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Will Borst Letters
Submitted by Betsy Wright on Oct. 28, 2019
1901 Letter from Will Borst to his widowed mother Charlotte Trotter Borst
Chicago, Ill., July 25, ‘01
According to promise, I’ll write you brief account of myself, and, as I have time and have more to say than I can well put on a card, will send a letter now and probably a card when I get home.
I have had a very pleasant trip all around. We didn’t get out of Elma till 9:15 and I was soaked from carrying corn for the hogs. I had a lot of fun going to Oelwein [Indiana], got acquainted with conductor, brakemen, and engineer. Rode on top of the train, where it was cooler much of the time and in the engine for the last part of the trip. AT Oelwein, about 2:00 had about an hour wait, then pulled out for Dubuque, which we reached at 8:00. Very pretty scenery along the road near Dubuque. Of course I was on top, saw children on our old skating pond, and other familiar points. An hour of waiting -- then we lit out for the long run -- 162 miles -- to Chicago. As it was dark and cool, I kept off from the top during the night. I didn’t care to roll off and the hogs were cool enough not to need watching. Stretched out on a caboose seat thus wise [diagram of a person in a bed with little foot or head room] with my feet against the forward end to prevent getting too bad a shaking up. Slept considerable during the night as I was very sleepy. The trip through the day was hot, hot and terribly dusty. Along the road in Iowa, many patches of grass and some few fields were burned off, and in several places we had to go through a lot of smoke. At daylight, we were perhaps fifty miles from Chi. A rain had fallen in many places during the night but little had hit the train. Near Dubuque, the country is dryer than at home.
After a lot of waiting and fooling around, we put into the stockyards at about 10:00 yesterday morning. The stockyards are worth seeing. The number of cattle and hogs is immense. Just think -- the number of cars of stock that had come in at 10:00 that forenoon was 1220.
After seeing the hogs unloaded, I went to a nearby shop and indulged in a good bath. Oh, but I was dirty, especially that light shirt for I had had my coat off most of the time. Of course, a bath didn’t wash my clothes, but it helped me otherwise.
After dinner, (I’d finished the lunch at 5:00 in the morning) I looked up Dr. Gursaulus’ street address & found the place, but not the Dr -- out of town. The dean of Armour was also out of town. I got the ad. of the President’s sec’y and called to see her later but she was not in. However, I was directed to the Institute itself where I found a young man who gave me a great deal of information about my work.
During the afternoon I was down town in Montgomery Ward’s big store. I went to get a
couple of triangles for drawing and before I left got some carpeting for that lounge. I struck a remnant, something like that already on, except a little lighter, and got over three yards for the small sum of $1.00.
I spent a lot of time up in their big tower, the tallest in Chicago and the third tallest building in the world -- 294 ft to the top. Fine view of the lake and city.
After hunting up Armour and my work, I struck out for supper, pretty tired and a little undecided what to do next. Took a 15 cent lunch at a restaurant and was just leaving when I met an old Ekworth and U. I. U. friend -- Jim Goodsell. We were actually glad to meet. He knows the city and took me in tow at once. Went to his room, visited a while, then -- what will you think -- went to McVickers theatre. don’t think I intend to make a practice of this. I wanted to see one for myself. The play was good and not immoral. Jim had two tickets which had been given to him, so it cost me nothing. It was really as fine and interesting an entertainment as I ever saw. The scenery was very good.
Slept with Jim. Tho’t of coming home last night but was too late after the theatre, and couldn’t have gotten my contracts signed for tickets so late anyway. Could have gone at 8:45 this morning on train that reached Elma at about 3:15, but it‘s too dusty and hot to ride in daytime. I’ll get ticket and take 6:30 tonight, see part of Ill. before dark, get a lot of sleep and get home at 3:30 for work tomorrow. I want to take in some of the Baptist young peoples’ national convention today. It is like our League convention at San Francisco -- a big meeting.
It is a nuisance to get to various places in Chi. -- I probably rode electric cable and elevated cars twenty miles yesterday afternoon and walked about four.
Think I’ll room with him and leave much of arranging to him. Fortunate for me.
So much about [here there is a box with either a 2 or an “I” in it]. Hope you are through allright and having a good time. Tho’t about you waiting at N.H. [initials not clear] yesterday when I was eating my breakfast and waiting so long in the edge of Chi. My best regards to you and Aunt M and E. wish I could be with you, but will be home[?] up and work tomorrow. Try to have a good time. Don’t think too much about home. I’ll get along all right and will take good care of things. The trip will make the week and a half shorter. I wish that you could stay longer -- you could if you would. I want you to have a good rest. You need it, and it doesn’t pay to tie one’s self down too much to work. You haven’t had a vacation for a long time, why not take a little longer one now. Don’t think, mother dear, that I want to get rid of you, not at all, but I have so many trips off around, and enjoy them so much that I want you to have have [sic] some of the same wholesome kind of enjoyment.
