PIONEERS AND IMMIGRANTS
Letter

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Record 179/261
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Admin/Biog History John Read (frequently also spelled 'Reed') was born in England in 1829. His mother's name was Hannah Read. He married Elizabeth Elliott, daughter of John and Mary Elliott cica 1850. They emigrated to the United States through the port of New York in June 1851. In December 1851 they were living in Cincinnatti, Ohio where their son John E. Read was born. Daughters Mary E. and Emma E. were born in Indiana in 1852 and 1853. John Read applied for US citizenship in Winnebago County, Wisconsin on November 8, 1853. His in-laws, the Elliots, had been living in Omro, Wisconsin since at least 1851. A daughter, Anna M. Read, was born in Wisconsin in 1858. John was not living in 1860 when the US Census was taken. His widow Elizabeth lived with their children in her parents home in Omro until their deaths in 1872. She moved with Emma and Mary to Oshkosh before 1880. She died in Oshkosh on March 23, 1911.
Classification Archives
Collection Small Collections, People
Dates of Accumulation January 30, 1853
Abstract Letter written by Hannah Read in Cobridge, England to her son John Read in Indiana. The Elliott and Read families had emigrated to the US in 1851 from England. The letter discusses some of the hardships of separation from family, his mother's refusal to come to America, and family matters in England:

Cobridge Jan. 30th 1853

My Dear Son,

I take the first opportunity of answering your long wished for letter, as I almost thought I must never hear from you again. I should have wrote to you long, had I been certain you had been in the same place. We have all thought a great deal about you, and were afraid all was not right with you. We have dreamed of you many times. About six weeks before Xmas I saw you sitting on my sofa, with your little boy [John E. Read, born 1851 in Cincinnati, Ohio] on your knee fast asleep. I thought him just such another rosy-faced boy as you was yourself when about 9 months old, only darker hair. And I awoke and alas it was a dream. I received a newspaper from you on the 21st of January and were very much disappointed as there was no letter. But in a while, Joseph peaceified us a little by singing. Well, this is better than nothing, for we knew he is alive now. We had the happiness of receiving your letter on the 27th with great joy to hear that you and your family were alive and well, and so happy amongst your new friends. But, I cannot help feeling disappointed to hear that you have given up thoughts of coming according to promise as I shall have little hopes of ever seeing you again. If you don't come until the time you mention, yet I can hardly expect it without you were coming to stay and that I cannot urge, as you are likely to be so much better.

You spoke of confidence. I can put confidence in you, but not in the Ocean. My dear John, you must give up all thoughts of me ever coming to you as my health and spirits will not permit. I should assuredly meet with a watery grave so I must be content to end my days in Old England amongst the few friends I have left here. So my dear John, if we never meet again in this world, I trust we will meet in a better, where there is neither labor or sorrow. I am very sorry to hear that you don't enjoy good health at all times and that your little son has been so ill. I am very glad to hear of you enjoying so merry a Xmas, but I must confess ours was but sad as we were hard at work. We have no holidays, but it was more so as we did not receive a letter from you as we fully expected it. When you write to me again, please to send a small lock of my little grandson's hair, and send me word whether your cousin Thomas Williamson has ever wrote to you, as he promised me he would. You did not send me word what you were doing, or how you earned your money, only you say you have no master. I am sorry that you think so little of your Church and Ministers, but I trust you still love and fear God, and serve him truly, and then he will prosper you through life.

I think it must be very cold and dangerous to cross the river night and morning. We have had alarming wet weather here. We have had four months successive rain, and very few days during that time, and only one days frost. Provisions are very dear now, flour is 2/ per stone, potatoes are 1 per peck, on account of the disease that has been in them so many years. Your uncle Richard's son William started for America better than five months ago. Whether he has reached, we cannot tell as he has never been heard from since. We do not know what part he was bound for, nor what was the name of the ship he embarked [on]. He had been gone three weeks before his father knew, and he had promised him a short time before that he would not go. He has taken his wife and child, and his wife very near her confinement. It was on her account that he went, as she had a brother living there. Your uncle Ralph came over and was very much surprised that his father knew nothing of the matter. His father and mother were very much hurt, and the day following to add to their sorrows, George's blooming young wife was called away from them at a very short notice, at 22 years of age. She drank tea with them that evening and at a Quarter to eleven was a corpse. She has left one child, and she is very much lamented, and her remains be very near to your father.

Your uncle Samuel Tabiner has bought two more cottages not far from the one he lives in. And in a short time he had a miraculous escape of his life while he was engaged in an engine pit, 200 yards below the surface when a piece of timber fell from the top and caught him and broke the blade bone of his shoulder and bruised his head. But he is now recovered and able to follow his occupation. Both his boys are employ there. I think I told you of the immense iron forge they had built by the furnaces and they are now building another opposite your Uncle Samuel's house, and another furnace to make four in number. They are employing a great number and are making the best of iron. They say the Beardmore's are making their future there. Fatherless Fanny and Jim, the little footman, are at last united this Xmas at Holstanton Church, and he is now a maltster and citizen of Newcastle. Miss Corden, as was, and her husband went with them to Church. Your aunt and uncle Smith and family join us in kind love and good wishes to you and your family. Your aunt Sarah I have not seen since I received your letter. Be sure to write to me again as soon as you can make it convenient and send Joseph word whether his little nephew can walk and talk.

So good night and God bless you and watch over you wherever you may go. So no more from me at present, your affectionate and ever loving

Mother Hannah Read
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Object ID SC618.12.4
Object Name Letter
People Read, John
Read, Elizabeth Elliott
Read, Hannah
Subjects Immigrants
Emigration & immigration
Pioneers
Westward movement
Christianity
Religion
Title Letter
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009