The Letters of Joseph G. Klock

Compiled by

His Great-Great grandson

Earl Herbert Klock

Letter No. 1

Oppenheim, 29th April, 1817

D. Children

I have received your letter last Sunday evening which was dated the 25th of last month & which we had long looked for & was much wondered that you had not wrote before, & the time you were in the snow storm, as we felt much concerned for you. We was very glad, and all your relation to hear where you were & of your health. Your letter found us all well, and remain so as yet, thanks to Providence for the same. I have understood that the country you are in Chautauqua, is a frosty. I therefore thought proper to acquaint you of the same, so that you see well to the same. Before you buy you a farm there. What you wrote about Luther Pardu & Swartwout is not accomplished for I have seen neither of them yet, but if our lives are spared, we shall see each other probably soon. I think you need not expect Wm. Swartwout up in your country to live as yet, as his wife died in child bed fever soon after you left us. Daniel had your letter at your mother's the day after we received it. Mr. Joe Awolbrathy, Jr.'s wife was brought to bed a few days ago with a young son. I think Henry Flander spoke to me directly after you left about some debt you should owe him. I said, I believe, that your notes of the sale of your personal property or some of them, were left in my hands & when they were collected, the matter might be fixed, Please to inform me of same. Daniel took ten shillings of the small bills that you sent to Uncle Bellinger & gave them to him. David's mother wishes to be remembered to you all & seems to think the distance is not great, & thinks if an opportunity affords, to come and see you once. We talk of selling the first opportunity. Have advertised our place for sale. Old and backward, and hay scarce, and from 15 to 17 dollars per ton, I think, in Albany a few days ago. (torn out) understood for 23/per bushel. O my dear children be faithful to God and make your peace with Him, here soon, for he will call us to judgment, and remember too Christ said, death will come like a thief in the night. O Caty instruct David and remember God says to his children give me your Heart & Christ said none shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven except they do the will of our heavenly Father. (torn out) in the grave, except ye repent and get forgiveness. All our family wish you luck.
John B. Klock Junr. & Peggy      Signature torn off.
David Klock and Caty

Note: It is a big jump in years to the next letter, or over 12 years. Great grandfather had evidently gotten over the shock of his children being so far "west", and had been out to Chautauqua county to visit them. Like other Klocks I have known, he liked to dabble in human illnesses, and prescribed quite liberally for different diseases. Some of the cures recommended in those days of simple medicines and home remedies do not appeal very strongly to us now. Think of what Great grandmother took for that stomach trouble -- the cure worse, almost, than the disease.

Letter No. 2

Oppenheim, October the 1st, 1829

D. Children:

Through the mercy of God, we arrived save home yesterday about twelve o'clock, After starting from your house, we arrived safe in Buffalo the next evening. There seemed to be a strife for passengers. and a man offered to take us on his boat for a cent a mile a piece; so we went on his boat. When we got to Rochester, he took in, they said 200 barrels of flour, and at an other place they took in 400 barrels more which they left at Utica. The heavy load and those hindrances kept us on the boat six nights, about a day and a half longer than we had calculated. Mother kept very unwell the greater part of the way. There happened a brother Beach, a patent Doctor, to come on the same boat with us who advised us to get an herb called lobelia or the seed pulverized and take two thirds of a teaspoonful in warm water and sugar till she would vomit freely, then take about half a teaspoonful of cayene peper, and repeat that taking to keep her in a sweat two days, to cause action in her stomach. I bought 4 ounces of the Caynea peper in Utica for 1/6' and took it along home, and this morning I found the lobelia by the help of brother Elwood. Mother began to take the Caynea peper at Utica, and I think she has found benefit by taking it already. Brother Beach said the above Lobelia and Cayena peper taken as above would not break the fever-ague alone but drive it off entirely, and said would cure cases of long standing, but be careful not to take cold, which I hope you will remember. A receipt for Whooping Cough: disolve a scruple of salt tartar in a gill of water, add ten grains of finely powered cochineal, sweeten it with loaf sugar. Give to an infant child the 4th part of a tablespoonful 4 times a day. It is said the releif is immediate, and the cure in general is effected in 5 or 6 days. To stop puking at any time take spearmint and stew it strong and drink it as hot as one can bear -- will stop it. I have just wrote to Doctor White about your complaint, and shall expect an answer soon. I was this day down to Judge Coopers, who lives at Cochran's place. While there Wm. Golden, a young man that studys or student Physick, he said, with Doctor White, said that White had many cases such as John's, and at present a boy abut ten years old who began to complain last winter that said White fixed a probang of different medicines fastened to a whale bone, which they use with the boy. Wm. Golden said that his throat was so shut that there could hardly a knitting needle pass through, but now the callis is wore away so that part is about as large as any of the rest. I understood him to say that the probang was fixed of materials that would cut or destroy the callis, and seemed to make light of it, yet it does not seem light to me, as it seems this boy used the probang since last winter, or spring. If I got the doctor's letter I shall if I live, send a true copy thereof. I should enclose his letter but it would subject you to double postage. When got home, we heard Isaac Quackenbush was dead and buried. Died the same week we left home, and heard he was sick and the doctor left him some opium or parigorick to be given in case of much pain, and said Quackenbushe's wife drank hard and gave him the whole at once, and he laid down, a sleep out of which he never awoke here. Old John Young, or drunken John, came to Cornelius Klock's, and was taken sick a few days before we left home, and after we left home was fetched into our village by the poor Master, and died; also a child of Doctor Riggs in our village. I hear nor see anything of John's sister Lana here as yet. I calculate to write my will tomorrow, and I hope we all may prepare for a dying hour, for none of us know when that will come and I hope the Lord will make us all ready.

