley Starks wife died and they fetched her back to Pleasant Hill and baried her about four weeks ago.


Westfield, Ill

Jan. 30th, 1885

to John K. Nay

Island City, OR

My dear friend I embrace the oportunity of ancer your most kind and welcome letter that I received last night. I waz truely glad to hear from you. Your letters bothe come to me to geather. I am injoying the best of health at present and i hope that these few lines may find you the same. All most all of the rest of the family is laid up with bad colds. When we air injoying good health we cannot now how long it is going to last for life is short and so uncurtain and death is shure. We feel sad when one of the neighbors is called away from us but we feel worse when some of our family is taking from us. I will tell you the sad newes. Death has come and took our dear sister Lottie out of our family circle heare on earth and she has gone to live with our blessed master. She died the 11 of January. She died in Kansas. She had bin there a year and about three months. The doctor said she had an absess on her liver. She was sick only 17 days. She told them she was not sorrow she went thear for she had injoyed so mutch pleasure and so mutch better health than she had for the last 5 years. Theare has bin several deaths around heare this winter but none that you new. Will Nays Willis was baried the last day of last year and Charley was married two or three months ago. Frank Law has come back from Noared she lives in Kanas state. He come down hear a new years and stayed a week. Now John Frank is married now but he was not married a Christmas. He was maried the Sunday after new years. He told me the week before Christmas that him and (?) Jenkins had plaid out but my opinion now that was to find out for sartin whether he could get the one the first wanted or not. One of the nieghbors girls said she new that was the reazon he told me so. I guess he is going to live in this house west of us just acrost the crick. Frank Welten is married. We air(?) to have Walter Goodman and his girl going to the Syneirs (?) & Frank Gosette. The brethern is carin on a big meeting at Liberty now. I have bin thar two Sundays and six nights it will soon be three weeks since it comenced. It has bin just the nicest snow for sleighing I believe that I eaver saw and it has bin sleighing about two weeks. The snow is geting prety soft this eaving. I went to church tonight but when i come back I could not think of going to bed untill I ancered your letter so I could send it of the first chance I had. I am in hopes that this one will not be so long on the road as the last one was. As it is geting late I must come to a close. Excuse bas spelling and poor riting. Rite soon and tell me all the news. Your true freind as ever

Sarah J. Law to Mr. John K. Nay

Fair well for this time. I wish i could see you as often as I can see some others.


Charleston, Ill

August 6, 1885

to Mr. John K. Nay

La Grand, OR

My dear friend I take my pen I hand to drop you a few lines to let you know that I received your most kind and welcome letter this week. I was glad to hear from you but sorrow to hear of Uncle John's bad luck. We air all well as comen & all the connection as far as I now of ezsept Cousin Frank Law. He is very porely now & Maw went up to see him yesterday. He has to keep his bed a part of the time. He has bin feeling better for the last few days till yesterday morning he had another chill. He has give up all hopes of getting well I guess. He said the doctors said he had brown Ketis in the throat. He is staying at the comstock. I am in hopes these few lines will find you well and doing well. Thare has bin several deathes around here since I rote you my other letter. Jimmy Davis died the 19th of July. He had the consumption. Mr. George Hubern was killed by lighting 13th of July. Mr. Hubern lived 8 miles northeast of Westfield. He was standin in the yard at his home. Jimy Davis is Parys son. He is the one that lives clost to the school hous. One of Mr. Sellars children got killed about two weeks ago. One of the bigest girls was on a horse and went to reach down to take the child up on the horse and she fell off on the child & it died in less than a half hour. They live just below the brick school hous as we go to the river. It seams life is so unsartin and deth is sure. We all now that deth is a brawd all over the land. People ought to be redy to meet death for it comes unespected. You want to now what newes we heard last summer & how we heard it. We heard that your Ant Sis was dead & your maw was thare keepig house for your Uncle George. Aunt Peggy told Maw. She said that Mrs. Smittcamp was telling it. We heard some other newes that i cant believe because you did say anything about it in your other letter. That was that Jack Goodman was dead. Goodmans said the way the newes came that Uncle John had rote to Tomes Goodman & they had rote to Emilin & Gilbert. They said he had froze to death last winter. I think if it had bin so you would have heard it & said sumpthing about it before this time. If Uncle John heard it & rote to Tomes folks about it. Hamptons time will bee out I guess this weeke. It was not him that was married at Mr. Biddles. It was Lewis Beavers. His paw and maw and sister was hear one time when you was hear when thare was a basket meeting up to Eames. The time that Ant Neat came down hear & the boyes made sider. They mashed the apples with the ax & pressed them in the cheese hoop & Ellen helped them drink the sider. If you rembr she could not talk plain. Her mother has bin down bedfast for the last 4 years with the parales. She is a sister to Aunt Sarah Law.

