Another post in the year-long challenge, #52Ancestors by genealogist Amy Johnson Crow. I am behind, but every post is another post! Today I am sharing a letter from my great-grandfather (on my mother's paternal line), Dr. Louis DeBarth KUHN. It was published in The Republican Compiler, Gettysburg, Adams, Pennsylvania, Monday Jun 9, 1856, and is stated to be - not the entire letter - but extracts from a personal letter shared with the publisher. See newspaper banner, here.
At this time in 1856, Dr. KUHN had already graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Medicine and separately in Pharmacy, by 1852. He travelled at some point after his graduation to Washington Territories, settling in Port Townsend [Fort Townsend]. On January 17, 1864, he married the eldest daughter of one of the four earliest settlers of Port Townsend, Amelia "Millie" PETTYGROVE, her father Francis W. PETTYGROVE.
The letter follows:
Here I am, safe and well, thank God, at the “seat of war,” after a pleasant voyage of a dozen days from “Merry San Francisco,” whence we sailed on the evening of the 8th of March.
My first visit ashore was at Clallam Bay, where the sub-chief, “Captain Jack,” came off to tell us that his “Mamma and Papa,” as well as a number of his tribe were sick, and to ask the “Boston Doctor” to come to see them, and to give them some “medicine,” that they might get well. I went along with him on sight, with a great deal of pleasure, and we were met on the beach by such a lot of squaws and papooses as I never saw together.
The old chief led the way with quiet dignity to his own “wigwam,” where his wife and parents were, and afterwards to all the others; they had a number of sick, though none very seriously so, and they brought them out in the greatest confidence that the “Medicine Man” would cure them all; I wish to Heaven I could. They live in large wooden lodges, as comfortable as they know how, and as nearly in a perfect state of nature as possible; they are very kind to each other, especially to their parents, and live upon game, fish, clams and wapatoes --(potatoes) and very good they are too.
They are a fine looking race of men, of a light tan colour, and dark hair and eyes; the young women are handsome enough, but the old ones are anything else in the world; they do all the work and look tired and care-worn as possible.
I asked him what had been done for his arm, and he said “Nothing.” -- I then asked to look at it, saying, “that’s my trade,: and found him about to have a useless and crippled limb for life, as I told him. He begged me to attend to it, and I went to work, got some splint and bandages, &c. Next morning (Easter) I went ashore, taking the Carpenter and my German friend Shrotter, to assist me. I knew it would be very painful, and put him under the influence of chloroform; but when I began, Shrotter cleared out, swearing that he could not “stand it.”
This is a town containing about fifty or sixty houses, situated upon the Sound, and surrounded by the forest. Lately this has been cut down for some distance, and a breast-work thrown around the place; and with several ships of war at anchor, ready for action at a moment’s warning, I think the Town of “Seattle” is safe.
I think I never lived better: this is the greatest place for fish of all kinds that I have ever seen. At one sweep of the seine, our men caught over 200 codfish. You know I was never very fond of fish-women or fish; but a fresh salmon, or codfish, smoking before a man, ten minutes after he was swimming alongside, is sufficient to make a hungry man forget his prejudices, and forgive all his enemies.
Whilst I am writing there are twenty-five large canoes full of Indians coming across the Sound. I think they are friendly Indians, for they are coming straight-forward, in confidence; and, if otherwise, they had better not come -- that’s all.
On Sunday, a poor Indian scout shot himself in the arm, accidentally. He refused to have it amputated; and is gone to the hunting-grounds of his fathers. Poor fellow! he was brave and patient, and died without a groan.”
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If these are your ancestors, I am happy to share what little I have on these ancestors. And if there are errors, please do let me know, via calewis at telus dot net, or in the Comments below and I will get back to you either by email or in the Comments. I appreciate the opportunity to correct any issues in these family trees.