Boils, Etc. take glass, or hard soot out of chimney, salt, tobacco, and cabbage leaf, equal parts; pound that up together; if too dry, may be wet with a little water to a poultice, and use it as such. Keep it on about 24 hours or till it draws to a head. This is good for a fellon finger, and rattles in children. Brother Ward said he took about as much as 3 grains epikak, put a little warm water on and gave a child a year old a spoonful and in 15 minutes another; then in 15 minutes another teaspoonful. It then puked, the child, and it got well. I am fearful of your probang that the sponge might come off. I think I should, if I was in your place, keep stick ready so if it came off, that it might be shoved down. I have seen and talked with Loomis and wife and Polly. They were very anxious, it seemed, to hear from you. I told them that you were in a good country, and if a man would work, he might have enough to eat and drink and that you had enough, but the worst fault I found while amongst you that there was no chance to get money to pay up for their lands so that they might get deeds for the same, and that they could not get deeds till the whole was paid. I hope these lines will find you all well and John a-getting better. I remain your affectionate father and feel as if I wanted to come up and help you all I could.
John, Peggy        Yours etc.
David and Caty Klock       Joseph G. Klock

P.S. I hope John will tend to and settle with every body himself that he has any deal with, so that if it should please the Lord to take him out of time, that his family may not be cheated. I expect to write again in short, and if anything should turn up that John should get worse be sure to let us know.

Note by E. H. K. -- It seems there is some question as to who Lana Klock was. This letter proves she was a sister of Grandfather John Beekman Klock. I think she is buried at Flavana burying ground, too. She and her brothers, John and David, must have taken some sort of government land, or homesteads in Chautauqua county, for Joseph G. Klock tells of their having trouble in getting all the payments made on the same, in order to secure deeds (patents?) to their land.

