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Reed Brockway Letter, 1820

 

The following letter, sent from Reed Brockway to Jonathan N. Brockway in 1820, was donated by Nancy Schornstheimer of Ohio, a direct descendent of the Brockway family that settled in Stark County, Illinois in the early 1800s. They owned a farm above Peoria, near the county seat of Toulon, that belonged to Francis Fuller Brockway, her great-grandfather. Nancy's grandmother, Hattie Brockway, grew up there with her mother, Catharine Trickle Brockway, and uncles Jackson Trickle and Reed Brockway, the author of this letter. The recipient of the letter, Jonathan N. Brockway, was the son of Reed Brockway, who migrated from Stark County to the Troy area in Madison County in the early 1800s. The letter is dated 1820, and is in remarkable condition for its age.  [Editor's note: Punctuation was added to the letter, as the original was written without any.]

 

From Reed Brockway, dated October 19, 1820, to Jonathan N. Brockway, Troy, Edwardsville Post Office, Madison County, Illinois

 

My son: Yours dated the 15 September, although mailed 22nd, I read yesterday, was very happy to hear that you had recovered from your illness. We are all in common health except bad colds. I shall enclose you the patent you desire in this letter. The Rosses(?) have started some days since for the country, making in all about 40 souls. I have not been my journey to Lisle yet, but shall go in a few days and by the time I return I shall be better able to inform you of my prospects of exchanging all our lands in your country for lands in this state. I have expressed my mind to you on that subject fully in my last letter, and wish you to keep it in mind wholly to yourself as yet. W. Wisnall intends to come out in fall yet to see you. However I think you aught to imbrace the first good opportunity to sell your possession and your personal property if you can have a chance to sell all for cash to some immigrant who is able & willing to buy you all out. Circumstanced as I am with a family of all girls except you, it seems rather out of my duty to move so far and have made up my mind pretty much that it will not be best for me to move as I am too old to work. Keep this all in your own bosom yet. The moment I get back to Lisle I shall then make up my mind conclusively on the subject of ever moving to that country. You must tell my friend David Bently that the note he left with me was not paid at bank, nor yet paid at all. As soon as it is paid I will inform him of the same. My best respects to D. & J. Bently respecting the letter sent to Cummings. I find they moved away from Pittstown to the Royal Grants a number of years ago, but have not learned what town they live in yet, but as soon as I do I shall forward the letter to them. Times are extremely hard here, such as you never saw when you lived here. You never have informed at all whether the deed from Pratt to Bacon ever was _____, and also whether you have ever recd the two deeds I sent you long time since, one from rate of 40 acres, one from Whipple of 40. I am anxious you should without fail inform as soon as you receive this. Caroline went from here on the 7th of this month, and Samantha with her. Caroline to commence housekeeping. I laid out for her $350 in household furniture, which has very much pressed me. I was at your Uncle Libbeus(?) last Sunday, and brought Elisabeth home with me on Monday. Were well & speak often about you. Your uncle Libbeus was a mind to sell out in Stephentown and go with me to Lisle. He is anxious that you should so manage your affairs so as to live the few days of our life as nigh to c____ther as we all can. Remember one thing, I want you to so manage your possession and personal property as to make a good sale, and wait until that can be done. I am lothe you should make too much sacrifise if you can any bargain with D. Bentley, so as to pay him $218, which will eventually be collected & in my hands. It will be all good. It seems to me that you might find some good immigrant who has means and a disposition to purchase you all out, and make you good pay, but don't hurry the sale. Be wise and prudent. Try to save yourself so as not to make a loosing journey of it. If possible, you had better keep your corn until next spring. It will probably fetch much more than now. I am extremely anxious for your welfare, and should like to have you spend your few days of life some when nearer than you are now, but all such ideas you must keep as a profound secret. If Wisnal comes he will come back after his family next summer, if he likes that country. It is not worthwhile to be at _____ expense to your mill, yet a while if you should come home next summer, you might go that way. Let that rest at present. Whenever you should see him, try to get his & his sons notes sealed for the fair dollar due me, if not anything better can be done. I shall try hard to ship off all our northern lots, if not the whole this winter, but as yet very uncertain if D. Bentley wants any of lots that lie near his. He may have such at a fair price, so please to inform him & I will send such deeds as you and W. Bentley shall agree on. You must not forget to renut(?) my best respects to W. Hanson Esquire. I wish you not to forget to give me an answer about those deeds I sent you, and as many other particulars as you possibly can and by no means fail of writing often. And what you probably can sell all out for except one horse, saddle & bridle. If I ever should move into that country, I should have no idea of settling on government lands when we own so much military land. If the military land is not fit to settle on, then moving to that country is no object at all (more of this by & by). Get a school this winter if you can. Remember not to make an arrangement whereby it will render you unable to come home by & by if I shall think it best.  With sentiments of affection we all wish & desire to have our love reunited you.                        Reed Brockway.

 

 

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