Josephine Huggins: “It is impossible for me to name the innumerable blessings”

Sophia Josephine Marsh Huggins Hanthorne 1838-1927.

Part three in a series about new documents commenting on Sophia Josephine Marsh‘s 1862 captivity story.


Letter “D”

Oak Grove Dec 14th/63

Mr. Riggs

My Dear friend

Your kind letter with the draught [draft] was received in due time. I should have written immediately as you requested but I thought I would get the draught cashed first. I sent it to Abingdon, but the merchants there did not want it. I took it to Knoxville today and got the money. At Mr. Runcle’s Bank he said that I would be responsible for it if the Am. Board does not have the money on hand.

Everyone seems very fearful about Banks and Dfts. now. Last summer Uncle Jonas sent me one and the Bankers hesitated quite a while about taking it. I think I prefer a Dft. rather than run the risk of having it lost by the way. If it is not convenient to  get one do as you think best you know better than I about it.

I was very gladly surprised when I received your letter although I had been thinking of my claim a short time before but more surprised when I learned that they had set if off so little. I feel very thankful for it it will be a great help to me.

I often think of those poor Indians on the Missouri. I wonder if Emma Day is there, poor child. I shall never for get her. I should like to do something for her if she is living.

We are all in usual health. My sisters are going to school. And I am trying to keep house. Father has failed very much since I was here four years ago he is troubled with Rheumatism very much. Charlie’s neck has swollen again we got it lanced today he seems quite well and is fleshy. Baby is growing very fast he creeps & walks around by chairs.

If Mr. Heard’s book that you mentioned gives correct account [sic] of the massacres and is worth its price I will be please[d] if you could get one for me without putting yourself to too much trouble. I should like to see a book of the kind. I do not know how would be the best way of sending it.

Please excuse this poor scribbling my eyes are quite weak. I thank you for your kindness to us always and close

yours very truly

S. J. Huggins

P.S. Please retain ten dollars of the money & except it [sic] as a present from a friend.


Letter “E”

At Fathers IL,

Feb. 9th 1864

My Dear Friend

Mr. Riggs

I received your kind letter containing the Draft which I got cashed without any trouble.

I also received the book that you sent me, for which I thank you very much.

I should have let you know I had received them long before this if it had not been for that habit of procrastinating and sickness.

The children have all been quite sick they are better now Charley has had a hard cough ever since new year day. I hope he will get better when warmer weather comes.

When writing to Uncle Jonas Pettijohn sometime ago I mention the fact [sic] that Mr. Gilfillan had given you $150 to send to me and retained $50 for himself.

I received a letter from Uncle Jonas since in which he says “As soon as I got your letter I wrote to Mr. Gilfillan immediately reminding him of a promise that he made me in a letter that he would not exact the 25 percent of you.”

He received a reply soon after and what do you think he says?

He says that he is glad that he reminded him of it. And to prove that he was glad He sent Uncle Jonas a draft for $50.

I think it was a very kind act in Mr. Gilfillan [sic] I thank him for it.

Uncle Jonas has been exceedingly thoughtful and kind to me. I feel that I can never repay him for his kindness to me. Nor the rest of my dear friends.

You and your family will always retain a fresh and vivid place in my memory. Oh how good and kind God has been to me in giving me kind friends & shielding me from harm while with the Indians. It is impossible for me to name the innumerable blessings that he has bestowed on me.

Give my kindest regard & love to Mrs. Riggs & Martha. I should like very much to get a letter from Martha but have not the boldness to ask her to write when I have several of her letters & Isabellas unanswered. I prise [sic] them very much.

Please remember me in your prayers.

Respectfully yours,

S. J. Huggins


Holographs of both letters are in the Stephen R. Riggs Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Next up: The publication history of Josephine’s story. The surprises aren’t over yet!

Photo credit: Patricia Huggins via Dakota Soul Sisters

This entry was posted in Josephine Huggins, Primary Sources, Stephen R. Riggs. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Josephine Huggins: “It is impossible for me to name the innumerable blessings”

  1. Pingback: Josephine’s Experience Becomes a Story | A Thrilling Narrative of Indian Captivity: Dispatches from the Dakota War of 1862

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s