Fallen Leaves: Letters from Loup
Letters from Highly & Joshua Perkins
Almost everyone, at some time in their lives, are away from
home, and letters, whether from family, or friends are
indeed most welcome.
is a series of letters written from 1906 until about 1932-3
by Highly and Joshua Frye Perkins to her brothers,
John Amos Perkins and William H. Perkins,
and to their daughter, Hannah Ellen (Perkins) Knutson.
John Amos Perkins and William H. Perkins, known as Amos and
Bill, had followed their parents out of Kentucky, to Illinois,
then Custer County, Nebraska. Around 1902 they moved to
Washington State where they lived until their deaths in 1931-32.
Hannah married James Andrew Knutson on 1 January 1905, at
White Salmon, Klickitat County, Washington, and they lived in
Washington State until the early 1950s when they moved to
California to be nearer their daughter, Rita March.
For ease in reading, and understanding, I have attempted
to place these letters in some kind of chronological order,
with endnotes to (hopefully) aid the reader.
The originals are in the possession,
and are the property of the
Heirs of Rita Helen Knutson March
They may not be reproduced without their permission.
These letters were transcribed, and footnoted, by Patricia C. Ash
In Memory of Rita Knutson March 1907-2000.
Hannah I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am
all ok. I got your letter
and was glad to hear from you. What
are you doing now? We have
got our corn layed by. We
had a good shower hear this evening.
are to haying in about two weeks. I
have got three head of hogs now. Claud
has just got back from Cherry County.
Roger must be getting to be a big boy now.
I want you to send me a lock of his hair.
Writer unknown [ii]
the 24 [iii]
received your letter. Was
sorry Rodger was sick and hope he is well by this time.
Clara (is) sending him a skirt.
Claude and Sid (and) Perry went to the Fair last week.
It was at Sargent. Guss
Macdvalch is going to teach the school.
Clara and Perry spends a good part of the time looking at
Rodger’s picture. Everyone
that sees it says it is the pretty(ist) baby they ever saw. [iv]
What is Jude doing and how far is she from you. [v]
Send me the measure of Rodger’s stockings and I will knit him _
got your letter. Was sorry
Rodger was not well. We are
living (at) our place. Clara
and Sid are staying at Claude’s place.
Perry is going to school. It
will be out next week. Sid
and Clara are plowing. We
are fencing a pasture. You
had better come and see us this summer.
Clara is going to send Rodger a dress.
will try to write you and Bill a few lines to let you know I have not
forgotten you and I hope it is not necessary for me to tell you how much
I would like to see you again but I probably never will.
There has not been much changing in this part of the world since
you left here to make times any better. Everything
at a stand-still if there is any changing it is for the worse.
It seems to be going backwards.
There is not anything here to make times any better.
Last years crops was almost a failure and the prospect for this
is not very good. [viii]
There has not been rain enough to wet the ground.
have been enjoying a blizzard for the last eight days.
Prairie fire then snow__ Amos I don’t know what kind of a
country you are in but I do know if I was out of this I would forget
thay beat that led back in this direction.
pulled west for what parts I don’t know he may be coming out where you
are. I may try to get there
next year if I can. I would
like to see that country and take a shot at a bear.
Me and Highly and Perry will be all of the family after this.
Clara and Sid has a ranch near thay Calamus.
Nebr. Feb. the 11th ‘09
received thay books and your letter and I will now try to thank you for
the books and answer your letter. [ix]
We are all well at this time and hope this may find you and Bill
in good health. We have
been having some pretty rough weather here this winter.
They worst that has been for several years.
Me and Highly is alone thay most of the time and Clara has a
claim and her and Sid is living on it. [x]
Perry don’t stay at home one day out of every week. [xii]
would like to see you and Bill but I probably never will but I want you
to write often and tell how him (and) you are getting along.
I will answer your Taft question in my next. [xiv]
received your letter and glad to hear from you.
