Monday, December 17, 2012

An Early Christmas Gift

My great grandfather Stephen Sherwood got even with me the day after my "Carpuss" (see below) post made light of his spelling and grammar.    That post was to be my last for the year until I received an early Christmas present.

This  gift wasn't one I asked for or ever expected, and yet  a more timely or appreciated gift couldn't  have come my way.  I'm up to 1863 in the letters and The Articles of Agreement were written in 1867.  It was as if Stephen wanted The Articles  to tie into the letters that would be posted shortly.  Allow me to explain.

I entered the phrase "Stephen Sherwood mining" in google books (try it by clicking google books, put in the phrase Stephen Sherwood mining, and then go down the page) and a book I hadn't seen before was on the screen,  Articles of Agreement of the Sherwood Silver Mining Company of Nevada. This fifteen page booklet had twenty-three articles of agreement, and the names of the officers, directors, trustees, and attorney of the Sherwood Silver Mining Company. Twenty-four investors were mentioned. Names are worth  more than silver to a  genealogist, and this certainly is a treasure I will be mining for a long time.  These  individuals  had put trust in Stephen Sherwood and his company.  A quick search through google books of  the investors revealed  some were men of influence in Chicago. Carter H Harrison became the Mayor of Chicago.  Yes, there are names to be mined.

So I must say that in his case spelling and grammar didn't mean much in the scheme of things.  It didn't really matter how he spelled Corpus.  Carpuss was just fine.  Everybody knew what he meant.  Stephen would get the final word.  He could say:  "You don't have to be a good speller to have your own company."

The recipient of a gift should always give sincere thanks to the giver.  It isn't exactly clear who I should thank, but let me start with three.  Without the google books search engine which found the document, and I might add the digitizing technology which copied it,  this document would never have been found. The John Crerar Library  had stored the book for nearly 150 years, and last but not least, I should thank John Crerar,  who left 2.6 million in his estate as an endowment for a free public library.

The bibliographic information said the book was digitized on February 24, 2012.    It was as if

was gift wrapped and placed under the tree in February to find and open just before Christmas.

When we do family history, we all have something that somebody else needs.  This post would not be complete if I did not SHOW my thanks.  I've started by posting the book on my blog.  I already recognize names in the Articles of Agreement.  The name Walker  was in a letter I posted, and Coe will be in a future one.  The Articles of Agreement will help build more history around the names in The Sherwood Letters.  Perhaps, even some of their descendants will find their names here.

I'm grateful  I can keep this gift and give it away at the same time.  It's a gift that keeps on giving.  Family history can do that.  This blog has been an attempt to start the process.

Thanks for allowing me to show you what I got for Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

April 6, 1863--Stephen Sherwood to his Family (Page 1 of 4)

It has been interesting to find the history that is falling in place behind these letters.

"The discovery of gold at Canyon Creek on June 8, 1862, brought a rush of people and supplies into the  Upper John Day basin.  Within a year nearly 10,000 fortune hunters trekked to the gold fields from the nearest access and supply point-- The Dalles-- over a series of trails that became
"The Dalles to Canyon City Wagon Road." Canyon City was larger than Portland at the time.

Dalles  April 6th 1863

Dear children  i received your letter and was over joyed to here that you all war a live and was as well as you was but am verry sorry for Wellingtons misfortune  we are all well Hiram and Oren started with the Pack Trane the other Day to the mines to Canyon citty

Canyon City, Oregon

 it is a bout 200 miles   they will be gon a bout 3 weeks there?  freight will come to 400 Dollars

  i am a waiting at the Dalles for Elizabeth and William to come  i Expect them on the next California Steamer
The Dalles

 i sent them 265 Dollars to come with and  i wish i had some to send to you but i will send you some as soon as possible  and i hope that will be be four long but own loses in california has made it very hard for us but we have got a start a gain am in a better location than before   you must not feel down? that I have not written often for the year past for the most of the time and have ben in the mountains and could? not  but my interest and feeling and affections   i miss the kids?   i have strong hopes and Determined to  make a move  and i will do it that I may a ward you for your Integrity  Don't dis pair  know hope on  the cloud?, will clear a way by and by all

Is Sephen telling his children not to despair but to have hope because even though it is cloudy, they will clear eventually ?).  He always has a message of hope in his letters. (go to page 2)

April 6, 1863--Stephen Sherwood to his Family (Page 2 of 4)

tho it has ben a Dark and Dismal nite all things shall work to gether for  good to them that love you and O Henry & Sarah I send you my Special Love for the spirit of love kindness and integrity that you manifested in your letter  i can't rite my feeling but i hope to see you by and by and i can talk better than i rite you ___ it is much a gave? as is in the letter for it wont  __ half what i want to rite i am a going in to the mines as soon as the boys come back and I Don't know but i Shall take a pack trane load of ____ the horse? we traded?  with last summer take?  me to Day  i could have all i wanted if i worked? ya in to it   i think if the boys are willing to Do it  i think i will  William and i in the mines and Elizabeth can make a hundred Dollar per month baking pies and one of us can take our chances in the mines we have 25 gear pack animals and __ i am a going to win? the horse an loos? the Saddle

 i have? let the (sharpens?) play it and we ___ a ____ i am a going to play (sharp?)  to after this    it is know time?? to look for___ in the business world  i am a going to quit work and a going to (sharp?) it often  this from i can beat  half of the (sharpens?)  if i only work?     but them c______    is one of so they.  Don't hit much if they

( I have no clue what this part of the letter is talking about)  What is shapens??????.  If anybody reading this has any idea, please let  me know

A Spelling Dilemma-- "Carpuss" (Page 3 of 4)

In this part of the letter, I want to show an interesting side of Stephen Sherwood even if he isn't around to defend himself.  Let me explain.

