Austin

Job W. Angus (1856-1936) — Sept. 9, 1877, letter from Dripping Springs, Texas

Hamilton Pool near Dripping Springs; Photo taken by Reid Sullivan during drought conditions 1/2/2006 (Wikimedia - Image in public domain)

Hamilton Pool near Dripping Springs; Photo taken by Reid Sullivan during drought conditions 1/2/2006 (Wikimedia – Image in public domain)

As I sat out by our fire pit last night, looking up at the stars on a rare, cold and crisp South Florida evening, my mind could not help but drift westward towards thoughts of our country’s pioneers, cowboys, explorers, and others who spent plenty of nights roughing it by campfires, trying to stay warm at night, traveling weeks or months without a bed to sleep on. Past posts of Matthias Woodruff and Job W. Angus came to mind, so it seems fitting to publish another letter in that vein.

Regular readers may recall that, last November, I published a post containing a letter from Job Angus to his mother Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus. That letter was written on 24 July 1877. This post contains a letter written by Job to his older sister Wealthy (b. 1850) and her husband William Woodruff (my great grandparents) some six weeks later. He is in Dripping Springs, Texas, and describes his prospects for establishing himself in that area as a rancher.

Job’s handwriting is outstanding, so there is no need for me to transcribe it. (Apparently his Mom worked with the children on their handwriting when they were young*, and it’s apparent her hard work paid off.) Job closes with a mention William and Wealthy’ daughter Jennie Belle Woodruff (then age 4) and “the other one”—obviously he forgot that little one’s name! (He must have been referring to Flora M. Woodruff, born April 1877.)

Enjoy the letter–it sure left me appreciating the bed I sleep on every night (and the food I eat every day!)

angus_sep1877_p1

Letter from Job Angus to William E. Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff (Job’s brother-in-law & sister) – from my family’s private collection

angus_sep1877_p2

Letter from Job Angus to William E. Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff (Job’s brother-in-law & sister) – from my family’s private collection

*One Line of Descendants of James Angus

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Categories: Angus, Austin, Dripping Springs, Texas, Woodruff | 14 Comments

Job W. Angus (1856-1936) — Letters from Texas

Hamilton Pool near Dripping Springs; Photo taken by Reid Sullivan during drought conditions 1/2/2006 (Wikimedia - Image in public domain)

Hamilton Pool near Dripping Springs, TX; Photo taken by Reid Sullivan during drought conditions 1/2/2006 (Wikimedia – Image in public domain)

In my last post, I mentioned that James W. Angus and his wife Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus, who settled in Elizabethtown, NJ, named one of their sons after Job Winans Angus, James’s younger brother. That son, Job W. Angus, was born on 7 July 1856, in Elizabethtown.

It’s worth mentioning that James W. Angus, a highly successful coach maker by profession and investor in Elizabeth real estate, died quite young (23 Dec 1862, at age 52) of erysipelas, an acute bacterial infection of the upper dermis, so Wealthy was left to care for the 7 of their 11 children (4 girls, 7 boys) who were still under 18. That included Job, who was just 6. She outlived James by 30 years and during those decades was a powerful matriarch in command of a large household and the family’s real estate holdings which she slowly sold off through the years to keep herself and her family going.

The Angus family dining room table seated 12 comfortably, and one descendant described remembering seeing Wealthy in command at that table, directing family business, with all her sons in attendance. Her death in 1892 marked the end of an era; to this day, her descendants are well aware of the powerful influence she had on all her children and grandchildren. The loyalty and love felt towards her would have been palpable.

James W. Angus, older brother of Job W. Angus, father of Job W. Angus (b. 1856)

James W. Angus, older brother of Job W. Angus, father of Job W. Angus (b. 1856)

Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus

Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus

Who would have stepped up to fill James’s shoes as a father figure to Wealthy’s boys? She had five brothers. One of them, John Barron Jaques, would not likely have been up to the challenge due to his own personal issues. Brother Charles, an assistant surgeon during the Civil War, died in 1866, only a few years after James. Walter passed away before 1863, so he would not have been involved. That leaves Isaac and Christopher; I don’t know much about either of them, but they may have provided some support to Wealthy’s children. And certainly Grandfather Isaac Jaques, Wealthy’s dad, would have done whatever he could.

