Transcription from photo-copy to Word6.0 doc by Jonathan Webb Deiss, 15 December 2000



Letter written by Isabel Scott Webb – at age 84 years.


Motto – Hope on, hope ever.                   Roseburg       July 15, 1928


My Dear Isabel : A few minutes ago a special delivery boy brought to me your hasty letter, and as time is limited, and I wish to accommodate ye in any way I can, especially when it has to deal with grandmothers and such ancient other things, I thought I’d better be at it.  Also knowing ye can correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and so forth, I feel it won’t be so hard on me, therefore I begin.


The first thing your grandmother (that is me it seems, although I was not grandmother at that time) remembers about herself was one Sunday morning ‘way over in Bonnie Scotland. I, and my sister Jennie started for Kirk (church), going past Mother who was preparing cabbage to put in the soup. (Ea always had soup for dinner). I picked a piece of the middle part and gnawed at it along the road.  Consequently before Kirk let out I didn’t feel like myself, but tried to keep up my courage thinking – now in a minute it will be out, and we were only getting up to sing; so I let down my spirits and spewed, as I told my folks upon reaching home.


Next thing I mind, I was left to keep house while my Mother went five miles to Dumfernlin, the town where Carnegie had his castle, although it was not there at the time.  Feeling I was “monarch of all I surveyed” I proceeded to clean house.  I knew mother had two kinds of oil.  One she called train oil, the other was used for shining up the mahogany furniture in the best room in the house.  Well, of course I used the wrong oil and thought {illegible} good a generous supply would be better.  Therefore I shone it up.  Yes, part of me shone up too after Mother got a hold of me.  Well, that is about 77 years ago and I feel none the worse, but what went with the furniture I can’t say.  That happened when I was seven years old.


I was born in 1844.  In regards to reason for coming to America, My Mother thought maybe she could find her lost father whose name was Duncan Drummond.  Guess that is Scotch enough name for anyone.  Be that as it may, she also had a son and brother in America.  Her father seemed to be haunted by the wish to go to America, but his wife (my grandmother) would say, “Oh, no, Duncan, that is too far away.” Well he said, “I’m going, and Mary (my mother) says she will go with me.”  Sure enough, one fine day somewhere in the late twenties or early thirties he came up missing.  When next we heard from him he was in New York.


Time passed on and his little girl Mary married and when her eldest son became of age he too embarked for America.  He and his father were together when the cholera swept over their community.  Many victims were dying and those who were able were fleeing to the Catskill Mountains.  Among them my grandfather, who at last became persuaded by his son to go, as the son told him it was impossible for him to accompany him.  And that is the last ever seen or heard of my grandfather.


So time passed on.  When my brother Dan became a man, he also embarked for the Land of the Free, and in due time his father’s family also crossed over, and that is where your grandmother shone another time.  We embarked on a ship named Statiry Morse, queer name, wasn’t it?  We sailed six long weeks before setting foot on dry lad.  Encountered some storms whose mountain sized waves tossed us about.  Had divers experiences, some rather funny, others not so funny.  The funny ones I like to remember as I’m known for my sense of humor.


Up on deck I appropriated a quiet corner all mine own, where I could unmolested gaze and wonder at the sea and sky.  Now sea sickness they tell me is a fearful sickness, and I guess by what I’m going to tell, ye will see for yourself..  One time I was walking with the Captain who had me by the hand.  We came to a halt in front of a lady who had a very white face and whose head rested on a nice looking man’s shoulder.  The Captain said to her, “Oh, Lady, ye are very sick, can’t we do something for you?  Can’t your husband go ---“ She interrupted by suddenly lifting her head, and glancing at her companion said, “Oh, that’s not my husband, I don’t know whose husband it is,” and down went her head again on his shoulder.  Now ye see a nice lady must be very sick to do a thing like that.  Also the man must have been very sick to do a thing like that with such endurance.  But I must hasten on so there will be time and space for a word about your other antediluvian ancestors.


Well, I said in due time we landed in New York, where my Mother met her brother but they did not recognize each other.  Also, my brother met us and he had a place for us further west.  Always west we journeyed quite a few days before reaching our destination which was Cordova, Illinois.  We sailed up the chain of lakes where again your grandmother was sick.  She was nine years old then.  We lived in Wisconsin where I grew up and where I was when the Civil War broke out.  The year the war ended in ’65 we moved to Minnesota, after my two brothers came home from the war, kept alive through it all by their mother’s prayers.  Here I met your grandfather, also a returned soldier, who died five years ago the last of this month.  He enlisted when he was sixteen years old.  The War Department would not take boys under eighteen, therefore he took some chalk and wrote the number 18 on the sole of his boot.  When they asked him “Are ye 18” he sais “Yes, I’m over 18.”  They took him as he was tall and I suppose thought it was all right.  Anyway, he came through it all, was wounded once or twice.  Had a rebel bullet in his shoulder that the doctor could never find.  In hot weather he said he could feel it.  Yes, Isabel, you remember your grandfather and loved him.  Everyone who knew him loved him.


Now as this is a very long epistle, I will close.  Could tell ye many funny things that happened to your grandparents; also things that are not funny, but that happens to the lot of us.  As Bobbie Burns said : “The poor oppressed honest man had surely ne’er been born had there been no recompense to comfort those who mourn.”


Now I will mail this so ye may get it as soon as possible.  Maybe ye can winnow some time out of it to meet the requirements.  We are having nice cool weather, I’m writing on the porch.  Wish ye lived in this {illegible} climate.  I thank the Good Lord for my good health and all his good and perfect gifts.  Yes, we enjoyed Harvey and Mabel’s visit, but the time was too short.  My love to your dear Daddie and Mother and I hope I may see ye all next year.  Angie is still in the same place, glad she is so near.  My love I send and prayers.  - Grandma.