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These letters are transcribed by various means; typing by Tana and maybe Cathy, and then put back
into digital format by dictation and OCR software. Some have more typos than others. There is much
work to be done making sense out of everything.
Generally, notes are italicized, in (paren) is Tana and [bracket] is Mark. Some got missed. Words in
red are in question. Need to recheck the originals. A few dates are uncertain.
Apprx. Page numbers
Earliest letters 2
Death of Father 48-51
Bolton, Vermont. 23 September 1849
Written by Father when he was about 21 -- George A. Howe
Perhaps Bolton is where the railhead is -- he is working on the Vermont Central Railroad and trading furloughs
with Ace back to home in Northfield. Mother is visiting Boxford from Northfield. Sophia and Thomas Sawyer
live in Boxford . Thomas's mother was a Killam, an influential family of cousins, and that was little Thomas'
Sister Nett was apparently something of a radical thinker -- ended up as a Western Democrat politically.
There is some confusion about the name of Asa and Lucy Ann's son. The official name in the records is John
Henry, born in Sharon in '48, almost 2 yrs old at the time this letter was written. At some time later it was
changed to Henry John.
Dear Sister, [Sophia]
I should have answered your letter before now, had I not known that you have had several opportunities
of hearing from us. Ase [nickname for Asa] has gone home to see his wife [Lucy Ann] and Jim [don't know
who this is. Could it be Henry?] today, and as he has been once before since I have, I think it will be my turn
next. I think I shall wait till Mother gets back if she does not stay away too long.
I was really surprised to hear that she had left her dairy, chickens, etc. and gone to Boxford. I hope you
will have pleasant visits there with our friends. I shall write nothing to Thomas till he gives some reason for not
coming to visit me when he was up. Confound his lumber and apple trees and -- -- no perhaps I had not better
add,... his wife and boy! Although I do think they had something to do with his hurrying home so soon. [Tom,
born 3 April]
I have not seen Net yet since she came home [sister, 19]. How did she enjoy life in Boxford? She is a
singular child, but there is a deal of sound sense in her after all. I don't know hardly what would be best to do
with her, do you?
The smallpox excitement has now died away. I passed the door frequently where they had it but did not
go into the house, although I was not afraid to, but, the man I board with would not let me. It has been very
sickly here. One man buried his mother, wife and I believe four children in less than three weeks from the death
of the first. The disease I suppose was the summer complaint, although many people here contend that it was
the regular cholera. I have tried to be careful of my health, and advise you all to do the same, for carelessness in
regard to diet and exposure, although it may not cause the disease, will, I am sure, greatly increase its power.
I wish you would write to me frequently. You can't imagine what a lovely [could this be lonely?] place
it is here. With a few exceptions the people are the most vulgar and profane set I ever saw. To find one who
does not use an oath in every sentence is a rare thing. Of course I refer to the "he" ones; of the females I know
but very little, being as you know no "ladies' man".
Board is very high here. I am obliged to pay $2.62 1/2 cents per week besides washing. I receive $1.50
per day and like the business very well here, but I have not given up the idea of becoming a farmer, and am sure
I shall not. Tell Thomas to save some fruit trees for me, and should he find a pretty girl who can do housework,
feed chickens, talk sense, wear thick shoes, sing sweetly and love like "thunder and sixty", he may begin to
court her for me, but do it easily for I shall not want her for several years if I am well, and if not, never.
How is that Kill'em Thomas? You must take good care of him, and he will soon get so he can thrash his
mother, and then he will begin to be pretty.
I should like to make you a visit this fall and perhaps I shall after the rail-road is done. The cars will run
to Waterbury this week, and the President and Superintendent of the road say they must go to Winoosk Falls, (3
miles this side of Burlington) this season.
Where is Miss "Abby"? Tell her I am growing old as fast as I can and hope she is growing young.
Give my respects, love etc. etc. to all whom I respect, love etc. and remember and write often.
I am sleepy so goodnight.
Your brother, I. B. Howe
Northfield, 25 January 1853
IB about 24 living in Northfield, sister Hannah  lost her first husband, McGregor, three years before, 1850,
and is apparently staying with the Sawyers in Boxford. Also has daughters Cora and Martha, [5 and 3]. She
later married Roys Jones in '59 and moved west to Clinton.
Who is Sam? Sam Tucker was the father-in-law of Theoda who died in '45. But this one is apparently a Sawyer.
Aunt Easty is maybe Abijah's sister Betsey, wife of Jeremiah Esty, visiting from Middleton. The four Esty
cousins are all grown middle-aged adults.
First sentences do not make sense.
To: Thomas Sawyer Esq.
Mr. Thomas Brother Sawyer Dear,
Your last harness litter has been received and father has gone forth with it. Sam says he will take it
down in his trunk, as he shall have nothing but a bushel and a half of wheat in it. He is very well and says he
and "father Howe" and that old lady, (Aunt Easty) have great times with their pipes up there [up where?]. You
need not wonder if he stays here for weeks yet. I like him much the best of any of the Sawyers I am acquainted
with. I am glad to hear that Brock [horse] is well. If you can't sell him for what he is worth I suppose it will be
best to let him go for what he will fetch, but you must do as you think best.
Please let me know when Hannah needs anything, and when you sell the colt, retain in your hands
whatever you please for her, and use it as you think necessary.
Yours truly, IB Howe
Northfield, Aug. 30Th /57. 1857
Shall I go to meeting today, or preach a sermon, myself? Think it might do you more good if I were to
preach -Eh! Were I to do so, I should take for my text the 15th verse of the 1st chapter of the human heart:
--"What is life, if ye do nothing but toil; or what are friends if ye visit them not?"
"What is life, if ye do nothing but toil?" Let the slave, unceasingly driven by the last of the cruel
taskmaster answer as he toils day after day wearing away his life without enjoying the fruits of his labor. Even
were all the gold he earns his own instead of his master's, would he be any better off if he took no time to enjoy
it? He would be like the poor, old horse which "had plenty of oats at home, but hadn't any time to eat 'em." We
are taught to believe that industry is a great duty, and we are referred to the ant and the bee for examples; but
they toil not to gather vast wealth they never expect to make use of themselves --they toil that they may rest
--they have their industry --they leave it for their posterity to do the same, seemingly thinking that they who
would reap should sow for, "what is life ifye do nothing but toil?"
The brain, as well as the arms need rest, and this it cannot have when filled with the cares, trials,
perplexities and fears of momentous labors. Change of thoughts, induced by change of scenery, associations,
etc. are to the weary brain what change of position is to the tired body. The student after bending for hours over
his desk, finds rest in walking, or almost any violent manual exercise, while the tired farmer wonders what a
person should walk for, unless he is compelled to do so.
"What is life, if ye do nothing but toil?" Were labor the only duty of life, ought not man to be born with a
snout like a hog's, so he could dig his potatoes without being to the expense of buying a hoe? Ought not the
bright flowers to be onions and turnips --the little birds all geese or turkeys ---our love of the beautiful and
glorious --our yearning for a "higher and holier destiny than that of earth," should all be changed to infinite
adoration of the eagle on the gold dollar: No, my beloved friends!--The great object of life is not toil. Man was
created for other and more noble purposes. Let him remember this and realise that he has a duty to perform to
others as well to himself -to friends -to society,-and to the world. Let something be done --some mark made so
that when you depart, you may feel that the world has been in some way made better from your having lived in
"What are friends, if you visit them not?" When the first of the household band goes out into the world
of strangers, how deeply his presence is missed at home. All miss the sound of that one voice --slowly the days
and weeks pass away and less and less the wanderer is missed --they learn to do without him --they must find
means for enjoyment without his aid, and when months and years have passed, the absent one is almost
forgotten for, "what are friends, if we visit them not?" But let the brother or sister or child return to the old home
again, and how soon is all the affection of former years revived. How memory will recall the long forgotten
scenes of childhood and the weary heart and brain find rest, and, for the time, forget the cares of the "later years.
" We feel that "it is good for us to be there", and we return from such reunions, refreshed, invigorated.............
The letter ends here ... handwriting is I.B. Howe's.
Addressed to: Miss Hannah R. Gould, Northfield Falls. (Northfield Falls is just North of Northfield 1 mile. It
was later called Gouldsville for Hannah's family.) Married 22 Sept 1859.
Feb. 26th /59
It is not yet fully determined what day to have that sleigh ride; but please expect me about two o'clock
next Thursday afternoon. Should business or other circumstances prevent this, I will call next Saturday evening
with a reasonable excuse.
With many thanks, I remain truly your friend, I.B. Howe
Northfield, April 2nd 1859
Genesis XXIV,-49. (Genesis 24:49)
Yours sincerely, I.B. Howe
House April 4th 1859.
I received your short message, and in answer will say if you will give me a call this week or next
anytime that will be most convenient for you, I think I can give you a satisfactory answer much better than I can
write one. Suit your own convenience as to the time and let me know and I will be at home.
H. R. Gould
Note: On the back of the envelope it says: "Mama's first letter from Papa & the answer. "
I have just returned to Northfield and found your reply to my somewhat unceremonious quotation. Being
obliged to go to Burlington this afternoon I will just say that I shall hope to see you tomorrow or Saturday
evening -at any rate, the first evening I can be in Northfield.
Yours most truly, I.B. Howe
Burlington, June 23d /59.
A few days business here, prevents my going to Boston, this week, so I shall hope to see you next
Sunday afternoon if you are not at church, or do not inform me to the contrary.
Yours ever truly, I.B. Howe
On back of letter this is written: "Papa to Mama before they were married while he was building their house."
This house is still standing in Northfield on Highland looking down on Elm St. and Tana and Greg and Mark &
Ann have seen it, but owners must have been on vacation. It's white with pillars & majestic looking.
I arrived from Boston, last night, or rather, this morning, and start for Barton tomorrow morning, to be
absent till Sunday or Monday. We may get home Saturday night, but it is very doubtful about it. I am not very
particular about being here to church, next Sunday, for good Parson Stone R. Lady came from Boston to Nashua
with me last evening & said they should not get there to preach to us next Sunday, so you may hope to hear Mr.
Smith read again. I hoped to see you this evening but couldn't get away.
If you do not see me before, please expect me next Monday, after tea, when I wish to take you "home",
to see our house, then I will walk home with you in the evening. Should you have a chance to ride up here, in
the afternoon, please do so & I will find you at Hannah's (Han Jones his sister) instead of going after you; but at
your own pleasure & convenience. Next Tuesday, I start for Chicago, to be gone only about ten days, as I
conclude to not go to St. Pauls this time.
Ever yours, Ike
Note: Burlington is on Lake Champlain in the Northwestern part of Vt., Barton in Northcentral of Vt., Nashua
is in the very Southcentral of NH.
Chicago, Thursday Evening, July 7th /59.
Here we are at ''Hardberabble'', covered with dust, if not honor. My "chum" not being ready to leave
home on the morning train caused failure to connect with the Grand Trunk at evening, so we were obliged to
stop at Ogdensburg till nearly noon, Wednesday but since that time we kept moving and arrived here at seven 0'
clock, this evening. No events of interest transpired on the way so I write this in my room, with a pencil, that it
may take you a long time to read it, however dull it may be.
This afternoon we passed the scene of the recent dreadful disaster on the Michigan Southern R.R. near
South Bend and the fragments of the engine, cars, etc. scattered about the ravine, even now, are enough to send
the cold chills over one. How horrible it must have been on that fatal night when the mad waters were rushing
over them, and the shrieks of the wounded and dying were heard on every side, calling in vain for help.
Fortyone dead bodies have been taken from the wreck. The newspaper accounts of the disaster are very nearly
It is a pleasant time to come west now. The farmers are harvesting the wheat, of which I am told there is
an unusual crop in this region. Very good news for young house-keepers! The great west, is now magnificent
with its thousands and thousands of acres of luxuriant corn and golden grain; but the green hills and sparkling
waters are not here. They have the wealth --we the beauty of nature.
Last fall when here, I thought I would see London, Paris and Rome, before seeing this place again --I
would compare the old world with the new. How people do change their minds!
Tomorrow morning we start for Milwaukie and I hope to go to Janesville and get back here Saturday
night as I must start for Toledo Monday night. I hardly think we shall get home soon as the 15th. Do not expect
me before Tuesday. Have our Northfield friends at the depot discovered their mistake?
Good night! Ever truly yours, I.B.Howe
Written on a slip of paper the following:
I tried to forget you but struggled in vain.
Like the bee ina rosebud imprisoned, I lie.
O gentlest of captors, but bid me remain,
Vain then all attempts to induce me to fly.
Each hour in your absence expands to a year.
Years seem, in your presence, mere moments of bliss.
O darling, I pray that three words written here,
Unchanged may return, as your answer to this.
Note: This is I.B. Howe's handwriting and probably his original to Hannah.
Addressed to: Mrs. I.B. Howe, Northfield, Vt.
New York City Sunday afternoon, July 29th /60.
Agreeable to promise and inclination, I proceed to report ourselves thus far ---Thursday noon we left
Burlington on Steamer United States & had a pleasant run to Whitehall, & reached Saratoga between six &
seven o'clock, P.M. Brought up at the Franklin House and answered a great many questions asked by landlord
& wife & "brother" Austin, concerning "our" family - drank a great deal of water -heard a great deal of
nonsence -saw a great many rich and fashionable people --admired Saratoga till Friday afternoon, then went to
Troy -saw rolling mills, bell-foundry & c. and at 8 o'clock at night left for N.Y. on steamer ''Francis Skiddy".
The river was low, the boat large and we ran aground twice and instead of arriving here at 6 o'clock in the
morning, didn't get in till nearly ten. Yesterday afternoon we went onboard of the great Eastern and have
discovered that "the darned thing is holler"! We propose chartering her for a trip home via Dog River (the small
river running through Northfield, Vt.), so you may have some one commence selling tickets to visitors
immediately. Well, she is a great wonder, and as we stood on her wheel-house and looked down, perhaps sixty
feet onto the water, and then onto the mighty ponderous machinery by which she is moved, it did not seem
possible that she could be afloat. There were less people on her yesterday than usual, so we had plenty of room
and had a good time.
This afternoon we have been to Brooklyn and heard Beecher, (of course). He is the same wonderful
Beecher as ever, and although he may be extreme in many of his views, I think no one can listen to him without
thinking that he believes what he says. He has wonderful power over his listeners ---so much so that it is
interesting to watch their countenances which like mirrors portray the feelings of the speaker who is addressing
them. (he is speaking of Harriet Beecher Stowe's father who was a famous abolitionist) There is nothing rich or
showy in the appearance of "Plymouth Church" ---A plain brick building; but it is filled with people, and I
cannot but think that many who go there out of mere curiosity, go away with many new ideas and, perhaps some
pure, holy thoughts that will remain in their minds forever.
This afternoon we have been to Trinity Church -one of the most splendid ones in the city built of brown
stone with stained glass windows, a chime of bells and a great organ whose music floats and thunders amid the
arches of the church till the whole building seems alive with melody. This was all new to James* and I think he
enjoyed it. I remember but one remarkable expression of the preacher which was where he spoke of the cross in
mount Calvary being surrounded by flowers and everything beautiful in nature "for it was in a garden and there
was a new sepulchre there"! ''Even so," said he, ''there is a new sepulchre in nearly every pleasant place, or
garden, in our lives."
Tomorrow if all goes well, . .I shall look about and know about how soon I can get around to go home.
You may expect me as soon as the close of the week, and I think I may be there by Friday. James wants to take a
stroll through the ''village'' now so I will close with lots of love to all.
Note: James could be Hannah's brother, James P. Gould, about 19.
Many things have happened in this gap. Ike has built a house, represented Northfield in the legislature threeterms, '57/'58, married Annie '59, and we learn in recent times, added a meeting hall below the Northfieldchurch that is now known as Howe's Hall. He then leaves his family in Northfield and goes West to Clinton in
the spring of '61. Ike is 34, Annie is 25; they are still newlyweds.
Return address says: "Briggs House, corner of Randolph & Wells St., Chicago, Ills, Wm. F. Tucker & Co.,
Written on envelope: "Mrs. I.B. Howe, Northfield, Vermont.
BriggsHouse Chicago, Wednesday Evening, May 22nd /61.
My Dear Wife!
I have seen plenty of dandelions in Michigan, so I think we shall have no trouble in finding them in
I arrived here at six o'clock tonight. Trains do not make close connection at Toronto - waited there five
hours. This has been a beautiful day and the country looks very pleasant --apple & cherry trees in blossom, and
some fields of winter grain nearly "knee high". Think I shall remain here, tomorrow and see Dr. Williams and
Gault: and go to Clinton Friday and stay with Rogers Sunday.
I did not see father Howe or Martha when I left; but tell them I thought of them all the same. As I shall
write again, soon, I will close so as to have this go tomorrow morning. I am feeling first rate!
As ever yours, Ike
Return address: "Iowa Central House, Clinton, Iowa, Wm. Rogers, Proprietor.
Addressed to: "Mrs. I.B. Howe, Northfield, Vermont
Clinton, Iowa, May 25th 1861
Dear Friends All!
I crossed the "Mississipp" yesterday morning and am now "at home" with Rogers at the "Iowa Central
House". It is thought best for me to remain here at present, if not permanently, instead of going to Cedar Rapids,
so you will direct to me here.
I can hear the click of the telegraph in the office where I am writing, and it is very pleasant to think that
although many hundreds of miles from you all, these mysterious wires are capable of carrying our thoughts to
each other in a few minutes. It would be a long walk home; but you might read the words I now write, before
father gets this morning's Boston Journal. Five o'clock tea time comes about an hour and a quarter earlier with
you than with us though. This morning we heard of the death of Judge Douglas and Col. Ellworth, and strange
as it may seem, the death of Col. Ellworth creates the deepest sensation here. The Stars and Stripes are floating
at half mast in front of the hotel. May God have mercy on Virginian secessionists when those New York
Firemen get hold of them, for the "Zouaves" and Illinois men will have none. You will write me about the Vt.
Regiments, I hope.
Sunday afternoon. I have seen an account of the Vermont regiment marching off with Gen. Butler.
Perhaps the newspapers will tell us enough of the Green Mountain Boys. I am glad to learn that the reported
death of Judge Douglas was premature. I spent one day in Chicago -mostly with Dr. Williams, saw Gault, and
several other old acquaintances.
This Clinton is quite a comfortable place --half as large as "our" village, perhaps. The railroad and R.R.
office, close to the river, then a "common", -then a big brick hotel, and the « town ». My room is very pleasant
– fronting towards the river and the east! There are three or four other taverns in the village --small concerns
--Two or three steam saw-mills and flouring mills etc. Three little churches I believe. I went to Episcapol this
forenoon -it was "no great shakes." Of course I have not yet seen enough of the place to know much about it.
One thing I am satisfied of however --there is a good, comfortable place here anytime, for my wife! So she need
not wait on that account a single day. Tomorrow I shall go out on the Road with Mr. Smith, the Supt. & shall go
to Cedar Rapids before I get back. Perhaps I shall be located there bye and bye. Mr. Smith looks like the picture
of D.E. Fifield. (Annie's sister Harriett's husband)
Mr. Bodfish, who is to be the new Genl. Supt. is a larger man than we have in Northfield --a great heavy
fellow, and he appears very pleasant. His wife looks like an enlarged edition of Betty Denny, so I hope we shall
like her. I find many very pleasant people here. Major Bodfish was Capt. of a Maine Company in the Mexican
War, and I am told was offered a regiment for this war; but thought he had seen service enough. I should think
he was about fifty years old, now. His wife is younger --perhaps she is as much as nine years younger. (he jokes
because Annie was 10 years younger than Ike)
My trunk came all right; but I would not again risk a common trunk without boarding, and iron or
leather binding it to prevent its being broken to pieces. For a passenger to come here direct, get check for
baggage to Chicago --before you reach Chicago an agent goes through the cars and for twenty five cents gives
you a check for your baggage and an omnibus [this is where the word “bus” came from] ticket for yourself
from the depot you land in, to the Wells. St. Depot. Take the omnibus and when you reach the depot, present
your check and call for one to Clinton. All right! You need not see your baggage between Northfield and here.
Well, here I am, near the close of the sheet. --Write everything you think of and remember me to all the friends,
so they will write.
Annie, darling, I will try to be contented until you think best to come, as I know that others feelings
should be considered, as well as my own; but you will remember that I am ready for you now and always!
As ever, yours, Ike
P.S. My health is first rate --better than when I left home. I may not write again for a week. Weather is warm;
but fresh breezes in afternoons and they say it is so all summer -cool breeze from the river every night, so one
can sleep well. We have rheubarb pies & sauce -lettice, radishes, etc., etc. and I have seen dandelions here!
Rogers was very glad to see me -I think his business is not very good.
Addressed to: Mrs. I.B. Howe, Care of D.E. Fifield, Esq., Janesville, Wis.
Clinton, Iowa Friday morning, May 29th 1861
Your letter dated a week ago was received last night. I had been waiting anxiously expecting to hear
from you before writing.
I intended to go to Janesville Saturday night and take you home with me Monday: but if Mina goes away
I think we must not leave Harriet alone. (Harriet was Annie's sister married to David Fifield in Janesville) The
trains do not connect now so you can come directly through --must leave Janesville at 10 a.m. and wait at Junct.
or Chicago for the night train – you may as well go into Chicago when you come and have a few hours there for
buying dresses and other little fixings.
Write if you want me to go before "Saturday week." I had a pleasant trip and good visit down to Net & Scott
wears well - is a good fellow. (Ike's sister Net married George Washington Scott April 2, 1861 and hadone child -Charles Howe Scott born Sept. 6, 1862) Will tell you all I about them when I see you. Nothing new
here -have time for no more this morning. Take the I best of care of my family!
Yours ever -Ike
Clinton, Iowa, June 2, 1861
Addressed to: Mrs. IB Howe, Northfield, Vermont
My Own Darling Wife!
Another Sunday has arrived and here I am in my pleasant room, looking out onto the broad River and
the green woods and fields beyond. I am looking at these but I am thinking of home! If I only knew that you
were all well, I should feel quite contented, but since your letter came I have been troubled about Mother,
besides the ordinary anxiety about you all.
Your letter of Monday morning reached me Thursday afternoon, from Chicago -- it is all I have yet
received from Northfield. I should like a Vermont newspaper occasionally, and the Independent till I have it
changed to this place. You may send me the Michigan S.?? R. R. pass in some of your letters. I believe the
Railway Review paper is sent to the R. R. office here. I take the Chicago Daily Tribune, so we get the Eastern
news, three days after date.
"The Mayor" wants me to remain in the office here and take full charge of the running of the Road and
shops for the present, so I shall remain at Clinton unless other arrangements are made. Mayor Bodfish is said to
be, and appears like a fine, jolly old fellow, and I like what I have seen of the men on the Road. This Road runs
through the most splendid agricultured region I ever saw -- there is scarcely any wasteland inside of it and I am
told that the county west of Cedar Rapids where the Road is now being extended is almost equal to this. No
New England farmer who goes over this Road will buy a farm in Illinois. The majority of the people here are
from New England and New York, shrewd, sharp fellows. I went to the Presbyterian Church -- this forenoon,
and enjoyed it very well, but although the churches are all very small, not larger than good, large schoolhouses,
there is plenty of room![not many go to church]
Wish I could send mother a bunch of wildflowers -- the dining tables are covered with them everyday -Rogers
keeps a very good hotel: but I do not believe that he saves a single dollar -- it costs too much to run such
Well "Wifey", how do you get along there alone? I hope you are not very lonesome or uncomfortable.
If you are, do not stay there another week, if you can get away. Let me know all about how you are feeling and
how your health is. We never had a chance to do much courting till now. How are the flowers and the hot-bed
and the blackberry bushes? It is rather pleasant to think of all those things and feel that we may all be there at
home some time and enjoy them together. Tell Mary [Annie's sister was Mary Elizabeth, 29, but she went by
Lib rather than Mary. Baby Mary wasn't born yet.] to be a good girl and I will make her a washing machine
when I go home. Jim, [Jim Gould, Annie's brother] this is a land of fine horses and I have noticed several
"Concord" wagons. Butter is very good and selling for 8 cts. per lb.. Cheese is scarce, none being made here, I
am told. I believe corn is only about 17 cts. per bushel. The currency panic had prevented much business for a
time: but now that the people generally have resolved to take no more "wildcat" bills, gold and good bank bills
are being sent in and business will soon revive again. This seems a good time for Eastern Banks to circulate
Evening. Very warm, but pleasant. The weather has been pretty cool most of the time. Last evening,
Judge Douglass was said to be more comfortable, but there is little hope for his recovery. Friday night it was
thought he would not live till morning. Very likely the telegraph will tell you of his death before this reaches
Notes from history:
Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861)
Known as "Little," Stephen A. Douglas was an Illinois Senator (1847-61, Democrat) and the leading proponent
of "popular sovereignty" as the solution to slavery in U.S. territories. Douglas ran for President as candidate of
Northern Democrats in 1860 but advocacy of "Freeport Doctrine" in his 1858 Senate race against Abraham
Lincoln doomed any possibility of Southern Democrat support or Democratic victory. He narrowly won the
Senate race after a series of seven famous debates. His 1860 nomination for President split the Democratic
party; Douglas ran second in the popular vote but received only 12 Electoral College votes. "There had always
been a feeling of friendship existing between Mr. Lincoln and Judge Douglas; and the manner in which the
latter acted just prior to the Inauguration, and the gallant part he sustained at that time, as well as afterwards,
served to increase their mutual regard and esteem.
The Daily Dispatch, Jun 6-11, 1861 Death of Hon. Stephen Arnold Douglas. This well known statesman died in
Chicago on Monday last. His wife, wife's father and mother, and his own personal relatives, including Dr.
Miller, of Washington city, were present with him during his last moments.--The remains were to be brought to
Washington for interment. Senator Cameron has published an official obituary notice, speaking of him as a
patriot, above all party considerations. He will have a public funeral. The Daily Dispatch: June 6, 1861
This afternoon, by invitation of Mr. Rogers, [hotel owner] I rode out into the country and we gathered
about a bushel of wild prairie flowers -- many of them very beautiful and fragrant but nearly all were
"strangers" to me. I do not yet understand their language as I do our violets, etc. Has Father gone to Mass.
yet? Tell Adda that she can write just as often as she pleases, and Martha can add a word now and then. Tell
Asa that I have not time to read more than one letter a week from him. [I think this might be a sarcastic
reference to Asa writing rarely and briefly if at all.]
I see by New York Herald that Vermont Regiment, and its Chaplain are doing well. After the annual
meeting of the owners of this Road, about the middle of this month, we will decide where I shall locate and if
we please, we may conclude to "keep house" bye and bye, after you get rested.
With love to all, I remain, as ever, yours, Ike.
PS. Please write me when anything new is done with Bates matter. How goes the Slate business? I wish Prince
was out here, and he could find much better game than mice. Jim -- there are plenty of rabbits, pigeons, quails
and rats here!
Notes: Mary, his daughter, was not born yet. Not sure who that Mary is. Martha Jones  and Asa  were
his siblings; Adda  was Adelaide, Martha's only child; would marry Geo Clark in 2 years. Reuben would
have been the only baby; died in Feb. at 2 months. Jim Sawyer was only 11 so the Jim (on the train to Nevada)
was Gould jr? -- Tana and Mark
Addressed to: Mrs. I.B. Howe, Northfield, Vt.
Clinton, June 16th 1861
Dear, Good Wife!
I have come into the office this pleasant Sunday morning to visit with you and think how pleasant it
would be to have you with me. Last night I dreamed you was here, darling, and I was almost homesick when I
awoke. When you come out, I think you had better come here first and then you can stay with Harriet awhile in
the winter, when I shall need be away from "home" more than at present -or, if you please, we will first go to
Janesville and make a short visit, then come here.
I am away from here, but very little and shall have no occasion to be out on the road or trains much
excepting in the winter when snow storms or accidents may require me. If you came with father or any other
boy, I will meet you in Chicago, if you write or telegraph me. If you do not come so, I shall go after you, if I can
when you are ready to come. You will write me all about what you all think best, knowing that I am willing to
do just what will be best for all of us.
I am not surprised that Bill Jones is done with Reed. Bill has too strong a desire to drink beer and I do
not think he will ever amount to anything. If it was not for the care of Addie, who would now be able to take
care of herself, if she had always been properly trained, Martha would be happier alone; but Bill would go to the
devil. (Ike's sister Martha living in Northfield married William Jones (Bill) and their only child was Adelaide
(Addie)). I have watched and advised Bill for years and he has usually minded my advice; but Northfield is such
a cursed place that we cannot hope much from him, now, and we will not worry any more about it, either.
Afternoon. ---- I went to the little Methodist church this forenoon and did not like it exceedingly. The
men sit on one side, and the women on the other like sheep and goats, and the men groan and the women sigh
and the minister howls. 0: tell Nelly she must give you a cat-hole for that little cat, for we do not want to cut one
in the door. They have a dog at the hotel as large as Boynton's but I shall never like him as I do Prince. Glad the
hot-bed does so well. We get plenty of strawberries, peas, ect. and I enjoy them very well, for my health
continues good. Dr. Noyes who sits by my side at the table, admits that they did have a little of the ague here a
few years ago; but says it don't amount to much, anyway and there is none now, etc, etc.---I do not think it is
much of an ague county; but I intend to be careful.
The letter ends here & part has been ripped off . This is Ike's writing.
Clinton, 17 June 1861
Addressed to: James Gould, Esq., Northfield, Vermont (Ike's father-in-law)
James Gould was a mill owner in Northfield. Must have been involved in the rail chair business with Ike. Slate
quarry as well. Perhaps building a case for James to come west too [mill available]. Engine windlass -- power
winch? Jim Gould 20, Elizabeth [Lib] 29.
Ike has newly gone West leaving Annie behind. Seems very well-connected already. "Howe Chair " at this
point apparently already in production and selling well.
I have just received yours of the 13th. I think you are right and it was Vermont Valley instead of
Sullivan that sent the piece of rail and wanted 500 chairs. Bill them to Bellvue Falls to Vt. Valley RR. Pay
freight to Windows. I think there was a small bill for steel and blacksmith work for Slate Co. at R.R. ship. As it
was not presented, I forgot it -- let them wait till you sell some of the old slate, if they will. I understand Quigly
to be equal and joint partner in the slate contract. If he has not one third of the capital! and does not perform
one third of the business, the matter should be settled between themselves. I should pay him one third, unless
he agrees to take less. He understands quarrying as well as Mike and Pat do slate work.
Two of the three steam saw-mills here are trying to see which will cut out the most lumber in a day. One
mill cut 30,000 feet one day and the owner offers to bet $50 that he can saw 40,000 feet in 10 hours if allowed
to select his logs. I notice a large flouring mill standing idle on account of the failure of the owner just as it was
nearly ready to run. It stands with the river on one side and R. R. track on the other, right in town here. It looks
to be like good property; but I have made no inquiries.
We send 20 carloads of wheat to Chicago, and 15 or 20 carloads of lumber West from here in a day quite
frequently. Three steam boats landed here today, so you see it is quite as lovely as Northfield.
I want the stereoscope with its pictures and Hannah will want her "spy" glass when she comes. I wish
you would ask Mr. Perkins to write me about that Engine Windlass. If the R.R. Co. has none, I wish he would
tell me where to get one, and what it will cost, if he has not written me.
It is a beautiful evening and the river is smooth as glass -- pleasure boats are out on it; but all does not
look so pleasant to me as a glimpse of home would. I am not homesick, however.
Truly your son, Ike
Chair business for Chicago & Milwaukee R.R. -- all right.
Addressed to: Mrs. I.B. Howe, Northfield, VT.
Chicago, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad,
Office of Engineer & Ass't Superintendent
Clinton, Iowa, June 23rd 1861
A letter & Independent came Friday night. A week seems almost too long to go without hearing from
you; but I can get along by reading your letters twice. Nearly five days for a letter to come -only three for a
woman! Clinton is 136 miles from Chicago. Mail train leaves Chicago at 9.15 morning, (from Wells Street
Depot) and arrives here at 4 o'clock p.m. Another train with sleeping-car leaves at 9.30 night and gets here at
5.30 next morning --slow; but very comfortable.
Dr. Williams & wife will not let me stop at hotel when I am in Chicago. One of Mrs. Williams' brothers
was shot in St. Louis last week by the soldiers who fired upon the mob. He was a policeman and was killedunintentionally. You may have seen an account of a secessionist being hung at Lane Station, between here andChicago, last week. He was an old man, and had been about here two years or more, I think. He was suspectedas the man who burned the ware-houses & grain there, a short time since. A Chicago detective was put upon histrack who by representing himself as a rabid secessionist soon gained the old man's confidence and learned that
he not only fired those buildings but had a plan to burn others there -shoot one man and also burn two other
towns. On examination, these and various other crimes were proved against him by other evidence. He was
seized by the mob, and with sixteen feet of rope to his neck, thrown from the window of third story of building.
We have no such work in Iowa -Annie. I don't believe you had better wait to bring out any beds. If we
like well enough to want to keep house, they can be sent in a box at any time. We will "play" that we are only
visiting here now, and when we get tired will go home. If you can be spared there, I wish you would come out
with father. Cannot Elizabeth or some one stay with mother and James while father is out here? When mother is
well enough to come I will go and get her.
You see I begin to fear being obliged to court you over again and have another siege to get you from the
"old folks". On this account, I thought a "love letter" could do no harm, at any rate. If you or James do not
come, can't you send Mary, or Prince or a few cigars? How is your hair? Remember me to Mrs. Kimball. Send
me a Vermont paper, Jim. Give my love to Mrs. Cornwell! My best respects to the Italians.
I have received Mr. May's Detectors. If Portland & Washington RR wants large lots of chairs (a piece of
railroad equipment that splices rails, patented by Ike; see references to the « fish joint » in these letters) we will
be glad to furnish them for cash, or if Vt. Central will take them for paymasters ----Of course I know nothing
about their condition and in these war-times cannot do business on long credit. Any trade you think best to
make with them, will be all right. I have not heard from Perkins, yet.
My health remains good and I like here very well. I am to remain at Clinton, and have charge of running
the Road and shops, so I shall be "at home" nearly all the time. I shall not be surprised if the Road is leased to
Golena & Chicago Union RR as they want it & need it very much; but if it is done, I can be employed this year
if I please. I will post you on lumber business when I learn it. Pretty warm here -thermometer 96 degrees last
Thursday. I can get Saratoga water in Chicago for $8 pr. box -it is $10. here.
As ever, yours Ike
P.S. Northfield Bank need expect nothing of Rogers, if he owes it.
Clinton, Iowa, 23 June 1861
Written by Isaac B. Howe to his wife after the death of their first child, Reuben. He had gone West and wanted
her to join him. -- Pepa
Reubin died in February about two months old. This is the first year of his departure from Northfield. He built
the Highland House in 1857; married in 1859.
Although my acquaintance with you dates back only two or three years, you will pardon me for
addressing you in this familiar manner, when assured that my motives are most honorable and the liberty here
taken is induced by the heart, not the head.
A prairie plant called "The Indians Guide", was recently pointed out to me, the leaves of which
invariably point North and South. Transplant where you will, -- crush down its leaves rudely as you may -- they
revive only to point ever in the same direction. Lady! -- my heart is "The Indians Guide!" Need I name the
mysterious magnet toward which it ever turns? Call me impertinent, if you will. Command me to be as a
stranger to you hereafter, if you must; but now I have words of deep meaning to speak! Words of vast import to
me; and yet, they are only three little words -- I love you!! Three simple words: but my hopes of happiness, and
even life, depends upon the reception you give them.
Perhaps your cheek crimsons with indignation at the thought of my presumption! Perhaps you call me
crazy or dreaming. Now -- it may be that it is a dream! Sometimes life seems all a dream, and even now my
mind is filled with a vision of domestic life in which I seem to have been an important factor. It seems as
though I once had a darling wife who was "all the world to me" -- kind, gentle, affectionate -- she came to me
like a fairy being and with her wand of love changed the cold, selfish world in which I had lived into a fairy
land of happiness and beauty. My companion in health, my comforter in sickness and sorrow, my good angel at
all times. How swiftly the days and months passed over us. Never an unkind word! Never an unkind thought,
or feeling of regret, as hand in hand we journeyed on through life together. -- can it be that it was all a dream?
-- it must be so, for no wife is near me now! Active, exciting business, hotel life -- a bachelors seat at the table,
a bachelor's habits in the office, a bachelor's room, furniture, whims and fancies, all the same for twelve years or
more *?-- full of variations, yet all the same. But that "dream" is so vividly impressed upon my mind that I
cannot forget it, therefore, I venture to tell it to you and hope that some time that dream may be realized.
I know it is asking much! You have friends with you and around you who love you as they do their very
lives. You have a pleasant home surrounded with every comfort – your every want is anticipated and strong
arms and affectionate hearts are there to protect you. In exchange for all these I can only offer an earnest,
honest heart and the inconveniences and discomfort of hotel life in Iowa. The difference is great: but I venture
to hope that you may yet look upon this proposal with favor, and that I may sometime really call you as I
dreamed of doing -- my wife!!
Devotedly yours -- (his secret signature)
PS I will agree to add 6 quarts of peanuts and half a pound of spruce gum to the above offer if it will make any
difference. The report that I am an old married man and have had children running around the streets in
Northfield for years, is one of old Tom Courser's stories -- it a'nt so!
*How could this be 12 years??
Addressed to: Mrs. I.B. Howe, Northfield, Vt. (The following letter has the first page ripped off, so it starts in
the middle. Someone later wrote on the envelope June 24, 1861. I am assuming this letter belongs in this
Continued from other sheet.
let some good fellow into the house, for small rent, to take good care of everything for a few months, and all
come! Or father & mother can stop at Janesville, and then we shall be within visiting distance. And then, if we
are all well, we will go back again, when we please, to the dear old Northfield home, and all be there again
together. Mind you, I do not advise now -I merely suggest!
