Letter from John McCann to John Creegan

February 1893


The content of this letter shows how important a single source of information can be.


The letter:


Webb City Mo

Feb 9th 1893


My dear brother I just received your kind letter and I must say I am glad to hear from you at last. I ought to got your letter near six weeks ago there is another McCann here and he got it and kept it until last night. Well John we are all sorry to hear of Kitty's death. You dident say what was her complaint. Myself and Sally is well and we have four children out of eleven and they are Hugh and Thomas and Mike and Kate. Hugh and Tom are married the other 2 are with us. You dident tell me how many you have got and if any of them is married. John I wish when you see Brian tell him to rite to me I have rote several times I guess I did not have his directions right. Sally wants you to tell her aunt to rite to her. Well John I am trying to get a pension and I have had the Justice of the Peace riting to Washington for me. I expect you will get a letter from him give him what information you can. Well John I have not worked in a good while but myself and the boys has an interest in a zinc and lead mine and the boys are working in it and are doing pretty well. Well John when you rite again tell me more what you are doing and how is times around old Alexandria. So I guess I will have to close for this time by sending our love to you and all the family and to all the old time friends. So no more from your Brother.

          John McCann


           Webb City Mo

           Jasper Co


          What we learned:

*     There is another John McCann in Webb City – that helped prevent some obvious confusion. I actually ran across him while searching.

*     He called Catherine, Kitty – did anyone else? Probably.

*     He called his wife Sally, a common nickname for Sarah. I still don’t have her maiden name.

*     They have four children out of eleven living. This helped confirm their entry in the 1910 census which listed that data.

*     We know or confirm the names of the four living children and know that two of them are married. From the 1910 census I know they are probably still alive even if we have no other information (which we do).

*     Sally has an aunt in the Alexandria area.

*     He was close with someone named Brian in the Alexandria area. A brother? A friend?

*     He is seeking a pension, probably for military service in the Union Army, a good source of information. We have letters pertaining to the application but not the application itself.

*     They have an interest in a zinc mine – it would probably be difficult to track this down but who knows…

*     He calls John, Brother confirming his relationship.

*     It was confusing somewhat because I assumed he lived in Webb City. I found him later in Iron Mountain Township in St. Francois County both before the date on the letter and after it. I wonder how long he was there.

*     Even I spell better than John. No, I don’t think someone rote this down for him because the census tells me he can read and rite.