The following letters, which accompany the Mary Edith Raff diary were written and transcribed by Elaine Rathmann, of Davenport, Iowa.

Elaine's notes: My grandmother, Mary Edith Raff Bell, died in 1968. I've had a large box of her effects since that time and about 3 months ago decided to go through it more thoroughly than I ever had before. In it I rediscovered a diary she had kept from 1911-1914, while teaching school in Muscatine, and many letters, cards and photos. I transcribed the diary and over 60 letters and postcards, some which were written at the time of the diary, many others dating from 1861 to 1923 or so. I have donated the diary to the Scott and Muscatine County pages. The diary includes over 100 Muscatine and Scott County surnames, many business names and events in both counties and a written view of a school marm's life from 1911-1914. In the meantime, I thought I'd post some of the letters and postcards that did not accompany the diary, as they might be of historical interest to some.

1861 A.K. Raff Poem to "Frank"

To Frank---
I am going far away
Far away from home and friends.
And to the land of cotton I am going.
And while way down south in Dixie
I hope you won't forget me.
For it is in a good a cause that I am going.
Canton October 8th/61
A.K. Raff

Typed verbatim. This poem was written by my G grandfather, A. K. Raff, who fought for the OVVI 19th Ohio in the Civil War. He was from Canton, Ohio. Frank was a nickname for his cousin, Frances Raff, with whom he was raised from the time he was seven yrs. old. He was very close to her and I'm sure thought of her more as a sister. She lived in Davenport, Iowa.

1861 Letter

The following letter was written by my G grandmother, Ella Sanders, to her sister, Julia. Ella was 12 years old at this time. The Sanders lived in Davenport. I don't know why sister Julia was not at home and, unfortunately, there was no envelope included. It is typed verbatim.

Davenport, Jan. 13, 1861

Dear sister Julia,

We have not received your letter as usual on Thursday evening this week. I do not have much time to write to you on Sundays because it gets dark so soon and now I write some every day on a slate and copy it off on paper on Sunday. Our girl Sophie is sick and has gone away, she went away Wednesday to her sisters down in Duch town and now and Carrie and I do the work. Sophie sent a girl up to get her clothes and she said she would send us a girl but she has not come yet. She came up in the evening again to get her money ma has paid her any money since she came here, so she gave her fifteen dollars. We have engaged another girl she is coming tomorow. Aunty got a letter from you yesterday, We got your letter Friday instead of Thursday evening. We all went up to Aunt Lesslie New Years day, Mr. and Mrs. Rumbold, Mr. and Mrs. Chatterton and the two youngest children Mr. and Mrs. Patten Mr. Crag, and Maggie and Johney, Mr. Gray and Johney and Willie, and grandpa and grandma, were all up there. Aunty gave me a book its name is the Oakland Stories. I am reading it to ma in the evenings. She gave George and Carrie each a book. Grandma gave us all some candy. Aunty gave Carrie and I two little tin rocking chairs just large enough to put in the play house, Charlie got a little box of soldiers and a book. We went to the Sunday school the day before New Years to get our books. Maggie Crag got the prise, the Pollie Hibberd got the next, Frank Reed the next and I the next. I got a testament something like that little one of yours only it had a clasp. George got a book named the Harvey Boys and Carrie got a book named Learning to Think. Charlie got a Bible Dictionary. Your name was read out but ma did not get any book for you because there was not enough to go around. John our good old horse is dead he died a week ago Mr. Hibberd had him at the time. I am going to send you a piece of poetry which I wrote one afternoon for Carrie because she likes her kitten so much and ma told me to send it to you. It is not very good but I guess it will do. I must stop now or I wont have time to write those verses.

Your affectionate sister,


My Kitten

Once I had a little kitten
She was spoted all over with gray
And I loved my little kitten
But one day she ran away.

We hunted all about for her
We asked of the neighbours around
If any one had seen her
But she soon came home safe and sound.

We were all very glad to see her
And said she must not run away
And if she did go out
She must only stay a day.

In the morning she gets up
And comes into the room
Sometimes she goes into the parlor
Then we bring her out very soon.

At night we put her to bed
In her nice snug little house
But she often creeps out again
And trys to catch a mouse.
When we are eating our breakfast
She always comes mewing around
And when we go out of the room
On the table she goes with a bound.


1861 Two Poems

The following poems were found with my G grandfather, Almon Keeler Raff's, effects. They were written on one sheet of stationary. The handwriting is tiny, very ornate and exquisitely beautiful and, except for the title of the first poem, quite legible. (Although I confess my bifocals were not up to the task in spots and I had to get out the magnifying glass! The second word of the first poem's title looks like "Queechy". (A nickname?) Only the first poem is signed and dated. I'm wondering if they were treasured copies by a published poet, or if someone named "Fleda" wrote them for him before he went off to the Civil War. If anyone recognizes them, please let me know!

From Queechy

"Cold blew the east wind
And thick fell the rain,
I looked for the tops
Of the mountains in vain;
Twilight was gathering
And dark grew the west,
And the wood-fires crackling
Toned well with the rest.

Speak fire and tell me
Thy flickering flame
Fell on one in years past-
Say, am I the same?
Has my face the same brightness
In those days it wore?
My foot the same lightness
As it crosses the floor?

Methinks there are changes-
I am weary to-night,-
I once was as tireless
As the bird on her flight;
My bark in full measure
Threw foam from the prow;-
Not even for pleasure
Would I care to move now.

'Tis not the foot only
That lieth thus still,-
I am weary in spirit,
I am listless in will.
My eye vainly peereth
Through the darkness to find
Some object that cheereth-
Some light for the mind.

What shadows come o'er me-
What things of the past,
Bright things of my childhood
That fled all too fast;
The scenes where light roaming
My foot wandered free,
Come back through the gloaming,-
Come all back to me.

The cool autumn evening,
The fair summer morn,
The dress and the aspect
Some dear ones have worn,
The sunshiny places,-
The shady hill-side,-
The words and the faces
That might not abide.

