Margaret Ladd and Walter Stott were both born in Bovina and later married in Andes on 12 March 1850. In 1856, they moved west with their children Nancy Jane, 5, and John Elliot, 1. Nancy retained her father's letter and later mailed it to her brother, my grandfather, with the following letter of explanation. I have retained the original spelling and punctuation. - Mary Curtis, Kirkland WA, January 27, 2002
This letter was written by my father to my mother. We had moved from Andes, N.Y. to Tama Co., Ia. Mother, John & I staid there with uncle Daniel Ladd
while father went on up in Minnesota to find a place to locate. Soon after this letter was written, he came back for us and we moved to Shell Rock,
lived on father¹s claim in a covered wagon while father built our log home which consisted of one nice large room. Three other neighbors built near us
and aside from that it was a wilderness for miles. All [our?] flour came from McGregor, Iowa. The wheat was raised on our farms, hauled to McGregor
(100 mi) by ox teams, ground & hauled back in the same way. It was the Simple life but, as I recall it, a very happy one.
Nancy Jane Stott Paull Keeler
May 15, 1918
June 29th, 1856
I agane sit down to pen a few lines to you. It is Sunday and I feel very lonesome for I want to see you & the children so bad that I can hardly wait,
but here I am about 120 miles from you & cannot get back yet. I think now that I do not know how to appreciate home & the society of my family untill
I am deprived of them. I am now on the Shell Rock River in Minesota about 6 miles from the State line. We got here last Wednesday one week from the time
we started. We first went up the Cedar through Iowa & into Minesota about 12 or 14 miles & then we struck across to the Shell Rock 18 miles & down that
river to within 6 miles of the line. Here we found some land that suited us tolerable well so Mr. Willson && me selected each a lot & each built us a
shanty & done a little breaking as the law requires & intended to start for the land office tomorrow but we heard yesterday that another man had filed
on my piece. This put a damper on me but they tell me that I can hold it because I have made improvements on it so I think I shall go to the office &
see. It is 65 miles.
If I hold it I have to go to the office & file my intentions & come back here & live on it 10 days & then go back to the Office again & preempt it & get my deed. If I do not get it I don't know what course I shall take, whether come home or look around for another. I begin to see my situation
more clearly now than formerly & land is so high down there in Iowa that I can see no way of getting a long, but if I have my health I think I can make
a living some how. So you see I cannot tell when I shall get home. I may get back in a week or 10 days & I may not get back in 2 months. I know you must
be lonesome but you must try [&] keep up courage & live in hope that it will be better with us some day. I enjoy very good health & though I am traveling around so much yet my expenses for traveling has not exceeded $4.00 yet. We buy our provisions to cook them ourselves and sleep in our wagon & we find it very comfortable. Tell Daniel to try & send for our goods if they have not come yet for I am afraid they will be spoiled. Tell Nancy Jane to be a good girl & Pa will be home soon to see her. I wish you would write as soon as you get this & let me know how you are getting along. Direct your letter to St. Nicholas, Freeborn Co., Minesota. I am within about 4 miles of that place.
No more at present but remain
your affectionate husband
P.S. I wrote you a letter about 10 days ago.