Let us not sacrifice health or domestic happiness for money or renown. We must live and enjoy life now,
if ever. We are all travelling a road that we shall never pass over but once. Let us enjoy the journey, as we go
along, hand in hand together, and when it is ended --satisfied with its pleasures, -wearied with its toils,
remembered and loved for the good we may do by the wayside, we will lie down to rest. The real enjoyments of
life seem to consist mostly of trifles. Just think of it now and say if it is not so. --A ride -a flower -a song -a
loving word or look -mere trifles; but they fill our hearts with sunshine more beautiful than the grand castles in
the air that we build for "bye and bye".
Where did I leave off? O, I went to a concert of vocal music last evening, and enjoyed it very much.
About a dozen little girls sang like canaries, and men & women also sang --some of them very well -all citizens
of Clinton. Annie! If you come out here, perhaps you will want my seraphine, and let Elizabeth have your organ
--Do just as you please. If you do not want the seraphine and do not think you will want it sent out here, it is
better to sell it than keep it even if obliged to sell for less than it is worth. I gave $50. in cash for it, some three
years ago, and supposed it very cheep at that. Trade just as you please and I shall be perfectly satisfied. I would
get butter of Tom Averill and pay what will satisfy him for he is a good fellow and his butter is good.
Well, how are you? Wife, mother, father, brothers, sisters, friends, all. How are you, and what are you
doing? How is business? How are the churches? How is the academy? (Norwich University, in town, is the
oldest private military academy in the US) How are the factories at the Falls? Where is Pinter Brown? How is
the slate business? Do you sell any? Prince! Old Fellow! I am surprised to hear of the catastrape caused by you,
and could shed a cat-aract of tears on account of this murder being added to the cat-alogue of your sins. Poor
little kitten, just bursting into cat-hood, seized by the Prince of Darkness. -Well, the mice will be glad of it.
Annie, darling! I hope to hear by next letter that you have concluded to come out with father or James. Perhaps
James will conclude to come and father will wait a little and then take mother along.
Good night, dear ones all, from your Ike
Don't forget the opera glass and stereoscope. I would like the stereoscope pictures by the "first train".
No envelope or date on letter.
I see no reason why you may not be with me here, if mother is well enough to spare you.
If she is well enough to go to Janesville why not all come out and let Martha or some other family who will not
injure the house, take care of it till father & mother get ready to go home again. If mother is not well, or it
thought best for her not to come out, this summer, you can stay with her till father goes home from Janesville,
and then I will go and get you. Or we will hire or build a cottage here, and all live together again; which I prefer
to any other way even if it is only for a short time. We can get along without if you please -a great stock of
furniture --sort of "camp out", and when we please, pull up stakes and go home. I cannot bear the idea of
deserting you for a long time, and now I know you are thinking of me and longing to be with me. If I could feel
that you was perfectly contented there, I might get along till fall, perhaps, without being homesick; but if you
can be happier here, I say come, ---even if it does cost a little more --money is good for nothing if we do not
Now talk all these things over and see what is best and do what will be pleasantest for you. Net. closed
her letter to me by saying: "I do not know what I have written, but I love you, darling!"
Yours ever -Ike
Caution mother about walking too much.
I enclose a statement for Mrs. Davis which you can read to her or give her when convenient, -or let some
one call and tell her what I say --put it in an envelope & send it to her, if you please.
Tremont House, Chicago, January 29th 1862
Isaac B. How, Esq.
As't. Sup't CI&N RR
I am in the employ of the M.S.& N. O. RR Co. and also the Illinois Central Company in getting us the
evidence of defence, in suits brought against them for infringment of the "Cawood Patent Swager?? Block" for
repairing RR rails.
In a conversation with Mr. Williams, Dr. Williams, As't Sup't on the Gana [Galena?] C.W. R. Road, he
recommended you to me, as a person well qualified to testify as to the comparative merits of the plain block
with grooves and those with clamping ties to hold the rail in the process of welding and reforming. Believing
that you have much experience in laying track and repairing track, the companies I represent in this matter
would like to have you look into the matter a little, and give us your experience in mending rails upon the
Common Block, now in use upon the Vermont Central Road, as well as on many other Roads in the United
States. We would like to know all the particulars of cost in mending rails upon the V. C. Road as you are now in
The trial of the case is expected to come off in March, probably between the 10th and 20th of the month,
at Detroit, Michigan. Can you make it in your way to favor us with your presence, when the trial takes place? If
so please inform me as soon as practicable after receipt of this note.
In my investigations of this matter, I have had occasion to notice the different methods of keeping up rail
joints. Your method strikes me as the best I have seen. I should be pleased to confer with you in relation to your
joint, should you come to Detroit, as we desire, and when we give you the proper notice.
Yours very respectfully, S.M. Whipple
P.S. Direct, Biddle House, Detroit, Mich.
Chicago, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad
Office of the Engineer & Assistant Superintendent
30 March 1862
To the Sawyers in Boxford.
I was glad to hear that you were so well, and shall hope that "the little one" [little Mattie, born February
'62] may live and be well: but it will be well with the child in any event. Father! How is it with you? I think of
you at Soph's because I have not heard of you're going to Vermont -- going "home" I should say, for the dear,
old hills are home for me yet, and we will hope that the time is not far distant when it will be our home again.
It is pleasant here now -- the steamboats have commenced running on the river again. The snow is all
gone -- the streets are dry as summer and the grass is beginning to look green, but my old friends, the ground
squirrels and the robins that used to sing to me in the sugar-place, are not here. Last week Annie and I saw a
flock of wild swans -- great, beautiful, white creatures sailing on a pond near where we were passing in the cars.
They were wild and are not often seen so near men and engines, I think. Eva  and Sue  may have one if
they will come and catch it. Perhaps the Indians will help, for we have some Indians that look bad enough to be
real savages -- decked out with feathers, paint and -- whiskey. They make maple sugar that looks very white
and nice; but -- blah! Who could eat it after seeing the manufacturers.
The season is said to be very backward here. Last year the river was open and boats running, March 8,
and at this time farmers had nearly all their Spring grain sowed. Now they have only commenced. Perhaps the
war makes the difference. We are hourly expecting news of a big fight "down the River" -- Soph! Didn't you
admire the character of Com- Foote? [Commodore Foote] -- I sent a Father a copy of the Louisville Journal
and would like a Mass. paper in return. I get an occasional Vermont paper, but hear but little news from there
now that Father Gould is away. Asa is always brief, you know. It seems that they are almost covered with snow
at any rate.
We continue to board with Rogers, and are very comfortable. Annie is well as usual. She would prefer
to keep house, but I don't think it will pay for so short a time as I intend to remain here. Jim [Gould would be
21; Sawyer would be 12] is here asleep on the sofa. He often speaks of "Father Howe". He is a good boy, and
much company for us. I intend to visit Net sometime next month. She is a regular farmer now. I have some
curiosity to see how she manages. The Deacon [Han & Roys] writes quite often and seems very contented in
her Minnesota home. I am sure it is a pleasanter home than their Vermont home would have been to them.
With love to all -- I remain, as ever, your Ike
Clinton Market: wheat, No 1 - 65, N 60, Oats -- 10 C 13, Corn -- 10 C 13, Flour 4.50, Potatoes 45C50,
Butter 12 1/2, Eggs 12 1/2, Apples per barrel 2.50 C 3.00, Cranberries per bushel 1.25, Hay per ton 4.00, Wood
per cord 3.50 C 5.00. [What does the C symbol mean?]
Father! You must let me know when you want anything.
(addressed to Mr. I. B. Howe, Clinton, Iowa)
Northfield, June 26, 1862
You wish me to write about the folk here and myself. I have been at Asa’s since I came home. My
health now is very good. I could work some if I had anything to do. Ann is just the same - good woman as
ever. Josey, I think, rather fails. Ella is a good girl, helps her mother take care of Josey and does many chores.
(Josephine (age 6, died 1864) & Ella are both Asa & Ann’s daughters)
Aunt Phila has gone to see her beloved Sarah.[Not sure who this is; later references indicate Abijah is
not friendly with Phila]. Has been gone two or three weeks and we hope she will make herself so agreeable that
they will keep her many weeks longer. Mr. Bowmans folks are well. Alonzo wife is staying with them this
summer. [Alonzo Bowman was one of Ike's childhood friends from both Norwich and then Northfield] William
takes good care of your garden. The strawberry bed looks very nice. He has talked some of going to the war
but has given it up. Adda (Adelaide,18, his granddaughter by Martha Jones. The Jones family had an inn on
the turnpike. Martha's husband Wm was flaky, so maybe that is the reference.) has to run the ? as much as ever
and her mother has to do about all the work. The last I heard from Malverd he was in the hospital at New
Orleans. Was getting better. He said should get his discharge and come home as soon as he could. He did not
think he was stout enough to endure camp life. [Malverd Tucker would be 25 and apparently in the war but not
We have had a cold spring and summer thus far. We have not had rain enough to soak the ground since
April until this week. A week last Sunday night we had frost that killed the beans and tomatoes and some corn
and potatoes in this village but did no damage on the hills. Most crops must be light. I have been in hopes of
seeing you and your good wife here before this but I hope you will do as you think best. I miss Uncle James
and wife much for they were very kind to me. [Jim Gould would be 21? No indication of marriage.]
Montpelier, July 19, 1862
Addressed to: Mrs. IB Howe, care of D. E. Fifield, Janesville, Wisconsin.
Lib was sister Mary Elizabeth Gould, Hannah's sister Harriet was married to David Fifield. They had moved
at some point to Janesville along with Mother and Father Gould and brother Jim. Convention will be James
for father and Jim for son. -- Tana and Mark.
Questions? Where was home, Northfield? He could have made it to Montpelier from Northfield in a morning;
could Lib be in a house in Gouldsville?
I reached home last Monday. Stayed at Toronto Friday night, as trains did not connect. Got to R.???'s
Point Sunday morning and went to bed and slept till noon. Found everything all right at home. Came here this
morning to write this in Merrill's counting room. Have not yet been up to the house to see Lib, but learn that
she is much better and doing well. Think I will go there to dinner. It has been very dry and hot: but is now
raining. This rain will improve things greatly -- particularly the grove.
I am having good times drinking Saratoga water and am beginning to feel very well -- have not had a
minute to play and may not for I shall start for Chicago next Monday night, if not before. I may need to go to
Clinton before going to Janesville, but you will hear from me. I shall look for a letter from you Friday if I am
Yours ever -- Ike
Clinton, Iowa, October 2, 1862
It is possible that I shall get to Janesville on night train Saturday but I do not think I will go until a week
from Saturday. If our "traps" came I may be there almost any night next week, so it will be best for you to be
under "marching orders", and ready to leave at almost any time. We will go to house-keeping soon as possible.
I am feeling well -- going to Rapids today -- back tomorrow.
Shall expect a letter from you when I get back. Your Ike
That carpet we saw in the auction room in Chicago was sold for $1.05 per yard!
Chicago, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad
Office of the Engineer & Assistant Superintendent
Clinton, Iowa, 5 April 1863
Baby James born in January -- will die in August 27, age 7 mo.
Apparently Western Democrats were antiwar; they were certainly anti-Lincoln..
It is so warm and pleasant this afternoon and the fields are so green and flowers so fresh and the air so
balmy and the birds so musical that I am trying to forget business and give the weary brain a holiday -- to the
old home amid the hills and the dear faces that were once all there. Ah well! These memories may awaken
sighs but they are like sad music -- sweet -- if mournful.
I do wish you was with us today -- Annie and I rode out of town into the woods this afternoon and
gathered some flowers and green leaves and caught a young turtle dove -- The turtledove is common here and is
a beautiful bird. Did you ever see one? Father and Mother Gould came back this week, and Father is busy as
he can be in the garden. We have plenty of asparagus to eat now, and a nice, large garden where we can raise
plenty of vegetables of all kinds. Annie's health is slowly improving and the little one seems rather better, but
does not grow much. He seems pretty well -- often laughs and "talks" and looks around quite bright: but
remains poor and little -
I suppose Roys and Han will get here in a few days so we shall have quite a reunion of Northfield
friends. When will you come and see us? Tom! I have some nice apples for you if you will come soon. I don't
think Net believes as she talks about the "abolition war", and the country going to the devil and all that sort of
democratic nonsense: but she has heard the experiences so often that they run in her head and come from her
pen. That is the usual language of our western democrats -- and that talk is the only mean talk I ever heard from
George Scott. [Net's husband, he was 39, she 31] I suppose he believes it all, just as much as Mr. Bowman
used to believe all the New Hampshire Patriot said. Well, thank God! We have plenty of good men who do not
think so -- plenty of men who believe there is a God in Israel and a nation that will continue to be called the
United States of America. The mass of western people continue to say "fight it through". It is no boys play -no
little matter to "take and hold and repossess" all the southern territory: but in time we shall do it -- we can
strangle them! We can hold our heads under water longer than they can.
Tom, do you want any more money? I can let you have some if you do. When you write tell me all
about our Mass. friends and relatives.
Yours as ever -- Ike
(old handwriting says: "Death of little Jimmie born Jan. 12, 1863 -died Aug. 27, 1863. ") This was James, their
2nd baby that died. Tana
Clinton, Iowa, Aug. 28th /63.
God has taken our darling away from us! He died yesterday forenoon at eleven o'clock. He sank quietly
away as if to sleep. The angels were good to take him so gently, and he had no fears of the dark river. We bury
the little form, this afternoon, in the front yard, for we wish to have it taken east and placed by the side of the
other. We shall have no regular, formal funeral discourse, but have a few remarks from Rev. Mr. McLeish and a
prayer. It would be a comfort to have you with us now, but considering the health of Harriet * and Eddy, we
thought it not best to send for you.
You can sympathize with us. You know the dreadful feeling when you awake and remember with agony
that he is dead --that you are left all alone --never will hear that gentle voice again! Never will feel those little
fingers clasp your own again! --or the bright, laughing eyes look up to you so lovingly.
We know that it is all for the best; but 0, God! it is hard to say "Thy will be done".
Poor wife! She has nothing to do but mourn! In the cares and excitements of business, I shall at times
forget, but she will every hour meet something to remind her of our loss. The playthings -the clothes --all about
the house she will see some memento of the lost darling.
I cannot write more, now.
I. B. Howe
Harriet was Hannah's sister. Eddy is son Edwin, age??? baby?
Clinton, Iowa, 20 September 1863
Notes: James' death
Dear Sister! [Sofia]
Your welcome letter has been received and it's words of sympathy fell like rain upon our burning hearts.
Yes, God has taken our little darling away from us, and we are again left childless and desolate. Day after day
and night after night, with ceaseless watch, we fought with death in defense of our child. At times the skeleton
hand ceased its knocking at the door that love and care were guarding, and hope would come and whisper that
we were victorious, but it was not to be, so the Angels came and softly and gently took our darling -- not
through the dark valley and over the cold river where we must go, but like the snowflake that falls on the violet
in spring, he returned to heaven in the bright sunshine, untarnished by the sins of the earth.
"Only a little child" -- but he was "all the world" to us! There was strange magnetism in the depths of
those beautiful eyes, there was wonderful power in the clasp of those little hands and the music of his laughter
was the sweetest of all on earth.
Now the long, silken lashes droop tenderly over the eyes that no more will recognize us -- the little
hands are folded amid the glowers, and nothing remains for us but memory.
Why did God take him from us? Are there not enough children of want and suffering growing up to
lives of sin and misery? Children whose cradles are rocked by regret, instead of love! Death could have taken
one of these and no home would have missed it and no heart have mourned. With us how different! Everything
reminds us of our loss! Kind friends have folded his little dresses and gathered his playthings away from our
site, but how lonely the corner looks where his crib was placed -- how desolate the hall, with his little carriage
no longer there. We start at the opening of a window, or the creaking of the door, or a heavy foot fall -- and then
flashes with withering thought that no noise can awaken our darling! We awake from the dreams of him, and
fancy we hear his wailing voice, but it is only the midnight wind moaning over the little grave in the garden.
We assume that all is for the best: but we cannot see it now, for tears are blinding our eyes. Four years
ago today we were married, and four years of mingled joys and sorrows have left my Annie the same earnest,
truthful, caring wife as then. Her health is not good, but slowly improving. If we remain here another season, I
shall send her east during the hot weather. Perhaps I shall go myself, for I am tired of railroad life.
You may say to your friend who wants a situation here that we have no vacant places for bookkeepers,
all our best Station Agents need understand telegraphing, as we have a telegraph line and do much of our
business by lightning, and no position of any value on trains can be obtained till after years of service as
brakeman, baggage man, etc. no "newcomers" can get good situations from me, as it is my invariable rule to
promote only those who have proved themselves worthy, and faithfully discharge their duties in some humbler
capacity here on the road. None of my clerks or conductors have "come in at the cabin window". There are
times when I would like to give some friend a good situation: but as it would be at the sacrifice of some man
here who has been through the wars and earned promotion, I let personal feelings have nothing to do with it.
The great business here is agriculture and the next, war -- you will hear farmers say they are hurrying the
threshing and marketing of their grain so they can go to the war. And after they get to the war, I need not tell
you what they do, for the deeds of Iowa soldiers are well enough known.
It is just possible that I shall make a flying visit east next month and if so may drop in and see you a few
minutes. Remember me to our friends -- write often and believe me, as ever, your true brother, Ike
[On same letter -- from Han, The Deacon. Must be September 22, their wedding anniversary.]
Dear Sister Soph,
Roys and I are here at Ike's. We have been eating watermelon, musk melons and apples. It is the fourth
anniversary of their marriage. They seem quite cheerful but I know the heart knoweth it's own bitterness. I
was thankful for your comforting letter to them. You said what I wished to but could not. Will not God yet take
them up and adopt them as his own dear children. We will pray for it.
We are to move this week to a better house and I shall be very busy for a while so you will have time to
write me a good long letter before I write again. I want to hear often. Cora  and Mattie  go to school.
With much love, Hannah
Notes: Hannah and Roys had been married four years and the two families shared a wedding anniversary
within a month of each other. Cora and Mattie were from her previous husband, Thomas McGregor who had
died in California. She now had two babies from Roys in addition to the older girls. There has been some
allusion that Roys was not particularly loving to the older girls.
Iowa Division of the Galena & Chicago Union R.R. Line
Assistant Superintendent's Office,
Clinton, Iowa, 20 June 1864
It is too hot for work -- almost too hot for writing -- sultry -- air full of electricity. Thunder shower of yesterday
was delicious, wasn't it? Did you notice that heavy clap of thunder? Of course you did! Perhaps the lightning
struck, just this side of your house -- and then Saturday night, it was splendid, wasn't it! Wish you had been on
the night train with me and seen the lightning's flash away out on the prairies. It made me think of the fearful
battles we read of. A Mississippi Valley thunderstorm is one of the most grand and terrible sites I ever
witnessed. Our downy storms are pop guns compared with it.
(Here someone else's handwriting says: "Lily still living". Lily was their third baby that died. 8 December
1863 to 10 August 1864 -- Tana)
Han "the Deacon" talks of going east this summer -- don't know whether she will or not. She wants to see Net
but I tell her they will quarrel all the time, so she had better let her alone. We are all pretty well. Little Lily [6
months] is very well. She seemed to understand her cousin Eva's letter and tried to eat the letter if she did not
the words. Eva! You need not be ashamed or afraid to write to any of us now. You wrote a very pretty letter
and spelled it well too, which is more than many of us do. Lily will expect a letter from all hands next time.
She wants me to tell how she sits in a high chair at the table, and eats crumbs of bread, and helped herself to her
little nurse bottle -- and catches flies and performs all sorts of wonderful tricks such as were never heard of
[Cousin Eva is 11]
Soph! I wrote father to get him some new clothes of "Carey" on my account -- asked it as a personal
favor. If he don't do so you may box his ears. There is no need of, or sense in his going so rusty. I want he
should go when and where he pleases and enjoy the evening of life. He has been a good father to us all and it is
a pleasure to do anything to help him now.
I about concluded to quit railroading this spring, and return to private life; but they have persuaded me to
"wait a little longer". Cannot tell when I shall take a trip home, shall go whenever can get away.
Tom! How is the farm? Mine looks very well. All the strawberries we want and shall have lots of
raspberries -- peach trees nearly all dead -- cherries begin to turn red -- apples look well -- grass and grain, fair
-- my farm is 100 x 140 feet! Crops look pretty well, generally, in Iowa. Farmers say wheat heads are shorter
than usual in consequence of dry weather.
As ever, Ike
Note: Lily lived only 8 months; 8 December 10 August.
Boxford, August 18, 1864
Dear Son and Daughter,
I had a letter from Ann stating that a telegraph dispatch brought the heartrenching news of the death of
your innocent and beloved babe. My head is so confused in thinking of your great aftliction that I can scarcely
think. I picture to myself your meeting with your desolate and beloved wife. Not only once but thrice has the
Lord visited with sore aftliction. Your children are happier than they could be on earth for we are assured that of
such is the kingdom of Heaven. You have the sympathy of all but we have no means to heal the wound which
him alone can do. I hope you will write when you feel able.
Lily was their 3rd baby to die – 8 Dec 1863 to 10 Aug 1864. – Tana
Return address has an etching and says “Astor House, New York, Stetson & C0.” The same
etching is on the letterhead. Addressed to Mrs. I.B. Howe, Clinton, Iowa.
New York, Jan’y 22nd 1865
Dear good Wife!
I have just arrived here, 15 minutes before 5 this Sunday afternoon and will leave for Boston tomorrow
morning. I intend to be home as soon as Saturday night but trains run so irregularly that you cannot make much
calculations in regard to them. Last night I stayed at Pottsville. Was at St. Clair yesterday - the mine is a “big
thing” and St. Clair a larger place than I supposed; but I fear you would find it lonesome, stuck down among the
mountains. They say there are seven thousand inhabitants there. If true, they must live like the woodchucks for
the town does not look as large as Northfield and there is not a pretty house in it.
I am pretty well, and if I knew you was real well tonight I should feel quite comfortable. There is a little
snow, and lots of mud in the city - it is not comfortable walking. I have “missed connections” several times on
my way here and found the sandwiches and father’s shawl quite a comfort while waiting.
If I find Mr. Harding in Boston Tuesday I may start back Tuesday night for I want to stop one day in
Chicago. I shall not go anywhere to visit --- Be careful of yourself.
Love to all --
Yours, ever ---Ike
They are concerned Iowa is not healthy for children in the summer; summer complaint.
His itinerary: Sat, St. Clair; Sat. nite, Pottsville; Sun, N.Y.; Mon, Boston; Tuesday, Boston/Harding, Chicago?;
Saturday, home/ Clinton
1865 Summer of '65 letters
IOWA DIVISION, CHICAGO & NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY,
Clinton, Iowa, July 2nd 1865
Annie and 4 month old Mary have taken the "Buckeye" steamer to Vermont and Ike is worried. She is in
Northfield for the first time in 4 years.
Is it well with you all, this beautiful Sunday morning? I have searched the papers, each day, and seen no
account of the “Buckeye,” so I think you got through all safe and are “home, at last.” I fear you had a rough
passage, for I see reports of severe gales on the lakes about the time you was there. We have had tornados,
thunder storms and freshets. Last Wednesday the directors came out and we went to Boonsboro with a special
train -- at State Center. Thursday morning we saw the effects of the tornado they had the night previous.
Houses blown off from foundations and twisted around in all directions and one large, two story building used
for store and dwelling house was all torn to pieces and two children killed. We have had terrific thundershowers
all through the state - several persons killed and buildings burned by lightening – 25 horses were killed in one
county. If mother had been here she would needed to sit on her trunk nearly all the time. Now we are drowned
out by freshets. The Road north of us is said to be nearly all torn to pieces so no trains have run for several
days. We have as yet kept all trains running and suffered no serious damage; but I expect to close the bridge
over the Wapsie,as the river is very high and now rising rapidly. If we escape with no other damage I shall feel
satisfied, and I think the worst is over at all other places. The Cedar was not as high as four years ago.
We had quite an excursion at Boonsboro examining proposed crossings for the Railway over the Des
Moines. I walked three miles - rode on horse-back nine, and in the cars two hundred and three, one day, and got
home at 7.30 at night, so you see I am “able to be around.” My health is good and I am not at home enough to
be homesick in the least. Mrs. Trull has been sick with teeth-ache; but is well again now. She has a Sarah
Johnson with her when Trull is away. [The Trulls are either neighbors or housekeepers for them.]
Deacon & family all well - I intend to go there to supper this afternoon. They are making preparations
for a great celebration here Tuesday. [4th of July] I would rather see you and baby (Mary is written in pencil
above baby) five minutes, than see all the fireworks.
Tell me how you find everything at Northfield. Four years must have made many changes! Houses and
fences will have grown old and rusty - wrinkles on faces you left smooth and smiling. You will miss many
familiar faces at church, and see many strange ones - many new mounds in the cemetery, and many withered
flowers and forgotten graves! I hope you will all write to me often. Tell Lib. to write me a great long letter and
let me know all about my wife and my wife’s sister. I suppose Jim [Annie's brother] has written you that he has
sold out and thinks of taking a trip east while you are there. I am glad he is out of that business, for I don’t
think it a good country for a young man to live in. If all is well, I hope to write you from Lake Superior, before
the month closes - Gault says M? Dunlap & Ferry propose joining us if we go after the traut. [going fishing?]
If you can, I hope you will go to the sea shore. Hire a girl to help take care of baby, andenjoy life all you
can - hire a team and ride when it will do you any good. How is Sarah? She must have been an interesting
traveling companion! I know just how she acted and how she looked. Have you seen French May or May
Smith? I suppose not. I must stop now - will write again if I get time this evening ---
I love you, darling.
Note: The last sentence is written extremely small in the bottom corner.
We don't know what Jim's business was in the Nevada Territory (not yet a state); in any event, he got out of it.
Why is Lib back in Northfield instead of Janesville?
9 July 1865
Addressed to Northfield, Vermont
Briggs House, Chicago, Sunday evening July 9th.
Here I am, in my comfortable room, thinking of you. It being necessary for me to be here tomorrow
morning, I came last night. Jim came to Clinton last night, so I took him along with me and have just left him
in the sleeping car to go back to Nevada. We went to church this morning and have had a very quiet day for it
has been a dreary, rainy day like November. I was very glad to get your letter Friday night saying you was at
home and well. I worried much about you and if any serious accident had happened to you while on the lakes I
should have been inclined to believe in "warnings", for I had a fearful dream of a shipwreck in which the home
and all was F.???, so it made quite an impression upon my mind -- Thank God! It was only a dream.
The "Buckeye" was at her landing here when we came this morning. I suppose she would have looked
quite homelike to you. Mrs. Trull keeps everything neat and in order. She had noticed the keys of the sewing
machine and gave them to me. The yard is full of beautiful flowers. I keep a bouquet in the office nearly all the
time. The flowering maple and dahlias are in blossom. Tell father that the corn is a perfect forest and will soon
be large enough to roast. The garden looks very well -- I wish you had some of the cherries. I had a present of
new potatoes and cucumbers for dinner yesterday.
Monday morning -- still raining. I hope all of you will write. Baby may put in a few words.
As ever, yours, Ike
Jim Gould is doing something in Nevada, is selling out, got to Clinton Sat nite, they had dinner, [dinner might
be mid day meal] then he and Ike took the night train to Chicago. They spent the day Sun and now Jim is on
the train to Nev. Ike has work to do in Chicago Mon morning. There is a baby Mary at home in Northfield, 4
months old. Mrs. Trull is keeping house for Ike.
Northfield July, 17, 1865
I hope you will excuse my negligence in not writing to you. I have been pretty busy in the garden and
had nothing interesting to write. Your family are here and we were to see them. Mary is a good fat little girl. I
think she looks like Sophia youngest. I hope she will live and be as kind to you as you have been to me, and
then I know you can’t help loving her. She is a little afraid of me. I hope she will get over it soon as well.
Amos says if you will come and ask him he will tell you where you can get some potatoes. Two of his girls are
married. His son is in the Army. Huntington has moved to College. Plan is appointed cashier of their new
bank in that place. Asa came home a week last Friday and went today. Crops look nice except apples but very
few of them. I suppose Annie and her father have all the news. Colby has paid what was due, he paid Rufus
eighty some time since and he had use it. I have written to Han. about it. Asa thought I had better send the draft
of fifty to you and you can hand it to Hannah. [Han Jones living in Clinton] I will try and write oftener than I
IOWA DIVISION, CHICAGO & NORTHWSTERN RAILWAY
Clinton, Iowa, July 30th 1865.
[Sarah -- traveling companion from Clinton to Northfield and maybe back to Clinton with Annie. Nursemaid or
On my return home Friday, I found your letter and the picture of birdie Mary! (in pencil is written
above this “Mary was born Mch. 9. 1865”) I need not say how pleased I was and how surprised to notice how
the little pigeon has grown - I saw “mother Van” yesterday, and showed her the picture - she says they are all
well, and anxious to see you. She and Hannah were in a lumber wagon and had “the baby” - a black eyed little
picture of Sue.
This has been a beautiful day - clear and cool as September - I have strolled about the garden and wished
and wished that you was with me, but I do not want you to come while it is best for you to be there. I hope your
next letter will tell what you think about returning - do you think best to remain there this winter, and during the
hot weather of next summer, as you proposed before you left? If not, do you think it safe to come by the first of
Sept? Which way will you come? I shall go after you, whenever you wish to come. Does Sarah conclude to
comeback? How about father & mother? [Gould]
I hardly know what to advise about your visiting Soph. I know she would like to have you with her a
month; but if it will be too hard for you, or baby you must not go. Soph’s oldest children are now large enough
to help take care of the others. [Soph expecting? John Herbert born Nov. Needs help?] I was at the deacon’s
this noon and had some bread and milk. They are all well there. My health continues good and I am not
working as hard as usual -- running about on the Road, nearly all of the time, so I can remain at home, when
wifey comes! I have written Harriet and Lib - if they don’t answer, I will not write them when their wives are
I wrote Charles Barrett about slate for roofs of our new engine houses - have received no answer and
fear we shall need patronize some other quarry. If father sees him I wish he would tell him to write
immediately, if he wishes to furnish the slate - also give price - size and time of delivery. Since writing the
above I have concluded to enclose a letter to father.
I don’t think I shall ever want to go to the old Northfield Church again and hear a boy preaching in Mr.
Stone’s place. Write me often if only a few lines and tell me all about how you are and how you are feeling and
what you are doing. You cannot tell me these things “after we go bed”; but you can write them so I can read
them and think of you and baby, after I go to bed!
Dick does not like any of the new comers in the house and shows fight when they go near his cage; but
he talks and sings to me, when I hang him under the grape vine. The birds and flowers are very friendly to me
and are almost the only companions I have when at home. The dahlias are in blossom now. The humming birds
have also come again so you see I am not all alone.
I have not seen or heard from Jim this week - think he is well and all right.
Love to all -- good night darling ----- Ike
Addressed to: Mrs. I.B. Howe, Northfield, Vt.
Written in pencil on envelope: Aug. 2, 1865.
August 2nd -My
[Dr. Farnsworth may have come from Northfield]
It is ten o’clock - I have just come to my boarding house and will write a few words before going to bed.
We have had a thunder shower, and after that, just before sunset a beautiful rainbow. A rainbow in the east -did
you see it, darling? Was it a bow of hope and promise? -or did you see only the dark, storm-clouds below
it? It is very warm, again; but I think not very unhealthy at present.
I saw Dr. Farnsworth yesterday - he inquired about you and baby - said it might be perfectly safe here
for children by the first of next month; but if you could just as well be away until the 10th or 15th of Sept. he
would advise that. He is located here, now. I have not yet seen Dr. Hudson; but suppose he is at home.
I have been thinking that perhaps you would like to have me go after you the last of this month and have
you go from Chicago to Janesville and stay a week or two before you come home which will keep you away till
the middle of Sept. Harriet will want to see you and hear all about “home”, and it is almost as hard to go from
here to Janesville as from Northfield. Jim writes that he shall go home soon - perhaps next week - he will tell
you all about “us”. I suppose when Jim gets there, he can sleep in the hall, up stairs, or on the sofa in mother’s
room - not a word, yet, about mother! -- I do not think you Vermonters are very liberal with letters.
[Mother Gould would be 49; Martha Howe died before they were married.]
The 27th Regiment came this noon from away down south. They claim to have done the last fighting of
the war. That regiment made the last charge in the rebellion. Many of the men have ugly looking wounds; but
they came with joyful faces and triumphant music. They marched home, “to the music of the Union”.
Mr. Gault stayed in Clinton last night and Mr. Talcott is here tonight. I have just been down to the door
to receive a present of prairie chickens -- the second lot I have had sent me today - won’t Sarah [maid] be glad
she is not here to dress them? I wish you could all have some of them - you know I care but little about them.
I stop occasionally to glance at the sweet face of little Mary and now I must go to bed and think of her and of
you - my own darlings.
Thursday forenoon - raining - if you have any messages of importance at any time, telegraph me.
IOWA DIVISION, CHICAGO & NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY
Clinton, Iowa, August 6th 1865
It is Sunday morning --- I have gathered a bouquet of flowers for my office table and here they are
bowing and laughing and talking to me like a flock of children, “running to meet Papa”. One little star-shaped,
blue flower says: -- “do I remind you of the eyes of any one you love?” “She means her with the soft, velvet
cheeks like mine”, says Pansy. -- “Do any of my colors remind you of a certain young lady’s dress?” says Pink,
with a roguish twinkle in her clear,bright eyes --- All the flowers laugh, and say:- “I wonder if he will forever
remember that red dress?”-----Pansy says her little cousin Forget-me-not often tells her about that red dress.
Now an old acquaintance leans over a geranium leaf, and with an “injured look” asks why it is that I don't seem
to care as much about him as I did a few years ago. --- Poor, old Bachelors’ Button is growing jealous! ---“
Ah!” says Violet to Bachelors’ Button -- “Do you never think how much more delightful than ‘bachelor
independence’ is the feeling that somebody is waiting to welcome you, and longing to nestle in your arms and
whisper in your ear: - ‘I love you.”
Away have gone my flower fancies, for I have just had a call from the Col. and Surgeon of the 27th
Regt. - The men who were in “the last fight!” Very pleasant men they are, and very interesting the incidents
they relate of their life away down south.
Next time you write please tell me what the arrangement will be for your coming home -when you wish
to start - which way you wish to come - who will come with us, etc. I do not expect to be able to stop long in
Vermont. If I go east, by way of New York, I shall go to Boston and spend one night with Soph. -- I have
written Soph what you say about not going to Boxford,and told her how hard it is for you to travel with baby. If
all is well, you will be there again next year, and then you can make her a long visit. A letter from Jim says he
cannot get away quite as soon as he expected -- perhaps he will not go till I do. [still winding down business in
We had about a week of pleasant weather and then it commenced raining again and it has rained and
rained and kept raining -- today, it looks like pleasant weather again. I shall not take supper with the deacon
today, for she has six or eight soldiers (officers, I think) boarding there --all are well, and Miss Mary [Marion
Sophia Jones, about 7 months] has one tooth in sight -- Fisher writes Wadleigh that his folks are better. I go out
on the Road this week - perhaps to Des Moines, and perhaps to Chicago -doubtful about my writing again,
before next Sunday.
I heard it rumored, today, that Dr. Van Deventer, Capt. Jim’s brother was about to locate in Clinton, I
hope he will, if he is a good physician.
I get along very comfortably with Trull’s folks; but it isn’t home, without you, darling and I am glad to
think that one week of August is nearly gone. If you conclude to go to Janesville and stop a couple of weeks I
can go after you the last of this month; but if you come directly home I suppose I had better not leave here
before the first of Sept. Write me what you think of it.
I am very glad you are where father Howe can see you and baby for I know he loves you both. How I
should like to hear little Mary “talk”!
(Ike did not sign his name)
August 9th 1865
Briggs House, Chicago,
My dear, good, Wife!
Here I am at “home”again and we are having, as usual, a thunder shower. I started last night for Cedar
Rapids, but received a message requesting me to come to Chicago -- tonight I will start again for C. Rapids.
We have dreadful, hot, showery, sultry weather -- many children are sick and I think it may be best for
you to remain in Vermont till about the 10th of next month. We will see how the weather is and how you are. I
called at Han's yesterday and found the baby quite sick with summer complaint; they thought she was a little
better than in the morning - David [Fifield] writes that many children are sick in Janesville. This month, you
know, is usually very unhealthy.
Today, Mary is five months old! Sweet little darling -- it makes me tremble when I think
of the many dangers and then think how we love her!
I have been thinking a little about buying a horse this fall and would do so if it was not so much work to
take care of it - will you and Sarah take care of it and harness it?
I’ve been thinking our pleasantest way home may be by cars to Ogdensburg, propeller from there to
Toledo or Detroit and cars from there.
Davis says you and Mary must call at his house when you come. David writes that Walker wants Jim to
go into lumber business with him here in Chicago. It is so dark I can hardly see to write so I’ll stop and go to
As ever, yours, Ike
I am well --
Clinton, Iowa, August 13, 1865
Iowa Division, Chicago Northwestern Railway,
Addressed to: Mrs. IB Howe, Northfield, Vermont (three cent stamp)
Mr. Dunlap was his boss, Harriet was Annie's sister, Han is sister Hannah Jones, baby is Marion Sophia, seven
months, Cora and Mattie are Han's daughters, 17 and 15, by Thomas McGregor.
My guess is George Tucker is looking for real estate in Washington, DC, but it could also be George Peabody.
If Father is Abijah, he is 77. Malverd Tucker 28 and not yet married but will live in DC.
