My name is Tom McCubbin. I live in a small town called Soquel, in Santa Cruz County, California.
I've been doing family research and it appears that some of my ancestors were from Fairfield, Indiana, so I thought I'd pass along this letter that was delivered by Kit Carson in 1875 to one of my ancestors who was an early Oregon pioneer. Perhaps you have some record of this family living in Fairfield? I understand they first moved there sometime after 1812, so this is pretty ancient history now.
If you like, it's okay to publish this letter on your website. It might stir up some interest from some of my long-lost relatives, who I would love to hear from.
This letter was two years on the road from Falrfield, Indiana, to Salem, Oregon, and was one among the first letters that ever came to Oregon by overland mail. It was carried part of the way by emigrants then it was given to Kit Carson, who carried it as United States mail to California and from there it was sent to Salem, Oregon, in care of parties who were returning from the mines.
Fairfield, Ind., Franklin County, March 1st, 1850. Dear Children:–
"I received your letter dated April 27, 1848, and was very glad to hear from you, and that you are all well and liked the country, and thought it ahead of this country.
"I am well as usual and enjoy a reasonable degree of health, although I have ill turns, yet I have great reason to bless the Lord for great goodness and tender mercy and compassion toward me in sparing my life until the present time, and, above all, in giving me a comfortable hope beyond the grave, and O! that hope may be an anchor to the soul'both sure and steadfast.
"I hope these lines will find you enjoying a reasonable degree of health.
"You say you have not heard a word from us since you left Missouri. I wrote a letter and sent it by Mr. Salmon. Whether he took it along or not I cannot say. Also Patience and I wrote each one apiece and sent it by Mr..Samuel Miller. He, the said Miller, went no further than St. Joseph, Missouri.
The rest of the company from Fairfield went on their Journey to California. He, the said Miller, told me that he should take his family to Oregon and leave them, then go on himself. This is what he told me himself a few days before they started from Fairfield. Whether or not he sent the letter on by some of the rest of the company, I cannot tell. *
"Mr. Samuel Miller, I understand, is working near St. Joseph at his trade of mill wright to raise funds to go on with hia company in the Spring as he found he had not enough to go on with last Spring.
"Your brothers and sisters and families are all well at this time. Thomas Crocker has six little children, Joseph, Manford, Mary, Wesley, Martha and Lucy Jane. Patience has two, Hannah Elizabeth and Marion. Your brother Benjamin, has five children, Luther, Emily Jane, Hanna Eliza, Thomas Henry, and the baby boy whose name I do not know. Lucy Garver has two, John Wesley and Phoebe Binford. Benjamin and Lucy Garver live in Decatur near Clarksburg.
"Your uncle Peter and family are well. Your uncle Maharshal Bourne, died one year ago last September, and aunt Eliza sold her third to your cousin, Nathan Bourne, as Maharshal had left no heirs except his brothers and sisters, so they all shared alike in the property after the widow's share was taken out. You five children drew five hundred to each one of you. Now it can not be recovered or got, unless you send a power-of-at-torney to some one here made out by a Justice of the Peace and signed by both of you, then the law requires that it be paid over to the one so empowered. You can write what you wish the collector to do with it and how to dispose of it, or shall it be sent to you.
"The other children are all doing well except Benjamin. By some means he does not get along very well although he has a fine, industrious, prudent wife. Elizabeth learned the milliners and mantumakers trade. She has worked at it considerable at times. I think it probable that she will be married between this and the next New Year if she and Stephen Price should live. He is a millwright by trade.
"David A., I expect, will go to the coach and carriage maker's trade and trimming. If he should live until August 13, he will be 16 years old.
, "Elizabeth was 21 on last February 25. Thomas, I think is too much taken up with the world. There has been a great change in him since you were here. He came to have but little regard for the things that belong to his everlasting welfare. O! my heart aches for him. O! that he may turn and live.
"Benjamin I hope and trust, has felt the plague of his sin. About two years ago he came to be steadfast in the faith. He keeps up family worship and is class leader in the Methodist church. His wife also belongs to the same church. Jacob and Lucy Garver both belong to the Presbyterian church.
"Oh, it is a great comfort to see my children walking in the path of holiness, for without holiness no man can see the Lord. I would not say that my comfort consists merely in any one belonging to a church but a manifestation of their faith by their works, for, as the body is dead without breath of life so is faith dead without works. They are inseparably connected.
"David and Patience are members of the church. David is too hike-warm and careless, I fear.
"Now a few words to the professed disciples of Christ who despond and tremble when he hears the Master calling him to go on to perfection may derive courage and support from looking at the promises of Christ and by looking to their author.
"Among the blessings promised you will find every thing which any man can need to assist him on arriving at perfection. There are promises of light and direction to find the path which leads to it, promises of assistance to walk in that path, promises of strength to resist and overcome all opposition, remedies to heal us when wounded, of cordials to-invigorate us when faint, and of most glorious rewards to crown the end of our course.
"You will hear Jehovah Jirah saying, 'Fear not for I am with thee, be not dismayed for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee, yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness, though thou in thyself art but a worm thou shalt thresh the mountains and beat them small as the dust.'
"Look next at Him who gives these promises; it is one who is almighty and therefore can fulfill them. It is one who possesses all power in heaven and on earth, one in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. With all this fullness, faith indissolubly unites us.
"Say then ye who despond and tremble, when you contemplate the almost immeasurable distance between your own moral character and that of Christ, what, except faith in these promises and in their author, is necessary to support, encourage and animate you in going on to perfection, if Christ enable you and make you members of His perfect band. If He causes this fullness to flow into your soul, then is it not evident that He can and will enable all who exercise faith in Him to imitate His example and finally to become perfect as He is perfect.
"This world is the place for labor and not for rest or enjoyment which may be found in serving God. We shall have time enough in the coming world for rest and converse with the saints and it may well reconcile us to separation here if we have hope to be with Him forever there.
"O, that it may be the happy case with us all, is the prayer of your father. I shall be 69 years old if I should live until the 19th day of September, 1850.
"Tour brother, Elisha Lemmon, and one of his sons took dinner with us better than a year ago. Elisha was entirely blind but he was quite fleshy and seemed to enjoy real good health. His family were all well. Uncle John Burke and family were well the last I heard from them. Your friends are well as usual.
"You must write as often as you can and I will do the same. It will be but a short time that I shall be in this world.
"Oh, that we may all have grace to so live that we may be prepared to meet in another and better world where there is no more sorrow nor dying, is the prayer of your honored father.
"Remember me to your dear children. I think of you every day.