John E. Runyard's

The 1858 Letter


Hello All:

I have attached the three pages of "THE LETTER OF 1858". This letter was written by my great-great grandfather, RICHARD RUNYARD, born 1805, to his son in America, AUSTIN RUNYARD, born 1831.

The letter was, of course, written in longhand in the manner of the time. Gwen and I transcribed the letter and it was saved to my word processor which is not compatible with modern PCs. Therefore I had to print the copy on the word processor and then OCR scan it.

I have pasted below the first paragraph of the letter to better help you understand.:

Robert D. Runyard

2nd REVISION JAN. 2000

Comments Revised:1-18-88

Transcription: Nov. 18, 1987

Letter from Richard Runyard (born 1805) of East Lulworth, England to his son Austin (1831-1904) in America. It should be noted that the text transcribed below is as it appears in the original letter as best we can read it. It also includes the custom of using an “f” in place of the first “s” when two “ss” appear together, sic: “Miss” would be “Mifs” .. Also, parenthesis (  ) are used in the text for us to make explanations and are not a part of the original text. Regarding the persons to whom this was written: Austin (great grandfather of Robert D. Runyard) was 27, his wife Jane was 30, son Edwin (grandfather of Robert D. Runyard) was 3, and son Clement was born 1856. This transcription is made by: Robert D. Runyard (great-great grandson of Richard Runyard) and wife, Gwen.

The 1858 Letter

June 8(?)th 1858

Dear Austin Jane Edwin and Clement
we Received your Letter and Papers and was happy to find you well which thank God this Leaves us all well excep I got the Tooth Ache which I never had before but if he dont be quiet I will let Nathen to work with him and give him a Settele (?) thank god the Fever is now quite out of our house Amelia Ann lost Nearly all her hair
but it is growing out again Now your Mother your Mother is as well as When you left her all the rest is well and send their Kind love to you Ellen is still at home but expecting a place(The census of 1851 does not show "Ellenll as a daughter of Austin &
Jane) we have had a Dreadful Sicknefs (sickness) in Lullworth none of us Know how soon we may be put down I have had a wonderful escape considering how much I have been amongst it both among Sickness and Death the Docters says there is more danger of
Catching from the Dead than the Sick but I took every Precaution before I put them in to the Coffin I used Camphor and Brandy and Keept up my Spirits as well as I Could it is bad to be Nervous (end of page one)

I was happy to hear that you have got Some Land and a Cow but do not over exert yourselves this hot Weather nor expose yourselves to Sun Strokes I hope Alfred can stand it better than he did at First and I hope he will not be led away by any evil Advisers (Alfred was a brother to Austin and was 23 when this was written) I hope all our Old Friends that is in America will not Forget their Religion if they Saw Hypocrytes in England let them not blame Relegion for it on the Free Soil of America you can Practice Relegion in its purity and without being Suspected of doing it for Worldly gain any peron who have Sincerely Followed all the preceps of the Catholic Relegion never repented of it when they was on their Death Bed after after a regulary Attending the Sacrements then the last Sacrement is Adminestered the happy Soul resigned itself to its god
Such did poor Frank Champ who was never yet Suspected of Biggoted Ignorance I hope if you are Proseperous and have good luck that you will Build a Chapple (chapel) and be the Founder of a Church Congregation (???) Blyron for all future Ages that will bring a Blessing on yourself and Family for ever
(end of second page)

I have yet another death to tell you about if you have not heard of it poor Old Friend Frank Champ he did not die of the Fever but his A Complaint of the Breath he was a good Neighbour tell Cooling about it (Don't know who "Cooling" was) I have not heard where anyone have wrote before about it Mr Flavers have been a
Champion among it he exerted himself Nobly both for the Body as well as the Soul
he wishes everyone to send for him as soon as they are taken ill people soon get light Headed the Doctor wish people to send for him of they only feel a Slight Head Ache there is Mass at the Chapple (chapel) 2 Days in the Week one Day
for the Sick and one Day for the Dead we have took every Precaution against it
we have cleaned and White Washed the Houses and put quick Lime in the Privys and Gutters and Buried all Stinking Wash but it is now Abating but it Learns us a Lesson that we all ought to be Ready Prepared for the Next World for when Sicknef (sickness) and Death come all our thoughts of Independence in this World in gone 21 Days is a Short Summons

