Weaver Family Highlights

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Weaver Family: Ten Years in America –

Life Highlights

by Michael R. Reilly, February 5, 2014

The Weaver family, with father, William F., and wife, Mary Hardeman, came from the Canterbury [see Note 1] church Diocese [where oldest child, James, was christened], in Old Romney, Kent County, England, then relocated at a later date to Peasmarsh, Sussex, County, England. Because William F.’s occupation was sheep herding and at times the foreman of a sheep farm [4], I can guess that the family moved around to where the work was. On the Brig Emma’s passenger list, his and all sons’ occupation is listed as “farmer” which may have been a general term for an rural person, rather than laborer.

Note 1:

Brother William indicated they were in the Chichester Diocese, but that is in Sussex County. They probably moved there later in life and used Chichester rather than Canterbury Diocese.

William F. Weaver

William’s father, James, was born in 1746 and died in 1811 [1]. William F. was born in Tenterden, Kent, England on January 5, 1767 – died July 3, 1845, and married Mary Hardeman, born February 9, 1775 – died December 11,1819, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1799 at St. Clement’s church, in Old Romney, Kent, England. They had at least six children, five sons and one daughter.

[Though the Weaver family came from Kent County, England, between 1807 and 1810, they moved to Sussex County, living in the Peasmarsh town area. Up until now, no one knew why the family moved from their ancestral homeland; but now a letter written by a visiting English bishop

[9]to St. Alban’s parish and the Weaver family talks of the father, William Weaver, working for a noble named Robert Mascall for about thirty years first in Kent Co.

From some of what we know of Robert’s history, his father died when he was young, and his birth mother remarried. After she died in the early 1800s, Robert may have moved his wife and two daughters to Sussex Co. to avoid issues with his step-father owning the ancestral property in Kent Co.

Since the Weavers had been working for Mascall, apparently doing a very good job of it, they also moved along with the Mascalls to the Peasmarsh area. In 1815, Robert Mascall died, but the Weavers continued working for the widow Mrs. Mascall, including James, working as a gardener. Did this include growing hops on her property, we don’t know, but obviously he was involved with hops in some manner while there.]


ometime in the 1820s, the family, especially son John, must have discussed the possible advantages of immigrating to America to improve their lives. As can be seen from later letters of son James to relatives back home in England, times were difficult for those remaining there. In mid 1828 bachelor [2] John left for America to seek out land and opportunity for the entire family landing at New York on Sept 20, 1828 [3]. In son William Weaver’s 1894 Bio [5], he says, “Thinking that the United States offered better facilities for accumulating wealth than could be had in England.”

Prior to John’s leaving for America, the family must have been in contact with either other relatives or friends who had earlier come to the state of New York, and/or they heard from news that there were areas there that were exceptional for the cultivation of hops as a cash crop. No doubt, at least John and brother James, the family had experience with growing hops back in England.

James is credited with being a “gardener”

[5, 6],in his son Richard’s 1894 bio, which probably involved hops farming. In James’ later letters back home, he shows a keen interest in English hops production, which some of his relatives most likely cultivate as a cash crop to suppliment their incomes. In none of his letters does James mention that a relative or close friend is in the beer brewing business.

John’s reports back home convinces his father and siblings to pack up from Peasmarsh, board the British Brig Emma, Captain John Frost [4] commanding, at the port of Rye on about March 10, 1830 [1], and immigrate to America, landing at the port of New York on April 19, 1830 [4].

John Weaver, 1805-1881

Whether John met his family at the seaport in New York, or provided further detailed travelling instructions is unknown, though the latter is most likely. John was not onboard the Brig Emma.

The Erie Canal, opened in 1825, is often credited with transporting the Weaver family around, and it very well have moved them across New York state from Albany to Utica, but first they travelled the Hudson River north from the port of New York to Albany. It may have been Utica where they families disembarked to either feeder rivers heading south to the town of Augusta, or perhaps they hired or bought oxen teams to meet up with John? James writes to his cousin in 1833 that the new [Chenango] canal will come within 3 miles of his home, and that the 300 mile trip by barge will cost about a cent a mile.

What is known is that the family ventured quite quickly to the Town of Augusta, Oneida County, in the state of New York and purchased two farms to begin their lives in the new country. This is confirmed by the side by side Weaver farms listed on page 27 of the 1830 Federal Census for the Town of Augusta, Oneida County, State of New York; one under William with his sons John and William, next door to James’.

The families’ experiences are written about the following year by son James writing to a relative back in England. I figure there’s no better way of describing their lives during there time in New York state than having you read their letters. I have added comments enclosed in [parentheses] for clarification.


Letter 1: James Weaver, from Augusta (Oneida County, New York) April 27, 1831, to (Uncle) William Beal, Tenterden, Kent, (England)

Note: Richard Hughes transcribed this and subsequent letters in early 2008, and he notes,

I decided to retain the original phonetic spelling .”, so it may be difficult to understand at times. “Original copies” of the letter below can be found on the Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society’s website at www.slahs.org

Augusta April 27 1831

Dear Uncle

We add a fine fawl and the winter did not begin till December and when it did begin it come pretty sharp. We add snow over the top of fencys some places and it as frost verry sharp. Father kept pretty close to the fier all the winter but this countrary people love a plenty of snow. That is the time they take there pleasure for that is good traveling then for hear is no coaches run. Hear in the winter it slays and cutters and I can tell you that is easy riding for I have add some rides in them. It like a boy slayding.

Now I give you a little account of the summer. Last summer was a weat one . There was such rain as I ardly see before and a great deal of thunder and lightening but we had a fine time for haying a harvesting and add a good crop of wheat and oats and barley but Indian Corn was short for that loves hot summers. There was a few days verry hot. The spring is just a coming on now and it is about the middle of April. We are just giting beasy hear now so now I will give you a little account of what we are doing.

Father as bought two farms, one for me and one for John and William. Mine is a farm of 34 acres with a house and stables and hop house. Mine is about 32 acres cleared and 2 of wood and I am just now begin to work the land and I like the look of it. I suppose you would not get such land in England for £50 per acre. It low land and a fine stream of warter run threw it and the price of it was 17 dollars per acre and my brothers is farm of 40 acres about 10 wood with a house and barn and stables and thorge was 15 dollars per acre.

A dollar is 8 shillings of this money and about and about 4s..6d of English money. They think as much of a dollar hear as you do of a sovereign. Hear is not so many rich people hear but all of one class. More they do not think so much of there self as to be one a bove a nother . The people seem verry friendly and they do tolk better English then we do for they speak very proper and they do have good learning.

William Weaver 1802-1896

It was a year a go to day that we landed at New York and we was glad enuf to se land againe. We add one or two days pruty ruf seas. It wash my brothers

[William or Stephen’s?] dog overboard and the Captain shy light and nock the bull work a way but thank god we did not loose no lifes a coming over . Some of us was verry sea sick and father could not smoke is pipe much on the passage but calm weather he injoy is self on deck pruty well but ruf weather he keep to burth but I must tell you he injoy is self now verry much and like this country very well and he lives with William and John mostly and some times he will come and stop with me and so he works as he liks for us so father as is living for what he pleases to do for us.

[According to Melinda, the house that she and John lived in didn’t belong to them. From her memoir, ”

I then began to think seriously on the subject, and we began to talk about it thoughtfully and seriously, and finally concluded that as we had no home of our own, as we lived on a hired farm, that perhaps we had better try to make us a home in a new county,”] [7]

Apparently the house belonged to his brother William, and when William moved out to live with brother Stephen, John must have rented the farm from him and/or their father.

We have got two large meating houses in this town

[Augusta]. One is a Babtist and one Presbyterian but I have not been to the Presbyterian. We have gone to the Babtist since we have and we like the preacher very much. He is a verry good sort of man I believe but now I am move I are about 4 miles from the meating house and the roads are often so bad I (don’t) think I shall get to go much.

[Did James move from the original farm his father helped him purchase?]

Hear is a meating hear close by my house in a school house were I will be preaching every Sabath day. We are trying to get it so I have heard one of my countrary people preach hear today the 15 of April and he preach a good sermon. He come over last spring and there is another one lives just by me wich is a preacher is Methodist preaching but I hope there is some good to be learnt from it. Hear there is no English church neare then 9 miles.

My sister is a living about 6 miles from us

[This could be the Mr. Powers farm that David Bonham mentions] . She as been a living there ever since we came almost and she get from 50 to 60 dollars per year and says these the best place she ever add for they look upon servants hear about the same as there one chidren…

…and Stephen come up the countrary with but did not stop long up hear but whent back a bout 70 miles

[to Kingsbury, Broome Co., New York] and sted is self and a gread for a twelmonth a prentice. He gread for 80 dollars per year and is bord and lodging and washing and he likes is self verry well and he says there are very religious people. Father and John as been to see him this winter and is Bos give him a good character and he says farms want him to set up aginst his Bos. They have oferd to bild him a shop and find him iron but Stephen will not do it for is Bos use him well but he will exspect to have a good deal more wages if he stop another year. They will have Stephen to shoe there horses.

If you please father wishes you to give is best respect to is uncle if he is a living and to say that we are all quite comfortable sitteuate and like the countrary verry well. Father as been verry peasey a making of sugger lately. They have made the uppers of 100 weight of suger William a father. I have not now sugar bush on my place. I can assure you that verry good sugar .We make our soap and candles and this countrary people muck ever thig they want four use. They make there one cloth and spin there own linen. They make pruty much ever thing they were and grow pruty much all they want to eat and drink.

Now I must tell you what stock we have got. I have got I yoke of oxen and 3 cows and 4 calfs and 6 sheep and 2 hogs and 6 geese and 10 chicken and 3 ducks and my brothers have got 2 horses and 1 cow and 2 calfs and 12 geese and about 18 chicken and we have wood pigeons hear by thousand and ten of thousand and grea squirrels and black one and read one we have now add bout hear esscept foxes but we have some fine timber wood lays and rot hear by thousand of coards but I expect wood will be more scarch in 20 years time. Wheare I am they do begin to to be more schouse of wood now for they do make of a good deal of wood for fenceys and a great deal for burning. Father says your headge tools will not do for this countrary for hear is some of the wood that will gap the handbills all to nothing. They never see such tools in this countrary. They make there exxes quite different. I like there exxes verry well to worke with.

I hope these few lines will come safe to hand and find you and your family and housekeeper quite well. I am happy to say that father is quite well and he do injoy is health quite well in this countrary and so do all the rest of us except my oldest boy James. He has been sick for a bout 3 month and he is verry poorly now. I have add 3 doctors to him. He add the inflamatary feaver first and then the dropsy foler after. My wife was sick for a bout fortnight but thank god all the reast of us are quite well now. Father send is love to you and hope you will answer this letter and father would be glad for you to give him a little account of his old countrary for we hear bad news of it now but we hope it will be sedeld with out war. I suppose you have add shocking fiers.

Elizabeth Fielder – James’ wife

Please to give father and all of us kind respect to your housekeeper and to your dear children and please to except it yourself from us all and give hour respect to all enquire friends. I hope you will exscuse bad writing and bad speling and mistake .

So please to direct as follows – In the Town of Augusta In the Countay of Onedia In the State of New York North America.

So now we will all conclude with best wishes for health and happaness and god bless us all I hope so now now more from your affectionate friend.

James Weaver

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James Weaver, 1800-1886



Letter 2: James and Elizabeth Weaver, Augusta, March 30, 1833, to (Cousin) Richard Hardeman, (in unknown town), Shropshire, Great Britain

Augusta March 30 1833

Dear Cozen

I have just sat down to answer your last kind letter in which I hope you will exquse in my not writing to you before for I know it is neglect of mine and I wrote to Mr Taylor a few weeks back in which I hope you have heard from us in is letter for I menshond to him for him to write to you. In which I have no thought but for what he as and I hope you will do the same to him when you receive this letter and give our respects to him saying I think Father wearse verry fast this winter. He as not been verry well now for some time but he is getting better now I suppose.

Wm. as not wrote to you yet I have not heard him say eny thing about it and I have not said eny thing to him about it not laitly. There is not now one thus eny writing much I believe but my self. We have not wrote to eny of our friends in the marsh but once since we left England nor to Uncle Bill

[uncle Beal?] but I hope they are all well and a doing well as thank god. We are a doing as well as we can exspect to be and please to give our respects to all of them when you have an upportunity to write to them and to say that we are well satisfied with this countary in regard of getting a living but I like the Cleamate of my own native countary best oldo the Cleamate thus a greae with me verry well but I do not like such long winters. The winter before this was a verry long one. The oldest man living I suppose never new such a winter. We add snow lay from Novr. till May before it was all gone but this winter as been a verry comfortable one. We add not now snow much before Christmas and we have got a earley spring a looking promising. Indian Corn was a short crop last summer but all other crops pruty good. I add a good crops of hops but was unlocky in selling of them for I sold to soon like maney more of my neighbours. I add 1,066 and sold at 11 dollars per cart wich if I add kept a nother mounth or 2 I mite got twice 11 but it was not my luck. I only wish I add but known if hops ware but a shorte crop in England that would made a difference hear. I now by your letter that hops were short in England but I add now thought that would make eny difference heare till was to late.

Now dear friend if you will be so good as for to send me a letter so as for me to receive it in September I will be verry much a blich to you. I think you better send it a way by the first of August and I want you to give me the pertickler account of the state of hops and what the price is and how the crops is like to be so that I may now better what to do with mine if I grow eny.

Now R [Richard Hardeman] I must give you a little account of my one family.. I have lately increase one more in famley which is a son and I think I shall have his name John

[1833-1894]. This make the second yankey. The baby was born the 20 of March and I am happy to say my wife is as well as can be expected and so is the rest of my family except poor James and he is in a poor state of health. Still I have got a nother freash Doctor to him now for the other one says he can not to him no good. It has been a great lost to me poor James being so sick it over a 100 dollars lost. I think but I do not now but the doctoring will come to more then half of it.

