see below

Elizabeth Robbins Crawford, ca 1863 & ca 1880

The following two letters were written from Mendocino Co., California  by Elizabeth Robbins Crawford to her brother Moses Robbins II in Wayne Co., Indiana.   They and a third letter written by Elizabeth’s son James were originally transcribed for inclusion in a Robbins family history written by Alyce Kennedy,  1976.   Re-transcribed by Marilyn Nickless (UNICORN1950@comcast.net), 3rd great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Robbins Crawford & 2nd great-granddaughter of James Benjamin Crawford  (Jr),  with information omitted from the 1976 history added in blue.   The originals of these letters are in the possession of Mr. W. B. Robbins.         May 2002--2005-2005


April th 23     1865

I now take my pen in hand to inform you where we are an how we doing      I and family have all got to gether and in Callifornia and we are living on rusian river Maniceno County about thirty miles from the ocean     I am not well at presant but so as to bee about an the rest are well    James Crawfords wife and four children is with us    We left our land unsold and started the 7 day of last May and traveled to the eight of November     We traveled through many dangers    the indians were murdering an steeling but we lost one cow an calf an our oxen  several of them died, but the war exceed anything I ever saw and the word is that the president lincon is murdered      It has raised great accitement an the sesech is going to Mexico-many of them      so we see as it was in the days of Noah so it will be in the last days     Well, a great dale has been said about california     It is high mountains and narow valleys an we have traveled an left the best land behind us     There is more good land in Kansas an Nebraska than ever I ever see on the road afterwards    timber for miles    I hear people talking about what delightful travel it was    This is the first Saboth that I could compose my mind enough to wright    I have seen many hard times and wished myself back at home     I am left now to lamt in sorow the balance of my days    I aught never to have started such a jorney--twenty five hundred miles     we one hundred and eighty miles to get out of masoury    The gorillas was killing on every hand   When we left we crossed the  Osage at warsaw, thence to Warsaw an to Sedalia from thence to Lexington north to the st. jo an hanibal railroad then to st jo an crosed the river, from thence to Marysville in cansas     There we met john Crawford & bart edsall.    The came on the stage from Callifornia in twenty five days   ___ ___ one time (more?)    I had not seen john in five years and edsall fore    sara elen john an jane hid herself in the wagon behind the bed   Elen new him an was glad to meet her father      Eliza is about twenty five milles from me an do not now whether she will come on here or not   We had to cross the mountains just as we could get teams     it has been a hard winter in California and last sumer very dry     we know not what this year will bring about     John Crawford is sending somof his kis hair an henry is married to Manervy alen a girl that crost the plains with us     If you get these lines be sure to right    Direct your letter to California ukiah city Mendocino Co.    


If linda is living send these lines to her an  ____ her to write to me one time more an I will answer it soon.




  California mandiceno County    July (18)65 th 8


We are all in tolerable health this morning for which we ought to be thankful.  I received your letter the 5 of instant an was very glad to hear from that part of the world an to of some of my people.     I want yo to write an let me now wether betsy is a live an tell to write her name an make one (mark line/time?).  an whether harlan got home an if hiram an john is living an brother john an whare he lives an the name of the county  I want to write to all of them one time more   I want you to send these lins to malinda an william jarrett   I hav forgotten the name of the county an post office        When they burnt my house, my letters and books was all burnt but my bible an few other books—every thing in the house but one bed and a few clothes   I had got the children all new shoes an myself an all burnt - the children all run screaming an crying in the dark saying granmother was burnt in the house--it was a sorrowful sight to see all in flames an for nothing but to gratify the wickedness of rebels.   An they was of our own county an  at other times took all the horses that we all had—an some wearing clothes in fact the (done?) and was the cause of Jameses death--he was sick an could not get out of the bed and Shelby an Cofy came rageing through town an carried a dark flag an we was all frightened an they demanded his clothing.