David and Harriet Gould Fifield are in-laws. Harriet is Annie's older sister.
-- Tana and Mark
Questions? Is May a name for Martha/Mattie Jones? Is Jim Gould, jr ? Probably. And if so is home
Northfield? Sounds like it.
You see by the date that it is almost the middle of the month and about the first of September I hope to
start for you. Last Tuesday I went to Chicago and did not get back till yesterday -- went to Madison with Mr.
Dunlap -- we had a pleasant but hard time and I came home newly sick but am better now and shall feel well
enough tomorrow. We did not go by way of Janesville so I saw nothing of David or Harriet.
It is cool weather again. Han and her baby have gone to Belle Plains to visit Mr. Stevens -- May was
sick very long -- Jim is here and will go to Chicago Tuesday and be at home by Saturday I think. He will tell
you all the news. I shall miss him, for even if I do not see him it is pleasant to think that he is near. I am
impatient to have you back here with me. I was glad that you wanted to come, for I almost feared you might
think it best to remain there this winter. I think we had better come by way of Grand Trunk on account of less
changes and less trouble with baggage. We can take a stock of provisions with us to last through Canada. The
chickens got so full of mischief that I had a few of them killed for Han and Trull's folks -- will try to keep the
others in some way for you. They have had dreadful freshets in some places here. I was in Chicago during the
"great shower" of which you may have read. The mellons are beginning to get ripe. I wish Father and Mother
and all of you could have some. Jim and I have promised to take supper with Cora and Mattie and it is time we
Kiss Mary for me -- (she was five months)
Tell Father that if he thinks best to go to Washington and see that farm George tells about, I will take half of it if
he wants the other half, and thinks it as great an investment is represented -- want him to do just as he thinks
best. I don't know anything about the matter.
Clinton, Iowa, August 24th 1865
I came back to Clinton, Tuesday night and am all right. You may see some account of the terrible
accident of Monday night near Morrison, about ten miles east of here. There was tremendous rain that night
and a culvert washed out and the night train going east ran into it --engine - tender baggage car and one
passenger car went into the chasm -- engineer, fireman,express messenger & one passenger were instantly
killed. No others seriously injured. The fireman was Charlie Fenlon’s brother.
It is cool & pleasant now. Mrs. W. J. Young has a little girl.
Clinton, Iowa. August 27th 1865.
Is Annie still in Northfield or gone to Janesville? Next letter sounds like Northfield.
Is it well with you all, this beautiful Sunday morning? Are you listening again to the sweet music of the
bells? I hope so, and I hope that in about ten days I can leave here for “home”. Only a few days more, darling!
and then I will soon be with you -- our home here looks so pleasant that I want you with me to enjoy it. The
corn is ripe - the grapes are beginning to look quite purple - plenty of tomatoes and O the flowers are very
beautiful although the terrible storm injured some of them and nearly ruined the dahlias. If you and baby Mary
were only with me, now, and well, I should be as happy as I ever expect to be.
I intend to go home by way of New York and Boston and shall try to see Dr. Williams, Asa & Sophie;
but I shall make short calls. I shall write you about when to expect me. Jim promised to write me; but I fear the
scamp has forgotten it. Will father & mother come home with us? ---- I hope so! [home to Clinton?] I am
glad Mary likes father Howe -- how I should like a picture of him,with her in his arms!
The deacon & family are well - May [Martha/ Mattie ?] is very pretty - Cora is doing very well. Mrs.
Trull takes good care of your things and I think you will find everything all right. It is rather unhealthy here and
will be for a few weeks longer I think - I am very well and try to be quite careful of my health. This week the
Soldiers Orphans Fair will be held at Marshall, and I suppose there will be a great rush of people over the Road.
There was rather an interesting incident, here, Friday night, in connection with the soldiers orphans -Rev.
Mr. Ingalls had a party of six little boys and seven little girls, - soldiers orphans, which he has been
educating and learning to sing, together. Friday evening he took them up to the camp and the little orphans
sang to the soldiers. The grim, stern old veterans gathered around them and tears filled many eyes as the sweet,
childish voices sang the war-songs and welcomes home. After they had done (?? not legible), one soldier asked
if the father of either of the children belonged to the Eighth Calvary. A little girl said her father belonged to that
Regt. when he was killed. The soldier clasped the little creature in his arms, kissed her -said her father was his
comrade and friend, and he would protect his child. He gave her his name and $10.00 and told her to call upon
him whenever she needed anything! These little folks unlock hearts very easily, sometimes.
Speaking of the little folks, reminds me of a pleasant incident of especial interest to me. A few days ago
the school-children had a picnic in the grove by our house, and arranged their tables, wreaths, flowers & etc. very
tastily. As I went down from dinner they were preparing their tables and I gave a little girl a dollar to get
some apples or nuts for it. When I came up to tea, the little misses waylaid me and presented a beautiful,
frosted and flower wreathed cake,which I am trying to preserve for you. Pretty, wasn’t it?
You will hardly know Clinton when you get back, it has improved so much this season. It is thought that
over 150 buildings will be erected here this season, and if they continue until winter, as they have gone along so
far, it may reach 200! Poor Lyons is of no account now. [Lyons a competing city?]
As ever, yours , Ike
Clinton, Iowa, August 31, 1865
Thursday Forenoon -
[Asa and Dr. Williams in Boston area?]
Darling! Yesterday morning I received the letter from you and Jim, and I was glad to hear from you, but
hearing of so much sickness there makes me feel rather anxious and uneasy. It is terrible that here noon -- day
after day the thermometer is above 90° and the nights are also pretty warm, but I hear of no extraordinary
amount of sickness. The doctors predict much sickness during the first of September if this weather continues -I
am well and very careful.
Tell Jim I received the $1000 all safe. I intended to start East next week, but some of our friends advised
me to wait a few days longer so as to not get you here before the last of the month. I will do just as you think
best about it. I shall try to remain a few days at Northfield if all is well. Now if you think it better to risk the
climate here or in Janesville than there, write or telegraph me and I will go directly there instead of waiting a
week longer or going to visit Asa and Dr. Williams. We do not know what the future designs for us or what is
best for us to do, so we can only do what we think is best and then let the result be what it may. We must try to
feel that is was all so ordered, and is "all for the best."
Tell James that Wm Carrovall, who was recently our foreman in the paint shop, killed himself at
Wheatland yesterday by the accidental discharge of his gun. He was not a good man, but I am sorry for his
wife. I received a letter last night from Dr. Williams saying he was going East this week and should not get
back before the 9th. He wanted I should arrange to not get to Altoona before the 10th. I am not anxious about
going that way and will do just as you wish -- write or telegraph me as soon as you get this.
As ever, yours, Ike
Sept. 3rd 1865
It is a dreadful hot day - and very dry and dusty -- much like the season here four years ago. If you are
well, I am glad you are not here to suffer with us. We are all as well as usual and I take everything as quietly as
I have not quite decided when to go home; but think I will start in a week from tomorrow, if not before.
I have received a note from Asa saying he was sick, and on his way home. If I hear that he is not very sick I
think I will go by way of Dr. Williams and Boston so I can’t tell when I will get to Northfield; but I will write
again about this. Just think of it, darling! - next week I am going home to see you! Next week I can clasp you
in my arms again and whisper in your ear “I love you” -- next week I hope to see our darling little Mary. Is
all this joy in store for us? Ah,me --- we cannot tell! But He who watcheth over us, we know do’st all things
It is too hot to write and as I hope to be with you soon I will close.
Your own Ike
Monday morning --
I have just received father Gould’s letter. After writing you, yesterday, I almost concluded to go home
by way of Saratoga as I have some business there and I now think I shall go to Chicago this week and if
possible get to Saratoga next Sunday.
I will write again, Ike
Clinton, Iowa, Sept. 5th 1865
It will be impossible for me to leave before next week as neither Dunlap, Gault or Horace Williams have
yet got home, so there is no one to leave to “keep-house” -- They say they will all be home by Saturday and as I
need to see them, before leaving, I will wait till next week. Perhaps I can go to Chicago Saturday night and
leave there Monday night for Saratoga.
Will write again ----- All well -- Love to all -
Note: This is the end of this summer’s letters to Annie.
Clinton, Iowa, Jan'y 12th 1866.
It is a dark, rainy evening and the winds are moaning sadly at the office windows, like homeless,
starving human beings and now they go shrieking across the great river like famished wolves, and now they are
sighing and making mournful music on their mighty harp, the telegraph wires ---sad, plaintive music like a
funeral dirge! Did you ever hear the winds play on the telegraph wires? --No! --Well --you have heard it sigh
through the pines --The most mournful, plaintive music you ever heard, was n't?---I have often thought of the
wailing of lost soles, when listening to it.
This wind has nothing to do with a family letter I suppose; but somehow it awakens sad thoughts------You
spoke in your letter of the sad expression in Lily's eyes --The picture shows them as they were oftentimes.
She had the most beautiful eyes I ever saw. They were full of expression --deep, lustrous, "laughing" eyes!
Little Mary is very good and very well. She creeps all over the house and almost stands alone. Give her
an apple and the two little teeth and the two little dimpled hands are at once at work. Annie is better than usual
this winter. She occasionally speaks of visiting you next season but thinks you have a house full, now. You have
not told me about the last little one. Is it well?
Hannah & family are well. They are courting a young man for Cora --he seems all well enough and if he
can be satisfied with music alone, I hope he will marry her. Mattie boards with us, and goes to school some and
works at home some. Net writes me but very little. I try to think that her heart is not changed although her
words are few and her actions strange ---poor girl! I love her just as much as ever.
I rather think I shall get a place for Asa to work, engineering on our Road, so he will be located about
200 or 250 miles west of here, and can come here frequently. It will be pleasant to have him with us while we
remain here. I shall know next week, whether he will be wanted or not.
Soph! There are a great many things I want to say to you; but it is late --Annie will be lonesome. I want
to see a sweet little face sleeping in the crib --and --so --I will go home.
Love to all ---write often- as ever,
[Ike is trying to find a job for Asa; Marshalltown is about 150mi and Boone/ Ames are about 200. 250 is now
about Carroll where the road turns south to Council Bluffs.]
Office of the Platte County Railroad
Saint Joseph, Mo., Sept. 6, 1866
I. B. Howe
Spt. Cedar Rapids Div., Chicago & N.W.R.R.
I met in southern Ill. Mr. Canfield an old friend of yours who recommends your wooden fish joint, as
being a very superior joint fastening, especially for ?? now down on old fashioned chairs. I have seen them on
the Mt. C. R.R., Ill, and think they would do well on this road. I have just taken charge of track repairs of this
Road and find the iron light but mostly in good order, and think it will be policy for the Co. to substitute a fish
joint for the common chair. Will you be kind enough to furnish me a drawing, of the chair, with estimated cost
of preparing them, also cost & manufacturer of the necessary machinery. Your patent for upon them & any
other information you may think advisable.
Your Abt. Sub., Edw. Harding, Road Master PCRR
If you feel inclined to furnish me a “complimentary” over your road it might at some time be useful & at
any rate would be appreciated.
GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT'S OFFICE
CHICAGO & NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY
Chicago, February 13, 1867
I. B. Howe, Esq.
Supt. Iowa Div.
Your favor of the 11th wish has been received and contents noted. If it is as you state, that Messrs Blair
& Walker do not own the land when we propose locating at "Dunlap", and cannot set up any claim that will
conflict with our interests, you are authorized to make all the necessary arrangements with Judge Dow for the
proper camping out of the plan your letter indicates. I have read your letter to Mr. Turner who is chairman of
our committee, and he concurs with me as to "Dunlap's" being the proper point for terminus of the Division, and
he approves the suggestion of locating a town there and establishing comfortable homes for our men, thereby
attaching them to the Co.'s interest and increasing their efficiency.
As soon as your land arrangements are completed with the Judge, I want you to secure bricks and
material for an engine house at Dunlap, and let the work be commenced in the spring as soon as the weather is
suitable. And you will also secure bricks and material for an eleven stall engine house, and suitable blacksmiths
and car shops at Council Bluffs to be commenced as soon as ever the post gets out enough to permit us. Do not
fail to secure the spring at "Dunlap"; and I want you to fix for building the dam at Boone, below the engine
house to insure a constant supply of water at the situation.
Yours truly, Geo. L. Dunlap
(on a scrap of paper:
C. Rapids 30
Mr. Watkins is dead. Will you break the news to his wife in your own way.
(on two separate scraps of paper:
Green Bay 29
We have concluded substantially to build the Tipton branch. Can you make the survey and estimates at once or
set somebody at it .
J. H. Howe
Will you make & forward to me plan No. 21 for Clinton Station built of Brick Slate roof, two passanger
rooms, good ticket office, baggage rooms with water closet & estimate of cost. We want handsome building.
J. H. Howe
(confidential, say nothing)
Chicago April 30, 1867
Letter to I.B. Howe in praise for work on the road.
I.B. Howe Esq..
I have just read your dispatch from Honey Creek recd here at 3:30 this P.M. and feel to heartily
congratulate you, that you are able to say, "We can now run trains through to Council Bluffs without transfer".
This intelligence is now flying on lightning wings to all the eastern cities,- to all points, where the croakings of
our friends, and the rejoicings of our enemies have made our misfortunes too well known.
While enjoying the pleasure that this result is affording us, I for myself, (and I believe I express the
sentiment of each one here) cannot refrain from expressing my entire satisfaction, for the persevering and
unwearied attention you have given to the repairs of the road since we parted from you at Woodbine – We have
been kept informed from time to time of the difficulties to be surmounted, and have constantly and anxiously
watched the progress that was being made in overcoming those difficulties.
As I remarked to you then – we felt it "like a question of life and death; that more than I could express to
you was depending upon getting trains through at the earliest possible moment" – I am well satisfied that you
fully appreciated the urgency of the occasion and the result shows that you have done all that was practicable
towards accomplishing a result that was so much desired.
Yours truly, Wm. H. Ferry
Western Union Telegram to I. B. Howe:
St. Joseph, Mo 30 1240 pm
Isaac B. Howe C&NWRy
In making our new ?ard four our road running from C. Bluffs to Kansas City without change I find it is necessary to
reach Kansas City as early as five pm this will take us from C Bluffs at eight am. I am anxious to retain your
connection ?? you arrive sooner we shall run our No 4 through to Kansas City so even if the connection is not made
by our No 2 the passengers would arrive in Kansas City the same day they arrive in C Bluffs by your time.
A. L. Hopkins
There are two letters from Dr. Williams of 1874 and 1875 describing European rails in detail but they are very
hard to decipher. I can get only a word here and a few words there so I decided not to add them. There is also an
1871 letter from a man in Buffalo that is too difficult to decipher. Tana
WESTERN IOWA DIVISION
CHICAGO AND NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY CO.
OFFICE OF MASTER OF TRANSPORTATION
Boone, Iowa, May 21, 1867
I.B. Howe, Esq.
Another day with nothing but a new off. ---Wadsworth has been off near Elliotte track all the p?? ditched
one car. One thing we lack very much and that is discipline. I have talked this to Mr. Head for three months. We
must make examples and cut their heads off short, in order to discipline them and, in my opinion the sooner we
commence this awful business the better. I trust you will say nothing from me, but will impress upon Mr. Head's
mind the importance of this. If I give an order to take a certain car, if they don't take it they will have some
unpardonable excuse. In order to remedy this evil we must make an example and let others know what it is for.
Yours truly, M. M. Towne
WESTERN IOWA DIVISION
CHICAGO AND NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY CO.
OFFICE OF MASTER OF TRANSPORTATION
June 14, 1867
I. B. Howe, Esq.
I asked for an engine to follow No. 8 of the 13th. Did not leave there until 12 o'clock. Why? Couldn't
find the Engineer. Consequences were not delayed 25 minutes. Said they were all ready and had nothing but
way car & could have followed close & not held No. 11 a moment.
Having a presentment last night that things wouldn't work nice this morning, had the Watchman call me
at 1 o'clock. Found trouble among the Conductors of which I will give details when I see you. Engine for the
regular train was 15 minutes late getting out the House. I started No. 3 20 minutes late, waiting until 2: 15 for
the Engine for the Extra. The time is 1 :30. I abandoned No. 3 Extra, and telling the watchman to notify the
Engineer that the train was abandoned, thinking there might be some interesting conversation between Engineer
and Watchman and wishing to see how late they would be, took up my quarters nearby. Conversation was very
edifying. It was just 41 minutes late when the engine got down opposite the depot. I trust these reports are not
annoying to you. I only report the very worse cases.
Clinton, Iowa December 11, 1967
Dear Sister !
I received a letter from Tom  a few days ago, saying he had decided to come out next and see how he
likes it. I wrote him today -- that we should like to have him do chores for his board this Winter -- that I did not
think he could get any business at present as all kinds of business is overdone -- except farming. If Tom wants
to come, I should let him. He is young -- a years experience here will do him no harm and if he does not find
business or like the country, he will be better satisfied at home afterwards. I have sent him all needed directions
and can write again before he starts, if desired.
We are all well -- the children are very well. We call the little one "Oda" (Theoda -- full name). Do you
like it? She is a very strong, healthy little creature. Mary, my little rose bud, is well and full of fun and
mischief. It is raining tonight and the wind is howling like November. I have the office all to myself just at
How I wish you could be with us now. I have not seen Asa for several weeks, but he is well. Nett still
remains with George's friends at Oaktown, Indiana. She does not want to go to Missouri where George is
temporarily teaching and I advised her not to go. There is no use in following him all over creation. I had
rather take care of her in a comfortable Christian land than have her "kite " all over rebeldom (? Not legible?)
in search of hidden treasures, jack-O'-lanterns and fountains of eternal youth. Soph! I send you $10 for a
Christmas present -- get what you please with it. Write when you can -- remember us to our friends.
As ever your brother, IB Howe.
Tom was Sophia's eldest child, 18, she was married to Thomas Sawyer. They lived in Boxford, Mass., near
Danvers. Nett (age 37; her real name was Miraette) was Soph and IBs sister, married to George Scott 
with five year old Charles. -- see her letters from Missouri below. Remember they were the Western Democrats
that were not totally in favor of the war and perhaps fit in to rebeldom better.-- Tana & Mark.
Letter to I.B. Howe from Col. James Henry Howe – General Mangr. – in praise for settlement of claims.
Solicitor's Office, C. & N.W..R.
Chicago March 16, 1868
I.B. Howe Esq.
Your papers, vouchers etc. were received this morning.
The company also much obliged to you for the problems in ability displayed in settling these claims, that
they not only (feel it) right to increase your salary, but raise a large expensive monument over your earthly
remains when the wicked have ceased troubling you. I hope they will worry you a good many years yet.
Your settlement with Sturs was a masterpiece. I think the receipt he signed the best one in a legal point
of view, we have in the office. I wish you would thank Judge Wright in my name.
I propose to write Mr. Sibley and authorize him to draw for another hundred dollars -- we will keep up
your reputation. There are so few of us that have any, it won't do to let any slide, if a few hundred dollars will
Your money will be sent today.
I have added $50 to Judge Wright's bill for his services in this matter.
Yours truly, James H. Howe
Note: One of the most dreaded disasters of heavy freight trains is a runaway. If the train gets too much speed
going down a long grade and the brakemen are not quick enough applying brakes to all the cars, there comes a
tipping point where nothing can be done but pray. If there is a curve along the run, the train rolls off the track.
A sidetrack is apparently what they called a "siding".
May 6th 8. [1868?]
Genl. Supt. &C. [&c was used as etc.]
Dear Sir: ----
The people of New Philadelphia are urging us to establish a station there -- the people about two miles
west of New Philadelphia are also asking for a station. We are offered all the land we want for station purposes,
at both places, and a promise of other “material aid”, if required. A side track is greatly needed, now, between
Ames & Boone. The fourteen miles run and heavy grades between the two stations make it very bad now that
we have so many heavy trains. I think a track should be put in immediately, and I wish you would decide upon
the location and direct me what negotiations to make. New Philadelphia is about 2 ¾ miles west of Ames, and
at the top of the Collage Farm grade. This point would accommodate Collage Farm and be of great advantage
to heavy freight trains going west, as they could run to the top of the hill and set out a part of the train when
necessary. You will notice on profile that this grade is similar to Corn River grade and being on a curve and a
long hill it is one of the worst places we have and now governs (??) all trains. 2 l/2 or 2 miles further west
would better divide the distance between Ames & Boone and when the country becomes “settled up” it may as
well accommodate the public.
You may think it best to locate a station at Philadelphia, now, and when the country between there &
Boone becomes developed, establish another station between Pha. & Boone.
I submit the following proposition: -Establish the station, now, at whichever joint you think best, and I
will engage to furnish the necessary depot grounds and a depot as good as Belle Plaine, or Colo, without any
expense to the R’y Co.----- If you object to asking the inhabitants to contribute for this object, I will require
nothing from them, excepting land - and this, without a station will amount to a trifling sum for them to give.
If this offer is accepted and my “venture” pays more than it costs I will divide the profits in such manner
as you may direct - give lots to officers & employees - catholic churches - or expend the proceeds in ballasting!
---- or new iron!!
One thing is certain - we must have a side track between Ames & Boone, immediately, and after a side
track is in, we cannot get the natives to give us any land, as they will feel sure that a side-track will lead to a
station. [This letter is about negotiation. A siding leads to a station, so if they have already installed the siding,
their bargaining position would be compromised.]
Please answer soon, if possible --Respectfully
There is no signature to this letter but I'm sure it was written by Isaac the Howe, probably about 20 years old.
[But the "rhyme" was published in a newspaper which he refers to as if he owned it.
There is a letter from Alonzo Bowman that sounds like a response to this; Jun '1868. Ike is a year older than
Alonzo; I'm thinking this was written in about early '68 at age 41.
As mentioned, their first boyhood home was in Norwich and we know little of that time. Then they (both
Bowman's and Howe's) moved to Northfield when the boys were 6 and 7. Mark.]
Not wishing to be charged with a "breach of promise," I will fulfill my engagement, although strongly
tempted otherwise by the fear that you, like many others, cannot keep a secret, even if told you in confidence,
and with the expressed desire that you would keep your finger on your lip, but I will try you this time, and trust
you will remember that this is a confidential letter.
Owing to the secluded situation of our early home you will remember that much of my boyhood was
passed in solitude, but though denied the companionship of children like myself, I was never lonely, for I
learned to find amusement, if not instruction, in the works of Nature. The joyous songs of the birds breathe to
me of confidence and bade me let not fears of the future destroy the enjoyment of the present. The Wildwood
flowers as they peeped forth from their resting place seemed to look kindly upon me and whisper of innocence
and... happiness. The squirrels gathering nuts amid the falling leaves of autumn looked more confidingly upon
me, than others, and I could almost understand their language, I fancied. In fact, Nature became my playmate,
as it were, and my heart seldom yearned for other companionship.
There were three, however, whose friendship commenced almost with my existence, and whose
remembrance will end only with the same, even though the feelings cherished towards them in boyhood may be
widely changed. These I loved as brothers should be loved -- truly and disinterestedly. But ere the careless
days of boyhood had passed away, one of them calmly, almost cheerfully, made us "good bye" as he sank into
his dreamless slumber.
We are all scattered now, and as I returned home nearly two years ago and again visited the scenes of our
boyish sports, the past with its long forgotten pleasures was mournfully recalled; yet all is changed! The path
down through the pasture, once worn so smoothly, could not be traced by a stranger now. The "poplar tree" is
gone. The spring up in the maple grove is overhung with weeds and briars -- you may never have been there,
but that was one of our favorite resting places, the shade was so cool, the grass so fresh and green, and the
waters gushed forth so clear and cool, and there, on a bright, beautiful morning in October, I went alone for
some of that water to cool the parched lips of a dying playmate! He requested it and our last draught together
was from that spring. -
The little pond up in the woods remains almost the same, and I even found fragments of our playthings
there, but the voices which once rang so gaily around it have gone. For ever. It was these scenes and
associations, which suggested the lines you saw in my newspaper, and which at your request I enclose.
My Early Friends
There were four of us in childhood
Who like four brothers seemed,
And as we played in the green wood shade,
Of parting, never dreamed.
But the paths we drawn so often
With grass are all o'er grown.
And silence dwells in the wood and bells
Where rang joy's wildest tone.
The tree on which in boyhood
We carved our names is gone.
And o'er the clear cool spring so dear,
Rank weeds and briars have grown.
The green hillside seems desolate
The pond and waterfall
Where o'er we roved, all that we loved,
Sad memories recall.
We may not meet on earth again;
One roams the bright blue sea, *
One with his bride by Erie's side
Has long forgotten me;
And one, the gentlest of our band,
Passed like a holy pray'r,
To the bright home where angels roam, -Brothers!
He waits us there.
*when this was written I had just received a letter from Alonzo informing me that he was about to start for the
This, you will remember, was written a year and a half ago, and is among the last of my poetical
effusions, although I will confess that "making rhymes" was one of my favorite amusements in boyhood, but
had not our good brother broken the law, by breaking an envelope, and then broken confidence by telling you
what it enclosed, none of you would have known of this particular weakness of mine; however, it may be all for
the best, as it broke me of the habit at once.
There -- I have confessed all, and as I am now reformed, I trust you will not betray me.
Boyhood friend, Alonzo, to Ike letter
Envelope addressed to: I. B. Howe, Sup. Chicago & N.W.R.R. (Iowa Division.), Clinton Iowa.
in pencil on envelope is written: From Alonzo Bowman (Malvard Tucker is crossed out)
Brookline June 8th ‘68
My Dear Old Ike.
I was more surprised as never “was” a few days since on arriving home from New Bedford to find a
letter from you, and Sir, it done me more good than --than-- dose - yes a whole bottle of - of - Old Plantation
Bitters”, it enabled me to throw off some twenty years of life -- many of them rough, tearing, wearing years,
and I was “a boy again,” in old Vt. As I read and re-read your letter, and indulged in a fit of (dilapidation as
Geo. Spout used to say. (don't let anyone see this.) Tis now some thirty five years [1833, they relocated from
Norwich to Northfield the following year.] since I had the honor to make the acquaintance of “Ike” (and I shall
be forty next month) twas in the good town of Norwich, Vt. and for say fifteen years immediately succeeding
“like & Son” used to see each other as often as say 150 times in the year, from the time when we commenced
our piscatory (fishing) exercises with crooked pins and pieces of yarn - to the time when we stood in all the
pride of young manhood on Old Camels Humps lordly crest, with the thunder rolling at our feet. What mattered
it to us in that hour of our grand triumph. Tho the rain and tempest beat on our devoted heads, and the “flagy”
fog so thick we couldn’t see three inches from our noses, hadn’t we been conversing this subject for years,
months & days, our thought, by day, our dreams by night, how earnestly and admiringly we had gazed on this
mountain height from our cottage homes, and this was our hour of triumph. and if my memory is correct, we
retired in good order with all our arms & stores and quartered that night in the farmhouse and in the words of a
General in the late war who always sended his reports with “the objects of the expedition were accomplished”.
I have not written anything yet that I intended to say when I commenced -- The Great West. O yes I
have always had a great desire to see the great west, to “perambulate” (to walk around as to officially
inspect) over the great plains & shoot things but don't expect I ever shall. I am growing old Sir, most
emphatically Sir, growing old, and shall probably continue to plod along in the same old two penny style that
has become a habit to the end. My life you know, Ike,has been all a great mistake as regards the great aim and
desire of most men - wealth – worldly possessions, etc. but more of this in my next. That farm! you always said
you would allow me Sir to congratulate you Sir yes Sir., most sincerely Sir, very truly Sir. Son
Hurrah for Grant & Colfax!
This is the largest sheet of paper in the house. I have constitutional objections of using two pieces. Will get a
sheet of foals cop [fools-cap – paper properly 13.5 x17 to be folded in half] next time. Write as soon as you get
this. What time do you contemplate coming east? You must arrange for one night with us if no more. Can you
give me Malvard T- address?
(Note: This may be the Alonzo that Ike gave to his son’s middle name: George Alonzo Howe. Ike is 41;
Malvard Tucker is 31.)
(old handwriting says: "To Aunt Harriet after death of her twins. ")
Clinton, Iowa, Sunday, Aug. 9th, 1868.
Dear Brother & Sister!
The notice of the loss of your little ones was not unexpected by us for the reports previously given,
satisfied us that their condition was such that there was but little grounds for hope. While we deeply sympathize
with you, it seems almost like bitter mockery to offer words of consolation. You know that "it is well"! You
know that all is ordered for the best; but that does not give the loved ones back. We may tell you that the little
darlings were too frail and tender for this bleak world and the Good Father has taken them to a fairer home,
where they will await your coming. Yes! ----but then your yearning, desolate hearts answer ---"we loved them
so!" --"we miss them so!" We cannot read words of consolation, when the tears blind our eyes. --We cannot hear
the words of comfort when our ears are listening for the sweet, birdlike voices that so recently filled our homes
with music and our hearts with hope. Nothing but time can heal your bleeding hearts sufficiently to enable you
to listen with any degree of composure or interest to the friends who say: -"I pity you." We do pity you for we
know your feelings ----When time after time the angels took our only child ---our one little pet lamb ---all we
had to love and care for we knew what it was to be left desolate. We knew what it was to have the house all
silent and orderly ---the little playthings and the little dresses laid away and the little darlings gone forever. We
could sadly say:--
"The little feet are on their way
To the home beyond the skies
And our hearts are like the void which comes
When a strain of music dies. "
You have not lost all --there are children's voices left to make music in your home -there are little
darlings left to love and care for and hope for; but I suppose that the parent heart that expands to take in one
after another, feels much of the same anguish when one is missed that it feels when all are missed. "When all
are missed"! --God grant that we, and you may never experience that terrible dying again! We tremble at the
thought ------to be again left childless ---let us thank God that we are not so now.
Truly your brother,
Remember, Ike and Annie have lost three babies. Since the plural is used for children's voices, Edwin and
Hattie are born and perhaps also Walter.
Clinton, Iowa Oct. 26th 1868
Geo L. Dunlap -
Genl. Supt. C.&N.W.R.
Dear Sir: --
In calling your attention to the Iowa Division, permit me, here to mention the terrible condition of the
45th iron between this place and Boone. It is broken, bent and battered -the ends all crushed and tattered - the
old, wrought chairs are shattered and promiscuously scattered, so the track will be impairable unless you help us
We should now be in condition for approaching competition and if you’re in position to fill a requisition,
please send to us, immediately, 2,000 tons of iron. I trust that you’ll remember to tell each “directing member”
that the long rains of November and the freezes of December play the devil with superstructures which have
naught but mud to lie on. I know it’s not pleasing, on roads like these you’re leasing, to have us always teasing:
but our earnings are increasing and it's cheaper paying for iron than for surgeons, priests and necks. I would
guard the reputation of this “highway of the nation” - so I lay the case before you and earnestly implore you not
to treat as jests or irony my talk of fearful wrecks.
Respectfully yours, I.B. Howe
Did you notice the rhymes?? It kinda sneaks up on you as you read. Priceless, considering who he was writing
Pennsylvania Rail Road Co.
Office of the General Superintendent
Edward H. Williams, Genl. Supt. Altoona, Pa. 4 Jany. 1869
I am in receipt of yours of 31st (??) and will attend to “old Davis - enclosing herewith passes for him
from Chicago to New York - east of that there is an “ev?? country”. and I am unable to coax any favors out of
any one - Davis is pretty good at the business & I would like to see what success he meets with. He may make
it so sweet that they will run him over the Roads special, an honor they have not even accorded to Genl. Mang. I
am pleased to hear that the scraper -?? is a good thing. Tell Davis that we keep a man here specially detailed
to lick all persons who even look at patents, so he must (if he values safety) keep quiet while hereabouts on that
subject, he may make a few remarks on California & elsewhere as be seen fit.
I was at St. Albany & Montreal last month - they were at both places building snow plows you patten
(patented or pattern??) on my return home. I sent a draghtsman to St. A. & we are now building a plow here we
have little ?[use, need]? for this as our snows are seldom liable to trouble us, yet occasionally there is
trouble. Regards to wife - we hoped to see you with ???.
Yours truly, Edward H. Williams
This letter is addressed from “Carlisle, Ind.” to I.B. Howe, Clinton, Iowa.
[There is a reference previously that she was staying at Oaktown Indiana with George's friends while George
was in Missouri (rebeldom) teaching school.]
Oak Station, June 20th/69
I have just got Charlie [son 7] and laid on a comfort at my feet so that I can keep the flies off him and
now I will write the letter that I have just dated yesterday when I happened to think I ought to write to I (Ione
Tucker, Malverd’s sister, see below, the only two children of Ike’s sister Theoda) who is alone among strangers in
Kansas, Ill. about fifteen miles from Paris. I do not know why she did not stay with Delia [Adelia Tucker
Blackburn; step sibling of Malverd and Ione by WmRice Tucker's second wife Armena Simons; no blood
relation. Ione was a music teacher.] but suppose she could not get a good class there. I guess the poor child
had a hard time in getting a piano and everything arranged. I am very glad Malverd is in so good a situation rec’d
a letter from him a few weeks ago. I suppose Annie is now making preparations for her journey eastward
-- do you go with her or stay alone to dread evil tidings of your Mary. [Mary was born in '65 and was the first
child to survive; two previous had died in Clinton.] I am glad she is going and wish Han. could take her little
flock away from that (to me) dreadfully fatal place for children. I fear our sister has many a very bitter
heartache for which she can ask no sympathy -- we can offer none -- but you are near her and can love and
cheer her often and thus help her to bear her secret sorrow. Ike, can you imagine any more painful state of
feeling than for a mother to feel that her husband dislikes her fatherless children and that they reciprocate his
feelings towards the husband she is to love, honor, and obey, and the father of her little ones? I think it rather of
a hard place for all parties concerned but worse for her than all others, but I had not intended writing this, only I
was thinking of it. I do not mean to be a fool about my child but I prize a smile for him more than for myself
and know that through his sufferings, follies or vices is the keenest dagger with which Fate can reach my heart.
[Han's first husband Thomas McGregor died in San Francisco in '50 when the two girls, Cora and Martha
[Mattie] were babies. My guess he died in the gold fields 4 yrs after their marriage in '46. Apparently Roys
Jones did not like the girls who were 11 & 9 yrs old when they married in '59. Roys was 49 and Han was 36.]
June the month of roses is almost gone, the roses quite gone, and now green peas and beans, ripe
cherries and currents are the observed of all observers. I have been washing today and then studying in my old
Latin Reader a little. Sometimes I almost fancy myself back in the old home with so much quiet --- so great a
chance for dreaming. Have ten years passed since we laid her down to sleep? [Martha Bridgman died June'55,
actually 14 yrs. past] I can think how Father [Abijah – will die two years later in Sept'71.] looked over toward
the cemetery when I was at Asa’s. I wept for his sorrow and loneliness, borne so unmurmuringly . I hope you
will go and see him this summer as I suppose you will. Kiss Annie and Mary for me and send me a lock of her
Northfield Oct. 16, 1869
It is a long time since I wrote to you. I will name the reason I waited until July to have Robinson bring
down your cheese. Got William Tucker (his son-in-law, father of Malvard and Ione) to call and see about.
They said it would be ready in two or three weeks. The last of August I went up. Mrs. Robinson said the
weather was so warm she was afraid it would mould. Last night they sent them down. The two weigh fifty
pounds at one shilling put. I don’t know how soon we can send them and your sugar as there has been no freight
train over this road for over two weeks and I don’t know how soon they will get them running but as soon as
they do we put your articles aboard.
23) After so long a time your sugar and cheese have got started. A few days after you left I saw G???p.
He said you paid your taxes. [George Howe Peabody would be 33 and apparently already handling Ike's
business in New England.] I thought I should have money enough to last me until Asa came in Sept. and I paid
his tax of $7.00. Martha to (told?) me you wanted two more tubs of sugar of Boynden at 14 cents per 10 paid
$20.80 paid your school tax $6.90 and a town tax of $8.15. Henry [Asa's son; is 21] wanted that he had to go
west so I let him sixteen dollars $16.00 which he is to pay you as soon as he earns it. If I have done wrong I
hope you will forgive me for I thought you would have done it had you been here. Mr. Barret has paid his note
I kept enough to pay for your cheese until I was taken sick.
It weighed 50 pounds at one shilling per lb.
Sugar $ 20.8
School tax 6.90
Town tax 8.15
[Interesting he is still using the term shilling for dollar.]
My health is pretty good now, my appetite is good but gain strength very slow. I had one of the best and
kindest of nurses in Ann. Some of the time she would get up two or three times to give me medicine. Malverd
has been quite unwell for two or three weeks.[This is Malverd Abijah; is 6.] The Doctor called it Measles but
no others have had them. Ann has had a hard time in seeing to things out door and in the house. Aunt Hannah
Peabody came and stayed about four weeks and helped Ann what her health would permit. Uncle Charles (Aunt
Hannah married Charles Peabody. Hannah was a younger half sister to Abijah How. See Howe genealogy
book, page 180, #57&58) and Augustus [Augusta Mudge Peabody, wife of cousin George Howe Peabody of
Danvers] came and stayed a week. They all started for home (Danvers, Mass) last Monday. I hope you will
always be blessed for your good deeds as you are in the good will of who know and in your family. Peace and
happiness. Love to all. I am some tired.
Notes: aunt Hannah and uncle Charles Peabody were the parents of George Howe Peabody, who played a
large role in Ike's family. Abijah apparently calls aunt Augusta, Augustus.
Return addressed stamped on: Savery House, Des Moines, Iowa, G.W. Savery & Co., Prop’s.
