Tag Archives: American Fur Company

This week in history: March 22–28

In 1834, Irish immi­grant Robert Camp­bell was still a “moun­tain man”, liv­ing out west.  But what did his fam­i­ly back in Ire­land think about this?  This week we find out!  On March 26, 1834, Robert’s sis­ter Anne writes him from Augh­a­lane house, thank­ing him for his mul­ti­ple let­ters this year.  It seems Robert has assured his sis­ter that he is per­fect­ly pro­tect­ed in the west, although that does­n’t stop Anne and the oth­er Camp­bells from pray­ing for Robert dai­ly. Some­one sent the fam­i­ly a news­pa­per clip­ping from a St. Louis news­pa­per.  The arti­cle was writ­ten by the Amer­i­can Fur Com­pa­ny, Sub­lette & Camp­bel­l’s biggest fur-trad­ing rival, and talked about the dev­as­ta­tion cholera and famine had brought at the mouth of the Yel­low­stone and how Buf­fa­lo were dying out.  Anne responds that “some peo­ple are very cru­el!”  Enjoy this glimpse into the home front of life as a moun­tain man!

Augh­a­lane 26th March 1834
My Dear­est Broth­er Robert
How grate­ful have your let­ters been to out feel­ings — I think I can count 5 with­in the last year. This life is (__?) and among the bright­est spots of my exis­tence is the receipt of you let­ters. There is not a human with un-grat­i­fied, for the mar­gin of each are filled up by broth­ers Hugh, to hear that one of you were well would be plea­sure, but to know that
both are well and so affec­tion­ate is hap­pi­ness indeed.  Thank God you are mea­sur­able secure, in hav­ing Hors­es, more men, and a fort to pro­tect your­self — our ear­li­est and our lat­est thoughts are about you, and although they are not so heart­sound­ing as hereto­fore (since 18th Jan, when we had your first let­ter dat­ed in the moun­tains) yet dai­ly on our knees is our peti­tions offered up for your safe­ty here, and your hap­pi­ness here­after. Two days I saw a para­graph copied from a St. Louis News­pa­per head­ed “The far west” It shoed [showed] that cholera and famine were sweep­ing away all, at the mouth of the Yel­low Stone, and that where herds of Buf­fa­lo abound­ed there was

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not a soli­tary one to be found and no one knew where they were gone-some peo­ple are very cru­el!  The Amer­i­can fur com­pa­ny were giv­en as the author of this — per­haps it was best we heard this calami­tous intel­li­gence for after the first (__?) of grief were over it brought us often­er to ask pro­tec­tion and help of our God for you — your kind offer that Moth­er and I should draw on your prop­er­ty for any mea­sures we would require is too much — I can­not thank you in terms strong enough.  Lan­guage could not express the sen­ti­ments of my heart! I shall there­fore desist — may the blessed sav­ior be your pay­mas­ter for all your kind­ness­es to me.  I trust we will not take any of your prop­er­ty unless absolute neces­si­ty com­pel us, and even then, I would rather the inter­est of what my Father left me would be giv­en then bur­den you with what I am con­fi­dent is not your right to do–  Richard Keys has been in New South Wales more than a year, he has writ­ten Andrew giv­ing an account of every thing from the vari­ety of the ladies, till the quan­ti­ty of the wool that is on the sheep.  There is not a ques­tion you would ask con­cern­ing that coun­try that is not answered in his let­ter it was pub­lished in the Der­ry sen­tinel of Sat­ur­day, he is very anx­ious to know where

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you are and talks warm­ly of the pleas­ant days he spent in Augh­a­lane his salary was 50 pounds per year for over­see­ing a gen­tle­mans estate I expect on this broth­er Hugh has informed you of our dear moth­ers Lame­ness, Doc­tor Laugh­lin attend­ed her and his was not the for­mal atten­dance of a Doc­tor, it was like the case of a duti­ful son — he would not take a frac­tion for all his trou­ble, we made a small present with near­ly 1 pound to his youngest daugh­ter, who is named for me, sub­scribed to the dis­pen­sary for this year.  I saw him on Tues­day he request­ed me that I should present the warmest esteem to Mrs Laugh­lin and him­self to you — Mr Him­phills fam­i­ly are well Hamil­ton is on your side the Atlantic Charles is at col­lege, the young ladies are not yet mar­ried, his sonin­law Mr Camp­bell has recent­ly got a
lucra­tive sit­u­a­tion under Lord Darn­ley — Doc­tor MCMul­lon was mar­ried to Miss Adams, he is now a wid­ow­er, and is on the eve of sooth­ing and for Van­di­a­men lands — After 10 days ill­ness cousin Robert Hel­son died he has left a wid­ow and three chil­dren — It is but a few days since old Bil­ly one morn­ing began to sing pslams very loud, when he ceased he was speech­less, and the same evening expired In 7 hours his suf­fer­ings were ter­mi­nat­ed I trust for ever I had 10 of the last 1 pound that broth­er Hugh sent to bury him — may we my dear Broth­er meet here in plea­sure and in anoth­er world in glory
Is the prayer of your sis­ter Ann Campbell

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27th March 1834 7 oclcok P.M. I have opened this let­ter to say that William Camp­bell has read a let­ter stat­ing that Mr. Copel
Cathrine and their fam­i­ly are liv­ing extreme­ly well in Upper Coun­try Clarks fam­i­ly are well and so are Mrs Campbells

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Uncle and Aunt Gra­ham died in one day about 3 months ago — sister
Cather­ine and fam­i­ly land­ed at Lue­bra when the cholera was at its
Hwight in that city, we have not heard from her since — my poor dear kind-
Heart­ed sis­ter I fear she has fell a vis­tim to that dread­ful dis­ease she and sister
Were my favorites I have many sor­row thoughts for her and when Margery is
[miss­ing] in New York, her hus­band is worth 500 pounds their son is the finest boy can be he
fre­quent­ly writes to his grand­fa­ther Mr Hamil­ton in this country.

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On the sub­ject of Andrew going to Amer­i­ca we sel­dom talk it would be too painful
To us, Bet­sy and he are quite well she is still friend­ly and affec­tion­ate, he carries
On his farm­ing as usu­al. The sweet Mar­gret is still clever and decid­ed. She talks
Often of you yet I fear she scarce rec­ol­lects you. I try to keep you in her rec­ol­lec­tion. The
Rest ques­tioned her whether she loved Aunt Jean as I , best, she answered in her
Decid­ed way, that she loved Aunt Ann, but the fin­ger, bet­ter that Aunt Jeans soul
And body. They are all so intel­li­gent it would take an entire let­ter to describe them singly.

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Your moth­er sends a thou­sand bless­ings, she is quite well Thank God, and delight­ed you intend
To read your Bible
May God enable you
To pur­sue it with care

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Recd. at Phi­la­da. 12th May 1834
For­ward­ed by Hugh Camp­bell to his brother

Robert Camp­bell
Saint Louis
Sis­ter Anne
March 26th