Although mail service was suspended for several weeks during the winter because of the drifting snow, one letter eventually made it through to James that warmed his frozen frame. It was from his college chum, Gorham Rollins Walton, who wrote:
Brooklyn [New York]
My long lost chum [James],
Has he turned up in Kansas and married too! I am refreshed to hear from you Griffing and all the more to find you double. Give my warmest love to Mrs. Griffing and tell her that I congratulate heartily on this prize she has obtained – a good husband – for such I am sure my old chum James S. Griffing will be. Married at long last! Now you will tell me how old you are, won’t you? Well I don’t care much to know and used to ask you only to tease you as you were probably aware so did not see fit to gratify my whims. Well Griffing, I am not yet married but hope to be someday to a certain “_______ Lush” of whom I have spoken to you of. She is not “what she would call handsome” but is at least much better looking than I am and what is a thousand times better than good looks, she is good and talented. Has a splendid education and most excellent common sense and better yet for me she is very affectionate – a quality which I prize above all others in female character. She is now twenty-four and I am, as you know, nearly thirty – just five years younger than yourself (!) you remember.
So you are way out in Kansas Chum. What bone of contention between the friends of freedom on the one hand and the hot-headed minions of slavery and oppression on the other! Why in the name of all that’s good and noble did you suffer – you of the civilized land of N.Y. or New England, you from a land where freedom reigns – why did you suffer those blood-thirsty ruffians to enact such laws as have disgraced the nation and outraged humanity during the last session of our Legislature! Truly whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad. [These men will surely face] political death as well as moral damnation. But chum, write me all about matters and things in Kansas.
I was to tell you some of the news of this eastern land. You probably did not receive my letter addressed to Indianapolis a little more than a year ago as you have never given me an answer. This letter contained an account of a visit to Westchester and an account of the marriage of Miss Charlotte Wortham, another friend of yours I believe. I was present at the wedding with Miss Susan Day. The gentleman [she married] is a farmer of Essex, the name I have forgotten… I met about nine of my class at College Commencement – Bangs, McIntyre, Landon, Chester, Shaw, Streeter, Oakley & Dusinberry. We had a pleasant time. I remained only one day. I will tell you of the class as far as I know. Bangs is cashier of the firm of Bangs Brothers & Co., Chester teaches at Wilbraham Academy, Clark preaches at Charlestown, Mass., Chrysler died about a year ago. Dusinberry a lawyer in N. Y. somewhere. Ransom ditto. McIntyre is practicing law at Springfield, Mass.
Now Griffing I shall expect to hear from you soon and receive a full account of matters in Kansas. Again I say remember me to Mrs. Griffing and accept for yourself the abiding love of your old classmate & chum, -- Gorham R. Walton
By mid-February, the long lost sun reappeared and began to melt the blanket of snow. "In the spring, [James and Augusta] had a small cabin put up on [their] claim and [James] would work in the garden awhile and then lie down -- not being able to be up only part of the time. His side was badly swollen and sore, but Dr. Martin finally succeeded in helping him." 
While Augusta kept the Owego relatives informed of James' recovery, they wrote her letters expressing deep concern for their health as well as safety in bloody Kansas:
As this has been rather an uncommon day with us, I will give you a description of it. In the first place, Em Wheat staid with [your sister] Mary last night. She wanted to go to the [Owego] village and as your father was not going to use the horses, [your brother] Stephen took them over. He put two letters into the [post] office – one for you with some peppergrass seed in, and one for [your brother] James with some onion seed in. And [your sister] Sarah sent one to Nancy & Jake [Orcutt]. Whilst they were gone, Samuel [Griffing] called here [and] said he had a letter last night from [Rev.] Mr. Giddings saying he should be here the 29th on his way to Kansas [Territory]. He wanted we should be at the depot and see him as he should not make any stay. He wanted Ossy [Griffing] to be ready to go with him.
Your Mother Griffing has been cleaning and moving into her house this week. Last night she and [her daughter] Mary staid there for the first night. This afternoon it has been a rainy afternoon and Steve took an umbrella and went down to school. Mary had nine there and she came home with Steve. Now the two Mary’s, Sarah, Em & Steve are playing domino’s and talking. But you see I am writing. Perhaps you can read it.