Don’t forget to take in the moving pictures one evening at least, and watch for other things. Plan for a sail to the point opposite -- Eagle Point, I think it is. Keep an eye on the E.L. program for a good missionary talk, too. Remember that if you come home and report nothing spent for pleasure -- (not for the sake of spending but for the pleasure) I shall be displeased and shall feel like taking you back and lowering you in the lake. Will you please find out for certain which way the main business street, that leads to the Lake, runs. Is it N. and S. or N-E and S.W
to settle a Hesper dispute. The directions are all right here, for which I am very thankful.
Armour will probably take me three years -- unless I take one in Boston.
Must close if I am to get any for forenoon program of Baptists, at Coliseum. Best kind of a time to you and lots of real enjoyment.
You ought to be hear [sic]. It is fun, jam, noise, noise, all the time especially the latter.
Good-bye, with much love. Will tell you more when you get home.
Letters from Charlotte Borst to her son, Will Borst -- 1901
Elma Sept. 21, 1901
Recd your letter this morning and was glad to hear you were getting along so nicely. I hope you will not be lonely.
Suppose you are very tired get a good rest over Sunday. It was very lonesome here yesterday after every [sic] had gone. Today Miss Thompson & Gibbons were here for dinner and I have been busy untill now three o’clock.
I will take this to the office and forward a letter from Frazette that came yesterday.
There is a large chemistry that came today, with your name & Reg Bretsells in. Do you want it sent. There is 25 c stamp on it & no post mark. I also found those three books we were hunting for, in the old trunk. Shall I send them. I think they must be the right ones. The heading is Chemical Labritory U. I. U. Did you leave your address for the Democrat to be sent or shall I see to it. This is all I believe. This will do for next week. Did you have to wait long at the Depot here. I did not hear the train go.
Now you must get plenty of rest so you will not give out.
With much love I remain, your aff. Mama
Elma Sept. 25, 1901
My Dear son
I read yours yesterday was glad to hear from you. You don’t seem to be having a very good time getting settled, but I think you will have a nice room and that doesn’t seem very high for the City and on the Streetline. I think I should board at Restaurant [?] if you can’t do any better - rather than pay so much. Perhaps you can find a place after a while.
You might as well have the Democrat - I don’t need it. Mrs. Howard is having a run of the fever. There are several cases in town.
Mr. Keltz was here yesterday and said he could not get a clear title to that piece of mine but he and Dave had concluded to let me have the piece you offered them [?]for - for the same as the other $8.50, so I told him I would take that. Don’t you think they come down pretty quick - a $1000 [?] to $8.50. The abstract is here in the bank, and he said he would have the deed here by Saturday so I thought I should write you about it. (Section 5 in Richland near Mina, is that right?) He said he thought you were very polish to pay so much for an 80 and it was harder to sell but I hope it will all come out right. I haven’t hear from Elwood yet. He is in Town.
Archie came Sunday night. So I have settled down with my three boarders again. Mend Mahonie’s baby died last week and the Catholics had their way about it. Had Father Grim and burried [sic] it in the Catholic Cemetery. …
Well now I must close. Keep up a good heart and don’t’ be cross. Everything is running about as usual. There is a piece of hand written musick [?] came. I don’t know where from. There is no post mark or name on it.
Hope this will find you enjoying life. How much does the work you have been doing home help you out on your examination.
Elma Nov. 12, 1901
My Dear Son,
I rec’d your welcome letter today. I am always glad to hear from you.
I am sorry your roommate does not make things more agreeable, but you had best not pay any attention more than you can help perhaps a little ksezing [?] only the smalls [?] might help. About your temper. Yes I think you are a little too quick tempered for your own good. I wish you could get rid of that. You can do it by working [?] and praying [?].
I am glad you have got in the choir that will help you in your singing. I don’t think you can afford to take many lessons at that price. That is too much to pay. When you have so many bills to meet. Those entertainments will be something fine for you. I am glad you have such a chance.
You will be surprised when I tell you that Margaret and I are alone. Will has gone to Horton to work Nelson’s farm. Nelson is going to move to Waterlew. Mr. Swinton has the Elevator. Will felt so bad he first went upstairs & cried. He said it is like leaving his own home. He has had such a hard time all of all I felt so sorry for him. And you know how some Elma people are. Instead of sympathizing they turn a cold shoulder and that hurt him worse than anything else. He could not stand it in this town any longer. He & Nelson have lost about all they have as far as I can find out. I believe he should have been down sick if he had not had Margaret to go to for sympathy. He will be up Saturday if the wether [sic] [?] [next works unclear]. I don’t know how he will stand it to be away so far but such is life.
I had a letter from Aunt [?] Inez Clear Lake today. She sent me a set of shirtwaist-buttons pearl with gold band.
There were two men drowned in the lake last week from Mason City - a Mr. Baird and the other Mr. Montgomery the agent for Pleino Binders [?]. He has been here. Both married men with one child each. One six weeks old. What sad things there are in this life.
Bro Stowons was here to Breakfast Saturday about ten o’clock. The train being late. And he said he would send you a letter this week. I think.
By the way Mr. & Mrs. Holman were at Church Sunday morning with Mr. Clark. She enquired about you and was surprised when I told her you were in Chicago. She said to give you her regards. She is just as fat & jolly as ever and seems so happy. Now I will answer a few of your questions.
Mr. Sanborn told me they would not go work [?] as they sould [sic] but - the Dacota folks want them to come this fall.
