Transcription of the Letter of John Secord Beebe to Thomas Beebe/Bebee, 1 April 1871
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The letter transcribed below was found in this prairie farmhouse near Burwell, Nebraska owned by this Bebee family. Left to Right: Roy W. Bebee, Ella Bebee, Mary E. Watt Bebee, and William Thomas Bebee. This picture, taken ca 1905, is courtesy of Karma Bebee Martin.
John Secord Beebe of New Carlisle, Bonaventure Co., Quebec wrote this letter to William Thomas Bebee on 1 April 1871. In addition to being a description of the family life of this New Carlisle Beebe family and related families in 1871, it is a remarkable relation of Beebe family history to which John Secord Beebe must have had access.

A copy of this letter was given to me by Karma Bebee Martin of Oklahoma. The original is in the possession of Ron Bebee, also of Oklahoma.

April 1st 1871

New Carlisle


Dear Thomas

I have at length taken my pin once more to try to write you A fiew lines, but it is with great difficculty as I can scarcely see the lines. My eyesight is failing me very fast. My health is pretty good but on account of my sight unable to do any thing. We are all enjoying good health at the present time Thank God. The children are all well too and all growing nicely. The chief of my employment this winter so far has been in the nursing trade partly at home and partly at the Gaol with the young Corbins.

They are all fine children tis A pleasure to be with them. Everything is going on here just about the same as usual the new gaol is begining to make some little [stin?] as there is A considerable number of men and horses employed quarrying and hauling stone. The stone is taken from Mr. Adams’s point. Wages, man and horse [illegible numbers] men [illegible numbers] and find themselves. feed for cattle is very scarce with a great many people scarcely any to be had—Joshua has plenty though none to spare as he has kept over A considerable stock. They all look well as yet. I have just been purchasing some twine intending God willing to try salmon once more but will have to have A man as I am unable alone to do as I have done. I done very well last season hav no man was alone took 240 Bob worth in six weeks not bad for the smal fit out I had. We are all very comfortable living very agreeably. They are all very kind to me so far but I often find myself very lonesome, you know Joshua is not A man of A great many words but he is A good man picture to yourself as I set writing [this?] Margaret is setting very attentive watching me at the same time rocking the cradile for her baby brother A beautiful boy. They are going to call him Christopher after old Mr. Pearson. Amasa has been appointed Inspector over the work at the Gaol at the rate of [illegible numbers] per day as soon as they begin the work about the 15 of April or the first of may not bad pay for a walk twice a day from his place, Tis not known as yet where the Gaol and Court house is to be during the time of building the new one which is supposed to take A year or over. the council made an offer of the town hall at the rate of [illegible numbers] per day, whic the Sherriff thinks [illegible word] [illegible word] as no Answer has arrived from the government. the[y?] seem to be anxious to know (A secret when you write do not mention, Amasa has made an offer of his house for 7/6? Per day[)] which the sherriff has reported on favorably. I escpect there will be some from among them, as I escpect you have all the news of the locality from the pin of Corbin. I know of nothing more at present worth relation. As you mentioned in one of your letters that you had some thoughts of paying Susquehanna A visit, I will give what information on that point as far as I can. first your Fathers people came from a place called Ashford in the United States, but I know not which of the states, but I am inclined to think it must have been Connecticut, somewhere about 200 miles from New York, the Secords with your grandfather Beebe moved to the Susquehanna some fiew years before the revolution. they had located themselfes on the river just where the river after winding throug the mountains came into a flat country called Wyoming leading down to the Chesapeak Bay. they wher[e?] amongst the first that settled on the [illegible word] lands amongst the mountains, one of there farms was the first as they came to the mout[h?] that is to say the country was flat or more level from that toward the Chesapeak each one of the four of them had taken as heads of family one of those [illegible word] flats being A A [repeated word at end of the written line] large flat on one side and mountains on the other, opposite your grandfathers farm in the river was an islan[d] by some Called long Island whilst others called it Peach Island owing to A quantity of Peach trees growing on it. on there march up the river on there way to Canada they came to A place called Tellga point being a point of land formed by another river coming into the main river. there they encamped for several days there your grandfather bade his wife and family farewel, bound to N. Y. on business of importance from which he never returned. there also was your father born 3 or 4 days after his father left. that is about all the amount of information I can give on that subject, hoping you may have A nice time on the [illegible word] as I would like very much to hear you recite A small [illegible word] through that part of the country Should you on your way home come by the way of Can[ada] you will find at St Cathrines what ever part of the family of the Secords or Beebes, if any there be yet remaining.

Your mother wishes to be fondly remembered to you. I think her prayers are often put forth on your behalf. Your letter was A matter of great Consolation to her as you informed her your Aunt and friends where A God fearing people, has taken a great load of anxiety from her mind, as her greatest fear was bad company and you know when the old woman gets a thing in her head it is no easy matter to talk it out however the letter put all right. she was highly delighted to hear of the general prosperity of her friends, more especially her sisters and Brother[s?] she wishes to be kindly remembered to them all. She sometimes is inclined to think God willing she may see them all yet one more but I think it not very likly unless they think fit to accompany you down to our remote District which I think they might very well do Your mother has A great charge on her you may say she has all to see after as far as the family is concerned. They are growing up very fast.

Phoebe is quite the woman The boys are learning well George is A good writer and excellent speller willie is doing well too. Everette is very delicate he scarcely has grown any since you saw him last, but the two young ones are the old womans chief care, the baby especially over which she had more trouble than she had over all her own family. They are two beautiful girls, but I have seen as beautiful before. Your mother desires me to write those few lines as for herself she has also dictated the mos[t?] of it she say she cannot send you advice more than what you have had, but she says if you should need any one to advise wit[h?], you will find the Bible the best I have not been down to Port Daniel since before Christmas. I had no crop last season twas all to pasture. H. Hadley with his wife and daughter is there yet, but think not much longer, as I fear he will prove to be A man of no great principal; you can answer this when convenient, though all the letters yo send. All has the [illegible word] of which is the reason I have not wrote before. Corbin is in good heal[th] going on as usual, keeps an excellent table and you know the back is not forgotten poor George will never leave A fortune behind him I fear you can see I have got as far as [illegible word] so I must try and make out the cloz[e or ing?]

This has been A very cold winter and no scarcity of snow yet though the weather is pretty fair just now, your mother’s health is not very good which is not to be wondered at considering the trouble and bother she has had, I thought when I commenced I had nothing to write but find the longer the more so I will be forced to conclude. The neighbors are all well, and many makes enquires after your welfare. Mrs. Billingsly wishes to be remembered to you as well as family. Hoping those lines may find you enjoying good health & prosperity Is the earnest wish of your most affectionate friend and wellwish[es?]

[signed] J.S. Beebe

© Copyright 2003-2004 William J. Flowers. All rights reserved.

William Thomas Bebee of Burwell, Nebraska to whom the letter is written. Photo courtesy of Karma Bebee Martin
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