Addressed to: I. B. Howe, Esq., Supt. C&NWRCo., Clinton
Des Moines, Monday Eve. April 8, 1870
We have had a constant fight on the tax question since I arrived here Tuesday night. It has been growing
more and more bitter every day - the first Conference Committee failed to agree - the second, after quarreling
one day among themselves disagreed and 5 out of six proposed an amendment raising the Senate bill ½ of one
per cent - the House adopted it – but we went at it in the Senate, had a vigorous fight all day yesterday and slept
on our arms last night. We got it postponed to this morning. Last evening we organized the Senate and this
morning cleaned them out. Then we took the House and after a row of about two hours, tracked them down and
got one bill through - “The Lobby”= that is, Hoxiet, ? Strong & myself just catched h--l - they went for us
personally, cussed us and d--d us, since we were the power behind the throne, that we overarmed the Senate &
were now on the floor of the House and endeavoring to defeat them, etc. I’ll send you a report. It will be useful
to you when you want to give somebody the devil and can’t think of any mean enough thing to say.
The Commissioners bill is now the only thing left. We have about concluded to kill that outright. I
don’t hear anything from Chicago yet except that Col. Howe will be home tomorrow. [Col. James H. Howe]
Yours truly, E. S. Bailey
When Daisy was born - Aug. 3, 1870. From cousin Ria Knight.
The first part of this letter is missing...who to?
...but not quite equal to a certain little one in the corner of the Maple Str.?? School.
Perhaps I am a little partial. I believe there are about two hundred scholars. They sing the same little tunes that
we do at home and with a good deal of spirit - there is one very pretty one “Love one another ?? faith the
Saviour” - I don’t think we sing that. I have written Martha & Mary Putnam [Abijah's sister Sarah married
Allen Knight whose mother was a Putnam. Sarah is Maria's grandmother.] and Ellen Dubois, please tell them I
am looking for an answer hope to get one soon.
Who have you for a teacher now? I suppose Miss Morse is away - I don’t think we shall venture till
Sept. and Mrs. Jones one of our cousins will probably go with us for a visit as she has not been East for three
Aug. 3rd. I left this the other evening ?? will try to finish it for the next mail. When little Mamie and Oda came
down to breakfast this morning, they found much to their surprise a “little baby sister had been given them in
the night - Mamie who is about five years old was perfectly wild with delight when her Papa took her in to see
the little bundle of love wrapped in it’s little soft blanket. But Oda who is only three years of age and is quite a
decided little Miss would not say a word to it and when Mamie asked her to kiss baby she said she did not want
to. In a few minutes the little one began to cry and Oda looked up to the nurse and said Mrs. Mailey “Ye must
carry this baby home.” and as yet she has not changed her mind but Mamie thinks that no money could buy her.
Now Annie write me an answer won’t you?
With many good wishes and love from your friend and teacher Maria T. Knight?
Mary referred to as Mamie?
This could not be to Annie – because she just had Daisy. If Daisy was born in Clinton, Ria must be there
writing to Northfield, and the Jones cousin could be Han. She is writing to someone who was her student and
does not know the Jones cousin.
"Our pleasant room" is either Northfield or Clinton. In either case, Harriet seems out of place and ill or sad.
It seems Ike has gone to Janesville for health reasons with James. Going to Janesville is more likely from
Clinton than Northfield. If written in 1870, Cub would be 5, Oda 3, Daisy not born or shortly to be, August
1870. sounds like early summer or late spring.
My own dear precious darling Husband, how I did miss you yesterday. Our pleasant room that I have taken so
much comfort in did look gloomy yesterday but was glad you started, for I think it was best and I hope you will
stay and feels contented if you are gaining, for your health is everything to yourself and family and happiness.
Try not to worry about nothing. Everything seems to go along pleasant and we are all well. The children have
gone to church this morning and your little pet Oda looked like a doll. You could not have kept your hands off
her if you had seen her. The little hat trimmed with blue made her so happy. She opened my bedroom door
before I was up and the first word she said "where papa?" I said "gone home with Grandpa". "Tell papa come
home". It sounded so sweet. Cub slept with me and she would say "what day will Papa come? Will it be after
Sunday?" Your missed, Darling. You always are, but now more than ever because you have been with us so
long. We all love you but are willing to be patient till you can come home feeling better. Your collars darling, I
did feel dreadfully about. I put them in the satchel but when you went to get your cigars you must have taken
them out and forgot to put them back. I was sorry, but I was not to blame. Perhaps you will remember how it
was they were in the little wooden cigar box. Tell the folks not to kill you with kindness, but just give you
enough to eat that you relish and let you get well as soon as possible for I want to see you. Poor Harriet sits
there suffering. I feel a great deal of sympathy for her. Mrs. Bally was in a little while last night. Her pleasant
face and soothing voice seemed comforting. I enjoyed her call just at twilight -- as it is the lonesome time in the
day and when the children are being put to bed I am alone and no darling to go into and lay my weary head on
-- that always had such a comforting answer when I am tired or nervous. I think this will tire you but it seems
to do me good to write. Seems almost like being with you.
Your own loving wife, Annie
Newspaper clipping in envelope says: "GENEROSITY -- the Clinton Institute, which seems to combine charity with fun, advertises for
the name and residence of every family in the city that is too poor to buy and too honest to steal a Christmas turkey. Responsible
parties are requested to leave all necessary information at the Midland or Chicago and Northwestern offices, or address the Clinton
Institute by mail. This society distributed about 40 turkeys in this manner last year, and as the information is more extended, they
expect to give their charities a wider range this year." On the back of this clipping May 23, 1866 is mentioned and this could be the
timeframe that this letter from Annie (Hannah) was written -- Tana
[My reasoning for placing the above letter here is that it was during this period that Ike found it necessary to
drop out of his normal life and recover his health. Precisely when this began is not known but the following
letters indicate his recovery. IB in Clinton -- health improving.]
Otterville, June 25, 1870
Addressed to: Mr. IB Howe, Clinton, Iowa -- postmarked from Otterville Missouri.
My Darling Brother,
I was very, very glad to get your letter and know that your health is improving and think that I might see
you here and I rec'd one from Malverd the same day saying that he might possibly come here during his
vacation. Now do you believe I slept much that night! We sat in the door yard (I very much?endishabille?
(Not legible)) and talked about it till long after our usual bedtime, then I went to bed to lie and think about it. I
suppose Asa does not hint at coming this summer. He never writes to me anymore. But I must tell you while I
think of it that Death has done what the people could not do -- removed ' Nasby' from the Boonville postoffice,
for which I am truly grateful.
I received a letter from cousin Maria a few days since. I was very glad to hear from her and all the rest
of you, but how very lonely it seems to think of Allen's home and no mother there. I feel that a very dear friend
is gone. Is Maria still with you? How does Allen like the West? How does Annie endure this hot weather? I
think so much about her in this most uncomfortable time anyway. Charles is out fussing with his hens. He is a
perfect old hen granny. George has gone to get signers to a road petition and carried off the pen. He has been
talking about writing to you for several days, but is so lazy about writing that I will not wait for him. We are
having a very warm dry season; crops have suffered a good deal for want of rain except corn which looks well
now, though it needs rain now very badly. I am glad you are off the railroad for a while though I rather hope
you will accept the position of Chief Engineer so that I can go to California with you sometime. Should you
make Clinton home if you do not go onto the road? You had better come to Mo. and build a factory of some
kind. They are needed badly,?? Factory of all kinds.
Our farming does not amount to much this Summer (Well that boy will get his neck broke running on
the top rail of the fence and over the roof of the henhouse just as he would on the ground.) Geo. has not been
very stout. He took cold last Fall and did not get over it till Spring, then in the busy season in the Spring the
horse kicked him so that he was laid up for two or three weeks and there did not come rain for planting tobacco
as he had intended. I don't expect we shall get rich farming till Charles is a few years older. We have engaged
the same schools that we taught last Winter for six months, to begin the 12th of Sept. And I do so hope you will
be able to come down before that time for though we should be glad as can be to see you at Boonville, we
would rather see you here and have you see our little brush patch and see what you think can be made of it. It is
getting dark. With much love to all -- Goodnight -- Nett
Malvard Tucker is 33, not quite married to Ria yet. Nett was seven when Malvard was born. She may have
been possessive since his mother (her sister) died when he was 7. Ria was concerned that Nett disapproved
their marriage, but no hint of that yet.
This sounds like Allen Knight, father of Maria, mother who we don't know newly "gone", have left New England
and gone to Clinton.
Charles Howe Scott is now 8, Nett and George Scott are 40 and 48.
If you are at Chicago will you see what you can get Bancroft's History of the U. States for. Charlie has some
money that has been given him by one and another and thought I would get him one of four books with it.
Either Bancroft, McCanley's England, Gabbon, or Shakespeare for him to keep and me to read. Please send me
the price of each if perfectly convenient. In haste -- Nett
Addressed to: I.B. Howe, Esq, Ch.E., C.&N.W, Clinton (Personal)
Engineer's Office, Chicago and North Western Railway, Co., Galena Division.
Chicago, July 1, 1870
As your humble servant is a "gentleman of leisure" I have concluded to kill a few moments by writing
you a short note.
Was glad to learn from Kellogg that your health is rapidly improving and that you hope soon to take
charge of your work. In my estimation it is quite important for you to do so as matters on this division cannot
take care of themselves. I shall not commit myself to any long job, until you decide whether you will want me
in your corps. and should you select me - I will do as I ever have done, and that is - do all I can for your success
by carrying out your plans and forever be what some men are - all sweet to your face and stab you when your
back is turned -- in fine you will always know what to depend on.
Let me know when you come in.
Truly your friend
Ino. E. Blunt
Addressed to: Co. I.B. Howe, Chf Eng., C&NWRy, Clinton, Iowa (Personal)
Engineer's Office Chicago & North Western Railway.
Madison, Wis. July 25, 1870
Col. I.B. Howe
You having been appointed Chief Engineer of the C. & N. W. Ry. I would like to enquire if you will need
any assistance in taking care of the Wis: or Galena Divisions, and if so what the chances might be for me. I have
been in the employ of the company more or less for several years and have done a good deal of work for both
Mr. Blunt and Mr. Van Meenan?? Mr. Blunt is off and as near as I can learn Van will only have the new line
from this place towards La Crosse to look after - consequently it appears to me the intention is to place the
whole Road under your immediate charge and I thought perhaps you might want some help about doing your
I am at present with Van on the Madison & La Cross survey but would much prefer to work where I
could be at home more. I do not expect you would pay extravagant wages as I think the intention to be to curtail
expenses - and I would be willing to work for anything reasonable. My experience in Rail Road work has been
quite varied, having had oportunities for getting pretty well posted in location construction and in taking care of
a road already built.
I would be much pleased to hear from you at your convenience.
My address is "Oak Park", Cook Co., Ills.
Yours truly, M. E. Young
SAINT PAUL AND CHICAGO RAILWAY.
Chief Engineer's Office of the
Minnesota Railway Construction Company,
Minneapolis, Minn. August 4, 1870
I.B. Howe Esq., Chief Engr.
I have been informed that 8 spans of the Iowa bridge at Clinton were built as follows:
2 spans by S. B. Boomer
2 spans by Keystone Bridge Co.
2 spans by Detroit Bridge works
and 2 spans by Kellogg, Clarke and Co.
all of the same length and to the same specifications. I would deem it a great favor if you would write me which
of these spans you prefer and if not too much trouble please write me your reasons for the same. An early reply
D.C. Shepard Chf Eng.
Chicago & North Western Railway
Office of the General Manager
Chicago, August 9 1870
Isaac B. Howe Esq. Clinton, Iowa
I desire to get some facts about the condition and prospects of the Midland R. R. a road running from
Clinton through Lyons, Maquoketa and Anamosa, (just NW of Clinton) and I shall be obliged, if you will give
me, what information you may have, or be able to obtain upon the following points.
1 st What has been done about the organization of the Company, who are in it, and about
the location, building and operating the road.
2d Where have they got their means?
3d How much iron have they and who did they get it from?
4th What relation have they with a road to Chicago or Milwaukie?
5th Who represents and helps them in New York?
Add to this whatever other information you think of value to us, or which we should know at your early
convenience. Yours very truly, John B. Turner?? [probably an assistant to Dunlap.]
Western Union telegrams for I.B. Howe, 5th Ave.
I.B. Howe Do not go until we see you tomorrow morning. If matters go as we have every reason to
expect & hope they will we shall depend upon you to assume charge of the Midland and attend to its building &
operation. Geo. L. Dunlap
I.B. Howe If you come to Chicago to see Dr. Isham I will send special car out for you. When will
you come J. C. G. (probably John C. Gault)
CHICAGO & NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY
Office of the General Manager
Chicago, November 18, 1870
Col. W. T. Shaw
By the terms of your agreement with this Co. certain questions in relation to the construction of the Midland
R.R. are to be decided by me - and as I find it inconvenient to give the personal attention to some of these
questions you are hereby notified that any direction or order issued by Mr. Isaac B. Howe, Chf. Engr. should be
respected the same as if I issued it. I make this general because I cannot tell exactly what may come up and I
want you & Mr. Howe to understand the matter alike so I send a copy of this to Mr. Howe. I have requested Mr.
Howe to examine and report the stripping of the earth from the rock and decide what had better be done. His
decision in the matter will be final and you are authorized to proceed accordingly.
Geo. L. Dunlap Gen. Manager
[The following letters indicate Ike was thinking of branching out into the iron railroad bridge business. It
appears he was considering relocating back to the East for this if it worked out. This was at the same time
Abijah was in his final year of life.]
Addressed to: I.B. Howe, Iowa Midland Railway Office, Clinton
Office of NORTHERN RAILROAD.
Concord, N.H., Nov. 25th 1870
I.B. Howe, Esq.
Your favor of the 7th?? is duly rceived. I do not think that the Railroads of the New England States are
quite ready to adopt Iron Bridges. The difference in 'cost' is rather too much between wooden & iron structures.
Yet in my opinion Iron Bridges will eventually & in a few years come into general use. It would be well for the
Railroad in good financial condition to introduce the use of iron as a test of its value, if nothing more, in view of
the day when they must adopt them generally.
I should be glad to have you come to the East to reside, but am not prepared to recommend you to do so
as agent for any iron bridge company for constructing railroad bridges.
I am, dear Sir, Yours truly?? illegible?? [could this be I. G. Smith?]
Office Northern Pacific RRCo., 120 Broadway, New York, Dec. 10, 1870
I am in pursuit of a first class Master Mechanic for our Pacific road and Horatio Anderson formuly of
the Chicago & North Western RR has made application for the position. Dr. E. H. Williams was here this week
& I had some conversation with him on the subject. He is not favorably impressed with man & has told me
some things about him, but has referred me to you for more full information. Will you kindly give me & with
frankness your opinion as to his fitness. Is he competent to supervise the outfit of such a road to layout organize
shops on a large scale & are his habits good and is he strictly temporate? What was the occasion of his leaving
the Ch & Nor Western? Please favor me with a full expression, as I cannot well afford to make any mistake in
the selection of such a head of department.
We are progressing well with our road schedule to the Mississippi River with our track next month, and
to Rio River about July - We have also commenced work on Pacific Coast & have 100 miles under contract
there. We hope to have work to the Missouri River under contract early in the spring.
Hoping to hear from you at your early convenience & with the assurance that anything you may say
shall be held in strictest confidence.
I am very cordially yours,
I. Gregory Smith, President
Northern Pacific Rail Road Company.
120 Broadway, New York Dec. 19 1870
I.B. Howe Esq.
My dear Sir
Your kind note of?? is recd. Please accept thanks for the prompt reply & for the information which it
contains. You may rely upon its being kept in strict confidence -- the letters to which you refer as having been
sent to me at St. Alleuns? have never been recd by me. Possibly they may be those now on my desk awaiting
my arrival. In regard to the subject of iron bridges, I hardly know which to say, if my opinion is to influence
your action. We are putting it on the ? central two bridges of iron this season by way of experiment, one on No
4 (I think) between Northfield & Montpelier, a little over 100 foot span, and the other at the "Clark Bridge" in
Milton - about 110 feet span. We are also thinking of putting one at the Huelow ? Bridge between Northfield &
Roxbury of about 300 feet. This latter we have not fully determined upon. The No.4 is in & is working finally
and thus far to our entire satisfaction.
We intent hereafter to work in iron bridges for new ones so far & so fast as we have the means to do it - I
doubt however if any of the other roads immediately adopt them, as wood & lumber are plenty & cheap, & the
roads feeble financially & hardly feeling able to undertake the expenses. That is our trouble - we are growing
stronger & doing well but as yet too poor to be very economical. In other parts of New England I can hardly
judge of the extent to which such work if ?mged? (managed abreviated?) vigorously by parties in interest,
could be pushed with the RR Cos. Yet I believe the time is not very far distant where the roads will see the
value of & will adopt the iron for their bridges. With the increasing traffic on all the roads, we cannot well
afford to incur the loss to one business which a single fin. [fire?] occasions. The N. Y. & N. Haven road are
adopting the iron & are now building some bridges - other roads will in due time follow.
I am, very sincerely, your friend I. Gregory Smith
Boxford, Mass.. October 1, 1870
My dear Brother,
Allen and Maria came up Monday and brought Father and I a very handsome present. I have wanted to
write to you everyday since but have had company or something has prevented. Your present has made Father
and I very grateful and happy. I suppose it has been so long since you could get anything you wanted that you
can hardly realize how much good ?? and?? will do us. We accept it with pleasure feeling it is cheerfully
given feeling that your wife would not object either. May the Lord still bless and prosper you, for in prospering
you he blesses us all. I want Father to have an easy chair or lounge. We have had considerable planning to do
this week when we get things arranged. I shall write and tell you. I am not going to lay up the money against a
time of need for I have come to want now. If Father continues comfortable, I am glad you did not come now,
for we have it to look forward to and Maria and Allen can tell us all about you now. Maria sees nothing through
"a glass darkly" but everything is beautiful to her. I can seem to see you all, even to baby [Daisy, just newborn]
wrapped in her blanket but Oda is the most wonderful of all. I hope Annie's?? Not legible? is better now. Oh
Ike, how good the Lord is to spare you all and yet do we realize his goodness? When I think how dark this
world would seem with the loving brother gone. His thoughtful kindness taken from us -- I think I am very
grateful to our Heavenly Father for all his mercies.
It has been a little raining for a few days. I see it affects father but he is about. He takes a nap in the
afternoon, sometimes in the forenoon too. George Peabody brought him over a pair of boots this week. Said
they wouldn't be anything. I hear of George giving five dollars to a poor man here and five dollars to a poor
woman there until I think he may do more good in small things than the great George did. I cannot help hoping
that you may have business that will bring you a little nearer New England.
With a great deal of love to you all. I am yours ever, Soph.
Father says he does not feel like writing. You must imagine what he would say.
Note: George Peabody was son of Uncle Charles and Aunt Hannah. Hannah was Abijah's half-sister by
Allen Knight and his daughter Maria were cousins by Aunt Sarah, Abijah's older sister, who married Allen's
father. In other words, Sarah was Maria's grandmother. Also Maria would soon marry Malverd Tucker who
was by now a distant cousin.
Boxford, November 20, 1870
My Dear Brother.
Are you busy? I want to have a little chat with you. Thomas and I went to Salem a few days ago and
bought a good lounge for which we paid $12. Father thought the old chair he sits in was good enough and I
think the lounge is better as the weather is colder. It will be more comfortable for him to live down here in the
sitting room. Father is very feeble, coughs and raises a great deal -- I sometimes think the end is very near -still
he may live through the winter. You know he was very sick last fall. Father thought I had better get me a
carpet for my sitting room. It would save me so much washing (I believe he never liked to have floors washed)
so when the money came I thought I would get a carpet for my chamber and take that for my sitting room. I
have done so. I hope you will not think I have spent our money foolishly. Father reads all he dares to, is about
the house but does not go out of the house any. Now Ike, we all know that father cannot be very far from the
end of his journey and should he be taken suddenly so I should know no time to consult you in regard to his
burial, I want you to write me some directions, expenses of coffin, etc. We know that these questions may be
answered for you and I before they are for him, but it will not hasten the day to talk with you about it and as we
are situated it does not seem improper to speak to you about it. Whenever you write, write on a slip of paper
because he would want to see the mainsheet.
We are all well -- shall not invite any to Thanksgiving unless Allen and Maria. There are too many
families now and I do not feel willing to invite them. Have done my duty in that line. The fall has been very
pleasant. George Peabody represents Danvers in the legislature. He is very kind to father and finally all the rest
of us. I can hardly account for it. What is the old adage? "Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them." Ike,
when I think of the goodness of God in restoring you to so good a health it seems to me we all ought to praise
his holy name. You have been very, very kind to all of us.
Sunday evening. Allen and Maria have just gone. I wish you could sit behind the curtain and hear Allan
talk about Oda. She is the most wonderful child he ever saw. She seems to make everybody love her. He says
she is a perfect picture too -- I hear that Annie is able to lay aside her crutch. I am very glad. She must be very
careful. Well, I did invite Aunt Phila to come here, but I did not then expect Father to come home with me and I
thought it would be a relief to him and?? and be not trouble to me but after Father came, of course, I did not
expect her -- and I found it troubled him very much. I am sorry he feels so, he says he wishes he didn't feel so
but I am very thankful he is here. There are more to call and see him here. I can do things to make him
comfortable by our open fire and the money you sent has made us both very grateful. I am down to the bottom
of the page. Give my best love to your dear family.
Boxford, December 7, 1870
My Dear Brother.
Your letter came all right. I am so glad I wrote to you last Monday. I was afraid I had not written you
soon enough. Father was very sick. I got some medicine of our Doct. for his cough. It has helped it
wonderfully for the last few days. He has talked a good deal. I wish you could have been here. We cannot
hope it, rather expect it to last long. Monday Aunt Betsy Wilkins came over to see him. She said she wanted to
see Father and she never expected to come again. She has had two attacks of palsy and her friends are
expecting every day that she will have the third and last attack. I suppose you do not know her. She is Father's
cousin and Mother knew her. Tuesday ?? Charles and the two Aunt Hannah's came. Allen was up last
evening. There are a good many to call. The ministers call to see him. Among all the Societies in Northfield,
not one called to see him while I was there. His friends are nearly all gone. Father sleeps in one of the
bedrooms opening out of the sitting. Thomas would hear him in the night if anything was the matter. He lies on
the lounge when he lies down during the day. It is so nice for him. Does not seem half so lonesome right here
in the sitting room with us. We have a comfortable carpet on the floor. Father has a warm corner by the open
fire which he enjoys. I try to make him just as comfortable as I can and thanks to you I think he is. Thomas has
never said a word that Father was a burden in any way. Of course he thinks we are well paid but I think he
would do what he could if you had not supplied us so generously. Father has money enough for the present.
George gets his whiskey for him in Boston. Father's letter to you is the first he has written since he has been
here. If I am as well as I am now, I shall take care of him myself and I have had some things to do which I was
very thankful it was me instead of Annie. Tell her to be sure and come this way if she can. Ike, I wish you
would write a few lines to George. We will try and have some clan? When you come. I am very glad Annie is
able to lay aside her crutch. A crutch seems almost?? To me and I feel a tender sympathy for one who is
obligated to use one from whatever cause. Ike, we all want to see you and have a good long talk. Father thinks
you will not come until it freezes. It is very mild here, we have had a beautiful fall. I shall talk with you about
Tom if you are not able to come before very long. I shall write you. Give my love to your wife and your little
girls. Oh Daisy. The name sounds pretty to me because it is associated with a pretty girl. She was not named
Daisy but it was given as a pet name and has always kept it. I am glad to hear that you are all well. So are we
and it is no small thing to be thankful for. I presume I shall think of something else I wanted to write after I
send this -- but I can write again.
With best love to all. Your sister, Soph
On first page of this letter is written:
My cough is better today. I think that it has been any time for more than a year I left Northfield July 1 and think
that I shall not go back to live there anymore. Ann has always been good and kind to me but I cannot bear the
sight. Ahila*, don't keep your house any longer to make an home for me. I have stopped at Uncle Charles two
or three weeks. George and Augustus called at Thomas the next day after we got home and George here about
every week since. He goes as representative to the legislator. He has given a new?? Not legible , cost $125, a
very nice pair of slippers, a new pair of calfskin boots. I want to see and a long talk with you and hope it shall
soon. If the medicine Dr. Allen left me continues to ease me I will write again. Ere long give my love to your
dear wife and all your children. Our relatives in this section are all well.
*Phila? In Northfield. He's not going back. She's the relative he doesn't like.
Boxford, May 7, 1871
Addressed to IB Howe, Clinton, Iowa
I have been hoping every day to get word that you are coming soon. I do not know that Father seems
very much worse but I think he is failing all of the time, and unless you come soon I fear you will not see him.
He may be better when bright weather comes and stay with us till another May comes, but I'm more think he
will be at rest before the roses bloom again. He thinks you will not come till Sept. but if you can, I hope you
will come this month. It would be such a great satisfaction for him to see you once more as I know it would to
you to see his loving smile. The cousins and Aunt Hannah think that he cannot be here long. He coughs and
raises a great deal. O! Ike, I am so thankful for the privilege of being here and the pleasure of it will last into
future years. Yesterday Soph had a kind of a family party -- Uncle Charles' folks, Aunt Hannah Howe's
[Benjamin's widow, Hannah Berry], Allen's and a few others. You were spoken of many times. We had a very
pleasant time though the thought of parting with the dear Father, the thought that he was too feeble to mingle
with us, and of the near parting was all of the time there.
I expect to go to Vt. next week Tuesday. I think I shall get my ticket from Boston over the Grand Trunk
and not come back this way. It seems but a little while that I have been here but quite a long time since I left
home. I am glad Annie is able to leave home. I think it will do her good to have a change. I think it does all of
us women good to change the subject of our thoughts sometimes. I think I shall start for Clinton about the 23rd
of this month. All are well as usual.
Apparently Aunt Nett was visiting Father in Boxford.
Boxford, August 31, 1871
My Dear Brother,
I want to just write you a line this morning. We were rather hoping to go to the Howe meeting [big
gathering of the Howe clan*] today but Father is so feeble I did not think best to leave him. He does not sit up
any. No appetite, he has three kinds of wine. Mr. Palmer sent him some Port. I do not think he has the least
desire to get about again. Ann and Malverd [Asa's wife and son, 8] are here now or have gone over to Uncle
Charles today. Helen came down here last Monday week Tuesday. She and Ann went to Marblehead Beach
and stayed until Thursday night. Ann came up to Allen's, got here Saturday night. Susie started for Derry this
morning to go to school. I think it is a good chance for her but I shall miss her every way. When Father found
Susie was going away he thought I had better send for Martha [Jones, 52] but Evie is better so I shall not
send just yet. I try to get everything I can think of for him but he takes very little of anything. Says sooner he
has his discharge the better. Maria sent me word yesterday that Ione [28, from Paris, Illinois] and Mr. Bussell
[Buzzell, husband of Alma, sister of Wm. Tucker and therefore an uncle to Malvard Tucker] are coming next
week. Well, we think it will take Maria time to cook.
*This Howe meeting eventually resulted in the genealogy by Daniel Wait Howe
Father seems no worse. George Howe [son of old Hannah Berry and Benjamin, 45] was here Friday,
said he should not think Father would live a week. Yesterday Aunt Hannah and Asa's wife came over, Uncle
Charles and Hannah, but he seemed brighter yesterday. The Doct. does not come very often. Says there is not
much he can do for him. I do not think Father likes it because he does not come oftner. I told him I would send
for any other Doct. he wanted. I will do the best I can. The men went freighting their hay last Friday, going
again tomorrow. I hope your wife and Daisy are better. I have not time to write half I want to you. Have
probably read of the terrible R. R. accident. It comes very near home.
I have not had time to write to Jim [21, probably working in Clinton] the last week. If you see him,
please tell him I will write this week. We are all comfortable. Ann begins to talk about going home. We shall
get our letter today. I will try and write you oftner now. Susie boards with Mr. Bremner's folks -- a good place
and said to be a very good school. A few lines from you always does us good.
Written on back of envelope: "From Aunt Sophia Sawyer to Papa telling about Grandpa Howe's death which
happened while Mama was East on a visit."
Addressed to: IB Howe, Clinton, Iowa -- September 20, 1871
My Dear Brother,
You have probably received the dispatch informing you of Father's death (he died September 16, 1871).
Mr. Gould and Annie came to our house a little after 11 o'clock. Father knew them perfectly well -- was very
glad to see Annie, asked for the little girls, said he guessed he knew Uncle Jim [probably Annie's brother].
Annie lay down on the sofa. Father wanted me to get her some wine. So thoughtful for others to the last. Your
wife said it was just like Ike. Monday Father said he hoped the change would come soon. I asked him if he felt
any fears in meeting death. "Oh no" he said. He hoped to meet mother -- that was joy to him. His hope and
trust was in the savior. Jim came just in time. He could move Father easier. George Peabody took care of him
the last night he lived. He died without a struggle. Ione and Malverd [Tucker, 28 & 34] came the Thursday
before he died. One [nickname for Ione] did what she could. The funeral was Monday at two o'clock. Mr.
Boggin and Mr. Gammal were present. Father said he had no choice of ministers. I wish you could have heard
it. Mr. Gammel's remarked he had some conversation with Father. He spoke of his shrinking to speak of his
feelings to others, but as a minister of the gospel he had asked him questions and he had freely told him his
opinions. He spoke of the grandeur of his character. Had he known him intimately as we did, his estimate of
him could not have been truer. There were a good many present. I was so glad your wife could be there.
Everything looked appropriate. We got a good coffin. Annie said it was none too good. She and Maria got a
cross of flowers. The undertaker and his wife from Lawrence came with the coffin and arranged everything as
it should be. Last night we sent a letter to Ann to Lawrence -- but she was at Newton. Did not get the word
until Monday. Not in season to get to the funeral. I was so sorry. I wish Asa and all could have seen him. He
looked so grande, so peaceful. Thomas, George and I came to Northfield. We telegraphed to Martha to tell
William Tucker. The train was an hour late. When we arrived at the Depot we found carriages in readiness to
go to the cemetery. Doct. Nichols took charge after a prayer. Dear Father was laid where he had long desired
to be by Mother. He looked perfectly natural -- only 10 years younger. We all came to Addie's [Addie Jones
Clark, 27] and had supper. Now, dear brother, I have done what I thought would please Father and you. If I
have failed it has been through ignorance.
You will tell Hannah [Han, 48] all particulars until I can write. I wish you would write Nettie. I shall
write to them soon as I get home. I shall write to you all particulars soon. Father had his last smoke with you.
I do not think of an impatient word during his whole sickness.
Yours ever, Sophia
We send you a tube rose taken from the cross.
Note: Mr. James (Jim) Gould was IB's father-in-law/Annie's father, but usually uncle Jim meant Annie's
brother; William Tucker was married to Theoda who died many years before; cemetery is Elmwood in
Northfield, There is a big Howe family plot; Addie is Adelaide, daughter of Martha (sister of Sophia) and
William Jones, married to George Clark; who all lived in Northfield -- Tana and Mark
Boxford, October 27, 1871
My Dear Brother,
Your letter is received. What I wrote you about Father's things, I had no reference to anything, only
what is here. I have been glad of what has been brought and sent me. Further than that I have had no anxiety. I
know Father seemed anxious that I should have some things. I told you what he said when he gave me the
spoon -- but I never asked him for anything -- never hinted to him that I wanted anything. Father seemed
determined his bed should come down here. He asked about it a good many times. I think Ione told him it was
sent. When I went into the room he told me and looked satisfied. Now if the girls feel as though I ought not to
have it, you just tell me Ike, and as I can I will pay them. I do not want any hard feelings towards me. The only
thing that provoked me about the things was what Father said he heard Asa tell Ann -- seems as though he might
not have heard correctly. It does not sound like Asa. If there is anything at Northfield Martha and Nett want,
they are welcome to them. I hardly know whether there is anything that would fit Allen or not. If the boots
George gave him are not too large, he can have them. I shall see. There is a silver dollar in Father's
pocketbook. I had half a mind to give it to Malvard the 25th, but I knew it belonged to you.
I wish I could write you about the wedding. Everything passed off pleasantly. Maria had help from all
quarters. Allen is pretty much pinched for money. There was a good deal of expenses attending the wedding
when one has to borrow the money to get along with, but things usually come out right for Maria. Tell Annie
that Ione did not get her white?? done for the wedding. Maria had some handsome presents.
Thomas is very glad of the watch. He needs one sometime very much. I think he did all he could for
Father willingly and would if you had not paid expenses. I am sure what you have given me he has done me a
great deal of good. I have had rather a hard Summer, but I had good health too. I am thankful Father could be
with me. I did what I thought would please him -- and we have had a good many good visits together.
You see I am short for paper. Father did not like to be fussed over. One night his head seemed hot -- I
wanted to bathe it. No. He did not wish me to. The next night L? Killam watched. She said she got some
water and commenced bathing his head. He told her he wished she would get through soon as she could. Well,
Ike, I feel as though Father had more enjoyment than many men with their thousands. Thanks to his children
and you in a great degree. Father said he wanted Asa to have the Bible that he gave him and Mother (Tana has
this Bible -- 1996). I think I told Ann. I hope Asa will come this way.
I am glad you have chosen such a good portion?? Now I must go to work. Probably I shall think of
something else in the course of the day. One day I was not feeling quite right about something. Father read it in
my face I suppose. He said if he had said anything I must not think it was him -- he did not mean it. Dear man,
he was the last one to say anything to hurt my feelings. Oh, Ike, we have lost a true friend.
Love to all -- tell Annie to just let her work go. What did the children say to her?
Tom is at Ogdensburg river lumber yard. I hardly dare to write lest he should see me before you get it, but I
have not?? up. Allen is sort of stylish -- he just got a new shirt.
Notes: Ann is Asa's wife, Lucy Ann. Killam was Sophia's mother-in-law's maiden name; cousins in Boxford.
Essay to the Tribune
[regarding the cooperative pooling of railroad resources to avoid inefficient competition]
This letter is in I.B. Howe's handwriting probably to the Chicago Tribune. Probably about 1870.
Editor of Tribune!
A recent article on your commercial page, copied from some Iowa newspaper, in regard to the "Iowa
pool lines", states that while the pool has worked harmoniously on the through business between Chicago and
the Missouri river, the terms have been violated by each of the three lines in competing for local business,
through the construction of branches and otherwise; by means of which, territory has been invaded, contrary to
the terms of the pool contract, and it is intimated that their breaches of contract must result in bursting the pool.
The writer represents that Clinton is the only town of much importance on the line of either Road, that
has not been invaded. This admission goes to show that he is mistaken in thinking that the pool is endangered.
Clinton is claimed to be the largest shipping point on any of the C.&N.W. lines, outside of Chicago, and Clinton
is and always has been under the exclusive control of the C.&N.W., excepting its river business and what little
is done by the Dubuque Roads.
It is evident that if the pool contract were to be broken, except by mutual consent, Clinton would be the
first point the C.B.& Q. would attack, as that road has, for years, run to the bank of the river opposite the city,
but, since the organization of the pool, has made no attempt to do any Clinton business; consequently some 60
or 70 miles of its track between Clinton and Chicago has remained almost worthless property. The managers of
the C.B.&Q. are too shrewed and energetic to continue this "masterly inactivity", if the pool contract is being
violated in any respect without the consent of all parties in interest. This fact, that one of the most important and
easiest accessable points on either of the three lines has not been invaded, shows that the pool combination
continues on as firm and honorable a basis as ever, and is still entitled to the credit Cha? Francis Adams, Jr.
awarded it of being the only successful and permanent pool yet organized.
The success of these three great lines of railway in "pooling their issues", demonstrates that it can be
done to any extent desired. Each of these three lines, like the New York Central and others, originally consisted
of numerous independent organizations, and it is just as pacticable? to consolidate a dozen or fifty large
corporations as a dozen or fifty small ones.
The question is: - Would such consolidations be beneficial to the Railways and the public? - That they
would benefit the Railways, if properly managed, no one doubts, and so far as through business is concerned,
the arguments of Vanderbilt, as well as those of numerous impartial persons, indicate that they would also
benefit the public.
Railways must earn enough for existence, and if competition for through business, reduces rates below
cost, the loss must be made up by the local, and as all transportation must be paid for by the public, justice
would say that a fair price should be paid for all and by all.
The fear that these gigantic combinations of railway interests may endanger the rights of the public, need
be no longer entertained, as the courts have decided that both state and national legislation can contract? these
matters and protect the people against exorbitant charges for transportation. It may not be so evident that it is
also best for the public to permit the several railways to divide the territory, as it is represented that the "Iowa
pool" has done, so as not to encroach upon each other or compete for local business, but strong arguments exist
in favor of even this, and if railways have the legal right to do so, and will honorably carry out this arrangement
in every respect, at all points, so that the rates shall be uniform, it may be for the benefit of the public. Under
such management there would really be no competing points, consequently all parties would pay alike for actual
service rendered, and if the railways should be so short-sighted as to fix their rates unreasonably high,
legislation could easily correct them.
If all of the Railways in the country could be consolidated into one huge corporation and honestly
managed by competent men elected by the owners of the property, the public could be better and far more
cheeply served than at present. The saving of expense in operating the roads would be enormous. The rolling-
stock could be changed from place to place as the business required, so that much of this, with material,
machinery and a vast army of men necessary in operating so many independent roads could be disposed with.
There would be no conflicting interests, - no ruinous competition and consequently no exorbitant prices,
- no unnecessary movements of trains, - no money squandered in building unnecessary or competing lines, - no
bankrupt roads and no swindled stockholders.
Chimercial as this scheme may appear, the present policy of railway management is in this direction, and
the time may come when it will be found to be as easy to have all of the railways under one management, as it
is to have all of the mail service, and as much for the benefit of the people to have only one grand railway
corporation, as it is to have only one general government for all of the United States.
(Correspondence concerning method for wood preserving.)