Letter No. 3

December 13th 1829

Dear Children

I took the opportunity by a traveler, a blind man and his boy, who said they were agoing to Ohio, and were agoing through Mayville to acquaint you & yours that we and all your friends appear to be all well, excepting Mother, who has, since I wrote last, almost been brought to the confines of the grave. This evening, four or five weeks ago, she was taken puking blood just after she got to bed, and that kept on by spells for about three days and nights. We applied to Doctor Riggs. He said a blood vessel had bursted in her stomach. He gave medicine, and it seems by the blessings of God, she is priviledged to stay with us some longer, and I hope for a good purpose, and I hope she may prove a Mother in Isreal yet. She has been feeble ever since, yet she seems againing. We, or she has now begun to use Doctor Gregory's Billous Pills which come highly recommended for foul stomach out of order. The recommend is signed by a number of doctors, and among the rest three Methodist Preachers. It seems that all have made a thorough trial of them, and found benefit. One of them stated that for 14 years, when he eat, he had pain just like Mother. He says they have entirely cured him. I had like to forgot John Fox who it seems is in his last state with the consumption, my wife's son. I hardly think that he will live three weeks. We had but few deaths among us since I wrote last. There was a stage driver hurt just below us at the gate Friday evening a week ago. It seems he got off to help raise the gate and his horses started to run; and it seems he sprang and caught the lines and was twisted under the wheels which ran over him. He was taken on wood sled to Jacob H. Failing's, the Stage House, the same evening, and died next morning. His name was Martin Randel, a very civil young man from Saratoga. County., and was taken home to his parents in a coffin Sat. I expect a warning to all of us to be also Ready, for we read in the Holy Bible that after death the judgement. There I expect we cannot stand if we have not on the wedding garment. Denus Deifendorf was buried today. My wife's cousin, and only son of John Deifendorf opposite the river from the Stone church, which seems to be hard for the old people are about 89 years of age, and still more harder for the widow and children of the deceased; yet it is said the oldest son is about 17 or 18 years of age, and a fine boy, and another some younger. We have a very open winter. No snow. We wonder that we have not heard from you, and in particular John, since we left you, and should be glad to hear from you soon, and in particular John. I sent up Doctor White's letter inclosed in my last which I expect you have received. I hope God's blessings will rest on us all. I feel thankful this evening, while writing, for God's goodness to us. Releigion seems to be low with us at present, but we are hoping better times. We read of Revivals almost all over our land, and I hope God will revive his work among us soon. I hope we and our children will prove faithful in serving the Lord till death that we may receive a crown.
          Yours, etc. Joseh G. Klock

Note -- I and Mother feel as if we would be glad if able to come up again next summer, but it is too costly and will hardly take place.

John, David, Peggy
and Caty Klock.

Note by E. H. K. -- From this letter, it seems that Joseph G. Klock's fourth wife, the widow of John C. Fox, had a son John Fox, who was dying from tuberculosis. Is it possible he was buried in the old Klock church burying ground? The letter mentions the death of Denus Deifendorf, a cousin to Joseph's 4th wife, whose maiden name was Devendorf. It will be noted, too, in these records that Daniel, 1st son of Joseph G. Klock and Dorthy Zimmerman, maried an Anna Devendorf. So Joseph's oldest son was married to a woman very likely closely related to his (Joseph's) last wife.

Letter No. 4

Oppenheim, July 3rd, 1830

D. Children

I rec'd your letter, I think, the fore part of last week dated June 11th wherein you stated that you were all well excepting yourself, but that you were some better, also that you were troubled with piles. I happened to mention to your sister Catherine, who said that Loomis had the piles once, and that Mr. Wait the schoolmaster, directed to take two bricks and heat them. Take one of them at a time and cool it in vinegar, just as cool as he could bear, and lay it on the piles. When a little cold, take off and put on the other; and so he kept on for about four hours, and it releived him, and had not had it since, which I think I would try if I was troubled with them. We are all well and all of your relatives here for what we know (except Mamma). She it seems must always be afflicted. She was very much out of order with her old complaints. This spring took cold while our folks was cleaning house, and fever-ague set in, and seemed in the greatest distress I ever saw a person in, I think in all my life, such pain turns that it seemed she could not live from one minute to an other. By the blessing of God, our Doctor Riggs got Master of it in about eight days, then was not careful enough, got a relaps, and he got Master of it again in the course of 5 or 6 days. But it seems that her disordered stomach will not bare all kinds of victuals, which causes her to be in trouble and pain almost all of the while. She complained much again last night, and could not sleep much, and is considerable unwell this morning. But we are short sighted, but generally hope for the best. I heard her thank god this morning for a hope beyond the grave, which is the best of all, and I am Generally inclined to think that it matter not much when we die, if we are ready, having this hope and the witness that we are His. I got your letter two days before your campmeeting wherein you stated that Relegion with you was low, which is the case with us at present, but still keep hoping for better times, and that His work might revive. I think the lack is in us, and our preachers. I hope God will quicken and speed us on. God be merciful to David, you hurt my feelings stating his language about me. I hope God will help him to repent for without that Jeasus said we must all perish.