Samuel [Griffing] went to the [Owego] village last night and got a letter from Mr. Taylor. Said he was well except a bad cold and should be here the first of next week. He went to Mr. Taylor’s and sent the letter to Mrs. Taylor and was there till after 9 o’clock. After that a telegraph dispatch came here saying Mr. Taylor was dangerously sick at Dixon [Illinois]. Wanted Mrs. Taylor and Doctor Tappan should come there. Mr. Hersteiner received the dispatch, wrote a line, and sent a man to Newark for the Doctor but he could not leave as he had several patients very sick and would not leave them. He then came over and told Mrs. Taylor she should not go alone and he went with her. They started in the 3 o’clock train in the morning. Will be there, if they are not behind time, tomorrow night. Mrs. Taylor is not well. Your Aunt Mary says she is not able to go. Charles was with his father. If we hear anything more before we send, we will write it, but we fear he will not come home alive.
Your Aunt Mary has been here all day helping [your sister] Sarah on Leland’s coat and wants to come tomorrow. Sarah told her she might come and patch her work and when she could sew on coat she could.
Uncle Norman [Goodrich] is not very well. Some think he will not live long. He can’t do anything towards dressing himself and does not appear to know much, is a great deal of trouble, and very ugly sometimes. I cannot write any more tonight.
Friday eve and all well here at home. [Your sisters] Sarah and Mary have been over to Puts to call this evening. Mrs. Nealy and Mrs. Perryham visited here today. I called at Mr. Rivers’ this forenoon. I think we shall like them. Mrs. Rivers has sent here for some sweet potatoes for pies and today her George came to the gate with a basket, saw the dog, and was afraid to come in and went back. I went over Mrs. Rivers. Said she sent him for some parsnips. We have some fine ones. I wish you could have some. They are so nice. If Mr. Giddings can carry anything, we should send some things to you. I hope he can. We shall not get anything more until we know he can carry them. I have written this little sheet so you would know that he was going. The girls say they have nothing to write – no news at all. Mother writes all the news. I hope this will find you well and [your husband] James better, and James Goodrich well. Good night in haste.
Saturday morning, a beautiful morning and with it came Frank Taylor, bright and early. We have had company every day this week and I am about tired of it and want to be alone one day. Frank says Susan Catlin has got home but Emma has not. We do not know if they have had another dispatch yet from Mr. Taylor. They have expected one.
Your father is not feeling very well today, but has been at work all day. He has made a new leach [field] and put up the ashes. We milk 4 cows, are raising 3 calves, expect 2 more before long, then I expect Sarah will have to go out to milking. Have only 3 lambs. I don’t know how many we have lost but I know we have lost 3 old sheep. Uncle Aner [Goodrich] is not well this spring. He has the erysipelas in his legs and eyes. [Your mother, -- Mary Ann Goodrich]
Dear Brother [James] & Sister [Augusta],
I have been thinking about you all day wondering if you were at meeting or a home this pleasant day, or what you are a doing. I should like to step in a minute and see how you look there in your “seven by nine” shanty, but I cannot enjoy that privilege so I will say no more about it.
We are all well here at home except Ma does not feel very well today. She has been moving over in the other house & has tired herself out a cleaning & fixing things. [Our brother] Sammy has had to work pretty hard this spring. He is troubled a great deal with the headache. [Sammy’s wife] Malvina is well as usual. She says she would write to you but thinks she can’t write well enough, but you & I know better than that. Sammy was a going to write today, but he has been to meeting & is tired. He has a headache besides a great many chores to do so you must excuse him. I suppose that you have heard of David Taylor’s sickness at the west. He has been very sick for about two weeks. The news came this morning that he was gaining very fast & thought he would be able to come home next week.
Mr. Wheat’s people are all well. They had a letter from Mr. [Osee] Hall’s people the other day. Mr. [Osee] Hall has been very sick but he recovered again. They have built them a house & are keeping house. They are [in Owen, Winnebago County] about five miles from Rockford [Illinois]. Mr. Charles Hall has sold out in Ohio & is going father west – to Iowa I believe. Ann Warring & Dunchie are still in Rockford [Illinois]. Francis ("Frank") Stroup has come back from the West. She does not like it there a bit. Her health is very good. Her babe [William Stroup] is a great deal better, but is dreadful cross. Susan Ann Catlin has returned from the West. Emma G. has had her child. Helen Duel is married. Augusta Crotes is teaching school up the river. Kate Taylor is not very well. She does not complain much but is not able to do much of anything. Louisa Goodrich has got to be quite smart. She was up to Sammy’s a visiting last week. I stayed to your house the other night. Had a first rate good time. Em Wheat was there & after talking & saying all we knew, Doctor Busby was introduced – he being such a pleasant & agreeable gentleman that the evening hours passed quickly by until the clock struck ten when we wished him good night.