We are all well. The
weather is nice but we had a cold winter and did not get any crop last
year. The Homesteaders are
most of them leaving the sandhills. They
proved up on their claims and mortgaged them.
Clara is living with Sid. [xv]
Perry had his ankle broke in March.
Well Amos I would (like) to see you and Bill and if I ever get
money enough to come on I shall come and see you.
Write and tell what you are doing.
H (Highly) to Bill and Amos
got your letter and the books. Was
glad to hear from you. I wish
I was out there to help you build your house.
It has been cold and stormy here.
When we prove up on the place I think we will (come) and see you if
we can get the money. But you
know it (is) hard to (get) money in this county.
We think we will drive out there.
Well Josh has wrote to you. I
will send (a) slip about Wissig. [xvi]
no doubt begin think I was not going to answer your letter but I have been
so busy trying to get in a crop I have not had time to write during the
day am too tired to write at night. I
have in about 40 acres in corn and will put in 20 acres in millet.
We could have beat your snow here thay first of May.
There was about two feet on thay level and there was drifts over
ten feet deep. Hannah I was
sorry we could not send you any because we have not had any garden to
amount to anything for two of three years. I could have got them at Taylor if I could have went there in
time. Thay children can make
Perry tell them about horses, cows, and thay turkeys. [xvii]
He can tell them better than I can write.
Clara’s school will be out today.
I planted corn for two days this week
_ Sid and your Mother had to run the Ranch alone.
It kept her pretty busy. Well
as I am going to some millet this morning will close.
I will write you a few lines. We
are all well. It has been the
wettest year here I ever seen. Clara
is up on Sid’s place. [xviii]
Sid went off to work in the harvest.
Claude don’t come home anymore.
He is in Hastings) that last I heard.
We planted the potatoes you send and they are nice.
Josh says to tell he would like to see you.
My eyes have been hurting me all summer.
going (to) try and write you a few lines.
I cannot see to write much – this leaves us well.
Perry is in Texas. Claud
was in Grand Island the (last)
I heard from him. Clara has
one month of her school yet. Sid
(‘s) claim is 23 miles northwest of us.
I am going (to) send you a picture of Jude’s little girl.
She is 6 years old. Her
name is Gladys. [xix]
They live in Miami, Texas. [xx]
Bill I wish I could see you and Amos.
Clara will write when she comes home.
and Bill __
received your letter. Was
sorry you was not well. Perry
got home Saturday. He says
Texas is not as good a country as Washington. [xxi]
Clara has been sick with a cold.
Side is having his well put down.
Josh complains with his stomach all the time. [xxii]
I want you to send me a pound of potatoes eyes by parcel post to
plant. It is snowing here.
soon Amos & Bill.
Nebr March thay 5th,
J. A. Perkins:
Sir it is with pleasure that (I) take this opportunity to inform you we
are all well and hope this may find you and Bill in good health.
There is no much to write about but the weather and there has been
plenty of that this winter. We
had our first snow thay fifth of December and it has been almost one
continued storm. We had in
this month 4 days of blizzard and it not done yet.
the sun in shining this morning for the first time in about five weeks - -
there is all of 3 foot of snow on the ground.
won’t your write me all about that country? thay price of all kind of
stock horses, cattle and everything else.
I am getting tired of this place.
I don’t know hat we could for but I would be willing to try some
other place. We had barely
made a living here.
Amos are you doing? Have you
got your team yet?
thay 5th, 1917
going to try to answer your letter of January the 6.
It has been a long time the chances was about even that I was done
letter writing. I and your mother was both sick when we got your letter.
She has worst twist [xxiv]
since but got no answer. This
has been thay worst winter that has been for a good many years.
It has been a continual blizzard and winter.
There has been lots of sickness here and good many deaths from
is pretty hard here. Every
thing is higher than it was during thay Rebellion.
Flour is six dollars a hundred.
Potatoes $2.50, hogs $14.50 per bushel.