Bertha is well and runs the Seniors League Saturday afternoon. I understand Mr. Clark still goes there. Bro. Stoners stayed with them this last Sunday he has three places ahead all the time to go to. So he seems quite well pleased in that respect but he is not getting much money, as usual. His wife has eight boarders - students.
Nell is singing & playing both Mame & Em Stands by her and Walter. Last Sunday Lea & Blanche were here he took the base as Walter was not there and Blanch played.
Mr. Easter has been to Dacota again and I saw in the paper that he had bought 5 quarter sections so I suppose he has gotten rid of his goods. I don’t know what he intends doing. I have not seen him to talk to him lately as Allen has had trouble with his throat - and she had to stay home with him.
But they will not go away this winter. Amos is in the Albert’s house Mrs. Constantine is in the Biver house where she was and John Cannon has bought the other one on the corner and moved in. Davises moved up where Hunts lived over the Drug Store. Walter is in with them. Mr. Cannon will not build untill spring. Wachtel has his building nearly completed north of Gasells.
No I don’t think you can help being so old. I think that was quite a compliment. I think there were only a few of my chickens taken S. or Hfeshof.
I have those Deeds at last. They cost 95 cents a piece.
Do you think you will be home for Xmas, if so I may as well keep that $5.00 untill then unless you need it if you do let me know and I will send it next time I write. I wish you could be home for Thanksgiving.
I think I will have uncle Issac’s down. Don’t know as any one else will be here unless it is Margaret. Perhaps Will, will be [rest is not clear].
Now I think you will not complain of this letter. I have been most of the afternoon & evening writing to you and Aunt Mary We can have out supper at 6:30 now so we have a long evening. Margaret practices an hour. Then some one nearly always comes in. Stell is here now taking her vocal.
I will send some of my house plants, put them in water as soon as you get them. I hope you will not get tired out reading this. Remember me in your prayers as I do you.
As ever, your loving Mother. Good night.
That new fangled envelop is quite an elaborate affair.
Youngs had a letter from Roy last week. They had a bad storm at sea but landed safely. I have forgotten what Islands they were going to.
Elma Nov. 25, 1901
My Dear Son.
I just rec’d your letter and will answer it right away so you will get it on time. I went to the office twice yesterday and again this morning before I got it. I suppose you are too tired to write Sunday night. Sunday is always a hard day. I am glad you are getting along so well in your work. I should think that pattern work would be nice work. I think you will make your grade all right.
I am glad you can come Christmas because we shall all expect you and I shall be alone. Uncle Issac is expected here for dinner. I will have them here for Thanksgiving.
Margaret and I are keeping old maids hall. She laughs at the idea of me being an old maid.
I thought I wrote you that Archie had gone to room in the Store with Mr. Adams. He left the same time Will did. W & M. went to Hortons Saturday morning and came back Sunday night. So I took advantage of the opportunity and went to Sanborns for dinner Saturday and Berthy brought me home. I saw your Richine on the Stand.
They are well as usual. You did not say whether the flowers got through all right or not. W. will be up every Sunday if the weather permits he can’t stay away. We are having lovely weather now, clear & dry.
I have the wood all cut up and in the shead [sic]. And my coal in. This afternoon I am going to Mrs. Meby’s to Missionary meeting Tomorrow the Cemetery Society meets here. Then we will plan for our Bergers & Chicken pie Supper. The 10 of Dec.
We had a house full Sunday as there was no church on the other side. The minister has a great time doing the rounds. Effie & Fremont board them now and he was to go there Sunday. They are impressing [?] every family. I hope they will get through with them before you get home. Mrs. Herll took dinner with me Sunday. She saz Christie address is 6553 Lexington Ave. She said they would be glad to see you. It will be only a little while now until vacation. The time goes so fast when the weather is fine so we can get out.
Yes I think you may as well come home as stay there are expensive [?]. Your board will cost you as much as your fair home. Don’t get discouraged on that algebra you will get through and right now I must close and get dinner Chicken for din most every day now. Goodby for this time
Regards from all friends, with love Mama
Elma. Dec. 11, 1901
I rec’d your letter yesterday and was glad to hear from you as I always am. I will have to write briefly today as I am very tired being up so late last night to the Chicken Pie Supper. Then I could not sleep when I got home. Had to go back and help clean up this forenoon. We had fine weather and a good crowd and took in about $60, and had a lot of things left.
So we thought we done pretty well. But it is hard work. We sold $25 worth of handkerchiefs and had a dozen left.
We are having prayer meetings every night this week but I have not been able to attend the meetings will begin week from Saturday.
Mr. Youngs Brother Leslie died very suddenly last week.
I am glad you had courage and strength enough to resist the Smoking circles at that entertainment. It is not very plesent [sic] to get in to such company.
Well I find I cannot write so I may as well quit. There is nothing important to tell and I am too tired to think. I see by the paper there are excursion rates for the hollidays [sic] you can probable get the benefit of them. Hoping to see you soon. I will close with
Love from your Mama
Elma Jan. 15, 1902
I rec’d your welcome letter today and was glad to hear that you were feeling all right. It seems a long time since you went away you seem to very fortunate in getting along with your work and studies. Well you do have a time moving. I suppose you will miss me to look after you. Did you get any presents there?
