Letters written to and from Robert J Cross of Illinois
1847 & 1849

R J Cross, from wife Hannah, - 1847

(On outside of document)
Roscoe, Ills.
July 1
Robert J. Cross
Springfield Ills.
(On inside)

Roscoe June 30th 1847
Dear Husband,

I received your favors June 15 last Saturday. We always receive your letters with pleasure The children seem uncommonly fond of hearing from Papa and ask many questions respecting your being at Springfield.

Miss Eastmans present term closes in two weeks The vacation will begin in 7 weeks. The time is so long I have thought perhaps the children would do well to enter the district school. The teacher gives general satisfaction. I met with her and others yesterday at Mr. Brown's and was much interested in the appearance and I mentioned sending our children to her at the close of the term to which she did not object. Please advise me on this point…

Last Thursday was celebrated at Beloit by laying the corner stone of Beloit College. The number present was variously estimated at 12 and 15 hundred. A much larger number than has ever assembled on any previous occasion in this section & deep interest was felt and the speakers appeared unusually engaged. They were disappointed in one of their most distinguished speakers. Dr. Becker of Cincinnati, Ohio. Yet not withstanding that the occasion was calculated to interest our warmest feelings. There were ministers from different parts of the country; Mass. Vermont. Connecticut, NY, New Jersey, Ohio, Chicago, etc, etc.

I wish you could have been there with us, it was a day long to be remembered by all present as the like may never occur in our day at least in a number of years.

I crowded along until I could see the deposits and hear distinctly all that was addressed to that vast assembly. I rode up with Mr. & Mrs. Brown.

You would probably think it time to say something relative to our own affairs today.

Mr. Stodard and Peters have gone to lay the wall from your barn. It has been delayed for other engagements yet Mr. Prince? has not been hindered. He is at work on the frame. Told me a few days since he hoped to raise next week if he was not disappointed in getting lumber from the mill. Mr. Roads has done some of the sawing and considerable is yet to do.

William has hauled to the barn. I know but little about his business but think some other person might have done much more than has been done in same length of time. But you will understand things better when you return than I can now inform you. If William was to get a log to the mill for fence board to enclose the yard, he has not done it and don't know whether he sill get over of those now at the mill sawed for that purpose or not. One thing I do know I have not a James to depend upon to do such things for me yet I would not complain.

I shall get along very well this summer. Mr. Davis chops my wood as I want it and for every thing else I am well provided. Mr. Cole wished I to know if he should get a file to file the teeth of ?…?. He says they are very dull, did you use one or is one necessary. Don't forget to direct him in your next letter to me as he is anxious to know what to do about the file.

Mr. Cherry returned from Chicago last Thursday. He was caught in the wind going out and had very bad roads both ways. Did you intend I should pay him for hauling the Lumber? He did not fetch all of it but told me he would go to Southport (Kenosha, WI) this week if his father was so he could leave him home. He is not expected to live but a short time. Says He will get the shingle and flooring at that place for he will not go to Chicago again.

He brought all the siding 2 thousand foot when he sold the wool. Mr. Haskinds sent his wool with ours. Mr. Cherry/Charey got 27 cent per pound for the wool and sold it altogether. The amount of the wool Mr. Cheney will show you when you return. He paid me 15 dollars the rest has he to get lumber and shingle and pay expenses. He can explain all to you better than I can. Says he got the highest market price. Mr. Johnson & Hasking are much pleased with the sail. We got along very well.

Miss Clarie of Beloit is with me spending a part of the time in sewing and part in visiting just as she pleases. I find her very pleasant company, ? ? if possible persuade her to stay with me 3 or 4 weeks.

Shall look for a letter from you this week and will write as often as possible and give you the history of business as well as circumstances will admit. And believe me.

Your Affectionate Wife

Hannah Cross

Stephen Mack to Hon. Robert J. Cross- 1847

The following letter was written by Stephen Mack to Hon. Robert J. Cross while he was in the Illinois State Legislature

Pecatonic, Jan'y 24, 1847.

Eso'k. Cross, Dear Sir: -

I am just informed that the people of Rockford are about to present a petition to the legislature, for an act to make the Rockford bridge a county charge. If this should be done, you will readily see the injustice that would be done to other parts of the county unless other bridges are put on the same footing You will see by the charter granted to David Jewett, M. E. Mack and myself, to build a bridge across Rock river at this place, it was intended that the bridge when built, should be county property and so maintained; but when the bridge was ready for inspection by the county coniuiissioners, they objected to the expense of rebuilding in case the bridge should be destroyed, and have refused or neglected to this time to have any action in the matter. It rests so at present.

This bridge, commonly called Mack's bridge, is the best one ever built across Rock river, and the first one ever built across said river in Illinois. It has a good draw about thirty-six feet wide, and is as permanent as such a structure can be built of wood; and it has more travel across it than ever other bridge combined, except the Rockford bridge. Now if the Rockford Bridge is to be put upon the county, this bridge (Mack's), must be included, or the greatest injustice would be done to the people of this part of the county.

If the county will take both bridges and maintain them, I should be much gratified, but to take one which is half rotted down and no draw, and reject one that has a good draw, and is otherwise perfect, would be too gross an act for a legislative body to commit if they are sufficiently informed on the subject. I commit this subject to you and Mr. Miller in full faith that you will see justice done to us of the north in this matter.

The subject of the location of the lock in the Rockford dam is creating much excitement in some parts of the county. I can now repeat what I wrote you a few days since, that out of Rockford the opinion is unanimous that the lock should be in the dam and not in the race. It is generally considered that placing the lock in the race will be tantamount to declaring Rockford the head of navigation.