Hannah if you knew how glad I was to hear from you and you would think I
(would) wrote oftener. Whether
I answered or not a line or so at a time is all I can write.
I am glad to hear thay children is getting along so well in their
studies. I knew they would
learn fast. You wanted Amos
and Bill’s address. It is
Centralia, Washington, Box 152. [xxv]
have never thanked you for your presents and hope it is not too late to
thank you now. I would like
to be able to send you all a present but we are not. I don’t know that I
even (have) seen any harder times that it is now.
Hannah I think pretty strong about going to the War.
If I was a few years younger they would not have to call twist
(twice) for me. Where ever
mortal man would dare to carry my country’s flag I would dare to follow.
I have followed it on a many a hard fought field and while I live
and able to stand up it shall never lack for a defender_ But as I can not
tell you all I think about the War as well.
for this time__
and Bill __
received your letter. This
leaves us well. It is snowing
here. It has stormed all the
week. Clara’s school is out
today. She is going to stay
with Sid. I haven’t hear
from Perry since I wrote to - - We
don’t raise much grain anymore. The
hot winds drys it up. We lost
our hogs last fall. We had 20
and they all died but 4. We
have two cows and 5 heifers and a bull.
Well Bill, I am going to send you a book when you read it tell me
how you like it. Clara got the pen you sent her.
To: Amos &Bill
Nebraska January the 8th
got your letter and the dress and think it is nice.
We got the salmon. We
got it the day it come to Burwell. [xxvi]
It was nice. Josh has been sick all winter. He has been worse this time
than ever. Claude was home
two weeks ago the first time he has been home since last winter.
Have not heard from Jude since October.
Claude said he was at Fosters in North Platte. They said Lucy was dead and Audra was dead.
Josh says he is coming out to see you next winter.
Bill I wish I could see you and Amos.
will write a few lines to let you know how I am.
I am not very well now. I
hope you are well. I am up at
Perry’s helping him hay. We
have up about 35 tons of hay now in the stacks.
We had some roosters the other day.
We have a nice field of millet down near in sight of the house.
The corn over the hill is nice.
Now I am done haying here. The pasture is getting pretty short now.
We are milk six cows now. We
have 6 calves. They (are) white-faces.
Our potatoes are not very good this year. My cumber vines are in
bloom now. I will close for
this time. Write soon.
Mr. Joshua Perkins
Hannah - -
received your letter and was glad to hear from you.
I am well but can’t see to write very well.
Sid is in a hospital in Maching. [xxvii]
Claude was in Colorado the last I heard from him.
Perry’s have all had the flu.
I wish I could see you all. I
live alone. It is lonesome since you dad is gone. Well write and tell me about all the folks.
will try (to) answer your letter. I
was glad to hear from you but was sorrow(ful) you was hurt.
I wrote to Hannah see if (you) had said. She did not know where you was.
I can’t see very well and live on the river. [xxix]
I have a house and 2 cows and chickens.
Sid is in a hospital in St. Louis.
Perry is living on the Calamus.
Claude is in also being? I believe he went to see Sid and he said
he was in bad shape. He wrote
me, would (I) send him money to come home.
I wish could see you and Bill.
I think (of you) every day. I
can’t read at night.
received your letter. We are
well. There is no one at home
but Sid. Jude is teaching and
takes the children with her. [xxx]
wish you could have come and seen your father. [xxxi]
He was sick all winter. Me
and Sid was alone most of the time. Jude
came home when she could.
Hannah I would like to see you. I
can’t (see) very well.
very sorry to hear of Roger’s bad luck but hope he is getting along all
right. Gladys wrote the most
of the letter. [xxxii]
letter is unsigned but appears to be the handwriting of Highly Perkins - -
the portion of the letter that she references has been lost.
[i] Taylor, Loup, County, Nebraska became home for Highly and Joshua in about 1900.
[ii] Letter writer was either Perry or Sidney Perkins.
