Peoria County, Illinois  Genealogy Trails


Lisk Family Letters

Submitted by: Anita C. Mason

NOTE: Some of the surname spellings might be a little bit off, the handwriting is sometimes a little hard to read.

Peoria County, Illinois
July 17, 1853

" We have had a very cold wet spring here but the crops look well now The Scarlet Fever has been very fatal through this section of the country. JOSEPH HAINES's folks have lost two of their children, LEWIS and NEWTON. Mr. LE HOLESTER both of theirs, and Mr. HENNAN theirs and LUCAS both two of theirs, and Mr. ROBERT WILL both of theirs, and NANCY WILL her ROBERT and HENRY STAEL and AGNATE many more I could mention. SAMUEL SEWARD has lost their baby with the Croop. The last account we had from Mr. BLUESthey were all sick but him with the Scarlet Fever. CATHERINE HANE is dead. GEORGE SEWARDs are well and still on their place "

Peoria, Illinois
Oct. 31, 1853

"CLARK CLEAVLAND has left his wife and has bought the HITCHCOCK place up the river and started a House of Pleasure there upstairs he has got 12 women so they say. CARLILE got home from California this summer past. BEN WHITE started home, got as far as New York and died with the Scarlet Fever."

December 1853

Dear Cousin [JOHN HENRY LISK],

Henry I can't but congratulate you on your speedy trip and good luck, just think what a risk you all ran when the powder cage blew up, and to think that the Indians did let you pass them in peace. Oh what a blessing was set on the heads of your company. [JOHN HENRY, his brother MYRON, sister HANNAH CAROLINE, and a number of other Peoria County residents joined a wagon train in the Spring of 1853 and headed west].
Henry, you did not write anything about NORVELL MERIDATH, whether he went through with the rest of you or not. I think I saw him in town this week and spoke to him, although it might have been his brother. But I
think not, he inquired after you and MYRON [LISK, JOHN HENRY's brother] and wondered why he did not get a letter from you and so I think it was NORVELL. HARRIET [wife of DAVID C. LISK, the writer's brother], or that she-devil as you called her, was here and stayed six weeks and you must know that we enjoyed the visit very much for she has got another girl and she is crosser than I ever saw her before and whipped three times as such. She took everything that she .left with us when they moved back with her this winter.
DAVID did not come with her and I expect that it was a time of rejoicing with him while she was here, but enough of this.

Now I must give you a list of Peoria. In the first place, I will tell the weddings: AMANDA COMPHER and PETER FRY is married, and BEN SWENY to Miss TLUMER, and Miss MAXWELL. BEN WHITE is dead and Mrs. CASE, and several others has died since you left here, and one of the girls has got babes and a going to have them I ever saw before. MARY ANN WACKUF she is agoing to have a baby and it is a married man's or at least she has swore it on one and that one is CALHOUN, now what think you. AEAKON
HOW has been sleeping with one SALLY JOHNSON, and I expect that she will have an heir next and the rest of the girls is as bad and thus ends the baby story.

JANE [LISK, a sister] is intending to go to California in the spring — JOHN [H. LISK, a brother] has been sick with the fever [Scarlet Fever] and SARAH [J. SHARP, wife of JOHN H. LISK] has been to Ohio this summer
and Mrs. POST was with her. Mother's [ESTER STILLWATER LISK, wife of BENJAMIN LISK] health is very good at present. BILL [don't know surname] is turned out over the plains of Wethersfield and is running after HIB, and CHUCK is after ELLEN, and old HENRY is after MEG with all his might. CALL is in the East and according to all accounts she had better stay there. Mother BUTTRICK wants to marry bad.


Lawn Ridge
Dec. 15, 1853

"HARVEY McCANE's wife was buried last Sunday and old grandmother WOOD is dead. SARAH CAROLINE LISK is married. Her man I do not know. Our friends on Spoon River were all well the last we heard from them. GEORGE SEWARDs folks are well. LEVI HICKs folks have been to Texas and have come back. They have lost all their property. They are all well. Mister HIDEs folks are all well. Mister FERGUSONs folks are all well. Mister HALLOCKs folks are all well. REUBEN BEBA is married. LEVI BOOTH is married. Father MOTERER folks are well at present. NANCY ANN don't run alone yet.
The widow HAMLIN has gone back East and is going to stay a year."

Marshall County, Illinois
May 1, 1854

" BARBARA and DENNIS WOOD died last winter. BARBARA died in January, DENNIS is February, with the Scarlet Fever. Miss HAINES a little girl and calls it MARTHA. REUBEN HAMLINs wife has another boy, Miss BARTON
has had a little and it died. HENRY ROBINSON wife has a great nice boy."

Oct. 17, 1856

"Dear Cousin (MYRON LISK),

I received yours of September and learn from that that the season is as unfavorable there as here.