I am glad you are enjoying yourself better. I think it did you good to come home after all. And be in the meetings and I just hope and pray that you may continue to go on your way rejoicing and not get to feeling that way again. I rejoice that my prayers were answered on your behalf. I enjoyed the meetings very much myself. Try my experience of talking with God before rising in the morning when all is quiet -- and see if it does not help to brighten the day. There is nothing like having a good start in the morning. Mr. Stonars said Sunday that his baby run across the register in his bare feet and burned them pretty badly. I like him better since getting acquainted with him.
Well I think I like my boards this winter better than last. The Hopkins are very nice to have around. I wish they were going to stay till Spring. I expect they will go to house keeping about the first of Feb. They have sent for their things. He finaly settled down to Shez [?]. They have rented the house next to Quimby’s and have sent for their goods. He brings in a pail of water for me every morning and is very pleasant about the house. Does not talk so much as he did at first. She and I have been out returning calls today. I like the girls. They made so little trouble. It don’t seem as if I have as much to do as I did last year. They eat so little.
Mr. Curtis came Monday morning and engaged board for Miss Pelton but she failed to pass the Exam, so I did not get her. They hired Mr. McCook the Editor. I heard Miss Pelton had gone over to Hesper to try for the School there. They must have had all their teachers hired. Did they not perhaps it was a false report. Miss Tompson says they are talking just awful around town about Miss Shepherd. It seems as if they can’t say anything good about her.
I had a tramp come along and split up the wood for his breakfast one morning. I think Mr. Dusfy must be gone. I have not seen him for a few days and I feel there is a new man comes with the mail. He has not said anythink [sic] about the barn rent.
Mrs. Hopkins and I went over to the Red Cross play Friday night. It was very well played very laughable. Miss Thompson gave me a coupon. They talk of going to Alta Vista. Isaac has been working in the timber the past week. It has been such beautiful weather. I think another ton of coal will take me through if it keeps like this. I hope it will for I want to save something to put on that note.
You remember what a lot of corn I found dragged back under the boards in the granery. Well after you went away I sent out and got out about a bushel of corn from the same place so I set a trap and caught the bigest [sic] rat I have seen in a long time. I haven’t missed any corn since.
I am feeling quite well now and don’t get so tired with my work, for which I am very thankful.
I hope you will like your new quarters. I suppose this will find you settled. Did you get your pay for the Certificate you sent off? Write any day that suits you best.
With love & prayers from your Mama
Elma Jan. 29, 1902
My Dear Son
Yours rec’d and will write you a few lines tonight. There doesn’t seem to be much [word crossed out here) news to write this week.
Well I begin by making mistakes. The girls are talking what they did when they were young and I can’t think what I want to write.
Miss Tompson’s going sleigh riding with her pupils tonight. Miss Gibbons spent Saturday and Sunday in Riceville. We had quite a cold spell Sunday & Monday 26 below Monday morning. We have several inches of snow on the ground. Had quite a wind from the north Sunday. I suppose that is what you get a taste of. You seem to be having a good time going to different things, but don’t neglect your lessons too much you will get behind, then you will have to work so hard you will get nervous. Don’t neglect your Sunday services. That will help to keep you in the right way.
Mr. Hopkins has heard nothing from his goods yet so I don’t know how long they will be here. He may have to go after them. Mr. Kelly came with the receipts this morning. They seem all right so far as I can see. Do you want yours sent to you. He said land was going up fast.
Uncle Isaac was here today. He has been working in the woods for two weeks untill the snow came. It has been too cold this week. There is no cases of Smallpox yet - altho it has been reported so. I hope it won’t break out here. It must seem strange to see so many in Sunday
School as you report at the Mission.
Well the girls are both off for a sleigh ride and such a time with a load of kids.
I can’t get my mind on anything to write tonight so I might as well close. I suppose I will think of what I wanted to write - when this letter is gone, but there is another week coming. This week ends another month of school. The time goes so rapidly Spring will be here before we know it. Everything is humming like clockwork. here the work don’t seem near so hard as it did last winter.
Well I hope this will find you well and enjoying yourself. You did not say how you liked your new quarters.
With love from Mama
Elma Ia. Feb. 11, 1902
My Dear Son,
I have just been out and got your letter and will answer it right away because tomorrow we have our missionary meeting at Mrs. Carter’s & Miss Evens The Lady Missionary from India is to be there and speak tomorrow night in the church. So I will have your letter off my mind.
It still keeps snowing here a little every day. Snowed all this forenoon I think two inches fell but it is so light and flakey that it will soon melt. The Sun comes out warm and nice and it is thawing. I met Mr. Howard while I was out and he asked me if I had any news for him but I did not think of any. John was down Saturday and left $65 and said he would have the rest in a short time when he could get his cattle off. I paid $90 on my note at the Bank, had $30 that I saved on last month’s board after paying all expenses. Don’t you think I did well?
