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Fallen Leaves: Letters from Loup
     Letters from Home

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. 

This 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.
February 2003


Taylor, Nebr. [i]

July 21, 1906

Well 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.

We 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]


September the 24 [iii]


We 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] [vi] [vii]  Send me the measure of Rodger’s stockings and I will knit him _ some.

Highly Perkins


September the 25

Well Hannah__

Sid 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.

Write soon.

H. Perkins


April the 26, 1908

Amos _

I 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.

We 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.

Claud 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.

Joshua Perkins


Taylor Nebr. Feb. the 11th ‘09


I 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] [xi]__ Perry don’t stay at home one day out of every week. [xii] [xiii]

I 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.  

Amos, I will answer your Taft question in my next. [xiv]

Yours truly,

Joshua Perkins


April 14

Amos and Bill

I 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


Feb 19th

Amos and Bill_

We 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]

Write soon.

Highly Perkins


Taylor Nebr.
June the 1st, 1911


You 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.

Joshua Perkins.


Taylor Neb.
July 16

Amos and Bill

Today 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.

Write soon.

H. Perkins.


February 20


I am 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]

Well Bill I wish I could see you and Amos.  Clara will write when she comes home.

H (Highly)


Taylor, Nebraska
Box 214

April the 7th

Amos and Bill __

Clara 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.

Write soon Amos & Bill.

(Highly Perkins)


Taylor Nebr  March thay 5th, 1915

Mr. J. A. Perkins:

Dear 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. 

March 6th
Well Amos I just come in from shoveling snow - - thay storm is still on with no prospect of and letup.  I had shoveled snow enough in the last six weeks to had cleared thay U. P. R. R. [xxiii] from end to end.

March 8th

Well 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.

Amos, 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.

Well Amos are you doing?  Have you got your team yet?

How much per acre do (you) get for clearing land?  Do you take all the stumps out?  Is it very hard work?  Bill, I like to be out there.  I think we could kill a bear.  I know we could catch fish.  Well I will close for this time by requesting you to write.

Yours truly,

Joshua Perkins


April thay 5th, 1917


I am 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 measles.

Times 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.

Well 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]

I 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. 

Well 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.

Close for this time__

Joshua Perkins


March 20

Amos and Bill __

We 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.

H (Highly)

To: Amos &Bill


Taylor, Nebraska January the 8th

Amos and Bill_

We 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.

Write soon.

H. Perkins.


Taylor Nebr.
August 9, 1919


I 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.


From you father,

Mr. Joshua Perkins


April 27

Well Hannah - -

I 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.

H. Perkins.


November 30 [xxviii]

Amos and Bill_

I 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.

Write soon.

H. Perkins.


March 29


I received your letter.  We are well.  There is no one at home but Sid.  Jude is teaching and takes the children with her. [xxx]

Hannah_I 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.

Well Hannah I would like to see you.  I can’t (see) very well.

Write soon.

H (Highly)



Hannah _

Was 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]

This 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.

[v]   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
 married at White Salmon 1 January 1905.

[vi]  Laura and “Webb” Clemens were married 3 March 1905 in Multnomah County, Oregon and a
 photograph was taken a family gathering in June 1905 at White Salmon, Washington.

[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,
 William H. Perkins, head, age 48, John A. Perkins, brother, age 53.

[x] Land Patent No. 321912 n/o Clara Perkins

[xi] 1910 US Taylor Precinct, Loup, Nebraska, T624_850, page 187, #97/97.
 Clara Perkins, age 22, head, Sidney Perkins, age 18, brother.

[xii] 1910 US Kent Precinct, Loup, Nebraska, T624_850, page 189, #112/112,
 Joshua Perkins, age 65, head, Highly Perkins, age 59, wife, Perry S. Perkins, son, age 16.

[xiii] 1910 US Taylor Precinct, Loup, T624_850, page 188, #116/116,
 Joshua Perkins, head, Highly Perkins, wife, and Perry, son, age 16

[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
Clara Perkins, head, age 22, Sidney Perkins, brother, age 18.

[xvi]   1910 US Taylor, Loup, Nebraska Census, T624_850, page 183, #24/24, John G Wissig, and his family.

[xvii]   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 other two
 children were Roger James Knutson, born 23 November 1905, and Rita Helen Knutson, born 13 March

[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.

[xx]   Laura Perkins Clemens and Robert Webster Clemens son, Ronald Vernon Clemens, was born
 5 January 1914, in Miami, Roberts, Texas, according to Affidavit given by Laura Clemens for
 birth certificate for Ronald.

[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.

[xxv]   1920 US Saltzer Twp., Lewis, Washington, ED 132, 278A, John A. Perkins, head, 
and William H. Perkins, partner.

[xxvi] Burwell, Garfield County, Nebraska.

[xxvii]   Michigan?

[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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