Die out little fire-
Ay, blacken and pine!
To have paled many lights
That were brighter than thine.
I can quicken thy embers
Again with a breath,
But the others lie cold
In the ashes of death." "Fleda." 1861

The Chestnuts

"Merrily sang the crickets forth
One fair October night;-
And the stars looked down, and the northern crown
Gave its strange fantastic light.
A nipping frost was in the air
On flowers and grass it fell;
And the leaves were still on the eastern hill
As if touched by a fairy spell.

To the very top of the tall nut trees
The frost king seemed to ride;
With his wand he stirs the chestnut burrs,
And straight they are opened wide.
And the squirrels and children together dream
Of the coming winters hoard;
And many I ween, are the chestnuts seen
In hole or in garret stored.

The children are sleeping in feather-beds-
Poor Bun in his mossy nest,-
He courts repose with his tail on his nose
On the others warm blankets rest.
Late in the morning the sun gets up
From behind the village spire;
And the children dream, that the first red gleam.

1864 A.K. Raff Letter to "Frank"

Letter from my G grandfather, Almon Keeler Raff, to his cousin Frank (Frances) Raff Ebi in Davenport. He must have disliked his first name because he always went by his middle name, Keeler, or a nickname, Marty. This letter is typed verbatim.

Camp plenty, Camp beauty.
(But-at-present-Camp rainy & sloppy.)
And Camp of the 19th Ohio Vets

Sept. 20th, 1864

Dear Frank,

This is a wet chilly and disagreeable day. "fine day" however for young ducks, tadpoles, hipupthomases, alligators, and all such varmints what likes to woller in mud puddles. But very unpleasant for Soldiers whos houses leak, (particularly those who are subject to slight attacks of the blues.) "people who cant swim, and who are so unfortunate as to possess leaky boots," and darkies who love to bask in the smiles of friend Sol. If the weather continues this way several weeks, I'll be a used up boy, ("all-but-that-now.") The roof of my shanty leaks-dont turn rain better than a seive. Sunday fixins and finery all wet; as well as bed and bedding: And if the sun dont make its appearance soon, they will be for-ever ruined. "If Solomon shouldn't come out tomorrow." So that I can dry them, I'll button my coat up to my chin, pull my hat over my eyes, stuff my pants in my boots, and let things joy-along as they will; for-I dont care much wether "Abey" is elected or not, only-so the being girls come. Frank I haven't got the blues but have the next thing to them.-the git-ups at all hours of the night.-the walk arounds. "That's what ailed the mule," and "that's what's the matter with me." Its that too that makes me so awful crusty. Haven't you noticed it? If not, just watch me how bite the words off. I know its wrong and wicked to let one's angry passions rize. But for the life of me I cant help it They will get the upper hand of me sometimes. After you have seen me biteing words-"By the way" did you ever see me biteing government rations? If you haven't you have miss a treat sure. Yes, more than a gallon jug full. But what I was going to say is this, After you have watched me biteing off the words so snappishly; turn to the first page and observe that heading. "Dont it look kinder savage?-ferocious-like-as though I was terribly put out about something? Dont it look aristocratic? Hasn't it got, I dont care a --, air about it? Yes, I'm troubled and my writing I fear would tell it, if I shouldn't, I shant tell anything more, but if you can get any further information from my writeing you are at liberty to do so; or any other man. Well, your letter was rec'd last week and found me well as usual. Have been very busy ever since we have been here making out my Quartermaster and Ordnance returns, so busy that I have not been half a mile from camp unless on duty. I do hope the Captain will soon return and take command for I am becoming very tired of acting Captain, and only drawing a Lieut's pay. Its not profitable. Heard from him a few days ago but he did not say when he should join us. Have you heard from Ebi since I wrote to Uncle? If you have let me know in your next as I am anxious to learn how he is doing. He was sent north to some Hospital. But know nothing more about him. The Colonel started for home this morning! He is doing first-rate, always cheerful and contented. I intended going to see Alf today but the rain prevented me venturing so far from home. Rec'd a letter from May yesterday. They buried their little boy Frank on the 30th of last month. She wrote as though she was almost heart broken, and no doubt but they all feel his loss very much, as he was their only boy. I feel very uneasy about Auntie's letter, that it dont arrive. Hear the Rebels have again torn up the railroad, and who knows but what it has been captured. However time will tell. The most of this letter you'll observe by reading it-is all nonsence, but rest assured Im yet sane. Write soon, Frank, and send my shirts by telegraph.

Love to all,


1869 Love Letter

The following is a courtship letter from my G grandfather, Almon Keeler Raff, to his lady love, my G grandmother, Ella Sanders, who lived in Davenport. He was in the farm implement business ca 1870, and his work included sales calls throughout the Midwest. Ah, love!

Albia Iowa
Sept. 11th, 1869

My Darling Ellie,

My heart was made glad yesterday on the receipt of a sweet and delicately toned missive from one, whom of all others in this wide, wide world, I most longed to hear;--one whom I love and worship dearly and devotedly;--one whom I have long wished to call my wife,--and now after many dreary days of watching, long and sleepless nights of thinking, my prayer is answered and I am happy, yes my cup of happiness is complete. Twas a long fight, yet will and perseverance conquered. Do you know dearest that the past eight days seem more like a dream than stern reality! That looking way back to the evening of December 7th and comparing it with the night of Sept 1st, that it appears like a myth, a fairy tale! Your change of feeling from that of friendship to love, was so unlooked for, so unexpected that it nearly made me wild with delight, and only now am I beginning to be myself again and to realize that it was no dream nor imagination.

I know I have your whole heart, and that you love me with all the love woman can bear man; and also, that you are worthy a thousand times deeper affection than is in the power of mortal man to give;-and fear I shall never be worthy of the great happiness conferred upon me. What can I do, how act and live that will in a measure requit the debt I owe you; what course persue that will make your life bright and joyous, for henceforth my life shall be devoted to that one great object, viz: the happiness of my Ellie. Now I have something to live for; have taken a new lease on live which I trust will not be purposless,--not all froth and foam as heretofore.