Stephen Weaver

Now I must give you a little account of Stephen. He lost is wife [married Elizabeth Maxon/Maxson in March 1832] last Jany. She died when her baby

[Stephen M. Weaver, Jr. abt December 1832-1857] was a bout 3 weeks old. She add not many well days since I node her. He caredon is busness still so he hiers is board and as but is son out to a woman that lives close beside me. They come from Peasmarsh Mrs Cloito.

Now we have got the old blatchler married at last wich is John. He has got a little woman a bout as big as ant simes and they live where Stephen did and so Stephen board with them.

{So John and new wife Melinda moved from the original farm to a residence or another farm that brother Stephen lived at. Apparently he still lives there but hires a woman named Mrs. Cloito, who was from Peasmarsh, to care for his child while he works in his own blacksmith. James had mentioned that the apprenticeship was for twelve months.]

Rebacker husband as lately hiered a farm for 3 years. There is about 80 acres of it and it is about 13 miles from me. I think Backer as got a good husband. Thers is a poor littel boy but he add a bad misfortaine last summer and fell from a building and brooke is thie and 2 ribs but is got well of it now.

[Contrary to previous opinion, David Bonham was not onboard the Brig Emma. Bonham states that he arrived in April, 1830, perhaps with his friend William Derby. No record of Immigration or Naturalization has been located yet.]

  Rebecca Weaver and husband

David Bonham, 1809-1870

[From David’s personal diary, written about 1847, he wrote about his life: ”

I am the son of Robert and Jane Bonham. I was born in the town of Rhoade in Northamptonshire, Great Britian, in the year of 1809. my parents were poor and could not give me any education, therefore I never had a days schooling in my life, and have no education except what the God of nature enabled me to obtain. My parents being poor, I had to seek my own living in early life. At age 13 years I left home to obtain my own support and have ever since earned my living by the sweat of my brow. I was raised a farmer, which has always been my principal occupation. At the age of 21 years I emigrated to New York in company with William Derby who is now a resident of Racine, Wisconsin. I arrived in New York in April 1830, and went to Waterville (Oneida Co.) where I lived two years a day laborer. In the meantime I took me a partner for life by the name of Rebecca Weaver. She was of a highly respectable family. In May 1836 I emigrated to Wisconsin and located on a farm in Lisbon. I left New York without leaving an enemy behind.”] [8]

I believe all of my brothers and sister are well. I have not told them I are writing to you. I have not seen they for some time. I have not seen Father for this month or 2 but believe he is well

[Interesting since he was living next door on a farm he bought for sons John and William. John and his wife Melinda moved away to where brother Stephen lived, so William, and his new family, must have had the farm to himself and his father]. No thought but that he would be glad to send is best respect to you for he is so glad to hear from you and he is verry much please with your letters but grows something chilish now and wears I think verry fast [Appears that old age is hampering his father and senility has set in(?)].

Dear friend I should like for us to meet to geather a gine once more in this world. What a joyful meeting that would be. Just step over and take a peace of ham for bracfust if you please-R.

I feel so glad to think you show such a respect to father for it make him feal comfortable and I hope you will come over and see us in corce of a year or 2 when you can make things sute for we are a going I suppose to have a new canal wich I suppose will come within 3 miles of my house. Hey have got grant for it this winter so you can come by water all the way with in 3 miles of my house. It will be nearly 300 miles from New York. It cost about one cent a mile.

[James is writing aboout the new Chenango Canal that his brother-in-law, David Bonham, worked on. The Erie Canal, which is said David worked on, was completed in 1825.]

Now you wanted to now how much that would take you for a middle kind of life. Now I must tell you I think you would do well with £150 for I must tell you it is £125.0.0 more than I add [or about 25 pounds]and I suppose father add about 200 pounds to set us all up withand now I have got 2 horses and 1 yoke of oxen and 3 cows and 5 yearlins and 1 calf and 6 sheep and 3 hogs and 7 pigs…

…and a little wile a go Mr

[George]Eloiteand I bought 50 acres of land between us, it joing on to me and I thought I should like to have him for a neighbour. We paid 50 dollars down and got to pay 100 dollars a year. Now that poor man now what it was to want for bread before he left England. He came a way and left is wife and family at Peasmarsh and he add but not 2 shilings when he got to New York. He started about 3 weeks after we did from England [arrived New York onboard Ship Lima on May 31, 1830]. Now I must tell you is trade is a mason.He use to worke at *Mrs Mascall a good deal and Mr Taylor knows him well. Mason is a good trade hear for they 10 shillings per day in the summer.

[*Mrs. Mascall was the widow of Robert Mascall Esq., a person of nobility and means. James’ father worked for for him 30 years and when he Mascall died in 1815, William and his family continued working for the widow until they emmigrated in 1830. This information was obtained from an Episcopalian Bishop’s letter, who had visited St. Alban’s church in Sussex, and met with the Weaver family. He wrote back to his superiors in England describing the situation he found in regard to former English folks living in America and their pursuit of religion in the new country.}

[Regarding George Elliott: from James’ letter above, George was known by the Weaver family for a number of years as he also worked for the widow Mrs. Mascall.]

Now I hear the Colery is a breaking out verry bad in some of our

[English] states. It was verry bad in this countary last year and in this state to some hundread I suppose died with it.

[From Wikipedia: The epidemic reached England in December 1831: appearing in

Sunderland,Gateshead and Newcastle. In London, the disease claimed 6,536 victims; in Paris, 20,000 died (out of a population of 650,000), with about 100,000 deaths in all of France. In 1832 the epidemic reached Russia (see Cholera Riots),Quebec,Ontario,Detroit and New York. It reached the Pacific coast of North America between 1832 and 1834]


Quebec, Ontario, Detroit and New York. It reached the Pacific coast of North America between 1832 and 1834]

Now I will give you the increace of New York State in 99 years. There is the biggest population in this state of ere a one but there is two more state nearby as big as this.

Population New York State

In 1731……………………50,395



New York City

In 1800……………………60,489



In 1830……………………24,238

These are the two bigest City in New York State

The number of state in my almanac is 28 so I will leave you to think this is not a small countary. I suppose York State nearly as big as England. There is a great deal more different in different parts of this countary then there is betwixt England and were I live hear not half now. I hope you will not be I quarter so long answer my letter as I have been answer of yours. I let it alone most to late before I begun to write in the spring. It got now to be the 3 of may. I thought much of many of you at Tenterden fair. Please to give our love to your brother and sister and I hope they are a doing well and I think of writing to some of them in the marsh at the latter end of of the summer and to Uncle Bill please to give hour respect to all inquire friends . I hope you will give me the pertickler account of hops as soon as you now.

Dear R I hope all things are seteled comfortable in the old native countary and better times for poor people. I think it would be on ard times for me now if I was there to get my family there belley full but thank god I can fill there belleys full hear 3 times a day and whil that is good for I add 4 good hogs kill last winter. I add a bout 1000 of meat but I can tell you I work some harder then when I work in the garden

[reference to his occupation in England working for the Mascall family]but I do injoy the fruit of my labour and I think I have done a fine thing for my family but I can tell you that when the spring comes a farmer must not be lazy.

Please to take all of our kind love and I will answer your letter in a shorter time next time so good by and god bless us all I hope to meet from your affectionate and Cozen and well wishes.

James and Elizabeth Weaver

COPYRIGHT This document is the property of the Hughes Family . All rights reserved. It is protected by the Copyright Laws and Regulations of the United States of America and the United Kingdom and may not be reproduced in any format. Enquiries to reproduce the whole or any part should be addressed to Reynolds Parry Jones Solicitors of 10 Easton Street High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP11 1NP England. Tel:+44(0) 1494 525941 Fax:+44(0)1494 530701 E-mail:



Letter 3: James Weaver, from Augusta (Oneida County, New York), July 20, 1834, to (cousin) Richard Hardeman in Tenterden, Kent, Great Britain

Augusta July 20 1834

Dear Cozen Richard

With great pleasure today I take my pen in hand to write a few more lines to you in answer of your kind letters and newspaper in which I be verry much oblidge to you for that all thoue I add sold my hops before it came. I add a good offer and I took it up and it was well I did .

Dear Richard I beg your exguse for my not answer your kind letter weeks before this. I have not now excuse only idleness. I can say I have been driving it of from time to time till at last I have begun and now I will try and finish it shortly.. I add better write before busy as come on but I hope you will not think I have forgot you for I often think of you and talk of you . O how happy I should be to see you once more. I hope you will come and pay us a visit when you can make it convunant. May be you cold sute yourself when you get hear to something if you should like this countary. New York is a very pleasant place.

I am very much a blidge to you for the offer you made me. It would be a great under taking for me to come back a gaine yet for some years for I should have to come back again it seames to me now. If could not live and get a half belly full for my family in that countary now I think if ever I live to see my family grow up. My wife and I should like to come back to pay you all a visit. I wish for my wife to see are friends once more if it pleases the lord to spears us to meet again once more. What a joyfull meeting whart it be.

I ave a letter from Mr Taylor the latter part of June and I am sorry to hear such a bad account of the old countary. I am afraid much blood will be shed before better times.

[What James is referring to is The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, and how it made relief for England’s poor much more difficult to receive. The was rioting and blood shed in a number of workhouse locations.]

I feal to think I have done great things for my family taking of them to this countary were a good living is to be ad by trying for it. Thomas and William could clear themselves now if I was to let them go and go to school in the winter to but they are wourth me more they are good boys to work but poor James as a poor state of health still but he is a pacent child in is afflictiant .He get a bout the house some. He was very low last spring . He has been tap 6 or 7 times but as not been tap now for some weeks but I am afriade will be tap againe. The first time he was tap the doctor took upwards of 30 lb of warter from him. He was as big round is body as I was. The doctor as took a way in all about 50 lb of warter.

I am sorry to hear poor Uncle Richard is no more

[died June 1833] but I hope is family’ lost is to is gaine. I think poor man add not injoy much comfort for last years. I have not heard from them since I recive your letter but I know some of us add ought to write to them but there now one in the family will write to eny one except I do but I believe I will write one so that they may exspect one by Christmas. If you will be so good as to write a few lines and give our respect to all saying we are doing as well as can be expected and enjoy a good state of health except poor James. Father injoy is health will by the blessing of god.

I have only wrote one letter to Romney since we left. I have not wrote to Tenterden only once. I wanted some of the others to write but they have not done it so it has gone on sloe. Father add a letter from Uncle Bill last but I think it likely I shall write one there in the winter. If you write to them give our respects to them.

I am glad to hear your sister is doing so well. Mr Taylor give account of going to see her with you in is letter and of your drinking ours good health and Father and I drink your good health and Mr Taylors and many friends in the old countary.

They have got getting people in this countary to sing what they call the cold water paper it called the Temperance paper that is to say that they will drink no more arden spirits except quace of sickness. I do not know but they have got almost half the people to sine it in York state but they have not got me to sine it yet. I think it is a good thing to keep people from getting drunk if they can I suppose. Father as left of drinking eny arden spirits and Wm Wife as sind. She must be in the fishon I suppose so I believe I shall be out of fishon. I hope I can keep myself drinking with out that. They are not a loude to have any in the house nor to give eny away. I can not tell you eny more a bout it now for if I was to tell you eny more about it it would be more than 10 letters full for they send newspaper to your houses 1 a month and have Temperance Meetings.

 William’s wife

[Note: An Edward Smith, born 1796 with family were also onboard the British Brig Emma; he may well have been Mary’s brother. Not proven yet. He and family came to the town of Lisbon in 1837.]

Wilm Wife and my wife are not on the very best of terms. We have not been there all the summer for I do not like her ways nor what she as add to say a bout my wife. I will only give you a little hint of it. I suppose she as been telling of people my wife fats but could not see her one she as been talking about my wife being in the family way before we was married. I suppose she was not now better but that a verry great discrace in this countary and she said many more foolish things but I shall not say much much more about it. My wife felt very uncomfortable about it. I just spoke to my brother about it and he took his wife part very much as I thought.. I would do the same so they may go crose as long as they like.You know she never like my wife nor you since you was a going to give her that fairing when she look out of the window you now cakon to take eny notice when you write about it.I do not want to make father feal uncomfortable about it for I like to read your letters to Father. If she was to git a long som thing better than what she did she would be pleased but thank god it as been my forting to do best for all. Ihave add so much sickness in my family I do not think eny of themhave made eny great head way for I exspect they owe father as much as there property is worth. They have always got a good living.

Stephen a add a good chance to save money but as not gone one the right way. He is got married a gaine to is wife sister

[Phoebe Maxon]. He has got one child by each woman. I have not seen is last wife yet. He is a bad one, his wife add not been dead a year before is other child was born. I hope you will keep it to yourself for I am ashame to have it now of in the old countary but I believe he is doing well now. I have not seen him sincethe spring. He lives about 30 miles from us .

Now I will give you a little account of my self. I was worth about £20 when I got hear wich was about 90 dollars. Well I bought a yoke of oxen and a few things for the house

Well then I loaned 20 dollars of Father the first year. Last September I paid Father all that I owed him and now I have got all my stock my own. I have got I yoke of oxen 4 cows years old heaifer 1 yearborn haiefer 2 calfs 28 sheep lambs 1 two years colt 1 work horse 6 hogs 100 poultary and I have bought 20 acres of land to myself and paid 60 dollars for it in part of the payment. I got to pay 12 dollars per acre for that pay 40 dollars per year till paid for. I exspect I have cleared about 100 dollars per year but the 3 years together I have been a farming and my crops look verry well againe this yer take them all together. I do not think my hops are quite so good. Last year I sold my hops the heist price that eny was sold at in the town. I pick some pretty erly and sold at 19 dollars per hundred weaigh and when I carried them to the man I contracted the rest of mine at 16 dollars per hundred and some keep and sold at 15 so I think I did the best. I never got over 11 dollars per hundred till last year. I do not exspect to get more than that this year for hops are come down some excepted a firing market . I growed about I ton last year. This year I think I shall grow about 15 hundread . I think I cleared 150 dollarsby my hops last year and I are able to keep my family well much better than I cold if I was in England for living I can grow . I made 120 weaigh of stager this spring and Rebaker as two.

I think of going to see my sister next Sunday . She lives about 13 miles from me. Her husband has took a large job of diging of stone for the lock of our new cannal. It comes within about 3 miles were I live so so you can come by water when that is done within 3 miles of my house.