If I could have the four all Spring I could pay it all up, but I suppose they will be going pretty soon although they don’t seem to be any nearer getting off than they were last week. They have so much trouble getting their goods through from Cascade. Mr. Hopkins is staying in the day [?] operator’s place today while he is gone to [word not clear]. He has had no sleep since yesterday and probably won’t have untill midnight.
How are you off for money. Shall I send you the rest when John gets it. I have had my share.
I had not heard of Dowey That will go pretty hard with him I should think
I think I did not tell you of Pell-DeNoyelles death last week. It was in the H. C. Times. Aunt Myra is the only one of the family left now, I think unless there is another brother east. I don’t know whether there is or not.
I saw Laila [?] in the Drug Store yesterday. She said she was going the 20 to Da. Also saw Mrs. Danise [?] and got that address. She said her sister would be glad to see you because you were from Elma. What I was after was a Valentine but I could not find one worth having that would go in an envelope. They were all so large & fine, so I got a little one. Perhaps you will like it.
Mrs. Zion has been quite sick for a week with heart trouble. I was over to see her this morning. She was sitting up and some better. She inquired about you as she always does.
There are a great many cases of pneumonia. Enene’s twin girl was not expected to live with it but it little. I was up to see her Sunday.
We had an old man by the name of Willey to preach Sunday as Mrs. Stowers was sick so he could not come. He was very gray & feeble but preached a good practical sermon both morning & evening. He stayed at Carters and did not get down in time for the 6 o’clock train so got left. Mr. Brinkman was taken with a fit this morning at the Depot, and Mr. Hopkins had to take him home about six o’clock. That is the second one he had there lately. He is not fit to do night-work. Mr. Hopkins has a very bad cold and she is getting pretty well discouraged waiting to get to housekeeping.
I have not heard from Besgnasile [?] yet.
Miss Tompson had a letter last week in which she said she would write to me soon. She seems to be enjoying herself and glad she is not in that cold schoolhouse. The Girls have had two cold Mondays that they have just suffered with the cold. They seem to enjoy their warm room here.
They are invited out to tea tonight at Mis. Condons. They had their play at Alta Vista Friday night. Did not have much of a crowd.
Gasells here sold their store to Mr. Quimby. He will move his goods into the Gasell building.
I am glad you are getting things straightened out and feeling more cheerful. Hope it will continue, and that you will look on the bright side of life.
This leaves us all well except colds. I am feeling quite well myself. Regards from all
With Love from your Mother
Elma Apr 28 02
I will send you my last $10 in the registered letter but will have to keep it out of what John brings for I have to get the place insured in June. This makes $25- board money I have sent you and that is all I had ahead.
I suppose John will get around after a while. I think he is hard up too. I shall see Mr. Kelly and have him sell mine as soon as possible.
The wind has been blowing a gale here for the last 24 hours. Papers & dust flying until you could hardly see. I only wish the paper would all blow out of town while they are about it instead of lodging in my fence. Night before last it was so warm we had the doors open. Southwind and we were in hopes it would blow up again but we just got a sprinkle last night. It cleared into the west and got so cold that water froze. And It is still blowing. I have to keep fire today. Every place is blown full of dust. There is every appearance of dry weather [?] I only have a little garden in - nothing will grow until we get rain. I got Mr. Brunt to plow the garden.
I have not seen Bro Stowers yet but will hand him the letter when I do. I thought I would see him last night at the prayer meeting at Mrs. Mabry’s but the wind blew so I did not get there, and I don’t think any one else did. I have been nearly laid up with the Rheumatism since Saturday but manage to keep to work. I won’t try to do anything out of doors untill it gets better weather.
Well I suppose you are anxious to hear about that Lodge business. I would like to keep in it on your account but as far as I am concerned I don’t care for the lodge particularly for they are mostly Catholics in the [word unclear]. A good many of the Red Cross people have only gone into it for the time being to save their policies. Mrs. Seizeness has a brother that is going to try and organize the Brotherhood and a good many expect to go into that and drop the [word unclear]. The age limit to all the Lodges now is 60 so that will leave me out all around.
I do not like the arrangement in the[same unclear word as above], neither do the other members I have talked with. It is like this. I would cost me at my age according to their calculations at the least $25 per year besides Local Lodge dues. They calculate -- when they take in a member, to have their dues untill they are 65 years old at least. For Instance, if I should join at 50 and die the next year, they would count my dues until I would have been 65 and deduct that from the amount insured for. Say I insured for $1000. At 50 and died at 64, they would recken [sic] my dues for 15 years at $25 a year -- that would be $385. Taken from $1000 would leave $625. That is all you would get. The $385 would go into reserve fund. (I hope I have made this plain so you can see for yourself whether it would pay nor not. I do not think it would.
The Mystic Toilers do better than that. They pay the full amount of insurance and $100. Busesal [?] expense besides. So I do not think I had better spend any more on it altho I appreciate your offer to keep it up, and would like to on your account, but I think we might better have the money as we go along- as to keep it in there and get to little return. What do you think.
I had a letter from Aunt Mary Clear Lake last week. She is well and hard at work. Wants me to come up again this summer. Says she can’t get away she has so many men.