Death is continually in our land, and it may come to our and David's door. If unprepared we would have to lament it through a long eternity, which God forbid. We had but one death among us for a considerable time and that was Henry I. Zimmerman who it was said killed himself drinking brandy, quite likely unprepared, but he is gone to a just God who will do him no injustice. Tell Lucinda, for me, never to make a match with any body unless she made it a matter of praying and fasting, and that God who heareth and answered prayer, if rightly made, will direct her, as to marrying a lame man and cripple might subject her to poverty all her days. She had best count the costs. That Failing's father was but a poor creature, his character poor with me. You never let me know about the man, I think Bemas by name, and who had the dropsy, and was never to die. I am sorry to hear David uses such bad language. When I came home from you last fall, I spoke very much in David's praise, and was almost overjoyed that people spoke well of him (that is) his neighbors, but such language is to the discredit of any man, and odious in the sight of God. I had to send Daniel the letter. What will he think after my speaking so well of him. I felt ashamed. You stated also that he should have said I never gave him any thing. What is given to his wife as to personal property, is given to him. As soon as it is given, he is master of it, and is at his disposal. I had thought that I would do all in my power for him if he came down next fall, but I expect to be disappointed in collecting debts. I, and our Maria have returned yesterday afternoon from Schenectady where I have nearly one hundred dollars due and all I got was five dollars, and I am afraid I will have to collect the remainder by due course of law, and how long that will take I do not know, but at all events, do know it will take longer than next fall, and I have also given him 4 weeks to settle.

Our crops look, I think, but indiferent. Wheat on dry land looks well, but the rest indiferent. Corn in general looks slim. Here and there a piece looks tolerable well; oats and pease midling; grass short; apples nearly all cut off with the frost in May, when we had a great deal of rain and cold. I think 4 or 5 frosts in one week, and since June came in intirely too wet, in particular for corn. A man that came in same boat with us, said that when he came through the Jersey, corn three feet long or high; good crops of every thing then coming through New York. I saw plenty of young potatoes sold in market at 5/ per bushel and saw young cabbage heads brought in. I saw the 1st day of this month green pease in pods, turnips in abundance brought in for sale Schenectady. We still, after all the frosts, have some apples, cherries left, and some plums. Cherries about ripe. Money very scarce among us, but enough to eat, thanks be to the Lord for that, and that is about all we could ask, provided we do not make us miserable and put us in the power of the people by running in debt. I do not think that I owe fourteen dollars this day -- and I think for one shall try to owe no man any thing, and I hope all my chldren will try to keep clear from debt.

Yours in great love, and seem to want to come and see you, but money so scarce that I can't bring it about. I had to sell one of my horses to Daniel to pay him the $20 lent me or let me have when I came up, and get money to pay doctor.
John B. Klock, David, Peggy &       Joseph G. Klock

Letter No. 5

Oppenheim, September 13, 1831

D. Sir:

I take the opportunity with one of your country men, Henry Wacker, to acquaint you and yours that we and all your relation here are well as for what we know, except Mother who is about as usual, very many sick turns, hoping these few lines will find you all well. We have had no deaths among us since your sister Caty (was here?) Mrs. Loomis, but her baby, Lawyer Markell, and a son of Robert Nellis*, the tailor, of the age of about 9 years who was thrown off a colt and never spoke. Markell, it seems died with consumption. I expect David down every day as he said he would come down this fall to look at some land I promised to give Caty a deed of. I also had some exceptation of seeing you down, as I frequently hear from your brother Corns. (Cornelius) that you would be down, but I fear your health would not admit of it, and money scarce. Yet we would be glad to see you, and yours. But you must know your own business. We, or some of us are atrying to make our way to Heaven, and I hope God will assist us, and help us on, and you too. In haste as the man is in a hurry. The Lord bless us all.
John B. Klock Junr.       Joseph G. Klock

*Grandfather of Milo Nellis

Continue on to Part 2, the 2nd installment of the letters of Joseph G. Klock. There are 18 full letters, two partial letters, and a letter written by Margaret (Peggy) Klock, Joseph G. Klock's daughter. These will be posted up through February 1998. Spellings and punctuation are those of the writer of the letters, Joseph G. Klock.

Some definitions of old medical terms (not part of original manuscript):

Probang - a long, slender, elastic rod with a sponge ball, or the like, at the end, to be introduced into the esophagus, etc., as for removing foreign bodies, or the introduction of medication. (From: The American College Dictionary, NY: Random House, 1948)

Poultices and Fomentations - the effect of poultices is to soften and relax the tissues by application of heat and moisture. In this way pain is relieved in many cases of inflammation, suppuration is prevented unless the process has gone too far, or if it is imminent or present it is hastened, and the healing of wounds and ulcerating surfaces promoted. If too long applied they do injury by lowering the tone of the body. (from a 19th century medical encyclopedia, no cover or date)

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