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My Aunt Miriam had a letter in her possession which was in rather rough condition.  As I read this letter I realized that it was written by my great great grandmother Elizabeth (Keller) Spracklin.  I then turned it over and to my surprise there was another letter written by Daniel D. Spracklin to home.  

I do not know if this letter was ever sent and how it got into my Aunt’s possession?  I have very few personal items from my family so this was amazing to hold in my hands.

Please note that for safe keeping the letter was separated gently. It was actually 2 pages connected together. There are two letters and they filled up both sides of the paper.  On one side was a letter from Daniel and then on the other side was a letter from Elizabeth. 

I share these letters here because they are so precious and need to be seen by others who are members of the Spracklin and Keller families.

Someone put tape in the center to hold it together.  This is a very bad thing to do.  Cellophane tape is corrosive.  This has obscured and made it difficult to figure out what was written where the tape covers.  Several cousins have tried to help interpret the letters.    

In transcribing the letter I tried to follow their use of English and their spelling.  The following is the best effort of myself and several cousins’ who I sent the letter to.  Scroll below for a copy of the actual letters.

First is Elizabeth’s letter:

January the 7: Dear Sister I take my pen in hand won (se) more tu let you now that we are all well tu day and du hope these few lines may find you tugging the same blaessing you would then that I was well if you guest seen what I had dun tu day I have washed and chicend and I scronbd and backed I hav good helth this winter we had a vary pleasnt winter her we have (covered by tape and cannot read) ___________________________of Caroline getting married yet I hope She has got a compain that they can liv hapy I wish them good luck and mutch happiness now Ammarila burrow for the bard I wonder in my giserd if you are ajonta futufabar and cum out tu Iowa or will you bee like the rest Can’t beeve many yet or will you squatt down on daddy back plase I am a bout tu think that you are all agon to stay there tu get har and I would like tu be thare wih you and hav a good visit witch snow I could if I was thre I would like tu curn home with my little Henrey and Mary and see you all and cum back home again tu Iowa I would mutch rnther liv in Iowa then in Ohio but I would like tu hav you all cum out here and live I know that you could make alivin easer then you can thare Mary can run and play out adores with Henry they hav grate times She can say mama and build and pah a good many things Pare & Son _____she looks like vina little girl (tape has stained the page and can’t read the works) ______________________________bin inviting I hav knit mine lace of ____for tu Sell igot a half a dolar a pare I have got dun purty nice a knity and then ma I peese ____ quiltg if I can I must beve sum came for ___tu rite sum I wish you would rite oftener and tell mother tu rite and Caroline I Should like tu here a word from hur giv my lov tu all my brotherss and Sisters and pap and mother and Susn your self tell Peter that I an see him ___ but not ___ He could not have sent me eny thing that I like tu see so well E.S A E.

Daniel’s letter:

January 18, 1858: Good morning it is a rany morning We are all well and I hope that you are all well Well paw I reckon that you are most redy to sell out and leave them Clay nobs and Come whare land is rich and easy tended it and more than a bout half the work to tend a crot here that it is their and more sure Just come out here and see for your self and not always set to home and study about it times is dull here at present evry thind is low that the farmer has to sel for their not mutch money ___ it been failed last year (tape has been added and it has made it difficult to read the lines) __________________________________________________________________then to help it on money went down so that it makes money maters purty Clost but times is a mending a liddle we have had the best winter weather that I ever saw – turn over to the other side.

Well Peter ireckon you have a good crop this year and are a getting ritch so fast that you hurt me to think of land or my th___ a but coming to see us ______ the and com on iron hos.

 This winter it has bin dry and stil and cumfer table for a bout a six weeks Well Peter you talk a bout going to Mishigan well if I nowed what I new now and had a farm in Mishigan or any other timber and had to go and blear it up or had my Chois to go to a (pracr) cuntry with out eny thing I would to the prar cuntry and I firmley be lieve that I would have an improved farm in the firesir first noro that is just good sens and you would think (tape has been put on this letter and it has obscured the writing) ___ if you ______but ______ well _______________________get___________________tell Caroline ___with her and ________nan match say and give my love to all the folks and tell them to come out and se us no more room goodbye. D.D. Spracklin.

 (There are some fancy swirls and marks indicating something was attached and on the left is written)

 This is some of lury f hare Henery says he don’t wont’ enough tu send his ha___ of

 (On the right side of the letter is written)

 This is sum of Mary 3en hare

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The photocopy of the actual letter is in two parts.  If you laid them out on a table they would be side-by-side and writing would have been on both sides.  Click on the image and it will open into another window.  To get back to this post click your back button. 