I came from Springport [New York] five weeks ago. I left [our brother John’s wife] Anne & the baby well. She often spake of you & said that you promised to write to her. Perhaps you have. If you have, she has not received it yet.
I am teaching school down in the white school house commenced two weeks ago. I board around some part of the time and at home the rest. When I am not at home, Ma goes over to Sammy’s & stays. [Our brother] Ossy is in the store yet. He likes it very well. His health is good but he looks very poor in the face [due to his industrial accident]. [Our sister] Millie has not been home in sometime. Her health is not very good. [Sammy’s son] David has just been over here. He says, “Tell Uncle James that I went to town yesterday and had my likeness taken & I’ve got a new hat too.” [David’s sister] Ella goes to school every day.
Ma seems very contented in her new house. We have not heard from [our brother] Daniel in some time. I shall write to him after I finish this. We expect him home this summer. Ma wants I should tell you that you had better come home, she worries about you all the time. The Doctor says that if you do not get better soon, you had better come back & so we all think. We are looking for Mr. Giddings here the 29th on his way to Kansas [Territory].
The Rev. Charles Judd is married to Miss Sarah Hubbard. He has given up going to India & has taken the Spencer Charge. I must now close my letter for I want to write two more tonight. So good night. Your sister, -- Mary [Griffing]
P.S. Our love to Nancy [Orcutt Griffing] & children. I shall write to her if I have time.
My dear Augusta,
I do not know the reason that we do not get any letters from you. I think if you are well, you would write. It will be three weeks tomorrow since we have had a letter from you. And I can assure you it seems a long time for before that we got a letter nearly every week. It is two weeks yesterday since we had a letter from [your brother] Ralph. We are expecting one every day from him. We have not had a letter yet from your Uncle [Elizur Goodrich and] I fear he does not intend to do much for Ralph. He is in want of more money now than I can help him to. I have sent Erasmus over to the [post] office this afternoon. I hope he will get 2 or 3 letters and one from [your brother] James Goodrich. I would like to see his writing once more.
Our friends about here are well. Harriet was up here last night for a call. Chauncey Hill is at work here today, drawing out manure. He loads it. They have two wagons, your father’s and [your brother] Steve drives the horses. They drive it up on the hill where they are going to have corn. They have sowed this piece back of the house to oats. I have not seen Mary G[riffing] since I wrote last week. Mr. and Mrs. [David] Taylor are expected home next week. Mr. [George Timothy] Stone, a son of Richard Stone in this village, has been hiring [himself out] at Dixon [Illinois] for 2 years. He has been sick there with the typhoid fever [and] was sick at the time Mr. [David] Taylor was. He died last week and was brought here last Friday. 
Last Friday morning the cattle train went past here just after we got up. I noticed that it stopped on the bridge. A man – a driver from Chicago – fell off in between the cars and hit some of the timbers. He was taken up senseless and remained so all day. After that, he came to and they thought he might live, but he died Tuesday.
Last Friday [May 2, 1856] was a day of accidents. As the train was coming from Binghamton, a Mr. William Billings, the [25 year-old] son of Mr. John Billings in Canawana -- he was head brakesman on the train -- was walking on the cars and fell through but caught hold and just as he caught hold the cars went off the track and his limbs were all broken to pieces. He lived 2 hours. One arm was broke and his legs was all smashed and broke. Some of the bones was left at Binghamton. He was brought down to his house Friday. [He] had been married nearly a year. The funeral was attended at the Chapel Sunday. The girls and [your brother] Stephen went to meeting in the morning [and] came home at noon. Steve did not go to Sunday school but they all went to the funeral. The house was crowded full. A stranger preached the sermon. He said it was a warning to all that went in the cars. It was but a step between them & death. 