Stephen Sherwood, my gg grandfather,  was a very talented blacksmith and miner.  Actually I believe he was more of an engineer though not formally trained in that field, and had business skills as well.  The reader of this blog will later find that he was the Recorder for a mining district in Nevada, and owned a mine in California.

 If you have read from the actual letters I have been posting on this blog,  it soon became evident, the one thing Stephen didn't do well was spell. Our ancestors weren't perfect and we can certainly overlook some of their faults.

I came across the following sentence in the letter below, "WE WILL GO TO CARPUSS IN TEXAS WHERE THE WINTERS IS NO WINTER A TOLL AND A BETTER COUNTRY THAN ILLINOIS EVER WAS." (sometimes his grammar was a little shaky as well).

Does  anybody know where "Carpuss inTexas" is?  I didn't either.  I had to sleep on that one.  The next morning I realized where it was.   I'm just grateful I have these letters of Stephen so I can get to know him better, and even tease him a little.  After all, in  addition to his grammar and spelling, he makes me work to understand his writing.  AFTER you read the rest of this blog scroll down to see the answer, if you haven't already figured out where "Carpuss in Texas" is.

"We will go to Carpuss in Texas where the winters is no winters a toll and a better country than Illinois ever was." (Start with the fourth line from the bottom of the actual letter if you want to read this sentence).

(continuing with the letter from the top)
__i will greese?? them with a little of the filthy lucre?? and they will go clean??  i am a going to try to get Eaven??  i shall have to quit this part     Tell Mother Francis & the girls my love   Dont go a beging if they Don't want it  they__ar ?? not have it  Elizabeth and i have written more than a half a dazen letters and  have had none   but give my love to Sophia for i think she will re turn it  and tell her to be a good and A noble girl and William may come by and by and tell Ruth if she Dont blow a way when Garry comes he will see her?  You mentioned?? of riting?? the boys (in trust those) that is my ___  i will have Oren and William send you a Deed of (those in trust)  when i can get them to make a deal? and you will have to have a  De __ of the cort and same one appointed guardian but Don't have any one un less  it is you on use  you can instruct the boys a bout that that will be  their rite of choice to choose for them selfs and tell mother Francis that she had better sell? too and when the war is over

Corpus, Christi, Texas


Ruth and Sophia were Ruth (Denick born 1839) and Sophia (Denick born 1844).  They were the daughters of Laura Denick Francis,    from  Laura's first marriage to Valentine Denick.  Stephen's wife Elizabeth Denick was their older sister.  Their other sister, Sarah, had married, Stephen's son, Henry Sherwood who had received this letter from his father Stephen Sherwood.  It appears Stephen was hinting that his son William might "come by and by" for Sophia Denick.  Sophia was born the same year as William  If that had been the case two of Stephen Sherwoods' sons would have married Denicks, as well as their father who was married to their sister Elizabeth.  

Please post in comments below where you think Stephen Sherwood will be February 18, 1864 when he writes his next letter to his family. Take a wild guess. You may be right.


April 6, 1863--Stephen Sherwood to his Family (Page 4 of 4)

it may take me a year or two where i am before i can get a way that is the gratest back country that there is over  i want to take a ___ ____ of brood mares  and some? mules    i can take ___ __ __ and crops? the plows but i Don't want to go till the war is over and There __ is over ___  __   don't suffer for any thing that you need if you can get it for it want pay   Elizabeth rote me that she had  a little flower spring  up the 5 of December  she is much delited with it being a Daughter   i have felt a good while that i had no Daughter but on a Da___ter ____   but i suppose? i have one now which will do me   my love Elizabeth is a good woman you would not now her by her actions and? I love  been more and more  Give ____  little ones a kiss? for me  i should like to return? and  Do it myself   till Wellington  i thank him for  his letter   i will rite him and Dan and  and our? Johnny soon  i send them my love and the hurt?? to? be good boys  i hope to see them by and by  you had better get a hand? full or two of cat tole ploy meat?and add it to the mognaba? ____ ___ and i think it will cure it if it the _____of bones was all got out  your___the____in the____and to get the strength and then or the _______ material? __ of  the

(he is writing, I believe, some things to do to help Wellington)

Excuse all mistakes for my  hart and mind is fuller than pen can Express and my pen can rite from your most Effectionate father

                                                          Stephen Sherwood

H S Sherwood
S M Sherwood
W T Sherwood
D Sherwood
Henry? Sherwood


The "little flower" that Elizabeth had "spring up the 5 of December was Hattie Sherwood.  This was the first daughter for Stephen and Elizabeth.  Stephen had a daughter, Maria, from his first wife, Mariah Hubbell.  He had a second daughter, Elizabeth, from Sophia Parker.  Elizabeth died in 1843.
Stephen Sherwood had high hopes to make some money here, but his next letter is not written from Canyon City or even The Dalles.  This statement will explain why Stephen and Elizabeth were not there the next year.  The Oregon Guide stated:  "By 1863 the number of miners digging gold at Canyon City had been reduced from 10,000 the previous year to 700...... the discovery of gold in others fields practically depopulated Canyon City that Winter."   (Quote under "The 28 Hour Pony Express Run from Canyon City to the Dalles.")  Stephen Sherwood would be part of that depopulation.  Once again it was time for Stephen Sherwood who was called by The Trinity Journal (Jan. 10, 1885) "A 49er frontiersman and inveterate prospector, who, like the Wandering Jew, drifted from place to place in search of new discoveries, fresher fields and fairer flowers"  to move on. 

 If you are reading this, please tell me in a comment, where you think Stephen Sherwood will be in February of 1864 when he writes his next letter.