Letter to Robert and Catherine Coppin

..........From Catherine's parents, James and Catherine Miller,  10/28/1855

Sunday, October 28, 1855

My dear Girls, boys and children, one and all:

We are surely rejoiced at the receipt of your letter to hear you are all in the enjoyment of good health. May a continuance of that blessing remain with you all through the mercy of him whose goodness and mercy hath followed us all our days.

Happy to inform you we are all in good health at this date. Your sister Sue has just recovered from her last confinement of a boy. They are now living in London C. W. Dear Daniel has just commenced his butchering business in London. Is going to be married in November to someone in Hamilton. Her name we do not know. Sandy has left his business in Hamilton and joins Daniel in his undertaking in London, but we are quite sure that will not succeed, as they will not be able to get supply enough of cattle, sheep, etc. to obtain profit enough to support two families.

Dear Jim, we trust, is getting on comfortable by this time. Suppose he has written to you as we sent him your address. Dear Sarah lost one of her children about 11 months old. She has 7 left. We are informed by a man by the name of Gouchman lately from England that Sarah & Jack are doing quite well. Keeps a hired girl and John his pony and cart. This same man says he never saw such a family of handsome children in his life. Kept so clean and neat.

We think, my dears, that California cannot be healthy being so long with out rains. Suppose you have beautiful springs of water. We hope Robert will at sometime bring home a Specimen of (Shr) at sometime. Glad he gets on so well driving oxen. Wish he had horses. We think that Tom looks grand mounted upon his mare. We should much like to see dear Lib and Isabel driving his mare, etc.

It appears to us raising stock is profitable, with you. It is with us a t this time as cattle are dear. We have 2 good mares hope they will bring us foal each next spring. We have one colt a year old. Next spring we are striving all we can to get a new house as the old one will certainly fall about our ears.

No, you will not do well to keep moving about. It is true a rolling stone gathers no moss. We trust my dears you will all do well so as to enable you to return to us if it is your wishes so to do. Glad shall we be to see you all.

Last Monday 22 October was my birthday, 63 years old. My time is far spent. Never more shall I see either of you. Scarce a day or night but we think of you all, but we trust you will return home. We call it home but it is a poor one. Have the men been hog killing lately? We have a laugh about it now and then. Wheat is selling for 10? per bu. at this time.

I had a dream last night about dear Sarah. Do you ever dream about us?

We think the climate and soil of California much the same as the West Indies. It must be a great comfort that you can see each other as often as you do. We wish that we had even the comfort of seeing you or any of you once a year. What sort of fowls can you have to make such a price? What do you feed them with? Dear Mother wishes to know i f you have squatted there or have you a government grant? Surely your garden can not be of much use to you with so many fowl about. We should like to be able to meet Robert going on of his journeys to the City. If you buy land where you are, what do you pay per acre for it? We should like to see Sam in his hip boots.

Has our dear Elib a son. We are making a long look for dear Libs letter which we hope will come soon. Are you very dull or afraid when Robert is gone to the City? What would either do if one or both your men should be called from this world. That is what we often think about. We are completely surrounded with Patagonians. We have not so much as one neighbor. Your dear Mother has not been from home for nearly 2 years. She had the misfortune to hurt her foot against a rock nearly broke her little toe on her right foot. It has got quite well now. Sometimes we talk of selling our place but think it would be wrong for us do to do. Young Tom Mailock, Sarah says, is living at a place called ( ). I know where it is and the old man with him.

We have been in great trouble about you all as we read in the newspapers of famine in California that the crops were all eaten up three years running by caterpillars, grasshoppers, etc. I start tomorrow morning Monday about 8 miles to my occupation return Sat, the week seems long. I am so grey you wouldn't know me. If you were living at the Cities, Toronto or Hamilton now we could go to you in one day by being at New Market Station by 8 o'clock in the morning. We can go to James in 2 days. Your dear Sister Sarah says your Uncle William is living much after the old sort. There is so much Yankee stuff comes into Hamilton we think is the reason Sandy didn't succeed. Lumber is making a good price. We have plenty of saw mills near us Our new grist mill gets on well, it paid for itself the first year it ran. Let us ask you what Robert brings back from the City that weighs one ton. Our cattle are frozen to death all winter. Makes them so weak in the spring and summer.