Well now I am going to tell you about Callifornia--there is fifteen miles of mountains an then you will come to a dry branch on a little tilable land an all surrounded with mountains.  Well the people are stuck about in every place that they can get ten acres an a little water.  The Sacramento River overflows from hill to hill I saw cattle hanging on the post an railing fensing fiften miles from the river   - I have not been down on the coast--I can't discribe that part of the world.   Rusian river they say is the best part of California an if it is an I was back in the states the might have it it.   It the valley is not more than foure or five miles wide--Ukiah sity as the call it, looks like the lower part of richmon (yous looke [lucky?]?) --the people here all from the States. The land here for thirty miles up an down the river is a grant an the people will have to buy the land or leve it.  Well it is a gret country to sell chickens an eggs.  Egs is worth forty cts. a dosen an chickens from six to nine dolars a dozen.  Grain is selling at three to four sens apound-everything sells by weight.  The sesech is an thick here as they was in masouri an the (diger?)indians are plenty an they have them for slaves an white men have them for wives.  Wel I will gon with my story    I have not saw to gold mines since I got here--the in the Syrianavada mountains 300 miles from here.  Well since twelve o'clock I got a newspaper stating a new mining not far off.  I cannot discribe the place north of Ukiah in the mountains.  There might to bee something in them to make them valuable   there is a solid mass of mountains    The people say the country below is fine.  I cannot say.  I intend to go down to patteloma sometime this fall.   Henry M. Crawford was here yesterday an rad your letter an compaired your hair with his  -   they ware nearly alike  -- I’m living with sarah an isacalen  they have no children    John C lives here an provides for me    sister ruth when you right to her I want to be rememberd      I have not forgoten the old friends an nabours     I have jus red about General Grant an Lee's army being an surrender the joy that appeared at that time an no wonder     I have red thousans of pages an was glad to hear of peace one more time but some of the poor iliterate misguided folks seems to think that we will have it here yet    the seem to like Jef Davis an his new Government  --well our land was left unsold in Missouri.  I have five fortys an James two hundred.  I think that we will go back.  I will quit.               

I am going to rite you a receipt to make linament.  Take half a pint of lintseed oil and three tablespoonful of fine black peper - steep the peper and oil together half an hour--when cool ad one once of ether an one ounce of campfire dissolved in brandy an a vial of opium an one ounce of turpentine--put it in a bottle and shake it  an then rub your joints once or twice a day and git you a liver pill and take one every night for five nights and then take one every other night.   (besure to buy it?) 

Eliza an susan is living at clearlake about twenty miles from here   the was well last account     jameses wife an children are living in the neighbourhood   close to here an the are well an the people has helped her agood deal      Well Edsalls children are with their father an uncle henry an the are all well    an I am left to mourn for them    I had raised them     little jane is six years old the 9 of last febuary    well I say fare well for this time



Following is a note written at the end by Elizabeth’s brother Moses Robbins II to whom her letter was addressed.   It appears that Moses intended to send it on to Elizabeth’s daughter Malinda & son-in-law Wm. Jarrett:       

 I send this to you    you will preserve this for me on the account of the receipt and send it to me     we are all  well     Betsy and I are living along     our family are all gone     to malinda and william jarrette   write soon    (signed) 




James Benjamin Crawford (Jr) born 1824 in Wayne Co., IN.    He died Oct. 13, 1863 in Cedar Co., shortly after enlisting in the Missouri Militia at Stockton.


The following letter was written by James Benjamin Crawford (Jr) from Cedar Co., Missouri to his uncle Moses Robbins II, his mother’s brother, in Wayne Co., Indiana, approximately six weeks before James’ death.   James’ mother’s letter of July 1865 gives an account of James death which occurred on Oct. 13, 1863. 


Originally transcribed for Alyce H. Kenady’s 1976 “History….of Robbins and Charles Families”, retranscribed May 2002--2005-2005 by Marilyn Nickless.     Portions omitted from the original transcription are in blue.   