Need I tell you I looked forward to the receipt of your letter with many pleasurable emotions? and the moments consumed in perusing it were some of the most happy of my life. It has made many a long and wretched hour often while waiting at night for a train, or riding in the cars and alone with my own thoughts, would they wander back to the two last evenings we were together; and the I would wonder whether you followed me in thought as often as I do you, But I know you do, for often my ears burn wonderfully-and that you know is a positive sign that some one is thinking of you, and whoelse could it be but your own dearself. It appears as though business matters were multiplying instead of decreasing as I progress.-must be because I am so anxious to see you-and unless I make better headway in the future will not be at home at the expiration of my two weeks. Our meeting however will be all the dearer for that, "wont it?" I want to see you real badly Ellie; want to set down by your side and have you again tell me you love me, and at some future day will be my little wife. Will you do it, dearest? Then too, we have never been alone together for more than a few moments at a time since that happy night, and I have something so sweet to tell you, and so much to talk about. Don't think I will reach home until the first of week after next, and how it seems so long. Wish I had I have given you directions where to write me again, but never thought of it. "Will close or I wont have anything to tell you when we meet." Yours with deep and undying love.


1893 A.K. Raff Letter

Letter from Almon Keeler Raff to his cousin Frances (Frank) Ebi in Davenport. Almon was a farm implement dealer and found himself in Nebraska at Christmastime. Almon's daughter, Nellie, was dying slowly of consumption. Almon's wife, Ella, apparently did not want any help in nursing her, or running the household and had turned Almon's sister, Frank, away when she showed up in Muscatine to help out. In this letter, Almon is trying to smooth things over with his cousin.

Fremont Neb Dec. 23, 1893

Dear Frank,

I was surprised as well as greatly pleased over the receipt of you letter that reached me yesterday at C-Bluffs, and I thank you for it.

It was certainly very kind in your going to Muscatine and offering your services as either cook or nurse and hope you don't feel badly that your good intentions were not better received and appreciated.

I know if I was sick I'd only be too glad to see you "buzzing" around, or if I had any disagreeable work to perform I'd only be too happy in having your relieve me of it. Some people are more particular than I am. I'm not a bit proud when I need help, "or old clothes."

I feel badly at times when I think of Nells condition, and it almost brings tears to my eyes when I realize how poor Ella has to slave from week to week; never getting away from home nor never seeing the end of her work. It surprises me that she is able to stand it. We are told that every cloud has a silver lining and sincerely hope it will prove true in her case.

Of course I'm not going home for a frolic next Monday. Believe this will be the first Christmas I've been away from the "buzzum" of my family since I had one. You are doubtless aware that this is not my own choosing-not a bit of it-wasn't consulted in the matter at all. Was told to go, and I went. Reminds me a good deal of the orders "Dennis" and I were under in the army. Forward march and ask no questions. My trip will take me nearly to Colorado on the west and close to Dakota on the north and if I get through my work by the middle of February will be in great luck.Expect to be here till Tuesday as my customer has gone to Council Bluffs and cant see him till then.

Fremont is quite a thriving young city of about ten thousand inhabitants, and boasts of three or four rail roads, a line of hoss cars; a fine U.S. Post office building built of Missouri stone, a large brick opera house; many fine churches and store buildings; besides two good hotels and paved streets.

Am not anticipating much of a time at Christmas, and my thoughts will often wander back to old Muscatine on that day. If I had more paper with me I'd write you more of a letter, so take the will &c. Am now getting even with Ella, do you see? Don't tell her I've written you. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, with much love,


1893 Ella Raff Letter

In this letter, my G grandmother, Ella Sanders Raff, refers to the aborted visit made by her husband, Almon Keeler Raff's, cousin Frank (Frances Ebi) a few days before. Frank had taken the train from Davenport to see if she could help out, but Ella sent her back home after a short visit. (See A. K. Raff letter posted yesterday.) She describes her daughter Nellie as being "quiet" and "growing thinner each day". Nellie had been sick with consumption for a long time.

Muscatine Dec. 25th, 1893

Dear Frank,

This Christmas evening, what is left of it, I have to myself. Fred and Edith have gone to the Sunday school entertainment at our church, Nellie quiet, and so concluded I could employ it in no better way than doing a little letter writing or at least acknowledging Christmas gifts. Fred went to the Post Office this morning to see if there was any mail from Keeler and not only found two letters from him but a stack of other mail and notice of packages at the Express office. He came home loaded down, a package from you, one from Mary, one from Ma and from Keeler.It made me feel mean to think we should have received so much and given nothing but we enjoyed them all the same and thank you all very much for them. I hope we can return some of your kindness but now I had no means, nor time nor heart to do anything.

Your nice little visit here helped me in a good many ways. I think too you went home pretty well posted as to what our needs were for Christmas as the contents of the box proved. You may be sure they will all be put to good use. I did not expect to be possessed of a pair of those over shoes so soon as this when I was speaking to you about them. I am afraid you must have hurried yourself to get them made, I would have thought myself fortunate to get the pattern. Helen proves herself to be as good a cook as ever, her cookies, cake and candies are better than ever as we have judged not only by the looks but taste too, for she could not expect Nellie to make way with such a quantity. Nellie has been very much the same since you left. Eats less and less and grows thinner and weaker but has seemed brighter today, talked more and noticed the gifts received, there were several from town, Mr. Prosser gave her a beautiful boquet of cut flowers, Keeler wrote in his letter about getting his mail at council Bluffs. Your letter among the rest and how glad he was to hear from you, he has now started on a trip farther west than he has yet been. I must close this letter now and begin another. I will thank you once more and give you all our best wishes for a "Happy New Year".


1894 Ella Raff Letter to Frank

Recap: The last letter posted was written on Christmas Day, 1893, by my G grandmother, Ella Sanders Raff. My G grandfather, Almon Keeler Raff, was somewhere in western Iowa selling his farm implements and didn't expect to get home until mid February, if lucky. Ella was home alone in Muscatine with the three kids, the eldest, Nellie, was dying slowly of consumption. The rest of Ella's family lived in Davenport.

