Letters to Charles Mullan

Albion, Edwards County, Illinois
From Elkland Township, Sullivan County, PA


Transcribed by Lyle Rockwell
August 2009
Waterloo Evening Courier
Waterloo, Iowa
May 6, 1925
From: Mary Mys

To: Lyle Rockwell

Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009

Editor's Preface: We are grateful to Mary Mys, who currently lives in Wisconsin, for retrieving the following two letters written in 1842 to Charles Mullan in Illinois. At that time, Illinois was beginning to lok more like settled territory. However, further to the west, Iowa was still a fairly frontier area, although the sons and daughters of eastern families, such as the Mullans, were beginning to move there and to other midwestern states to homestead. In 1846, Charles Mullan and his family were one of the first three families to settle Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa. Mary found the letters in a Newspaper Article published in 1925 when the local members of the DAR placed a bronze plaque at the original Charles Mullan log cabin in Waterloo. The first Mullan settler in Sullivan County, PA, was Charles Mullan, Senior, father of Charles, Jr. and William and also of Hannah Clara Mullan, who married John Warburton, scion of another old family in Sullivan County. You can find many links to the Mullan family on the Sullivan County Genealogical Web Page. Here are some specific links:

Charles Mullan and Selected Descendants
Ingham History of Sullivan County (1899)
Eldred's Docket
Souvenir of Hillsgrove: home town of the Boyles family
Mullan-Pardoe-Grange Cemetery, Eldredsville, PA: resting place for many ancestors of the local Mullan family
Descendants of John Warburton and Mary Sadler
The Wilbers: A Farm Family from Wheelerville


William Mullanís letter to his brother Charles reads as follows:


Elkland, Penn. April 2, 1842.

Dear Brother: I received your letter dated February 1st..25th inst., which gave me the satisfaction to hear from you, but it would be much more satisfactory to see you. I and the rest of our folks enjoy good health at present. I taught school three months in our schoolhouse last winter. I had the largest school that we ever had: on the whole I had nearly 50. I had $15 per month.

Since my school was out I have been making sugar the most of the time, the sugar making is now about finished. There has been a very good season for making sugar.

Last fall there were a great many beech nuts. This winter has been remarkable easy, which made it well for those that got hogs to fat on nuts. There has been scarcely snow enough for sleighing.

Father has sent to the city and get you a Philadelphia patent compass, instrument and chain all complete. He sent by Gordon Mason for the compass. He went out a few days ago and brought them in, but he did not see Mason. Therefore, he does not know the exact price. But I would think that the whole would amount to about $50.

I expect that you are very impatient to know about my coming out this spring or summer. I would have written to you sooner but I had not concluded when I should come: money is so scarce and specially hard to get, and it would be of no use to travel to the west with these bank bills; there is such a row about the banks that it is not safe for a person to keep much of them by, for the banks are all nearly alike.

Anthony left Mr. Smith last winter and I lent him $ 40 to buy his time, before I received your letter. He then came home and went to school. So that I think that I cannot make up money and arrange business to come much before fall.

If you come out to the state of Ohio, this spring with a drove of cattle, certainly you can take time to come home and see the folks. You have been gone now nearly five years. Little did I think when you left that such a length of time should elapse before we should see you again, but the memory still is fresh. And we would be happy at your arrival. I should be glad if you would arrange your business to come without fail; we have looked for your arrival several times but all in vain.

I want you to write to me as soon as you get this and let me know what I ought to bring, &c. &c. Whether I had best to bring a surveyorís compass or not. I have an opportunity of getting one cheap, and I would get it if you think best. I think it is a good one. I have done some surveying with it, and have considerable more to do about home. But still it would be of no use to buy it unless it would be of service for me in the west. I want you to tell me about the price of store goods and matters and things in general and what will be the most necessary things for me to bring.

I want you also to give me a small history how you prosper in the world, what your occupation has been, &c.

One thing I had almost forgotten to tell you, that is, you are missed in the hound killing speculation. There were a great many loafers came up from below to Browns for Browns to assist them. In running the deer from the Elkland some of the people below have had some of their hounds killed before, and Browns got them to join them to chase the deer all from the Elklands. But we were all ready for them-the good work prospered first rate, there were three and four killed in a day. They were all slaughtered without mercy and but few deer killed. They had to give it up for a bad job. My hands are so stiff sugarmaking that I can hardly write, therefore you must excuse for it was done in a hurry. These few lines from your affectionate Brother. WM. MULLAN

You must write to me as soon as you receive this without fail, and make your calculations to come by the time I have mentioned. No more at present.

I send my best respects to Wm. and John Hardy and would be glad to hear from them.

The letter from Charles Mullan, Sr., to his son, dated Dec. 19, 1842, tells about buying a surveying outfit and sending it, with other things, by a friend from Pennsylvania to Illinois. Again the hard times loom us an annoying factor, and yet the Mullans were probably as well to do as other families. These surveying instruments four years later were brought by young Mullan to Waterloo and were used in doing some of the first surveying ever done in Black Hawk County, and for the platting of the town site. These instruments, after the fatherís death were kept in the home of a son, the late Judge Charles W. Mullan. Charles Mullan's son. At the time of publication, Judge Mullan was deceased, having died on Thursday, May 8, 1919, at Mayo Brothers Clinic in Rochester, MN, after an operation. His wife, Emma Lucy Mullan, was still living at the time of the publication. The full page shows a picture of Charles Mullan, as well as his wife, America Virden Mullan. The letter from father to son reads as follows:

Elkland, Penn., Dec. 19, A.D. 1842.

Respected Son: I take this opportunity to send you a few lines, to inform you that we are all well and were much pleased to hear from you, and still more so to hear that you were well.

Jonas Hardy arrived here in safety, and gave me the letter you sent informing me what things you wished me to send to you by him. Tho I cannot possibly send all that you sent for, at present, on account of money being so scarce and hard to get. The lumbering people on Loyalsock have disappointed me on account of lumber having no sale so that they are not able to make sale for their lumber at any price. Therefore I send by Jonas Hardy all the things that I have for you which are your large bible and five small books, and your compass, mathematical instruments, chain and socket, which is all I could possibly get to send to you present by him. I think perhaps that Francis or Gideon Boyles (or some others from these parts) will be coming to that part of the country within a year, and probably next spring, so that I can send you a rifle and the other things by them, if I can purchase them by that time. I do not think it worth while to send many particulars, as I expect Nancy will be able to give you a history of the times more satisfactory than I can in the limits of a letter, if she arrives there in safety. The ground has been covered with snow for four weeks past and is now good sleighing, tho the summer has been very dry, so that we have not cut more than half the hay this season that we commonly do others. And it has been very unhealthy during the summer past, several have died in this part, but nothing in comparison to the numbers that died in Towanda Creek and Troy.

Anthony has got a shop and set up his trade at Monroeton. He has more work than he can do so that he has to hire two or three to work with him. And the rest of your brothers and sisters are all well at present. So no more From your Father,




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