The electionis near at hand and the whole of the state is in a harrow I tell you and it is rather a tumult in the city now. I tell you, it is every week and sometimes twidce, a meeting of one partyor the other. A week last Thursday the Whigs had a meeting in town and they had a boat with thirty ladies in and then it was taken through all the principal strees. What you think of that. Well this is what I think, if those women had been at home they would have saved them credit. I say let the men have their meetin and hurrah for Fremont or any other candidate want to but let the women stay at home and do their work.

JOHN [LISK] has been to York State and he saw all the old neighbors [in Broome County, NY]
JOHN brought home some apples that grew on our old farm and for that FANY TOVIS sent mother.
JANE [LISK] is married and well of it. She was married in July but they are here yet although they
will move on Saturday next. Her husband's name is STEBBINS and he is a Presbyterian minister.
He has four children and one of them is married andone is in Iowa so he has but two to bring home and one of them is
here now. STEBBINS has sent little JOHN to school in Dixson. He will stay there six months and he says that he will give JOHN all the learning he will take. JOHN has been in school three weeks and he is very well suited. STEBBINS owns a farm up in Henry County.

We have got SARAH and FRANK [don't know surname, but SARAH was a LISK], GEORGE and ANN [SEWARD, I think ANN was also a LISK], that makes four, and JANE [LISK] and STEBBINS [don't have a given name]. SARAH STEBBINS and little LIBBY four more that is, and mother [ESTER STILLWATER LISK], myself [SARAH CATHERINE LISK] and MATO, a man that ALIC [ALEXANDER LISK] has to work for him, and ALIC, which is four more, that makes 12. JOHN HINES has lost his wife, she died in Spetember and WILLIAM GIEL's little baby is dead. And one of the FULTON girls is married to JAKE SLOW
and SAM FULTON is very sick.


Blare Ridge
Peoria County, IL
October 21, 1856

Dear Brother and Sister [MYRON LISK and HANNAH CAROLINE LISK],

" It has been a very dry season. Wheat is very good this season and corn and potatoes are very good. It rained a little yesterday and sprinkled today. we have another boy, he was born the 23 of January, his name is JOHN WILLIAM [MOATES}. GEORGE and ALVAH family are all well and send their best respects to you. We have very pleasant weather for this time of year. We have had a good crop of corn this year. We wrote in our last letter if you know anything about FRANK NICKOSON. He has got back and went to living with his family. He come back last spring


Peoria County
March 18, circa early 1860s

Dear Brothe [MYRON LISK],

We have had a hard time of it here since the war begn. Corn has been down to 10 cents per bushel; rye 17 to 18 cents; pork down to $2.00; hay about from $6.00 to $8.00 per ton. We sold our corn at 12-1/2 and the man hoot it away at crib. As the rebels are being whipped out in all parts of the country the price of everything is beginning to go up again and we look forward to having better times again. We have very cold weather here at present, about four inches of snow. A great many people in this part of the country have not got all their corn out of their fields yet hands have been scarce and the corn so low that it would not pay to gather it. The war has taken away pretty much all ourworking men in this part of the country.

Our children, as well as GEORGE SEWARD, have all got the measles at present but are not very sick with them. ALVAH SEWARD is in the army as a cook at present. GEORGE lives on old father MOATES place an we live on GEORGE's place. ABRAHAM [MOATES] and children all join in sending much love to you all.




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Peoria County, IL Genealogy Trails
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Poukey/Puke Family Letters



Contributed by: Stefan Puke

This is a translation of a letter that Alfred Poukey wrote to his brothers (Linus Puke) son
Carl Emil Puke in (his nephew)
December 28th 1890

Organ-player and Schoolteacher
Mr Carl Puke
Krogsered, Hallands County
Drengsered Sweden
Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Peoria Illinois dec 28th 1890

My dear Carl
Thank you for your loveley letter witch I have waited for for a while, finally it has arrived and I am glad over it. Linus (Carlīs father) has written and answered it from me and says
" Carl sent me your letter to answer" I was surprised when I got the letter but the answer from another place and I wondered what I had written but I have forgot the subject and my mind stood still as an unsolved riddle. Now I have solved it you sent the letter to see it and of course not answered it and you forgot the address. Mystery solved.
As the saying says You canīt wait to long for something good.

Your letter is much welcome more than you can ever know, because soon you stand alone as descendant in Sweden after soon 500 years of our family and hundreds of years has gone without finding tracks of some new kid on the old genealogy tree witch has grown, turned green and carried tasty fruit and left the halfed dry branch shelter for the storm and shaddow for the sunīs heat. Therefore Iīm very happy to find out that you have taken your first step on your path how the future can be. (In 1889 Carl Emil got his first child Anna Ingeborg Cecilia Puke) You know that I held my boyīs in school as long as I could until I didnīt have any money left and my own future looked bad.
Axel & Hjalmar studied in 10― year and I donīt mension the two youngest Haqvin and Alma.

