Remarkable, despite his unique name, I could not find any record of the author of this letter whose name appears to read Soffarine Westfall.
Westfall wrote the letter to Capt. James S. Lewis (1798-1892). Lewis, a former sea captain, came to Iowa in 1839 with his wife Florenda Hanchette (1801-1901).
Addressed to Capt. James S. Lewis, Rock Creek Post Office, Cedar County, Iowa Territory
Beemersville, [New Jersey]
February 16, 1841
Mr. James S. Lewis
I have received your letter directed to the Postmaster at Deckertown. We are enjoying comfortable health. I have lived near Deckertown for the past year, work at my trade a part of the time. I have hired out for one year from the 1 April next at Beemersville to work a farm & my daughter manages a dairy of cows. The times are rather hard in this section of country. Rye is worth 3/6, corn 3/b, buckwheat 3/, oats 3/, wheat 7/ to 8/ and other things in proportion.
Thomas left us last spring a year and we have heard nothing of him since. The last account we had from John he was in Wisconsin Territory.
We have had a flood that extended throughout this county that swept almost everything before it — factories, bridges, & mill dams was swept off without number & many lives lost. ¹
I would be glad to hear from you often. Direct your letter to Beemersville, Sussex County, New Jersey.
Yours in haste, — Soffarine Westfall
¹ The destructive freshet occurred during the first week of January 1841.