1840: Sarah Maria (Dunlap) Barnum to Abijah Barnum Dunlap

Gravestone of Raymond & Sarah Barnum

This letter was written by Sarah Maria (Barnum) Dunlap (1813-1872) to her brother, Abijah Barnum Dunlap (1809-1895) of Ovid, Seneca County, New York. Sarah and Abijah were the children of Bruce William Dunlap (1763-1853) and Betsey Barnum (1783-1869). Sarah married Raymond Barnum (1815-1851) in September 1837. After Raymond’s death in 1851, Sarah married Oliver P. Back in 1854.

Abijah B. Dunlap moved to Michigan and became a state representative from Grand Traverse and adjacent counties 1865-66, 1867-68. He also served as Leelanau County prosecutor.

Stampless Cover

Addressed to Mr. Abijah Barnum Dunlap, Ovid, Seneca County, New York

[Ann Arbor, Michigan]
March [1840?]

Dear Parents, Brothers and Sisters,

With pleasure I take my pen in hand to inform you that we are all well at present and hope these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing. We received the letter and papers you sent [and] also the one you sent by Polly. I began to write some time ago but put it off. I thought I would be fixed when we got horses. We have been twice to meeting but William gets tired of keeping still. Now I think if I had a saddle I would be fixed but I suppose there would be something else in the way. We are never satisfied when we have more than we deserve. I wish I had one of your big iron kettles here. It would save my brass kettle, also to make sugar when we get out to Shianwassee, but I suppose it would not be very convenient thing to fetch.

Raymond has not told you about his hunting. The next day after he got his rifle, he started and chased deer all day but did not catch any. He started up four or five about two miles from here and had as ___ shots at them as he wanted to but never touched them. A few days after I was out and saw one come across the wheat — the only wild one ever I saw — but he shot a very nice turkey. It lasted till I got tired of it. George, if you was here, we would have some deer. I think you would spend your time pleasant.

Daniel Scott saw that Washington Dunlap is dead. Him and Madison went out to John Dunlap’s. He died there. Robert Sinclair’s health is poor. He bleeds at the lungs.

My paper is growing short. Betsy Jane, you better come and teach school in the old house this summer. William knows some letters. He wants to read all the time. He will tell what town, county, and state he lives in. He says he is a fig whig.

One of our sheep has three lambs. Will has to go and see the yams every day and hunt eggs. he is fat and healthy if he does live on pork and potatoes. I have not seen any apples this winter. We got some honey to put on our pancakes but it did not last long. Barnum can fetch his buggy now and see how it will train in this country but I don’t know as it would be much profit for Raymond think he will put right through with the houses this summer. I saved some wild posey seed but have had no chance to send them to you. William pulled mine up last summer. I do not expect to trouble garden flowers much this spring.

If my paper was two foot, I could fill it up but it would not amount to much. Write soon. No more.

— S. M. Barnum


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