State of Mo. Cedar Co.  Aug. 30th, 1863 

Dear uncle    I take the present opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we are all well at present; and in a land of rebellion and almost a desolation;  Shooting and killing of men is a daly occurance;  Stealing of horses and robing of houses and burning of houses is a common every day thing;  You may think you have trouble on account of the war;  But Morghans Rade is not a drop in the bucket.  If you had had the Price's Army to pass through your country as often as we have you might think trouble    Besids we have the Guerillas and Bushwhackers passing through by day and by night, robing and burning and kiling in every direction;   I have hid in the brush and slep in the brush amany a night to escape ther vengence.  I belong to the state Militia.  Me and Henry has been in the 26th Regiment 12 months the 10th day of August  also Isaac Allen and John Nobel; The secesh Bushwhackers has stole all the horses we all had;  Mother trying to keep of sh(?)  them from taking a horse that she rode; one of them struck her in the breast with his fist and nocked her loos from the horse, which laid her up for two weeks;  I have all my cloths taken a nearly all of the bed cloths we had; and and all the Union familys is no beter off than I am; .  I have been on lots of scouts after them; I have heard the cannon roar in two Battels;  it is awful to be in hering of a battle and contemplate upon the vengence and dying grons and shrieks of the wounded;  I was in 400 yard of Stockton post when the notorious Livingston made his charge on the place with 250 men, painted as Indians     I and many others was cut off from the post; him and three of his men lost their lives and 15 others wounded; I have passed through many dangers yet I am spared;   I have been a Union man,  not copperhead, from the start.  The secesh tried to drive me out of the country;   But I am ready to drive bullets in them.  Our American Libertys cost too much blood for me to give it up to seceshionism;  It looks like hard times and troble when the women and children has to do all the work indores an out.  Eliza and Sarah and my wife has had to do nearly all the work for 12 months;   Mother is tolerable stout yet she can do a heap of  worke yet and has her health tolerable good yet;  John Crawford is in California yet he is farming (and?)  Barton Edsall is in california yet is farming  his three children is with Mother;  I want you to write to me and let me know what has become of Melinda & William Jarrette And all a bout the connection;  tell Hiram and John an Warren and Harl to write to me;  when I look back on our old play grounds they seem to me as boys yet though the are men;    I would have wrote long ago But times has bin so hard hear since the war come up that I ain't had money enough mail a letter until I sold a yoke of stears a few days a go.     I am a sample of my Union Neighbors; we have not received pay for our servises yet though I think we will in a week or too;  Crops in this country this season is good whare there is any; hundreds of farms is vacuated.  If you would send your renters to this country, they could get houses and farms to cultivate and pay no rent for a while.  That would be a great help to make peace in Mo. and make it a free state.  Tell the boys to stand fast to our American Liberties and not fall off in to Factions that will ruin the hole cause and let the secesh whip us;   Goods is high - calico is from 20 cts. to 50 cts. per yard, domestics from 35 cts. to 50 cts. per yard.  Groceries  salt from $7.00 to $10.00 per sack, 2 1/2 pounds of coffee to the dollar, cattel and hogs is about all the stock a man can keep in this country.  So nothing more of importance, but remains yours.    As I am in hurry I will wright a gain soon.   Write as soon as you Receive this



Give my Best resects (respects?) to all enquiring friends.

(Beneath this is more faint writing, in a different hand which I cannot make out, except that the first word appears to be “God”.)

Patience Shaw, wife of James B. Crawford, Jr. and two of their sons, William Henry "Will" Crawford (1859-1948), James Benjamin III (1864-1931)

John & Minnie Crawford

Click on the ThumbNail to view original size.

John W. Shaw is a brother of Patience Shaw Crawford (above).  Evelyn (Steward) Gray, is a great granddaughter of the Andrew Steward who signed the note. She has given her consent to posting it on the Cedar Co. site. 
Submitted by:
Mike Shaw    mnshaw@ iland.net

Kay Griffin Snow                            

Back to Cedar Co. Main Page

 © Copyright 2000-2003; All rights reserved. Information submitted will remain the property of the submitter.