James had but one brother, Job, and we know from the last post that James Jr., James and Wealthy’s second-born son, is believed to have spent some time working with his Uncle Job in Washington, DC. And, I have evidence that shows Uncle Job also provided support and guidance to his namesake, young Job Angus; that evidence takes the form of some letters written by young Job, while in Texas and Alabama, to his older sister and her husband, Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff and William E. Woodruff (my great grandparents). I’ll post those letters in the near future. Meanwhile, I have one letter of Job’s that was written to his mother Wealthy Ann, the influential family matriarch, on July 24, 1877. He was about 21 years old at the time, and writing from San Antonio enroute to Dripping Springs which is not far from Austin.

Lithograph - Map of San Antonio, Texas, 1886 (Wikimedia - Image in public domain)

Lithograph – Map of San Antonio, Texas, 1886 (Wikimedia – Image in public domain)

Old map of Austin, 1873 (Wikimedia - Image in public domain)

Old map of Austin, 1873 (Wikimedia – Image in public domain)

From reading this and his other letters, it sounds like he was a young man in search of adventure and opportunity–something his mom could relate to most definitely. Her life with husband James took her to Mexico in the 1840s, before and during the Mexican-American War. There she gave birth to some of their children and had quite a few adventures herself (I’ll piece together a post about her in the future). So, while reading this letter at age 52, situated rather permanently at that point in an established city like Elizabeth, Wealthy probably found herself pausing to reflect on some of her own travels. Perhaps she lived a bit vicariously through her children whenever they veered into territories and circumstances unknown, and like any mother, she probably found herself worrying and waiting for the post each day in hope of getting some news. (Some of us are old enough to remember what that was like!)

The scenery in Texas was, of course, a far cry from anything young Job had encountered in the Northeast, and it seems likely he would have taken in extraordinary sights like Hamilton pool in Dripping Springs with a sense of awe and wonder.

Job misses his mom and the comforts of home; he’s spent days riding horseback solo for long stretches and nights sleeping in the chapparel and mesquite. He’s heard no news from anyone but her. Good old mom–she’s provided letters that are tucked away in his gear, ready to be pulled out whenever he needs to feel the love of home. He’s in awe of the rivers and streams, and heading towards whatever future awaits him in Dripping Springs. Interaction with Uncle Job awaits; Wealthy was probably delighted the senior Job was in the picture, ready to help her son out if needed, but he seemed determined to make it on his own. Self-reliance, independence… that’s the way he and his siblings were raised.

Job had excellent handwriting so no transcription is needed:

Job W. Angus letter from San Antonio, page one, from private family archives

Job W. Angus letter from San Antonio, July 24, 1877, page 1, from private family archives

James W. Angus letter from Sanantonio, page two, from private family archives

Job W. Angus letter from San Antonio, July 24, 1877, page 2, from private family archives

Job did not stay in Texas permanently. Around 1883, he married Jeannette (“Nettie”) Tillou (1860-1935), and they made their home in Elizabeth, NJ, after spending a bit of time in Mobile, Alabama. Job and Nettie had two children: Rev. Harry Baremore Angus (b. 1883) and Daisy A. Angus (b. 1889). The 1900 census shows that he was employed as superintendent of a barrel company. The family, living at 426 North Broad Street in Elizabeth, must have been doing quite well as they had a live-in servant even though it was a relatively small household. Job (d. 1936) and Nettie (d. 1935) and their two children are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, NJ. You can visit Find a Grave to view their resting places.

More of Job’s letters in upcoming posts. Thanks for stopping by the blog; as always comments, additions, and corrections welcome. Have a good weekend!

Links:
San Marcos River Foundation
Guadalupe River State Park

Categories: Angus, Austin, Dripping Springs, Jaques, San Antonio, Texas, US Federal 1880, US Federal 1900, Woodruff | Leave a comment

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