This letter was written by James R. Albro (1815-Aft1880) from Lodi, Seneca County, New York, to his brother Ira Albro (1809-1898) of Little Woods, Illinois. Ira and his wife, Betsey Dunham (1819-1880), were married in September 1839. They lived near the DuPage — Kane County line in Illinois. James and his wife, Sophronia, eventually settled in Clymer, Chautauga County, New York.
“Ira Albro cast his first Presidential vote for Martin Van Buren in 1836, and has since supported the men and measures of the Democratic party. He has filled a number of local offices of honor and trust, was Township Supervisor, Highway Commissioner, Trustee, and for about ten years was School Treasurer. In whatever position he has been called upon to fill, he has proved a faithful and efficient officer, discharging his duties with promptness and fidelity. His residence in this community covers a period of fifty-eight years, and he has watched the development of the county from an almost unbroken wilderness to one of the best counties of the commonwealth. An honorable, upright life he has led, and as one of the pioneer settlers and leading citizens he is deserving of representation in this volume.”
Addressed to Mr. Ira Albro, Little Woods, Paw Paw Post Office, Illinois
Lodi, [Seneca County, New York]
March 6th 1836
I now retire from the busy scenes that daily surround me in order to pen a few lines relative to my health which at present is very good. Likewise the family’s health are good. We hopes you will excuse our negligence in not writing before. Our reasons for not writing are these; we had nothing encouraging to write, we had not been to see Gustavus until late and he gives little or no encouragements about going into that country. I told him you wished him to come there. I told him you was expecting him to go. I told him further if he did not go, that I should go at any rate, though you wrote nothing in particular for me. I am aware that I could do as well in this country as that. My object in going is to accommodate you and help you. Father has had no chance as yet to sell and the spirit of the times bespeaks poor prospect. At present, times in Lodi ar hard but he intends to sell as son as he can. Business has been very dull this winter. All through the country, it has been the severest winter I have known. A great manny cattle and sheep have been froze to death and some starved to death and the people say we have not had near so hard times here as people has to the east of this. It is said snow has been eight and ten feet deep.
Harry Sears, Doctor Churchill, & Mr. Hewits have all sold their farms. Uncle Sears wants you should write to them as soon as you can to give them a description of the country as near as you can. I expect to start for Chicago or Little Woods within three or four weeks or wait till navigation opens. I am not yet decided which. I think, however, I shall go by land as I think it to be full as safe. All that has kept me from that country it is endangering my health and not only so it is going into a country where Christian’s privileges are small. Now I esteem these to me to be the greatest blessings I have. If deprived of them, I am deprived of everything that is comforting. Being always blessed with them, however, I have this to comfort me — that if I take the wings of the morn and dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth, I shall find him there.
You wrote for us to get you some grass seed but we have had no chance to get any as yet. Father spoke to Mr. Boutwell to have him let you have some. He thought he would, however, I think of getting some if I can “find it.” But you had better lay in for some of Mr. Boutwell. He left Lodi the 24th of March for Illinois and Hiram Waterman with him. I don’t think of much to write at present but you may look for Gustavus or myself soon or both of us. I am determined that one of us shall go if life and health is granted. Mr. Daniel McMillen has returned home but he is all broke down [and] not able to do anything. He recommends the country very highly. He thinks it to be the beautifullest country he ever saw. There is a number that wants to sell and start for that country.
I must bring my letter to a close by writing a very few lines more. We should like to see you very much and mother says if any of us does not come out there, you must come out here and see us. She wants to see you very much. We was glad to hear from you so often as we do. They hope to lite of a chance of selling as soon as possible. We wish you to give our respects to Mr. Dunham’s folks. We have nothing more at present of note to write so farewell. Will God bless and save you. We want you to write to us as often as can.
From your brother James Albro