Pennsylvania Railroad Company
Motive Power And Machinery Department
Office of Mechanical Engineer
Altoona, Pa., December 24, 1870
Isaac B. Howe Esqr.
Chief Engr. Chicago & N.W.R.R.
In company with Mr. Slataper, Chief Engr. of the P. F. W. & C.R.R. and Mr. Heizmann Engineer of
Maintenance of Way of the P. R. R., I visited New York last week, under instruction to ascertain the merits of
the "Seely -process" for the preservation of timber by means of creosot. On my way home I met Dr. E. H.
Williams -- late Genl. Supt. of the P. R. R. and was by him advised to address you on this subject; Dr. Williams
assuring me that you were fully posted on the manner, means and efficiency of the various ways of preserving
Any information on this subject which you may feel disposed to communicate will be very thankfully
Begging your pardon for this intrusion -- I remain
J. B. Collin
Baldwin locomotive Works
M. Baird & Co.
Philadelphia, 29 December 1870
Isaac B. Howe, Esq.
Chief Engr. C. & N. W. Railway
We have an inquiry from a Civil Engineer in South America, Mr. Wm. S. Ellison (a Yankee originally)
now connected with the Don Pedro 2d Railway of Brazil, in the following language. "Please tell me what you
hear said by your railers and friends about Burnetized and other antisepticly prepared crossties."
Now will you write an essay (brief) on "What I Know About Burnetized Crossties", à la Horace Greeley,
and let me send same to our South American friend?
I have no doubt he will be glad to reciprocate by telling what he knows about alligators, oranges,
niggers, and other tropical fruits.
If you will give us your views in brief on the subject you will confer a favor.
Very truly yours, Edward H. Williams
January 7, 1871
Dr. E. H. Williams
Dear Sir: -
I have recd your letter of 29th ult. requesting me "to furnish a brief essay on wood preservatives", for
the benefit of your South American Railway friend.
If competent to do justice to so important a matter -- it would give me great pleasure to comply with
your request, but during the last few years my time has been so much directed to other matters that I have not
kept posted on the recent discoveries and experiments made in this country and in Europe; -- consequently some
of my old theories may have been exploded by other parties, and experiments similar to my own, resulted in
One of my experiments on the preservation of wood, proved so highly satisfactory -- to myself, however,
that I will give you the necessary directions for trying it, either for your own benefit or the cause of science -- it
being understood that I laid no claims to having originated the process for I understand that a similar one has
been used by various other parties in this country and Schwartz of Germany.
Take, say, 75 part saltpetre, 12 1/2 of sulfur & 12 1/2 of charcoal -- moisten, grind fine, mix and dry in a
stove oven or what is still better over an open fire. You will notice that this forms a powerful antiseptic,
although recent French writers claim that it will not preserve fresh meats.
Bore 3/4 inch holes in a few of the best sticks of wood you can find. Insert 2 or 3 oz. of the compound
in each, -- plug nicely and place the prepared sticks on the top of your pile.
It is necessary, of course, to caution your servants about not removing any of the prepared sticks before
the entire pile is impregnated, which, in cold weather will be not more than 12 to 36 hours, perhaps.
The result of my first experiment was that 8 oz. preserved 10 1/2 cord of wood for 13 months, and the
only unpleasant circumstance attending it was that very early the next morning after I prepared the compound
there was an alarm of fire at a neighbor's house, caused by the mysterious explosion of a cooking stove and a
few ignorant and superstitious people reported that it was connected with some of Howe's d--d scientific
Truly yours, I.B. Howe
Baldwin locomotive Works
M. Baird & Co.
Philadelphia, 13 Mch 1871
Isaac B. Howe, Esq.
Your favor of 7th Jan'y was duly received, and should have been sooner acknowledged, but absence and
pressure of other matters have prevented. On receipt of the letter, not being at the time prepared to write to our
South American Correspondent, your letter was laid aside without having careful reading. About two weeks
ago, the writer got things in shape to write to our South American friend -- when it got to the subject of
preserving wood, having several pamphlets, letters, etc. on the subject, he was on the point of sending yours
along with a high encomium on the author as a particularly scientific gentlemen and conscientious searcher after
truth. Fortunately, an impulse to read the letter before sending prevailed, and it didn't go!
We have, however, referred it to Coleman Sellers, Esq., President of the Franklin Institute, and if you
hear of a debate in that august body on the new process you have invented, do not be surprised.
I have just returned from a five weeks tour in the South -Yours
truly, Edward H. Williams I.H.C.
[I believe his point here was the preservation of wood from thieving neighbors. Another aspect might be the
aversion to letting out technology advances that might help a competitor.
James Henry Howe, 1827 to 93, born in Turner, Main.
He was Attorney General for the state of Wisconsin, 1860 to 62; a Col. in the war 1862 to 64; was a judge;
CNW R.-- Solicitor 1868; by 1873 was General Manager. Therefore this was probably written early 1870s.
if this is actually the scrutinarious expedition, it would be summer of 1872.
Col. James H. Howe
General manager, Chicago Northwestern Railroad
Herewith I send you a copy of my journal, as kept from day to day in making a hasty examination of the
country from New Ulm, Minn. To the big Sioux River, south of the 45th parallel in Dakota, where you propose
to extend the W. & St. P.R.
I also send a description of the country through which we passed from the Big Sioux to Breckinridge
via Fort Wadsworth.
In this summary of the report, the examination from New Ulm to the state line is omitted, as the road is
all located there, consequently I will commence at the west line of Minnesota, which we struck about 2 miles
north of the south line of "Range 116", where we found a government boundary post near a branch of the
This branch rises in the Coteaus near this point and is a fine, rapid stream of pure water, flowing
between timber skirted banks 70 or 80 feet high, until it reaches the valley at the foot of the Coteaus.
Here would be a good site for a pleasant town, as the soil of the prairies and Valley is good and timber and good
water can seldom be found in this region.
The men have "staked their claims" and commenced improvements here.
From this point we ran by compass nearly West, but bearing slightly to the North until we struck the Big
Sioux River at Lake Kampesca two or three miles south of the 45th parallel, according to Rice's map of Dakota.
The distance from the State Line to Big Sioux as measured by odometer, on the line we came is 38
miles, but I think that a railway line and correct measurements would not exceed 33 to 35 miles.
The construction of a first class railway over the Coteaus from the state line, for 10 or 15 miles, will be
expensive, requiring heavy "cuts" and embankments, but from the west side of the Coteaus to the Big Sioux, a
good road can be built at a moderate cost. I think that a survey of the line will show that it will be economy to
operate a cheap road with heavy grades, rather than build an expensive road with light grades and slight
curvature, for the small amount of business you will get during the next five or ten years.
You will notice that we strike a branch of the Big Sioux, called Red Willow Creek , about 32 miles west
of the state line, where, if desired, a convenient temporary terminus of the Road could be made.
A great portion of the Coteau land is good, and nearly all in the valley of the Big Sioux is very good for
agricultural purposes, but through all of the country we passed after leaving the Minnesota line until we arrived
at the north east side of the Coteaus between Fort Wadsworth and the valley of the Red River of the north, very
little timber was seen and in many places no good water can be obtained unless from wells.
Many of "the numerous "lakes", as they are termed, are simply huge pond-holes of stagnant water
without inlet or outlet and in times of severe drought undoubtedly become dry reservoirs of pestilence. Others
are so impregnated with alkali as to be worse than useless.
The only rock we saw in Dakota, except at Lake Kampesca, was drift boulders, most granite, in some
places, north of the 45th parallel, almost completely covering the ridges and knolls for a width of 3 to 5 miles;
but on both the east and west side of this rock ridge, we found good land.
For a more particular description of the country along the route, I refer you to the journal, in which I
intended to note every important characteristic as we passed along.
If you are to build a road to the Big Sioux River, I should advise making Lake Kampesca the western
terminus, as that is one of the largest and best bodies of water in that region, and south of the 45th parallel and
Care should be taken by the locating engineer to fix the terminus at such a point that extensions or
connections can be made in any direction without interfering with the arrangements at the terminus.
A sketch and description of Lake Kampeska and the surrounding country will be seen in the journal, and
photographs of the same, as well as of numerous other points of interest, will be forwarded to you in a few days.
As you asked for my general impressions in regard to what I saw in Dakota, I must, in candor, say that
they are not favorable. It is true that a railway will soon introduce settlements and improvements so as to
wonderfully change the face of nature, but it may be true that - as I saw the country, in its Sunday dress of June
roses, and with its face washed by unusually frequent showers, a severe drought may change to dry, barren
wastes, some of the land that a hasty examination has pronounced good.
I do not believe that any Railway in Dakota, between the 44th and 46th parallels, will pay operating
expenses during the next five years.
Respectfully yours, I.B. Howe
United States Internal Revenue
Assessor's Office, 6th District, Iowa
Nevada, Mch 17, 1871
I.B. Howe Esq.
I have consented that my name may be used in next State Convention as candidate for Governor.
Could I be assured of your occasional 'good word' with the many active and prominent public man of
Iowa with whom you are associated? The favor would be highly appreciated by
Your very truly
Second Auditors Office
Addressed to: IB Howe, Esq., Clinton, Iowa
May 7, 1871
I believe I promised Aunt Nett when she was here that I would write to you and tell you something about
her visit here: but I neglected to do it and probably you have heard from her before now. I was very glad to have
her come this way and think she was not sorry that she came, for she seemed to enjoy her short visit very much;
and as she was able to tramp about nearly all day without being badly tired out, she saw a good deal for the time
she was here. She promised to write to me from Boxford, but she has not done so yet, though I have heard from
her through cousin Ria's letters. By the way, Ria and I have become very close friends -- in short, we have
come to think more of each other than of anybody else*. I'm going to see the little woman next month and it is
very probable that in the early Autumn I shall visit her again and bring her back with me. I am expecting Ione*
to come here so as to go to Mass and Vt. with me, but it is not certain that she will come. Aunt Delia's health has
become more precarious. Tomorrow is the day set for Uncle to start with her for Denver, Col. Ione will go to
Aunt Nett Alden's [Jeanette, Adelia's sister] for a couple of weeks and await news from them. If the change
proves beneficial to Aunt, so that she concludes to remain there, Ione will come on here before the end of the
month. But if the change proves injurious to Aunt and they are obliged to bring her back home (and it would be
to die, I fear), Ione will stay with her.
I wonder if you are not coming East this summer. Probably your business requires all your time and
attention, but it seems to be it would pay you to take one summer for rest and the benefit of your health -coming
East and going West to the mountains. If you should come East, I hope you will come this way in that I
may see you somewhere. Uncle Geo. [Tucker] * and family are well, for them. Uncle is attending strictly to
business here now, having had his fill of politics, I think. Remember me to my little cousins, Aunt Anna, Aunt
Hannah, Henry* and all the friends there. I shall be very glad to get a letter from you, when you find time.
Your nephew, Mal
Notes: Malverd [he spelled it Malvard] married Ria Oct. 25, 1871, Ione was his sister who had been living in
the West with Aunt Adelia and Uncle John Burnham. Uncle George Tucker was married to Aunt Sophronia,
Henry Howe was a cousin, son of Asa and he had a bank in Marshalltown, Iowa, but started his banking
career in Clinton with I.B. Howe. Later George F. Kirby was his partner, as well as I.B. Howe's. See banking
papers further. -- Tana
OFFICE OF IOWA MIDLAND RAILWAY
Ike is in Clinton, Annie with Oda in Janesville with an upset Harriet. Kate is with Ike and 2 girls as domestic.
Clinton, Iowa, Nov. 20th 1871
I have just come to the office and found your welcome letter. We are well and comfortable. Cub is
delighted with her school -likes Mrs. White. Mrs. Taft gave her a letter asking Mrs. White to let her out at recess
to take her music lessons, so that is all right. Cub sleeps with me and is a pretty good girl; but she tries the
patience of Mrs. Sibley.
We had a few flakes of snow Saturday and yesterday and it is cold and gloomy this morning. I am glad if
my pictures are really any comfort to you. We have some butter and old Quaker writes that she will furnish
some for winter. Daisy sticks her little bill up for kisses, quite often. We have frightened Kate about the Indians
so she does not dare be out so much, nights!
I send you Clinton papers. Write a few lines, at least, often. Tell Oda that papa misses his "little pet", but
will soon have her home again. Try to comfort and cheer up Harriet. If you want her or mother to come home
with you I will arrange the panes, all right.
As ever -----Ike
Clinton, Iowa, November 22, 1871
Office of Iowa Midland Railway
Something wrong here; how could Harriett get from Janesville to Clinton that fast?
Dear Wife -
I got home from Anamosa last evening and must start again tomorrow morning for Anamosa and Cedar Rapids.
May get home at midnight tomorrow night or may not come till next day.
We had a little snow last night and it is real cold today. I think I have taken care of everything that will be hurt
by freezing. Cub is as good as she can be, I suppose, but she tries "Harriet" terribly. She goes to school and
likes it as well as at first. Daisy is all right. I haven't time to write more but not knowing when I would have
another chance, thought would just drop a line.
Does Oda want to see Papa?
As ever -- Ike
Note: Cub would be nickname for Mary who would have been 6 1/2. Since Ike is in Clinton with Daisy and
Cub, Annie and Oda must be in Janesville. -- Tana & Mark
If Harriet is Annie's sister, she must be visiting in Clinton, since the Fifield home was in Janesville. She has
only two more years to live.
(Addressed to: Mrs. I.B. Howe, Janesville, Wisconsin, Care of James Gould.
No year, postmark is Nov. 27. probably 1871; week after previous
Office, Sunday Evening. [probably 26 Nov 1871]
My Dear Wife!
We are well and comfortable. I suppose you will be most interested in hearing about Daisy. She has been
combing my hair and wiskers today and frequently would wet her fingers on her lips and brush my hair back.
---then she brushed all the dust from my coat and stuck her little chin up for a kiss. Last night, at tea, Kate had
her and Daisy snatched a piece of cake from a plate, broke off a small piece and put the rest back on the plate as
quick as you could, so you see she is learning to take care of the old man and herself
If I hear nothing to the contrary I shall think that you want to see me at Janesville, Wednesday night, and
shall try to arrange to go. If I go, I shall expect to come home Friday morning, but if you care to remain longer
you can do so. Cub (Mary) talks a good deal about mama and Oda, but seems quite contented and full of
interest in her school. I have not sent you any more Clinton papers as I have not seen a single thing of interest in
them. We have had some real cold weather and a little snow, but last night and this morning it rained a little. The
river closed, Wednesday night. You will remember that the closing or opening of the river was an important
event, before the bridge was built.
With kisses --good night. Ike
Washington D.C. Dec. 20, 1871
Dear Aunt Annie, [Annie must have been back in Clinton again]
.. What a blessing it is to come into possession of so many dear good aunts, all at once, together with a
corresponding number of right smart uncles - with a good share of cousins of the very best quality. Now I well
know how to appreciate all these blessings having been limited to a very small number heretofore. How "Miss
Ria" would like to step in and see you all this morning, expect I should hardly know the little flower called
"Daisy". She must be quite a little girl by this time. I'm thinking Mary and Oda would hardly be willing to
exchange her for one of Aunt Hatie's little boys, would they?
I hope your health has much improved since your visit to New Eng. It seems but a few days since that
little visit you gave me, so short but sweet. I really thought I should see you again - it seems like a dream as I
look back. Now, Aunt Annie, I shall certainly hold you to your promise and shall expect to see Uncle Ike and
yoursel£ sometime this Winter - without fail. I think it must be time that that mail-road was in running order.
If so, Uncle Ike can do no better than to visit his nephew and niece in the Sunny South. And be sure to come in
a "big team" so as to bring all the children.
We had a touch of New Eng. weather yesterday, a snow storm. Have seen a few sleighs go pass. I get a
letter from father [her father was Allen Knight] every week. Guess he misses his naughty girl some. He takes
his meals at Lev's and says he gets along very well, only the evenings are long and lonely - but he is to blame
for all this for he should not have taken me out west. The Carrier has just brought me a letter from Aunt Soph,
the dear good woman is well and as busy as ever. Jimmy [Sawyer?] has gone to work in Lawrence.
Mal is a dear good husband, he wears like gold. I am having a good rest this winter - am taking music
lessons - enjoy them very much. We had a nice letter from Aunt Hannah a short time ago. Give my?? love to
her and all her family, also to Mattie and Jimmy [Mattie Jones about 22; married to Jim Leslie yet?] should
like to see little?? Think Henry Howe  must miss Jim [Jim Sawyer? 22] a good deal.
Washington reminds me of some of the western cities, They are building so many houses and at present
the streets are badly torn up as they are paving a number of them. Yes, it is a big city with some big institutions
and some big men I suppose.
Mal usually gets home about half past three o'clock and it is nearly time for him now - so I will not write
much more but will leave the rest for him. By the way, do you hear from Aunt Nett? I wrote her two letters
before I came to W. to live and have not had any answer. Wish when you write her you could ask her if she had
any objections to my marrying her nephew? Am almost inclined to think she had or she would have written ?
[before]? this. But she certainly did not talk that way last Spring.
Much love and a “Merry Christmas” from “Ria” -- please write soon.
Addressed to: I.B. Howe, Clinton, Iowa
December 24, 1871
As Ria has written a long letter to Aunt, I must write a few words to you, at least just to wish to you and
yours a "Merry Christmas and happy New Year". We are living very pleasantly here this Winter - Ria and I and
Uncle Geo. and family[George and Sophronia Tucker]. Shall be greatly pleased if it happens so that you and
Aunt come to Washington and make us a visit this Winter or in the Spring. Winter has begun unusually severe
for this latitude - it has been colder than for five or six years past, with more snow yesterday and today. The
sleighing has been very fair.
John Stevens writes that money is very scarce and dear in Iowa now and that farmers are having a hard
time to raise funds, and a hard time generally. Is Kirby* still in the Real Estate business? May interest has been
forwarded all right and the money is to lay another year. I don't remember whether I ever wrote to you about it,
but last summer I invested in "town lots" here to the amount of some $1300., 1/4 cash and the balance in 5
annual payments. 1. percent interest - l in 8 of us bought a small square and divided it up. Think it is a good
investment. Shall be very glad if you will write to me when you find time. How is Aunt Anna and my little
cousins; also to Aunt Hannah and family and cousin Henry.
Your nephew, M. C. Tucker
*Kirby - see bank notes & letters., Malvard Clarence Tucker, son of Theoda Howe & William Rice Tucker. --Tana
Chicago Northwestern Railway
Iowa Divisions Clinton, Iowa . [to the folks in Northfield; about 1872]
I had letters from Malverd* and Ione* last week - both well and doing well. Hannah's Mattie has been
quite sick; but is better - the others are all well. I wish you could see our Oda - she is well. Annie must tell you
about her. She is a real little witch.
We have had terrible freshets in Iowa this month and much damage done to farmers and railroads. Our road was
badly damaged in several places and the repairs kept me pretty busy. We are all right again now.
As I start for Chicago at midnight, I must stop now. Casey Thayer left us Saturday night and he can tell
you all the general news. Write a few words whenever you feel like doing so for your letters are always very
As ever, your Ike
* Tucker; this letter may be in the wrong place. Malvard would be married and in DC and Ione would be in
Paris Illinois with the Blackburn's etc..
House of Representatives
May 19, 1872
Col. I.B. Howe
Your letter of the 8th came to us today. I am unable to account for the delay in its reaching us. In reply,
I will state that I am for several reasons, anxious to make that "scrutinarious" expedition with you.
Now to business. Your superintendent is eminently correct about getting an outfit at Winona or New
Ulm. It can be done! We do not need more than one month's provisions, and, unless you wish to have a party
that can be divided, and make reconnaissances in different routes, and meet to report, we do not need more than
six men, which can be well accommodated in one tent.
Mr. Armstrong suggests that you will probably have 30 or 50 men, if so, the one-month will not be long
I have a good team and outfit for a surveying party of six or seven, my own tent, and camp implements,
and would be glad to put the team and one man, Teamster, in your employ, then of course would prefer to meet
you at New Ulm. I could bring my instrument and chains too.
I shall be in Washington until the 28th -- then go straight to Yankton, and will, if thought best stopover
one day at any point you may fix on the road, probably Clinton.
I want to go, am anxious to, and will do so if there is no preventing providence beyond my control.
My Armstrong sends his choicest regards, and a copy of the Census.
There is no news here that you do not see in the papers. We are informed that everything is in the most
prosperous condition in Dakota, and the immigration will be greater than at any former season.
In fine, our people are feeling extremely well with the prospects. Crops, immigration and Rail Roads.
Any telegram or letter you send me, I will answer, and go a great way out of the way to join you.
Very truly yours,
Geo. N. Propper
Otterville, June 16, 1872
I rec'd a letter from Ike today (O! I was so glad to get it) saying that he was to be gone from home four or five
weeks and as I sat thinking how I should like to go and stay with you while he is gone, I thought I would begin
a letter, but I do not know as I shall have a chance to send it to the P.O. for two weeks, for George is teaching
our school this Summer and always has something that he wants to do at home Saturdays. The neighbors bring
our papers and letters, but I seldom know when they are going to town to send. I hope you will do a lot of
visiting while Ike is gone. I would not stay at home all of the time.
George is going to town tomorrow so I must get this ready to send. Do you know what is the matter with
Sophia? [She was sick at the time Bertie drowned.] I did not know she was sick till this week, though I was
afraid some of them were. It had been so long since I had heard. How good it was of you to write and make
Han. write to me. I am so much alone this Summer that I believe I find more time to worry about you all than I
have when I am in school, and besides there has been a good deal of sickness. We have been having terrible hot
weather but it is cool and pleasant today. Everything looks beautifully green now. We have had a good deal of
rain but are needing more now. I have had lots of roses, but they are gone now and I have no flowers in bloom
but zinnias and some ?mignanette? (Not legible). My flowers and my cat are a great deal of company for me.
Did you have a good visit with Delia? Where is Ione? Is Asa going with Ike on his tour? It seems like going a
long way off. I hope to hear from them as soon as they get back. Does Daisy love to be out of doors as well as
Momy [Mary? Mamie?] used to? Tell Oda that Charlie gets the fan that she sent him very often and he always
has some questions to ask about cousin Oda. Is Mary growing tall this summer? How I do want to see them.
Daisy does not have to use her fingers to taste now I suppose. Well, it is nearly time for Geo to get home from
school and I must stop writing and get supper. We are always very glad to get your letters. I hope you are
feeling well and not lonesome while Ike is gone. I wish I could see you.
Goodbye darling, Net
Ione had gone West to live with Aunt Adelia and Uncle John Blackburn in Paris Illinois. Ione was a music
teacher, apparently a piano teacher. Adelia was 15 and Ione was 4 at the time William Tucker remarried
Armena Simons after Theoda's death.
This is about the time of the big "Journey to the End of the Rail", taken by various railroad managers and
politicians. The “scrutinarious” tour.
Boxford, Mass. 24 June 1872
Addressed to: Mr. IB Howe, Clinton, Iowa
My dear Uncle:
Our Birdie has flown -- Bertie has gone to heaven. Oh! It is so sudden we can not realize it yet. Last Friday he
joined the angels with Mattie. He and Netti , with Mr. Killam's children [cousins] went down to the river to
bathe, he with a few others ran ahead, and went into the water first. He went beyond his depth, and the current
took him. He did his best to get ashore and came within about a foot of one of the older children -- then said
"catch me, catch me" and went under. The third time he came up they told him to [?] up his hands and the little
darling did so. The water was very deep -- much deeper than usual, and the river much higher. The children
came up to the house and the people soon were searching for him. This was about five o'clock. They searched
until past eleven that night -- commence at four the next morning and found him 1/4 past nine o'clock that
morning. There were many divers but the water was so deep they could not find him for so long. Ike  went
to Lawrence that morning. Saturday morning told Jim  who immediately telegraphed to me. I was in
Boston that day and did not get the telegram until 1/2 past 7 -- too late for any train. I got a train and came
down in the night -- reached home at 1/2 past two o'clock Sunday morning. The funeral was at five o'clock
Sunday afternoon. He was in the water all night long, yet -- he looked very natural. Before he went to the river
he came into the house, kissed mother and bade her goodbye and was so happy. He was always happy.
Mother was confined to her bed at the time. Tom  was in the other bedroom sick with dysentery. He
immediately sprang up and held mother in the bed. You can imagine with what agony they lived through that
terrible night -- with our darling there in the water -- no one knew where, and you, Uncle, can sympathize with
us -- and we with you. O it is so hard to give these little ones. Yet we have two beautiful buds in heaven. I
know they are there. Mother wants you to write to Aunt Nettie and tell Aunt Han that Mrs. Laggin is going to
write to her about it -- Mother can not leave her bed at all now. I hope and believe that she will bear up under
this heavy blow. Evie  has very little time to write and Mother can not write at all. And I have to get back
to school tomorrow morning for a week when I shall come home for a good long vacation. I know this sheet
looks terribly but it is the best I can do today.
Mother sends her love to all of you, also accept mine. Dear Uncle, please write to Mother as soon as you can -if
you can't answer mine -- write to her. It is terrible to have to give up our little pet -- and so sudden. I can not
write any more.
Goodbye from, Susie 
Bertie: nickname for John Herbert Sawyer, the youngest -- 7 years old.
All names listed were Susie Sawyer's siblings, Mattie has died in 1869, age 7. Tom was also their father but
when she mentions him by "Tom" it's probably her elder brother. -- Tana.
The Killam's are Sawyer cousins on the mother-in-law side.
OFFICE OF IOWA MIDLAND RAILWAY
Clinton, Iowa, August 12, 1872
Notes; Since the death of Bertie, less than 2 mo., Soph has gotten well, has been somewhere and is back. Ike
has been to Vt sick and is back. Did he have time to make the scrutinarious expedition, then visit Vermont and
then back to Clinton? Doesn't seem like it. They are calling Vt New England apparently. Annie is pregnant
and gone off with cousin George. Ike is home with the kids.
I suppose you are home again and now I want you or Susie, or both, to write me. These visits, even if
short, have the good effect of refreshing our memories and renewing our interest. I have a stronger desire now
to visit New England than before I went, and although so near sick when there that I could not be of much
comfort to myself or others. The memory of old friends and pleasant scenes, is a source of enjoyment.
My health began to improve before I left Vermont and is now about as good as usual. We have had cool,
comfortable weather, nearly all of the time. Heavy rains have injured the crops in many places, but the
prospects are good for fair crops. We are all well --- Annie and George [G. Peabody would be 36, same age as
Annie who will give birth to GeoA in Nov.] went to Janesville last Monday to spend a week or two with the “old
folks” --- Annie writes that they seem better than when she was there before. Hannah (Ike’s sister) has not yet
returned from her visit to Minnesota. I am glad she remains so long, for she needed rest. Cora (Hannah’s
oldest child who was married & living in Minneapolis) has been very sick again, but is better. A letter from Asa
yesterday morning said Ann (wife) was quite sick with dysentery; but he thought was some better --- They
wanted Ella [daughter 20, not yet married to Dr. Claggett of Northfield.] to go home. I telegraphed Ella, who is
about 20 miles from here “camping out” with a picnic party and I suppose she will be here today and go home
I have not heard from cousin Martha or any other eastern friends, except Asa, since I came home. I
wrote Cousin Martha, yesterday. Tell me about her when you write. Did Mat. go home with you? Is there
anything we can do for her comfort, more than we are doing? [Who is Cousin Martha and Mat.? Martha
Jones is older sister. Soph's little Mattie is gone 2 yrs before Bertie. Han's Mattie is 22 living in Clinton.].
Soph! We ought not, and I hope we shall not again let so many years pass between our visits. There is
nothing gained by it, and much is lost that is better than dollars.
Write soon ---- Now I will go home to dinner and see my three “motherless chicks” [ages 7, 5&2]who
will be standing at the gate, “watching for Papa.”
As ever, Ike
Nov. 20, 1872
Addressed to: I.B. Howe, Esq., Clinton, Iowa
In handwriting on envelope edge: “From Dr. Keith when George was born.”
George Alonzo Howe was born Nov. 18, 1872
We congratulate you on the happy accession to your family. I suppose the old Supt. of the Iowa Div. of
N.W.R.R. now spends most of his time in the NURSERY! Well Oda is as happy as ever. She says nothing
about going home - tells everyone that she “is going to stay all winter.” She enjoys short rides very much. Her
appetite is uniformly good and her bowels regular. She enjoys her sled much and never fails to run to meet me.
When she speaks of home & the members of the family, it is not with any desire to go home to see them. We
don’t tell her the GOLDEN NEWS, for fear of exciting a desire to return. We should not think it prudent for her
to return for many weeks. Your angel wife needs all her strength for herself and “My boy. O/ My noble boy!”
and should not have her nerves excited over caring for the girls. So you will feel free to let her remain here as
long as it may seem best.
In haste Yours truly, S. Keith
Mechanicsville, Dec. 10, ‘72
My dear Mrs. Howe,
I drop you a hasty note in relations to the prevalence of Scarlet fever in our place. There has been only
one new case, that we have any knowledge of, since Oda’s return. The Dr. thinks it would be prudent to have O.
return on account of it any time. We missed her much since she left. We are all conscious she is a treasure.
Much should I like to see the dear new baby. I do hope you may have a more rapid recovery than you
are accustomed to. If little O. being with us will indirectly contribute to that end, please let her return. We will
pledge not to abuse her very badly. I suppose she is delighted with the dear little brother. Say to her May Sharp
is impatient for her return. Oda won many friends & admirers during her short stay with us. Gertie will have
two weeks vacation to spend at home. Will Mamie [Mary?] remain at Janesville through the winter? I think it
so good in Oda to stay away from her own dear home so happily and womanly as she did. Her dollies skirt is
With love, M. B. Keith
1873? Addressed to: I.B. Howe, Esq., Clinton, Iowa
Bainbridge, N.Y. July 18”
I reached here last night and find your letter of 10th. I report [regret?] that there has been so much delay
in answering it but I did not reach here quite as soon as I expected. I notice what you say in relation to Clinton
Bank matters, and after consulting with my wife and Mrs. Reed, I have concluded that it will be better for me to
remain in Marshalltown than to move to any other point in Iowa, and that in case we should conclude to move
from there, we should leave Iowa entirely. Taking this view of the matter and considering the fact that Mrs. R.
desires to have her money invested in mortgages and real estate and that she must depend on me to attend to her
business, makes it more prudent for me to keep my means invested with hers, rather than divide it. From these
and some other reasons, which I will explain to you more fully when I see you, lead me to conclude that I would
prefer to withdraw from the new bank organization. I look upon the project as a good one for you all who are
located at Clinton and, you may feel free to withdraw your capitol from Kirby & Howe, and invest it elsewhere
if you wish, regardless of any interests which I have with you. Altho I dislike extremely to terminate the firm
which has run so pleasantly, I think that I shall shape my business so as to leave Marshall at some time in the
future, and as early as it can be done without loss. My inclination and those of my family are toward Chicago now.
If any moves have been made that this decision will embarrass, I will regret it but as my connection
would not add any local strength, but only what means I put in, I see no reason why it should disarrange, except
that it will desolve the bank firm of K & H – in the event of your going ahead - unless you go into both.
I regret as I said before that so much time has elapsed, but I could not give you my full convictions until
I had consulted with Mrs. Reed as to her wishes. My plan now will be to return to Iowa by the 20th of Aug. and
then be governed by circumstances, but I see no way by which I can turn my affairs in Marshall inside of a year
or two. Henry* writes me that all is moving smooth. Silus [Silas Steinbeck] that he is making not much money.
I shall not go to N.Y. City but expect to go to Canada, Toronto and wire Maxime ?Jewelry? there. Mrs. Ks. ?
cameo? sett, cost something over $400. Would you want to go up to that. I would advise you to go to the
importers, as you can save 25 ?? easily. I will look in Toronto & let you know.
I wish you would write me on receipt of this. I shall be here 2 weeks. Now Isaac, I have written just as I
feel about bank matters, and want you to receive it just as I write. We have always talked frankly & plain & by
so doing have avoided any difficulty. I wish now that some plan could be devised that we could remain
together, but I should not feel satisfied to go to Clinton to live, & must not think of moving unless I do so
Yours truly, Geo. F. Kirby
*Notes: Henry was I.B's. Nephew, Asa's son, who went into banking in Marshalltown and stayed with it his
whole life. Geo Kirby, Henry Howe, and Ike worked together in Marshalltown and elsewhere for many years.
Probably Ike's decision was to do both operations, or let Henry take over the Marshalltown operation . It
appears Kirby stayed with it as long as he didn't have to relocate to Clinton.
George Alonzo (Pepa) worked for Henry for a while before he married Alice.
“Kirby & Howe Stone Manfg. Co., Incorporated under the Laws of the State of Iowa.
G.F.Kirby, Silas Steinbeck, I.B.Howe, Directors. Silas Steinbeck, Agent,
251 Putnam Street, Chicago. Stone Cutting Mill and Yard, Putnam Street, near Chicago Av. Bridge.”
B.F.Allen, President C.T.Bowen, Vice President. C.G.Bulkley,Cashier
THE COOK COUNTY NATIONAL BANK,
United States Depository,
CAPITAL, – – – – – – – – $500,000.
Chicago, Ill., July 18, 1873
I. B. Howe, Esq.
I have just seen our mutual friend Mr. Bailey (the original Iowa Granger). He tells me that you and some
other friends propose starting a bank in Clinton.
I asked Mr. Bailey to talk with you and say we wanted your account in Chicago. We will allow 4 ?? on
daily ?bollones? [4% on daily balances] furnish you with N.Y. exchange ?at for? and feel confident we will
Hoping to hear from you.
Yours very truly,
B. F. Allen, Prest.
Some words are illegible, etc.
Addressed to: I.B. Howe, Esq., Clintn, Iowa
Written in side: From Grandpa Gould to Papa. Margaret Howe
Janesville, July 31, 1873
I arrived home from Oshkosh yesterday - found friends all well, wrot David [Fifield] with your letters, I
also read the Post Office card. I dont like to take the responsibility of deciding for you on any one ??? they had
better embark in any understaking where there is so much profite involved in the ?? . I will state what I think I
can safely & let you be your own Judge in regard to the matter. I think I can safely say my Millend is a man of
principle & a reliable man & his statemts can be depended on. I think the statements that we now have from
him through David are open, fair & straitforward, & that he has no interest that he has not openly represented
everything connected with the ??? , & I think the property is worth what he represents it is, and I have no doubt
but it would be a good investment. I think I have said all that is necessary for to say in regard to the matter.
I went to Oshkosh last week, ?? found Jim [Gould 32] & little family all well. The baby is better nights
than has been. They have plenty of business. They have decided to make a change in their business next
October if they dont sell before. We are all well. Mary [age 8] is well and contented. Let her stay as long as
you can. We shall not go East til the second week in August. It is very dry here. Not had any rain since we was
home. We like to see that ??? ?? we will all ??? ??? this warm weather.
Kiss the little one [Pepa] for me, James Gould Write often.
Notes: Jim Gould, 32, was his son living and working in Oshkosh. He was in business with Jim after turning
the Gouldsville mill over to his brother Joseph. Don't know what property they are considering. This is the
year that his daughter Harriet Fifield died at age 40.-Mark
Envelope says: Return to HYDE, PEABODY & CO.,
82 Friend Street, BOSTON, Mass.,
Addressed to: I.B. Howe, Esq., Clinton, Iowa
Written in pencil on envelope it says: From Cousin George Peabody about Howe's Station.
Boston, Aug. 16, 1873
Dear Cousin Isaac:
I received your letter a few weeks ago, and was real glad you wrote Mr. Prescott about the Station. I saw
him a few days after and he told me he received a beautiful letter from you. You know that all these things tell I
have been working hard for the Station for more than 2 months and the People about these are much pleased at
the success, night before last the train first stoped at Howe's Station. I send you a notice, as requested by Mr.
Prescott with the wish that you would hurry that ''Boy'' up as quick as possible. Mr. Prescott and some other
officer's of the road are coming up next Wednesday to have a little "sit down" wish you could be there. Mr.
Hatch Gen'l Manager told me he was slightly aquainted with you, he is a westernman. How I wish you could be
there with us! When you come this way perhaps we will have a picnic somewhere in the neighborhood. Perhaps
under the old Elm and invite them up.
I am very sorry that yours and Mrs. Howe's health is so poor. I think if you should get untied from the
railroad, you should before launching out into any new responsibilities, come East and spend one season at
least. I realy think it would be the best thing for your health, and purse in the long run, we will put you up as
house at the new Station. I think there is a little money around there.
William Hyde and family have gone to Bradford Springs, NH for a few weeks. Jane [sister is Sarah
Jane; lived in Peterboro, NH] went with. I went up to spend the Sabboth.
Business is pretty fair tho sometimes I get sick, of "shoes". I suppose I should hardly know the girls now,
to say nothing of the young man. Mr. Hyde often speaks of his visit with you, and would a word to send if he
were here. Tell the Girls to write to me .
My love to all. Truly yours George.
The paper notice he sent says:
Eastern Railroad Co.
A new Signal station to be called
Has been established on the Lawrence Branch between
SWAN'S CROSSING and MIDDLETON, and hereafter
Trains will stop there, only on signal, to leave and take passengers.
August 14. 1873 J. Prescott. Sup't.
C. C. Roberts, Printer, 21 Brattle Street, Boston.
Note: This cousin, George Peabody, later became the family's guardian when I.B. Howe died in Danvers, Mass.
Chicago & North Western Railway
General Managers Office
Chicago, Aug. 26, 1873.
To I.B. Howe, Clinton
Col. Howe wished me to ask you to send a set of "our artists" graphic sketches of the Pacific R.R.
Excursion, accompanied by the laureate's fitting dirge. for Judge Blodgett, of this city.