Elizabeth's Letter 1858

 

Elizabeth continues 1858

  

Daniel Writes 1858

Daniel's Letter 1858

Daniel's continues 1858

 

+++++++

Source:  Letter by Elizabeth and Daniel Spracklin dated January 1858.  This letter was in the possession of their great grand-daughter Miriam McDonald but is now in the possession, as of 2008, of their great great grand-daughter and compiler of this blog.

Some comments: 

Elizabeth wishes her sister Caroline happiness.  Caroline married Joseph Van Houten in 1857.  I visited the Van Houten graves in Ohio in August of 2011.  I knew that they had migrated to Hardin County, Ohio so I made it a point to seek out their place of burial.  They are buried in the Dunkirk Cemetery north of Kenton, Hardin County, Ohio.   The Ammarilla mentioned in the letter is another of Elizabeth’s sisters.   

Daniel refers to a Peter.  I believe it is his older brother he is addressing and not his grandfather Peter who died in 1845? 

If you are wondering where the locks of hair of the two children are, well, they were not attached to the letter and nowhere to be found in the papers that were given to me back in 2008 by a family member.

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On 4 May, 1880 John Keller, Amarilla’s grandfather, passed away from stomach cancer.  John Keller was the father of Amarilla’s mother Elizabeth Keller Spracklin and the husband of Mary Anne Delano Keller.  How this death affected Amarilla is unknown and whether she even knew her grandfather is also unknown.  Amarilla was 21 years old at his death or about that age.

The grandparents had settled in South Bloomfield Twp., Morrow County, Ohio.  Morrow County, Ohio was a composite of several counties: Knox, Richland, Marion and Delaware Counties.  It was established in 1848.  Birth and death records were not recorded till 1867, marriage started 1848 by the county.   Apparently there was a great deal of protest about the formation of Morrow County at the time. 

John and Mary Keller had eleven (11) children.  Elizabeth Keller was their oldest and first-born. 

1. Elizabeth Keller born 4 Aug 1831, probably Sparta, Knox Co., Ohio married Daniel D. Spracklin 1 Jan 1853 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio and died in Benson Co., Iowa near Blairstown/Marengo.  Buried in Titler Cemetery northwest of Marengo. This is Amarilla’s mother.

2. Susan Keller born 3 Nov. 1832, Sparta, Knox Co., Ohio d. 20 June 1834, Sparta, Knox Co., Ohio, burial unknown.

3.  Peter Keller born 28 Nov. 1834, Sparta, Knox Co., Ohio married Eliza Ann Everts 6 July 1957 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio.  Peter died 22 May 1869 in So. Bloomfield Twp., Morrow Co., Ohio and is buried with his parents in the Hedding M.E. Cemetery in that location.  His information is listed on the left side of the parents tombstone.   Peter and Eliza had 5 children.  It is possible she remarried to a Mr. Denzer.  Peter served in the Civil War and I believe he died because of his wounds.  I have not obtained his Civil War service or pension record at this time but might when I visit Washington D.C. in June 2011.

NOTE:  The History of Morrow County in various versions is online at Google Books. 

4.  Lovinia Lavinia Keller was born 17 Feb 1837 in Sparta, Morrow Co., married William Golf Helt on 17 Feb 1855 in Morrow Co., Ohio and died 22 Dec 1837 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio.  They had 8 children.  I believe William died before 1883.

5.  Amarilla Keller born 28 Mar 1839 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio and married Harrison Barr on 12 Sep 1858 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio.  They had about 9 children.  Amarilla died 12 May 1915 in Galion, Crawford Co., Ohio and Harrison was before 1910 in Polk, Crawford Co., Ohio.

6.  Caroline Keller born 28 Nov 1841 in Sparta, Knox Co., Ohio married Joseph Higgs Van Houten on 1 Dec 1857 in Morrow Co., Ohio.  They had 5 children.  Caroline died 2 Jun 1902 in Washington Twp. Hardin Co., Ohio and Joseph followed in 29 Jan 1903 in the same location. 

7.  John Delano Keller Jr. was born 22 May 1844 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio and he probably married Mary L. Carson about 6 Dec 1868 in Morrow Co., Ohio.  He died 4 Jun 1876 in Fredericktown, Knox Co., Ohio. 

8.  Mary Ann Keller was born 16 Dec 1846 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio and died sometime after 1900.  She married an Alexander Shaffer on 24 Jun 1866 in Morrow Co., Ohio.  They had about 9 children.   I have reason to believe they moved to Richland Co., Ohio to live.

9.  Henry Keller was born 29 Mar 1849 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio and married Martha Kees (Keyes) 28 Oct 1871 in Morrow Co., Ohio.  Henry died after Aug 1909 in Morrow Co. and Martha followed in about 1927.  They had 2 children.