  Rebecca Weaver and husband

David Bonham

Dear friend I have a great deal more to say only my paper is short. I hope you will answer this letter immeadately and I will and I will answer quick agine. So now I must conclude with best wishes to health and happiness and god bless us all. So no more from your affectionate friend .

James Weaver

My wife say I must give her respect to you and she says you must come and pay us a visit for she think you can come hear much best as you have not only yourself. I thank you for the offer you made us. I should like for to see England and many friends once more. Poor Jamie fills up againe now these last few. I am afraid that he must be tap againe in a few days. Poor boy, he as not much enjoy ment of this life. John lives the next house to me. This year he as got a nice little woman for his wife. He as one child.

I have just received a letter from Mr Taylor. If you would be so good as to send him a few lines and give our respects to him saying I have just receive is letter and that I will answer it as soon as I see how that hops are like to go.

COPYRIGHT This document is the property of the Hughes Family . All rights reserved. It is protected by the Copyright Laws and Regulations of the United States of America and the United Kingdom and may not be reproduced in any format. Enquiries to reproduce the whole or any part should be addressed to Reynolds Parry Jones Solicitors of 10 Easton Street High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP11 1NP England. Tel:+44(0) 1494 525941 Fax:+44(0)1494 530701 E-mail:


[The above is the last letter we have about the Weavers living in New York, from here we have David Bonham and his wife, Rebecca Weaver, and family leaving for Wisconsin in early 1836. The Bonhams had no property in New York state, David hired out as a farm hand and also worked on the local canal building. He more than any of them wanted a new place to have a start so they sold off most of what they had accumulated.]

John and Melinda Weaver Family Go to Wisconsin

“We [John and Melinda] only allowed ourselves one month to sell off what we had to sell, and to make ready for the start. My husband sold his crops on then ground, except wheat and barley, which were harvested. There were potatoes, hops, and corn not harvested, besides a good, large and fine vegetable garden and some fruit. He also has a yoke of oxen and one horse and a number of cows, a flock of sheep, a number of swine and farming utensils, which all sold to good advantage. We sold some of our household furniture and some we saved to bring with us. My husband thought of doing as his-brother-in-law [David Bonham] did, that was to sell all our furniture to save the trouble and expense of moving it so far, but I would not consent to that, for I thought that what we did take with us of household goods, that it was almost certain we should have to do without for several years, and that it would be less trouble in the end and more convenient for us if we took some furniture, it if was but a few pieces, than to leave all behind, and not be able to replace it when we got to housekeeping again, which surely would have been the case, for we did not see the time for several years that we felt able to buy anything but the barest necessities of life for ourselves and children, and oftentimes had to make up our minds to go without many things that we could wish to have and felt the need of.” [7]

“The first day of September, 1836, we [John and Melinda] left our parents, brothers and sisters and many other relatives, friends and neighbors, and bid good bye to our old home, and to all the was near and dear to us, and with our small children, a son and daughter, we started on our journey. Slow and tedious was the way of traveling in those days, compared with the faster and much more comfortable way of the present, when we have railroads on which we ride in comfortable carriages, drawn by the steam engine, or the iron horse, as it is often called and can get over as much land in two days as in three weeks at that time, and when we started from our old home we had to go fourteen miles to a place called Lenox Basin [Madison County, New York], and then go on a canal boat to Buffalo. Two teams conveyed us, with our luggage to Lennox, where we waited two hours for a boat, and so anxious were we to be on the way that we went on board the first boat that came along, and so slow did we travel or move along, that we were from Thursday noon until the next Tuesday morning at two o’clock going to Buffalo. The time seemed long for the Captain had told us that he expected to get here in three days. We had to go on the steamboat Monroe at eight o’clock that morning, a boat that only ran to and from Buffalo to Detroit, and just as our goods were being moved from one boat to the other, we were told that if we had Eastern bills we must exchange them for Western money, for Eastern money would not pass when we went farther west, so my husband left me to see that the goods were put on the boat all right, and be ready with the children to go on board with him when he returned, and went to change his money with three other men who were on the boat at the same time. There was a bell to ring three times before the boat should start, and there was to be fifteen minutes between the first and second bell, and then fifteen again between the second and third, and then in five minutes the boat was to start, and as the second bell was ringing there were three young men, and took my children and the other led me on a long single plank, right over the deep water to the steamboat. I was worried about my husband for fear that the boat would be off before he came back, and I did not know how I should manage to get along with my little ones, but when the third and last bell began to ring, he came, but only just in time not to be left. He changed his money, but he might as well have saved himself the trouble, for when we got to Milwaukee, the Eastern money was considered the best. We were fortunate, however, and did not lose ours.

We were hoping to get to Detroit in time to start from there on a boat that was advertised to go out on Wednesday evening, and bound for Milwaukee, but were from eight o’clock Tuesday morning until two o’clock Thursday afternoon before landing, and the steamboat had gone the evening before, and we could neither see nor hear of any vessel that was going out for a week, so we went to a hotel expecting to have to wait a week, but there came up a heavy thunder storm just at night, the rain seemed to fairly pour, and the water ran like a river down the streets, the wind blowing fearfully, and about midnight there was a schooner driven into the harbor. It had come from Sackett’s Harbor, up through the Welland Canal, and was bound for Chicago, laden with goods for that place and Milwaukee, but was to be sold there and not taken back that fall, and as we were anxious to go along, we made up our minds to Chicago on this schooner, Alleghan she was called, and from there take some vessel to Milwaukee. We went on board about noon on Friday, expecting to go immediately, but after all we did not go out until Saturday at 4 o’clock. The wind being in the right direct and brisk, we expected to get of the point off Huron about nine o’clock. The Captain went to bed early so as to take his turn on the watch at midnight, and gave orders to the sailors to lay anchor, when we got to this point, until morning, but we got there sooner than we expected, and the first we knew we had run on a sand bar and stuck fast, and had to lay there still until morning.

As soon as it was day light the men went to work to get the vessel off the sand bar so that she could sail again, as the weather was fair and the wind favorable to take us along on our way; but it was three o’clock in the afternoon before the vessel was liberated, and we sailed only about an hour before the wind went down, and we had to lay there still until the next day at three o’clock when a steamboat came puffing along and took our schooner on one side and the brig Illinois on the other, and towed both vessels about six miles, around a point called Fiddler’s Elbow, where the wind was all right to take us along again. The Illinois was a large brig, and lay about a half mile from us in the same predicament that we were in, and could not sail for want of wind. It was quite a novelty to some of us passengers that had never been on the lake before, to be helped along in that style, but very convenient when we had no other way of moving on the face of the deep, and were anxious to be on our way. When we had turned the point our two captains paid the captain of the steamboat forty dollars each for his services, and then he bade us good-bye, wheeled around and went in another direction, and left us, being soon out of sight. The brig sailed faster than we did and was nearly lost to our view before dark.

As for our little vessel, she sailed only about two hours when the wind again ceased and left us still again on the bosom of the lake, where we had to lay again for twenty-four hours before there was any wind to move us at all, and that was as much headway as we made all the way from Detroit to Milwaukee, and even more than we made some of the way, for we lay three days in one place by the shore of the Manitou Islands and within a mile of the shore. There were five families of us, besides the captain, his mates, men, cook and assistant, and a dozen or more of young single people. The most of them went ashore in the course of time that we lay here all but an old lady seventy years old, another lady who was sick, and myself and my two children. I did not care to go to the island in the jolly boat.

We made such poor headway that we all became discouraged. The captain told us when we had only been two or three days from Detroit that as we had never seen Milwaukee, and would like to see it, and as he found that he had about a dozen passengers that were going there, and that if the wind and weather was favorable, he would try and land us there and not take us to Chicago. We were all pleased with that idea but so slow did we move that we almost despaired of getting to our journey’s end before navigation would close for the season. When we first started from Detroit the captain told us that if we had good weather and favorable wind, and didn’t get taken by pirates, he hoped to get us to Chicago in a week. We all thought he was joking about the pirates, but he said that it was no joke at all, for there had been a pirate vessel on the lakes that summer, and that vessel had been taken by authority and the men arrested and tired, but as nothing could be fairly proved against them they were set free, but had been closely watched, and be verily believed that they were pirates, but he hoped that he should be able to keep out of their way.

One morning not long after this conversation, the captain was on deck just as it was light enough to see plainly, and he discovered a strange looking vessel laying quite still in a little nook or bay, close up to a bank that lay about a quarter of a mile to the left of us, and he called the attention of his mates and men to it. Very soon the passengers were all astir and gazing at it. The captain did not like the looks of it. He said that he had a list and description of every vessel that had gone on before him for the last month, but had not the description of any such vessel as that.

When we passed it there was no sail to be seen, nor smoke, nor the least sign of life. The captain kept watch of it, and so did the passengers. We had not got more than half a mile past it, when all at once we saw smoke, and in a shorter space of time than it takes me to write it, sails went up, the vessel whirled around, headed toward us and sailed along in our track as if it were chasing us, and kept right along in that course until three o’clock in the afternoon, when very soon after we lost sight of her. The captain, however, kept close watch, and when he went to his meals one of his mates watched. Sometimes we sailed so fast as to leave her so far in the distance as to look like a mere speck on the water, and then at times she gained upon us. And came so near that we could see her very plainly. About noon the captain ordered his men to clew and load all the guns belonging to the vessel, and have them ready for use in case that it might be necessary, and likewise requested the passengers who had guns with them to do the same. When they were loading the guns the captain saw that some of the ladies as well as some of the gentlemen showed signs of being timid and somewhat frightened, he laughed at their fears, and pretended that he did not feel in the least alarmed, and only gave those orders just to see what effect it would have on the men, and professed to be very sorry that he had alarmed the ladies. But I watched him and could see that he did not feel very easy; on the contrary, he seemed to be very much concerned, and instead of going to rest at his usual early hour to be ready for his turn on his night watch, as he did every night, he stayed upon deck and watched all night. But we never heard any more of the pirate vessel.

The time passed about as it usually had since the commencement of our journey, sometimes sailing along quite fast, but oftener laying still, until the twenty-fifth of the month. We had been laying still for nearly two days when on the twenty-fourth a fine breeze blew up and sent us on our way rejoicing – for a few hours only. About four o’clock in the afternoon it began to be foggy and in a few minutes the fog was so thick and heavy that we could see nothing but fog. This was rather discouraging, as something had happened to the captain’s compass that day so that it was of no use to him. The wind was strong enough as yet to allow us to sail along finely, and the captain had thought that we might see Milwaukee the next morning, and for fear of getting out of his way he concluded not to go ahead any further until the fog cleared away, so they kept shifting the sails and sailing around all night, so as keep about in the same place, hoping that it would be clear in the morning. But when morning came it was still very foggy, but not quite as thick as it had been the night before. We could see only a few rods from the vessel. As soon as it was fairly day light the captain had his jolly boat lowered, and he took his gun and stepped into it, paddled off to explore, as he said, for he sounded with lead line, and thought that he was not far from land. The first mate objected to his going alone, or going at all, before the fog had cleared away. The captain only laughed at him and paddled off and the fog soon hid him from our sight. He was gone three hours, and the fog had cleared a little more than when he started. The mate had become alarmed, and fired a gun three times before he got an answer, when soon after the captain appeared in sight and three men in the boat with him.

The seventy-year old lady and myself were on deck looking over the side when he came, looking and seeing that the old lady seemed very much surprised, he put on a very sober face and said, “Well mother, I have taken three pirates this morning, and we are going to have a hanging bee as soon as I have had my breakfast.” The nervous old lady was quite alarmed at this, but soon got over it when the captain came on board and told us that when about a mile from the vessel he had run in to the mouth of a river, and when he had rowed about a mile up the stream, he came to a saw mill and a small settlement, who near the mill he saw three men with packs upon their backs, and were just about to start for Milwaukee on foot. He asked them the name of the place. They told him it was Sheboygan and that it was the Sheboygan River that he had run his boat in to. He asked then if they had ever been on the lake to Milwaukee. They said they had, and then he wanted to know if they could pilot him to Milwaukee. They seemed to think they could, and he invited them to come on board of his boat. The old lady was pleased to think that there would be no hanging bee after all. These men were surveyors. They said that it was about sixty miles to Milwaukee by land – they did not know the exact distance by water, but when the fog cleared away a short time after, they seemed to think that if we were favored with fair wind all day as we were then, that we might reach Milwaukee by evening, but about two hours later the wind went down again and so we made no more headway for two days. On the 27th we were again favored with a fine breeze and about twelve o’clock, midnight, we were within a mile of Milwaukee.” [7]

“We had very pleasant weather all the way from home except one day, and that was a rainy day. Except that one day, we could be on deck nearly all day. Of course, when it was foggy it was not so pleasant, but it was warm. The sun shone bright and beautiful except those two days. We did not go to bed the night we got to Milwaukee, for the captain had told us that he expected that we should get there in the evening, and if it was night, that is, if the wind was favorable for him to go right along. So, late as it was, we had to go ashore in a small row boat, which went three times from the schooner to the land to take the passengers and goods. We went the second time. It had grown cloudy and we heard distant thunder. We found that the lake was getting rather rough. There was no harbor or pier, and the sailors rowed as near as they could and then jumped on shore with a rope in hand and then pulled the boat close to the shore helping the rest of us to land, and there we were with two little children on the beach of the lake along way from any house or building and so dark was it that we could scarcely see to walk on the beach and keep clear of the lake.

We came to a small log house where lived three families. We saw a light at a window just before we got to it, but it was gone by the time we got there, and it was beginning to sprinkle. We rapped at the door and a man called out to know what was wanted. My husband answered that he had just landed from a schooner with his wife and two children and would like to get shelter for the rest of the night. A lady let us in, the only man at home being lame and could not get out of bed. He had been out chopping and had cut his foot very badly with his axe. They were kind enough to give us shelter, but had no bed for us, so my husband went back to where we landed and brought back a loose bed that we had and got back before it rained very hard; but we had scarcely lain down with the children when the rain came down in earnest. The thunder was heavy and the lightening sharp, and altogether, with the roaring and dashing of the waves, (for we were close to the lake), there was not very much sleep for us, but we were thankful that we were on land, and that it was no worse. When daylight came the sun rose bright and clear, and it was very pleasant indeed. My husband went back to where our boxes, chest and barrels lay, for they had to lay where we landed, and brought our provision box so that we could get our breakfast, and then went out and found his brother-in-law [David Bonham] who had just come down the river two miles, to his work.

