Translating history

Today was spent translating letters from an ancestor, John Foster Buck, to his wife Adeline from Omaha, Nebraska, in 1855-56 when the legislature first convened to establish a state.

Years ago my mother showed me the four letters handed down by her mother from her grandmother. I made copies of the tiny dim spidery writing, rendered almost totally illegible in my copies. After Mother died last September I told my brother Jim about them. He had never seen them but we kept an eye out, found them, and I brought them home (from Scottsdale, AZ to Oregon) promising to type them up to share.

In August my brother, sister-in-law and sister from Arizona and perhaps my nephew from Ohio plan to meet me in Denver and travel by car to Arriba, where both sets of grandparents settled from points east, to deposit my parents’ ashes in their long-ago purchased grave sites. While there we will visit the last remaining cousin on Mother’s side of the family. So I have been struggling to bring those dim words to life again.

A perfect time, I thought, to share the typed copies of those letters along with the little genealogical information I have learned. Amusingly, each letter starts, “Dear and affectionate wife” and ends “Yours truly, John F Buck.” In every letter he asks his wife to kiss James and Charlie and also mentions, in all, Abigail, Sarah, Theodore, John, and “all the little ones.” Maybe “affectionate wife” was a tad too affectionate!

This is why I think memoirs are important. How much more there is to know about these ancestors.

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