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V) Page

Preface 9

Historical Introduction 13

Letters .21

<: Appendix . 223

Index . 237

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Portrait of Captain Thomas Bottomley . . Frontispiece

Home of Edwin Bottomley 58

Martha Bottomley . . . ' . . . .104

The Bottomley Homestead and Its Surroundings . 172

English Settlement Chnrch . .... 194

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For the greater part the preliminary information ^vhich
should b(j put before the reader of this volume is included in
the historical introduction. Here, it seems desirable to call
attention to the editorial principles which have governed me
in the preparation of the volume for the press. In general
the original manuscript has been reproduced verbatim. In
a few cases obviously inadvertent and meaningless errors of
the ^Titer have not been reproduced in print. Commonly,
however, such errors have been reproduced, accompanied,
where deemed advisable, by the editor's interpretation
printed in brackets. The original letters are ^^ithout para-
graphing ; for this feature of them as printed the editor is,
therefore, responsible. AVith respect to capitalization and
punctuation, the original manuscript has been carefully fol-
lowed, vnth one important qualification. In the manuscript
the sentences commonly run into one anotlier without any
indication of the close of one and the opening of a succeed-
ing sentence. For the convenience of the reader, in such
cases, the transition point between sentences lias been indi-
cated by the introduction of the spacing known to typesetters
and proofreaders as the quad. To do this involved the fre-
quent application of an editorial interpretation, not neces-
sarily infallible, of the manuscript. However, the careful
student who wishes to see the copy, with respect to this mat-
ter, just as it runs in the original manuscript, may do- so by
the simple process of ignoring these printers' quads. The
great majority of readers, it is believed, will welcome the
■ editorial assistance which is thus afforded them.

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I desire in closing to express my appreciation of the
public-spirited generosity of Miss Arminal Ann Bottomley,
of Rochester (deceased in 1916), whose gift of her father's
papers to the State Historical Society has insured their per-
manent preservation and rendered possible the preservation
of the record here presented to the world of scholarship.
The facts concerning the early life of Edwin Bottomley were
largely supplied by lier. I am under much obligation, also,
to Mrs. I. W. Moyle, of Mukwonago, who first informed me
of the existence of the Bottomley papers and has at all times
displayed an active and sympathetic interest in the matter,
first of their acquisition and later of their publication by the
Society. For indispensable editorial assistance in the sev-
eral processes of preparing the cop}' for the printer and see-
ing it through the press I am indebted to Annie A, Nunns
and Marguerite Jenison of the Society's staff; and to Lydia
Brauer, now of Greenwood, Nebraska, and Mary Farley,
now of Chicago, formerly members of the Society's staff.
The index is the work of Miss Jenison.


Madison, March 1, 1918.


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The papers presented in this volume require but little edit-
ing. They themselves tell witli sut'lieient completeness, for the
most part, the story of the life and strivings of the sturdy
Wisconsin pioneer who vrrote them. It remains for the his-
torical introduction first to sketch the career of Edwin Bot-
tomley prior to his coming to America and second to place
both his papers and his life story in their proper historical

Edwdn Bottomley was born at Mossley, Lancaster, Eng-
land in the month of December, 1809, the oldest son of
Thomas and Hannah Bottomley, who were in comfortable
middle class circumstances. In due time the child was sent
to school where he acquired the elements of a modest educa-
tion ; from his Christian parents he received the usual ortho-
dox religious training; and as he grew up he developed a
marked fondness and talent for music. His father removed
to Huddersfield when the boy was twelve years of age to en-
gage in the manufacture of woolen goods, and here the son
began to work in the factory. In time the father again re-
moved, this time to South Crossland to become manager of
the Crossland mills, a position he continued to hold for
twenty-four years. Here, beginning at the bottom, Edwin
Bottomley at length attained the position of designer of pat-
terns in the mill. By Avay of outside actiA'ities he became
leader of the choir in Crossland church and in December
1829 the husband of ^Martha Jessojj. She was the orphan
granddaughter of a local physician, like her husband a typi-
•cal representative of the sober, hard working, middle class
population of England.

