Week 11 (March 12 – March 18): Lucky
I have been very lucky since I came here I get 25 cts per hour but we can only work about 9 hrs the days being short. — Jacob W Lineberry
Jacob Wesley Lineberry was born in 1871 in Carroll County, Virginia and at the age of 21 left Virginia to seek a better life for himself and the family he hoped to have one day.
Periodically he wrote letters to one of his brothers who luckily kept many of his letters and years later his grandson obtained them. Through these letters we learn that Jacob was a man of faith, hard work and a determination to offer his children the opportunity for an education he did not have. Jacob died at the age of 44 in 1915 when his children ranged in age from 13 years to 19 months and these letters are our primary source of learning about some of his experiences and views.
Below is one of the letters transcribed and with the grammar and spelling as they appear in the letters. In some cases, a blank or question mark has been typed because the word(s) is not known.
Hobart I. T.
Dec 29, 1901
Mr. Leander Lineberry
Your letter of some time ago to hand and was glad to hear from you and glad to hear that you all was well and doing well but you did not say very much about the youngest children as I have not from from Lina or Calley and Alex is a man now I suppose.
I would surely be glad to see all of you but I cannot afford it as I spend too much money now going from place to place as it is time for me to come to a stop. Well I forgot to tell you that wife would be down in a short time as she is in Mo but I expect her here in a short time and we will try housekeeping for the first time to ourselves but I hope we will not starve, but I am anxious to get me a claim here. If possible as land will be worth something here in afew years but claims can be bought here for a small sum of money to compare with their values according as it is in other states though I can make a good living carpentering but I am getting tired of hunting work and wish to have a farm.
I only wish you could come out here. Of course as you are satisfied and can make a good living the short time that we have to live we can spend anywhere if we are only satisfied. I find that contentment is worth more than all the money that could be had and not contented.
I stayed at Carterville Mo for Three years and made quite a bit of money but spent more than I made and I concluded to pull out from the place. I have a Drill Rig up there that Cost $700.00 and I don’t suppose I will ever get anything out of it after I had left there but it has only added to my knowledge of business and I could use the money to a good advantage if I had it.
I suppose you have not had any winter yet have you. It has not been cold here to amount to anything. It has been down to zero once but people say it hardly ever gets colder than that here and cattle can live on the grass all winter. The wind is the worse but it only takes spells. This has been a fine day – what are you all doing now. Can you get plenty of work to do.
I have been very lucky since I came here I get 25 cts per hour but we can only work about 9 hrs the days being short.
Do you ever hear from James Bowers. I have not heard from him in quite a long time but I suppose he don’t want to hear from me as he has never paid the 40 Dollars that he owes me. But suppose that he has had a hard time since he was married.
Well Leander, I see there is no use of asking you to come out as you all seem to be well contented where you and as I am here I expect to stay and know that the land awarded me at home will not be worth anything to me unless I can sell it you and you said you would take it and pay what it was worth. I hope you will take it or sell it to Uncle Jerry Lineberry or some one that can use it, though I would rather you have it than any of them as I don’t think it would be right to set me out in the cold without anything. and hope you will think I am right as I suppose the other children has had the benefit of their part of the land and I have not had a cent though I have not needed it until now and I think I ought to have my part if it is worth anything. you told me some time ago that you would take the place and I hope you are prepared to do so as it will help me out and I will thank you very much. You can tell what it is worth and allow me just what you can get or it is worth to you so I shall expect to hear from you soon.
At Hobart I. T.
The original letters are in Billy Lineberry’s possession and he provided photocopies for me.