Part IA. Past is Prologue 1852-‘55
Transcribers Note: John B. Gorham, father of James J. Gorham (future husband of Mary Burns), divorced his first wife, Dolly Beeman (J.J.’s mother) in 1835, leaving the four year old boy to be raised by his grandparents Zina and Ruth Beeman. Sometime after 1837 John married Emily C. Lane, daughter of Alexander Lane of Burlington. In 1852 they moved to Lycoming County. The following four letters are from J.B. Gorham to his wife’s family in Burlington.
I take this opportunity of writing A few lines to you as we have looked for sum of you and sent word till we have all most concluded you hav all forgotten us. I hav three times sent to you if thare was one partickle of respect or well wishes left existing betwean us we wished you to manifest it by making us A visit but nothing do we see or hear, not so much as a scrach of a pen. We hav two or three times in two years heard A word by traviling persons. You must recolect we are in A new country And Destitute of neighbors and loanly and loansome and if we cannot see any of you it would be great satisfaction if you would write and let us know how you all get Along And we are not entirely forgoten. It would bee great concilation.(2) (I hav given sumthing for reflection. Now for sumthing els.) I sowed twelve acres of fall grain which looks very flourishing and prosperous. I hav six acre of mowing and potatoes And other crops which all look flourishing and prosperous. Aperently the barons will soon Abound in plenty. Lucy and Marah(3) is bording out and going to school. We all enjoy very good health at present. Hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same great blessing.
(1) Believed to be in or near Cummings Twp. Lycoming Co. The village no longer exists.
(2) Aparently, the Lanes were less than supportive of their marriage and their moving to the next county as well.
(3) Mariah, age 11 and Lucy,
age 12 were two of John & Emily’s four children, the other two being
Eliza Jane, age 8 and Joseph, about age 2.
Pine Crick Dec..26 – 52
Acording to your request by Emily(4) I now take my pen to inform you of our place of residence which is on Litle Pine Crick Eight miles below texas.(5) We are comfortably situated handy to school and meitings and all enjoying good health. hoping thes few lines may find you all enjoying the same great blessing. I shall not attempt to write any particulars as we
Shall expect A visit from you soon, then we can tell you all. If you do not come soon
pleas to write and let us know how you all do. Direct your letters to Little Pine Crick,
Commins township Lycomming Co.
John B. Gorham
(4) Emily LANE, John’s second wife, d/o Alexander and Abigail MILLS Lane of Burlington.
(5) A settlement at the confluence
of Little Pine and Texas Creeks near the present day village of English
Little Pine Crick 13 Jun(6)
Received letter. Lucy, Eliza Jane and Joseph(7) all in school.
We hav had sum bad luck this spring. About the last of february I cut my leg And was laid up for three weeks. I then got so I could set and shave shingles. I worked part of three days and was taken with the irisipolus(8) and done no more work to speak of till last of april and in the time won of my oxen was took sick and come to lifting(9) and I have done nothing with him since. My cow was took sick and died. No more at present.
Yours with respect
John B. Gorham
if you write Direct your letters to texas post ofice
(6) Year unknown, however it is most likely 1853 or 1854.
(7) Children of John B. and Emily C.LANE Gorham.
(8) Erysipelas-acute inflamation of the skin, formerly called St. Anthony’s fire.
(9) "heaving" to breath with
Steam mill(10) Brown town --feb..the 13/55
Dear mother, brothers, sisters And friends
We hav waited and looked and bin and Sent to the ofice allmost times without number to get sum news from you but we hav not heard a word from any of you Since Elexander(11) left her..but I am this evening induced to take up my pen under the most heart felt anguish that ever induced me to put pen to paper. Myself and children are all well. I would to god I could say as I have said before that we ware all well, but Emily is no more.(12) She had ben as well as usual for hur though She complained with the hart burn which was comon for hur till last Saturday evening she apered livlier and smarter through the Day than she had for sum time. She went Abot the hous and helped the girls get super And Do up the work then took hur work and sat Down till half past seven. I told hur as we had Sat up late for A few nights before we had beter retire early. She says very well. We all went to bed. We lay as near as I can judge 10 or 15 minits. She comensed coughing…
Transcriber’s Note: End of first page. The second page must be lost. The abstract in the index adds, "Lucy there. Called Mr. teed living in the mill house. Miss teed came. Emily buried on the 12th,11 a.m., sermon by Elder James farley. Refers to his children"
(10) Possibly the present day village of Steam
(11) John’s father-in-law The Rev.Alexander Lane Jr.
(12) She died Saturday, February 10, 1855.