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In a limited -way fortune smiled on the young couple. Both
in the mill and in tlie coimnunity Edwin Bottomley's posi-
tion was a relatively enviable one. In the community he was
esteemed for his sobriety and industry. As the son of the
manager of the mill and the leader of the village choir his
social standing was not to be despised. The nature of his
work in the miU rendered his emplo^Tuent more constant than
that of most of his fellows. The services of tlie skilled pat-
tern-maker could not well be dispensed with, while in times
of business depression or laxity the Aveavers were sure to
suffer. In another way, too, tlie pattern-maker prospered.
Beginning with the autumn of 1830 additions w^ere made to
his family with the regularity and frequency characteristic
of the period until, at the close of a dozen years, it numbered
one dead and five living children.

The birth of these children constituted the chief factor in
the epochal decision of Edwin Bottomley's life. Eeflecting
on the miseries of his felloAV-laborers and the practical cer-
tainty that his 0A\Ti eliildren must in due time become factory
workers and partakers in these miseries, he determined to
make a different future possible for them by migrating to
America. This resolve was first made knoA\Ti to his friends
at a social gathering. Many of them found it impossible at
first to credit the announcement. It was persevered in, how-
ever, and within three weeks Edwin Bottomley was on the
ocean with his family and numerous household goods, their
destination the distant Wisconsin frontier.

At this point the letters of EldAnn Bottomley to his father
take up the narrative of his career, carrying it forward to the
untimely end in the autumn of 1S50. But eight years of life
and labor in the land of promise were allotted him. How he
made use of them, tlie letters themselves reveal. Our atten-
tion may now^ be turned to placing Ids life story in its proper
historical setting. ^ -

To this end our reflections may be permitted to take a
somewhat general range. Various conceptions have been
held concerning the fiold of history and the forces which de-

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termine its course. That history is cliiefly made by common
men, and that he who would truly estimate its course must
acquaint himself intimately with the lives of such, is my pres-
ent thesis. The year of Edwin Bottomley's birth was the
annus mlrabilis which A\'itnessed also the birth of Lincoln,
Darwin, and Gladstone, and many another notable nineteenth
century leader. For our humble subject no share of credit
for the distinction which attaches to the year of his birth can,
of course, be claimed. Rightly viewed, however, liis life story
does not yield in importance even to those of Darwin and
Lincoln. In all the world there was but one Charles Dar-
win or Abraham Lincoln ; while of Ed^^in Bottomleys, hum-
ble, hard-working, God-fearing, there were millions. And
the story of these millions is in the aggregate more impor-
tant, their contribution a more potent force in history, than
that of a Darwin or a Lincoln.

Such considerations lead us to a proper perception of the
significance of the papers which compose the present volume.
Unnumbered millions of Old World subjects have, like Edwin
Bottomley, hopefully set sail for America, their promised
land. Like him, most of them have been poor in worldly
goods but rich in anticipation and hope for the future. Most
of them, too, have been sturdy in body and mind, and have
come prepared to endure toil and hardship "without stint in
order that their children 's future might be wrought out. Not
all of them, alas, especially in these later days, have been as
well prepared to adapt themselves to the new environment,
or as fortunate in converting themselves and their families
into Americans of the best type, as was the subject of our

What Edwin Bottomley's contribution to America was we
have briefly seen. Summarized in a sentence, it was his
own sturdy. God-fearing character, thoroughly disciplined by
his years of industrial service, the hope to achieve a future
for his children, and the will to endure all necessary hard-
. ship to this end. Not to be omitted from the inventory was
the wife, of like characteristics to those of her Imsband, and

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their still-increasing brood of offspring. To the newcomers
America offered the opportunity to become members, on
terms of economic and social equality, of a new society.
The virgin Wisconsin prairie might be had by anyone who
would take it, at a merely nominal price. What should be
made of such an opportunity depended, as always in this life,
upon the qualities which the newcomer might bring to the
task. What Edwin Bottomley made of his opportunity can
now, after the lapse of seventy-five years, be measurably

Settling in western Racine County, he acquired a tract of
land in a community which quickly became kno\^^l as English
Settlement, a designation it still retains. To the original
acres others were added from time to time. The rude hut,
hastily erected for a shelter after arrival, shortly gave place
to a substantial brick house. A neighborhood school was
erected, and within a few years a church. A plank road, built
inland from Racine, gave commercial outlet to the lake
shore. In all these enterprises our subject took an active,
often a leading, part. Suddenly, with but little more than
the foundations of his New AVorld enterprise established,
came the dreaded fever, and therewith, for Edwin Bottom-
ley, the end.

