An English settler in pioneer Wisconsin; the letters of Edwin Bottomley, 1842-1850.
This volume is a collection of important historical documents published by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. It is entirely devoted to letters from an English immigrant, Edwin Bottomley (1809-1850), written between 1842 and 1850 to his father, Captain Thomas Bottomley. Edwin Bottomley was born in Mossley near Manchester, and moved to Huddersfield and South Crossland, where his father became manager of the Crossland mills. As a pattern designer and leader of the Methodist church choir, he became prominent in that community. In 1842, however, seeking better prospects than could be found "in a cuntry wher Labour the sorce of all Real wealth is troden under foot By Monopoly Taxation and Opprssion," he emigrated with his wife, Martha, their five children and his bass viol to what would soon be known as English Settlement in western Racine County, Wisconsin. Bottomley farmed seventy acres and within eighteen months moved his family from a temporary shanty to a substantial brick house. The years brought hard work and regular bouts of fever, but enough prosperity for Bottomley to add 300 contiguous acres to the original holding. (The mortgage on this purchase caused him considerable anxiety, and he later turned to his father and brother for financial help). From the beginning, Bottomley was active in civic affairs, helping to establish the local school house and Methodist Episcopal church. His letters contain many references to British political issues and reflect some of the religious tensions of the period. In 1850, Bottomley succumbed to typhoid fever, leaving a will and inventory included here. An index appears at the end of this volume.