(end of third page)
there is not many sick now but now the Summer is come it seems more Fatal those that Die now their Bowel s swell a great deal and Black Spots come all about the Body but I will now tell you who have Died the First Samuel Snook Charles Fooks (He then writes "not Charles" above Charles Fooks, and probably means that it is Charles Daughters that died and not Charles himself) two Girls Mary and Elizabeth his wife have had it but is better he have stood it very well the Next was Martha Hunt and Mary Roo1s I hope God have Mercy upon her poor Soul the next was our poor George Hunt we mifs (miss) poor George in the Yard (See my explanation at the end of this letter for an explanation of the "yard) a Good Fellow yesterday I made a Coffin for Frank Ropers Wife I put her in the Coffin at Eleven 0 Clock and buried her at 6 by the Doctors order both of Franks 2 oldest Boys is down in it old Willian Hunt took
to his Bed yesterday and it is the General opinion that he will stand no Chance at all if People live over 21 days they get Better but Hannah Roper was only 15 days Frank seems like a Wild Fellow he wont go into the House he have been a Brute to her (the last three words were crossed out - this is all of the letter that we have)
(The following is an explanation (by Robert D. Runyard) of the conditions that existed during that period of time to help you better understand the situation: Richard Runyard, b.1805, was a carpenter employed as the head of maintenance by the Weld family who owned Lulworth Castle and the surrounding estate. Richard's position was third in importance among those employed at the estate. The estate was comprised of approximately 20,000 acres which included farm lands, grazing land, the castle, and many homes that were provided for the workers. Because of the labor intensive nature of the work at the estate, the work force was several hundred strong. Richard's son Austin, to whom this letter was written, was apprenticed as a carpenter. When I first visited Lulworth Castle in 1970 I met Joseph Albert "Bert" Runyard, whose grandfather was Richard. "Bert", incidentally, was employed at Lulworth his entire adult life. "Bert" told me that the reason Austin decided to go to America was the person to whom he was apprenticed did not pay him enough to properly take care of his family. Had Austin stayed he might of been appointed to the

relatively high position then held by his father Richard as head of maintenance. According to Len Runyard, Lulworth was originally owned by the De Lullworth family, but the original castle was owned by Henry de Turberville, indirect ancestor, c1200. He was an eminent general in King John's, direct ancestor, army. The Newburgh family, direct ancestor, bought Lulworth and the castle in 1338. In C.1580, the Lord Howard, an indirect ancestor, bought the castle. They were decended from the Dukes of Norfolk, our direct ancestor. In 1608 this family built the present castle. (In my notes, made during 1970 visit, I said: “Castle foundation laid 1588, completed in 1677. Terrace added in 1776, Burned Aug.29,1929”) Kenneth Runyard, whom I met in 1970 and again in
1972, saw the Castle burning and turned in the fire alarm. He told me of Christmas parties at the Castle, to which the estate workers were invited. The Weld family, who lived in Hertforshire, and were rich merchants from the City of London, bought the castle and estate in 1642. The Weld family were the owners of the estate and castle at the time our forefathers lived and worked at Lulworth. Len has informed me that there is a definite plan to rebuild Lulworth Castle. (Jan.2000: The Castle is being restored)
The “yard” that Richard speaks of was the maintenance yard. This yard was still in use in 1970 when I visited. It consisted of an office, a carpenter shop, a place where lumber was cut from timber, and a blacksmith shop, and was surrounded by a stone wall.
“Bert” Runyard told me that Richard was the foreman of the “yard” and used the office at the yard. Richard's home was located just behind the office. My son, Robert Carl Runyard, and I visited the yard in 1972 and got to go through the “home” that Richard (b.1805) had lived in. It was occupied at that time by one of the relatives of the Welds. The Weld family still manages the estate. The home is of stone structure with brick having been used for some of the remodeling. The roof is a thatched roof. Bert Runyard had died the year after I met him in 1970, but in 1972 his son Louis was still working for the estate, and Robert Carl and I stayed at his home (owned by estate). Bert's daughter, Teresa T. Runyard Burt also worked for the estate in 1972, but lived with her husband at 3, Meadow Lane, Wool, Dorset, England; which is about 6 miles from East Lulworth. Tess was in charge of the estate business office which is located in the old Castle stables.




Consulted with a couple of doctors as to what they thought the disease mentioned in this letter might have been. The letter states, “Those that Die now their Bowel s swell a great deal and Black Spots come all about the body”. Both of these symptoms point to Bubonic Plague (also called Black Death). In the “World Book” it says, “The black death caused spots of blood which turned black under the skin”. Bubonic Plague is transmitted by the fleas that live on infected rats, and it is found today in America - chiefly on the West coast and the Rocky Mountain areas. Today it is carried by ground squirrels, chipmunks, and other wild rodents.
Sorry all this is so long winded, but if I don't put it down now, you may never hear about it.)
Robert Donald Runyard , born 1922 in Waverly, Iowa



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