This Week in History: September 8–14

At the junc­ture of the Yel­low Stone and Mis­souri River
Sep­tem­ber 12th 1833

My Dear­est Mother
The only oppor­tu­ni­ty that offers dur­ing a
Sea­son of con­vey­ing let­ters to the civ­i­lized world, gives
Me at present an oppor­tu­ni­ty of writ­ing the best Mother
And I shall undoubt­ed­ly avail myself of it leav­ing to
Chance when I may again be able to let you hear from
Me. Rest assured I shall let no oppor­tu­ni­ty pass
With­out avail­ing myself of it.
I wrote you some time pre­vi­ous to my depar
=ture from the civ­i­lized parts of the Unit­ed States of
man­ner in which I am at present occu­pied, qu[missing]
I believe as sat­is­fac­to­ry a state­ment as was pos­si­ble [miss­ing]
The small com­pass of a let­ter — You were apprised (if
Not in my let­ter to you by either Anne’s or Andrew)
That I took the part of our com­pa­ny that went by
Land con­sist­ing of fifty men in all includ­ing two or
Three who went on a trip of plea­sure — My journey
Proved agree­able and suf­fi­cient­ly lucra­tive indeed
In both cares beyond my expec­ta­tions — I proceeded
To our usu­al ren­dezvous and being joined by our
Com­pa­ny in that coun­try of near­ly 100 men I des=
=posed of the equip­ment I took then and returned
to this place where I met my part­ner Mr Subblette
who had arrived the day pre­vi­ous with one of our
Keel Boats (Many left the oth­er at our low­er trading
Estab­lish­ments) I got here on the the 30th ult the the 27th
This you per­ceive that per­form­ing a route of near
4000 miles our cal­cu­la­tions were so made as to be
with­in one day of meet­ing after a sep­a­ra­tion of
four months — Mr Sub­lettes voy­age had been equally
suc­cess­ful although we had no trad­ing to purpose
but so far as a safe and com­par­a­tive­ly qui­et trip
is con­sid­ered by us suc­cess­ful we so con­sid­er his
since our meet­ing Mr Sub­lettes has con­fined to
a sick bed and at the point of Death but
today there is an evi­dent recov­ery and he
will leave in three or four days.

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I have busi­ly engaged since my arrival here in
Build­ing a Fort and Hous­es. Already I have 4 Houses
Near­ly com­plet­ed and in two days more expect to have
4 more built true I have 60 hard men employed in
the busi­ness yet in such a remote region we are
at a loss for many con­ve­niences that retard us
very much. I shall remain at this post dur­ing the
win­ter and all prob­a­bil­i­ty three or four years. Mr Sublette
goes down to make sale of our furs and bring supplies
the ensu­ing spring. Such my Dear Moth­er is a sketch
of my busi­ness includ­ing the changes that have taken
place since I last wrote you which I hope you
will find sat­is­fac­to­ry. I have with me at present
four clerks which will    this post dur­ing the
win­ter all agree­able ad effi­cient men — our trade
is for Buf­fa­lo skins dressed and Beaver skins and we
expect only the Assin­aboine and Cree Indi­ans here both
of whom are mea­sur­ably peaceable.
From the sketch I have already giv­en you it
Is pret­ty evi­dent that my hands are pret­ty full of business
And I con­fess to you my dear­est Moth­er I would be
Pleased of the term of my pro­ba­tion here being expired
And able once more to return to civ­i­lized and again
To meet you my Dear­est Moth­er in hap­pi­ness — Yes I
Would will­ing­ly relin­quish the three years of my
Life which I intend pass­ing here for one month such
As I have passed when last with you. In the
Midst of all the bus­tle and excite­ment of our savage
Life how often does mem­o­ry call up the pleasing
Hours I passed with you throw­ing all oth­er recollect
=tions in the obliv­i­ous and leav­ing the most pleas­ing though
sad sen­sa­tions which at times I prob­a­bly indulge too far
yet I can­not even blame myself for so doing, left alone
or rather self=placed alone in the World with­out our
acquaint­ed with the rela­tions, dear­est to me or that
I could either unbo­som myself to, or con­verse with
On such a sub­ject, I am left with­in myself to reflection
And cas­tle build­ing many times I place myself
In the sit­u­a­tion of again return­ing and meet­ing you
All as I left you — such are my hap­pi­est thoughts.

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It is my inten­tion to write both Anne and Andrew before
Mr Sub­lette leaves, although I must as in the present
Instance cur­tail that amount from the sleep. Oth­ers are
Now enjoy­ing — yet pain would I be in a sit­u­a­tion to
Write you my Dear­est Moth­er at a much greater
Sac­ri­fice- Oh! How I long to hear from each of you
But I must be patient as no con­veyance will
Reach me for sev­er­al months  Write how­ev­er and
Hugh will for­ward the letters
I can sup­port­ing fur­ther than I men­tions in
My last writ­ing you. You know it is my wish that
You should live hap­py and at your care I have already
Told you so far any means extends it will give
My plea­sure to con­tribute them to your happiness
What my prospects may be in my new line of
Busi­ness it is impos­si­ble yet to say, but
You require any thing for your com­fort not
Already with­in your pow­er of possessing
So far as my prop­er­ty in Ire­land may go
Avail your­self of [miss­ing] nec­es­sary — not that
I do not intend on vis­it­ing you then on
The con­trary were I now dis­en­gaged we
Would meet God will­ing before Christmas
I am solic­i­taor your com­fort and Anne’s
And would [miss­ing] thing or make any sac­ri­fice to
Insure it.
At the [miss­ing] Indi­an traders in this country
The Sab­bath is and so far as regards manual
Labour (contrar[missing) know to our moun­tain habits)
We have am[missing] three or four Bibles one of
Which is mem[missing] bought in Londonderry
It is my inte[missing] to pre­serve it ( should God grant
My health) wi[missing] dili­gence show I have therefore
Done and I trust advan­tage — I hope the precepts
You incul­cat­ed in my youth will yet prove of
Farewell my beloved Moth­er and may
The Almighty god impart you Health and happiness
Through life, and enable us to meet in pleasure
Is the prayer of your son
Robert Campbell

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copy of Letter

Mrs Eliz­a­beth Campbell
Augh­a­lane near Newtownstewart
Coun­ty Tyrone