This letter was written by Eliza J. Wathey (1831-1906), the wife of William Wathey (1820-1899) of North Liberty, St. Joseph county, Indiana. Their son, James Henry Wathey (1858-1906) is mentioned in this letter. I believe this family eventually moved back to Columbiana county, Ohio.
North Liberty [St. Joseph county, Indiana]
November 5, 1862
Dear Aunt & Uncle & Cousin,
We are all well at present. Hope you are the same. It has been a long time since we have heard from you. Have you forgotten me or have you been waiting for me to write. I ought to have written long before this but have neglected it, I hope you will excuse me in not writing sooner. I have not heard from California for some time. When I last heard, they were well & a doing well.
Well, Aunt, have you given up coming west? I presume you have or you would a been here before this. Why not come? I am so lonesome here all alone. Since the draft was drawn, it is still more lonesome. Brother Henry was drafted and had to go. He felt so bad to think he had to go, I think it is not so bad for those to go that want to go. He is now in camp at Indianapolis. He leaves a wife & little girl about 2 years old. His wife frets after him & so does his little girl. His wife’s health is poor [but] will be better in a few months.
Aunt, if you knew just how bad I wanted you to move out here, you would. [Tell] Uncle Dave to come. This is a nice country, I just know how you feel about coming West. You think just as I did, You think it is all woods & the folks is wild [but] it is not so & the folks is not poor around here. Our closest neighbors have lived here some twenty to forty years. When they first came here, they were so destitute of everything, they could hardly keep house. Now they live like kings. One family came from Vermont, one from Pennsylvania [David Ruple], the other from York State [Franklin Pierce]. Now they each are worth from thirty to forty thousand dollars apiece. You may think that is not much—it would not go far in buying property in some places but it would get a nice home here. I know of some 2 or 3 pieces of land close here [that] can be bought cheap.
We have a little house here & all we want to make us comfortable except some of our own folks. Jimmy is growing a great deal since you saw him & can talk much plainer. He is a pretty good boy. William wants me to tell you he is making a dulcimer. He has made 3. He will make you one, Eliza, if you will move out here. They are good ones.
I guess I will quit writing, This is the poorest paper I ever tried to write on—it blotted so. Do not delay in answering this. My love to all, — E. J. Wathy
To Aunt & Uncle & Cousins