He came in a small boat. He took me and the children in his boat and rowed back home with us, my husband staying to care of our luggage till the boat could come back for him and bring our baggage home, which was done in the course of the day. They lived in a small log house, with only one room below and one above, and these very small. They had three little ones and there was a family staying with them, a man, wife and four children. They stayed about a week after we got there and then they moved, but we had to stay there as there was no other place, not even one room that we could find to get into, and we could not get into the country as we expected to, until spring [1837].

[The early land claimants only knew the land as “beginning at the south east corner of town 7, north of Range twenty
east; thence west to the north west corner of town 7, north of Range 19 east; thence north to the north west corner of town 8, north of Range 19 east, north of Range 20 east”.

It’s first name was “Head of the Fox”, due to the springs, creeks and streams that flowed south to form the Fox River.]

Township 8 North, Range 19 East of the 4th Principal Meridian, was primarily surveyed by Deputy Surveyor Garret Vliet, along with two chain carriers, and a marker. An Affidavit To the Surveyor General (then in Ohio), written December 1, 1835 that the survey (of the portion of town he was assigned) was completed with the following men:

A.D. Wagner (?) chain carrier

William J. Barrie, chain carrier

Edward S. Gridley, marker.

Two other surveying teams completed lesser assignments within the township:

John Brink was also a Deputy Surveyor, March 13, 1836, who worked with: William H. Henley, William Ostrander, and Ira Egleston (?) as was,

John H. Mullett, Deputy Surveyor, with Eles (?) E. Keeney, Samuel Hubbel, and H. Johnson.

Vliet also completed on March 14, 1836 a survey portion of Town of Menomonee with George P. Delaplaine, chain, Richard Schustz (?), chain carrier, and Samuel Spivey, marker.

Those who had gone and made their claims were not going to spring, and it would be too lonely for one family to be out there without any neighbors. It was lonely enough where we were, a mile and a half from the town, and not much of a town at that, and did not look as if it would ever be much of a place. We had expected to pay for our land that fall [1836], but as it was not in the market, we could not; but as we found provisions and everything that we needed so much dearer than we had been used to paying, we found it necessary to use all of our ready money before we could raise anything on our land.

Flour was $8 a barrel when we first got there, and we were told that as soon as navigation closed it would be raised to $15, and so we thought we would get our winter stock, but merchants had already raised the price and we had to pay $10 and $12. We paid $16 for a barrel of white fish and $32 for a barrel of pork, $6 a hundred for beef by taking the half of one anima; butter 25 cents, and not fit to eat, so we did not buy any for a while, but used a jar full that we brought from the east, and then went without any for two months. At the end of that time there was a man came from Illinois with a sleigh load of nice butter that he sold for two-and-six pence as we used to count money then, but the merchants sold what they called good butter at the time for five schillings a pound; very poor brown sugar 18 cents a pound; a little better kind, 20 cents; and loaf sugar 25 cents a pound. Tea, coffee and spices were also dear accordingly and went up in price when navigation closed, but not quite so much in proportion as some other things. Sure enough, flour was $15 a barrel when navigation closed, and there came a time, about the middle of winter, that flour had to be brought by teams from Chicago, and those who had to buy then had to pay $20 a barrel. We paid a dollar a bushel for potatoes, and 50 cents a bushel for turnips that were raised near where we lived. Clothing was very dear, but we had supplied ourselves so well that we did not need much for two years, and by that time, it was a little more reasonable.

My husband went to work at two dollars a day, the day after we landed, and worked until he had earned one hundred and twenty dollars, sometimes with carpenters and sometimes with masons. Then came dull times, no more building that winter except to finish off those that were commenced, consequently there was no work except for regular tradesmen. There were a good many men out of employment that would have been glad to have had work to do. Our men bought some oxen and got a chance to draw some wood for the steam boats. They had to pay twenty-two dollars a ton for hay, and they bought corn and oats to feed and to sow. They paid two dollars a bushel for oats and two and a half for corn.

Their job of hauling wood lasted about three weeks, and then they went through the woods where it was more open. Oak openings as they called it, with once in a while a small prairie, and began to build a log louse [had to be Bonham’s home and public house]. It was eighteen miles to their claim, so they would take provisions for a week and go and work a week, and then come home, get more and go again. It was very cold and they found it very slow business to get even a log house built. They had to saw all the boards they used by hand, and it took three men [who was the third man? Mr. Ralph] four weeks, including the time it took to go to and from the place, and break their way through the snow and cut trees and brush, so that they could get through with oxen and sleds.

The third man was a neighbor who was going to live near us. When they had one house they thought we could live in, we moved – three families into the house and all lived together four weeks. One of our neighbors [this was probably the Redfords] fixed up a claim shanty, as they called it, and moved his family into it on the same day that we moved, that being the fourth day of March 1837. We were a mile and a half apart and could not see each other’s cabins. Our men hired a man with a span of horses and a sleigh to take us with our children, and we had to go through fifteen miles of timber, and only one place in the timber land that we could see out, and then only as we looked overhead.

There were no houses all through the woods, as we went to our new home in the opening beyond, except the Half-way House – as our men called it – and that was rather more than half of the way through the woods, but it was only a place where a man had cut down a few trees, and laid up a few logs as if for a house about twelve feet square, just to save his claim. There was no roof, not even rafters, but a few pieces of bark, and a little brush laid over at one corner. There was a doorway cut through, but no door. There were some pieces of flat stone laid up against the logs in one corner, and as our men went to and fro once a week for four weeks, while they were getting ready to move, they would give their oxen some grain, and as there was no one there to entertain them, they would entertain themselves in the best manner possible. They would enter this wayside inn, build a fire in the center, where stood those flat stones, and prepare their tea or coffee, which they always carried with them and their lunch of bread, cold meat, pie and cake and such things we could cook and put up for them. When they had finished their meal and warmed themselves as well as they could, and their teams had rested and fed, they would drive along again on their lonely road, never meeting or over-taking anyone, for there was no one but themselves that traveled that road, until the day that we three families went, and then there were two men that went to look for land, and they stayed in our house nights and looked around for several days, until they suited themselves for land to make homes for themselves and families.

As soon as it was known that we had moved out in the country men kept coming, so that our little log house was always full. The four weeks that the three families of us lived all together in one house, our floor was strewn with men, (those who came to look for land and make claims0, every night but one, and that night we felt rather lonely. There was only one room that we could use, except to stow away some things out of our way for the upper floor was laid only half over, and no stairs to go above. Some had to crowd themselves and their families into one end of the room, (fourteen of us altogether), partitioned across, and between beds with quilts and blankets, so as to leave the rest of the room for our company. Some of them brought their provisions, and we prepared it for them, and some of them boarded with us, but they all had to lay on the floor, as we had no bedsteads besides those we used ourselves, and these were homemade and roughly made at that. But crowded as we were, we were only glad to divide our small room and accommodate as well as it was possible in our poor way, for we wanted neighbors as well as they wanted homes; and if we were somewhat selfish, we had a desire to be kind and neighborly.

There was such a body of snow on the ground that there was good sleighing nearly half the month of March, which made it very convenient for our men to get hay and grain, and such things as they had to have, for they had to go to Milwaukee for everything that they needed, as there was nowhere else to go to get anything; but wood and water we had plenty at home. They made hay and stacked it in the previous summer, when they went to make their claims; hoping to have abundance in the spring if they needed it. Knowing that the Indians were in the habit of setting fire to burn prairies, marsh and openings, to make clear their hunting grounds from grass and herbage, they thought best to set fire themselves and burn around their stacks at some suitable time, for the purpose of trying to save them when the Indians should set fire to the prairies, but they had the misfortune to lose all their hay, seven large stacks, by the shifting of the wind which drove the fire back, and sparks of fire lighting on the stacks set the hay on fire, and they could not save any of it. So they had to buy hay in Milwaukee and draw it home, seventeen miles, to the place that has been known for many years as the town of Lisbon, in the county of Waukesha.

The last time that they went to town while the sleighing lasted was the last week in March, and not as good going as it had been, for the snow was wasting fast; but as they were wanting more corn, they thought they must fetch it before the snow was gone. As they were very busy with other work, our neighbor who lived in the house with us, took a yoke of oxen and a sled and went to town alone after the corn. He was not much used to driving a team, and my husband told him that he would go as far as the Menomonee River the next day to meet him and help him if he needed help, he started the next morning in good time so as to be sure to meet him at the river; but when he got there he could see nothing of the team, so he walked along three or four miles farther before he met him. Then he took the ox whip himself and hurried the team along as fast as possible, for he had seen cracks in the ice, when he crossed the river, and water above the ice, half way to his boot tops, and when they got back there, the water was deeper and the cracks in the ice wider. Mr. Rolf [Ralph], our neighbor who had been after the corn, did not know what to do; but my husband told him that they must carry the corn across on their shoulders a bag at a time, and they carried it across in that way, then took the sled and drew it across by hand, and unyoked the oxen and drove one over alone; then they went back for the other, and when they had driven him about half way over, the ice broke and the ox dropped into the river with nothing but his head remaining above the water. They caught hold of his horns and tried to pull him out, but could not, and the current of the water drew him under the ice. They then cut the ice away with an axe, hoping that he might rise so they could help him out. But he did not, and when they found that he was still going under they threw themselves down on the ice, in the water, and caught the ox by the tail and pulled him back, until he could get his head above the water. Then he could help himself some, and with their help he scrambled upon the ice and got over to the other side with his mate. He came near being drowned, and the men trying to save his life came near drowning themselves. Every thread of their clothing was as wet as water could make it.

There they were as much as nine miles from home, or from any house, and they were about tired out, and it was almost night. It was growing cold and beginning to freeze, but they loaded their corn again and drove on until they came within a mile and a half of the Fox River. By that time it was getting too dark to drive much farther, and their clothing was frozen, and there appeared to be no alternative, but they must stop there for the night and perhaps freeze to death before morning. They stood by the fire and kept from freezing, but after a while Mr. Rolph [Ralph] felt so tired and sleepy that he laid down to sleep. My husband did not dare to, for he thought that if he did that they would both freeze to death. So he kept stirring around and kept up large fire, disturbed Mr. Rolph every few minutes, trying to wake him for fear that he would freeze to death. After awhile he succeeded in arousing him so that he got up to stir himself about and kept awake, and when daylight came they started for home. But when they had crossed the Fox River, and were going up the bank, their load of corn slipped from the sled and all went into the river, and they were obliged to wade in and carry it out a bag at a time, and load it again, making their garments as wet as they were the day before, and in that plight had to drive home. They arrived home about eight o’clock, tired, cold hungry and faint. When they had taken a warm bath and put on dry garments, and had taken some warm food, and had lain in bed a few hours, they felt better and went to work. They built a scaffold of their homemade boards and other timber which they had sawed by hand, and spread the corn thereon to dry, taking it out in the morning and into the house at night, until it was dry. They concluded they had earned the corn, with their troubles, besides the two dollars and a half they had paid for it.

A few days after this, and on the first day of April, 1837, we moved into our own little log cabin with our little family, one mile away from our brother-in-law’s [David Bonham], and neighbors that we had lived with nearly a month. There are many people in these days that would think that such a place as our cabin was at that time was a comfortless place indeed, but we thought it a pleasure to be by ourselves once more, after living so crowed as we had done for six months, and of course, it was quite pleasant for others to have their own house to themselves, especially where there were so many little children, where there were three families in one small house.

Democratic Nominations

At a meeting of the Democratic party, convened at the Court House in the town of Milwaukee, pursuant to public notice, on the 29th day of March…

On motion, the following persons were appointed a Committee of Vigilance:

Mr. Bonham, Head of Fox River (Note: name of residence)

Source: Milwaukee Advertiser, April 1, 1837, page 2 of 4.


David Bonham – the town’s first business man, and the first business in the town.

Editor: April 1, 1837 David Bonham is advertising in a Milwaukee newspaper that his Public House (tavern) was open at “Head of Fox River”

[later Town of Lisbon]. The Head of the Fox River encompassed an area on the eastern edge of the Lisbon township and that which was

Willow Springs, later Lannon, then Village of Menomonee Falls.


Public House

The subscriber would inform the travelling public that he has opened a house of entertainment on range 19 town 8 section 36 the north-west quarter. It is on the Oconomowoc trail, at the head of Fox River, on the direct route to the Upper Rapids on the Rock River, where he will be happy to accommodate those may be disposed to give him a call.

David Bonham

April 4, 1837

Source: Milwaukee Advertiser, Milwaukee Advertiser, April 15, 1837


“Oconomeewoc Village” instead of “Public House” heading in the May 13, 1837 edition.

In the spring and summer of 1837, James Weaver, who now lives at Sussex; George Elliott, Edward Smith, Nathan Peso and Samuel Dougherty came with their families and settled here, making for themselves permanent homes.

Our cabin was small, with only one room below and one above, or rather only one room when we went into it, for it was not finished. There was no upper floor for the reason that we had boards only to lay the lower floor, and had to wait three weeks for that until our men could get time to saw them by hand over a pit, with a thick veil over his face to keep the sawdust from blinding him. It was a slow and very tiresome way of making lumber, but our neighbor Mr. Rolph, and my husband, sawed all of the lumber in that way by hand that was used for the first six houses that were built in our neighborhood, all log houses, and of course they made a little to finish them; but there was an upper and a lower floor to every one of those six houses, and certainly one door, and to some two, and casings for the doors and windows. Some had one window, some two, and others three, but generally not more than two, and frequently only one below and very small one above, and when two men had to saw by hand all that was used, there was a good deal of hard work for a comparatively small pile of lumber.