Muscatine Feb. 8th, 1894

Dear Frank,

Carrie telegraphed to you of Nellie's death, which occurred at noon today. The doctors have just finished a post mortem examination. I will tell you about that later. I have a great favor to ask of you and Monroe now. I would like to have her buried in Davenport, could he see Ma and make arrangements about the place of burial. We have not found where Keel is yet and don't know when he can get here, its being so late in the week and there being no Sunday trains, if the body can be kept until Monday it may be best to do so. I have consulted with no one but think if it can be arranged, the services will be held here in Muscatine. The people at the Dr's. are very kind and Carrie and Mrs. Dunsmore are taking charge of things at home. The body will be moved over home this evening. I can write no more at present, Please let me know soon if the arrangements can be made as I have spoken of or if you have any suggestions you think better please let me know.

Love to all,


Marie Antoinette Sanders letter to her daughter about 5 weeks after Nellie died.

Davenport, March 19, '94

My dear Ella,

I have been trying for sometime to make all things suit to write to you, but one thing after another would prevent and it is so long since I have written that I am so out of the practice, that I fear that you will not be able to decipher it, for I can only use one eye, and that is very defective. I have thought much about you and many times thought of writing, but I write so little now adays that I can not make up my mind to inflict my poor efforts upon you for I know you have many more correspondents that can give you more satisfactory letters than I can. I hope that you are recovering from the severe strain upon your nervous system as well as your fatigue of body & mind. And I hope that the kind Father will send you the comfort & strength you need to carry you through this and all the trials and troubles of the future, and that we may all be permitted to meet in the better home above, the dear ones who have been removed from our society here, and enjoy a more perfect companionship above, "Where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest." I have had the Oakdale lots on which Dear Nellie was burried transfered to you, as I am the only heir to it & I will send you the deed. When the spring opens up and you can come, we will go out to the Cemetery and get the lots put in order and set out some flowers & shrubbery. The grass & shrubbery are getting quite green and bright in our garden. In a few more days, some flowers will begin to peep above the earth. Josie has had trouble with her throat & head and been offered to stay out of school last week but has started in again today, we have all been troubled more or less with colds and influenza which are prevalent.I spent a pleasant afternoon and evening last week at Mrs. Bern's with some of the old ladies of the neighborhood, and had a very nice supper. How is Edith now? I hope she has survived her vaccination and Freddie his sprained ancle. Josie has recovered from vaccination and Catarrh and is in school again. We have all been through our several attacks of winter ailments, but are now convalescent and have been enjoying the evidences of springs return. I think we cannot make much complaint about the weather this winter and approaching spring. With much love to all.


Your Mother

M. A. Sanders

1900 A.K. Raff Postcard

Mary Edith Raff, 17 years old, was visiting friends in Davenport. She had been gone awhile and her family and friends in Muscatine were getting lonesome for her.

Muscatine July 11, 1900

My Dear Edith,

I could not bear the thought of your returning home without having heard from me. Hence this postal. Your card to mama at hand this morning; your letters were also rec'd, and guess it was an oversight of mama that the receipt of them was not acknowledged. Am glad you are coming home soon as it is very lonesome and quiet around the house without you.-The family as well as neighbors will be at the landing Friday eve'ng on arrival of boat. Tell aunt Mary that the enumerator has completed his work and is feeling quite "coltish" again. Helen Bernthiesel has a little sister that came to her home yesterday. Mama wants Aunt Frank's house number: bring it down in your vest pocket without fail.

Love, Papa-Kindest regards to all the friends.

1903 A.K. Raff Letter

At this time, A K Raff was the Muscatine City Recorder. He is writing to his cousin Frances, ("Frank") in Davenport and speaks of his uncertainty of remaining in office at the end of his term. The letter is written on City of Muscatine stationary and lists those who held office at that time. Mary Edith was doing her teaching internship in Muscatine. Information in ( ) mine.

On the top left of the stationary:

City Officers

Mayor-Robt. S. McNutt.
City Recorder-A. K. Raff.
City Treasurer-E. E. Davidson
City Attorney-Arthur Hoffman
City Engineer-J. J. Ryan.
Chief of Police-W. R. Rice.
Assistant Chief-James McElravy.
Health Pysician-J. D. Fulliam.
Sexton-M. O. Neidig.
Weighmaster-J. H. Carl.
City Assessor-David Vannatta.
Chief of Fire Dept.-Wm. I. Neff.
Police Judge-John B. Hudson.

In the middle:

Office of City Recorder
City of Muscatine.
A. K. Raff, City Recorder
City Hall-Corner of Third and Sycamore Streets.

On the top right side:

Committee Chairmen
Finance-Alderman Zel. H. Hutchinson.
Streets and Alleys-Ald. F. A. Duffield.
Ordinances-Alderman Zel. H. Hutchinson.
Sidewalks-Alderman J. W. Riggs.
Paving-Alderman John A. Bartemeier.
Cemetery-Alderman Robt. Seiler.
Lighting-Alderman John. A. Bartemeier
Police Dept.-Alderman F. A. Duffield.
Fire Dept.-Alderman Chas. Spaethe.
Sewerage-Alderman John A. Bartemeier.
Parks-Alderman J. J. Engel.
Board of Health-Mayor Robt. S. McNutt.

Muscatine, Iowa, October 23d, 1903

Dear Frank,

Yours of yesterday just at hand, and glad to hear from you. Although Mary and Dennis no longer write me as they used to your postal persuades me that I still have, at least one correspondent in Davenport. Carrie (Sanders) was down here week before last and staid three or four days. She spoke of leaving Davenport soon to meet friends in Chicago and would spend the winter someplace in the south. Did not say who her friends were that she was to meet in Chicago nor where she expected to locate. Other than this we know nothing of her intentions. She is as full of "wheels" as of old.

We are all well here. Phoebe is quite spry this fall tho' rather a "back number" as regards house cleaning, having done little or nothing along that line, as yet.