My sheet of paper was not big enough to tell as mutch as I want to rite this time. I will try to do better on this for I am abowt a shame of the other but my pen is bad and my ink is pale but my love to you I hope will never fail. Mollie is not at home at present. She is at Cousin Hopy Ann Fleming (?) She went up thare this week. I spent my 4 of July at Kanas (Ill.) had a real nice time. I seen lotes of folks that I new thare that day. I was at Pleasant Hill last 4 Sunday. I seen your gran paw your Uncle Frankes & his wife & your uncle Arthur at Pleasant Hill. We air done our harvest hear exept stacking our oates and thrashing them. We have no wheat to harvest this year for it was not worth cuting. Thear was others in the same fix. We have bin having hot weather hear through harvest untill this week. It is quite pleasant. We have fin prospect here for corn this year. We air having fine showers on it now. Riley planted his corn the third time this year. His Post Offes an address is Elk City. I guess you might get tired of reading such scribbling so I will come to a close by asking you to rite soon. This is from you afection friend as ever S J Law to Mr. John K. Nay goodby for this time. Excuse bad spelling and poor riting & I will try to do better next time. My love to you as ever so fair well for this time.



Charleston, Ill. Jan. 26, 1886


Dear sir I embrace this pleasant task of ancern your most kind and welcome letter that I received the 21. I was gon away from New Years day untill the 21. I was out on the prairy at Cousin Fleuners & Bitners and Clemenes. Cousin Hopy Ann was sick and I went up there to stay with her a few days & the roads was so bad i could not get home. We have had quite a cold snap while I was gon. We air all well except bad coldes. I have the worst cold that I have had I cant tell when. I am in hopes that these few lines may find you & all the rest well and doing well. Has your Grandpa lost his mind entirely or not. You wanted to now whether Cora looked like her mother. She has some of the faverence of hear. She was here for Christmas & I & Shaller took her back to her granmaws a Sunday after Christmas. We had a splendid time. We had a comfort tacking hear on Saturday night. Cousin George Wicker was hear last Sunday. I had to go see my girl last Sunday night for I have not seen her for a long time & she had been sending word to me to come for she wanted to see me. I am a fraid she is going to leave me yet & if she dose I dont know what I will do. There has been a few deaths a round this winter. The children around Ashmore & Westfield has bin having Scarlet Fever this last fall and winter. Uncle Tomey Goodmans wife had another stroke of parales again. She lived about three weeks after it. You wanted to now whether any of Goodmans family had maried. They have not. I have not seen any of them to speke to them sence early in the fall. There has bin a few weddings around hear this winter 6 or 8 coupel & there if a few more yet that we have bin expecting. I will tell you some of them


Nellie (?) & Douglas Detrow
Flary Conley & Joe Dodson
E M Louden & George Davis
Lary Ingram & Simon Runnels
Jiney Cooper & Joe Walten


The woodes is in a good fix for sleighing if there was snow. A nuff of snow on them for the tracks is filled up and frozed & makes the roads so bad. Thare is lots of snow drifted along the lanes. Well John i have not had any more pictures taken sence I sent that one to you. I will bring my letter to a close hopeing to hear from you soon. I still remain your true love as ever. Sarah J. Law to Mr. john K. Nay
Anna said for you to tell Uncle John to hurry up and ancer her letter that she wrote last spring. Goodby for this time.



