27 December 6, 1852

Lyman writes Henry in the winter of 1852, saying that he is healthy and that his older brother Harrison is “still living in the Indian Nation,” after apparently taking the job that Lyman had done there the previous year.  Lyman has served on several juries, and tells Henry about the weather and local conditions.

Henry has said he plans to visit Michigan the following summer, and Lyman says he would like to do the same.  Lyman also mentions that he wants to go the World’s Fair.  He is referring to the “Exhibition of Industry of All Nations,” held in New York City from July to November, 1853.  This was the first such fair held in America, and it attracted over a million visitors and featured a “Crystal Palace” that emulated the one built for the very successful 1851 fair in London.  But this is the final letter from Lyman in the collection, so I don’t know if he ever made it.

My transcription follows the images:


The original images are from the archives of the Ashfield Historical Society and are used with permission.


Van Buren Arks Dec. 6th 1852

Dear Brother

I embrace the present opportunity of writing you a few lines.  I have enjoyed remarkably good health for some time past.  Harrison is still living in the Indian Nation at the point where I stayed last winter.  The United States District Court has just closed here after holding for some three weeks.  There has been twelve or fifteen convicted during the term of the court.  Some are sentenced to the penitentiary.  Others are (three) sentenced to be hung for murder, among whom is an Indian.  I was on four different Juries, one the Jury was “hung” for three days.   

The Arkansaw River is in fine boating order at present and has been for some time.  The boats are arriving here almost every day, bringing some of the delicious fruits of the “South” such as Oranges, Pine Apples, &c.  Mr. Bishop is absent at present on a trip to New Orleans.

I have not heard from Mich for some time, hope to get a letter from there soon.  I have not heard from Lemuel but once since he started for California.  That by way of Lucius who recd a letter from him somewhere on his route.  I am hoping to get a letter from him soon.

You say you think you will be out to Michigan during the next summer.  What time do you think it will be?  I should like to visit the north during the next year.  Don’t know as I shall.  Not the fore part at least.  When I do I shall give you all a call.  I would like to attend the World’s Fair if convenient.  Mr. Bishop thinks of going north next summer and attending the Fair.

The weather here is as pleasant and warm as the month of September is at the north.  There has been but one or two frosts and no freezing weather here.  I have recd two numbers of the Home Journal coming from the office of publication.  You may order it sent to Mich. or make some other disposition of it if you choose, as Mrs. Bishop takes it and I am not very partial toward it to say the most.  I this day recd the Boston Atlas after an intermission of about 2 months.

Write soon & give my love to all your family.

Yours Truly

Henry S. Ranney Esq.

Lyman A. Ranney

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