I’m not sure from whom I obtained photocopies of several letters from Theodore Robbins of Indiana to his cousin Levi Robbins in Oregon. I was going through my files and came across these recently and thought I’d share. One letter copy is very clear and easy to transcribe. The others are very faint and if I can puzzle them out I’ll include them in future posts.
Theodore and Levi were actually double cousins – Theodore’s parents were Jonathan and Margaret (Spilman) Robbins and Levi’s parents were Jacob and Sarah (Spilman) Robbins. Jonathan and Levi Robbins were cousins, while Margaret and Sarah were sisters, daughters of Thomas and Nancy (Love) Spilman. There are a lot of similar connections between Decatur County families.
I don’t have a lot of information about Theodore Robbins. He was born in 1856 in Decatur County and apparently died in Galveston, Texas, in 1899. It is not known if he was ever married or had any children.
Family members referred to in the letters are Robbins and Spilmans, but it’s not entirely clear sometimes who is who. After the letter I’ve added some comments about the names mentioned. I’ve found that letters of this time usually covered two topics: family news and farm prices!
June 7th, 1875
I received your letter of the 14th of May a few days ago. We were glad to hear from you and know you are all well. We have had a small amount of sickness in our family this spring although none serious. We are all well at present. We got a letter from George2 at the same time we got yours. Himself and James’s3 folks were all well with the exception of colds. Aunt Polly’s4 folks are living in Greensburg. They were all well the last time we heard from them. Jane5 died last fall of consumption. I don’t know whether you have heard it or not. Uncle Franks6 folks are living near Greensburg. They have had a great deal of sickness in their family for the last year but they are all able to get around now. Times here is pretty hard. Corn is worth from .90 cents to $1.00 per bushel. Hogs are worth six and seven centers per pound. The coming crop of wheat will not be more than one half of a crop on account of the cold winter. We had a very backward spring but corn in this locality looks very well considering the time it was planted. The Taylor you spoke of, I have found out nothing about them yet. [Line at bottom of page is missing]…time you write. Father and mother have lost the track of them. Tell Uncle,7 now that he has sold out he might come to old Hoosier and see us. We would like to see him very much. In deed we would like to see all of you. Well I must quit for this time.
Write soon and often,
Theodore I. Robbins
P.S. Enclosed you will find Fathers and Mothers pictures.
- I am assuming that the letter is to Levi Robbins. One of the other photocopied letters I have included the envelope addressed to Levi. Levi was a first cousin via the Spilmans, and a second cousin, once removed through the Robbins family.
- George Thomas Robbins, brother of Theodore. In 1875 was in Iowa and in 1877 moved to Russell, Kansas.
- James Harvey Robbins, brother of Theodore. He lived in Lucas Co., Iowa.
- Not sure who he is referring to, possibly the older sister of Margaret and Sarah?
- Again, I do not know who this is.
- Probably referring to Frank Spilman, Margaret and Sarah’s brother.
- Jacob Robbins, father of Levi, husband of Sarah Spilman (thus both uncle and cousin to Theodore).
I’ll consider posting additional letters if I can transcribe them from the very faint copies I have.
[Jacob Robbins-Absalom Robbins-George Robbins-Jonathan Robbins-Theodore Irvin Robbins]