Though I cannot confirm the author’s identity through family records, I believe Rumina S. (Fisher) Farnham must have been a daughter of Amasa Moulton Farnham (1785-1855) and Rachel Perry (1788-1818). She is not listed among their several children in on-line genealogies but she mentions that she has a daughter named Sophia, who may be named after Rumina’s sister, Sophia Farnham (b. 1813) and she also mentions someone named Perry who may be Perry Farnham (b. 1815) of this same family. Another sibling, Hiram Farnham (1812-1889) married Mary Jane Van Auken (1821-1891) and raised a daughter named Rumina M. Farnham (b. 1853).
Addressed to Mrs. Amasa Farnham, Skaneateles Roads Post Office, Cayuga County, New York
Chillicothe City [Ohio]
August 8th 1838
My dear mother,
Agreeable to my wishes and your request, I now take the liberty to inform you of my journey and how we are situated at present. I left Seneca Falls on Saturday morning, got to Rochester about noon on Sunday. Monday morning got into Nolesville, called on Alice, staid about ten minutes — they were all well. Alice has a very fine babe. Perry went with me as far as Medina, arrived in Buffalo. On Tuesday morning, took passage 10 o’clock on the Daniel Webster.† Got into Cleveland Wednesday noon. Took a boat immediately on the Ohio Canal, which is two hundred and fifty-two miles from Cleveland to this place. Got to Chillicothe the 16 July, 10 o’clock in the evening. Did not see Hollis until the next morning. He was overjoyed to see us. I was very sick on the steamboat for twelve hours. There was a violent thunder shower which raised the water as high as the upper deck and the boat rocked. You may depend I was not any frightened. The children was not sick but a little. The passengers were very kind indeed to them. Our things have all arrived here safe. They came in two weeks after I got here. My expenses were twenty-eight dollars and a quarter. The freight on our goods were eleven dollars.
We have got to keeping house and quite regulated. I have got things so as to be comfortable. We have a very good house and a plenty of room. There is a plenty of all linds of provisions to be had here — flour and meal, and hams, a pickled pork — can be had here much cheaper the they can with you but other articles about the same. Clothes are high here. It is very dry here. There has not been but one shower since I have been here. There is a great deal of corn on the ground here — twelve hundred acres in one field. It belonged to several men that does not begin.
I have taken one trip with Hollis twenty-five miles south. Like it very much. The people here are very different from our Yorkers. They are very friendly indeed here. I have had several calls, but have not been into a neighbor’s house yet. I can stand in our door[way] and count ten houses of Blacks and most all have families in one house. They are on every street in the city. There is one black woman that does my washing and fetch’s all my water, does all the little things that I want done. It is so very warm here that I cannot do such kind of work. The coolest days has not been any cooler than the Fourth of July was with you and some days a great deal warmer.
We have a first rate school — the third door from us. Our children both go. Sophia will go to the Seminary the next quarter. There is nine different teachers. She will attend the Lady’s School.
I have a plenty of sewing work to do. I have six fine full-bosom shirts in the house that I have just taken in and can have as many more. Hollis had got me a new bonnet — ten dollars — and a new dress, two pair of slips, and several other little articles.
The people are all for drys here. We attend Church very steady. Our children go to Sabbath School every Sunday to the Episcopal Church. We are not any of us homesick, but would like to see all of our friends in those parts. Remember me to Mrs. Coock and family and Mrs. Medad Lawrence and all the rest of our friends. My love to Father Farnham, [&] all the family.
Sophia says I must write for grandmother to come and see us when she gos to Michigan. Hollis is gone out on a tour and will not be in two weeks. I want Richard and Sophia to write and all the rest of our friends. Write as soon as you receive this. Write how Father Farnham got home from the Falls and all the news. Hollis wished to be remembered by you all. There is not any person here that I have ever seen before except the Adams’ & the Pedlers’ in this place that I have seen yet. I have written all that I now think of. I think you will be puzzled to read it. There is several words spelled wrong but if I wait to copy it, I shall neglect it, I am afraid.
— Rumina S. Fisher
† The steamboat Daniel Webster was put into service on Lake Erie in 1833. She was built at Black Rock.