That [same] day a Mrs. Paris died. They lived on Page Street. Mrs. Ed Taylor was here yesterday forenoon. In the afternoon, [your sister] Sarah and I went over to Mr. Rice’s and Mrs. and Miss Rice went with us up to the [Glen Mary] greenhouse. Saw the flowers and the ripe tomatoes, and strawberries nearly ripe, but did not get any.
I do hope [Rev.] Mr. Blakeslee will get home soon. The children think he will be home today or tomorrow. Erasmus has been gone 3 hours to go to the [post] office. If he gets any letters, I fear he will loose them. The girls and Mary B. have gone for a walk down to the island to get flowers. It looks very much like a storm. It is getting cold. We may have another snowstorm.
Thursday afternoon. It has been raining today so that our folks cannot work. I have just written to [your brother] Ralph. Stephen has been to the [post] office today and did not get any letters. I fear Ralph is sick. [Rev.] Mr. Blakeslee came home yesterday…
Your father went to the village today (Friday) and [received] no letter from you but got one from Ralph. He is well. We hear again of the trouble in Kansas. Augusta, if you are well and able to write, do write. If not. I wish your husband would and I wish [your brother] James Goodrich would write to us. Mrs. Griffing says perhaps you are on your way back the reason we do not hear [from you]. [Your sister] Sarah is going to write on this paper. Love to all from your affectionate Mother. Give my love to James Goodrich and tell him to write to his mother. [Your mother, -- Mary Ann Goodrich]
Dear Sister Cutie,
It seems a long time since we heard from you. It has been three weeks since we received your last letter. We cannot think what is the reason unless you are sick, or that the letters cannot come on account of the troubles there. We think if you were sick some other one would write. We read and hear so much of the awful time there that it keeps us in a constant worry. I hope you are not in danger. We have not heard anything more from Mr. Giddings – it is irregular. Mrs. Griffing thinks perhaps you’re on the way here. How I wish you were. The sight of your face would be ten thousand times more welcome than many letters. I do wish we could hear. We send to the [post] office every day hoping every time that we shall get a letter this day. Uncle [Elizur Goodrich] does not write to Ma and Ralph is wanting money [so that he can continue with his education]. She sent him $6 today – five Pa gave her. We received a letter from him today. He says he stands third in his class [at Hobart College]. He has taken several sails on the lake. He wrote there had been a large fire there [in Geneva, New York] near his boarding place. He got up and went down to it and helped some.
Last week Friday [your sister] Mary went over to Aunt Lucy [Fiddis’s] and did not come back until Sunday night. Saturday she and Anna went up to James Fiddis’ [place]. They went to Mr. [Joel] Farnham’s to tea. [Joel Farnham's 27 year-old daughter] Eliza is very thin and does not look well at all. I should not think she would teach this summer. Old Mr. [Hugh] & Mrs. [Anna Brown] Fiddis are almost helpless.
Ma has written you of the accidents of last Friday. It is dreadful. The driver’s name is John Maryniss from Monticello, Illinois and leaves a wife and three children.
[Rev.] Mr. Blakeslee has returned and we are truly glad.
Our nice clean carpet has suffered badly besides all other things. We have a great deal of rain this spring and farmers are very much behind with their work. It is nearly time they usually have their corn planted but no one hardly has their ground ploughed.
When Mary was to Aunt Lucy’s, Miss Delia Ann Chichester called on her. She was visiting at Mrs. Goodale’s and heard that Mary was there & so called to see if she could get an opportunity of coming over here. She wanted to come here & to Mr. Taylor’s. Mary told her she was going to walk home. Last night, just before tea, she came here. I went to the door & she asked if Sarah was at home. I told her I was that creature. She wanted to know if we were going over to the Phrenological lecture that night. She said she had been to Aunt Mary’s who said she thought we would go. Ma told her we could not possibly go. She staid till after supper, then said she would go up to Noah [Goodrich’s] and see if they would go [to the lecture] as she wanted to go very much. It was raining and we told her she had better stay but she went and today we hear that she went over. I do not know how she said she should come to see us. She had run up to your Mother Griffing’s a day or two.
Mr. Rice has had a kitchen put up back of the old one to cook in. Mrs. Rice has the lower room in the new part [and] her daughter has the chamber above. Ma & I called there to go up to the greenhouse this week. They are pleasant & we like them, but I think will not like us. We cleaned the kitchen this forenoon & now have but two rooms more to clean – the parlor & long chamber.