Edith is studying hard in her training school work, and from the many good words said for her by the principals of the different schools she is doing nicely. Mrs. Lofland arrived here on a visit three or four weeks ago, and should the weather continue pleasant may remain until the first of next month. Before coming to Muscatine she stopped for a short time with Gordon Whipple in Marion, and with him spent part of a day in Cedar Rapids in looking up Cousin Beckie (Rebecca Raff Cock, wife of C. C. Cock.) They located her house all right but found no one at home. Ella had company for her to dinner last week, and she has been to the house to tea several times since. She is looking real well and is as neat and tidy as any old lady can be of seventy six summers. I read your postal to the girls at the dinner table. Edith said she would feel grateful for the coat. For myself will say that as it is mighty uncertain whether or not I hold my position longer than spring the suit and overcoat may afford me a soft place to fall on if suddenly "heisted" from office. Do you see? Therefore think you had best send them. Edith suggested that I pay the express charges on this invoice of goods, so enclose a draft for that purpose, which I make payable to Dennis, thinking it will be more convenient for him to have it cashed than for you.

With kind remembrances to all the friends,


1903 A.K. Raff Tribute Letter

Recap: The following letter was found in my grandmother, M. Edith Raff's, effects. Her father was Capt. A. K. Raff, who was City Recorder for Muscatine, Iowa. On October 30, 1903, while at work at City Hall, he suddenly threw his arms up in the air and collapsed dead over his desk. The letter is typed verbatim.

Chatanooga Tenn

Missouri Ridge Nov. 11, 1903

Mrs. A K Raff and Family

Muscatine Iowa

I have just received the sad intelligence of Capt. Raff's death and I hasten to express to you my heartfelt sympathy. I sorrow and grieve with you in this hour of great affliction . Capt. Raff (Marty as we formerly called him) was for four years my warmest friend and chum and a part of the time my bunkie and during that time I learned to love him for the many good qualities he possessed. The end of the war separated us and during the past thirty eight years I met him but twice and at each time we renewed our old time friendship with a cordiality that only the soldier boys of 1861 can experience.

Marty was a grand soldier and a noble hearted boy. During the four years of bloody war we shared our joy and sorrows in common and now in the hour of death I renew the pledge of comradship as pure and enduring as the crystal gems at the foot of the cross. He was one of the coterie of bright boys of the old Regiment who through their own individual efforts and sterling qualities rose to the command of company long before they had attained their maturity. It now warms my heart with pride when I recall the scenes of forty years ago and see those gallent boys back in the grand whirl of battle. Marty was ever the first to lead and was the first to sniff the gyrating eddys of smoke as we charged the enemy guns. We were comrads. Yes we were comrades sure for shoulder to shoulder over many bloody fields we followed the alluring light of the gilded star of fame. But now lost! forever lost! Yet in this hour of deep affliction we have the consoling thought that he was the embodiment of all that is noble in man. His military record is luminous with such bright names as Shiloh, Corinth, Perryville, Stone River, Hoovers Gap, Lee and Gordons Mill, Chickamauga, Orchard Knob, Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, Buzzards Roost, Ressacca, New Hope Church, Picketts Mill, Pine Sap, Kennesaw, Chattahoochie River, Peucht**r Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Lovejoy Station, Columbia, Franklin, Nashville. These are the glints of glory which shine with ceaseless luster upon the bloody trail 40 miles wide and 300 miles long when the boys of the great north west shed their blood. Marty, stood on the fire line 242 days during a four year war.

I deplore his death but honor his memory. My sympathy with the bereft is best expressed in Whittier's most tuching words "Let me sit in the circle of thy mourning, for I, too, have lost a friend." I am here at the instance of the dedication of the Ohio Monument and will return home on Saturday.

Very Truly-

P. D. Reefy

*The "P" in "P. D. Reefy" stands for Phil.

8-18-1907 Ella Raff Letter

Background: M. Edith Raff was in Cedar Falls, Iowa, getting ready to start teacher's training. Her mother, Ella Sanders Raff, wrote her the following letter, which is typed verbatim.

Muscatine August 18th, 1907

Dear Edith,

I have come home but a short time since form Hawleys where I had a very fine dinner, chicken pot-pie, corn, tomatoes, baking powder biscuits, apple pie and cake. I came near stalling with such a spread. I went there from Sunday school and was met at the door by Nellie Hawley, it was quite a surprise to me, I stopped there on my way home form the reception yesterday afternoon to let them know for certain that I would be there for dinner today, and they said nothing about her coming. She would like to have seen you but said she had a bone to pick with you for not writing and that she did not get your picture if you sent it to her. She and Carl sent us all in the front room after dinner and they did up the work. Carl washed and she wiped the dishes. Nellie came down on the morning train and goes back again this evening. Carl's vacation begins on Wednesday, he would like to go right over home but will likely wait and go up on the excursion Thursday to help Mr. Huchinson as there will be a scarcity of men.

But, to go back to the beginning, I hope you got through with all your belongings and yourself right side up with care. Have received no word from you yet but likely will soon, will hold this until morning and see. I did not get much sleep after your left but I hope you put in as solid a night as I did the next one, it was said to have stormed all the night long but I heard nothing of it, on waking up about seven the next morning all was serene and bright.The afternoon was lovely for the reception, just such a one as the other reception had, the storms have been very accommodating lately, coming in the night time.

Everything was elegant, canvas was laid from the station to the club house, the hostesses looked lovely, the bride wore her wedding dress, some thin filmy silk, hand embroidered, with train. The color scheme was green and white, the decorations were lovely and elaborate, the refreshments, brick ice cream, the outer layers white cream, the center one a green ice, one cake a white with green icing, napkins white with delicate green border, very pretty, favors, white sweet-peas with green fern. Four hundred invitations were out, some timed from 3 to 5, others from 4 to 6 o'clock. It has been a long time since I have seen so many handsome costumes together as were displayed there.Friday afternoon I went to fill an engagement at Dr. Kulps, found him busy and while waiting went to the court house and saw Mr. Witter, he seemed to think there would be no other applicants for that scholarship and you could have it as you wanted it. He referred me to the Elickers in regard to Highland Park, several of them attended there and a son taught there, I see Miss Anna Elicker was one of your party to Geneva, perhaps she could give you some pointers in regard to it if you chose to inquire.

A postcard came from Josie, I think I can enclose it by clipping one edge a little. You can see by that she will be in Chicago when you come back, you had better write her to see you at the train if you cannot stop off to see her. I enclose a whole column form Friday evenings paper, some of it if not all will interest you. The Mr. Watson I could not place from the head lines but did as you will on reading the paragraph. The other clipping from the same paper may interest Anna as well as you. Since commencing this letter two events have happened, one was a visit from the Jameson family, papa included, they just came home from Geneva Island last evening, the baby seemed as delighted to see me as though I was one of the family.

