As I go through more of these letters, I almost feel like an unseen visitor. I wonder if Josiah or Sarah would ever have dreamed that their correspondence would be read with such interest almost a 130 years after it was written. It obviously must have been important to Sarah Cummings, as she saved the letters. So did someone else, I would assume a descendant of Sarah's (most likely a grandchild).
Josiah relates his story of westward movement. He tells Sarah:
We left our native home (Hollis, New Hampshire) the first of June 1832 with four
bright and promising little boys, the oldest 7 years and the youngest, Charles
less than 2 months old. We started for Illinois but it was the season of
the Black Hawk War and we stopped in Ohio and stayed there 2 years and
Gregg was born in Cuyahoga Co. on the 18 day of February 1834 and the first of
June of that year we started for Illinois. Stayed there 8 years, from
thence we moved to New Albany, Indiana and stayed there for two years and from
there moved to Michigan in 1845.
I also went looking for Josiah Holden in the 1840 Federal Census. I found him in Jackson, Will County, Illinois.
I will admit it is kind of difficult to read, but the entry above is for Mr. J. R. Holden. I skimmed by the census page on Ancestry three times before I realized it was him. Josiah's brother Phineas Hemmenway Holden (you gotta love that name) has a large family that stays in Will County for years. These must be the 'Illinois' relatives Josiah mentions every now and again.
Coming next - the Black Hawk War...