Family Genealogy Research,  Wood

Dr. Hugh Wood’s Letter to His Brother, James Wood 1 April 1852

James and Isabella Wood


In this letter, Dr. Hugh Wood writes to his brother about finding a new place to live.  Hugh promises money to pay for whatever James decides to do.  He also indicates that James and his family are to be his heirs.  Unfortunately, when Hugh died, he did not have a will or a will was not produced and James and his family were not the sole beneficiaries.  This caused tremendous financial hardship (according to a letter from John Reid to Isabella Riddell Wood).

Hugh mentions the starvation in the Highlands, the transportation of many to Australia, the discovery of gold in Australia, and other bits of news.

There are a couple of blanks in the transcription.  I tried, but could not make out what the words were.  If you figure it out, please send me a message or comment here.  The images of each page follow the transcription of the letters…just scroll to the bottom.  and yes…I realize that it clearly says “page 6” on my page 5.  There isn’t a page missing.  They were numbered incorrectly.  If you read them, they all make sense.  Thanks!

The Letter

6 Norfolk Row – Sheffield, England

1st April 1852

Dear Brother,

I have just received and perused your letters of date 20 Feby (sic) – there can be little doubt but that regarding the settlement of Kent we have been done and I would not have minded much about that if you had not suffered so much in person and family not forgetting poor park and wife.  As I said before in some of my letters do look for some other place where you and your family can locate in safety be comfortable and have the necessarys (sic) of life.  Where you will not be tormented with thee wild men and held in danger of losing your life by such vagabonds and where life and cattle and crops will all be safe.  Where you can go to bed without fear and rise without trembling and do your work comfortably and where you can dispose of your produce to advantage and be within reach of civilized creatures But if you do think you cannot remain in America then return as soon as convenient, that more time be not lost and means will be furnished for your return or if you fix on a good place then money will be found to pay for the same so soon as I am made aware of such, if you think that land or Mr. Wymans(sic) will do, go and see it as soon as convenient and if it please you enter into a contract for it, or do you think of going into Illinois or some of thee older states or do think of going into the Neighborhood of New York where the winter is cold and the summer hott(sic) and where there is a market for everything that can be produced dead or alive.  Here this land is higher priced but then, since can be made out of it by a little care and industry  But in truth I at present cannot advise as you certainly have better opportunities of learning than what I have of what place and locality will please you and your family the country is broad and wide no doubt some locality will take your fancy and though the first stop has proved a loss, that loss can be overcome so far as money is concerned if only be blessed with life and health for a very little longer,  I have at present of business and am receiving tolerable of cash and now send you this 3 or 4 hundred pounds to pay for land or pay for traveling to some where more to your mind, I have lost and gained – gained and lost money many times and still am able to pay 20 shillings in the pound so do not refuse but be up and doing

I will not speculate until I have furnished you with money enough for land and other purposes should I live and if I die I will if so long spared as be able to give directions to my executors to pay all my lawful debts and hand over the surplus to you or family.  I trust you fully understand my wish and will therefore act accordingly to your own judgement and that of your better half and family so that if the cream pot of Wymans or any other cream jug be fit and proper and  more desirable than another take to it by all means at present  I have not time but by next part I will write to Mr. House, to inquire if he will take the trouble to forward you the cash and attend to such.  Things seeing, I know of none else to do so and the money will be sent through Brown and Co. Liverpool.  But should I think of any other method I shall write you also by next part,  In your letters you have not mentioned the family of poor park are they with you or are they elsewhere  as for news here the farmers are still singing distress and will do for long to come  trade here is not so good by a long way as it was and many are out of work and on the parish and of course our taxes will be increased amongst the English farmers  there are many failures  In the Island of Thay in thee(sic) Highlands, there is great distress and many perishing for want and it is proposed to send nearly the whole lot off to Australia and where the poor hapless beggars will perish for want as they cannot and will not work and never could do.  I have not had any word from the North in a long while so I can say little about them,  I wrote them about two months back but I have had no intelligence since so they will write when the spirit moves them.  I calculate you do right not to pay any letters as it costs no more than if payed and I think you should oftener as I long to hear from you and all about you.  I should say at least once a month or every two weeks if your time be not better employed with something useful.  (With you all is new – here all is old and stale and not worth relating).  It would please me much to hear that you had got free from theses chills and more lively and able to take food.  As for the snakes the pigs when they are become more plentiful will clean them out also the ants will decrease with cultivation and population so that them things would not molest me half so much as those Indians prowling about worse than maulers by one half.  I see that Congress have passed a note for money to pay for soldiers to go and drive them up so something will be done within a short time about them.  As I’m tend to be able to send more specific word in the course of two weeks about the transmission of money,  I need say no more at present.  Sir E. Belcher has been ordered off to the northern seas to search for Sir John Franklin.  Whether he may ever return is a question which at present cannot be solved therefore I have no certain answer from the said company only if you can present to the new Agent that Major James had money from you for the company he has orders to pay all such claims.  You perhaps have already seen the new agent about it but I doubt if you have not some document to show there is little hope remaining of recovering.  In future, you must be certain how you lend and to whom.   Many are ready to borrow, but slow to pay.  Such is the case here and is much so in Texas.  Since you left this country, there has been a great discovery of gold in Australia.  _______ it is situated near south Australia. Is it said to be as rich as California and thousands are now emigrating to it from this and every other country that in a short time it will be full of people.  The ______,  farmers, servants are leaving and giving to the digging in short, there is a mania there after the gold.

By the time you receive this, I hope you will be enjoying good health and able to eat and drink of the Brook that runneth by the way.

Give my very best wishes to Mrs. And all the family and I hope that now you will be able to write that you are comfortably fixed in your new domicile.

I remain, Dear Brother,


Hugh Wood


James Wood

Ft. Graham


United States

Letter to James Wood from his brother Dr. Hugh Wood

The Images of the Letter

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