Letter to Robert and Catherine Coppin

..........From Catherine's parents, James and Catherine Miller, 12/24/1854

Mr. Robert Coppins
Sacramento City, California

Township of Scott, Sunday 24th December, 1854

Dear Children, one and all, with our beloved Grandchildren:

We received your last letter bearing date of 12 November wherein we are truly glad and thankful to hear you are all alive and well at that date. Now we will know that the goodness and mercy of the Lord followeth you withersoever you go or you would all have been killed by the Indians. You run a great hazard but when the Lord is present all is safe. We are truly glad to inform you that we are all alive and well at this time, therefore you may say that the Lord is with us also. Surely he is, as hundreds have died during the last Summer with cholera, etc., both in town and country.

The account of your travel almost gives us the horror. Dear Lib and her cream pot, a bad job that, but it might have been worse. We now tell you that your brother James is married to a young woman by name Hannah Wilson. Relation to the Wilsons of Sharron. They are living at Illinoise with her father and mother. James Skinner has been there since they were married. Says they seem quite comfortable which we hope they are. James Skinner has been all around, we may say everywhere. He has paid us a visit and wants to have your sister Martha.

Yes, we have just had a letter from your dear Sister Sarah who has now eight children. They are all quite well at the time she wrote. They are now living in that house where Woods the shoemaker lived, up by the churchyard, close to Starkeys the Baker and the postoffice. They complain of the times in England, but that we naturally expect. She informs us many people are dead in Onger.

My dear friend Mr. John Cooper is still alive. Your Uncle Playle is dead and three of their children. Your Aunt has left Standford and is living at Brentwood, with some of her daughters. Charles is married, has two children and is driving the Onger Coach to Brentwood every day. Your Aunt Marie is dead, her son Robert is married . Your Uncle William and John are still at the Lodge, as usual. Tom Bailey of Norton Hall is dead. His brother John is gone to Sidney, the one that used to blink his eyes. We think you know him. The railroad runs by Onger and a large station house opposite the Cock.

Your dear Sister Sue had the bilious fever last summer after her confinement of a little daughter. The poor little dear had to be weaned, it was so young that they could not make it eat anything, in fact it seemed always sick. They all came to our place in the summer for the benefit of their health. When they arrived at New Market the poor little dear was so exhausted with the journey that it died at New Market and they brought it to our house in a coffin. We buried it at the meeting house on the top of our hill. We thought poor Sue would have died also, but your dear Mother went to work with her and soon, with God's mercy, and the change of air, she soon recovered her strength again, and is looking quite healthy.

John Gilmore, his father and brother, have all left Hamilton and have commenced business at London C. W. and are much delighted with their undertaking as they seem at the present quite prosperous. We trust it will continue to do so.

Your dear Sister Emma is just gone to London for the Winter to be company for Sue. The railroad will shortly run from New Market to London. Then your mother intends paying a visit to Sue. She has seen all the Lovelesses since her being in London , also James Brine and Stanfields. James Loveless is married to his second wife. Sandy, Ann, and Family are now at Hamilton in business for themselves. They give us a good account of their undertaking. They live opposite Reeds and pay 105# per year rent. Jaques and Hays furnish him with a great deal of furniture. He had when we last heard from him, eleven men at work. Ann has four children, the youngest 2 1/2 years old. She does not intend to have any more, 1 girl and 3 boys.

Dear Daniel is at Hamilton working in a steam saw mill. John Gilmore obtained the situation for him. He has given over the butcher business for which we are not sorry. We hear he talks of getting married. He talked of coming with James Skinner to spend Christmas with us, but has not yet arrived. We wish he would.

Now my dears, one and all, it seems you have not received any letters from us. Of course you think I have not written, but I pledge you my word and your dear mother's witness that I wrote twice to dear Tom and Lib. Twice, Kitty, I have written to you. Moreover I took the letters to the P.O. myself to feel assured there would be no mistake. Paid for them. What could we do more.

Pray tell us in your next letter whatever you are after roving about from place to place. We cannot think running such hazard of your lives by the Indians; do not the like again. Surely your men must be void of their senses. You do not tell us enough of the dear children. Suppose dear Isabel and Sam are about as big as their father and mother. There is scarce a day but we talk of you all. Pray return as soon as you can; let not our grey hairs return in sorrow to the grave.

Do you hear of the account of the Russians War? Everything is quite dear in Canada, owing to the war. It suit us quite well, we keep farming with our Joc and Bob as our only help. We have plenty of stock, sheep, etc.

Have been for 12 months clerking in a store about 8 miles from home, going Monday morning and returning Sat. night, but have left now, but I am sorry for so doing as it was some help to us. We feel the good of two steam Saw Mills near by us and a new store. Your dear mother and her dog Spot caught a nice young deer this winter as they were going up the woods after the cows. We are so in need of a new house, hope to build one next summer. Our apple trees produce us 12 bushels this summer.

Balthrop and his family are keeping a tavern at Hollan Landing, have been quite sick with the ague ever since they have been there. He does not carry on his blacksmith business. We think that would pay him better.

Mothers love to Robert, thinks he had better not make up his dozen until he comes back again. Cabinet making has been good these last two years. Jaques and Hayes offered Sandy two dollars per day if he would continue with them. Your poor little bird is still in the same cage he always had, he looks as well as ever.

What do you follow for a living. It seems to us you have no time for work. Have the men butchered another hog since? You must not let dreams disturb your peace of mind for that will come upon all in our turns. Happy those that are prepared. You must keep the dear little ones of both families for us. It is all we can send them, wishing you all a happy New Year, the Lord only knows who may live to see another, His will be done. Could we but see you all once more, but that will never be. Our poor minds are never at rest truly - you must have been quite in a bustle with your job in the wagon. How great is the mercy of the Lord. Your dear mother so much wishes to come out to you. Think she would like it. No more traveling for me, direct to us thus:

James Miller, Scott. New Land P.O. by New Market C. W.

P. S. Write as soon as you can and as often likewise dear Tom & Elizabeth will write directly. Tell about everything and everybody. We do hear such account of California. If this arrives safe we then shall feel encouraged to write more often. Our minds are continually thinking of you all. Old mother ( ) dined with us yesterday. Her daughter has upset her peace of mind, young Poll. Will tell you more in our next. Mother says you will all get rich, think we can see you driving the herd of cattle. Dear Kitty, scribble all you can in your next. We can make it out quite well. Our united love to you all and may the love of God ever dwell in your hearts and minds that you all may find rest and peace at the last when the Lord shall say thy sins are forgiven thee, depart in peace. I greatly feel my years heavy upon me. I can do but little work. Had I but served my God in my early days, happy would I have been now. I trust the Lord will mercifully pardon all my sins. God bless you all, good night.

From your ever affectionate Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters.

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