I have heard nothing from Kam. I went up to Isaacs Friday and saw Mr. and Mrs. Wildman there. They are looking and feeling much better since their trip East. - She said she would like to see you turning in there once you [word unclear] again, like one of the their own folks. Isaac is
trying to paint his house between dust storms. He took her to Riceville yesterday to see Dr. Lee. She is quite poorly this Spring. I don’t know how they got back through the wind.
I don’t think you need bother about my Bracelet, but I could make use of a long stand if you could make one. Would like a bottom shelf to it. You could pack it in your truck and put it together when you get home.
I think you did well to change your restaurant. It would cost you so much you will have to make out the best you can untill we get some money in. I hope some one will verify [?] that soon. I will have to get a living some way: lots of land but no money. I got a peck of early Rose Potatoes for 35 cents to plant.
I hope you will get the deed & money all right. Now I must close so good by for this time.
Yours ever Mama
Elma Apr 28, 02
John came down with the money but there is only $10 to send you. I have $22.50 There was $11.50 taken out for the fence so it does not leave very much. I wish it was more. He said he could not pay any on the note unless he borrowed and he had borrowed so much this winter to feed, four or five hundred he thought, and can’t get it back on the cattle the price has gone down.
So you will have to depend on selling the land I think Mr. Kelly has been up to Dak. This two weeks. I can’t get to see him. Shall see him about selling mine when he comes back.
Mr. Newcom died very sudenly [sic] last Thursday. He got up feeling as well as usual in the morning and sawed wood and planted Potatoes. Then went down to Gasells with the milk. When he got to Whitmans gate, he took a pain in his heart - he went in there and they sent for his folks and the Dr. but they did not get him home untill after he died about two oclock that afternoon. He died very easy and was conscious untill the last. - he told them he was prepared to go and had been for some time. This must be a great consolation to her. She & Cliff took it very hard.
They had the funeral at the house Sunday morning. The Congregational Minister preached the Sermon. Bro Stowers made the prayers. The Masons & Oddfellows took charge of the grave.
There were no services at either church hence there was a large crowd. Catholics and every body turned out. I think it was the largest funeral since Mr. Mabry died.
We had a big rain Friday so the dust was laid and it was quite warm. Most of the crowd was out
of doors of course. It is threatening rain again today. Perhaps we will get enough now it has started. They had a snowstorm in Dak. last week when it blew so hard here.
Mrs. Reynolds is all packed up and ready to move to Nebraska on a farm. The goods are going to the train now. We did not know anything about it until he came home last week and told her to get ready to go. How we shall miss them. I wonder who will go next.
I just read your letter, also rec’d the receipt Saturday. I am glad you seem to be enjoying yourself and having a good time. Don’t think you had better take too many things on your hands like the concert. But you must decide that for yourself. I trust you will decide rightly.
I put in a few potatoes last evening. It keeps so cold I can’t be out to do so much. There is a cold wind blowing today. It is damp & cloudy bad weather for Rheumatism. I think I shall have to go doctoring again for it.
We are in hopes the Smallpox is over. There doesn’t seem to be any more cases in town for which we are very thankful. We go to Mrs. Tignels today [next words are illegible]. Now I will close and get this in the noon mail so you will get it a little earlier than usual.
Wishing you all success. I remain as ever your Loving Mother
Oh I forgot to tell you Frank Bre was to see me and left his Baby’s picture. He has sold out and is about moving to Tama County. Enquired about you and sent best wishes. Mollie will be here to visit in a couple of weeks
Elma May 6 02
My Dear Son,
I rec’d your letter this forenoon and will write you a few lines while I am resting. I commenced cleaning the dining room this morning, gotten Sickly and Chand to Carry out the stove for me and I have only coat of white wash on the ceiling. Have to rest before doing any more. I expect to get through with the hard work this week.
I don’t think you need to worry about that money. Mr. Kelly went to Dak today to try to sell yours & mine & uncle Isaacs. So I think it will surely come in from some place. If he should sell Issacs and not ours at present I will try and borrow some of him to tide you over. Mr. Carter has gone to Calfornia to look for a location. I think he has about everything in Dakota land now. Mr. Kelly is in a hurry to sell now for they are getting so much rain up there they can’t get their crops in and they say the hay is spoiled. Isaac says he will invest in Minesota [sic] land next time.
I believe that will be better. We are having rain nearly every day or night. It was pleasant Sunday & Monday, rained Friday and Saturday night & last night and some today. Wind N.W. now.
I think you did well on your [word not clear] sandwiches. That was a proffitable [sic] trip in more ways than one.
Everything looks nice and green now. Can get plenty of dandelion greens. I had some lettuce for dinner. I suppose you get plenty of green stuffs in the city to eat. This is favorable weather for Strawberries. The current bushes are quite full if the frost doesn’t take them. Mr. Hunt is back and expects to go into business here again, but I am afraid we will loose Carters. It will be quite a loss to the church.
I think you had better wait untill we hear from Mr. Kelly before doing anything. I think I can get It here at the Bank if we have to borrow. Isaac is still painting he won’t take time to smile now I don’t suppose.
Are you getting homesick being away so long you must be getting very tired I think it will be hard on you to studdy [sic] through the summer.
Keep up your courage. You will get through in time.