Your dear sister Emma is in London with Sue. She is not married yet but a young Mr. Shuttleworth wants to have Emma, but we do not wish to mingle with the ( torn) beggars. Wishes to have Martha. If they should marry tell you all we can think about. We think your clothing is very expensive. We fancy seeing dear Lib coming to meet us when we just arrived in Hamilton from England. Dear Ann keeps quite silent upon these occasions, know not what she thinks. If nothing happens dear Mother intends paying a vi sit to London this winter. She has just commenced fattening her hogs. Dear Mother and the boys keep the farming work done. I am at the store of Moses Willson, keeping his books and attending his P.O. etc. You have no trouble feeding your cattle in the winter. John Gilmore's father upsets poor John by his excessive drunkardness. They have dismissed him from the business as they can't put up with it any longer. He so disgraces them. They are now amongst Loveless families who seem all to be doing well. John we assure you is a steady and good man, and an excellent hand at his business.

To make malt: Take as much barley as you think of brewing. Soak it for 36 hrs. in water then take it out and lay it upon boards about 2 in. thick until you see it begin to spear. Then turn it over, keeping it about the same thickness. When it has speared about an inch long turn it again, making it dry as fast as you can. Then you must put it in an oven or in the best way you can dry it. Then take the dust from it and grind it as well as you can or bruise it ready for brewing. Now you must take about 6 pecks of malt. Let every kernel be ground or broken in the best way you can. Then when the water is so as you can just bear your fingers in, put in a tub with malt. You must guess at the quantity of water for 10 gals. When it has stood about 1 hr. add a few gals of boiling water, say about 5 gals. Be sure and stir it well, each time. Let it stand about 2 1/2 hrs. in the tub. Then draw it off the malt as clear as possible and commence boiling the malt with about 2 lbs of good hops. Boil the malt and hops gently for an hour and half at least. Then strain the hops from it. Put in a clean tub to cool. When about as warm as new milk from the cow , put about half a teacup of yeast to set it working all night and half the next day, then take off the yeast that rises and turn it into a clean barrel. Do not bung it down for a week or more. Do not fill the barrel up to the top so as to touch the head say within 2 inches of the top. Let it stand for a month before you tap it. Bung it down when you see it has done working.

Wishing you the best of luck with the undertaking and good health to drink your beer. Save a little in case dear Mother pays you a visit. Do not get drunk.

Bathrop and his family are keeping tavern at Hollans Landing expect they are doing well. Glad to hear Robert's brother and sister are coming to you. What a journey for them. Hope they will arrive safe. John and Sarah talk of coming out, but all talk, think they had better keep where they are. They tell us many of my old acquaintances are dead and gone so we pass away. Soon it must be my turn. Farewell, a long farewell this is the state of man. Our united love to each and everyone of you not forgetting the whole of the dear children. Suppose dear Isabel has about grown a woman. Makes her dear mother look old. Dear Kitty, we fancy you stoop and look thin. Tom we fancy runs to ......a little. Can he "can do" now? Robert we think walks quite straight sometimes with his gun, shooting. What meat do you get in the summer time when so hot.

We direct the letter as well as the outside for fear the envelope should get too much worn.

[ Cover | Ancestor Chart | Relationships]
[ Great Great Grandparents | Great Grandparents | Grandparents | Parents ]
[ Clarence Curtis Coppin's Remembrances ]
[ Letter to Robert & Catherine Coppin 12/24/1854 ]
[ Letter to Robert & Catherine Coppin 10/28/1855 ]