There was a place cut through one end of our house for a good sized fireplace, and a sort of chimney built from the ground up to above the roof, with split sticks on the upper part, laid cob house fashion, and plastered thick with clay. It was built on the outside and closely joined to the logs of the house, so as to form jambs to the fireplace. Then there was a stone back laid up about five feet high, and laid in mud instead of in mortar. For the inside of the jambs we had a large flat stone for each side about four feet high, and wide enough to fill out the jambs and keep out the fire from the house logs. There was no hearth laid when we first went into the house, and for three weeks we had to step down one step to get to the fire. At the end of that time, was the upper floor laid, and also a stone hearth, which made it more convenient as well as more comfortable, for it had seemed somewhat like living in a barn while there was no floor overhead; and the first four days we had no window, neither was there a place cut for one through the lays, so we were not afraid of the wolves coming in to disturb us at night.

It was Saturday that we moved into our house, and on Monday my husband went back to the saw pit to work. I expected him home at night, but in the afternoon Mrs. Rolph came and told me that our men had all gone to Milwaukee and would not home before the next day, which was town meeting day and that was the reason why they went, but they thought they would be home by three or four o’clock. She wanted me to go home with her and stay until the men came home. But I told her that I could not as I was very tired. I had been washing and did not feel able to walk and carry a child in my arms, and I must make up my mind to stay alone, lonesome as it was.

There was nothing to look at out of doors but the ground, the trees and overhead the sky and clouds. There was no settlement nearer than eight miles, and only three log houses there. That was where Waukesha now is, and none nearer than Milwaukee east us, and no settlement within the bounds of knowledge, north or west of us, knowing that our men were all gone, made it lonely indeed. I fastened my door early, before it was fairly dark, and went to bed, but did not sleep much. I heard wolves howl nearly all night and was very thankful to see the morning light once more, and still more thankful to see my husband coming, when it was nearly dark at night, with a window sash in his hand and a glass to put into it. I thought that the largest day that I had ever seen, and the next day our neighbors came to help us to put in our window.

The four days we had lived in our cabin without any light except what came down the chimney and in at the door when it was open, had been very warm and pleasant, so that we could have the door open all day, and we got along very well, but it seemed much more pleasant and homelike even to have only one window, and that a small one; yet it looked like living in a barn, while we had no floor overhead. But in a little over two weeks that inconvenience was remedied, and we had an upper room and ladder, on which to go up to it, which was quite an improvement. The steps of the ladder were made of wood about four inches through, split in the middle and rounded at the ends and let into the side pieces, the flat side upwards. Although it was very plain and rather rough, with no casing, it had to serve our purpose for two years and a half and compared very well with other parts of the establishment. Our floors were laid with rough boards, just as they were when they came from the saw, never having been planed, except with the mop and broom. It was hard work to keep them clean at first, but before many weeks they were quite smooth and easy to clean, and looked quite comfortable and tidy, everything considered, and I began to be proud of our plain little home.

I did not allow myself to feel discontented or homesick as long as we were all well, or so as to be up and around; but when we were sick I missed my relatives and former friends, and the more so because there was no one to be hired for either love or money for a number of years, as almost every new settler who came into the neighborhood came with a young family, if with any. If young persons did come into the place who would go and who could be spared from home, they would go to Milwaukee. We in the country were unable to hire anyone, and if we needed assistance, there was none to be had, except in cases of extreme sickness, and then neighbors would take turns, and do the best they could for each other, but when they were well, they of course, had to do the best they could for themselves.

One morning when we had been living by ourselves about a week, there came a young man to the door, a stranger. He bade me good morning and asked if he could come in and rest, and when I welcomed him and asked him to take a chair, he asked me if I could give him some breakfast. I told him I could if he would accept of such fare as I had, for I had not much of a variety. He said he did not wish to give me any trouble and he would not be particular what I gave him to eat, if I could give him a cup of hot tea or coffee for he was not feeling very well. I told him he could have his choice of hot drink, and he chose tea. While I was preparing it for him he told me he had been out all night and had to lodge in a tree to keep out of the way of wolves; he was out alone looking for land; he had been on the prairie where those three families lived eight miles south of us, and having been told that there were some settlers that had just come in over north a few miles, he thought he would come yesterday afternoon and see if he could find them.

He had a piece of timber to come through and he got lost. Night came on and as he could not see which way to go, he thought it best to lie down and try not to go any farther until morning. He laid down at the foot of a tree that he thought he could climb easily, and had not lain there very long when he heard the howling of wolves, to all appearances not very far distant from him. Feeling no longer safe on the ground, he sprang as quickly as possible into the tree and had been there but a few minutes, when along came a number of wolves close to the tree at the place where he had lain, and began to sniff and growl and scratch and tear up the ground with their claws. As they found nothing to satisfy themselves, they began to hunt around and soon found there was something in the tree. As they could not climb they seemed to get very angry and set up a horrid concert of their music, tearing up the ground all around the tree, eating and tearing of the bark with their teeth. They kept up their howling and tearing almost incessantly till morning. Soon after daylight they became quiet and went away. He counted seven as they walked off. As soon as he dared he got down from the tree and went as fast as he could toward the opening which he saw from the tree top, and neither saw nor heard any more of the wolves.

The two men who came out with us from Milwaukee the day that we moved from there, Mr. Rosebrook and Mr. Palmer, built a log shanty with only a single roof, covering it with what they called shakes or house made shingles, and for the floor they had split logs, using boards only to the door. About the middle of April they moved their wives and families into it and lived together until the fall. Old Mr. And Mrs. Palmer came with them. They were the parents of young Mr. Palmer and Mrs. Rosebrook. It seemed more like home to have more neighbors, although not so near as we were used to have them. We could then number seven families that had come and settled within a month and a half.

Mr. [Arthur] Redford moved from Milwaukee with us, or on the same day that we did, with his wife and six children. The two oldest were young men at the time, and are now living with their families, the one [Thomas Spencer Redford] in the town of Lisbon, the other [Henry Redford] in Menomonee, on their farms that lay on the line that divides these two towns, and near where their father first settled, viz: Messers Henry and Thomas Redford’s family, Mr. Rolph’s [Ralph’s] and our brother-in-law, Bonhams. Ours were the first four families that settled in the town of Lisbon, then the two Palmers and Mr. Rosebrook.” [7]

Editor Note: According to Melinda Warren Weaver, the first families to actually live in the Township were:

John and Melinda Weaver & family

David and Rebecca Bonham & family

Mr. Ralph (various spellings) and family

Note: These families travelled together on March 4, 1837 to their claims and lived together (in her brother-in-law’s, David Bonham, cabin) for nearly a month before their own cabins were ready about April 1, 1837.

Arthur Redford, wife and 6 children ; including Thomas S. Redford

Note: Melinda says they arrived the same day. Thomas Spencer Redford, Arthur’s son, wasn’t waiting their arrival, though it’s said he staked a squatter’s claim early in 1836.

Mr. Palmer and Mr. Rosebrook

Note: These two men also arrived on March 4th, w/o their families, to erect a shelter. Later their families arrived which included Mr. & Mrs. Palmer, Sr., who were the parents of Mr. Palmer, and that of Mr. Rosebrook’s wife.

“as we [John and Melinda] had written to our brother, Mr. James Weaver, and given him a description of our new and wild looking country, not advising him to come, but telling him that we had made up our minds to stay, he made up his mind to come to us, and arrived with his family about the middle of June [1837]. [7] [So what changed James’ mind to pull up stakes in New York state? From Melinda’s memoir, she says the following,

“when our brother [James Weaver] knew what we had made up our minds to do, told us he was in the same mind himself if he could only be satisfied that he should like the new country as well as his brother-in-law appeared to, but he had a large family and did not like to risk pulling up stakes and going so far, until he could have more than one person’s opinion and advice on the subject, and was anxious that his own relatives should go first and if they liked it and thought we would stay, he would if possible, come to us in the spring, but if we did not like it and thought it best to come back in the spring, which we could not do until the opening of navigation, that he would pay our expenses back, as he said it would be an advantage to him to do this rather than to go with his large family and then perhaps not be satisfied and think best to go back, and if we would go ahead he would do all he could to help us get ready, so that we might start early enough to get through before the closing of navigation, as we had to sail up the chain of lakes from Buffalo to Milwaukee, and where we had a good deal to do to get ready for the journey.” [7]

{So James wanted a second opinion from another family member.]

In the year 1837, the westward journey was resumed for the James Weaver, George Elliott, and Edward Smith families by way of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes. The old vessel on which they came, the “Julia Palmer”, by way of the Great Lakes, landed at Milwaukee on the 9th of June.

The magnificent city was then a hamlet, no pier had been constructed, and the passengers were therefore taken ashore, at the mouth of the Milwaukee River, on an old flat-bottomed scow. As there was no bridge across the Milwaukee River, they were taken over by means of a crude ferry-boat drawn by hand, along a rope stretched from shore to shore. Son Thomas says he landed with only a pair of slippers protecting his feet, and they walked to what was to become the town of Lisbon. The principal part of the business was done on East and West Water Streets, and Grand [Wisconsin] Ave., and what is now the most valuable portion of the city was then a tamarack swamp, made joyous at evening by the croaking of hundreds of frogs. Where the great railroad depots, the principal factories and Pabst’s brewery now stand. Wisconsin had not dreamed of having a railroad, factory or any other great industry.

“Mr. Weaver came on to Lisbon Township, which was then embraced within the limits of Milwaukee County. There were but three log cabins in the town, the one erected by Mr. Weaver being the fourth. It was as good as any the first settlers had, a cabin having a fire-place extending nearly across one end, and covered with a shake roof, but his son, Richard, says that oftentimes when they arose in the morning, two or three inches of snow covered the floor and bed. Son Thomas says the it was a mud and stick chimney.” [5]

He built his house not far from ours, in sight, which made us feel more and more at home. With him came Mr. Edward Smith, and Mr. George Elliott, who now lives in Lisbon near Sussex. They, too, brought their families. Mr. Elliott built his house one mile north of ours, and Mr. Smith built his half mile west of ours.” [7]

The Indians had not yet departed for their western home; as many as three hundred Winnebagoes camped within eighty rods of the Weaver homestead. His son, William, says he saw many Indians with their ponies, papooses and squaws pass in single file the home of his father. They were never troublesome however, as they belonged to the friendly Winnebago and Pottawatamie tribes. They were ever ready to exchange the product of the chase for the product of the white man’s toil. William said that for a pot of potatoes he could get a large buck’s pelt. Thomas often carried on his back from Prairieville, a sack of flour, and old fashioned coffee mill to ground the corn into making “johnny cakes.” William stated that the only means of locomotion were the oxen, while the vehicle was nearly always a sled or cart. The roads were tortuous, winding through forests and around swamps, and where a soft piece of ground was to be crossed, a corduroy road was constructed. [Note: The earliest roads were merely narrow paths and trails carved into terrain that was difficult to traverse, and those in marshy areas were especially bumpy, whether due to natural tree roots or because the man-made roads were reinforced with logs to minimize the risk of wagon wheels or horses becoming mired in mud. They were dubbed “corduroy” roads because the positioning of the logs side by side perpendicular to the direction of travel resembled the wide wales of course woolen fabric called corduroy. ]

Churches and schools, the great promoters of civilization, with their elevating and moralizing inlluences, as yet had not been established. It was the happy lot of Mr. Weaver to assist in creating and promoting these institutions. Son Thomas says he and his brother walked to Milwaukee in order to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church.

Having secured three hundred and twenty acres of wild land, this pioneer began its development, and in connection with general farming, raised hops from roots which he had brought with him from the east, thus becoming the founder of that industry in this county.

The first one removed from the little community by death, was Stephen Bonham, a little son of D. Bonham, who died in October, 1837, and was buried on his father’s farm.

Lisbon had its first representative of a new generation in the person of Ruth Weaver, daughter of James Weaver, born November, 1837.


By act of the Territorial Legislature, approved January 2, 1838, the land included in the present towns of Lisbon, Pewaukee, Brookfield and Menomonee, was erected into the Town of Lisbon [1838 – the Town of Lisbon is formed within the Milwaukee County Territory along with the Towns of Summit to the west), Muskego (to the southwest), and Mukwonago (to the south). [Initially the first settlers called the areaHead of Fox River”]

Proceedings of the Board of County Commissioners, of the county of Milwaukee, at their Session in April, A. D. 1838

, fixing on the place of holding Elections and defining the Road Districts in said County and the Counties thereunto attached, Ordered, That hereafter the Polls of Election in the several Towns in the county of Milwaukee and the counties thereunto attached, shall be held at the following points and places, until otherwise ordered by this board. In the town of Lisbon, at the dwelling-house now occupied by David Bonham, and also at the dwelling-house now occupied by J. De Wolf. Source: Milwaukee Sentinel, April 17, 1838, page 4

In 1838 Mr. William Weaver disposed of his interests in the Empire State and came to the territory of Wisconsin on a first inspecting tour. Being well pleased with the country he returned to New York to make preparations for his removal thither, and in the following year, 1839), made a permanent location in Waukesha County. On coming here he took a claim of one hundred and sixty acres of wild land, situated on what is now section 26 of Lisbon Township. He had about $100 in money with which to commence in Wisconsin. He erected a rude cabin and at once devoted himself to the arduous task of developing and cultivatinga farm in the new country. At that time there were not more than eight houses in the town of Lisbon, and no churches or school-houses in the entire settlement. [5]

The following year, “He cut his first grain with a four-fingered cradle, then threshed it out of the straw with a Hail, first cleaning a space upon which to work.” [5]

James’ first (?) letter back home since the move to the Wisconsin Territory.


Letter 4: James Weaver, from Lisbon, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, December 13-15, 1839, to (cousin) Richard Hardeman at the “Whofferton (Wofferton) Salway Arms (an inn), Near Ludlow, Herefordshire, Great Britain.