Do me the favor to show this letter to friend Miller, and accept the best wishes for him and yourself of your humble servant.
Stephen Mack.

Lincoln Letter - 1849

Roscoe 25th Feb'y. 49

Dear Sir I have forwarded to Col. Baker a petition for a change of Post Masters in this place. I will take it as a personal favor to me if you will use your influence with the Department to give us a new Post Master as speedily as circumstances will admit.

The people of this place have been so long imposed upon in the appointment of P. Master by favoritism at Washington that we are quite anxious to have one of our choice appointed.

Mr. Wilson for whom we ask the appointment has been acting as deputy for some three years past and has given general satisfaction whilst the P. Master has done nothing except to take the pay for the duties Mr. Wilson has done.

I have said to Col. Baker that I believe 3/4 of the Whigs have signed his petition. I believe 9/10 would be nearer the truth

For a history of the management of the appointments in the office in this place I refer you to my letter to the Col.

Resp yours
Robert J. Cross

Notes: From the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

From brother, Wm. H. Cross - 1847

(On outside of document) Fort Pleasant Mich Feb. 8 Hon. Robert J. Cross Springfield Illinois

(On inside) Leonidas Twp St Jos Co, Febry 4th 1847

Dear Brother,

I Rec'd. your letter from Springfield a few days since and to day Recd. the Sangamon Journal of 21st ult. I was not aware of the poor state of your health through the fall past and am able to sympathize with you somewhat for the past season has been one of uncommon sickness with us as a state and in my family. I got home from New York abt. the 1st of August and in about 3 weeks both Nancy and myself were taken down with fever in one week our fevers were not very sever and in that time I was crawling about and Nancy in the course of weeks was able to look about the house but before that time some of the children were down and from that time until the 1st of Jany we could not say as a family we were well and although all about now we are not very tough. At one time every one of us were sick either having ague and fever or chills except our youngest but one imagines abt 7 she was well through the season and although this is bad as no help could be got yet we are through the Mercy of Providence once more in comfortable health.

Mr. Hanchetts (?) health and family was very poor and he became discouraged and left. Made me a proposition to take the interest here and let him leave, which I accepted and since that time I have been alone here. As I know your Sympathy for and interest in my success in life. I am abt to perhaps to freely disclose my situation to you.

I am once more an embarrassed situation. When I bought goods in NY in 1845 I intended to so as a close and safe pursuit if possible and did not mean to extend credit. I have done so but we purchased a large amount of wheat for us some 3 or 4,000 bushels on which we lost heavily fully $1,000 and when in N York in July last (although the top was not nor is it yet fully ascertained) I had no idea it was so great as it now appears to be add to this loss a season of sickness and consequent neglect of business and you may judge that it is an unpleasant fix I am now in.

Mr. H was ?….? ?…? while I was gone east and from the state of the books & accounts appears to have been very careless and there is much difficulty and loss in consequence of which I was not aware when I bought him out. ?…? ?…? way opens for me to sell out the interest in this property of which at present I see no problem. Chance I expect to go by the board over now and if so shall again be on the wing. It is very trying to me to so often fail in "…" but such would seem to be my fortune. I will hope if worst comes to that I may be able to get free from embarrassment if I give up all I shall ask this of those I own and hope to obtain it. My feeling of interest in the property is not given up nor my view of it eventually being one of the best pieces of property in the county changed. Owners may change but here will eventually be a place of business and a fine mill town.

I think I shall send this to Springfield presuming it will find you there and hoping and trusting that health is granted you and your dear family to whom we desire to be affectionately remembered on your return home. Your affectionate brother

Wm. H. Cross

From nephew Wm. Norton - 1847

Mr. Robert Cross
(Inside of sheet)
Ft. Wayne, July 18, 1847

Dear Uncle: Yours came safely to hand, etc, etc.

I am quite well at present, and as are all my family I believe. At least, they were the last time I heard from there. In the last letter which I got from my brother, he mentioned that he had received a letter from you, but had not had time to answer it. By-the-way, you forgot to tell me which political side "our side", was with you. Do not forget this next time. Politics run pretty high here about this time. Almost as high as they sometimes do in a Presidential campaign, although we have nothing more than a Congressman to elect. Our election comes on in about two weeks. It seems to me that L should rather make laws than split rails any day! However, "every one to his liking."

(Note: Abe Lincoln was elected to U S House of Representatives as Whig party member in 1846.)

There is considerable excitement in this city just at present, in regard to volunteers, who have returned from Mexico. There were two companies from Ft. Wayne. We have any quantity of "curiosities" in the office. First we have a Mexican copper ball (6lb) and an American iron do (ditto), picked up on the battlefield of Palo Alto, Secona, a Mexican copper grape shot weighing some 0/4 of a pound, and a Mexican "broad knife", picked up on the battle-field of Buena Vista. Third we have a Mexican dog entirely destitute of hair, and of a deep dm(?) color. We have plenty of fun with this last.

When some "green-horn" comes into the office, he will look at it and not knowing what to make of it, he will "Naturally" inquire. "What is that?"

"Oh! That is a young elephant!" "A young elephant!

Where is his trunk?"

"He is so young that it has not commenced to grow yet. His trunk and tusks will commence to grow both together!" And away they go, perfectly satisfied, almost every day we have a dialogue, something like the above.

I might keep on writing nonsense, until I filled my sheet, but I forbear, for the good of the state of Illinois as it would not be right to trespass on the time of one of her legislators! Wonder if they will appreciate the favor?!! Write soon and often.

Yours etc. Wm. Norton
Mr. Robert Cross, Esq.

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