I must close now and go to work again. It makes my shoulder ache pretty bad, but I will soon be through, then I will rest. Goodby for the time
Your loving mother
Did you get your new suit yet?
Elma May 14, 1902
I went to the Bank this morning and got $50 for you as Draft for [word is unreadable]. This can go on what I owe you. So you will have enough now for a while. Mr. Kelly went up last week and it rained all the time so he came back and went again Tuesday.
How about your coming home. Don’t you think it would be better to take the work and rest your mind even if you don’t get on in your studdies [sic] so fast. You will be in better shape to go on another year. It is to hard on you to studdy [sic] all the year. Then besides the good pay you will have the experience with the machinery which may be of more use to you in the future. Of course I would like to have you home but if you stay to Summer School you won’t be home long any way. And if you go to the Convention that will be in June will it not? You could come home then a while and go back to the work. I don’t like the idea of you studying all the time without any rest.
Now you have my idea on the subject so you can do as you think best.
We had a letter from Aunt Mary saying she was at Marble Rock having a cancer taken out of her face. She was boarding in the Drs family and had been there a week. She rote last Sunday and said it was to come out that day and she expected to go home Monday, that it had not pained her very much. She told me about it last summer, but I did not think it was a cancer. It looked like a mole on her cheek. I am glad she has got it out with so little trouble.
We had prayer meeting here last night, but only a few attended. I am going to put on a quilt this forenoon and go to the Missionary Meeting this afternoon. Every thing is running as usual except the Smallpox broke out again at Webbers, and they kept it still untill several were exposed, but I have not been there. If I should get it, I will have Isaac write to you but I don’t think I will get it.
I hope this will find you well and in good spirits and remember you in prayers and good wishes.
Yours as ever With Love Mama
Elma May 21 02
Yours rec’d today. It is still raining here every day. The ground is just soaked with water and standing on top. Saturday it began to rain about six oclock and it just poured down and hailed for an hour and a half. The water was running every where. The creek raised so it run in to Crofts and those houses along the track, and there was a wash out at the bridge north of town, and the bridge south on the railroad track. Hence there was a freight-reck [sic] at the South end and Ely. Brinkman’s engine ditched at the north end of town. So they were working all day Sunday and Sunday night to get the road in shape and there were no trains through untill Monday noon. Every body was out Sunday to see the recks. Except me & a few others.
You will be surprised to hear that Mr. Hopkins & Galehouse has had trouble that ends in his resining [sic] and he is going on farther west. So she has to take up and move again. I intend to have her & Mrs. Carter to supper Thursday night. Mrs. Carter & the boys and myself were invited to tea at Bro Stoners last Thursday. Susan has been here all day helping me quilt - and Mrs. Heard came this afternoon. Sarah will come tomorrow and help me finish it.
How much longer does the school last. I hope you can be home a while a week won’t seem very long. Bro Miller says he is getting hungry to see you again.
I think you got that suit quite cheap.
No I have had no application for board yet and do not care to before fall. I am afraid the hot weather is going to use me up just as it did last summer. We have written for Aunt Mary to come and stay a while. Mr. McCook takes Mr. Ballards place with Miss Pelton for assistant. Mis Thompson has resined [sic].
Wednesday morning and still raining. Has been all night - with constant thunder & lightning. There is two feet of water in the cellar and still rising.
I understood there were eight-recks [sic] on the road from washouts. One man had his leg hurt in the reck south of town.
Mrs. Zion wanted me to send you some of her early pansies in this letter. but it is trouble to go after them. So I will let them go this time.
I do not like the idea of you being in that Theatre. I don’t see how you can spare the time. Seems to me you have too many things on hand to get through with your studies. I hope you won’t get to dancing. I shouldn’t go into anything more of that since it takes too much of your time.
Isaac was just in and said there was another reck south of here. So I don’t know when you will get this. I sent some papers that came to me about music. Perhaps you can make use of them. They are of no use to me.
Now I must close so good by for the present. I hope it won’t be long before you will be home.
Yours as ever With love Mama
Elma July 30 02
I was very glad to hear that you got through with your study all right. Now I hope you can rest your mind a while
I went up to Sid with Susan yesterday afternoon. It was Sarahs birthday and Isaac went fishing with Mr. Bass. Susan is able to be out again and is coming down this week but she is quite feeble and nervous. She may get strong again. I hope so.
I have not heard anything from Mr. Kelly or Arnold. I don’t think they will do much untill after harvest.
That stand I wanted with a flat top and no back to it. If you haven’t time to make it, don’t bother. I am afraid you can’t spare the time.
Have you gotten the Democrat yet. I forgot to write about it in my last but I have not had it. I went in to see Mr. Howard about it and he was in Dubuque but I left word to have it sent on.
I failed to see Herbie did not know he had been here untill after the left town. Susan said he called here. He seems to have a hard time getting along. Katie Watson has a new Piano. She has to practice two hours a day so they will have music on the hill.
Newcoms have not sold yet. We have a good Choir now and the young people sing at night but I fear everything will be broken up when Katz and Pell and Millers go away. The prospect for the Church seems to grow worse & worse, if some one would only come in that would take hold of things.
