Joseph Jervis (1835-1911) migrated from Staffordshire, England, to the United States in 1862, and married Catherine (Kate) Sheargold (b.1847), also from Staffordshire, in 1868. They settled in Condit Township, just north of Champaign, Ill. In this letter of Oct. 19, 1891, Kate writes to Thomas Jervis (1870-1948), the second of their nine children.
She advises Tom, who was laid off from a job in a grocery store in Lincoln, Nebraska, to "shun all bad company" and be a "good boy." Rather than looking for work in the East, he should return home, mend relations with his father, and arrange to rent part of his land. The letter also refers to corn-husking, an addition to the family homestead, and the hemp factory that burned down in nearby Thomasboro.
Dolores Fortune of Santa Barbara, Calif. donated the letter to the Nebraska State Historical Society which in turn gave it to the University of Illinois in 2012.