Letter - February 27, 1873  

Letter shows shows an astonishing awareness of all the limbs of the family and how they are doing. Still filters his view of daly life through his religious beliefs. Thomas Jackson clearly is a disappointment in terms of embracing religion

NOTE: Unlike most of the letters from other authors, this one has had punctuation added and spellings improved to aid quick reading. The news relating to Caleb Slater and Thomas Jackson has been highlighted.

M\etuchen Feb 27, 1873

To my respected English Cousins. Peace be unto you.

I received your last I think in May, I must again confess my neglect of writing to you hoping to do better in future if I live; but I have a natural sensation within that admonishes me that my time is short. Gods will be done. to depart and be with Christ will be far better my appetite is good enough & I am free from pain yet have a constant fluttering within. Thank God I am very comfortably situated in my old age I spend my time mostly in reading and visiting my neighbors & friends. I can visit my Brothers in a few minutes by rail I have a large garden to attend to. Last summer as Chas bought a building lot adjoining mine last spring 63 ft my 140 ft for which he paid 775 dollars. my wife complains some of rheumatic pains frequently, still she does her own household work and enjoys tolerable health Chas is well and works at his trade. it was too cold to work on Monday so he visited Rahway & P. Amboy. Brother Amos' health is good. his wife is feeble not able to do much his Son is married and is in partnership with his brother in law keeping a dry good store, they are doing very well. William's daughter says she wrote to you. did you receive the letter. Bro Amos is lame with the rheumatism in one knee othereways comfortable, his family are all well I think I told you his youngest daughter lost her husband after being married some 7 weeks she is married again to a widower with 3 children and is keeping house in a very comfortable circumstances in Rahway. I have 4 first cousins in N York City & vicinity & I think 18 second cousins descendants of my Uncle John Watson cousin Caleb can

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remember him. I have 3 first cousins and 12 second & 3 third cousins. descendants of my Fathers sister .Alice Hopkinson they live in Hinkmar Co NY state 300 miles from here NW. one of them had the neuralogy so bad in his face that he is gone to Florida State this winter for his health. Cousin Mary Jackson has visited us from Reading this winter our Cousin Jacksons are all as usual except Thos. his health is just failing and the thoughts of his end being near, makes him truly miserable still he will not apply to our Heavenly Physition and it does apear to me that he has sinned past the remedy like the Jews of old when God commanded Jerimiah not to pray for them any more saying that if Noah Daniel & Job stood before him he would not hear them. Still, God forbid that I should cease to pray for him and all my other relatives daily. I frequently send you papers & receive papers in return I am very anxious to hear if my Cousin Caleb & Charles is living and comfortable. Is Elizabeth at old Radford still, I received a letter from a man that lives at Darlington saying he had seen Cousin Wm (=William Salter) and that he was going to write to me I am expecting the letter every day is John living at Eastwood is Sarah teaching school yet is Mary keeping house for her Father. Do you know if John Jackson & his sister Eliz is living & their address Eli' Coates children comfortable. is Selston & underwood comon enclosed. I have a Cousin Wm Smith keeps the Rose & Crown Inn Somercoats Alfreton if he is living if you should see any one from their I wish you would inquire if he is living. We have had a very cold winter plenty of snow it snows all day to day many have frozen to death N West

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the thermometer has been 14 degrees below zero here it how been a hard winter for poor families, not much work and rents are high house owner ask 10 pr cent. fresh meat from 10 to 20 d (=pence) pr lb (=pound); wheat flour 6 cts; Indian corn and buck wheat and rye flour half price. butter 30 to 50 cts pr lb, cheese 20 retail, coal 700 per ton, del(ivery) of 2000 lbs. Clothing double English price wages are good in sumer but it takes all they can save to keep them through the winter but the majority are destitute of economy consequently suffers in winter many getting into store keepers' debt & some never pays. I enjoy the winter better than sumer as we can keep warm in winter but we cannot keep cool in summer sometimes the nights are too hot to sleep comfortable but on the whole I am not sorry that we came hear we have cause for thanks to our Heavenly Father for all the goodness and mercy which hath followed us all the days of our lives and we hope to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I have been here 45 years and have seen no more of this great country than a person would know of England by going from Nottm to Hull and back in a boat. but i love to read and to learn of the state of things that way; I read that in the far west fuel is so high a price and Ind. corn so low that they use it for fuel & I believe it, as transportation to market would cost more than corn is worth, but they are building RR as fast as possible, they are making a RR from Penn coal regions to P Amboy through Metuchen, so we have plenty of Irish here, the cut will be 39 feet deep through there center of our village in order to go under the present RR. It will take hyndreds of years to make R Roads enough for the necessities of this great county, but I fear the judgement of God will come on this nation in some

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way or other for its wickedness both in high and low places, bribery & corruption has no bounds here. murderers goes unhung, legislators & congress men are bought & sold in short "the root of all evil." predominates from the highest to the lowest, we have already had some dreadful fires in Chicago & Boston & other places still we are not humbled. I should love to come and visit my native land and see my old school mates and see you all; perhaps I may. the facilities for traveling are so much better than formerly, last spring there was such a rush of pleasure seekers to Europe that passages must be engaged 2 or 3 months in advance and many sold their tickets at a premium. & in autumn there was many storms at sea. last sumer saw dry in this district hay crops light and price 30 to 50 dollars but it was a great fruit year of all kinds i think I had 40 bush of apples we have plenty yet and will till May or June, apples was so cheap that it did not pay to take them to market. here there are apple trees by the way side and in almost every field so many that more than half rotted on the ground I often thought of the time when I walked a mile to get a pocketful of sour crabs.(=wild English crab apple trees) a great many was made into cider and large quantities of cider distilled into spirits which by adulteration with drugs is made into rum gin & brandy. & sold at a high price cider makes good vinegar when sour. cider spirits was 38 cents per gal when I landed. now it is 2,00 cents. you would be surprised to see whole trains of cars loaded with peaches for NY City from Maryland & Delaware states strawberries is quite an article of commerce here. they bring them from the South in April blackberries are also cultivated for table use they hull a dishful of fruit and put plenty of cream and sugar on them and eat them for a desert I think ripe fruit is healthy I read a letter form Minisota he says ice is 4 feet thick. here it is not quite it is a great business saving ice for summer use, there is an ice house miles from here by a mill pond which hold 3000 tons they peddle it through the streets twice a week and sell it at 1/2 cent pr lb we all use it we have ice chests to keep it in double with sawdust and charcoal in the vacuum we keep our butter & meat & milk in the centre but I must close.

I hope we write often in future don't delay another day I want to hear form you all especially from Caleb

My wife and Chas sends much love to you all from your well wisher

John Watson.


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