The other event is the arrival of a daughter at the Cherry mansion, it is too recent to give particulars.I expect to see you come home made over new. Much love to yourself and also Anna.


Written sideways in the margin at the top of the first page:

Aug. 19th. Two cards arrived from you this morning. Am glad you reached there safely and are pleased with the place. A post card came from Helen Warren, it will keep. Word from Cherry's this morn, is that she and the baby will have a hard pull to get through, especially the baby.


8-23-1907 Ella Raff Letter

Background: Letter written by Ella Sanders Raff to daughter who is attending Cedar Falls Teachers College.

Muscatine Aug. 23, 1907

Dear Edith,

On arriving home last evening from our excursion to Davenport I found three postcards from you and a letter from Fred to you awaiting me, of course I was much pleased at receiving the cards, to know that you think of me if you are so busy all the time. The letter I was strongly tempted to open, being a long while to wait until you get home, but I dident, it is bulky as though having a bracelet or some such thing in it. I sent your skirt off this morning and hope you will get it in time, could have sent it yesterday if I had been home when the card came. Your welcome letter reached me this morning, I wondered what could have happened to your skirt-that you wanted another one. It was explained in that. I am very glad to hear you are enjoying yourself so much, it must be delightful there. I will enclose the money you wished sent. $5.00 in this letter.

We had a beautiful day and a pleasant time on our excursion, there was not as large a crowd as usual bout five hundred, the J. S. can easily carry twice that number. The Baptists were conspicuous by their absence, comparitively few were aboard. I met Mr. Hutchinson just after the boat started looking for a Baptist man, Mr. Jameson was about the only other one and he had to help take care of the baby. Mr. Hine intended going to help Mr. H. but Mrs. Hine is very sick and he couldent. Mr. H. said we would clear expenses which is gratifying to know. The boat reached Dav. About one oclock and did not start back until six so it gave us a good long time there. The Jameson's, Sarah Hawley and I made a little party together. Carl dident go after all, he had to work part of the day and then he was going over home to spend his vacation of a week. We ate our dinner and supper on the boat, we had our own provisions with us, only buying coffee. The rest of the party went to Black Hawk, I went to Frank's. She was expecting me as I had written her, and was down stairs on the couch, she seemed brighter and more like herself but I could see very little improvement otherwise in her condition. She has changed house keepers, somewhat for the better but this one is not either what she ought to have. Helen is home. She and the children came over to Franks and then down to the boat with me. She liked it very much in Denver, so does Earl, they were there most of the time they were away and he has gone there again.

Julia came down to the boat to see me a short time before it started back. She has been sick and looks badly.Cherry's baby, Dorothy lived only until Tuesday, it seemed too bad it could not have been saved, it was one of the prettiest little babies I ever saw, had thick curly brown hair. Mrs. C. is improving and they think will get well.I enclose a clipping this time which may interest you and Anna if you have not already heard of it. I must close this so as to mail it tonight.



Additional writing on the first page in the top margin: "Let me know when I can look for you home. Gertrude McNutt is in Davenport attending a house party of little girls at Lafferty's.

7-7-1908 Ella Raff Letter

Background: Ella is writing to Edith who is in Cedar Falls Teachers College. In the letter, Ella refers to Frank (Frances) and Monroe Ebi, Ella's sister, Julia Sanders.

Muscatine July 7th, 1908

Dear Edith,

I returned from Davenport this afternoon by train, I intended coming on the boat last evening but a hard storm came up about time to start from Franks so decided to stay over another day, the Columbia would have gone down the river today but took out an excursion instead.

I had a pleasant visit and was surprised to find how much improved Frank is. They have no help, Monroe and she do the work, going upstairs and doing up her hair are her greatest trials, I believe I wrote you before that Helen and family are in Denver now and that Bert and family are going to start for the same place next Saturday and Frank is going with them. If the climate agrees with her she is going to stay until Helen comes back in the fall, if not, she will come with Bert in a few weeks. Julia met me at the depot this afternoon and we had quite a little talk before train time, I tried to get her to come home with me but could not induce her. She said Al is in Moline now at work but she has not seen him yet and would not go away anywhere for fear he might come. I found two pretty post cards from you awaiting me on my return. You are very kind to remember me so well in that way, I will save them all and they will make quite an addition to your collection.

I saw Mr. Jameson coming from the train, he said Mrs. J. received a card having on "Dear Mrs. Jameson" nothing more, they made out the post mark Cedar Falls, from that got an idea who it came from, do you know anything about it?One thing I write for especially tonight is in regard to a house. I have a chance to get the one George Jackson built for Bruce, he has moved down nearer his business on second street. The rent is $16 2/3. I like the location very well, it is next to Mrs. Lanes, but would you? If you teach in the Cedar street school it would make more of a walk for you. Please drop me a card right away. I promised to let him know Thursday if possible as another party is after it and our rent -day is tomorrow. Geo. K. will probably call Thursday or Friday.



Written sideways on top margin of first page: You say nothing about your health how are you and how are you sleeping.

7-12-1908 Ella Raff Letter

Another letter to Edith in Cedar Falls. Ella refers to her son Fred (Alfred Raff) and others, including Carl, who was Edith's very good friend.

Muscatine July 12th, 1908

Dear Edith,

I have just been taking a nap and my eyes are hardly open yet so over look all mistakes, I want to write to Fred this afternoon too so must not wait any longer. This evening we are to have an inovation in the church service and Mr. Kempton asked us all to stand by him and attend. The B.Y.P.U. and church are both combined and are to meet at Weed Park, the heat of this awful hot day would be almost unbearable in our church by night, so this plan was thought of and if a success will perhaps be used again on hot Sundays. Your letters were received but not in time, and the house was rented. The only drawback to me was being farther for you to walk to school, if I could have been satisfied on that point I would have taken it in a moment and am so sorry I did not. I thought Mr. Jackson would hold it for me until I heard from you. I feel as though I had missed the chance of my life, just the size, location and rent I have been looking for so long. It would have been awful to tear up and move such weather as this but we would have been so nicely fixed for next winter. I have just received since too, notice that my pension has been granted. $12.00 a month beginning the first of last May. If I had known for a certainty a day or two sooner that would have helped me decide.I saw Carl down town last evening. He had a bad cold and he was not out today. Sarah was not either, Miss Hathaway is here I think and perhaps it was too hot for them to come out.