J. W. Midgley
I.B. Howe, Esq.
Washington, DC, October 6, 1873
It has been a long time since I have heard from you directly, and I have heard nothing from you
indirectly since Maria and Ione were in Vt., some three weeks ago. You were not very well then, and have been
in poor health nearly all summer, as I understood; and Aunt also had been in poor health much of the time. I do
not know that this letter will find you at Clinton, for I believe you were intending to go away somewhere for a
change as soon as you could, but wherever it may reach you, I hope it may find you and Aunt both in better
health. I am inclined to think that Clinton must be an unhealthy place to live in. Aunt Adelia * was back to Paris
on a short visit last month, but was glad to return to Denver, whose climate agrees with her health much better
than that of Illinois does. Uncle Asa, we learn, is at home again, and must have come rather unexpectedly, as
when Maria was at N. (Northfield - Tana) Henry was there intending to take the family to Iowa with him. Now
we hear that they are not going, Uncle having lost his place. I am sorry, unless he can do as well or better,
Note: According to the write up in the Norwich University book, Asa never had a job very long. In '66-'68 it
shows him division engineer on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and in '74-'75 shows him in engineering
construction on the Montpelier and Wells River Railroad. This letter sounds like he was working in Iowa when
he lost his job.
Maria has fully recovered her health, and is quite as well, I judge, as she ever was. Baby Onie [newborn
Ione] keeps very well, and is smart and sprightly. Ione is also well and we hope to pass together a pleasanter
Winter than the last. Wish you and Aunt and some of the little ones could make it in your way to make us a
Uncle Geo. was in the South all summer, returning just in time escape the yellow fever, having run into
Memphis at midnight and run out again the next morning, about the time of the breaking out of the fever there.
He has been at home about a month. I suppose he will go South again the coming Winter. He goes as a
Government Agent, but that does not cure his dislike of Grant.
How far has the money panic effected the West? I suppose that "times are dull" there as well as in other
parts of the country. I hope your business may not be injuriously effected. By the way, some two months ago I
wrote Kirby that I should wish to withdraw the remainder of my investment in Iowa when the present year's
note becomes due, which will be Nov. 3, I believe. Henry wrote that he would see that I got it when due, and
doubtless he will attend to it, if he goes back there to attend to Kirby's business. I shall have some of it to pay
some $250. taxes now due on my city lots here.
We have had beautiful weather here this month, which has been warmer and pleasanter than Sept. was.
Maria and Ione send love to Aunt and the children and all the friends. Maria says she owes Aunt Anna a letter
which she hopes to pay sometime, but she has been very busy about her housework since she came back.
Please write a few words when you can find time.
Clinton, March 12 (Pepa wrote: about 1874)
Dear Sister Sophia,
I thought as soon as I got Oda's picture I would write to you and send one. I wish you could see the little
girl herself. She is such a dear little woman. George has a bad cold on his lungs and I wanted him to have his
nap today so Oda takes him into the other room and shuts the door and rocks him in her arms and tells him
stories, but he is not sleepy and she has to give it up. He is not as regular about his nap as he was last summer has
so much business on hand he can not stop. Ike is quite smart. I think he looks better than he did last summer.
The rest of us are very well. Susie (Elliworth) gets along nicely now. She has got so she can make splendid
coffee. She takes more interest and seems to want to learn and please, and I do not think she is homesick any
now. Net does not corne ?? very often but we enjoy her visits very much when she does come. Hannah is alone
now. I mean does her work herself and I do most see?? but she gets along just as well as she did when she had
Bridget. Mattie [Jones or Leslie?] is just about the same. Seems to keep her visiting up, as usual. She has just
got home from a visit in the country of two weeks. Tell Susie I have just had a suit made of my gray goods that
George* got me like hers, had a Palamaise and skirt. Trimmed it with a large black cord. It looks quite pretty. I
wish Susie was here now. We have had so many fine lectures this winter. She would enjoy it. Daisy often speaks
of Nettie [Annette Sawyer, about 10]. Supper is ready. I can not write more today. Will close hoping to hear
from you soon---we all send love,
Your sister, Annie
* This George could be Nett's husband or more likely cousin George Peabody. The baby George earlier
mentioned is Pepa. Oda is 7, Daisy is 4, Mattie Jones Leslie would be 24. Susie Ellsworth is apparently a
housekeeper they brought out from New England. See letter 1939. Susie Sawyer is 19.
Des Moines Mch 27, 1874
I.B. Howe, Esq.
I suppose you have observed how we were slain in the House and how close the vote is in the Senate.
We should have put the Tariff at rest for the session on Friday but for the long winded speech of Senator
Patterson. He spoke (on our side) about 2 ½ hours, till Cassady had to leave to go home. Mitchell left for
sickness & Rice could not stand it any longer without a drink. If we could have stopped Patterson and got to a
vote an hour earlier, we would have been strong enough to have ?dificulty ?? the bill and ??vented a
reconsideration. I think we shall ?scooper them out on Friday tho the enemy is making an effort to so modify
the bill & to command more votes. I don't think they can succeed. Felloros who made the reconsideration is
from the northeast and is a new convert. He says he can't draw a bill that he would vote for and he don't think
anyone can but is willing to let it be tried. Of the 8 ab?[absent]? we claim 7. I am a little afraid of Lowry of
Davenport and Durham of Maquoketa, (towns near Clinton) though they have both repeatedly promised to vote
against every tariff measure. Wolf of Cedar Co. voted with the enemy every time, though he has frequently told
me he would not vote for the bill. I don't know as he would on it's final passage. ''White man is ??". Both the
representatives of that county voted against us 'I-v em'. All of Jones Co. is against us -nothwithstanding Col.
Shaw said their senator would not. I believe we shall beat them yet, but I sould like some rec ?? from the Cedar
Co. ??ss even to show to Wolf -Cedar Rapids sent a rec?? strances? signed by a hundred of the ??ss men and
shippers. Boone straightened out Mitchell. Nothing more has been done with the tax bill. They try every
morning to get it up in the Senate but we beat them. The Capitol Bill is getting sicker every day – still it may
live it out.
If any rec ??
(same word) are obtained in Clarence &? please let me know by telegraph.
G. S. Bailey
ROCKFORD, ROCK ISLAND AND ST. LOUIS
June 25th, 1874
I.B. Howe Esq.
Dear Sir -An
application has been made to the U.S. Court at Chicago, among other things, for the appointment of
the receiver to manage the affairs of the Rockford Rock Island and St. Louis Railroad Company during the
pendency of the suit for a foreclosure of the Mortgages.
I desire to fully justify my management and for that purpose desire to get two or three competent
railroad managers to examine into the present condition of the track, rolling stock etc. and give to the court in
the form of affidavits the results of this investigation.
Knowing your experience in such matters and believing that you would willingly do me a favor, I take
the liberty of asking you to join with some two or three other railroad men in a trip over the road having that
object in view. I will put the necessary car and engine under your command and see that you have every
assistance to facilitate such examination and take as little as possible of your valuable time.
The gross income of the road has been about $1,000,000 per year, and it is complained that too large a
proportion of this has been used in expenses of operating and keeping up the road, and I desire to have your
judgment as a railroad man and one who knows something of the road before I became its Manager, of its
conduct in that regard -
We will want to leave Rock Island early Tuesday, June 30th for the trip.
R. R. Cable
Chicago & North Western Railway
General Managers Office
Feby 12th, 1876.
To I.B. Howe, Clinton
I want to make a little collection of the different illustrated subjects which you have sent up here from
Clinton from time to time -to sent to a friend of mine of the New York Stock Exchange.
If you will kindly send me a copy of any you may have by you I shall be much obliged. I would like
particularly the Iowa Jury picture.
Yours truly? not legible
H. H. ???ten [there was an H.H. Baxter]
I. B. Howe, ??
April 27th 6. (1876? Tana)
Geo. L. Dunlap.
Dear Sir: Are there any objections to establishing a flag station at Le Grand Quarry if the Quarry Co.
will furnish station buildings, agent etc. free of expense to the railway co.? The business there is so great that it
is expensive going to Le Grand Station to leave orders, bills, etc., etc. There are new orders in from private
individuals along the line for over five hundred (500) cars of stones which we could fill at full rates if we were
not furnishing a large amount (at low prices) to the Co. to repair the track in the wet cuts. Vogel's lime kilns at
the quarry have more orders than they can fill, so you see the quarry station has a prospect of being a better
freight station than many of the old first class stations along the line. If we can establish a flag station there, we
can get the free use of all the land required for tracks, etc.
I suppose the Le Grand people would favor a regular station and would do their business there rather
than at Mr. Blair's Le Grand depot. Being about half way between Marshall and Oxford it would divide the
distance very well; but there will be time enough to examine that matter hereafter. All I ask now is: May we
establish a flag station at the quarry, to be maintained so long as there is a good fair business done there?
Our home at Clinton, Iowa, November 18, 1876
My Dear Son George!
This being your birthday, and you a big four years old, I think that a little letter from Papa may please
you. We have spoken of you and Mama a great many times today and wondered if you would remember that
this was your birthday. Aunt Nett came to see us today, and will go home tomorrow. It snowed a little this
morning, but not enough to make the ground white, the girls got out the sled. Oda and Daisy are teasing to go
home with Aunt Net, but unless the weather is pleasant, I do not think we shall let them go. Daisy sleeps with
me, and kicks like a little witch; but she is a good little girl. How did you and cousin Jim get along? I suppose
he is a great boy now. Does cousin Walter go up to see you? I think he is a real nice little boy. Do you sing any
of your little songs to gran'pa and gran'ma? Tell Mama that the girls seem to get along all right.
Note: Oda 9, and Daisy 6 (later changed to Margaret) were George Alonzo Howe's sisters. Walter Jones 14
was Aunt Hannah's son. He had been raised in Clinton also and his father Roys had died the previous year in
March in Clinton.age 65. Jim may have been Aunt Sophia's son [Sawyer, 22] from Boxford, Mass. -- Tana.
If Annie was visiting in Janesville, Walter and Jim would be Fifield/Goulds. Edwin, Hattie, and Walter were
Fifields; was there a little Jim Gould? Aunt Nett may have been living in or near Clinton at this time; too far to
make an easy trip but not so far that the girls couldn't go for a short visit.
April 8th, 1877
Geo. L. Dunlap
As it is evident that my health will not enable me to do justice to myself or the Railway Co., as Supt. of
Iowa Divisions, I ask to be relieved, at your earliest convenience.
Written in I.B. Howe’s handwriting on paper headlined “Kirby & Howe Stone Manfg. Co.,
Incorporated under the Laws of the State of Iowa. G.F.Kirby, Silas Steinbeck, I.B.Howe,
Directors. Silas Steinbeck, Agent, 251 Putnam Street, Chicago. Stone Cutting Mill and Yard,
Putnam Street, near Chicago Av. Bridge.”
Sounds like a eulogy for James; the will was written in 1873. He died May, 18, 1877
This text shows up in the Northfield book of historical persons.
James Gould was born in Amesbury, Mass, July 20th 1803. Of his early childhood we know but little,
except that his parents were in indigent circumstances and their children were obliged to depend upon their own
exertions for maintenance and education as soon as old enough to do so.
When about twelve years old, James found employment in the family of an honest, noble-hearted
Quaker family where the “simple Quaker habits” of his entire life seem to have been formed. Nov. 10th 1831,
he was married to Rebecca Morrill who was born in Salem, Mass. August 1st 1806. Their children were
Mary Elizabeth, born in Amesbury, Oct. 14, 1832, and now residing with her mother in Janesville, Wis.
Harriet B., born in Amesbury, Oct. 11, 1833, and married to David E. Fifield, of Janesville, Wis., where
she died, Nov. 15, 1873.
Hannah R., born in Northfield, Vt. June, 11, 1836 and married to I.B. Howe, now residing in Clinton,
James P., born in Northfield, Oct. 27th 1841, and now residing in Oshkosh, Wis.
About the year 1835, Mr. Gould came to Northfield, and in company with Walter Little, established a
potato-starch factory at the “Falls Village”, which they successfully operated for several years until it was
destroyed by fire. He then engaged in woolen manufacturing, a part of the time in company with Erastus
Parker; enlarging and extending, as increasing business and capital warranted, until failing health forced him to
withdraw from active business, when he disposed of his entire manufacturing interests to his brother Joseph.
(Joseph became very wealthy and in Northfield Falls there is a huge house with a mansard roof still there on
the main road.)
After this, for a few years, much of his time was passed with his children in Wisconsin and Iowa, until
1867, when he permanently removed to Wisconsin, and in company with his son, engaged in lumber business
and the wholesale manufacture of sash, doors, blinds at Oshkosh, Wis. Under the pressure of business his
health again failed and he withdrew from the firm and removed to Janesville, where he died, May, 18, 1877, of
nervous prostration and disease of the heart.
A simple record of any day of the life of James Gould would be a higher and more eulogistic tribute to
his merit than any a biographer can write. ------Cautious, shrewd and methodical in business; but more anxious
to do justice to others than to exact the same in return. ------Foremost in all worthy public enterprises, but never
seeking to render himself conspicuous, he accepted public offices only when they were urged upon him.
Modest, diffident and tender-hearted as a child, his highest ambition seemed to be to do good and make others
happy. Generous and sympathetic, almost to a fault, and with full confidence in the honor and integrity of his
fellow men, the objects of his benevolence were always numerous, if not always grateful, or entirely worthy.
Never boasting of his good deeds, or unnecessarily referring to them, even in the privacy of his own family,
many of them became known, only through accident, and doubtless many are yet known only by the recording
angel. Stranger or neighbor, --no matter who or where, if suffering or in need of help, found him always ready
with comforting words, sympathizing heart and generous hand to give relief. Never speaking harshly or
unkindly to or about any person, he always tried to excuse rather than magnify the faults of others, and, so far as
we are aware, he never had an enemy. Seldom can this much truthfully be said, at the close of the long and
active life of the best of men. An yet, Mr. Gould was frank and free in the expression of his opinion upon any
subject, and fearless in performing what he considered to be his duty.
His love for, and devotion to his family, seemed unlimited, and no sacrifice was too great which would
add to the comfort or enjoyment of his wife or children. Although not a member of any church, he usually
attended the services of the Congregational Society.----Following the example and obeying the precepts of the
humble Nazarene, -- his daily life, rather than his public professions of faith, demonstrated his sincere piety and
his firm belief in the doctrines of the Christian religion.
His interest in and attachment for his old friends and associates was remarkably strong, and his love for
Vermont was like that of a child for a parent. In compliance with his expressed wishes and the provisions made
in his will, his form was brought back for burial in our cemetery.
Note: He is buried with his wife in the Howe plot in the Elmwood Cemetery, Northfield, Vt.
1873--------Last will and testament of James Gould--------------------I,
James Gould of the city of Janesville, State of Wisconsin, of the age of 70 years and upwards, being of sound
mind and memory do make, publish and declare this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to
say... That it is my will and desire that all of my just and legal debts shall be fully paid.
Second: I give, desire and bequeath to my executors hereinafter named, nominated and appointed the sum of
five hundred dollars ($500)to be used by them for the purpose of purchasing and erecting a monument or
tombstone at the burial place of myself and wife at the cemetery in Northfield in the state of Vermont where it is
my desire that we shall be buried.
Third: I give, desire and bequeath to my wife Rebecca Gould the property constituting my homestead, being
the used half of lot numbered two (2), block number three (3) of the original village of Janesville, Wisconsin,
together with the app???? thereinto belonging, free and clear from all taxes and charges of every nature
whatsoever as long as she shall live and desire to have the same reserved for her use and occupation. I also
give, desire, and bequeath to my said wife the use of all my household furniture, fuel and family stores and all
other articles in use by us for the purpose of keeping house at the time of my decease, as long as she shall live.
but in case my said wife shall not be living at the time of my decease, or in case she shall at any time after my
decease determine not to occupy said homestead hereforth and shall notify my said executors of such
determination, then, in either event as well as upon her decease it is my desire that said homestead and said
household goods shall be trusted and disposed of in the same manner as the other property of my estate. I
further give and bequeath to my said wife an annuity of $500 each year as long as she shall live and I hereby
authorize and request my said executors to pay the same to her each year in four equal, quarterly payments of
$125 each, as long as she shall live, and it is my desire that the first payment shall be made on the first day of
the month in which letters testamentary herein are issued. And it is my will and desire that my said wife shall
at all times have from my estate sufficient means to give her a comfortable support and to enable her to travel
for the purpose of visiting her friends, if she shall desire to do so. I hereby authorize and direct my said
executors to pay to her at anytime, in addition to the amount above mentioned such further sum or sums as in
their judgment may be required to meet her wants and reasonable expenses.
Fourth: I give, desire and bequeath to my son James P. Gould of Oshkosh in the state of Wisconsin, the use
of any sum of money he may be owing me at the time of my decease, not exceeding the sum of $4,000 (four),
until the time that he shall have received his full share of my said estate, presided however that he shall pay to
my said executors interest on such sum annually at the rate of ten (10) percent per annum. Further that if any
said executors shall at any time be ready to pay to him any installment or installments upon his share of my
estate before a final settlement thereof shall be made, such installment or installments shall be withheld but paid
to him by crediting to him the amount of the same, upon such indebtedness until it shall be canceled and fully
paid, but in case my said son shall not be living at the time of my decease, then in that event, it is my will and
desire that such indebtedness due me from my said son shall be treated and collected in the same manner as
other debts due my estate. I also give, desire and bequeath to my said son James P. Gould a sum of money
equal to thirteen percent of all my estate remaining after all of my just debts are paid, the monument heretofore
mentioned is erected and my wife has had her support during her life as hereinbefore provided, and the expense
of the administration of my estate is paid; but in case my said son shall not be living at the time of my decease
then it is my will that said thirteen percent shall pass to and be dispersed of with the residuary portion of my
Fifth: If after the monument heretofore mentioned is erected and my wife has had her support during her life
and all my debts and the expense of administration upon my estate are paid, the remainder of my estate shall not
exceed the sum of $16,000, then in that event I give, desire and and bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Gould
of the city of Janesville, state of Wisconsin the sum of $1,000, and in case such remainder shall exceed the sum
of $16,000 and be less than $20,000, then in that event I give , desire and bequeath to her a sum of money
which when added to one fourth of said remainder will make the sum of $5,000.
Sixth: I give, desire and bequeath all the residue and remainder of my estate as follows, to wit: One fourth
thereof to my son James P. Gould of Oshkosh, Wisc.;
One fourth thereof to my daughter Hannah Howe of Clinton, in the state of Iowa;
One fourth to my grandchildren Edwin Fifield, Hattie Fifield and Walter Fifield of Janesville, Wisconsin
in equal parts share and share alike, but in case any of my aforesaid grandchildren shall not be living nor have
any child living at the time of my decease, then in that event I give, desire and bequeath the share which he or
she would have taken if living to these of my grandchildren before named who shall be living at the time of my
decease in equal parts, share and share alike.
One fourth thereof to my daughter Mary Elizabeth Gould of Janesville, Wisconsin -- but in case she shall
not be living at the time of my decease, then in that event I give, desire and bequeath all that portion of my
estate which she would have taken under my will if living, one third thereof to my said son James P. Gould; one
third thereof to my daughter Hannah Howe and one third thereof to the child or children of my deceased
daughter Harriet Fifield, who shall be living at the time of my decease, in equal parts, share and share alike.
And it is my will that my said executors should advance annually to my said daughter Mary Elizabeth
and I hereby request that they will advance to her on her portion of said estate the sum of $400 annually the
same to be charged to her with interest at the rate of ten percent per annum, said annual advancement to be
discontinued at any time when in the judgment of my said executors she has received her portion of my estate,
or at any time when such a partial distribution shall have been made to my several legatees so that the portion
she has received shall be sufficient for her support, the object of such advancement being to so ?? that she
shall not be left without means of support during the time my estate shall remain unsettled.
Clinton, Iowa Dec. 25, "7" 1877
Your favor of 20th inst. was received last night. Thanks for your suggestions! If you can furnish the urn as
you suggest, for $175. go ahead and get it out as soon as you please and it shall be paid for as soon as received,
whether Trow gets the monument ready for it before spring or not. I will now say to you in confidence, that I have it
offered in accordance with my design and description for $125. but as I want to be sure of a first class job and feel
confident that you will furnish nothing which is not first class in every respect, I prefer to pay $50 more and have
you do the work. We may try to introduce some of the Barre granite work in the west and if we do, I hope to be able
to give you some orders for cutting. Mr. Harrington was here and in Chicago, a few weeks ago, and can tell you
what the prospects are.
I think the proportion of the urn should indeed be the same as given in my design --that is if you make the
pannels and urn of greater width and diameter it should also be made higher. The monument will admit of an urn 6
1/2 high from bottom of base to top of poppy. The present or old design is about 4' 3" so you see there is plenty of
room to make it 1/3 larger as you suggest, or about 3 ft. diameter and 6 to 6 112 ft. high. I will make and sent you a
new sketch giving dimension of the different members if you desire, but I presume that you know better than I do
what proportions will look best and be best.
I like your idea of polishing the "slants" on it. I suppose the verse should be on the slant below the pannels
as it could not be seen on the slant above by a person standing on the ground at the base of the monument. The
bottom of the base of the urn, when placed in the monument, will be 2' 3" above the ground.
On receipt of this please let me hear from you and if we understand everythink alike, just go ahead and I
will send you copy of the lettering, so there may be no mistake in that.
Another letter saying “from Mrs. Keith”. Dr. S. Keith wrote from Mechanicsville in Nov72 on the occasion of
George Alonzo's birth. Apparently they were very good friends.
Dear Mrs. Howe,
We have enjoyed the girls visit very much, was disappointed in not seeing Mary, but if you was ill you
needed her with you. To me it seems quite an event to have you? return cast but hope it will be a means of
improved health for you all. In your removal Clinton will lose one of its most useful influential citizens in your
husband, and in yourself one who has always set a good example for others to copy. I trust your new home will
be pleasant. I shall often think of you and of your kindness bestowed. I shall ever feel an interest for your
children, the thought of the long distance that will separate them from us is touching and painful. When you are
well settled in your dear N. England home cannot Mary let me hear from you sometimes. I wish I was near you
to assist you what I could in making ready for your journey. Please accept of a good bye kiss from your loving
Hastily, M. B. K.
P.S. Thanks for the pretty ?sabot.
The family moved from Clinton sometime in 1879. They bought the house in Danvers, 11Peabody Ave., in
(in old handwriting: "from Aunt Net Scott after Father's death. " This is Isaac B. Howe who died April 23, 1880 (he
bought the Danver's house the October before). Tana
Clinton, April 27th, 1880
Dear Sister Annie,
How I wish I could write you and the dear children some words of comfort but the aching in my own
heart can offer only tears, as my thoughts follow you in your last journey with the form of our Darling, who for
the first time heeds not your tears; as you tum to go back to your home with only your children. May God
comfort you all. I know you will do all you can to comfort each other and, dear Annie, you have yet a mother to
love, a brother, a sister. It seems as if it had been years since I parted from him though the roses have not once
bloomed. How I did want to see him once more. But he rests and we would not awaken him to suffering as he
has suffered again.
Dear Georgie; I had thought how the "menfolks" would enjoy working together beautifying your
grounds if you bought that place and I felt that you all would enjoy having a beautiful home as I trust you yet
may, though all so different from what we hoped, though fearing all the time.
29th. Since commencing I have rec'd Ella's letter speaking of the dear Dead so tenderly, and by
sympathy softening the blow that could not be withheld. Also one from sister Sophia written just before he died.
Hannah &~nt Walter* out with the telegram Saturday and I went in and stayed with her till Sunday afternoon.
She rec'd many tokens of sympathy. Mrs. Lee had been to see her. Mrs. Sabin's folks did all they could to
comfort. Some sent flowers. But her children were as kind and thoughtful for her and me as yours can be for
you, and I need say no more. They never seemed so dear to me before. Minnie grows worse rapidly. She is very
poor and has very little appetite. She had two spasms that night. The care and anxiety is wearing Han. out very
fast I think. How it did storm that night -wind, thunder, lightening, hail and rain. But it could not break the
slumber of our loved One.
Oda, dear. I had a letter partly written to you and Papa, I meant to have answered your letter long ago,
but I felt so sad that it seemed as if I could not write. But I shall answer yours and Sue's* letters soon. I must
write to Aunt Martha, * for I know she feels most desolate.
May the God of the widow and fatherless be with you ever to guide and bless you.
*Hannah & Walter were I.B.'s sister and nephew living in Clinton. Sue was Aunt Sophia's daughter in Boxford,
Mass. Aunt Martha was I.B's sister living in Northfield. At this time Aunt Net was living in Clinton too although she
had lived in many places. --Tana
Minnie had supposedly died in 1878; this indicates she is still alive.
[One year after IB died; 23Apr80]
Danvers, April 25, 1881
I thank you very much for the invitation for Tuesday; but am afraid that on account of lessons, drawing
etc. I shall be unable to attend. As listening to classical music is exceedingly instructive, I hope the other
pupils will be very much benefited, and I should like to be a listener.
Mary Howe. [age 16]
Note: Mrs. Baker shows up in many letters from now on. She seems to have been a live in seamstress, or at
least a constant presence in the family.
Danvers Nov 30 1881
Miss Mary Howe, Bradford, Mass (Academy)
I commenced my letter wrong if you will excuse me this time I will try and do better next Daisy has a
very bad sty on her eye so she can’t go to school Miss Baker is busy making your cushion school goes on as
usual did you think of us at 8 o'clock I forgot all about it do you have to stand in the floor for a punishment?
we miss you awfully dear and Winnie awlways sets a plate kenif and fork at your place Miss Baker and Mama
went to Salem to day and Oda and I met them when we were going to school and Mama gave us some candy
Anna is very sick with the pneumonia and hooping caugh they tought she would not live last night I got
excused at recess and came home because I did not feel well did you receive the candy all right and that is the
candy Mama gave Ida and I when we met them when thay were coming from Salem a I told you this is a nice
long letter and I hope you will write me as longer one but I supose you dont have muck time forget me never
George [age 9]
(different writing) Dec 2
We or rather I expected Perley [APWhite?, 26] tonight but he has not come yet. Cousin George [George
Howe Peabody, 45] carried your letter round in his pocket 2 or 3 days and we got it tonight. Dr. says Anna is
going to have lung fever and pneumonia, she was worse last night. Daisy and George are not well, hope they’ll
be better tomorrow. Cough is perfectly grand! Mame, he is fine looking, I won’t describe the lecture as I think
you will hear about it from some one else.
How do you spell Wellesley. is that right? I bet 2 cts with Miss Baker that there were two ls in it ain’t
there? Miss Baker got a letter from what used to be Sadie Siddle, it speaks of we, us and etc. and is signed
Mrs. W. A. Brewster.
I am sleepy and have got to go to bed. Truly your friend
O. Howe. [Oda, 14]
Dec. 8 Anna is a good deal better this morning. Daisy is quite feverish. Perley came last and he wants you to
write to him. Mamma sent the shawl thinking you might like to have it to cover over you when you lie down.
We are very sorry you had a head acke, hope it is well now. Remember me to Susie please and write soon.
Boxford Dec. 11 /81
My dear Niece [Oda]
I was very glad to get your card. I could hear nothing from Daisy, until Friday. I ventured to ride over to
George's and was so fortunate as to meet Doct. Eaton. He told me all about her. I was glad the account could be
so favorable, I think of you all and wish I could do something for you. I was better last week but do not suppose
I am well enough to do your Mama any good if I was there. Therefore can help her most by staying away. How
does Mary like her school? If you do not go to school I wish you and George would ride up some day and see
us. Give my love to Daisy -we think of her a good many times a day -wonder if the little lady is patient in her
suffering. I hope the dear Lord who loves little children will raise her to health and strength again that she will
be a great comfort to her Mama and to all of you. Give my love to Miss Baker -tell your Mama to take good
care of herself Oda, I hope you will write again soon. I am anxious to hear from you. With love to everyone of
Affectionately Aunt Soph
Danvers, Dec 14 1881
I have not been out with my sled since you have been gone we had a new girl but we did not keep her
long Ike came from Mrs Johson hary Johsons Mama and Mrs Johson said she was very slow and she did not
get up till ten oclock Mr Williams is all right and fan has put on her winter coat I am not going to school till
after Christmas I enjoyed your letter very much isn’t it nice you will be home next week how do you like Miss
Johson or have’nt you seen enough of her to know Write soon George
In tiny envelope with purple ink: Miss Mary Howe, Bradford Mass (Academy)
Dear Sister Mary
We children are playing Doctor Daisy is the Apothecary Lizzie & Susie has a silk baby harold is
nicely I have got a very bad cough almost the croup Mrs Eatons girl has left her Martha Spiney I her in the
sitting room she sends her love Mr Poslet came over last night and showed me how to make a bird trap so it
dont hurt them when it catches them this letter dant look a bit nice because it is writen with a difrent looking
ink but it is diffrent pens the baby is not quite so well since I wrote he was nicely happy go lucky has not
come over latly thought you was coming home yesterday I asked Mr Williams what I should say to you & he
said to say that I was most dead then say I was enjoying splendidly halth is not he a case? Perley Oda Daisy &
Susie are singing I told him his playing sounded like a fire whistle & it did Mama & Oda went out to ride this
after-noon & met Doctor Gardner Oda Daisy & Miss Baker went to church good bye kiss kiss (4 blots of ink)
your brother George
P.S. excuse that scarch I tried to dry the ink & burnt it
(there is a slightly burned edge by the kisses)
Master George Howe, Danvers, Mass To Mrs. I.B. Howe
Postmarked: Halifax, N.S., Canada Aug. 7, 1882
We expect to reach Halifax tomorrow morning very early and go from there to St. John. Oda, Aleise Powers and
Cousin George (their guardian, George Peabody ?) have been sick, the rest of us are nicely. Our lunch came in
handy, we buy tea or coffee and soup and eat that with our lunch in our staterooms. Daisy slept with Mamma
last night in the upper birth and I down below. Oda and Miss Powers had the other room. Mary
I am writing to you in one of the upper births with Mary. I have not been sick but don’t feel very well. It has
been very foggy all day and they keep whistling so as not to run into any boats. There are a good many babys
on board and a few of them are crying most of the time. Take good care of my garden and don’t let it go to
weeds. Give my love to Susie if she gets there before I do and tell her that I’m coming too. Bye bye Daisy.
Miss Powers is my play mamma and we are waiting for our supper. We both felt pretty miserable last night but
are some better today. I didn’t get up till about three o’clock this afternoon. It isn’t half so nice to ride on this
old rocking steamer as on a sleeping car. Monday A.M. we got up at half past four and found we were nearing
Halifax, at five we were in the dock, and at half past five were landed, are now at the Halifax Hotel. We are
well and cheerful, pretty hungry. Love, Oda
Addressed on a tiny envelope 1.5 x 3.5” in purple ink: Miss Oda Howe, Bradford, Mass. Academy
Danvers Oct. 17, 1882
Dear Oda. 
I have used up all of my small writing paper so I had to cut up some of the large paper to fit my envelopes. I
guess that was the reason why Aunt Lib [Gould; 50]] wanted us to pick things up for her. I am so glad you are
coming home the 27th of this month. Daisy  has just gone to school so I am all alone you see. I think
Cousin George  is glad that Mary  is going to move away. It is very misty to day we can’t see across
the pond.* We had Pan cakes this morning and I could not eat one. Oda you knew about Dr’s getting hurt well
he was down stairs yesterday just like him.
Mrs. Blake said if I would pick her a boquet from my garden she would paint it for me and she sent me over a
water mellon besides. Is not she good. Lizzie sends her love to you. I guess this is about enough don’t you.
O Oda you asked me if I rode fanny much. No I dont because she came near throwing me of once. the last time
I rode I guess it was good bye. George 
* There is a large and famous pond in front of the Danvers house.
Danvers Dec 5 1882
I feel very much better than when you went away. I came down to breakfast and ate it out in the kitchen
with the rest of the folks Dictor’s son is very nice, but I have not seen him yet, We had maple sugar on snow
last night. Mary when I get better I will write my letters with pen and ink and write them better. Have you kept
your diary up? I have mine. We had a hard time this morning, everything was as cold as ice. Daisy walked up
to the union store for the first time. Miss Baker made some ginger snaps this afternoon. Dr’s baby is nicely
they have not setteld a name for him but think of calling him Arthur or Chester
(This had to have been written by George)
“Written by Grandma Gould (Rebecca Morrill) at 77-78th yr.of age. George was 11 yrs. old.”
(This is Oda’s handwriting.)
Janesville Apr. 2, 1883
I was very pleased to see your hand writing ?? man dear love I did think you had forgoten me you have
improved very much in writing since you laste wrote me you say that you are having the dispepsia you had
beter come weste we do not have any such complaints here I should be very happy to see your fried ?? by has
a stove pipe Hate (hat) he looks like a young man of twenty frank goes by with his poney two or three times a
day Mrs Williamson oldest boy has had the Mumps ben summer only a few spects of snow to be seen your
Aunt Lib [Mary Elizabeth Gould, unmarried] has not ben very well for some time not much appetite to eat
anything she is growing poor I think george wish to be rememberd to your dear Mother tell her I should be
very happy to see her and all the reste did you get ?fold [told] Mr. Bostwie is going to be married this week.
David has you often Mr. Blas?? you two weeks or more tell the girls I thinke tha all have ben very kind to write
to me so often I hop you will like your blind Man george I want you to write as often as you feel like it I do
like to get a letter from thay little ?andy when I get so I can write as well as you Read th if you can will write
Janesville Sep 22
dear Daughtr. I have ben thinking it hade ben a long time since I wrote to you I have not felte very well for
three weeks had the Hadack everyday I never hade so much pain in my Head in all my life and so longe befoar
it is feeling much [better?] to day we have got alamoste don cleaning House and it lovely weather not quite so
warme as it was when here I would like to have you come in and see how Lib has gote the chambers fixt up
and the Hall so you can have a nice place to sleep in when you come to see us if she only had some ?? fixing to
put in it a very handsome room you would not hardly know Lib she has grown so poor she looks like a
sklitan she had the dysentery down in town the folks does not know her ask her if she is Miss Gould want to
know if she is sick she wente to Elbride Fifields to a very longe party this week tha asked her if she was sick
she look so frail wish you would tell George he wrote us a lovely good letter when I get so I can write so nice a
letter as he does I will write to him hope you have a good girl do you ever see any of Mr. littels family David
helth is abou the same is ellen little ?? these a living do you hear from Northfield often how is Ann and its
[Asa's?] helth does Ella Claget ever write to you has the girls ben pretty well since tha went home expect tha
one going to school every day close with love to all dear friends R. Gould
Note: As you can read, her spelling & punctuation was not good. I tried to figure out the
sentences and spaced twice where I thought a period should be. David Fifield was her son-inlaw,
married to Harriet who died in 1873 at age 40. Fifield kids Edwin, Hattie, Walter.
Ella Claggett was I.B. Howe’s brother Asa’s daughter who married Dr. William Claggett. Ann is Lucy Ann,
Lib was her grown daughter not married, age 51. “Grandma Gould died Apr. 14, 1888. She was born
Aug. 1, 1806 in Salem, Mass, and married James Gould Nov. 10, 1831. ---Tana & Mark
Envelope says: “Written two weeks after birth of Alden Eaton White” (May 25, 1885) in Daisy’s (Margaret)
handwriting. Addressed to: Mr. A. P. White, Danvers, Mass. Daisy is age 15. Perl is 30, Mary 20, they have
been married one year and Mary is dying.
Chicago, June, 9, 1885
Will you please have the kindness to tell me if my family in Danvers are dead or alive. If so please
answer by return mail and address to Miss Daisy Howe, Janesville, Wis. If they are dead, as they seem to be, I
will try to arrange my business so as to attend the funeral.
Please attend to this at once and oblige your obedient servant.
(Janesville, Wis. was where she was visiting her maternal Gould relatives who had moved there from
Northfield, Vt. about 1862).
On same letter the following:
What’s the matter with you all out there? I haven’t heard a word from you for almost two weeks. I had
three letters a week ago last Thursday while I was in Clinton and I haven’t heard a word since then. Now
young man, (excuse me I expect you feel very elderly now days) if you don’t write me a letter or see that
someone else does, I shall just go for you when I get home. Miss Baker wants me to ask you if she isn’t an
Aunt and Mrs. Campbell says she is a Grandma. Mrs. Campbell and I are going up to Janesville tomorrow
morning. She is going to stay a day or two with Grandma. Miss Baker is spending a few days here sewing for
Sunday it was so hot here that we almost roasted. Monday it was so cold that we almost froze and today
it is about between. I read in the paper about the great fire you have had there or I shouldn’t have benown
anything about it. Wish I had been there. Miss B. Jessie and I are going through the Foundlings Home this
afternoon. Miss Baker is going to spend the day tomorrow with Mrs. Osgood and is going to Elgin either this
week or next. She is disgusted with Chicago and I am in love with it. We all took a splendid walk last night
and Miss Baker and Jessie made a call on Lettie Ware at her school and Jeanie and I stood out on the sidewalk
and threw pebbles at the window trying to get them started up. Oh! Perl we act like the old scratch [“Old
Scratch” - name for the devil] all the time here. I had a splendid time out in Clinton and I was so tired when I
got back here. Chicago is just as easy to get around in as pie. Mrs. Kelsey has _______Oh! but there I shan't
Now Perl you mustn’t think that I am lonesome, for I’m not, or that I wish I was home for I don’t, only I am
anxious to hear from Mary and little Perl. Ask George why he hasn’t written to me, I haven't had a single letter
from him. Are you having warm weather there? Jeanie and I are planning on a nice trip home. Kiss Mary and
Baby for me,
Note: The reason no one had written her was because Mary was very sick from septicemia (infection) due to
childbirth of Alden. She never recovered and died August 4, 1885. Tana has the memorial book that Perl wrote
to little Alden all about his mother Mary and detailing her sickness that led to her death.