I wish I could see and know how you all are. [I especially want to know] if [your husband] James is better and James Goodrich [too]. I do wish he would write. My little bird Freddy has just been taking a bath. We put a saucer of water on the floor and opened the cage door and out he flew into the water and flutters it all over him. He is real cunning – you would think so if you saw him. It is a light delicate yellow with a dark ring round his neck and dark wings. I have got a cage for him – a green one. Miss Tiffany lent me hers until now. If it is pleasant tomorrow I think Miss Rice will come over to go down on the island. The flowers are out now. Do you remember the last time we went down there on the hay rigging and walked back behind the load? We have not seen Dr. [Ezekiel] Phelps since we received you last [letter]. I wish we could hear that [your husband] James was well enough to come soon, but people are afraid you are sick. Miss Chichester said a young Mr. Stevens from Candor [New York] had gone to Kansas. She was there when he started. I am sorry we did not know it. Write soon. All send love to all from your affectionate sister, -- Sarah [Goodrich]
We received yours mailed April 25 last night. Samuel [Griffing] and [his wife] Melvina had been to the depot expecting [Melvina’s parents,] Mr. And Mrs. [David] Taylor, but they did not come. Then they went to the post office expecting a letter from them. [They] did not get one from them, but got some for us from you. It is not necessary for me to write that we were glad to get it, for if you get our letters you will know that we have been anxiously expecting one. It had been three weeks and two days since we had received a letter. This letter had been two weeks and three days coming. Sometimes we get them in less than two weeks. [Your brother] Stephen put a letter into the [post] office yesterday for you. The last letter before this from you was mailed April 9. I think you have written once and we have not got it. Mrs. Perkins came in last evening, or we should have been in [to the village], and then should not have got the letter till today. I think Samuel [Griffing] was very kind to come here with it. It was past 10 [o’clock]. He staid just long enough to have us read you were well. When Samuel knocked, Sarah went to the door. He came in [and] Sarah asked him if he had a letter from you. He said no, but he had got one for us. Sarah looked & saw the handwriting. She could hardly open it for we all thought that Augusta was sick, but we soon found it to the contrary. I am very glad that James Goodrich is going to be with you. I think it will be better for him and perhaps for you too.
We read a good deal about Kansas and the troubles but you do not write any thing about it, and that the city of Leavenworth belongs to the Northern States and is going to be sold at Auction. Is it so? And if it is, can you hold any of the lands? We hear that Mr. Giddings has gone [West]. [He] went by the way of St. Louis. If so, I suppose you have seen [him] by this time.
I believe I have not written to you that Mr. Fitch Reed Dana, a son of Mr. Chester Dana, aged 33 [and] a lawyer, died at Dixon [Illinois] in April. He started with his Uncle Amasa Dana of Ithaca. I did not know him but perhaps James did. 
You are ahead of us for our garden is not even plowed, but our onions are growing in the cellar. I wish you had some of them. I do not know how you can do without potatoes so long. Hope that your two bushels will yield an abundance. I wrote to [your brother] James Goodrich a short time ago and sent him a paper of onion seed. Has he received them? The first seeds I sent you were some onion seed in a newspaper that Mr. Roe raised from the onions that you brought from Connecticut. A week or two ago, I sent you some beet and citrus seed in a newspaper that Mr. _____ gave me for you. He said he thought you did not have peaches to preserve & would like some citrus. It is a fine day today after 3 rainy days. Sarah, Mary & Stephen have gone to church. Your father is reading the paper and [Sarah’s bird] Freddy is very busy in his cage eating seeds and snapping them down onto the table where I am writing.
Sunday, May 18, 1856
It has been rather unpleasant today and none of us have been to church. Stephen has gone to Sunday [School] this afternoon. We are all well. It has been one week since I commenced this. Did not finish it for fear you would hear [from us] too often. Black Lucy’s [husband] George has been gone down the river. Just got home last Sunday. He was taken sick with the small pox and is very sick we hear. Mr. And Mrs. Taylor got home Tuesday night. I rode down there yesterday with Mrs. [Sally Stiles] Foote. [Her husband,] Mr. [Jared] Foote is planting a piece of corn on our lot beyond the railroad. She came down with him and was going down and I went with her. Mr. Foote looks feeble. His lungs are weak. He cannot talk but little. The Doctor says he must walk and ride out, exercise all he can in the open air. Mrs. Foote says she likes home better than any other place she has seen. She does not like the work very well.