I expect Frank started for Denver last night if she did not back out on account of the heat, I think she would want to, it was awful. It is not much better today, I wore my new white dress to church and was glad I had it finished to wear. Anna Scott said it was very pretty and that I looked like a young girl of sixteen, a doubtful compliment, I am afraid the dress must be too youthful for me, but it is pretty. I had the material before you went away dident I? Flowered Swiss. I have my silk made too so am getting about sewed up. How are your clothes holding out?The Mylons came home one evening and started away again the next day, this time to Cedar Rapids. They will be home tonight or tomorrow. They did not bring Floyd back with them, he was left at his grand mother's in Ottumwa.All the little girls were present in your class today but Alida Obrien, one of the girls said her mother was sick and as she has not been for several weeks and lives quite near us I will try to call there this week. The boys have been transferred to a boys class. Mrs. Jamesons mother is here at last, she became nervous waiting for her, thought something had happened. She had gone to St. Louis to take the train for here and found her pass was made out wrong so had to go home again and wait for another.

I have made a new acquaintance, Mrs. Mitchel, the Y.M.C.A. assistant sec.'s wife. She is so sweet, they are boarding at Klein's on Chestnut street. The Y.M.C.A. is to have an excursion on the river Tuesday evening. Elizabeth Jameson is selling Chautauqua tickets. I am going to get one of her, do you want one? I wonder if Fred will be here at that time, we would not get to go very much, I don't suppose he would go.



6-20-1909 Ella Raff Letter

Edith is at the Cedar Falls, Iowa, Teachers College and her mother writes to her of friends and events in Muscatine and Davenport.

Muscatine June 20th 1909

Dear Edith,

Your post card and letter were gladly received as also the news that you arrived all right and were enjoying yourself. I invested in new paper and pen so as to be ready for writing to both you and Fred (Edith's brother) this afternoon when I knew I would feel lonesome. Now they are in good condition the ink seems pale, you will need glasses to read this I fear.

It does not seem as though I have done much of anything since you left-I felt pretty well tired out. Friday was spent at the church as the society had an all day meeting. In the evening of that day the ladies came to see me. Mrs. Day, Durkee, and Lillibridges. Yesterday Sarah Hawley and her mother were here a while in the afternoon, she was at the church for dinner on Friday, too so you see she is getting quite spry. Carl is spending today in Davenport as I expect you know. I have received several letters since you left, one from Fred. I will give you his new address 6330 Greenwood Ave. He says he and Jo (Ella's cousin Josephine Sanders) have fine rooms and wanted me to tell you to write him or drop a post card and you should have a box of butter chocolates. I had too quite a long letter from Mrs. Jameson which I must answer right away for she is so homesick, she says little Hugh and she cry a great deal over it. They have had quite a little attention shown them there but still they have not yet become reconciled, the living is much higher and the house does not suit. Her health is not much improved from what it was here and Ruth has whooping cough, so she is not through with all her troubles yet.

You knew dident you that the Y.M.C.A. has called Mr. Mitchell back here again to take Mr. Jamesons place. Then too I had a letter from Carrie, (Ella's sister, Caroline Elizabeth Sanders) instead of going farther west she is coming east, will reach here Wednesday or Thursday and said she would stay a few weeks with me while you are away. Of course I will be glad to see her but it means I will not get to go anywhere this summer. I was planning to live very economically while you were away and save something perhaps for a trip somewhere. Carrie says that Jo has been trying to persuade her to come back east and wants her to come to Chicago and she will try to get some thing for her to do.This is a lovely day although rather warm. I had your Sunday school class and will likely have to keep it while you are away. It is a fine class and ought to have a regular teacher to keep it together and influence them for good, they were almost all present and one new one besides.

Mrs. Kent fell down the high terrace at their home and has injured herself quite severely. Mrs. Barr's funeral took place today.

I will enclose a clipping in regard to our excursion which has just been decided upon. The Methodists have one this week, the Congregationalists next week but the crowd will wait for the Baptists.



Written in margin at top of first page: A couple of pair of those tan hose are good if I can dye them a good color will send them if you wish.

1864 A.K. Raff Letter Civil War

Partial letter from my G grandfather, Lieut. A. K. Raff, to his cousin Frank (Frances) Raff Ebi in Davenport. After the war A. K. Raff came to Davenport and started a farm implement business with his brothers-in-law, Monroe Ebi and C. C. Cock.

Camp 19th O.V.V.I.*
Near Atlanta Ga. July 25th/64

Dear Cousin Frank,

I wrote to Henry the 28th of last month, and to Auntie the 4th of this month, and have not yet heard from either of them. So I concluded to write to you, believeing you will be a little more prompt in replying than they are, though I don't ? blame either of them? for delaying so long. Henry I know is very busy at present:-works day and night-with the exception of Sundays, and they are the only days in which he has time to do his corresponding! And after a week's hard labor he don't feel in a writeing mood. As for Auntie, I believe she would sooner do a weeks washing than write a letter-even to me. It seems very strange that I have to wait a month for answers to my letters, when the boys receive replys to theirs, in two weeks. Letters from Ohio come through in five and six days: now why should they not come from Iowa in eight. I can't account for it in no other way than that their must be considerable delay at home in answering them. Late though they are! they are always received with feelings of genuine pleasure. I have endured the hardships and dangers of the campaign thus far, remarkabley well, and hope I will be spaired to see the termination of the war and the restoration of the Union. Then I'll sheathe my blood stained sabre which has been the death of many a gray-back, shake off my military airs and clothes, which I have been sporting for nearly three years! and again become a deadweight to relatives and friends, and a neuisnace to the whole community. In after years while dangling my boy on my knee, I'll point with pride to the old sword and jackknife which shall grace the walls of the log cabin, and tell him the number of enemieses I sleweded with those very weapons. How his old dad fought and bled for his Country on many a gory battlefield. How he marched for days and weeks through heat and cold, through mud, rain, and storm, till the blisters on his heels grew to the enormous size of apple-dumplings! and lots more stuff I'll tell him! too. And wont he feel proud of his father? Wont he think his dad was a peacock in his younger days? C-e-r-t-a-I-n-l-y-h-e-w-i-l-l.too.