Axel got great knowledge and was good in language, he was young and strong he had a great future here on this great workingfield whitch is good for someone with great energy.
His will is gone the knowledge became rusty as buried iron,he became the heavy worker . he must with heavy and hard work earn his daily bread for dig and chop he must. By the way he is a decent person very calm and donīt do anything wrong all that I had to remark was that he is to lazy to practice his knowledge and capacity I told him so but he wouldnīt belive me. He wanted to go his own way.

He got married and after two years his wife died and left him with a 13 monthīs child and a child only 2 days old in poverty. Now he know that his lamp has burnt-out in the middle of darkness as Salomon says. Haqvin is with his and so is Alma. None of the other is or has been married more than Axel but Alma is going to marry a photographer. They all call themselves Arons because Puke is not pronounceable in English because they donīt have u and e is not pronounced.
Their addresses is Cumberland Wisconsin.

However Hjalmar has worked in a drugstore since he came over here. He is now working in a little town Waupun Wiscinsin but maybe he moves . He has in this contry taken 1 class pharmacist examination he work a lot and he is popular his future is in brilliant colourīs if nothing unexpected comes out.

I have lived on a farm in North western for nine years 9000 km ??? from here. It was to cold and bad future so I moved here to Peoria Illinois this spring I work with all kind of things and the days go bye. I have worked some time at the railroad (Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company)

Here liveīs brother Carl and his wife and five of his boyīs who are married and have families, one boy and one girl the youngest unmarried.
Two of the boy`s are dead the otherīs are fine. Peoria is not seen as a big town but there is big buisness.
Itīs over 10 km long and 7,5 km broad has almost 60 big and small churhes some of the churches are very big and magnificent and expencive most of them are Catholic.
The Swedes has 2 small churches.
The inhabitantīs in the city is 45000 but I think that is an old count, there are more people.
The racees are yellow ,white and black and al speak english.
The town has electric lightīs and streetcarīs which goes parallel through town 7 eng. miles on every other block.
11 railroads comes in from different directionīs here is the largest distilleryīs ,sugar refinery, beer brewery's, engineering (manufacturing) industry and many other witch I canīt describe. A big spectacle of beautiful shopīs witch I donīt describe because my description should for a not trained eye be a strange unsolved mystery.
The surroundings of the town are beautiful on one side there is an river that have steamboat communication (I can go on board a boat here and come to Sweden).
On the other side there is a mountain with the most beautiful treeīs, here is the most beautiful houses and palacees with a wiew over the town, the river and the landscape.
Enough with that, because in this contry there are a lot of wonderful things but also the contrary.

Here is extreme wealth but also the contrary to this because were you can find the biggest wealth you also can find the biggest poverty. Here in America it is harder now for a immigrant to get wealthy than it was before. 1000 yes 1000 has regret their journey to this contry, but many has also found happines. Here is a big school for inexperienced people, but the stuck-up farm-hand and his kind of people here comes to mind things that make his mind stand still as the sun i Ajalunds valley. Unskilled i language unskilled about working methods alone among other people no money the courage falls the eyes are pouring and then comes homesickness and all becomes dark Yes this happeneds a lot.
You writes about the indians but those disturbances are a long way from here. If the indian donīt be in his red skin he eithr be hanged or shoot without hearing what he has to say ??????????
From Anna I can say hello and tell you that she is my wife. Erick is big and slow to read and write he only knows English, he has been working at a cigar factory a couple of monthīs. Now I donīt know anything more to write. Excuse me for a incoherent letter. I seldom writes and for the 10 years I īve been here and heard the english language I have lost so much of the swedish language that I feel like a stranger when I look what I wrote.

May health and cheerful days come to you and your family you the son the Scandinavia who can live and see your home contry. Yes the place were your cradle stood Yes were your youth has gone with happy memories and your smiling sun has shined your every year with the future sparkling colours. Yes freedom and blessing on you and your house and over all that build in Scandinavia in that is my warmest and kindest regards to you and your wife and your little Ingeborg from me and my wife and children and remain your faithful uncle whoīs eye dimīs by a tear.

Alfred Puke

Write fast my address is Peoria Illinois North America
I will send you photograpfs in the future.
Iīm 52 years old and have used spectacles for many years.

This is a translation of a letter that Alfred Poukey wrote to his brothers (Linus Puke) son
Carl Emil Puke in
April 5th 1905

My dear nephew Carl and your family

Thanks for the letter at february 28th It came after 5 weeks journey and the letter was postmarked at 9 different postoffices.
The Americans didnīt understand what name it was when there stood two names Puke Poukey.

Iīm glad to hear from you and now I will write a lot and I hope you understand because I write seldom and I have lost the most of the swedish .
I have been in America for 24 years- 9 years in Minnesota-15 here in Peoria. We are all well and feel at home .