Lisbon Milwaukie County Decbr. 13 1839

My Dear Richard,

With much pleasure I imbrace this upportunity of addressing my self to you in answer of your kind letter in which I was much pleased with your letter and so glad to hear that you was likely to make your new habitation answer so well.I think you have done well for the first reason I see you have got to be quite a greasour

[a grazier as in shepherd or rancher?] and I hope you will have good luck with your flock. Poor father was glad to hear so good account of you and we should both be very happy to see you and your wife and family but 5,000 miles seames long a way a part but there is more unlikely things turn up than that although I see no prospect of it at preasent but god only now what we are to come to and I do sincere hope we shallmeet together in another world of happiness if it is not our good luck to meet in this.

I hope these few lines will find you all in good health as thank god it leaves most of my family. I add a bad exceldent this week and cut my foot with a axx but I be in hopes I shall get about before long. I have one little girl that thus not enjoy a verry good health at present it gane one that was a baby when I left England but the rest of my family are in good health now by the blessing of god. My wife was confined last July of a nother son and was sick for 12 hours and I add 16 miles to send for a doctor but we got through before eny doctor got there and she got a long pretty well the first week and then was taken vey dangerus hill and I got the doctor out as soon as I could and I did the best I could for her my self which I nould was my duty to do and I be happy to say the Almighty as restore her to her health a gine in which I feel very thankfull for. Add I but lost my wife I should have been undon. I know I should of known the lost of a good one.

I think if I understood your letter right your wife did not enjoy good health. If so I hope please god will restore her to her health agine.

Now I will give you some account how I have got on this year. I now have 18 head of cattel 16 hogs I have killed at this fall and I have 4 more to kill and I have sold 11 pigs. That increase I have got from 2 sows . Since last February 1839 that increase in 1 year will be worth me 100 dollars and 1 horse I have lately bought for 70 dollars and my wife bought 2 chickens a bought a year a go and she is add good luck to get 33 from the 2. You may see we be in the fair way for making up for hard times. I think I shall grow 240 bushels of wheat 180 of oats 15 of barley 5 of peas 9 of Buckwheat 600 of potatoes and some tuirnips and I cut 15 tons of hay that is wild hay and cattel do well on it and I have got in about 18 or 20 acres of wheat this fall and it look well.

150 Bushels of Indian corn wheat is worth from 45 cents to 1 dollar Oats 38 cents Indian corn 62 cents Barley 75 cents peotatoes 38 cents pork 7 dollars to 8 dollars per hundred beef 6 dollars per hundred Cheese 14 cents lb Butter 31 cents lb but not much cash paid for grain this year this part of the Countary. Now I suppose produce 300 miles south of where I live is not worth about half as much as hear.

My boy shot a Deir last week wayed 86 lb plenty of them hear and turkies and prayor hens about like a hen pheasant plenty of wild game hear and every one shot were they like.

Edward Times is set up a shoemaking hear built him a shop beside William house. He as only just start bisness for him self. He as work out at farming work since he has been hear he but his self prenticed in york state and I think he has not ardly learnt is trade a nuf yet .

Please give our kind respect to Uncle Beals fokes and and the rest of our relations when you have a chance to and I hope your sister is doing well. I think you did your Duty for her. My sister thus enjoy much better health this year. Father is quite harty for his age and like this part of the countary well. He not know I are a writing to you so you must please to take his kind love and he please to hear from you and please to except all the rest of my brothers and sisters and they are all well.

Please to answer this letter as soon as conveinant for I be glad to hear from you .

We have a fine mild winter so far . I be sorry for the poor in England and many of the farmers to and middle class to. I feal glad to think I left when I did .

I now I have done a fine thing for my family . My tax this year was not 5 dollars all the tax I add to pay. If a man bye a pease of land hear what he can raise of it is his own.

I be sorry to send you such a small sheat of paper but I have now long sheat by me so please to exquse bad spaling

Decr. 15 1839.

Mr Taylor I had letter from him about 2 week a go and he is staying at New York now he talk of going to England next year. I have sent him your address.

Please to except my best love from me my wife and children for yourself and all the family from your Friend and well wishes of J E Weaver.

This time 20 years my poor mother laid dead . O what a alteration in 20 years. God bless you and all of the family.

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December 20, 1839 – the Town of Lisbon (which was 12 miles by 12 miles square) is split into the towns of Lisbon, Menomonee (Township 8, Range 20, East), Pewaukee and Brookfield (each 6 miles by 6 miles square). This was approved by the Wisconsin Legislature, but not effective until after March 1, 1840. Each of the other three original Towns (see 1838) divided themselves up in like manner, but all still part of Milwaukee County.


Letter 5: James Weaver, from Lisbon, June 21, 1842, to (cousin) Richard Hardeman at “Whofferton.

Lisbon June 21 1842

Dear Cousin,

I just take this upportunity of writing a few lines as I have a gentleman at my house by the name of John Weaver and he saying that he is a going by hour house. He stop with me a night short time ago and was saying that he new you and weare you live so I have not now time to write much now be cause Mr Weaver want to be gone so I hope these few lines will find you in good health as it leaves me and all of my family and father is in good health . He take much comfort in is old days and my brothers and sisters and all there family are well.

I have been expect a letter from you for some time . I hope I shall get one before you received this and if you have not wrote I hope you will as soon as you received this.

I have sent for my wife [‘s] Father and Mother and promise to keep them as long as they live. If they could get hear they add to be sent by the parish and I heard from them the other day and there money was nearly come and they could not get up with out some assistance so I have sent them some money and exspect them hear next week god only knows but you and I may meet together in this world but if not I hope we shall in the next in a place of happiness.

So now more at present and god bless you all give our respect to eny of our friend when you write.

I remain your well wishes please to except of our kind respect to you all

James and E Weaver

COPYRIGHT This document is the property of the Hughes Family . All rights reserved. It is protected by the Copyright Laws and Regulations of the United States of America and the United Kingdom and may not be reproduced in any format. Enquiries to reproduce the whole or any part should be addressed to Reynolds Parry Jones Solicitors of 10 Easton Street High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP11 1NP England. Tel:+44(0) 1494 525941 Fax:+44(0)1494 530701 E-mail:



[1] Weaving a family’s history, by Fred H. Keller, Sussex Sun, Feb 27, 1996


Letter 1 – James Weaver to William Beal (West Cross, Tenterden, Kent, England), Augusta April 27 1831; James says his brother John the bachelor.

COPYRIGHT This document is the property of the Hughes Family . All rights reserved. It is protected by the Copyright Laws and Regulations of the United States of America and the United Kingdom and may not be reproduced in any format. Enquiries to reproduce the whole or any part should be addressed to Reynolds Parry Jones Solicitors of 10 Easton Street High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP11 1NP England. Tel:+44(0) 1494 525941 Fax:+44(0)1494 530701 E-mail:



U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project) Vol 64, Page 28,
about John Weaver, says Sept 20, 1828 year of arrival.

[4] New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, Roll M237, 1820-1897, Roll 013, page 985; from Ancestry.com

[5] Portrait and Biographical Record of Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago, 1894; William Weaver, 1802-1896. For notes on Stephen, see James Moyes bio. James Weaver’s occupation as “gardener” see son Richard’s bio.


Letter 2: James and Elizabeth Weaver, Augusta, March 30, 1833, to (Cousin) Richard Hardeman, (in unknown town), Shropshire, Great Britain Regarding his occupation as a gardener in England

[7] “Memories of Early Days” by Melinda Ann Warren Weaver, 1876.

[8] Copied from a personal diary of David Bonham I in 1847 while in Prison –Life and Writings of David Bonham

[9] The Christian remembrancer; or, The Churchman’s Biblical, ecclesiastical …, Quarterly Review, Vol. XXXV, January-June, London, 1858,page 180

The Christian remembrancer; or, The Churchman’s Biblical, ecclesiastical …, Quarterly Review, Vol. XXXV, January-June, London, 1858,page 180

In addition to introductions, it would be well if the personal friends of emigrants, besides instructing them, were to keep up a Christian correspondence with them after their settlement in America. The following letter written to Bishop Kemper, from) a settlement of English, at St. Alban’s, in Wisconsin, illustrates the benefit of such correspondence:

‘Thinking that it may be of service to those engaged in raising up friends to our cnuse, I here subjoin a brief history of the rise of this little colony. I am moved to this more particularly, as I hear that there are now residing at Canterbury, the immediate descendants of those who, while living, always took the deepest interest in our people.

‘The parent stock of our principal families was William Weaver, who, with his family, was thirty years in the service of Major Mascall, formerly of Ashford, Kent; afterwards of Peasmarsh. After the death of this gentleman, Mr. Weaver and his family continued in the service of his lady, Mrs. Mascall, for many years. By this pious lady, James, John, and William Weaver, jun., now our vestrymen, were regularly catechised in her own house, and taught the necessary doctrines of the Christian faith; and from her they received their earliest and most lasting impressions of devotion and attachment to the Church. In the year 1830, they emigrated to an obscure part of Oneida county (New York), where they were wholly deprived of their accustomed formof public worship, and where they received repeated letters from the good lady,exhorting tbem to constancy in the faith. Alter a residence of five or six years in Oneida county, by industry and economy, tbey had saved some little earnings, and determined to seek a home for themselves, and their little ones, in the Western wilderness. At Buffalo, they embarked on board a vessel bound for Chicago. Milwaukee, the metropolis of our thriving State, was then of so little importance as to be wholly unknown to the commander of their vessel. They succeeded, however, by means of a flat boat, in landing themselves and their effects. An old log hovel was the best accommodation the place afforded; and this was only sufficient for the more delicate and feeble ones; while others sheltered themselves by turning up their fiat boat, and making their beds on the ground under it. Thus they spent the winter. The next spring, they penetrated the wilderness for twenty miles, and made a squatter’s claim to the land they now occupy. Having built log cabins, with bark roofs, they set to work to make a planting for the ensuing winter. All their provisions, except a little venison obtained by traffic with the Indians, had to be transported upon their shoulders from Milwaukee, where it could only be obtained at exorbitant prices. They sought eagerly for the acorns under the trees, thankful if they could make even a scanty meal from such unwholesome food. Providence smiled on their labour, and their first planting produced a bountiful increase, but not enough to last till the returning harvest. A single coffee-miil served to grind corn to make the bread for several families. Our senior warden, Mr. James Weaver, says he felt thankful when his family of thirteen gathered round his board to make their evening meal upon only one small pigeon. Their sufferings were great; but in the midst of their poverty and toil, we have one thing to be thankful for above all others—they never forgot their God, and His Church. To preserve themselves and their families in the faith, they immediately established lay-service in their log-houses and barns. In 1839, the Rev. Mr. Hull began his labours of love in Milwaukee. They immediately reported themselves to him, and obtained occasional clerical services. In 1840, the Professors at Nashotah took this settlement under their charge. The settlement increased rapidly, and the Church prospered. On the 2d of October, 1842, St. Alban’s parish was organized, and a humble but comfortable church was erected by the piety and zeal of the people. Three hundred souls belonging to the Church make this their place of worship.

‘In our vicinity, there are, I suppose, about twenty families, baptized and confirmed in the Church of England, who have lived for some years in the Eastern States, so prolific with schism and sects of every kind, without the privileges of the Church, that they have been drawn away, chiefly to the Methodist denomination. We hope, by Divine grace, that they may not be utterly lost to the Church. Somejhave already returned to her bosom.’


The Hon. James Weaver, was born in the county of Kent, England, October 17, 1800, and died in Lisbon Township, October 8, 1886. In his native land he was reared to the occupation of “gardener”, and received a good common school education. On the 9th or 10th of March [William Weaver note], 1830, accompanied by his wife and six children, he set sail in the coal [William Weaver note] brig “Emma”, commanded by Captain Frost [William Weaver Jr. bio note] from the harbor of Rye on the 17th of April, and after a voyage lasting six weeks, stepped on shore at New York. On reaching Oneida County, state of New York, where he made a location, he had just enough money to purchase a cow. He at once turned his attention to agriculture and to growing hops, which at that time was an important industry


Mike’s Notes

William Beal: Christening

18 MAR 1774 Saint Mary Magdalene, Canterbury, Kent, England

Father: William Beal Mother: Ann (Hardeman?)

James Weaver’s mother, Mary Hardeman, was born in Cambridge, (Kent or Shropshire?), England


Hi Mike,

Thanks for the info on the Hardeman family. I am descended from Henry ( Harry ) Hardeman.

I understand that Richard [born 1804] and Sarah [born Weaver 1807] Hardeman in retirement went to housekeep for their two bachelor sons John and Herbert but both died suddenly in March 1883, of what we don’t know but this event is referred to in the last letter from America from Amelia Weaver to one of her unnamed cousins sending her family’s condolences.

I have been looking at the notes my late father made many years ago about the family tree which was without the aid of computers and he has put that Richard Hardeman born 1804 married Sarah Weaver born 1807. He obviously made an incorrect assumption as to where the connection to the two families was. He also refers to James Weaver being Richard Hardeman’s wife’s cousin whereas in fact he was Richard Hardeman’s own cousin as your records show.

The colour copying of the letters was successful and I was able to scan these also so I will send separately the scans of the two sides of the first letter of which you have the transcript.

I am still waiting to hear from my brother John. He retired recently and has become the chairman of the trustees of the Black Country Museum in Dudley in the West Midlands. They have recreated streets from the 1880s using old buildings which were about to be demolished, dismantling them and re-erecting them at the museum site. There are chemists shops, ironmongers, chapels, etc., etc. As a result he is very busy!!

I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Best wishes.

Richard Hughes

Hi Mike,

I can?t help on the Beal connection as my link is with the Hardeman family . James Weaver?s mother was Mary Hardeman who was a sister of my great great great grandfather on my father?s side (I think!!!)

There is only the one letter to William Beal and his address is given as West Cross Tenterden Kent .

The letters were sent on to different branches of the family including William Beal to keep them up to date and ultimately return which I think is what led to them being preserved.

I am investigating whether I can colour copy the original letters as black and white is no good as there is insufficient contrast between the paper and the ink. The writing is quite small and every scrap of the paper is used including the margins!

I note what you say about James Jnr. It made me feel quite sad but it was what I had expected.

I will come back to you on the copyright question when I have discussed it with my brother.

Best wishes.

Dear Mike,

I was interested to find your society?s website during a search for the Weaver family who we knew had emigrated to America in the 1830s from letters we have written by James Weaver to his cousin Richard Hardeman.

