Aunt Hattie's Tramp
Letters from Dakota Territory, 1881-1900

Hattie and John

Dakota Links

Photo Gallery



"Dear Sister May...I have been sitting around all day taking care of the children and feeding tramps there was one here a little while ago, and said Mrs'es will you plase griv a fellow something to eat. of coarst I had to give him something I was so fraid of him I had a notion to run out to the field and let him help himself but then you know that would never do so I put on a brave face and gave him what he wanted. I thought if he said any thing that I dident like I would take the gun to him."

In 1881, my great-great-aunt Hattie Briggs married John Buckland and they took up land in the newly opened Dakota Territory. Her letters to my great-grandmother, Lucy May Briggs, were recently discovered. They paint a fascinating portrait of life in the wild west ~ Dakota and Iowa ~ during the late 19th century. I'm currently transcribing Hattie's letters, along with others from May's stash.
     My niece Christy Slate has created a genealogy chart of her family tree including the Briggses, and also the Morrisons (Lucy May married William Morrison in 1886). Below are some of the letters Lucy May saved, which I find illuminating not only for my own family's history, but also for their general historical interest.

Lucy May
Hattie's Letters
Save Three Cents
Aunt Hattie's Tramp
Fishing After Beaux
Clean Noses
Ambition Powders
Take You West  New
The Lost Corpse
Fond of the Dutch  New
Prairie Flowers
Bee in a Tar Bucket  New
New Stove
Singing Books  New
Morrison Letters
New House
Your Wife!!!
Your Wife, Aggie's version
Jeanie's Little Colt  New

Photo Gallery
Hattie Briggs Buckland
John Buckland
Hattie and John
Nellie Buckland (Hattie's daughter)

Lucy May Briggs Morrison
Lucy May and William Morrison
May with son Alton
Jean, Leon and Earl Morrison
(May's other children)

May on Midget, with son Earl, 1928  New
William (W.W.) Morrison, 1920s  New

William's sisters:
Helen Morrison
Agnes Morrison

Hattie and May's parents:
Seymour Philander (S.P.) Briggs
Julia Palmer Briggs

Hattie and May's siblings:
Frank Briggs
Charles Briggs
Mary Briggs Mooney
Etta Briggs Wilson-Thrall
Elmer Briggs
Will Briggs

Belle Fullerton Briggs (Elmer's wife)
Other Letters
Annie Uhley Briggs
(Charles' wife)
D.D. Briggs
(Hattie & May's uncle)

Pork Cake
Aunt Hat's Cookies
Fruit Cake
Ginger Snaps
Dark Cake