We have not had any letter from your Uncle [Elizur Goodrich] yet. We had a letter from [your brother] Ralph yesterday. He is well and says he wishes he had money enough to take him through College. He feels bad because your Uncle does not write. Have you seen any of the Ladies Repository’s? In one is a story of a vampire. It is about an old maid going around to visit the minister, and then complained because they did not treat her any better. We have had her here this last week in the person of Miss Chichester. She goes around and gets her living among strangers. She went from here to your Aunt Mary’s. They did not ask her to take her bonnet, so she did not stay. She got a chance and rode up to your Mother Griffing’s. I am sorry for them. She is so much trouble they do not want her there. Mary just had to leave her school on account of the small pox.
Your father wants to know how your calf gets along [and] if it sucks the cow now. I took a tub of butter to George B. Goodrich’s [store last] Friday. It is only 10 cents now. I saw Mr. [William] Smyth [in Owego]. He enquired about you both and about Ralph. I told him I had a letter in my pocket from him. He said Ralph will be a smart steady man. From your ever affectionate Mother, -- Mary Ann Goodrich
Sunday, May 18, 1856
Dear Sister Cutie,
We are all at home today for the first time on a Sunday in a long while. It is quite warm but cloudy and wet. It rained nearly every day last week. We had a great deal of rain yesterday…
Miss Delia Ann Chichester is the person who came here again Wednesday night and staid until Friday morning, and when she left I could not help but say, “Good Lord deliver us” from another such [visit]. Thursday Anna came over and wanted Mary and I to go up in the woods with her. I went but Miss Chichester did not like it at all. She heard that they had a bathing room at Mr. Nealy’s and she wanted one of us to go up there and introduce her to them, and see if she could use it. We told her they had taken the conveniences away and did not make use of it now but while we were gone to the woods she went up there to see for herself and got nothing but a drink of soft water. After she came back, she took one of our washtubs and got water and took a bath. After conversation to all on phrenology subject, she too had her head examined. She says he told her if her husband undertook to command her, he will find that he cannot. Only think she expects she will be married before she dies. I am glad old maids are not all alike, or alike in all things. The people are all disgusted with her. She went up to Mrs. Griffing’s after making them a visit of two or three days Friday… [Your sister, -- Sarah Goodrich]
 By the spring of 1856, James had developed the clinical form of malaria called "Malarial Cachexia." According to Dr. William Osler, the victim of malarial cachexia "has chills for several weeks, is improperly treated or imperfectly treated, and on exposure, the chills recur. This may be repeated for several months until the patient presents the two striking features of malarial cachexia -- namely, aenemia and an enlarged spleen. The skin has a yellow tinge [and] the spleen is greatly enlarged, firm and hard... With proper treatment the outlook is good, and a majority of cases recover. The spleen is gradually reduced in size, but it may take several months or, indeed, in some instances, several years before the "ague-cake" [the name given by pioneers for the hard swelling in the side caused by an enlarged spleen] entirely disappears." The Principles and Practice of Medicine, New York, 1892, pp. 153-154.
 From the paper read by J. Augusta Griffing in December 1899.
 George Timothy Stone was born 6 February 1835 and died of Typhoid Fever in Dixon, IL on 30 April 1856. His father was Richard Stone (1802-1869) and his mother was Henrietta Stevens. Richard Stone was born in Guilford, CT. Source: Families of Early Guilford, CT.
 William T. Billings was born 8 August 1831 and died 2 May 1856. He was the son of John Billings (1800-1862) & Catherine Billings (1807-1882). William is buried in Evergreen Cemetery with his parents & other relatives. The name of William's wife could not be found.
 Fitch Reed Dana was born 14 April 1823 in Owego, NY. He married Mary H. Speed in 1847. It is not clear where the 33 year-old lawyer was heading with his Uncle Amasa Dana, also a lawyer, when he died in April 1856 in Dixon, IL. By 1856, Amasa had already served two terms in Congress as a democratic representative from New York.