My first wife died died many years ago I saw her last time in Joenkoeping and I saw Alma 3― years ago since I left Joenkoeping she lives now i Peoria has been married for 11 years has one son that is 10 years old. Her name is Mrs Johnstone, her husband is an American.
Erick is 29 years and married to an American girl he has two sweet girls that comes often to grandfather and grandmother.
We have two younger girls Hilma och Esther the oldest one married 6 mounths ago her name is Johnson. Esther is with a swedish family all in Peoria.
Hjalmar my oldest son is a pharmacist, married and have two children in Cumberland Wisconsin 800 eng miles from here. His buissnes goes so and so -itīs a small town.
Axel lives there married 23 years ago, a year after that his wife died and left 2 small boys the youngest 5 days- they have grown up now.
Haqvin lives 80 miles from there to the north-28 miles from Dulut has a shop and earns a lot is married to a norwegian has a son 9 years.
My brother Carl died 2 years ago 79 years old he had 10 children all married but half of them are dead of (Exidena at railroad ????) but grandchildren there is a lot of but noone has the surname Puke, just me and my oldest son Hjalmar.
Carls childrens surname is Gustafson and mine is Arons. You have a aunt Sofie that is alive lives in Liviston 40 miles from Peoria.
One of Carl children are rich the rest works for the day. 2 grandchildren are rich married but I donīt know them because they donīt know me.

I have my own home outside of Peoria witch my son Haqvin has helped me with itīs more worth than the russian emperors crown and all of his palaces
Peoria is after Chicago the biggest city in Illinois the poulation is about 100000 here you find many of the largest destilation factorys and many other factorys dozenīs of railroads comes in as the round map shows and their is a lot of traffic whith steamboats on the river that goes to the sea. You write that it have happened a lot in Sweden since I left it and itīs true We have knowledge of what happens in Sweden and also the world here we have a lot of paipers here and itīs amazing what happens inthe afternoon i Stockholm, Petersburg, London, Berlin, Paris, Rom, Japan and China that can we read the next morning.
You write that their is changes in the military system in Sweden I know it well and I have cried a lot over the madness over a body and soul īs deadly profession witch have ruined and ruined the poor Sweden as the most dangerous cancer and itīs not worth more than a rutten lingonberry or how much has this snobbery bring into Sweden for the last 100 years, but all the taxes been payed under these years to have these body and soul īs deadly profession.. If they had used this on agriculture instead the whole of Sweden had been a garden from south to the north.
What have these military been learning ? Present arms, walk in step, walk in straight lines and the worst of all is you must listen to a telling-off fron a lieutenant snob who stands in front of you and make a lot of fuss as a bridled chicken which is about to crow for the first time but he canīt.
Has the Boerwar not learned the worlds military a lesson ? boer are no military and generals is not over 30000 against a trainedarmy of 275000. The Boer held against them over 2 years until the Boer not were more than 6000 but England got 125000 dead and wounded
When Englands army should make a attack at the few Boers that were well hidden behind things, they had to keep in step and gave the order (word of command) `Halt'
Closing the ranks and finally load, aim and finallythe command fire should come. But it didnīt come because bullets from the Boer had already killed the commandant and more than half of the company was lieing on eachother dead. In the confusion some rushed back and only a few alive but they had not seen any Boer..
Japan gives another example. The russians should scare the to death the 1:st day and Kuruptkin should in a week dictate the peace agreement for Japan.
You speak about Norway. They donīt know whatīs best for themselves , they foment by political aristocrates with help from russia and they think it īs gainful for them. Only the russians get an icefree harbour and the land they want but let him in and you are about to feel the whip and then they come to the Swedish boarder and beg for help but that will be to late. Shooting-clubs in every parish all over Sweden is recommendable and enough good weapons and ammunition and rewards for good shooting .

The crown prince to come is engaged to be married in England we knew at once even that some paipers thought it should be mis Rosewelt it hadnīt been so bad she is a wealthy girl and beautiful and good manners. In rank Rosevelt stands over any king, emperor because he is elected by the people and rule over a powerful country itīs over 100 million people is and will be the most powerful country in the world.
There is no compulsory military service and only a few soldiers to help the police if they need it.
All the other shall stay at their work there is no time for present arms, walk in step, walk in straight lines and salut an incompetent snob.

A king is born to be a king even if he is stupid as a mule or an idiot , but if it is so here he can not be our head of State.
Now I have written a little bit of everything you can se how I have learned here.
Many in Sweden sees the Emmigrants from Sweden as an insult but they donīt see why here is somethings why.
You shall say hi to your mother from Anna, Erik and me.
I will write sometimes and even send paipers.
If you write just write on the outside of the envelope:

Mr Alfred Poukey
603 Fishgate street
Peoria Illinois




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