Haskell family letters in the collected papers of Thomas Nelson Haskell

Haskell family letters in the collected papers of Thomas Nelson Haskell

The most famous of the 15 children of Captain George Henry Haskell was the second youngest, Thomas Nelson Haskell, who among other accomplishments was a founder of Colorado College. 

In that college's Tutt Library Special Collections are his collected papers. 

Thomas Nelson Haskell Papers, 1835-1906, Ms 0013
Thomas Nelson Haskell represented the Congregational Church in the establishment of Colorado College. The collection contains material related to this period of his life as well as a variety of business and personal matters. Transcriptions of some of the family letters are available here.

The second link sends us to a wonderful page containing transcriptions of dozens of letters sent to Haskell by his siblings from 1835 to 1856. Many of the letters are from Martha Haskell, the mother of Hattie Smith. 

Through the letters we learn family news and get a sense of the family dynamics. I have only scratched the surface in analyzing the content, but let's go right away to March 16, 1840, when Artemus gives Thomas the news of Charles Haskell's drowning. 

I have sad news for you. Brother Charles in attempting to cross English river on Monday the 2nd of this month for the purpose of securing some timber that was like to be swept away by the flood and was copeised in his canoe and instantly drowned. Thus ends the life of a young man who was beloved and respected by all who knew him in this county.

A much more detailed account in next given in a letter sent by a neighbor to Eliza Haskell, the mother of the deceased. 

Washington Co Iowa Teritory Oct 8 1840

Dear Madam

Your Letter of June 23rd was [?] by the Post Master of Washington he being unacquainted with the circumstances attending the death of your son gave the letter to my husband to answer I therefore take it upon me to give you the information you desired; we are [?] nearest neighbors of Mr Haskill and live about 1/4 of a mile from the place where Charles was drowned; Artemas and Charles came here in the spring of 1839 and made each a claim Charles has 16 acres broke and fenced he also with a Mr Owens Claimed a mill site which he was engaged a work when [?]-ed they had the timber for the frame and [?]am hauled out Charles and Owen had built them a cabin and were keeping house by themselves the waters were very high and still raising They had crossed the river to secure some timber on the opposite bank they were returning when the canoe capsized and Charles was drowned Mr Owen made every exertion he could to save him but Charles [?]ing unable to [?] and the ice [?]iming very thick he had to quit his hold and make for the shore himself he was very much b[??]ed and almost speechless when he got ashore my husband was the first person who got to him the canoe in which they w[]e was made of green black walnut and sunk at once it was the only craft on the river there was no possible means of getting to him he had then sunk to ice no more I was acquainted with him about 10 months was a young man of very stready moral habits and always appeared to respect religion very much his remains have never yet been found alsho every exertion has been used; he left property we think to the amount of about four or five hundred Dollars including his claim Artemas administered on the Estate and part of the property was sold his claim is not yet sold it is thought there will not be much of the property left long------Artemas is in quite low circumstances expect to move to Iowa City in a few days Mrs has been sick all summer her health is some better now-
if you write to Artemas you had better direct to Iowa City

Yours with respect

Sarah J D[missing]