(old handwriting: "from Aunt Net Scott, written after Mary's death~' died Aug. 4, 1885 from childbirth
(septesemia) of Alden Eaton White born May 25. Perley was Mary's husband who lived for awhile after her
death with the Howe's in Danvers.
Clinton, Jan 16th, 1886
It is almost night and I have my week's housework done all but washing the milk pails.
Uncle George sits in the rocking chair reading. He is very unwell. Charlie and Charlie Wilkins are out
milking. My old gray cat stands by me with his hands on my knee thinking it strange, I guess, for me to have
my work done before dark. It is not very cold but the wind blows and the snow flies like a blizzard. Charlie
Wilkins has been here a few weeks helping Chats do chores and Uncle Geo. has not been able to do anything
for three weeks. He is very small and seems afraid to speak or move. Mr. Kelly has just called with our mail and
says Mr. Coan is dead. He had not been home from a drive in the country more than ten minutes when he died,
apoplexy. Capt. Dick Lzand has sold his place. I do not know where he is going. George Morris has had a
daughter but it only lived a few days. I pity his wife. He is an unprincipled dirty scamp. They live up on the
seed farm. Mr. Morris owns it. Aunt Han. has been real sick with growing sore throat and does not seem to get
over it. She is able to be about but not to do her work. I rec'd baby's picture Wed'y night. Dear little boy.
(speaking of Alden) Please kiss his lips and his hair where the light shines on it for me.
We rec'd a very agreeable surprise in the visit from cousin George and Perley. * There seems something
very genuine about Perley. I wished he could stay till we could get better accquainted with him. Did you have a
pleasant journey home from Janesville? How much I thought about your getting home, how glad you and Daisy
and Georgie would be to see each other but how you would miss that other dear welcome that had always
greeted you, how many things you would think to tell her things that would awaken her warm sympathy, or her
keen sense of humor, how the deep, deep, pain would be so hard to hear and how my heart ached for you my
darling. How much you all are in my thoughts but I fear you think I do not give much evidence of it, by the way
I do not answer letters ---but writing has grown to be such a task to me that I write 'tomorrow'.
I believe I have answered yours and Daisy's letters to?? mostly though to one of you is to all.
But I think of her so much in the still hours of night when sleep brings peace and rest to young hearts,
but to her the great sorrow steals in with the silence driving sleep and health away, and I so long to help her. But
I feel that God has spared her great comfort in her remaining children for I know that you do all you can to
comfort her. You must be very careful of your health, I think being out in the bright days is good for you all.
Kiss the Dainty Darling and that boy that I want to see more than any other in the world for their Aunt Net.
I cannot tell you how much good your letters do me, do us all for we love to talk about you just as if
time and distance had never separated us. I hope we shall see you next summer. Sunday morning mercury 10
degrees below. Last night at nearly bedtime Bert came in, walked out in the snow and storm alone. He is a good
boy. Aunt Han. is better. As ever,
your loving Aunt
What I would do with one thousand dollars.
If I should have one thousand dollars that I didn't have any particular personal use for, and wanted it to
benefit my fellow citizen, as well as the public generally, I don't think I could find a better use for it than to
repair the Holten High School.
I should first improve the grounds and the outside of the building. I would put a granite curbing eighteen
inches high all around the grounds, with small posts at the corners. At the gates four stone posts about five feet
high would greatly add to the good looks of the yard. I should then have the building painted some pretty color.
This with the curbing and posts would cost nearly six hundred dollars, leaving me four hundred dollars to
Next I would buy two dollars worth of wire netting to be put on Mr. Kenny's fence as there is not enough
on these now to effectually stop the baseball of the senior boys. Then I should begin the repair of the inside of
the school house, by getting two or three more modern maps than those hanging in the school-room now; one
would think by their looks they were used by Christopher Columbus when he was a boy. These might cost ten
With fifty dollars I should have the laboratory furnished with new apparatus. Some that would work. So
that the philosophy studied by the middlers would not have to be a study of faith. With the remaining one
hundred and thirty seven dollars and seventy five cents I should get a good telescope to be put up in the cupola
for the special use of the juniors, so they would understand more about the spots on the sun and so forth. This
would make the total amount spent nine hundred ninty nine dollars and seventy five cents. The last twenty five
cents I should give the janitor to oil the hinges of the desks to they wouldn't squeak. I think if I did all those
things with my thousand dollars it would have done a great deal of good.
George A. Howe. [probably while he was in high school--' 88 –' 89]
Series of letters having to do with George A. Howe
First, though, is a hand delivered letter of a relative of I.B.Howe (his mom’s side was Bridgeman) to Hannah
about George : [it is possible the Bridgeman name is a coincidence and not a relative.]
The envelope says “For Mrs. Howe. By kindness of George.” In pencil below Mrs. Howe is written “From
Mrs. Bridgeman” and on the back “1888”. (All letters have 2 cent stamps)
[George was attending Mr. Bridgman's school and studying. Later references to Mama's concern about his
keeping up his morals away from home.]
My dear Mrs. Howe
I have been thinking of writing you for a long time I have wished to tell you how much we enjoy your
boy George. He seems to me so healthy, mentally morally and physically just the right kind of a boy to go to
college and profit most by the educational advantages without the least danger of contamination from evil
influences that exist everywhere. I think you have done yourself great credit in training him into such a stanch?
young man. I can emphasize with you must heartily in all the pride you feel in him. We are glad that we can
claim kinship. I think George is doing very well in his studies. I heard him recite in Greek this evening and I
thought it a good recitation. I am greatly interested in his progress and I anticipate living? over the college
course of my own boys with him, especially since he has told me that he thinks he will go to Yale.
I hope Margaret can return with George and remain with us till you are settled in N. York. I had
anticipated having both of the girls here, one at a time during the Autumn but the fire upset all my plans. You
must all come here on your return in the Spring. I am sure you will pass the Winter very pleasantly there is so
much to interest one in N. York and I hope you will find the climate agreeable. Please accept love for yourself
and daughters with the wish that you may have a very happy Thanksgiving together.
Very sincerely yours,
Mary E. Bridgman (she didn’t spell it Bridgeman)
I would like to see you this morning and know how you found things. Margaret & I have just been up to do our
errands. Mr. Beal said he went out with Henry and helped get things settled he enjoyed it seeing so much
moving and changing about and getting ready. Arthur has commenced picking the apples today it is a perfect
day. Oda has gone to Salem to see the dentist. I must not stop to write more as I want to send this up to the
office and I want to send to Mr. Witham for some butter. Did you mean to leave your guitar we are going into
Boston and can take it to you if you want and will tell us where to meet you or where to leave it. We can leave
it at the union station package room if you say so.
Envelope: George A. Howe, Northampton, Mass 101 King St.
In pencil at top of letter “1889” [apparently winter and George is at Mr. Bridgman's school; Mama and
girls in NY]
I have just come up from breakfast and not a very good one at that we do not have as good meals as we
did at first, but we like Mr. Tarbell all the same he is so nice. We blame the cook. I am so thankful you come to
me with your secrets that is the only thing I was worried about your going away from me for fear you would not
come to me as you do at home now I feel that I have your confidence it is such a comfort and I am so proud you
seem so noble and manly to me, when we can have confidential talks together. it is just as it should be. I was
pleased to hear you had called on Lilly Leroyed and I think it would be nice for you to call on Miss Barker. and
if it is good sleighing some Saturday or when it is convenient for you, take them sleighriding and if you need
more money to pay the bill tell me. but the girles you speak of sliding down hill with I would be a little careful
about going with, I do not think they are our kind and you never have done anything to my knowledge to mar or
make a blot on your character and I want you to leave Mr. Bridgemans school as sure as you enter it. besides I
do not think you can make much difference with Rob and advise him. I am afraid he is destined to be bad. I do
not like the idea of a young man out nights walking with girles and a girl that will do it is not what she aught to
be and is a dangerous creature. besides study is what you are there for and all outside influences detract from
your lesson and Mr. B. will soon find it out, now please ask Heavenly father to give you strength to withstand
all temptations, and sin, and go to him and trust him, and he will surely take you through life safely, and
honorably, is the prayer of your mother. I think if Papa was here how proud he would be to know he had such a
noble son. Aim high it is for you, you will reach it. I wish I could see you this morning, I could talk so much
easier than I can write. When is the March vacation, and how many days, do we have. Margaret had a good cry
when she got her letter from Perl saying if she has her name changed it has to be published three weeks in the
Mirror. She hates to think of that, says she does not want to go back to D (Daisy) I think we will stay here some
time yet - Mrs. Dunham is going to Washington Monday. I think the girles enjoy New York ever so much, they
are so nice everyone speaks of them Miss Wood is very fond of them. Mr. Sibleys father is a judge in Vt. he is
from a nice family. We like Mr. McCowen ever so much. I will close with a kiss.
Clinton Apr. 12th 1889
Dear dainty Darling,
I am going to begin this letter that I have written “tomorrow” every day for a month. I hear that you are
all thinking of coming West and I want to know if we may hope to see you here. I imagine you are at your
home by this time and I hope your winter’s rest has done you all lots of good. How often I imagined just what
you were all doing, what clothes you had on, what you were talking about. Are you feeling pretty well this
Spring? I do hope so. But I guess none of you feel as happy as Walter (he was George’s cousin - son of
Hannah & Roys Jones living in Clinton) does since Mamma gave him that five hundred (loaned it to him I
mean) I think it was real good in her to let him have it and if he works and saves as he thinks, he will, it may be
the making of a man as well as a musician of him, the musician I am sure he is capable of being.
Aunt Han’s ankle is much better still she has to be very careful or it reminds her that she has an ankle.
Bert (Herbert was Walter’s brother) was pretty well the last they heard. Uncle Geo. is so that he has been out
and worked on his grape vines a little. Cha’s has gone to town with butter today and I thought if he waited for it
to stop raining I could get my letter done before he went but he did not wait. (George & Charles were Aunt
Net’s husband and son) We have had very little water fall for a long time but last night it began raining in
earnest and we hope for a big rain. Walter Bridgeman was at Mattie’s (Herbert & Walter’s sister Martha I am
guessing, who was married & living in Clinton) a week ago last Sunday. He was visiting his friend Rev. Burrell
in C. (Chicago)about the merits of the different colleges I suppose Mrs. Noah would be as well informed as I.
[Walter's middle name was Howe, Herbert's was Bridgeman; could she have been confused? Or a different
In past ages I used to hear that Yale was tainted a little with infidelity, which I should not like. But I
know nothing of the schools of the present age. Shall I ever see the boy? George? Kiss him forty times for me.
How does Judge White (I guess Perl was a judge now, not a lawyer anymore) bear his honors? Give my love to
my nephew Perley and dear little Alden. (Alden was the son Mary & Perl had) Tell Mamma she cannot imagine
how I do want one of those pictures of her and Alden. Perhaps she has heard that Delia Blackburn [daughter
by second wife of Wm Rice Tucker, Armena Simons. The Blackburns went west for her health to Denver, maybe
Nevada, and eventually Salt Lake. John was a lawyer and judge.] is very sick. John takes care of her. They
had broken up housekeeping and were boarding at a hotel when she was taken sick. I presume you know that
Cora (another sister of Walter, etc.) has broken up housekeeping and is going to move to Minneapolis (she dies
there in 1893). Margaret and Gertrude have been spending a week or two in Ill. with Dessie H??. How is that
girl Oda now? I look at some little sacgnes and dresses upstairs, but where are the little twins that wore them.
With much love to all.
Envelope: George A. Howe, Northampton, Mass
stamped from: New York April 19, 1889
The letterhead is from when I.B. Howe was in the quarry business with G.F. Kirby, etc. it says:
G.F. KIRBY, President I.B. HOWE, Vice-President. H.J. HOWE, Sec’y and Treas.
Office of the Le Grand Quarry Co.
Marshalltown, Ia._________ 187
Printed on the top left reads:
“The stone from these quarries has been in use nearly twenty years, and so thoroughly tested that we can
confidently recommend it to architects, builders and other dealers in stone and marble. With railway tracks to
our quarries, stonesawing mill and marble shop, and with new and improved machinery, and experienced
mechanics, we are prepared to fill all orders promptly and on reasonable terms for wallrock, foundation and
dimension stone, window and door-caps and sills, water table, bases, columns, ashlar fronts, engine beds, floors
of public buildings, etc. These are the only quarries furnishing the “IOWA MARBLE,” so celebrated for its
beautiful, variegated colors, high polish and great durability, from which we manufacture monument, mantel,
table bureau, sink, wash-stand, and counter-tops, etc. Sawed blocks and slabs furnished to other manufacturers,
on short notice. All kinds of work executed to order in any desired style. For prices and further particulars,
address: Geo. A Gregg, Supt. LeGrand Quarry Co. Quarry, Marshall Co., Iowa.”
[letter begun by Daisy/Margaret, 19, and finished by Mama. They are apparently in New York for some
cultural schooling in music and dance.]
I suppose you think I am dreadful and no wonder but you see I have been finishing up my dancing
lessons & my “Beacon Lights” and have therefore been very busy. There I am trying to learn all I can on my
banjo before I go away from here and have been writing off one of Mr. Sibleys pieces. We are having regular
April weather. I have been to dancing school today, have only one more lesson. Danced the schottische with
Mr. Trenor and he said I did it very nicely! My twins name is Miss Davis. I told her what I called her and she
said she and her sister called me Miss Boston because I came from there. I do like them so much. We think
Mr. Plimpton may call tonight, he has not been here yet. Bertie has not decided about her camera yet. Will you
please send back that letter of Perls, we want to show it to Nat. We all think you had better join the Endeavor
Society* and as an active member. That seems the only honest way and although it is hard sometimes it is a
great help for you. How is Myron. he almost always comes back sick doesn’t he?
Oda has not given up the Northampton plan yet and will probably come to you a week from next
Thursday. Bertie was over this P.M. and brought some figs and fruit cake that came in her birthday box. She
had some nice handkerchiefs, a beautiful ring 3 saphires & two diamonds, and her brothers sent her a large
check. (The handwriting changes here with no indication from Margaret’s to Mama’s) It is warm as July
today. We had a terrible accident down here on sixth avenue opposite the fruit stand they were cutting down
telegraph poles and two men were in a high building holding a rope and it pulled them both together out of the
window and they went smash on the sidewalk and was a mass of jelly just think how quick he was rushed into
eternity. How little we know what a day or an hour will bring forth. Oda & Margaret have gone up to the Park
to see the riding but I have been having my nap and I want to get this letter off to you. Mr. Sibley got me a
steamer trunk, and we have been making them some black bibs to wear over their white bosens? with their
dress suits. I wish you could have a glass of this nice milk. Margaret got me a new bottle this morning. Love
and kisses my own darling son.
* The Young People's Society of Christian Endeavour was a nondenominational evangelical society founded in
Portland, Maine, in 1881. It was very popular among youth and expanded rapidly.
Mr. George A. Howe [age 17]
New York, April 22nd /89
This is a lovely morning but a little cooler than it has been. I did enjoy your letter so much last night. I am so
thankful you have that lovely woman to talk with, I know what a comfort and help she is to you, and how hard
it is for you to have to stand alone. When Myron & Robert seem so indifferent, and determined to go back, but
I beg of you to keep up good courage pray for strength of mind and it will be given you. Take up the cross,
under the cross, his the crown. You will always find the nearer you keep to Jesus the more happiness and peace
you have. Do not be afraid of becoming deacanish, [recall they thot of Han as being “deaconish”; must mean
preachy] that feeling will all pass of after awhile. I would not care about practising my dancing steps there it
may have some influence over the boys, to dampen their spirits. You can have a chance when you get home
with Margaret. I do not think after she leaves New York she will care so much about it.
I think Oda  will go to Northampton Wednesday or Thursday of next week rite after the centennial we
will write to you so you can know just when to expect her. I did not want to go west till I see Perl (her son-inlaw
who was married to Mary Howe before she died. He was a lawyer - Alden Perley White, 34. Little Alden
would be 4) so he is coming here, to see me I rather do that than go home myself. Margaret  & I will go to
Chicago from here perhaps stay with Mr. Campbell overnight - and go to Janesville next day. I think your old
overcoat must be small for you. If you need a light overcoat you better get one. Not ? to have that fixed. I do
not think Perl will stay very long. I hardly know what to do about Mr. Putnam. I would like him while we are
at home but do not want to keep him from a summers job in case he could get one. Miss Morris and the girls
are out this morning shopping yesterday they went to a fair everything was so high they did not buy anything
but some peanuts in lace bags. Phebe wrote Margaret that Gertrude Spring was to be married to a Mr. Philips of
Boston. Frank Dawson & Miss Johnson are to be married I believe soon.
Addressed to: Mrs. H. R. Howe, (H.R. = Hannah Rebecca) 676 Fremont Street, Boston, Mass
On envelope: “ written by George when in Phillips, Andover
The letterhead is an engraving of the capitol building in Washington D.C. and says
“Forty-second Congress U.S. House of Representatives. Washington, D.C.”
Dec. 10, 1891
You can play that I’m in Congress and am writing this home. Please don’t have it published in the
papers if you can possibly keep it from the reporters. I suppose they trouble you a good deal. Well, this been a
busy week for me. Stratton’s concert was fine. There were 40 or 50 of us who went and it was very “select.”
Quite the cream of the school. Inquiry went allright. It wasn’t very hard after I got started. My subject was
“The Great Sacrifice.”
Last night we had a dandy “spread.” It was Schenck’s (the fellow who rooms opposite me) birthday and
his folks sent him a big box full of eatables (Foolish people!) So in the evening about 9.30 we all assembled in
his room. There was soda crackers and salted crackers, sardines, deviled ham, and quail all cooked and done up
in tissue paper - Oo! oo! Yum! Yum! Make you full of dat hoss? And then there was pie, and birthday cake
with “the birthday all comin” out, and nuts and some grapes that I furnished. Oh, it was immense! Simply
“out of sight.” But I haven’t told you about the concert yet have I. It was in the Lowell Opera House. Our
seats were the 2 very front rows so we could take it all in without glasses. The orchestra consisted of guitars,
banjos, and mandolins - boys & girls from 22 or 3 down to little tots only 6 yrs. old – all his pupils. There were
only 2 or 3 real pretty girls - we fellows were quite dissapointed. But they played splendidly. The Mendelsohn
Quartette also sang. And there was a humorist. But the feature of the evening was Romero, the guitarist. It
was a perfect dream to hear him play. He didn’t play loudly at all but every note was as clear and soft, and
sweet as a bell. The Mandolin player wasn’t much good. After the thing was over a gang of us wandered about
the city and finally went into a restaurant and got something to eat. Got back to A-- at 11.45. I haven’t thought
of Xmas presents yet. What do you people want?
This is a letter written for Alden by his father, I think. He was 7 yrs. old. He does sign his name at the end
Salem, Feb. 23rd, 1892
Dear Aunt Charlie,
I have had six velentines. Maggie is coming up to be shampooed. I went down to Mr. Upton's tonightand bought some tea all alone. Uncle George went up to old Mooley cow foot, with Papa and Mrs. Sears and weyesterday, and we got some shells and a little live clam, and I gave him some corn meal last night, and he atesome of it and this morning Papa gave him some salt water. When Maggie comes up to be shampooed she isgoing to make some calls.
Aunt Daisy sent me a little padlock for a valentine and Maggie gave me one. Pauline Gardner brought
one over and left it on the step and then rang the bell. When I went to the door I found it. I have build a fort with
holes in it to shoot the guns through, and then I stood my soldiers, that grandma Howe have me, in two rows,
then I put my cannon behind the fort and shot down the soldiers.
Fritz was kind of sick last night, but he is better today. Papa gave him some liver and he jumps the gate
before Papa gets it open. I have Maggie a valentine, the first one she ever had. I send my love to Uncle Charley
and Aunt Charley.
With three kisses, 'Alden'
Don't know who this aunt & uncle are -maybe on Perley's side.
This letter by Alden Perley White (he married Mary Howe in Danvers in 1884) is to “Mother” ,Hannah
Rebecah Gould Howe, mother of Mary who died from infection after childbirth of AldenEaton White. Tana has
a 3” thick book that Perl wrote about Mary so Alden could know who his mother was like. Unfortunately he
died at age 8 from falling on ice, hitting his head and 2 weeks later died. Perl was the family attorney and later
became probate judge for Salem, Mass. -- Tana
Palmer House, Chicago
April 13, 1892
Your brother (James Gould lived in Oshkosh, Wis.) and Mr. Kirby (I.B. Howe was partners in banking &
a stone quarry with him) have been together all the morning. He went back to Oshkosh at three and I go to
I have enjoyed meeting Uncle Jim very much and I have great respect for him and his judgement. We
have definitely left the Chicago land with Mead & Coe to sell. I am satisfied they are first rate men. I shall not
go to Marshalltown because nothing would be gained beyond our conference with Mr. Kirby here. Mrs. Kirby
came in yesterday with him to see me and she and he send cordial regards. Uncle Jim has kindly consented to
go on with me to Marshalltown about the first of June to make an investigation of things there. I dined with Mr.
and Mrs. Dan Monday night. They are ?? a few blocks of the fair grounds. A letter from the lad received this
forenoon say you are home.
Yours truly, Perl.
(old handwriting: "Uncle Asa after Alden's death). He died from falling on the ice Feb. 18, 1893.
This is possibly the only writing from Asa we have.
Northfield, Vt. Feb. 27, 1893
Your letter bringing the report of little Alden's death was read by due course of mail. By what you had
written a short time before, we had no reason to expect anything very different; still we did have some hope that
we might learn something that would there was a possible chance for the little boys recovery. Certainly Mr.
White and ?? the friends of little Alden have our sympathy; but we all know that when the heart is deeply
pierced with grief, that neither words, nor tears of sympathy can at once remove the anguish rankling there.
Please give my regards to Mr. White and our other friends about Danvers. I was glad to learn from your mother
was pleased with her maple sugar. We been having plenty of cold snowy weather. Soon as the weather gets
reasonable, I hope to be able to make a short visit down your way.
Your Uncle A.H.
(old handwriting: "Susie Choate after Alden's death.) Susie had been Mary Howe's best friend.
Postmarked May 6, 1893
My dear Mrs. Howe,
To write you so soon after these strange sad days seems almost like intrusion but I write because I
cannot help it -my own heart has been so full in all these days and my thoughts have been so constantly with
you that I am sure you will feel that I write out of an aching heart. It isn't a time to talk much -would seem only
to hurt instead of heal, but you will let me tell you what a very tender place he has had and always will have in
my love. It is because he is such a winning, lovely child and because he is Mary's, that he made himself a place
such as no other little child has in my heart. He had been a beautiful little inspiration to me in my thoughts and
plans for my Sunday noon hour and I am very thankful for all that he has been and is to me. "Of such is the
kingdom of Heaven" has a new and more beautiful meaning now to me, I believe, than it ever had before.
What these days have been and are to his father and to you in your home I am sure no one may know.
Your sorrow is too sacred for others to come near except by very sincere and tender sympathy. You will believe
that you have mine, though I say so little to express it. By and by if you care to see me I shall be more than glad
to come to you, dear Mrs. Howe. Remember me with very much love to Oda and Margaret and if Mr. White is
with you let him know of my deep sympathy.
I am as always your very loving, Susie
Salem, February 22, 1893
Mr. George A. Howe, 14 Kirkland Place, Cambridge, Mass
I am at home and it is almost ten o’clock,- but I am going to scribble a line or two to you before I go to
bed as a sort of antedote or better, recreation after the long days work I have done today.
I am very glad to receive a letter from you, more glad than you imagine. The help you give it not small,
I assure you, old fellow, and you mustn’t write any more closing sentences like that one in your last letter. I am
glad you liked the little poem. I am no poet, but have a sort of “hankering” after rhythm once in a while. The
“color keetches” I didn’t write. One of my fraternity mates composed them. I think they are very well done,
not new in conception but well developed and unique in the color thought, if not in style. I wish more men in
college would try such work. Most men recognize that they are not poets or novelists before they reach their
Junior year, but they have no need to relapse into absolute quietude along literary lines for that reason. But
most of them do, just the same. I do sympathize with you about college athletics, except that I like to see them,
and lose my head over a victory very suddenly. Perhaps the “except” is not necessary. The interest in these
things is not wholly bad, but vastly overdone. Study is so often second instead of first and college a place to
have your last “good time” before settling down to work. It’s wrong, and the time will come when such things
will take proper place. Yale took its step too hastily, on the whole. Its motive was good, but the rule would not
accomplish the desired result.
Well, brother, I suppose the Mid Year Exams are out of sight by this time. Grate. Do you have a
vacation of one day on the birthday of our country’s sire? If so, how would you treat a suggestion for a trip to
Wellesley on that day? Their glee club gives a concert on that evening, Wednesday, and we could have a high
young time. I suppose, George, I might to make a confession and tell you that I went up a couple of weeks ago
with our Glee Club and sat with the young lady at whom you smiled, unless it was at me, on a certain stormy
Sunday afternoon away back in the dim distance somewhere. You will excuse this side-trip, old fellow, won’t
you, considering my desire to go up with you on the 22d, and not say, “Well, let him go alone this time, too.” I
am looking forward to Cambridge and being with you oftener myself. I get to dreaming once in a while about
it, and wonder if I shall be lonely. I say, “No. If I do, I shall slip over and chat with George and get back to the
old rut again. I just stopped a minute and thought of your room and yourself sleeping away. Perhaps you are
not in it tonight. No matter, the ?? is there, suspended file and all.
Write me again, George, when the will lets up a little and so we’ll keep a grip on each other. Goodbye
Your true friend, Leslie E. Learned (he is a man, not a woman)
Mr. George A. Howe, 19 Holworthy, Cambridge, Mass
Postmarked: Danvers, Oct. 5, 1994
Mama has just come home from Peabody and Salem where she has been to get materials for the dress
maker who comes next week. Margaret and I came home from Amesbury on the three o’clock train yesterday
after having a fine time. We went Tuesday morning arriving at Cousin Rebecca’s for dinner then very soon
afterwards we and all the cousins went to the church for the Convention. After the afternoon session they left us
and we two went with the rest of the Danvers delegation (twelve in all) to the Armory where a fine supper was
served; then back to the church for the evening service which closed shortly before nine. It was a fine
convention. I imagine the best county one we’ve had and the addresses of Smith Baker and Rev. Mr. Mcewen
were excellent; wish you could have heard them both but especially Dr. Baker’s on Christian Citizenship. Soon
after we got back to the house, Will, Cousin Rebecca’s son, and Fred, cousin Sarah’s son, came, and we had a
pleasant visit with them and liked them both. Yesterday morning Cousin Florence came and took us to drive in
the funniest little lightwood cart; we saw a good deal of the town, places we’ve heard Mama speak of and were
fortunate in being able to visit Mr. Whittier’s study at Judge Cate’s. We took dinner at Cousin Annie’s where
there is a beautiful baby boy, her grandson, and left for home at l.15. Last evening entertained my S. S. class
but there were only five here. Mama made some delicious ice-cream and cake and Margaret helped me
immensely so I think they had a pretty good time since they didn’t leave for home until eleven!
This evening the juniors have a geographical sociable which I hope will be a success. Bess and her
mother leave for a few days visit to New York, this afternoon.
When Mr. Smith began to paint the roof, he found a chimney falling to pieces so yesterday and today
we’ve had the masons here. Such loads of apples as we have I never saw. Perl came in for a minute last
evening; he came up to the Hood Richards wedding Tuesday evening. Louise R. was maid of honor at that
wedding and they said she looked beautiful.
Must stop now.
Good bye Dode [Oda, 27]
The cousins in Amesbury are from the Gould side. Father James Gould was born and raised in
Amesbury and Lib and Harriet were born there too, just before they moved to Northfield. Apparently there were
lots of well known cousins there, hence the reference to “places we’ve heard Mama speak of”.
John Greenleaf Whittier was a passionate and dedicated abolitionist, as well as a Quaker and poet.
From Wikipedia: Whittier went home to Amesbury, and remained there for the rest of his life, ending his active
participation in abolition. Whittier spent the last few winters of his life, from 1876 to 1892, at Oak Knoll, the
home of his cousins in Danvers, Massachusetts. Whittier died on September 7, 1892, at a friend's home in
Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. He is buried in Amesbury, Massachusetts.
Interestingly, both the Gould family and Whittier’s family were Quakers. I think Tana has evidence that
the two families knew each other; it would seem likely.
Addressed to: Mr. George A. Howe, Cambridge, Mass, 19 Holworthy Hall
Stamped from: Danvers, May 18, 1895
Wednesday morning early
It is six Oclock and Arthur has just built the kitchen fire. It is a lovely morning. We have two dress
makers here. We had Mr. Robson to spend the evening last evening I think he enjoys coming and we all like
him ever so much. What we call a sensible fellow.
Mrs. Kirby (I.B.’s bank and quarry partner’s wife in Iowa?) has written to me to send her some Infants
breath seed and Mr. Ed Woodman says we will have to get it at a seed store in Boston and they are near the
Quincy Market. I would like to send her and Anna some together. Could you get it for me in Boston some time
this week if you can. One paper [seeds come in papers, as in folded up like an envelope] is enough and send it
to Mrs. Kirby. It would be nice if you could. Charly Peel has run away and they say he is married. It is just
what we have expected he would come too. I am sorry to see a young man that might been a smart man make
such a mistake of his life. We are all well but very busy glad the play is a success. Want to see you awfully.
[Kirby and Henry Howe are apparently now partners; Anna is Henry's wife.]
Mr. George A. Howe, 19 Holworthy Hall, Cambridge, Mass
Postmarked Danvers, Nov. 18, 1895
Twenty three years ago today was washing day. (George was born Nov. 18, 1872) We wonder if the
chair has arrived and how you like it.- wish I could make you a birthday cake. It is a lovely morning Arthur
has his ditch filled and the gas man is diggin away. I am feeling better Oda & I are going to drive with
Gretchen will take this up to the Office so must hurry.
Mrs. H.R.Howe, Danvers, Mass
Cambridge, Feb. 20 ’96.
I wish I could see you tonight so as to know just how you are. I feel rather guilty about going to
Northamp. tomorrow & leaving you to have all the hard work of the plumbing business. Last night we had a
fine time down to the Club House. Prof. Beal, one of the head profs. of the Law School & an old Pi Eta man,
gave us an interesting talk on Cuba, explaining why we ought not to recognize the insurgents down there. Then
we had another graduate give an exhibition of sleight of hand. He was as good as many professionals and kept
us laughing and guessing for nearly an hour.
Night before last I had an experience which was highly entertaining, &, in a certain way, very
instructive. I assisted Mme. Calve in her production of “carmen” at Mechanics Hall. I haven’t time to tell all
about it now, but will some other day. It was a great opportunity to see life behind the scenes at short range and
such an opportunity I thought ought not to be lost. As soon as I have time I will tell you how calve?? and Mme.
Salville look “near to,” how the minor characters, or “supes” get dressed, and how I fastened on the bracelets of
the “premier danseuse”. Now don’t worry about the lost -- I have felt no desire to espouse her.
I also wish to tell you about the Vermont Daughter’s reception [DAR?]. And I thank you a thousand
times for sending me that ticket, for it let me into a little event which will always be a delightful memory. All I
will say now is that I met both Mr. & Mrs. Taber and had a bit of conversation with the latter on the strength of
Stewart Coonley’s acquaintanship, as she knows him. I fear I shall have a little more “outside” work to do as I
have been put on the committee to look after the class day spread of the club. It is 11.30 so I must go to bed.
If you will save this letter I will put it in my journal.
Cambridge, Mar. 9 -’96.
It really looks as tho we were going to spread but have made no definite arrangements yet. We are going
to all meet up here tonight & talk it over. As we figure it each fellow can invite 100 people for $150 or less (i.e.
100 accepted invitations.)
Yesterday I went out to Wellesley. Arrived there at 2.48 & found Miss Eddy waiting for me. We went
right up to the Main Building, then to the Art Building & then over to her house, (she rooms in a private house).
I expected to return before supper but she invited me to stay over & go to a temperance lecture by Mrs.
Livermore in evening. I finally decided to do this as she didn’t seem to be busy; but I declined her invitation to
take supper with herself & 20 other girls there at the house, and found a very fair lunch room near by. We were
early at the lecture & got a front seat in the gallery which is a favorite place with the girls for they can get out
easily if the lecture is not interesting. I was the only male in hall & the gallery was packed with girls. I could
not help thinking of the last time I was there, when Leslie Learned was with me. The lecture was fine but parts
of it were very funny from my point of view, for, you know, Mrs. Livermore does not mind running down the
men. I enjoyed the trip very much. Miss Eddy was feeling quite jubilant as she has been lately initiated into the
secret literary society. She is not a particularly attractive girl and is evidently not accustomed to the society of
men, but she is so well bred that she know how to treat them properly. I asked her about Miss Weston, but she
had not happened to meet her.
Do you want me to bring Fred [son of a cousin Sarah?] down next Sat?
Margaret will tell you all about the Opera, and our adventures there and at Wellesley so there isn’t much
for me to write. However, as I didn’t see you I want to send a few words in this letter. I went over to call on
Leslie this evening to scold him for not going to Wellesley with me yesterday according to his agreement, but he
wasn’t at home. He never is a home when I call. What a lot of bumming those theologues must do!
It was such a nice, rainy ev’g that I did not want to come back without calling on someone, so I dropped
into Ed Lacey’s room and was lucky enough to find him in. We sat, and talked for about an hour and a half (I
always make good long calls) and had a real genial time. While we were chatting, the firebells rang, and pretty
soon the hook and ladder dashed by. We looked out to see where the fire was, and debated whether it was best
to go. We decided that, under the circumstances, we were excusable for not being present, and resumed our
The chameleon enjoyed his trip to Wellesley very much, and got home all right. He asked me today if
he couldn’t go there to college when he got grown up. I told him that only girls were allowed there, and that he
would want to be a Harvard boy. But he said that the girls treated him lots nicer than the boys and that he
would rather go to the Willard School than to Harvard. I said that he was so green they would take him for a
Freshman all through his course. This made him mad, and he laid down between the leaves of my cash-book
and went to sleep. (I think Geo. is talking about little Alden White)[or maybe he has a pet lizard]
Sometime when you think of it I wish you would send me that boy-girl photograph. (We have a copy of
this photo) And have you told Arthur about taking my stirrups off Perls saddle?
Cambridge, May 24, 1896
Fred & I have just come home from Boston. About five we started & walked into town arriving there at
6. We tried to find a restaurant Fred knew of on Fremont St. near Rutland, but not succeeding in that we
dropped into a good clean looking place & ordered beef stew, sausages, & coffee. While waiting who should
walk in but Will Ewing with a friend. He takes his supper in there regularly.
After supper Fred & I looked around for a church, &, hearing a bell ringing, decided to follow the sound.
This brought us to the Shawmeet Av. Church where we read on the bulletin board -- “Lecture by Major W.H.
Trickey - The Story of the War.” At 7.30 then, we went in & heard some good singing & quite an interesting
talk on personal reminiscences of the War by Mr. Trickey. Wasn’t it funny I should run across him & Will
Ewing too in the same afternoon’s rambles.
Do you see how Harvard is picking up in athletics? Two victories yesterday p.m. The Varsity & the
Freshmen beating Pennsylvania in baseball, & last Wed. we beat Brown who beat Yale. Last night about 1500
of us formed in line & marched around the Yard & the Square cheering, & singing just as we did Wed. night.
This is the first time in my 4 yrs. that I have seen anything like a celebration & I’m glad it happened before I
Yesterday I took my last singing lesson & Mr. Mull gave me two complimentary tickets to Charles
Adams’s concert-opera Lohingrin in which Mull taken - part of Tallrymund. Last week I got in money enough
to make up the needed $25 for English prizes which the Andover Club sends up to A-- every year, & sent it up
to Dr. Bancroft. Then we had a meeting & elected officers for next year, so that is off my hands now. There is
one special reason why I should like to be at home tonight and that is because of the expression of love in
mother’s manner when I said good-bye last Sunday. She was lying on the lounge when I went in, but as soon as
she saw me with my dress suitcase in my hand she sat up & exclaimed, with a really grieved face, “Are you
going away now”? -- simple words in themselves, but with the tone of her voice & the expression on her face
they thrilled me. Her whole manner was so natural, so spontaneous, that it forced upon me more than ever the
depth of her love. I think it is true that no love can be like a mother’s love. And that is the beauty of the love
which one’s family bears to one -- you never can doubt it. Friends you may think love you, but sometimes you
doubt it is real, or that it would stand a severe test, but the family love you know is always there and ready for
you when you need it. Mother’s action was simple in itself but it meant a great deal to me & was something
which I shall never forget.
Perhaps you notice how unusually scraggily my writing looks. It is because I have written so much this
week -- 53 pages of thesis paper for a Phil. 9 thesis & an economics report, besides my home correspondence.
To: Geo. A. Howe A.B., Danvers, Mass
Stamped in corner envelope: P.J. Farnsworth M.D., Clinton, Iowa
Clinton, Ia. June 24 ‘96
My dear Friend,
A paper came to me today with a pen mark on your name, and then I remembered that it the most
glorious day of all your life, and was very much pleased that you remembered me when it came. I recollect
when those days came to me and was reminded of all those ?odes and? addresses given by the “immortals”
from your college who will now be to you fellow alumni. I am not so fortunate my “parchment” however reads
as yours does. “To men of letters all around the globe. greeting” So I greet you by that degree.
To your father I was indebted for many kindness and your success will be always of interest to me.
