Letter from William Swansborough to friends in Britain. Written transcription from very old crumbling letter by Barbara Swansbro Fisher and typed into computer by Bonnie Swansbrough Dunn. The original letter contained no paragraphs — these were added by Barbara for ease of reading.


Feb. 12, 1867

From: Braidwood near Wilmington [Illinois, USA]

William Swansborough

My dear friends

I now take the pleasure of wrighting these few lines to you hoping that they will find you all in good health as thank God they leave us all at present and you will have to excuse us for not wrighting to you before, for we lived in the place that the family came in 5 weeks and then we shifted about 9 hundred miles from that place and I have made up my mind to settle myself down here for a slittle while now.

And I have to inform you that we are in a very cold place. Now there is a good many ears and noses a freesing here about this time of the year. And we have seen 2 winters in this country a colder weather then ever we did see in that country and tis a very mild [perhaps the word was wild] sort of a country but we do get along purrty well here, but we have not worked no more than half of the time since we have been here and tis a better country for a poor man to get along with his family for we do have more meat in one week in this country than we did have in that country in a month. But it is not a country for young people to enjoy themselves in. It is not half so good as that country for that and the children do wish themselves back in the Old Country again very often but the work is very slow all through this country since the war is over. And we had a letter a day or 2 before we rote this from your children Joseph and his family is in good health but himself don’t feel very well at present and he lives about 900 miles from us and he do talk of coming to see us but we don’t know when.

And I have rote to my brother Abel since we have been in this country and when I do get on my feet I will try to go to see him and it will cost me about 2 pound to go from here there and if I am spared long enough I will try to find him out so long as I have come across the water to be near to him and

My family don’t wish to take the journey across the water not for a week again for they had many ups and downs before they reached America and if you do receive this letter to read it and send it on to London to my sister Esther and then they will have the address to rite back to me as well as yourself.

And this letter will give satisfaction that we are all alive and arrived in this country safe. And when you do receive this letter to rite back and not pay for posting the letter there for he will come safer than if you did pay for it there and if you do receive this letter rite to Emanuel and let him know how we are a getting along and all the pertickulars and if my sister Martha is settled in any plase send back and let me know and send me her address and

Since I came to this country I ham [have] got able to do a days work which I was not for a year before I starated and the crossing of the ocean done me a great deal of good. It recovered me from my sickness and the reason that I came of so sudden was that Joseph sent the Pass and that when I came in the country first I spent the first 4 months along with our Newphew Joseph and I have traveled more miles in this country than I have in the Old Country.

Yards I believe and there is a little hard work to be done in America or else there is but a very little got.

So now I believe I have sent you all the news of this country and we both send our kind love to you all and all the children sends their kind love to you and your wife and family and I have to inform you that I rote a letter to Abel but never got an answer, but I will rite to him again and try him once more and we have heard that there is a Swansbourgh a living in Canada and keeping a large shop there, but we do not it is him or no. But I have sent with a man that was a going into Canada to see wether it is him or no but I have had no opportunity to see the man — So now I must conclude with ever kind love to you all from your dear friends William and Esther Swansbrugh

Direct your letter to William Swansborugh Bradwood near Wilimington Will County State of Illinois North America