There are 8 letters , most written by James Weaver starting in 1831 when the family were still in the New York area continuing with the move to Lisbon and up to 1873 with one letter from his son William in 1869 when James Weaver returned to England for a holiday and one written by his daughter Amelia in 1883 following the sudden deaths of Richard Hardeman and his wife.

I had to take two months of work earlier this year and took the opportunity to transcribe these letters and have them as Word files. I attach one dated 27th April 1831, the earliest.

I decided to retain the original phonetic spelling .

I hope this is of interest to you and if you would like copies of the other letters please let me know.

Just so there is no doubt my family retain the copyright in the letters.

Best wishes

Richard Hughes



Memoirs of Waukesha County: From the Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present, with Special Chapters on Various Subjects, Including Each of the Different Towns, and a Genealogical and Biographical Record of Representative Families in the County, Prepared from Data Obtained from Original Sources of Information

Theron Wilber Haight, Brookhaven Press, 1998 –

History – 701 pages

James Howitt was born in Scotland, December 27, 1823. His paternal grandfather was George Howitt, a native of Scotland, and a farmer by vocation. Andrew Howitt, the father of our subject, was also a native of Scotland, born in 1791. In 1815 he was married to Agnes McKorrow, of Scotland, who was born in 1799. She was the daughter of James McKorrow. To this union six sons and six daughters were born, of whom three sons and two daughters are living. Two sons died in the service of the United States army in the Civil War. The family immigrated to America in 1834, and settled in Livingston County, N. Y. In 1847 James Howitt removed to Wisconsin, and in 1857 his father and mother came to that State, where they lived till their deaths, the former’s occurring in 1866, the latter’s in 1867. Our subject was reared on a farm, and from six years of age to ten years, inclusive, he attended the schools of Scotland, but later finished his education in New York, receiving a fair common-school education. He was twenty-four years old when he left New York and went to Wisconsin, where he engaged in farming. In 1851 he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Ann Weaver, daughter of James Weaver, who was born in Romney, in Kent, England, October 17, 1800. He engaged in agricultural pursuits, and was a devoted Christian. In 1820 he married Elizabeth Fielder, who was born in Sussex, England, in 1802. They immigrated to America in 1830, and located in Oneida County, N. Y., but in the summer of 1837 removed to Wisconsin, and settled in the town of Lisbon, Waukesha County, where they both died, the mother in 1867, and the father on October 8, 1886. They had sixteen children, of whom six sons and five daughters are living (1887). Elizabeth Ann was born in New York December 27, 1831. Mr. and Mrs. Howitt have three children, viz. : one daughter, Agnes Elizabeth, and two sons, Andrew James, and John W. Mr. Howitt was a member of the Missouri State Militia during the Civil War, and was in the service four years. He had removed from Wisconsin to Missouri in 1859, and after the war he returned to his family and farm in Andrew County, where he has since resided.

History of Andrew and De Kalb Counties, Missouri: From Earliest Time to the …

THE TOWN OF ASHFORD stands most pleasant and healthy, on the knoll of a hill, of a gentle ascent on every side, the high road from Hythe to Maidstone passing through it, from which, in the middle of the town, the high road branches off through a pleasant country towards Canterbury. The houses are mostly modern and well-built, and the high-street, which has been lately new paved, is of considerable width. The markethouse stands in the centre of it, and the church and school on the south side of it, the beautiful tower of the former being a conspicuous object to the adjoining country. It is a small, but neat and chearful town, and many of the inhabitants of a genteel rank in life. Near the market place, is the house of the late Dr. Isaac Rutton, a physician of long and extensive practice in these parts, being the eldest son of Matthias Rutton, gent of this town, by Sarah his wife, daughter of Sir N. Toke, of Godinton. He died in 1792, bearing for his arms, Parted per fess, azure, and or, three unicorns heads, couped at the neck, counterchanged; since which, his eldest son, Isaac Rutton, esq. now of Ospringeplace, has sold this house to Mr. John Basil Duckworth, in whom it is now vested. In the midst of it is a large handsome house, built in 1759, by John Mascall, gent. who resided in it, and died possessed of it in 1769, and was buried in Boughton Aluph church, bearing for his arms, Barry of two, or, and azure, three inescutcheons, ermine; and his only son, Robert Mascall, esq. now of Ashford, who married the daughter of Jeremiah Curteis, esq. is the present owner, and resides in it. At the east end of the town is a seat, called Brooke-place, formerly possessed by the family of Woodward, who were always stiled, in antient deeds, gentlemen, and bore for their arms, Argent, a chevron, sable, between three grasshoppers, or; the last of them, Mr. John Woodward, gent. rebuilt this seat, and died possessed of it in 1757; of whose heirs it was purchased by Martha, widow of Moyle Breton, esq. of Kennington, whose two sons, the Rev. Moyle Breton, and Mr. Whitfield Breton, gent. alienated it to Josias Pattenson, esq. the second son of Mr. Josias Pattenson, of Biddenden, by Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Felix Kadwell, esq. of Rolvenden; he married Mary, daughter of Mr. Henry Dering, gent. of this parish, and widow of Mr. John Mascall above-mentioned, by whom he has no issue, and he is the present owner of this seat, and resides in it.


http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63440 British History Online

1846 – the Town of Lisbon becomes part of the newly created Waukesha County when the 16 western most towns split from Milwaukee County. ]; the first election to be held at the house of Charles Skinner. A Subsequent act, passed March 9, 1839, established the town lines as they are now.


Letter 6: William Weaver (son of James), Sussex Waukesha Co., Wisconsin, North America, June 25, 1869, to (Cousin) Herbert Hardeman (son of Richard), address unknown

June 25/1869

Sussex Waukesha Co.


North America

Dear cousin Herbert Hardeman,

I received a letter from you stating my father James Weaver had been with you a few days whitch I was very glad to hear from and to now that he was well and enjoying himself with you . I have just received a letter from him when with your Father he seems to be having a fine time with him of which I am very glad to hear. We like to see him take comfort in his old days. We hope he will be spared to get home to us all safe. If any of your folks should come to this country you must come and see us.

Now Mr Hardeman we have got a very wet season this year our wheat generally looks very well except some low lands whitch suffers with the wheat. Barley and oats look very well Indian (maize?) is very backward for the time of the year whitch crop if we lose is a great loss to us in the way of making pork.

If you see Father before he comes home give him my love. All is well at home. We shall be looking for him home about the first of August.

Our hops have got the fly and lice and then some but cannot tell what damage they will do yet. I see the same complaint in your country.

The company that Father went with is expected home tomorrow. We expected Father would come home with them when he left home. We would like to for him to have company back if he can in case he should be sick.

I don’t know that I can interest you mutch as you are not acquainted in this country but shall be happy to hear from you at any time.

My respects to you all.

William Weaver

COPYRIGHT This document is the property of the Hughes Family . All rights reserved. It is protected by the Copyright Laws and Regulations of the United States of America and the United Kingdom and may not be reproduced in any format. Enquiries to reproduce the whole or any part should be addressed to Reynolds Parry Jones Solicitors of 10 Easton Street High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP11 1NP England. Tel:+44(0) 1494 525941 Fax:+44(0)1494 530701 E-mail:


Lisbon May 2/1873

Sussex P.O.

Waukesha Co.

Wisconsin State

North America

My Dear Cousin [John?},

I am almost ashamed of myself for not answer your most kind and welcome letter in which I received over a year ago one thing wye I have not answer it before his I did not now what to write that would interest you as you coling his so different from what I have been use to so I do not now eny thing that I can write that will be interest to you as I have lately writing to Henry and Herbert and most likely you will see the letters but I like to try and answer all letters that I get but I think my Grandaughter can answer your letters and Thomas better myself I told her the other day that if she would go to England I would go with her she said she would like to go but I do not expect that it will ever be but you cannot tell now a days what will happen as so many are going to and throw from America to England there his several of my neighbour talk of coming to make a visit to there old Country this summer if my old Comrade Joseph Cook that come with me come back a gine he my possibly do has he has lately lost his wife and he has now family left and now he feels pruty lonsom a lone and I ask my daughter if she could like to have me go agine she thought I was to old to take that jorney sometimes I think I would like to come and see my meny friends agine but I should make a longer stay if I come agine come one year and go back the next I would like to walk with your father over some of them footpath at Newham once more and spend time with Henry at Menfeld on his farm and I would want quite a time in Kent and Sussex but still I think myself I are to old to take such a jurney agine but my will his good a nuf but John I would like for some of your brothers or you to come and make me a viset and see our new world and see what we have done in 30 years in our Citys such as Chogoco and Milwaukee and many others in West and I could show you some good farms and good farmhouses bead many of yours in England you have but cattel too of this country and now I must tell you that we have add a long and cold winter and about the longest cold weather I have seen in one winter since I have been in America but I seen as cold a days but this keep steady cold so long from about Nov.15 to the last of March and farmers could not begin there spring work round here till about April 20 that to plough and sow they have just about got there wheat in now and now we have just add a good rain and with warm weather we shall almost see thing grow and our wheat harvest will be about as earley as yours about the last of July or the first of August and you must tell Henry that our hops in this state are badly winter killed that his old yard and hops are a going to be pruty well use up this year in this country so we look for a good price this year agine if there his a good crop as the Germans bead the English I think drinking began bear you would be surprise to see what brewers we have in Milwaukee one thing more and that his I am glad that your blessing increases and I hope you will all do well I have left all politics out but we have corruption a nuf but I am glad the Aliman Claim his settled so nicely

Now John I will give some account of myself and family I was away from home most of the winter on a visit to my daughter and my sister’s children in Missouri but the weather being so cold most of the time and I was quite unwell to most of the time I was there so that I did not enjoy myself much but I am happy now to say that I are enjoy my usual health agine by the blessing of god and most of my family at this writing only one of my sons wife which his pruty much confined to her bed she as been in poor health for a long and she as lately lost her son the oldest one about 19 years of age a very promising young man and much respected by his neighbours he was learning the Miller business but he was taking sick and died in about 10 days fine and strong looking young man

Now I have an increse in my family within a year of 4 grandchildren and I expect to hear of another ever day from my youngest daughter which will be her first one two out of the 4 are boy Grandchildren so you see we keep increasing some I hope you want let your fathers name run out you better not leave it all to Henry and Frank now I hope Mrs Frank Hardeman health his good deal better then it was when you wrote and I hope these few lines will find all injoy good health I are expecting to get a letter from your father or Mother soon as it was some time a go that I wrote to them you must give my kind love to them hoping that I shall hear from them soon I should like to see them once more agine but I hope if I do not meet them in this world that we shall all meet in the next at the right of our god and may the Lord be our helper and preserver through this life now John I say I are much oblige to you for your Picter and Miss B. Weaver his well please with hers and many others that you have sent her I hope Thomas and you will keep up corspondance with her for she can answer your letters better then I can as I am a poor letter writer and a worst speler I see your letter his much took up with a Concert that you injoy yourself at now I have not seen once since I was with you in London and I never but one before but I know you young folks in City take much pleasure in them but I never did ever one to there fancy for pleasure mine in walking in the meadow to hear the bird sing and seeing the crops grow and in the evening by my fire side with my family but I have only one to keep me company and she like you as always keep single and his about 34 years of age and as always live with me but thing look latly as if there is one trying to get her away from me I have no objection if she git a good husband I would rather see her settle down wilst I live but I ardly think she will leave me but this all gess work and John I will draw this to a close as you must take this for Thomas and you and I hope you will exguse all blunders give my kind love to Frank and wife and tell them I have not forgot the old wood house the first time I see them now Thomas and you and Herbert must except my kind love to you all from your ever will wishes and affectionate Cousin

James Weaver

COPYRIGHT This document is the property of the Hughes Family . All rights reserved. It is protected by the Copyright Laws and Regulations of the United States of America and the United Kingdom and may not be reproduced in any format. Enquiries to reproduce the whole or any part should be addressed to Reynolds Parry Jones Solicitors of 10 Easton Street High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP11 1NP England. Tel:+44(0) 1494 525941 Fax:+44(0)1494 530701 E-mail:


At home Lisbon Wis. May 14th 1883

My dear Cousin,

I was somewhat surprised to receive such a kind letter from you but however very glad. Yours and Cousin Thomas’ both came at one time. Many thanks for the photo – I feel sure they are good ones. I gave Grandfather his choice. A great many people have admired them, I don’t think it will make you vain to tell you.

I have read those last three sad letters in regard to your dear parents deaths. They brought tears to the eyes of those who were listening to them and I myself have shed tears many times. I could scarcely control my feelings enough to read them. They are now at an uncle’s of mine. They wanted to read them. Oh how sad must be your coming home and find both gone. I told Grandfather I should write you a line first. He says tell them I have always kept and prized their Mother’s letters and will as long as I live and he thinks it a comfort they were taken so near together. You will see by this that we have Grandfather with us still, but I am so sorry to say he is very bad again . His breath bothers him so much he thinks it is his heart. Father was up today to see him and says he is no better. We were feeling so good over it thinking he would at least pass through the summer comfortably. He told Father today who he wanted for his bearers and who to read his Will and said he had thought he might live through the Summer but now he thought not. He has so often said your parents and himself would not be very far apart. When he read your letter poor old Grandfather he had to cry and said Yes Herbert was the first one of the family I met. He has so often told me all about you all. I feel I know you well. He told me he wanted to have a talk with me before I wrote to cousin Tom.

We have had a very wet month this far. The farmers are hoping for fair warm weather. Father has all his grain sown and up I believe but there are some who have not got all in yet.

