1851: Ira & Amanda Kimball to Andrew Buswell

What Ira & Amanda might have looked like in 1850s

This letter was written by Ira Kimball (1797-1870), the son of Smith Kimball (1765-1814) and Elizabeth Buswell (1765-1841). Ira married first (1818) Mary (“Polly”) Skinner in Scioto County, Ohio. After her death in 1836, he married second (1837) Amanda F. Shanklin (1819-1889) in Morgan County, Illinois.

Ira mentions in his letter that he expects to receive a land warrant in Minnesota for his service in the War of 1812. Family records say that he enlisted as a substitute for his brother in 1813 and served for a year — nearly dying from starvation and exposure to the elements on the western frontier. After the war he relocated from Ohio to Illinois by taking a keel boat down the Ohio River and rowing up the Illinois River to Mendosia Lake where he settled in what is now Cass County. In 1852, he pulled up roots once again and took his family all the way to Oregon, settling in Dallas, Polk County, Oregon.

Ira wrote this letter to his cousin, Andrew Buswell (1791-1883), the son of Benjamin Buswell (1767-1851) and Joanna Carter (1780-1862) of Hopkinton, Merrimack County, New Hampshire. Andrew married (1820) Zilpha Herrick Dimond (1797-1876) in Concord, New Hampshire.

Stampless Letter


Addressed to Mr. Andrew Buswell, Concord, New Hampshire

Bethel, Morgan County, Illinois
August 13th 1851

Dear Cousin,

I take this opportunity to write a few lines according to promise. I stayed in Manchester till next day 11 o’clock after I left you, found Jesse Kimball well & doing well. He appeared glad to see me. I stayed in Nashville about a week, had a good visit, and left for home. Had a very good trip — nothing strange or uncommon occurred on the way. Arrived at home on the 28th day of July, found the folks all well. My little girls was dreadful glad to see me, I had to hold them the balance of the day.

I have been over into Pike County since I came home to Charles Kimball’s. They are well. William Kimball, I have not seen but heard he was well. David I [have] not heard from. We had a letter from the Ohio not long since. They was all well there & doing well. There is not a great deal of sickness here at present. It yet is very wet and if it should turn dry, it likely will be sickly. The crops wherever I have been look tolerable well. The progress of the Minnesota country seems to be going on. When I get my warrant, I think I shall go and see it.

I can’t say what about coming back yet. If any of you should come to this country, write about the time. I would like to be at home. I want [you] to write to me soon. We join in sending our love to you all. Tell Augusta to write. Yours with respect, — Ira & Amanda Kimball


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