[iii] Because of the following documentation, this letter was probably written 24 September 1906
[iv] Because there is no mention of Rita Helen Knutson, and the picture is of Roger Knutson, as a baby - - this letter was written before 13 March 1907.
Also, this letter asks about Jude (Laura) who was living with her
husband, Robert Webster Clemens, in Washington State, probably
Klickitat County, White Salmon area. Hannah
and James Knutson were
Laura and “Webb” Clemens were married 3 March 1905 in Multnomah
County, Oregon and a
[vii] Taylor Clarion , May 2, 1907, reported that Laura and Webb had moved to Taylor, Loup, because of Laura’s health.
[viii] The crops of 1907 apparently were very poor, and 1908’s prospects were not much brighter.
[ix] 1910 US North Mount Vernon
precinct, Skagit, Washington,
T624_1667, page 169, #86/87,
[x] Land Patent No. 321912 n/o Clara Perkins
[xi] 1910 US Taylor Precinct,
Loup, Nebraska, T624_850, page 187, #97/97.
[xii] 1910 US Kent Precinct,
Loup, Nebraska, T624_850, page 189, #112/112,
[xiii] 1910 US Taylor Precinct,
Loup, T624_850, page 188, #116/116,
[xiv] William Howard Taft was elected President of the United States in 1908, and he served from 1909-1913.
[xv] 1910 Taylor Precinct,
Loup, Nebraska census, T624_850, # page 187, #97/97 enumerates
[xvi] 1910 US Taylor, Loup, Nebraska Census, T624_850, page 183, #24/24, John G Wissig, and his family.
By 1911 Hannah Perkins Knutson’s and James Andrews Knutson’s
family was (almost) complete. Their last child, Jean Byron Knutson, would be
born three days later on 4 June 1911. Their
[xviii] This letter was written before 1918 when Sidney Perkins was in the U. S. Army, and when Clara Perkins was married to William A. Land on 30 November 1918 at Taylor, Nebraska.
[xix] Gladys Hope Clemens was born 5 April 1908, in Sargent, Custer, Nebraska. This letter was probably written in 1915.
Laura Perkins Clemens and Robert Webster Clemens son, Ronald Vernon
Clemens, was born
[xxi] This letter is placed after Highly’s February 20 letter - - probably 1913 - - telling that Perry was in Texas.
[xxii] Joshua Frye Perkins’ 4 March 1920 Certificate of Death states the cause of his death was due to stomach cancer.
[xxiii] United Pacific Railroad
[xxiv] Twist means twice.
1920 US Saltzer Twp., Lewis, Washington, ED 132, 278A, John A.
[xxvi] Burwell, Garfield County, Nebraska.
[xxviii] This letter was addressed to both Amos & Bill and was probably written before February 16, 1931 when William H. (Bill) Perkins died at his ranch home in Roy, Pierce, Washington.
[xxix] Highly Perkins’ Obituary read that after her husband’s death “. . . Mrs. Perkins acquired a small tract of land on the North Loup River near Taylor, erected a comfortable cottage for herself and one for her daughter, Mr. Laura Clemens. For the past four years Mrs. Perkins had been in ailing health. . . ” Taylor Clarion, Thursday July 26, 1934
[xxx] Jude was Laura Bell PERKINS Clemens and her children were Gladys Hope Clemens and Ronald Vernon Clemens. Laura was a teacher in the Loup County rural school system and a single parent from about 1916 onward.
[xxxi] Hannah PERKINS Knutson, and her family lived in Washington State, near LaCenter.
[xxxii] Gladys Clemens lived with her grandparents from about 1916 on when her father moved to Montana, and left his family at Taylor. She is shown in the 1920 US Taylor, Loup, Nebraska Census, ED 202, page 6B, #46/46 in their household.
Created for Fallen Leaves: The Joshua
Perkins' of Loup County, Nebraska
Patricia C. Ash, February 2003
Last Updated: 27 February 2003
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