Well and truly had the foundations been laid, however.
That future of opportunity for his cliildren, the aspiration
for which had driven the immigrant from England, was se-
cured. Already the eldest had been married in the new
church — the first marriage to take place there — to a sturdy
young farmer. Otlier marriages followed in their turn. To-
day upwards of 170 living descendants of the original im-
migrant, representing four generations, are scattered over
Wisconsin and tlie states farther west. Almost without ex-
ception those of tlie first and second generations are farmers.
Of the third generation but few are farmers — carpenters,
•mechanics, tradesmen, civil engineers, and electricians being
among the occupations most numerously represented. The
fourth generation is still too youthful to permit of any oc-


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cupational classification. The church ^vhich Edw^n Bottom-
ley took a leading part in founding is still in thriving condi-
tion. • The shares of stock taken by the original subscribers
seven decades ago are still held, for the most part, by their
descendants. In the graveyard adjoining sleeps the pioneer
himself and many of his descendants. His influence, like the
soul of John BroAVTi, continues ''marching on," its circle
ever wirlening.

Edwin Bottomley was a common man who, like thousands
of his kind, came to pioneer Wisconsin and assisted in lading
the foundations and developing the material resources of the
commonwealth. His story is important not because it is
unique, but wholly because it is typical. In the long and
sometimes tedious letters which with filial love he penned to
his faraway parent is revealed not simply the soul of one
English immigrant to America, but the souls of millions of
his kind who have made the journey to the New "World be-
fore and since his time. In the intimate pictures of his daily
life are mirrored ^\itli marvelous fidelity tlie lives of thou-
sands of our Wisconsin pioneers. In the story of the unfold-
ing life of English Settlement we may see the development,
in similar fashion, of hundreds of Wisconsin communities.

In one respect only was EdA\'in Bottomley 's career unique.
He told its story minutely and the record lias been preserved.
The annals of the poor are short and simple chiefly because
their makers commonly lack tlie inclination and the ability
to record their life stories. In the present instance both the
ability and the inclination were present. That the record
was made not consciously for its ovm sake but ratlier in the
form of intimate letters from a son to a father does not de-
tract from its value. ^Month by month the epistles received
by the father in England were carefully filed away, so that
with but feAv exceptions the original correspondence still
stands complete. Although not written in the form of a
journal the record constitutes virtually a diary of the writ-
er's eight-year career in America. It contains, moreover,
much in the wav of familv and neighborhood news and a»-


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counts of daily trials and aspirations which would hardly
have been included in a formal journal. Some years after
Edwin Bottomley's death the father himself came to Ameri-
ca, and the package of letters was thus returned to the very
homestead from which they had originally gone forth. Here
they were lovingly treasured by a daughter, the Arminal
Ann of the letters, until in the autumn of 1914 she turned
them «ver to the custody of the State Historical Society,
Their interest and value as a typical record of the way the
foundations of the Commonwealth were laid is felt to be such
as to deserve for them the wider access and usefulness which
comes with publication.


Madison, June, 1917.

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LivERPOLL May 11^'^ 1842
Deai^ Father :

We have arived Safe at Liverpool and Both W" Morton &
George Armitage' are very well Satisfied with the the
Ship and Captain. I have asked the captain when he thinks
we shall Sail and he Says it will Be Satuarday. if My
Brother Henry comes on friday he will find her Lying in the
Princes Dock I Shall Be Glad to See liim You must Ex-
cuse Bad Inditeing as we are all hurry and Bustle the Shipe
is very Clean and the Captain appears a Sober and Liteli-
gent man Give my Love to my Mother and Brother Henry
and his wife and all our freind[s] and Relations and accept
the same yourself

From your Affectionate Son

Edwen" Bottomley
Pleas to Let George Armitage Mother See this Letter

Satuarday May 14' got to Black rock cast anchor and
Lay wile 4 next morning George was not very well rather
stuff in his Breast But all the rest where well in health But
all Bustle could not find the things we want so well owing
to the Box Being cramed

Sunday May 15*^^ 5 Clock this morning we are being
towed out into the Irish Chanel By a steamer George is a
Deal Better this morning and all the rest are very well and

* These men, newly married, with their wives had decided to come to
America also; the entire party, under the leadership of' Edwin Bottom-
ley, thus included himself and family, William and Sarah Morton, and
George and Sarah Armitage.

