1850: Caroline (Beauchamp) Bodem to John Arthur Beauchamp

John Arthur Beauchamp

This letter was written by Caroline (Beauchamp) Bodem (1816-18xx) to her brother, John Arthur Beauchamp (1817-1901). Their parents were Robinson Pemberton Beauchamp (1788-1833) and Dolly Winn (1784-1864) of Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky. It appears that Caroline Beauchamp first married Dr. Cooney (b. 1815) of Paris, Kentucky. He either died young or they divorced for she married second, a German emigrant named John Bodem, with whom she had one child, Dolly Bodem (1848-1850). [Note: Family records on-line record Caroline’s husband’s surname as Boden but she clearly spells it Bodem in this letter at that is the way it also appears in the 1850 U.S. Census records.] John Bodem (1819-18xx) was a tailor by profession and apparently a poor one.

From this letter we learn that Caroline’s family felt that Caroline had married below her station in life, perhaps harboring prejudices against her husband’s German heritage. The lack of public record for Caroline in the genealogy of the Beauchamp family seems to confirm this notion.

John A. Beauchamp married Annette Tallaferro Lincoln (1820-1853) in Clay County, Missouri in 1841. She bore him four children before her death in 1853.

In the letter, Caroline mentions her sister Marietta Beauchamp (1814-1893) who became the wife of John H. Dunlap (1801-1874) in 1828. Caroline refers frequently to Dunlap with respect to a farm that he “pretended” (Caroline’s words) to give to Caroline and her husband.

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Addressed to Mr. John A. Beauchamp, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri

Cheap Valley, Henry County, Tennessee
July 31st 1850

Dear Brother,

I now address you a few lines to let you hear from us. Being as I have not written to you in some time, I scarcely know in what way to write to you. I have not received one line from you in a long time, and why have you forsake me? What have I done? You write to all the rest and leave me out from the balance of your relations. A few days before we left the place that Dunlap pretended to give to us, Mother received a letter from you which stated that by next fall you would be prepared to take care of me and my children. It appeared to me a strained expression for you to say such a thing about me as that I have no children now. I had but one little daughter when you wrote that letter to Mother and she is now no more. She died this last June on the 13th of the month. She was two years old and and almost two months when she died and a great loss she was to us both. Our loss is her gain in a better world than this. So there is none but us two in family. We could have taken care of our dear little baby, I am sure, ourselves without the assistance of you surely, but the Lord has provided a better home for the dear little baby than we could have ever done or anybody else.

Brother John, I have a very good provider. He is a good husband. He furnished me with plenty of everything to eat and to wear, and a house and home. And what do I want any more? You are quite mistaken about him in the way you wrote. You don’t know anything about him in the least. If you was to see him, you would like him very well. A poor person is always put upon where there is many rich ones and them that has no one to look to for the least thing no relation near it is very bad. Mr. Bodem has been run over by our relations in this country — in particular your mother. She would come down to see us and she would begin at Mr. Bodem from the time she came into the house until she went away from the house, and tramp on the smallest worm and it will turn Brother John. You know Mother and you know Dunlap and Marietta and old Cooney and his wife. They are all overbearing set of people and the one that gets along with them will have to be rich.

The reason that Mr. Bodem left the place that Dunlap pretended to give to us, he could not get along with them in the least way. Dunlap wrote to Mother to tell Mr. Bodem to leave his place and never put foot on it again. He was gone to look for a place before he got the word. He got a place and came and moved his little family to it. Mother, I hope, is happy now. Since we left Dunlap’s place, Dunlap has sold the place and the horse that he give to us — all of that given was just a blind to us. But he can not blind me. I am no fool. Mr. Bodem had just got a start in a little of everything when he had to break up and leave the place. He had improved the place right smart when he left it so he did not hurt the place. We left in May. Our dear little baby died since we came here to this place.

Dolly Winn Beauchamp

Brother John, you have your dear little ones around you now but we have lost our only one, sweet and pretty babe. She was too and a smart one. Her little voice is no more. She could talk and sing everything but she is no more. O God, I do wish I could see her and hear her little voice again. But I cannot. My wish is in vain. She has gone to a resting place. She has been sick ever since she was one year old and lame too at that. Her affliction is no more. My health is bad at this time. We won’t live here long. We will leave in the fall, perhaps for that country in some part of the state in which you do live in where we can’t be a burdensome to our relations. Mr. Bodem has a very good trade and we can be independent of our relations if we do want to. There was none of our relations here with me when my dear little Dolly died — not even our mother. I can’t never forgive such as that nor forget.

We followed her to her little grave with strangers whom I never saw before and she was buried among strangers. If it had been Marietta or Eliza Jane Cooney’s child, mother would have been with them, but it was mine and I am poor and that is the difference between us. Brother John, you must write to me as soon as you get this letter and let me hear from you all. I must come to a close, so farewell. Give our love to all and kiss your dear little children for me. I now remain your sister until death, — Caroline Bodem

I am so lonesome and melancholy since our little baby died.


The 1850 Census Record for the John Bodem Family, Henry County, Tennessee

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