“Thine own friend and thy fathers friend, forget not.” Come to see me if you come this way and you shall
always receive the warmest welcom. Remember me to your mother.
Very truly yours,
Another letter while on honeymoon by George’s sister, Oda.
Addressed to: Mr. Alden White, 34 York Pl., London, England, postmarked June 29, 1896.
Your post-cards telling of your safe arrival in Liverpool, have arrived, one yesterday, and George’s this
morning June 26. We had heard of the steamer’s getting into port some time before. What a pity you had so
much rain on the voyage, but you didn’t say a word as to sea-sickness! Did you discover the preserved ginger
and flag-root? Those sort of things were more acceptable to us than the ??.
Well, the great, eventful days are over, and 19 Holworthy, as far as George is concerned, is a thing of the
past: completely dismantled, its residents for three years, gone to their respective homes, it has a most desolate
appearance as Mama and George both admit, and we can well imagine. I hear you say - “Let us begin at the
beginning - we left Danvers, etc.” Mama, Margaret and I went out to Cambridge at noon Thursday June 18,
found a pleasant boarding place provided near Memorial, got Mama settled, and then George, Margaret and I
joined a party of about fifteen, mostly Portland people, friends of Mr. Denison’s and Fred’s including his father,
mother and sister (Fred’s) and went to the game between Princetown and Harvard. It was a fine game and we
were disappointed that Harvard lost, but perhaps it was as well, for if there had been a victory there would have
been a celebration and everybody was tired enough there for Class Day. Mr. Tucker of Northampton, came
Thursday evening and called upon us while George went to something or other at the ‘club’. Friday was a
perfect day, not a sign of a rain cloud, and yet not too hot: in the morning at nine we went over to Holworthy
and saw the seniors in cap and gown, form in front of the building, and march around the quadrangle to Chapel
where they had a brief service, not public. We then went to Sanders and Mama and I sat with Mr. and Mrs.
Dudley. Dr. Lyman Abbott and Pres. Eliot sat where we could see them well: before long the seniors came
marching in, filling up the seats on floor and stage, the Class Day com. occupying front seats on platform with
Dr. Peabody; the latter offered prayer and these followed the exercises, oration, poem, ivy oration (funny) and
ode, all being good, but the greatest impression was made by those four hundred students themselves and I am
sure I never forget it. After this George and Margaret went to the Pudding ‘spread’ while Mama, Mr. Faud and I
went to our boarding place for luncheon. Then we changed our gowns, and went over to the Gym for the Pi Eta
spread which I won’t attempt to describe, only everything was beautiful, decorations, gowns, etc. There was a
big crowd, fourteen hundred or so and I think everyone had a good time though the ‘ten’ had to work
tremendously looking after their individual guests. Most of George’s invited guests came but we were so sorry
about the Kenneys: you know Mrs. K. took the opportunity to have the whooping cough so couldn’t come tho
she had a sweet pretty hat bought for the occasion, and Mr. K. wouldn’t come without her. After this came ‘the
tree’ and both George and Fred took part in the scramble, much to Mama’s anxiety, the cheering and the crowd
were the best fun there. After the tree, the seniors got into their dress suits, cape and gowns (decided contrast to
tree costumes) and then made the round of the spreads: we had been invited to two, and afterwards George took
Margaret, Susie, Mary Herrick and me to Pres. Eliot’s senior reception where we had a chance to see the big
man, and eat some ice-cream, while George really had an opportunity of a brief conversation with him, the first
time in his four years! Then back to Holworthy for the band and glee-club concerts, fireworks, and over to the
Gym to see the dancing. This ended the days festivities and after packing our trunk, we were glad to get to bed
about twelve; we left at nine next morning without seeing George as we knew he would want to sleep late.
Sunday noon he and Mr. T. came home and George went back that evening while Mr. T. stayed until noon
Monday. As we could get only one ticket for Commencement, Mama went out to C. for Wednesday and had the
privilege of seeing the ‘sheepskins’ passed out in bundles to the Bachelors of Art among whom George was
numbered, but she didn’t get a glimse of him. I’ve sent a paper which will tell how it was done. Then came the
packing up, the last thing, and George came home at five yesterday, no longer a Harvard student, but ready for
‘ye? next thynge.’ I’ll leave him to tell of a lot of things you’ll be interested in besides what I’ve
Fritz [dog?] is flourishing, in good health and spirits and seems quite content: he was restless for a few
days, started for Salem several times but finally made up his mind to accept his lot, and really behaves
beautifully; he and Arthur are great friends, and we don’t have so many visits from the cats of the neighborhood,
I had a short letter from Annette a week ago, saying she and Nathalie expected to spend the summer in
Germany, so you may run across them in Northern Germany, Hanover, Bremen perhaps.
Monday, a dozen of the D.A.R. went to Concord and Lexington, having a most delightful day and seeing
more than one ordinarily would, for we had Mr. Barrett, president of the Concord Historical Society, to show us
around Concord, and Mrs. Lothrop took us all over the Wayside [Wayside Inn?]. Tomorrow, if pleasant, we
expect to go yachting with the Palmers, and about July first George expects to take a weeks cruise with Will and
his father, which we think will be a fine thing. The work on the H.H.S. has been begun and it is hoped it may
go on all right. Mrs. Carter was very kind to send us some wedding cake and the notice of the wedding in the
Springfield paper. This afternoon and evening, there is to be a reunion of the Willard School and we anticipate
a pleasant time.
Well, I think this will do for the present so I will let some of the others put in a few words and send this
off, not knowing where or when it may reach you. Trusting that you are both well, and having a delightful
journey, and hoping to hear from you occasionally, I am
As ever, sincerely
Sunday, June 28. Yesterday Margaret, George and I spent with the Palmers sailing most of the time; the Eastern
Yacht Club was entertaining and there were concerts, a race, illuminations, etc. all of which we enjoyed. Please
tell Jessie the Willard reunion was very successful, about forty there, and we had a jolly, informal time. The rest
of the family will write later, telling me to send this off now.
Gloucester Harbor, Sunday - July 5, 1896.
I am lounging in the cabin of the knockabout yacht Eugenia owned by Mr. Palmer of Marblehead. On
the other side of the cabin, not far to be sure, for the cabin although roomy is small enough to be cozy, is Will
Palmer, reading the Sunday Herald. We are on a cruise with the Corinthian Yacht Club fleet - started this a.m. at
10.30 & reached here at l.30. Tomorrow the rest of the fleet will go on to Portland but we shall have to stay
here all day to make repairs caused by a collison in which we engaged as we entered the Harbor. We were in
rather close to the shore with the large schooner - yacht Rueen Mab about 150 on our starboard quarter. Will
thought we were getting pretty close to shore and came about with the intention of shooting by the bow of the
Rueen Mab. But she was too close to us & was coming faster than he reckoned while we ourselves lost some
headway in coming about. Before a collision could be averted the bowsprit of the Rueen Mab tore through our
main-sail, the strain ripped off our stem, carrying away our jib-stay & strained the bulwark. Fortunately neither
boat was moving very fast & no one was hurt. Everyone has been very kind & sympathetic. The commodore
immediately sent over condolences & offers of assistance & later in the afternoon we paid him a call on board
his beautiful yacht “Loyal.” The whole thing was very unfortunate, but we are thanking our stars it wasn’t
So much for the cruise, now I will tell you about commencement. I shall not tell about Class Day for I
presume the folks have written about that. At commencement Mother was the only one for whom I could get a
ticket. The number of the candidates for degrees was so large that the undergrads. were allowed only one ticket
apiece. In the morning at 10.30 all candidates met in front of Holworthy & marched over to Sander’s, with the
Yorenor?, his staff & the candidates for honorary degrees at the head of the procession. It was really quite an
imposing sight, the line reaching nearly the whole distance around the college ground, and many of the men
wearing silk gowns. The exercise at Sanders were the same as usual except that they were given in English.
Honorary degrees were conferred on T.B. Aldrich, Booker Washington, & Gen Miles. The last received a
After the exercises, feed was served by the different classes graduated, the class of ‘63 having our room.
In the p.m. there was nothing but the commencement dinner, & Fred & I spent the time in packing.
Commencement evening the “96 men of the Pi Eta had a dinner. Nineteen of us met at Marliane’s & sat at one
long table. Between courses speeches were made each one being called upon. The fellows all seemed to realize
that it was the last time we should all meet together, and all said “what they felt, not what they thought.” It was
surprising into what a serious strain we dropped, but it was worth while for we got nearer to one anothers hearts
than ever before.
Since getting home I could have been homesick to get back to college if I had allowed myself to think
about it much. I can realize now, Perl, better than ever before your feelings of love for Amherst. At home the
folks were all well & happy when I left (but I hope not because I left.) I must close now so as to mail this
when I go ashore.
Addressed to: Mr. A. P. White, Hotel Ketterer, Clarens-Montreux, Suisse
Danvers, July 20, 1896.
I am now at home again, having returned from the cruise three days ago, with many charming memories
& a bright scarlet complexion. “The last time I wrote to you” I was in Portland Harbor, (New Hampshire) I
believe, & I will begin there. We found the rest of the boats there and went with them to Potts Harbor, about 3
hours further down the Harbor. There we spent the night & Will & I went ashore & got some provisions. We
also visited the hotel & on examination of the register I was interested to find the name of W. P. Hood & wife
who had stopped there a few days before.
Next day we had a strong breeze & skimmed swiftly down to Booth Bay. There the Commodore hoisted
the “go-where-you____ - please - flag”, & the fleet disbanded. Some of the boats went further east, but we
stayed there two days, sailing around the mouth of the Damariscotta River and doing the town of Booth Bay &
then we turned back towards home. The first night the whole party (15 or 20 of us) went to the play called
“Muldoon’s Picnic”, (Did you ever see it?) at the “Opera House.” The wife of one of the gentlemen went with
us – as chaperone or something I suppose. She could stand only the first act then had to go out. On our way
home we stopped at Biddeford Pool from whence we took a steamer trip up the Saco River to Biddeford & then
took an electric down to Old Orchard Beach. Leaving Biddeford Thursday morning we made a long slow run
of 72 miles reaching Marblehead (near Salem) at 1.40 Friday morning. It was a fine cruise & we all enjoyed it
very much. I think I grew fat & surely I ought to have done so for we had plenty to eat & went to bed at nine
o’clock regularly. I was glad to receive your letter telling about Yale’s chances in the boat race & the cricket
games, & I was much interested to see the Isis & the Oxford Review. Really, I think the Harvard Crimson is
quite as newsy as the latter, don’t you?
Fritz receives a great deal of attention & consequently seems quite contented. He & Arthur are constant
companions except when Arthur has the hose on. Then Fritz keeps at a safe distance, with a funny anxious
expression on his face. There isn’t much gossip just now. Mr. Massey, I believe, has had a scrap with Mr. Hyde
& threatens to leave the church if Mr. H. does not. Must skip now.
Note: This is by George Alonzo Howe (Pepa). He graduated from Harvard in 1896. He is writing to Perl who
is on his honeymoon in Europe. Ten years after Mary died he married Jessie Carter & had about 3 children.
Addressed to: Mr. A. P. White, Antwerp, Red Star Line, Friedland
Danvers, Aug. 5, 1896.
It is a broiling hot day here, but if you are up among the mountains of Switzerland you can’t imagine
what heat is. Mother & I are keeping “bachelor’s hall” , while the girls are at Northfield.
Ike Sawyer (George’s cousin, Aunt Sophia’s son raised in Boxford, Mass.) has been on East with his
wife. While he was stopping up at the farm he & James (Ike’s brother) & I went up to see Jim’s new farm at
Bradford. It is a fine one -- 80 acres in all, over 40 of it being in one immense field with a 5 acre strip of oats
running down the middle of it like a pale green ribbon. It’s not often you see such a field about here. We all
think it is going to be a great opportunity for Jim. Yesterday Mother went up there with Evie Harris & Sarah.
On another day Ike & Jim & I drove over to Ipswich Beach to see some land Ike was interested in. I never
realized before how pretty it is over there.
Last week I went down to Salem & looked over the papers with Miss Ryder. She was very good chased
over to the safe deposit vault & everything. The insurance policy on my Lynn Davis mtge has been
renewed but is still in the hands of the insurance co. awaiting payment from Davis. As soon as he pays for it the
policy will be sent to your office.
I feel as though I ought to go West soon, but I want to wait & be here when you people get home, so I
hardly know what to do. We shall be very glad to see you both back and shall expect to find you very thin and
Danvers, June 9th l897.
My dear Son:
Your nice letter to us written to the Palmer house came today. It was sent to Decatur, Illinois. I was so
glad to get it even if it was some time ago. I have been all alone all day and wrote to cousin Anna, [Henry's
wife] and it has rained steady. We find the account of our expenses in this letter so you will not need to send
another. Received your postal written Sunday we have just received Bill Ewings engagement card to a Miss
Wood we do not know what is the name of the family you board with at the the Quarry do they know any
Quaker families we know this way Mrs Leonards mother is dead you used to see her driving with the little
white horse she wore the grey quaker bonnet...........this part of the letter has been cut off..............one way Mrs.
Blake died but it seemed as though it was ordered to be. I do not hear anything from Mr. Cutting about the
interest on the mortgage. (In Northfield, Vt. a Mr. Cutting bought the house I.B. built when they moved to Iowa
in 1861 - actually don’t know when it was sold...this house is still there at the top of Elm St. ) I think your going
away this Winter gave Mr. Kirby time to think well how you were fixed and his own situations and things sort
of shaped themselves you see so it is not best to borrow trouble as your mother does everything comes around
right - if we trust in Providence and wait,- Billy Perry inquires after you with much interest - I think he likes
you. He was pleased when I told him how you were getting along. He says George is all right. Margaret gets
along fine keeping house. She attends to the marketing and all. She is a fine cook. I wish I could give you a
good night kiss. Mother.
Mr. George A. Howe, Marshalltown, Iowa
postmarked: Fall River, Mass
(Geo had a job working at his cousin’s, Henry John Howe, son of Asa, bank.)
Fall River, Oct. 30, 1897
Mr. dear George:
I write at once to acknowledge your generous gift and to thank you for your words of congratulation. I
pray that I may not prove unworthy of your faith.
I have never told you, though I have often said it to your sisters and to your mother, that your life has
been a great help to me and to all your friends. You may deny it as you read these lines, but yours is one of the
few lives which are strong and sincere. Culture did not spoil your character when you were at college. I always
think of you as a Harvard man who does credit to his college.
I had a delightful chat with your mother the other day. I have always admired her but in the half hour
we spent together I came to know her better and discovered the secret of your own poem? for good in the world.
She told me you were coming on and if you do visit you hunt me up in New York? I shall be glad enough to see
you and we will have a good time, - you, the Western business man with the rush of commerce clinging to you,
will give the minister something to think of.
With heartiest gratitude for your kindness to my little parish and most cordial regards, I am always,
Your true friend, Leslie E. Learned
Return address: Fidelity Savings Bank, Marshalltown, Iowa
To: Mrs. H.R. Howe, Danvers, Mass
G.F. Kirby, President. Geo. A. Gregg, Vice President. H.J. Howe, Sec.& Treas.
Office of the
Le Grand Quarry Company
Marshalltown, Iowa Sept. 25/98.
The inclosed $5, being the first money to that amt. I ever earned I give to mother and I want her to buy
with it some little thing that she would really enjoy whenever she happens to run across it. The said $5 was sent
to me by Life for a couple of foolish little verses I wrote for them.
They were as follows,
Her tongue is never tired tho’ I am
So I’ll get a rubber tire if I can,
And I’ll tie that great big tire to the tongue that’s never tired
And you’ll see that tired tongue will soon be tied.
When a girl we call a peach
Kisses Hobson on the beach
Mr Hobson in the matter has no voice
For the trouble seems to be
And it’s plain to you & me
That for Hobson it is only Hobson’s choice.
I don’t know as both were accepted, but neither was returned to me. I will send you a copy of the
number when it is published.
I have about decided not to take Henry’s house since there seems to be no chance that you will come out.
But Anna says they aren’t going to Europe. They talked of it last winter to Aunt Ann .[Lucy Ann] but have
given it up. They’ll go to Vt. for a month & then if Henry is all right, visit N.Y.
Mr. Kirby (the same man I.B. was partners with) seemed quite chipper today when we took dinner at
Henry’s and about 5 o’clock we all went out driving with Mr. K’s horses.
You will notice by the paper that I have been in some Gibson Pictures. In one I had to stand up & tell
the prettiest girl in Marshalltown, really a very beautiful creature, I would like to kiss the very ground she
walked on (an abominable lie even if she is pretty) and then she had to look up at me coyly and reply “You silly
boy! The ground wouldn’t appreciate it.”
This morning I heard the first sermon of the new minister at the Congregational Church. It was a fine
sermon & I like him the best of any man I have heard here. Everyone seemed pleased & it looks as tho’ he
would be a success.
I was somewhat surprised to get Arthur Abbott’s wedding cards yesterday. I will put in ten dollars and
you can call it from the Howe family. That will be the best way. But I don’t care whether you get anything or
give them the money I suppose better get a present. What’s the diff. whether it gets there the day of the
wedding or later? I’d like to see you in your new bicycle suit, Sis.
Mr. George A. Howe, Marshalltown, Iowa
Postmarked: Tewksbury, Mass, Oct. 30, 1902
Letterhead: Poland Spring House (with a coat of Arms), Sapientia Donum Del.,
Hiram Ricker & Sons, South Poland, Me.
Note: Oda is 35, just newly married to John, Margaret 32, George 30. Unclear where they are and why the
three together so Oda won't be alone. Mama was still alive, about 66. Who is Aunt Margaret? Daisy is not an
I've just got up from my afternoon nap, a habit I am cultivating according to Mama's & John's advice!
(John Holyoke Nichols is who Oda married) Aunt Margaret has gone to Salem for the night so I am really
mistress of all I survey! We get on beautifully together & I don't believe there can be any friction between us. I
don't interfere with any of her accustomed duties & in fact I feel pretty useless but shall find my right place
before long. She, J. have insisted on my taking the head of the table. It would have been very hard if I'd been
left all alone & I'm thankful there was an Aunt Margaret to help initiate me; besides she is so much company &
tho I'm not one of the homesick kind, it wouldn't have been strange if I had a lonesome feeling at times! John is
so good and dear and does make me very happy. When you get married George, he will be able to give you
points & especially on having patience with the wife while she is trying to learn how to adapt herself to new
surroundings, manner of life etc!!
We went into Boston Friday to call on Will & Nellie Nichols, then meeting Margaret. John left us & we
went to the Symphony; afterward I went to Danvers, a very natural proceeding! J. drove down Sat. evening
with the big wagon & Tuesday evening, having packed the presents therein, we drove to Tewksbury, getting
caught in a shower on the way but without getting much wet. Almost everyday brings a gift & I am still busy
acknowledging them. This is Will Palmer's wedding day. Have you heard that Will Damon has married a girl
Hope the folks have their furnace fire now for it is real cold: we have steam heat & the house is warm
allover. The alterations progress & we begin to see the end; it is a tiresome job. John is driving Jerry again & a
horse he calls Blunderbuss. Was ever so glad to get your letter & shall be whenever you can write. Guess you'll
have to learn how to spell my new name so I'll enclose one of my cards which has just come. There is but one l
in Nichols. !
Card says: Mrs. John H. Nichols.
John was superintendent of the Tewksbury Institute, in Tewksbury, which is north of Danvers)
Mema's (Alice Howard) courting letters to Pepa (George A. Howe).
They got married Dec. 19, 1907
George's mother, Hannah, died Nov. 2, 1907 so the wedding was postponed to Dec. from what Marge
McCaffery says (their daughter).
Addressed to: Mr. George A. Howe, Box, 114, Marshalltown, Iowa.
July 16, 1907 Bennett, Wis.
My dearest George -
This is only a note ... (the rest of this page is cut off -the top of the back side says:) ... anyone else getting
it. I havn't got the express either but think it is at Solon Springs as the Hawthorne agent said yes ... (continues
on next page) ... be there before this, and yesterday he said the package he sent was from Chicago. Hope to get
things straightened out soon. We are looking for a letter from Mother every mail telling us to meet her at Solon,
as it can't be long before some of us will go.
Yes, dear George, your letters all suit me, -they are all that I could wish. Have I said anything to make
you think they did not? Don't you care sweetheart, I will make up to you when I see you what my letters lack.
Of course I love you, and all else that goes with it and I wish for you many times a day. Time does not go as
quickly as I wish it did.
Think, George, we had better wait until we can discuss fully concerning the wedding for we may get into
difficulty writing it. I have never felt that you wanted to discuss it, but I think it will be best don't you. It seems
strange that you have such a horror of a few people, by that I mean forty or fifty -what I call rather a small
wedding. The trouble is not much, and something to enjoy and remember. I am afraid without a wedding I won't
feel married to you. It is still hard for me to become reconciled to it all.
You must take very good care of yourself, go to bed early, do not smoke too much, --because I love you.
Same address as above but postmarked: Solon Springs, Wis. July 20, 1907
My dearest George -
Don't expect much of a letter tonight, dear, but I feel that I must not neglect you, neither do I want to,
even tho' the day has been unusually strenuous. Last night Ella (Alice's sister) fell in the dip tank and has been
in bed today -she hopes to get up tomorrow. Clara, the girl, is homesick so she has taken little interest in things
so I have been cooking for ten people, looking after the chickens and waiting on Ella. I think things will go
more smoothly tomorrow. Mother did not come with my aunt and uncle but is coming tomorrow, so I will get a
chance to mail you this, dear.
First of all -I received the kodak and it is a beauty -Why did you get it? Well, I can't tell you my
appreciation sweetheart, -just like you, always doing the unexpected, and that has been another reason why I
have grown to love you. You have always done so many things for me, that you truly would not have needed to,
so I believe it is a pleasure to you, and that you like to be doing for me. Considering all of these things, George,
do you really wonder that I love you? -well, I can't see how I could help it, together with your many other fme
qualities. I believe I have observed many, altho I may have mentioned only a few.
I have read the directions, George, and find that I am able to open it, and that is about all.
Never having operated a kodak of any kind it seems rather complicated, and I am so fearful of breaking it.
Perhaps, George, I had better wait for you to show me how to run it. I rather hesitate to admit that I am so green,
but I would hate to do the wrong thing and "bust it". I also received my other package today, so think I have all
that is coming to me ---all but you and I will have you. So you really can't consider June! -well, it would be
quite a while, but we often appreciate more, the things we have to wait for.
Don't worry, dearest, about there being any danger in me going alone to Solon to meet you. No one
would steal me. We go many miles here, and don't see a single sig?, then even tho' I were running a risk, I could
not resist the temptation of seeing you first and alone. Yes, come to Solon Springs -You will have to come on
the Omaha from St. Paul, as it is the only road that comes anywhere near here. See if the 500 mile mileage
books for $10.00 would be cheaper than the excursion rates. In this state they go for 2cents per mile, but I don't
know whether or not the rates have changed in Iowa since I left. Don't know as you will need a bathing suit. I
don't see any chance for me to wear mine, unless it would be in Superior. I wouldn't run the risk of going in any
of the lakes around here. I now think the first of Aug. will be about right, George, if it is convenient for you. I
can scarcely wait can you?
I am planning on coming home some time about or shortly after the middle of September, if I can stand
it that long. Yes, I want Blanche to come up sometime the last of Aug. or first of Sept., for I think the change
will do her good, then I expect to stop offnot more than a week in Minneapolis. Don't you think it advisable?
Wish I could answer your letters in full, George, for I got two today, but think I will try to make up for it
another time. Everyone is in bed and the light is attracting the mosquitoes -they are fierce night and day -that is
another reason why you will have a good time. Good night, dearest, with a kiss -sweet dreams. -You should try
them --they help.
With much love,
Friday, July 19, '07
Same address -
Postmarked: Bennett,Wis., July 24, 1907
George Dear -
I learned yesterday, George, that the folks go to Superior Sunday night and my aunt and uncle do not
come back here. So let me know if it will be convenient for you to leave there Monday night and get at Solon
Springs Tues. 2 p.m. --I will meet you. If not let me know just when you will come -anytime I will meet you so
if you shouldn't get an answer from me -just set the time yourself & come and I will meet you. You see I can't
always get the mail so thought I would give you plenty of time in order that I might get another letter from you.
Hope to see you Tues. dearest. Edward (he was married to her sister, Ella Hatch) is now ready for Bennett
Wed. Morning Allie
Same address, postmarked Solon Springs, Wis. July 27, 1907
My dearest George -
I had hardly expected to get a letter to you again before you come, George, but this morning Mrs.
Howard phoned that she is going to Solon Springs, and I thought that you would accept this, dear, with my love
altho' it is written in a hurry. You will probably get it Monday and I am expecting you to start Monday night.
Howard's have three letters for me, which Mrs. H. will bring over this morning, and I hope that you will not tell
me that you can't leave then, for everything seems to center around Tuesday, dearest, and I am getting crazy to
see you. I would be terribly disappointed if you postphoned it even a day, -I hardly think that you will.
Father and my uncle went fishing this morning, the first time they have gone fishing together for forty
years and they act like two "kids." They took lunch enough and will stay until tomorrow. We are having all of
the blue berries we can eat now, and think we will have to go berrying, George -it will give us a good excuse to
get off alone, and we need to pick only what we like. Don't think I have ever had all of the blue berries I could
eat before, for I am fond of them. Be sure and bring old clothes, and possibly you may need heavier clothing,
altho' I chould think a light over coat would be enough. The days are quite warm and the evenings cool. In the
morning it seems good to get to the kitchen stove. I am wondering if there is anything in your letters or letter
which Mrs. H --is to bring that I should answer. She will be in a hurry & I probably won't have time to read
them, and this will be my last opportunity, but what ever you want to do or bring or anything will be all right
-the main thing is to bring yourself. Be good and I will always love you.
Sat. July 27, 1907
Aunt Margaret's death by Robert Howe to his dad, George. At the time of her death Uncle Bob was working for
Lybrand Corp. in Boston and auditing the Lipton Tea Company (after going to Harvard). --Tana & Mark
Danvers, Christmas Day 1934
It's too bad she has gone, but she has certainly set an example to a great many people, in fact all who knew
her, of how to lead a good life and bring the greatest amount of pleasure to others. I wish you could be here and
listen to all the nice things people say about her --she had a great many friends both here and in other places and
none of them can speak highly enough of her.
It does of course sadden the Christmas time to have her go, and yet it is a very pleasant and happy and
hopeful time. It is a time when the most outstanding significance is making other people happier --particularly those
less fortunate than ourselves --and I am certain no one could typify that attitude better than Aunt Margaret did. And
she was happy right to the end. I was out here night before last -Sunday night -and she said that as long as she
wasn't going up to Tewksbury (where her sister Oda lived ) Christmas Day we should open our presents then. You
see she had planned to have me drive down from Tewksbury Christmas morning and take her up there for dinner,
but she had a little neuralgia (so she thought, but Dr. Andrew Nichols thought it was her heart) the first of the week
and so decided not to go to Tewksbury because there would be so many people there to talk to and visit with.
But she seemed perfectly all right Sunday night and we opened the box from Hollywood and she remarked
so many times how beautifully the presents from California were wrapped. And then we began to open them, and of
course she was greatly interested in what everyone received, as you would expect she would be. And then a little
after eight o'clock Uncle John (Oda's husband, John Nichols ) came and we all had a very pleasant time looking at
presents and talking ---Alice, Cousin Bertha, Oda, Uncle John and I. A little before nine Aunt Oda, Uncle John and
I left and they took me to Wakefield as is their custom, where I caught a bus for Boston. And Sunday she had gone
to church and heard all the Christmas music and after the service went up and examined the flowers. Lately Cousin
Bertha has been driving her up town and then she would walk back, and she was telling us Sunday night how
beautifully the windows were decorated, and she walked through the ten-cent store and saw all the toys.
Monday about noon Mr. Perry telephoned me (Uncle John had called him) and of course I came right out. It
seems not to have been unexpected by either Alice (her companion for years ) or Aunt Oda, particularly Aunt Oda,
and both of them are around the house and visit with the friends that drop in from time to time. It is fortunate
Cousin Bertha is here because she is very steady and talks about many things. John and Oda and our family are
together having a wreath made of green with Easter lilies and some fine white flowers (the name of which I have
forgotten) woven about three-quarters plain green. It should look very nice. Aunt Oda has asked that no flowers be
sent by those outside the family but of course there will be some. I ordered a spray of pink carnations and fine white
flowers (that kind I can't remember) and put a card on it from "Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Hatch [Ed & Ella] and Mr. and
Mrs. E. B. Howard [Emmet and Alma]." (These were Mema's sister & brother & spouses ) As Aunt Oda told you
in her letter the service will be tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 and will be private. Then Thursday morning we drive to
Lowell where we take the 9:36 train arriving at Northfield at 3:00 p.m. Cousin Jessie wired this morning that all
arrangements were made to have the train met and a short committal service at the family lot. That night we will
drive on to Montpelier (Aunt Oda, Uncle John and I --Alice doesn't wish to go) and take the midnight train from
Montpelier to Boston.
If things go as I expect they will I will be back on the job again Friday, because Saturday we start on the
inventory and I practically have to be at the Tea Company for that.
Aunt Oda is taking it as inevitable and I am quite certain will be all right. Uncle John has been here all the
time and just went up to Tewksbury for a few hours today. It is certainly tough on Alice and I wonder what she will
do when the commotion is over. I'll write you again in a day or so.
This is Herbert Bridgeman Jones, son of Han and Roys, stayed in Clinton his entire life.
Clinton, Ia., Jan. 10, 1936
Dear Cousin George,
Am indebted to you folks for a very pretty Christmas card and I deeply appreciate the kindly greetings it
contained. Christmas was indeed a joyous one to me; I spent it with Elaine [daughter b. '99, but I don't show
her married] and her family over at Winnetke. Their baby boy was sixteen months old on Christmas day; a
sturdy healthy youngster, doing his best to try and walk alone, but not yet quite confident enough. I had quite a
time getting over there; leaving here over an hour late, we were held up by a freight wreck just east of Fulton,
and had to back up to Clinton again and go to Chicago over the Milwaukee, making me four hours late reaching
my destination; but it was ideal Christmas weather, snowing and with zero temperature; you probably wouldn't
relish experiencing such "ideal weather", you have been so long in California. We still have plenty of snow and
cold enough to keep it from thawing, and the kids are having wonderful coasting on some of the hill streets; it
brings back old and happy times to me.
I hope that you were all and still are in good health, and could be together again for the holiday season; it
must have been a real joy to Bob, as well as the rest of you. But to Oda it must have been a rather lonely time.
Don [probably Donald Leslie, son of Martha and Jim] hasn't been very well of late, and has been compelled to
be away from the store a few days at times, but seems to be better now, though he gets pretty tired. Jim [must be
another son of Mattie and Jim] has about recovered from his long illness, and is on duty every day now, but is
being pretty careful, doesn't go out much if at all as yet. Martha [must be his daughter b. '02] is just about as
busy as one person can be, with her school work, and her own study course; but she manages to find time now
and then to enjoy the New England brand of winter. I imagine that her love of the season is inherited from her
dad. Kenneth [son b. 07 and married to Theressa; have kids David and Anne born about same time as Elaines
kid. Probably living in Pasadena.] is carrying on as usual, and between him and Terry I am kept pretty well
informed of the familys' doings, which of course makes the distance between us seem not so far.
I wish that you would tell me if you can whom I should communicate with in order to secure the stock
certificate of those shares of N.E.Y&T. stock which Margaret left to me. The stock was registered in my name
Nov. 5, 1935. I have received the first quarterly dividend; the company informs me that the certificate carries
the number 156054. Am sorry to trouble you about this, but I do not know who else to call upon.
With love and best wishes for a Happy New Year to you all,
Don wishes to be remembered to you all.
(On the back of the letter is written "Bert Jones" -Hannah & Roys's son)
Since George and Ali were living in Hollywood, how could they not have been in touch with Kenneth and
I think Susie Ellsworth was a “girl” who worked for them in Clinton. She is mentioned as getting over being
homesick and making better coffee in 12Mar74 letter. Maybe she is the “Susie” sometimes referred to when it
couldn't have been Susie Sawyer.-- Mark
In shaky handwriting:
To: George A. Howe, 1622 N. Martel Ave., Los Angeles, California
From: S. Y. Ellsworth, 28 Linebrook Rd., Ipswich, Mass
Ipswich, March 1st, 1939
To my "dear little George"
I am getting thawed out, as you will observe, after receiving a letter, so long overdue. We are having a
warm spell, which is just lovely. We have had a very disagreable winter, after a lovely one, a year ago, & a nice
long Fall last year too, with exception of the hurricane, which did us no harm whatsoever. Have had a freakish
one, so many dark rainy days, heavy dense fog, some cold & snow, but treacherous has been the ice for the
travelling public & the roads are bare once more. I have arthritis, and my hands do very nicely, until the cold
comes, then they are pretty well cramped. None of our family ever had it, and it must be due to old age, old age
comes creeping on. So much for weather report of 38 & 39th winter so far. Now I will go back two months,
when I had such a big & sweet surprise, in your letter & Xmas card. I hoped to hear from Little George which I
prize highly. To think of my introduction to "Little George," when he was only "4 yrs of age"[1876? -- more
likely 1874 when Pepa was rocked to sleep by Oda and Susie was less homesick. ltr 12Mar74] in petticoats, at
our "Light Hous Home", with his Pa & Ma & sweet little Daisy girl, seems a long long time ago to me, & much
has surely happened in your family, as well as in my own, the changes in this "Life". Next, we said "Good Bye"
to our Eastern relatives, & found ourselves in the state of Penn. taking in "the celebrations of 1876". "Little
George" was dressed up in a seal brown velvet plaited skirt, & Eton jacket, & a nice white blouse, you certainly
did look very swell, in your Mama's eyes, & mine too; then we left Penn, and you was dressed in a real boys
suit at that time, navy blue trousers & waist like. Your Daddy beamed satisfaction ever afterward in his pleasant
eyes, he really had a Boy. for you never was dressed up afterwards, to look like little "Lord Fauntleroy", instead
of "little George." I was in Salem & some relative took me over to your new home there, I saw your Papa for
the last time, as he was quite feeble then, and saw you & all the family. I often have thought of our wonderful
voyage (fresh water) from Chicago to Montreal. I stopped off in New Hampshire & visited for a few weeks. My
mother was a "Titus", born in Lisbon, N.H. on a big farm of over 600 acres, families were big as well as farms,
Grandpa Titus had a lovely farm house, full of company all summer & didn't they have lots of good times &
plenty of milk, butter, cheese, honey & etc. & they didn't know the meaning of nerves, didn't know what people
down country were talking about, my mother never had any. She was even disposition, always. I well remember
your mother, your sister Mary, her husband Mr. White, & Miss Baker the dress maker coming to the Beach, one
day, lovely day. Then one day, I went by train, went to Danvers, had dinner with the family & took Miss Baker
back home with me for a visit at the Beach, we had a nice time talking over old days, old times, old friends out
West & etc. How well I remember "Little George" musical talent, would stand by his mothers knee & sing, she
sat & listened with "rapturous delight", and the encore you reed. in hugs & kisses. I wonder you grew to be so
This is your little piece (rather short break you were.? I should like to die, said Willie If my Parpa could
die too But he has so much to do -repeat -But he says he isn't ready, cause he has so much to "do." I remember
Mamie (Mary was also called Mamie) as being quite mature for her age, & a companion to her Mother. You &
Daisy were inseparable chums, happy to be together, Daisy was so sweet & cuddly. When I was with your
family, they all went down to Photographers & had a family group picture taken. They gave me one, I still have
it, so all down the many years that have flown by, I have looked at the picture & lived over all those
associations, while in Iowa. (This family photo must be the one taken in 1878 that you cousins now have a
color copy of)
Well, I have had a busy life, our latch strings were always open, the beach was a wonderful one, 5 to 6
miles around it, so nice & white was the sand & so quiet & lovely; now it is all a public sporting place, the
meadows are built up for parking autos, to accomadate seven & eight thousand people on a warm Sunday &
through the week, no more quiet privacy to old fashioned people. We always had lovely neighbors, even if they
were a little ways apart, tall farming people & 5 miles to the village, we had clam bakes & picnics & a good
time. Father was in his 90th year when he passed on, he took a cold & never recovered from it. He was called
one of the most youthful looking of men, also in spirits. The grandchildren had some lively times with him. He
served under many noted officials in government services. Commander Dewey, Schley, Green, Wilder, Newell,
Admirals L. H. Engineers, Brigadier Gen. Walker was at the "Head", and many many others, they were fine
gentlemen. Our last one was Comm. Selfridge, he was there three years and very kind to us. We were there
through many terrible storms & wreaks, especially in our earlier years. Father was a great "Seaman", knew no
fear on land or sea, no matter what the weather was. Our last big blizzard storm, was in last week of Nov, 1898
when the "Portland" went down, with all on board. Nothing ever washed ashore on the beach, or any other to
tell the tale. We had one of my brothers with us as assistant. He had a tough time of it getting to the La Houser?
I had almost as much Christmas as Birthday, think my California picture very nice & pretty. Now I am
going to congratulate you, on your nice family, think you are wonderfully blessed to have them all so near you
to enjoy. Hope Mrs. Howe will find something to help her, so she can sleep better. No one ever wakes me if! am
asleep, no matter the time of day. Think it is a great in prolonging old age, especially in my case. I hope you will
receive this some morning when you don't have much cooking to do, or dishes to wash, so if you weary of
reading it you will have time for a little or short nap. I am yours
Sincerely Susie Ellsworth
Sounds like her father was a lighthouse keeper; the beach they refer to 5 miles from the village, perhaps from
Ipswich village. The loss of the Portland in 98 could be researched. Lots of history here. – Mark