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Johnson Family Letters

A description of the item at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Johnson, Hiram A.
Title: Johnson Family Letters
Inclusive Dates: 1847-1858
Quantity: 1 folder (SC)
Abstract: Letters between several members of the Johnson family of Oregon, including Charles Johnson, Hiram A. Johnson, John Charles Johnson, Rachel Johnson, and W. W. Johnson.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
http://scrc.syr.edu

Biographical History

Little is known of the writers beyond what can be gleaned from the collection. Hiram A. Johnson was the son of Charles and Rachel Johnson. Hiram left home in St. Lawrence County, New York and went to Oregon, traveling first to Oregon City and then to Santiam City. His letters mention numerous "brothers and sisters" but it is unclear whether they were all actual siblings or were perhaps cousins or in-laws; names include Abel, Lucy, Warren, Elihu, Harriet and others. In the last letter he mentions George, Warren and Charles, who appear to be his sons.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Johnson Family Letters consists of four letters, three from Hiram Johnson and one from his son Charles.

The earliest, dated February 16, 1847 from Pittsfield, Illinois, is from Hiram A. Johnson to his parents, Charles and Rachel Johnson in St. Lawrence County, New York. The letter is annotated in another hand in pencil as follows: "This is the last letter that Brother Hiram wrote before he started for Oregon from Illinois." The letter reads, in part, "I am fixing to move to Oregon in the Spring and I do not anticipate any danger from the indians...mother do not be uneasy about me you shall hear from me often." Later, he says "I will write to you again when I get to St. Joseph, Mosourie [sic] that is the last settlement on the road."

Of the remaining letters, two are from Hiram to his brother and sister; one is dated from Oregon City a few months later, and the other from Santiam City. In the latter Hiram mentions the flood of men passing through Oregon en route to newly discovered gold mines in what is now British Columbia.

The last letter is from Hiram's son John Charles Johnson to his grandmother Rachel Johnson, and reads in part:

Dear grandma though I have never Seen you yet I have heard my father talk So much about you I thought I would write you a few lines to let you See how well I can write and to let you know that I would like to see you first rate I am now twelve years old yet I cannot write very well this being a new Country I have not had a very good chance to go to school. But I am determined to improve every opportunity and get the best education I can.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings

Persons

Johnson family.
Johnson, Hiram A.

Subjects

Northwest, Pacific -- History.
Northwest, Pacific -- History.
Travelers -- 19th century.

Places

British Columbia -- Gold discoveries.
Oregon -- Description and travel.
Oregon City (Or.) -- History.
Santiam City (Or.) -- History.

Genres and Forms

Correspondence.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Johnson Family Letters,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Carson Buck, 1969.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 26 May 2010
Revision history:

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Inventory

Correspondence
SC 497 Johnson family 1847, 1854, 1858

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