Mr. Carter is in Dak. Again. I don’t think they will go for a while yet. It seems a long time to me since you went away. I hope some one will come for the winter. It will be very lonely if I have to stay along all winter.
I am glad you have boys to work with that you like. It is so much pleasanter. Hope you will have a good time.
I do not feel very well this morning so think I will close for this time. Give kind regards to any enquiring friends and be a good boy.
With love and best wishes from your Mother
Elma Aug 6. 02
Here it is August again, almost fall. how the time flies. You have just a few more weeks before beginning another year at School.
I saw Mr. Kelly yesterday on the Street. He said he sent the abstract last week and was looking for the deed every mail. I hope he can sell mine now. I have not heard from Mr. Arnold.
Struck a new job did you? Well I hope you will succeed and not get blown up. Seems to me that is quite a responsible position for a new hand. Of course it will be good practice for you and good pay. You must be very careful. How did you get off from your other job? And can you go back there to work when you get through with that.
Uncle Isaac had fisherman’s luck. The last time he caught one just before coming home but fortunately Mr. Bass caught enough to divide so he did not come home empty handed.
There was a young Bohemian called this week to see you. A Sunday school missionary said he knew you at Epsworth lines [?] at Bellplain. Also a young student volunteer from Charles City - who was at Lake Geneva but did not meet you there. He stayed at Carters -- one that signed the pledge to go to foren [sic] fields. He was trying to get the League to take a course of missionary reading. I don’t know what they will do about it.
I suppose you were some what disappointed in your grade. I think that was very good.
The weather is cool & fine now not much rain. The garden is drying out. Some potatoes are very good if they don’t rot.
You won’t know the old town when you get back. They have moved the Depot and are moving the elevator father south. They keep up a great racket day & night putting in new tracks. Expect to have the freight division back.
Have you the Democrat yet I think I will want to get $75.00 of you. Can pay it back as soon as I sell.
I think this is all at present. Wishing you all success in your new job. I remain as ever your Mama with love.
Elma Aug 12 02
My Dear Son
I just recd your letter - also wedding announcement from Katie. I was quite surprised to hear of Flossie’s wedding. Glad to hear from them. She seems to have done well. I rec’d the Napkins all right and was very much pleased with them. Did not expect them so soon. Just what I needed and so fine. There are none too many. They will keep. Many thanks for them and tell Miss Coe they are very nice, and thank her for me. Yes I have passed my 63 birthday. Time is flying along fast. The summer will soon be over again.
I did not celebrate much. Sarah was down and spent the afternoon. The first she has been out for about two months except to church one evening. They do not leave Susan alone. I don’t know how they could get along without Sarah’s aid. I went up yesterday to see her. She can walk from the bedroom to the table and that is about all. She is so weak. Her feet and limbs are swollen so they have to bathe them in hot water twice a day. Her heart is liable to fail at any time. I fear she will never be any better. She said she was not so strong as she was last week. I took the Napkins up to show her and she thought they were very fine.
Well I am glad you are having a good time at your new work and like it. Hope you will get
through all right. I am also glad to hear of that young man that is helping you so much. I pray you may grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth - as it is in Christ Jesus.
We had the other Church people over here Sunday evening and every thing went off splendid. The Sermon was good and the Choir just outdid themselves. They had four new pieces that were fine, and the music was fine, with Kate at the Organ and Ross with his deep base. The Church was full. That is the main part. Mr. and Mrs. Defried [?], Mr. Church, Jake Clemone, and a good many others that are not in the habit of attending were there, so we were pleased that everything went off swell.
I don’t think Mr. Kelly is paying much attention to that land. I heard Mrs. Kelly say he had only been to S. D. once this summer. If you write to Mr. Arnold I wish you would tell him to sell mine if he can get $1200. Isaac has written to him to sell his land. I suppose I will need an order from you to get that $75.00 when it gets here or will you have the check sent on to you? We go to Mr. Stowars tomorrow for missionary. But have had it so cold the past week, cold rain, looks like rain again today. Have to keep fire to keep warm.
I will not take another sheet but say good by for the present as I don’t think of any thing more just now. With much love from your Mama
Elma Aug 20 02
Yours rec’d yesterday. Was glad to hear that you got through with your job all right. It has been quite an experience for you. Glad also that you are having a good time seeing the sights and that you went to Sunday school once.
I am afraid you won’t have much time at home if you go so many places. I gave the joke to Issac. He laughed over it - and said there was a great deal of truth in it. Susan seems to grow weaker all the time. She can’t eat any thing scarcely. The Dr. said she might linger a good while, but did not think she would get strong again.
There is not much danger of my doing all the work in the garden. It is too wet to be out. Raining everyday or night -- for two weeks. There are weeds everywhere. My rheumatism does not trouble me very much now but I want to take another bottle of that medicine as soon as I can get some money to spare. I payed [sic] out my last five on salary.
I think Mr. Kelly is dreadfull slow I have not seen anything of him. I wish if you have time you could get me a steal shuttle to make netting with thread. I will make a drawing so you can see what it is like. They are only 10 cts but cannot get them here. Susan says Montgomery Ward do not have them in Stock. Do not send it but bring when you come home. I think this is all at present. Hope to see you about week after next.
From your loving mother