10.  Harriet Ellen Keller was born 15 Mar 1852 in Morrow Co., Ohio and married 3 Jan 1875 in Morrow Co. to John Lacy.  She died 22 Mar 1920 in Dresden, Muskingum Co., Ohio and he followed after 1930 in the same location.

11.  William Franklin Keller was born 15 Sep 1855 in Fredericktown, Knox Co., Ohio and married on 22 Dec 1880 in Galion, Crawford Co., Ohio to Ida Catherine Riblet.  They had 3 children.  He died 2 Feb 1911 in Morrow Co., Ohio and she followed on 16 Nov. 1930.

Sources for these children have been the U.S. Federal Census 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910 etc for Knox and Morrow Co., visiting cemeteries and tombstones -  Book:  Cemetery Inscriptions for Morrow Co., Ohio Vols 1-6.  A book: The Genealogical History and Alliances of the American House of Delano 1621 to 1899, pg. 426. (This book gives Sparta as the birth place of many of the children), Deeds from Morrow Co., and Knox Co., Ohio., on-line family trees, message boards, marriages – Marriage Records, 1848-1951, Morrow Co., Ohio.  Repositories have been the Family History library, Morrow Co. Genealogical Society and more.  Death records for Hardin Co., Ohio. and Probate/Estate Records for Morrow, Knox and other counties.  These are the highlights of the sources I have consulted for this family. 

Note:  If you are particularly interested in one of these family lines please contact me for more specific source details and family links.   Place a message in the comments to me and I will respond.  I am still trying to learn more about each sibling so the reseach is ongoing. 

I plan to travel again to Ohio in August/September 2011 and hopefully I will learn more about Elizabeth Keller’s siblings, parents and Amarilla’s aunts and uncles. 

The most important search will be to see if I cannot figure out the parentage of John Keller the grandfather and father of these children who have been listed.  He is said to have been born in Washington Co., Pennsylvania and his death record with Morrow Co. states the same but gives no parents names.  So far I have not been able to make a connection.  Washington County, PA was like a pass through to other parts of the country so they could have just stopped to have the baby and then moved on.  At least this is my theory and the real parentage of John Keller is somewhere in the records in Ohio in Knox, Morrow, or one of the nearby counties?  There were lots of Keller families living in Ohio. 

John did have a will and estate that was probated in Morrow Co.  Usually the clerks are very careful but some of the documents from the clerk books for John’s estate are very difficult to read.  Amarilla is not mentioned in any of these estate documents. 

Source:  Probate Records of Morrow Co., Ohio 1848-1926, and General Index 1848-1950 #388711, No. 1376, FHL#388711 for Index, Record of Wills FHL#288713 Vol 3, pg. 297, proof of will pg. 297.  page 298 not titled but probably Proving of the Will.  Pg. 445 FHL#388724 Affidavit (hard to read) probably filing of the will.  Note:  More needs to be done on this estate in the books and packets.

A search of the newspapers in the area did not reveal an obituary on John Keller but the announcement about the estate was found  

Mt. Gilead – Morrow Co. Sentinel Newspaper 1/1/1879 to 4/28/1881 Thurs, June, 10, 1880 Under New Advertisements: Executor’s Notice – Notice is hereby given that the undersigned have been appointed Executors of the last Will and Testament of JOHN KELLER, late of Morrow County, Ohio dec’d. All person indebted to the estate are requested to make immediate settlement. MARY A. HENRY, WM. T. KELLER (Ex’rs. June 10, 1880 (40-3w).

NOTE:  I do not know who Mary A. Henry is?  Did Mary his wife remarry or do we have another error?

Back in 2007 the Federation of Genealogical Societies and Association of Professional Genealogists held their conferences and Ohio was not that far from Fort Wayne, Indiana.  So I visited the counties of Hardin, Knox, and Morrow in Ohio and spent some enjoyable time there.  I will return in 2011 and see if I cannot find more treasures.  

I also found and visited the Hedding M.E. Cemetery in Morrow Co. 

John Keller and Mary Ann Delano with Son Peter

As you can see the bush is trying to topple the arched stone and when I visit again I will make sure that things are okay.  The stone also has a lot of mold on it and Peter’s information is on the left side next to me but covered in this mold and hard to read.  The stone is near a big tree so it is shrouded in shade.  A cousin had sent me a copy of the tombstone years ago (a descendant of William Franklin Keller) and I thought it was huge but you can see that is about my size and rather unique.  Just click on the photo and you can enlarge it to read it and make a copy.  John is on the left and Mary is listed on the right front columns.

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