1857 Martha Scranton Letter

In 1806, Rachel Currey married Samuel Colver in Champaign County Ohio. Rachel and Samuel had five children: Abigail, Sarah, Samuel, Rachel and Hiram. Sarah married Lyman Konkrite in 1827. By 1860 the Konkrites had migrated to Texas where Sarah died in 1874. Rachel married Robert Wilson in 1833 and moved to Illinois. Samuel married Huldah Callender in Logan County Ohio in 1843. Prior to his marriage, Samuel was in Texas where he served as a Texas Ranger under Colonel Edward Burleson. Hiram married Mariah Ward in 1841 in Madison County, Ohio.

In 1849, Samuel and Hiram had moved with their families to St. Joseph, Missouri where they were preparing to move to Oregon. In a letter dated in November (year not specified), Hiram writes his parents about their stay in St. Joseph and the desire to move west. Samuel added a note at the end of this letter. According to their respective land claims, Samuel and Hiram arrived in Oregon in 1850. The two families settled in Jackson County Oregon. In July 1851 Hiram again writes his parents describing the land and explaining why he doesn’t believe his mother would be happy in Oregon.

In 1853, Samuel and Rachel write to their sons in Oregon. The letter urges one of the sons to come back east and help them move to Oregon.

In 1857 Martha Scranton writes to her sister in Oregon.

Green Plain Feb 8 1857
Dear brother and sister
I have once more been permitend to see a letter from you I had almost discouraged of
hearing from you again. There was a report here that the Indians was very bad in your
Vicinity and I was afraid you were all massacred – but the deads alive and the lost if
found but before I proceed further I will tell you we are well my family consist of my
husband self and two boys Lake and George ?my health has been very poor since you left
Ohio bit it now is improving We live near homer on the Moses Patrick farm owned by
James Billington land has become so high here that we hardly ever expect to buy land
here if we owned but one hundred acres of land here I could be content to stay here and
let them go west that love money better than I do I visited you old farm last winter it
value is at 50 dollars an acre I should think Maria you might write to Lydia and I I would
write if I had to take a baby on one knee and my paper on the other I want to know how
many babies Sams folks have how the Old gentleman and Lady likes and so and so Lake
Ellworth is with us some of the time this winter their family has grown up till they have
two young men and three young woman they quite intelligent young people Lake is
teaching in an adjoiny district to us
I don’t know whether you have heard of Quincys death or not he died two years ago last
Aug he left a little girl I had a letter from Alma last week she talks of coming back to
Ohio and I believe Harlow died since you left his girl is now 20 years old she writes she
thinks of visiting us in the spring Isaac has gone to Illinois he owns a little farm near
Springfield Turners widow has married again I have not heard from Wales for three years
the last he wrote me he was married and had a daughter he was carrying on a shop in
Cleveland but his wife had gone to Cincinnatti to make her last visit they were going to
California so you see I correspond with what few relatives I have left on this Earth Our
old father it seemed to me suffered a great deal before he died he was in London he had
rented a little shop and thought to make his living by a few little groceries he couldn’t
bear liquor for six months before he died I had thought many times my heart like stone
towards him but alas I pitied him he had no home and I hand none to ask him to be had
spent all his property and Alma wouldn’t have him about their house and he died among
strangers I believe Lydia has had two children since you left Harlow and Oscar I suppose
Martha and Abi think themselves young woman now for my Lake begins to talk about
the pretty girls and he is not 13 yet althougt he is a large as most boys at 16 my other is 4
and small of his age I will bring my harangue to a close for this is the second long letter I
have written today excuse mistakes for Lake Ellsworth and Scranton have kept such an
incessant gabbling I hardly know what I was writing.
My husband joins in sending his respects to you all
Martha A. Scranton
To Maria Colver
If you think it worthwhile to write

Transcribed by Marcia Philbrick
From photocopy of letter received from
Southern Oregon Historical Society
106 N. Central Ave.
Medford, OR 97501
March 2002