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(MINNESOTA.) Archive of letters by three settlers on the central Minnesota frontier. 4 Autograph Letters Signed by brothers Hiram B. and James Y. Demeritt and James's wife Laura Jane to parents Jacob B. and Martha Demeritt of Woodstock, NH; moderate wear, mailing folds. Minnesota and Wisconsin, 1854-58
Brothers Hiram Baron Demeritt (1833-1911) and James Young Demerritt (1823-1902) went west from New Hampshire in 1854. The first letter from Hiram describes his work at a LaCrosse sawmill in detail, discusses the local flora and fauna, and adds that "the Indians are very plenty hear. Thear about forty in town today and a Indian dance a few days ago. . . . Thear is a great emigration to what is cald the South Bend on St. Peeter River" (22 May 1854). Brother James writes from the Platte River on 17 June 1854--the smaller Platte in central Minnesota. His journey up the Mississippi was safe, but he recounts another recent boat hit by infectious disease: "Some familys were all broken up, some buried husbands, some wives, and some children had to go ashore and leave them in a strange land. . . . We hope we shall get a shanty up tomorrow so we shal have a shelter of our own--it cost a fortune to board out long. . . . Mr. Depue wants to have a village here." James describes the location of their settlement on 4 September 1855, near Royalton in Benton County, MN: "It is a way up here. It is about 27 above St. Paul, about 88 above St. Anthony . . . about 28 below Ft. Ripley." He describes the family's new claim in Todd County; his wife Laura adds that "I have done over 3 dollars worth of washing for the men that work on the road & have done some sewing for folks and we are going to keep the post office . . . I have picked up rags enough out doors to make me two rugs, have got one made." with--6 other letters to the family in New Hampshire, 1832-94. The 1894 letter is from James's daughter Eva in Minnesota: "Uncle Hiram . . . was at Deadwood, South Dakota. He sayed that he did not want to leave that forsaken country in a hurry."
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