Christian was married in 1861 to Elise Dubach Isely. Here is information about their family.
Christian Isely was born in Switzerland in 1828 and immigrated to America with his family at age three. At that time there were no railroads from Switzerland to the sea, and travel had to be by wagon. In preparation for their travels the men built wagons and the women wove checkered wagon covers of flax. They drove to Havre, France, sold their horses, leased a ship and crew, loaded their wagon aboard, sailed to New York, transferred their wagons to Hudson River steamboats, ascended the Hudson to Albany, transferred their wagons to canal boats, traversed the Erie Canal, took steamer on Lake Erie to Cleveland, boated on the Cleveland Canal to Lockport, then bought American horses and drove to Holmes County in Central Ohio, arriving in the fall of 1831. There they cleared the forest and built houses.
In 1849, Christian left his two brothers and two sisters to go West. He lumbered in Wisconsin, rafted logs down the Mississippi, worked as a carpenter at the government agencies in Indian Territory, and taught a backwoods school east of St. Joseph, Missouri. With the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, he led a party of Ohio friends to settle in Richardson County, Nebraska, on Four Mile and Isely Creeks. Over the course of time, the Isely Creek he discovered was misspelled to become the Easily Creek, which is still found on Nebraska maps. He spent a great deal of time exploring the Kansas and Nebraska prairies in quest of the richest soil possible. Because of differences with the small German colony, he voluntarily left. He returned to St. Joseph where he worked as a carpenter and met his wife Elise Dubach. After the civil war, they continue to reside in St. Joseph until establishing a farm in Fairview, Kansas in 1872 with his two brothers, Henry and Fred. Together, Christian and Elise had 11 children, 8 of whom survived to adulthood. Here is a hypertext data base of his descendants. His biography appears on page 21 of the Brown County section of William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.
Here is a transcript.
The original copy of this letter is in the Isely Collection in the Department of Special Collections of the Ablah Library at Wichita State University. Anyone wishing to reproduce or quote from this letter should contact them before doing so. The transcript and digitized images were supplied for this project by David McGuire Senior.
This photograph was in an evelope with the following undated note from Bliss Isely: "Dear Merrill, The fierce soldier is Grandfather Isely in 1861.".
Caption on back, "CH Isely" Studio is Chase of Hiawatha, Kansas.
Caption on back, "Christian H. Isely" Studio is Baldwin Studio of Wichita, Kan..
The three Isely brothers, from left to right, Henry, Fred, & Christian.