Charleston IL June 18, 1886


My true love I embrace this pleasant task of ansern your most kind and welcom letter that I received last Sunday. It found me well and doing well. I was away a gain last week at work at Loudes Webers. We air all well except bad coles & sore throats. Thear has bin several deathes around hear with our naborz and friends. Thear has bin six deathes around hear inside if about a week and a half. Cousin Isaac Flenner (?) Was baried kast Monday week and Mr. Chisum was baried the same day. He lived clost to Stockton. He uest to live clost neighbor to us in the first house east of hear. Bob Reed died on Wensday before. I recking you have not forgot him. It was the one that his horses run away with him that you brought hear in the lot the day that he was baried his brothern law died in Ashmore & fast Sunday his sister died that was married to Elbridge Dudley & George Onested oldes boy was baried fast Monday to. Mr. Chisum just fell over dead with the hart desease. Cousin Flenner died with the inflammation of the stomick & I iford (?)feever & Bob Reed died with an absess in his side and his brothern law had consumption. Willy Onested got to hot and drank to mutch cold water. Is your Maw living by hear self & who is she iiving clostes to. John you did not ancer my question. I ask you about what your Maw thought about you coming back hear. I think we are going to have prety hevi cropes hear this year. It has bin prety dry heare untill the last weeke and a half. It has bin showery. Wheat harvest will bee hear next weeke. Wheat is prety good this year corn lookes prety fair for the dry weather we have had. We have plenty of fruit of all kinds except peaches hear this year. Shafer is going over his corn now the third time. Well John I dont blame you & I do pity you and feel sorrow for you to think you have not had better luck than you have bin having. I am in hopes that your luck will turn for the better some time. I will close hoping to hear from you soon. Your true love as ever & I hope to be untill death, Sarah J. Law to Mr. John K. Nay. I will send your Maw a letter so you can give it to her. Good by for this time.
Remember me when these few lines you see. Your face would love to see but fair a part we may be.


To: Miss Sarah J. Law

Charleston, Ill June 1st, 1887


Dear Sister, I guess I have waited as long as you did so I thought I would write you a few lines. This leaves us all so to be about. Mary is staying at Tom Waltons and I am learning the dressmaking. I am at home tonite. Eliza Shook has come down to see us this summer. She was lacking one day of being hear three weeks. They took her to Dolson last Thursday. She said for me to tell you to come home in time to see her. She aims to stay till Camp Meeting. Mr Gossett got stroke again last Thursday. He can't talk so anyone can understand him if they don't watch him mow his mouth.
I will tell you about baptizing the third Sunday in May. The presence of about 1,000 persons. Rev Alex Black of the Church of God baptized the following new converts at the Westfield bridge: Harry Bell, John Yunt, Owen Hedges, David Beasly, Fred Tinnon, Andrew Montz, Joseph Yunt, Peter A Timmon, Harriet Grant, Fannie Henry, Sarah Clark, Ella Graves, Jane Shrader, Nellie Merritt, Belle Henry and Anna Timmons.
I was there. Well, I suppose you heard of Luke Gossett and Jane Lee being married & how did you get the news of George and Belle. I want you to tell me if George did or did not. They haint married nor do I think they ever will. I forgot to tell you of the young folk- a boy at Bill Meltons-two lads. Jim Grants -a boy, and a girl at Jim Fears. I and Eliza was to Mr. Newell while she was over hear. If you want to ever see her you had better come in time. Flora Johnes is dead. She died the 25 of April. Her funeral is to be preached Sunday. Mr Gibson is some better than he was. I aimed to go to KY this fall if I can clear a nuff this summer in the dressmaking to go on. Well I will close as I cant think of anything else to write, If you write soon I will do the same. I remain your sister Anna Law to Sarah Law.

If you will hurry up and write I will tell you what a time we are going to have Pa birthday. I will send you a piece of my new dress- brown, the blue is Hannahs. When you see Riley just tell him to hurry up and answer that letter that I wrote to him last winter. I want you to send me your picture in the next letter.

[Note: Sarah must have been in Kansas at this time. There was no envelope with the letter.]


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