I must now tell you how near I came coming or rather going to see you this summer and that was why I waited thinking I should tell you when we started. If I go it will be as a married woman. My future husband intends to visit Europe and wanted to start the middle of June as soon as we shall be married. When I told my parents I found Mother felt so bad about it and as they had been thinking of taking a trip to Missouri this spring and she felt if I were gone they would not go. We had no particular time set so I have proposed not to go now but will I hope at some future time. I expect now if nothing happens to get married in the fall and as that is not such a pleasant time, our Wedding trip to Europe will be postponed. I had always hoped to see your parents but let us trust we shall meet in Heaven. I hope dear cousin our correspondence will never cease even though I am a wife. I felt I cared not to go to Europe if I could not go and see my Cousins who has found such a deep place in my heart. I felt they would make me welcome even though I came not alone. I should never get there if I had to go alone. I had planned in my mind such a fine visit with you, oh yes. I could do all right if you could bear with my American Country ways. Still I must always act my own natural self. Oh If I were a woman anything like your dear Mother. I do wish I could have a photo of her if you have any small ones. I will enclose one of my dear bro. that died a year ago Dec. 21st . He was a noble boy in every respect – we miss him sadly yet. It is now nearly nine o’clock and I feel very tired. Have been washing and cleaning the cellar today. Hope this finds you all well. We are usually well. Mother is not feeling very smart.

Please tell cousin Tom I shall write him in a few days. If I were as good a correspondent as you I really believe I should be proud. I am proud of my Cousins though I assure you. You little know how I prize these letters they do me good every time I read them.. I felt Oh if only I could have been there when you were in such deep trouble. I hope some of you will visit us. You would find it quite different but you would be made right welcome I assure you.

All join me in sending kindest love to you all and be assured we often think of you all and sympathize deeply with you in this your heavy trial. They only seem gone just before to lead us on when a loved one dies. It seems to me Heaven is so near and that we think more about getting there. If we never meet in this world may it please God we shall in Heaven.

I must bid you Good Night hoping to hear from you soon again.

I remain your sincere and affectionate Cousin

Amelia Weaver [

Elizabeth “Betty” Amelia Weaver 1849-1924] marriedRichard Francis Connell

Box 55 Pewaukee

Waukeoha Co.


When I get some photos you shall have one. Have not had any lately.

COPYRIGHT This document is the property of the Hughes Family . All rights reserved. It is protected by the Copyright Laws and Regulations of the United States of America and the United Kingdom and may not be reproduced in any format. Enquiries to reproduce the whole or any part should be addressed to Reynolds Parry Jones Solicitors of 10 Easton Street High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP11 1NP England. Tel:+44(0) 1494 525941 Fax:+44(0)1494 530701 E-mail:


Mr. James Weaver was a leading and infuential man in his community; he assisted in the organization of the town of Lisbon, in which he held the office of Supervisor and others of minor importance. In 1865 he was chosen as Assemblyman from his district, and represented in a satisfactory manner the interests of his constituents. From the time he cast his first Presidential vote for Andrew Jackson until the day of his death, he adhered unswervingly to the principles of the Democratic party. He and his wife were devout members of the Episcopal Church, being pillars in the congregation that worshipped in the beautiful stone edifice erected in Sussex. Mr. and Mrs. Weaver were of that quiet, unobtrusive disposition that never lets the right hand know of the good deeds done by the left.


Richard Weaver, was a lad of ten years when he came to this county. As the educational advantages were so very meager, his scholastic training has been rather an unimportant factor in his successful career. He is a self-educated and self-made man in the truest sense. Possessed of superior ability, and of that grit and determination characteristic of the English people, he has made his course in life a series of triumphs. Reared on his father’s farm he became thoroughly conversant with agriculture and the hop business, and from these has largely come his wealth.

At the age of twenty-one Mr. Weaver began business on his own responsibility, his first venture being the purchase of sixty acres of wild land, for which he went in debt. At the end of three years every dollar had been paid, and as the possessor of that farm, unincumbered, he felt richer than he has since felt.

In 1850 (Notice: the original bio states 1860 in error), in company with his father, he began dealing in hops, the partnership continuing three years, when the latter disposed of his interests to his son, William, the firm becoming “R. Weaver & Bro.”, in 1853. Their operations were carried on so extensively, for thirty years, that they became well known throughout the northwest. Being widely known as men of integrity, their credit was almost unbounded, and their success phenomenal. Their father had planted the first hill of hops in June, 1837, and sold the product of that planting $1 per pound; from this small beginning the business increased until in 1882 it reached .almost $600,000. One check given by the Weaver brothers, on the 17th of November of that year, and drawn on the ”old reliable” Waukesha National Bank, called for $25,697.51. These gentlemen are recognized as leading financiers in the county.

In 1879, Mr. Richard Weaver of this sketch, accompanied by his wife, went to the Pacific Slope, visiting San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Placerville, the mining camps, Portland, Salem, Eugene City, and making a trip the entire length of the Willamette Valley. The object of the trip was to purchase hops. Mr. Weaver bought some fifteen car loads at a cost of $28,000, being the first to ship from that section direct to the breweries at Milwaukee.

In addition to his possessions in Wisconsin, Mr. Weaver is largely interested in real estate in Missouri. His home farm in the town of Lisbon consists of one hundred and sixty acres, besides he owns twenty-two acres in Menomonee Township.

He is a large stockholder, and is Vice-President of the Waukesha National Bank, one of the solid financial institutions in the state. Managed by capable business men, this bank passed through the great panic of 1893 unscathed.

In company with A. J. Frame he is largely interested in the New Park Hotel at Sault de Ste. Marie, Mich., which is a magnificent structure, having a dining room with a seating capacity for one hundred and twenty-live guests. This property is owned by an incorporated company, of which Mr. Weaver is President.

It is no secret that this gentleman is one of the wealthiest men of the county, and this notwithstanding the fact that he began life $700 in debt. He has sold many a bushel of wheat for fifty cents, and has performed many a day’s work for an equal amount. But his time has not been given wholly to personal affairs, indeed he has been a very useful member of society. Both he and his wife are faithful workers in St. Alban’s Episcopal Church of Sussex, in which he is also Treasurer and Vestryman. The Weavers, along with a few other good English people who settled in the vicinity, have not only built and kept up the church, but also Sussex, which is a typical English village.

Our subject has ever given the public schools his hearty assistance, in truth he has favored everything that promised to be helpful to the coiniminity. In a marked degree has Mr. Weaver enjoyed the confidence and consideration of his fellow-citizens, as is shown by the number of positions of honor and trust they have chosen him to fill. For several terms he has served his town as Chairman, was Assemblyman in 1878, and State Senator in 1879-80. In every official capacity his aim was to promote the best interests of the people. Mr. Weaver has been a life-long Democrat, though his first Presidential vote was cast for Zachary Taylor.

On the 22nd of November, 1818, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Weaver and Miss Rhoda Stone, a native of Sussex County, England. Mrs. Weaver was born in the same house as her husband, which was an old style double house. Two children were born of this union, Serena J., wife of D. P. Topping, and Rhoda M., who died at the age of sixteen years.

Mr. Topping was born February 9, 1812, in Schoharie County, N. Y., and on the 24th of December, 1868, occurred his marriage to Miss Weaver. They have two children, Nellie R. and Estella May, both of whom have received a literary and musical education. The former completed her schooling at the public schools in Waukesha, and the latter at Carroll College, where she was a student for three years.

The mother of these children was a native of the town of Lisbon, born May 13, 1850.

For forty-two years Mr. Topping has been a resident of Wisconsin. His life has been spent in mercantile pursuits, first in Delton, Sauk County, then in Kilbourn City, Columbia County, and since 1870 he has carried on the same business in Sussex. He handles a good stock of general merchandise, and is doing a prosperous business, the volume of which amounts yearly to about $7,000. By courteous treatment of his customers he has won their esteem and patronage. Mr. Topping cast his maiden vote for George R. McClellan, and has since affiliated with the Democratic party. During Cleveland’s first administration he was appointed Postmaster at Sussex. Socially, he belongs to Lincoln Lodge No. 183, A. F. & A. M., of Menomonce Falls, and in religious faith he and his wife are Episcopalians.

For over fifty-seven years Mr. Weaver has been a resident of Waukesha County, and Mrs. Weaver has made this her home since she was a girl of thirteen; they have therefore witnessed the development of this county from a wilderness to one of the finest in the state. It is with a feeling of pride and satisfaction that Mr. Weaver can look back upon his career, which was begun as a poor boy and has terminated in affluence. His course in life has been marked throughout by fairness, justice and honest business methods.

At a reunion of the Weaver family, held on the 16th of October, 1875, to commemorate the birthday of Hon. James Weaver, some reminiscences were given that may prove of interest to friends and relatives of the family. His birthday occurred on the 17th, but as that came on Sunday, Saturday was selected as a more suitable time. There were over one hundred and fifty guests assembled at the residence of William Weaver. Sr., just south of the pretty little village of Sussex, where temporary tables had been prepared to accommodate the large gathering of the descendants of the Weaver family. The historical narrative of the Weaver family was prepared by Stephen Weaver, Esq., and read by the Rev. Dr. Wright.

“William Weaver, the father of the Hon. James Weaver, was born in Tenterden, county of Kent, England, January 5, 1767, and died on the 3rd of July, 1845 [William Weaver bio states his father was the foreman of a sheep farm in England]. All of the children, with the exception of two, Stephen and Thomas, were born in [Diocese of Chichester, per William Weaver bio] Old Romney, Kent County. Of the entire Weaver family at that date, there were two hundred and twenty-seven members, and of that number there were yet living one hundred and eighty-four. This was the most notable family reunion ever held in Waukesha County. After due ceremony, the Hon. James Weaver made some suitable and fitting remarks upon the auspicious occasion, in which he expressed his heartfelt thanks to Almighty God for the beneficent care that had been exercised over himself and family all these years. Hon. Thomas Weaver made an eloquent address, and was followed by the Hon. Richard Weaver of this biography as follows:

“To the reunion of the Weaver family, greeting. Little, at the time when the four brothers and one sister with their aged father set out on the brig “Emma,” did they expect to see the great change that time has wrought. Neither did they stop to think, but left their Fatherland to better their circumstances if possible for themselves and their families, and on landing on the shores of America, in the state of New York, by industry and frugality, they accumulated small sums, with which they emigrated to the territory of Wisconsin. Here, after very many hardships and with energy and perseverance, all have made for themselves and families good comfortable homes, and nearly all have lived to see perhaps as great improvements and changes as any one generation can expect to see, for on arriving in Wisconsin but little could be seen save the dense forest, with its large oaks and tall pines, with here and there a large prairie and its wild grass, with but few exceptions, inhabited by wild bands of Indians and their ponies. To-day what do we see where the forest stood and prairie laid? The highly cultivated fields with fine buildings in the place of the log huts and the Indian wigwam. And to-day we have seen the table covered with the good things of earth, in place of the corn meal and pigeon stew; more than that we have seen the once small town of Milwaukee grow to be one of the most beautiful cities of the land; have seen the first railroad built, and the steam horse, putting through our forests and across the prairies, to-day stretching her lines into almost every nook and corner of the state. Again, look at the wonderful art of telegraphy by which we can in a few moments communicate with our Fatherland. Last, but not least with us, we have seen every house built in our pleasant little village of Sussex, and have nearly every one of us helped to build a standing monument, the church, for future generations, as well as for ourselves. Hoping that the present and future generations may still work together in unity and love, and carry forward every good work, marked out by an aged father here, and for our welfare hereafter.”

Mr. Weaver was followed by other speakers on this memorable occasion, namely: Martin Weaver, Jere- miah Smith, George Elliott and Alison Weaver. The whole affair was well conceived and passed off most pleasantly and happily.

One of the noted social events in Sussex was the celebration of the silver wedding of Hon. Richard Weaver and wife, on the 22d of November, 1873, at which his father presented them with a beautiful silver piece, and accompanied it with the following words: “This present is a token of love from your Father Weaver to Rhoda. Hoping that you may live together as many more years as happily, and enjoy yourselves as in the years past, is the wish of your affectionate father.” Mr. Richard Weaver responded in a few happy remarks, “Our father, brothers and sisters, it is with pleasure that we meet you all here to-night to commemorate an event which look place twenty-five years ago. Richard and Rhoda, having made up their minds to join in the holy bonds of wedlock, started from the house of the late James Stone to our parish church, where the knot was tied by the Rev. N. C. Armstrong, one of the first graduates of Nashotah (the first couple he married). Back we trudged on foot to partake of the wedding supper awaiting us. The next day we went to the house of Hon. James Weaver for our wedding trip, which consisted of one day, as that was all we could afford, as it was Richard to the plow and Rhoda to the cows.” During that quarter of a century many changes have been wrought: Richard has given the plow over to younger hands, and Rhoda sends a substitute to look after the cows, while in their beautiful home at Sussex they are enjoying the comforts gained by years of toil.

Mr. Weaver is known in his community as a ready and pleasing speaker. At the golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cooling on Christmas eve, 1892, he was called upon to make a speech, and responded thus: “Mr. and Mrs. Cooling, I extend to you many happy returns of this day. For a half-century you have met the duties and shared the trials of life’s uneven ways with love to each other, and a faith that looked to a bright here- after. This half-century leaves him, at seventy- three, as erect in form as when he led her to the altar, and his step is more elastic than that of half of the men at fifty. She too is active and with mind undimmed. It has been my lot to live as neighbor with you for about forty-four years, sharing your joys and sorrows. While we have passed many happy hours together, when sickness and death have entered my household I have always found you ready and willing to extend a helping hand and a sympathizing heart. Hoping your remaining years will be as happy and pleasant as falls to the common lot of man, and that you may attain the good for which we are all striving,

‘May joy your home surrounding,

Keep care and gloom away;

And all good gifts abounding,

Make glad this golden wedding-day.’ ”

At the opening of the Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls & Western Railroad, on the 29th of April, 1890, a large gathering of citizens celebrated the event at Sussex. After enjoying an excellent dinner served by the ladies at the Town Hall, speeches were made by Hon. Richard Weaver, Rev. Mr. Burleson, A. J. Frame, John Ross and Messrs. Hadfield. The same gentlemen had been present in Waukesha at the opening of the first railway in Wisconsin, in 1851. Mr. Weavcr was one of the leading financial promoters of the road to Sussex, and by his special invitation all the assembled guests took a ride to Menomonee Falls and back.

There is not a better known citizen in Waukesha County than Hon. Richard Weaver. Self-made and self-educated, he stands without a superior in this section as a man of moral worth and as a financier.