* From this point to the close of the entry for June 13 we copy from
a small blank book used by the owner both as a diary of the journey
and as a miscellaneous memorandum book.

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we have all had a good night['s] rest consider [ing] the Place
we are in 2 Clock we have just had a very good Dinner
some good ham and Pottatoes and I am very near roasted
with cooking we are sailing very steady and the sea is very
Beutyful and the welch hills are on the left of ns

Monday 16*^^ 6 Clock we have Passed a very good night
and are all very well not one of us as been Sea Sick the
chilldren are all as lively as can be and Skip about like little
lambs 2 Clock Our friends at Crossland may be wishing
that we where enjoying as good a Diner as they are and we
think they ave not relish [ed] theirs any better than we have
Done ours for we have good app[e]tites and that mind a
bad Dinner But ours was not amis good ham and Pottatoes
and our entertainment as good as theirs every bit our Sar-
rah is astride off the caimon on the quarter Deck and the
others Singing and Skipping

tuesday 17*^ 2 Clock we still remain in good health and
good Spirits But Sarah Morton is rather cross with the oth-
er passengers which come past wile we are getting our meals
we Pass our time as much as Possible on the Deck as the
wether is very fine and we have Ireland on the right of us
wich is the starboard side of the Sliip 8 Clock we are
Sailing with a head wind and the Last Point of Ireland is
just in sight and I think we may take a Last Look at [it]
when we go to bed as it will have Disapeard Before [morn-

wedensday 18*^^ 6 Clock this morning we are Driveing
throng [h] the waves with a strong head wind and the ship
is all on one side the chilldren and women are all sick W"*
is Sick and myself not very well But so that i can go about
and assist those that cannot [help themselves] George is
very well 5 Clock Hannah & Ruth are got well and my-
"selfe all the rest are sick vet

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thursday 19 6 Clock this morn we are in sight of [a]
wreck and we are making all the [speed] we can to theire
asstance the vessel is in an awkard situation for getting to
her as the "svind is completely an head of us while going to
her assistance 10 Clock we are getting to her but the
crew must either be lost or have had assistance before as
theire is not a living person in sight their is nothing can
be seen of the ship excepting her hul and masts the captain
says she is water lodged and must be loaded with goods of
a buyant Discription so that she cannot Sink but ^vill soon
break up 5 Clock George and Myselfe Hannah and ruth
are all that is well the rest are all sick

Friday 20'^ 5 Clock afternoon nothing but' sea sickness
and gruel making and emptjang the chamber vessels william
is rather better but the rest are all sick martha and our
little sarrah are the worst Myself George Hannah & Kuth
are all well

Satuarday 2P' 5 Clock Afternon the si[c]k have all
been on Deck to Day But are very little better excepting sar-
rah morton the rest are about the same as they ,where
yesterday, we still continue to have head winds and the sea
runing high you would laugh to see us wa[l]k on Deck we
have to catch at any thing we can and go with our heads first
the same as if we was face[ing] a very strong Avind

Sunday 22""^ 5 Clock afternoon we have had rather
calmer weather to Day and we are all tolerable well except-
ing martha and she is rather better

Monday 23*^ 8 Clock we have had a very fine Day and
all are getting very good appetites excepting my Wife and
She is nearly well of Sickness we have been gratified By
Seeing a number of small wales this afternoon theire as
been 4 at once in Sight Blowing up the w^ater like steam one
of them within a few yards of the ship

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Some of our Bread was gone Bad and we Shall throw it

24 Tuesday 8 Clock at Xight we have had a strong
wind all Day and it is increasing we expect to have a rough
night the wind roar[sJ as hard through the riging of the
Ship and makes as l)ig a noise as ever i heard it make in
Henley "wood and the ship Bounces on the water like a cork
i should think it rises and falls at each end 18 yards and is
Diping it[sj nose in the water very often the waves are
rolling mountain high

25 Wedensday 5 Clock Afternoon as we expected we
had [a] rough night and it continued rough wile 4 Clock
this afternoon when the Wind changed more in our favour
But you may depend upon it we had no pleasant time of it
for we could not cook anything safely the motion of the
ship threw the kettles and pan off the fire we could scars-
ley stand any where without having hold of sometliing. my

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