Well, the siege of Atlanta has commenced: the shot, shell and minnie balls fly! whiz! shreak! and sing! over and around us on all sides cutting off trees! twigs! And branches! and frequently maiming some poor fellow who happens to be in the way as they come tearing along. Our lines extend around the city on the north-east-side for a distance of eight or ten miles. At some points, are within a mile of it, and in plain view of their works, which I am told are very strong and filled with Johnnies. Yesterday we strengthened ours by several hours hard work. If they should ever charge us some of them will go to the rear with sore heads. We are up every morning at half past three and stand in line of battle till day light. They will never catch us napping. Last night they shelled our camp from a battery right out in front of us not more than five hundred yards. And could see the flash of every gun just as plain as though we had been by it. When as they come sailing though near a long stream of burning powder falls to the rear looking for all the world like a shooting star and making one of the most beautiful sights I ever witnessed. I watched them for more than an hour, and then went to bed, was lulled to sleep by the bursting of the shells and was woke up this morning by them. Yesterday two of my boys were wounded while cooking

(That is all there is of this letter.)

*OVVI-Ohio Volunteer Veteran Infantry-regiments made up of re-enlistees, frequently those disabled from earlier service.

7-28-1908 Ella Raff Letter

Recap: This letter is from Ella Sanders Raff to her daughter, Edith, who is attending the Cedar Falls Teachers College.

Muscatine June 28th, 1908

Dear Edith,

I have been out to Hutchinson's for dinner and now it is five oclock so will have to hurry in getting a letter written you this afternoon. Everything is so nice out there, I especially enjoy the porch parlor in hot weather, and also the chicken we had for dinner and Rickie's good bread. I have been very glad to get your letters and also the cards you have sent, did you get a couple of post cards I sent? I have such a pretty one of an Angora cat which I am going to send Fred, I will not have time to write him a letter today and wish to thank him for a letter of a day or two ago in which were enclosed five brand new one dollar bills to buy ice cream sodas to cool me off this hot weather, he said. Have you not received postcards from him? I sent him your address which he asked me for so that he could send you some. I am glad you are enjoying your self so well and that your surroundings are so pleasant. I would like to see the place and how you are situated. Have you not thought out by this time what the hieroglyphic on the postal meant? I dident want any one else to know but thought you would perhaps you dident recognize it as an x which it was intended for, meaning a ten dollar bill, there was only one left in the box, so unless you took $60.00 with you instead of $50.00, there is one missing, I cannot account for it in any other way, can you?

I will not need send you any more paper clippings if you get the paper itself you will have all the news. I have been sewing some this week as much as I could for the heat, although the latter part of the week was not so bad, the skirts of my silk dress and the white one are finished but not the waists. Monday evening I went to hear Bishop Quayle at the Tabernacle, he was fine, and Wednesday evening to hear Charles Butter, that was very good too, besides his singing and beautiful playing by his accompanist, on the violin, he produced on a graphophone records of songs sung by himself and Mr. Fischer and others, one of the revival songs sung by a choir of 500 voices at Seranton, Pa, where Mr. Sunday was last and also one of a message from Mr. Sunday himself to the Muscatine people, that was next best thing to having him here, for his voice and pronunciation of words was perfectly natural.

Wednesday afternoon I attended the laying of the cornerstone of the new post office, you can see an account for that in the paper I expect.

Friday we had an all day society at the church to finish up the work on hand and disband for the summer. Next Wednesday the ladies are to go out to Mrs. Lewis to celebrate her 83rd birthday. Walter Hine and Miss Mildred Peters were married here at Hines on Tuesday eve and left that same eve. She is an orphan and was raised a catholic by an aunt, but is a Baptist now as she was baptized at our church last Sunday evening. They are to make their home in Chicago he is a practising dentist there. My paper is coming to an end and so I will end this.



7-4-1909 Ella Raff Letter

Letter to Edith in Cedar Falls, Iowa from her mother, Ella Sanders Raff.

Muscatine July 4, 1909

Dear Edith,

Thanks for all the mail you have sent I am always glad to hear from you and look forward to mail time as you used to and I expect do yet. There has been a little hitch in it the past week, the post card I sent you asking about the Chautauqua ticket I put in the mail box at Prossers corner wanting it to reach you soon as possible so as to get an answer.

Laura Bilkey has them to sell and I told her I would let her know the first of this week. The next morning it came back to me in the mail, as there was nothing the matter with it I mailed it again and hope it reached you. In the same mail I received a notice that a letter was in the Cedar Falls post office with a one cent stamp directed to me if I would forward the other stamp they would send it, so I have it now, that postcard cost four cents to get it here but I am glad to have it.

This evening we were to have commenced services at Weed Park and Carrie and I were going out early and take a lunch with us, so that I could take her around and show her the park but it has commenced raining so the plans will have to be changed. If it should be pleasant tomorrow we will go then instead. Nothing special in the way of celebrating is to be done that I know of, excepting excursions up and down the river. I hope you will be able to have your picnic and that you will have a good time. The weather of the past week has been more like Fourth of July weather than today. It was almost unbearable. The day of the Congregational excursion was hot but there was a delightful breeze on the boat. There were only about two hundred and fifty people, just wait until we have ours, we always have the crowd. It was pleasanter though for those who went, it gave them more room. There was plenty of music, Pandets band and the boat orchestra. I did not expect to get to see Frank (Edith's cousin, Frances Raff Ebi in Davenport) but we were given such a long time there, from half past twelve to half past five that I did go up there too. I wrote Julia (Ella's sister) not to come up to the boat that we would come down there but she did and so we missed each other and we had to wait at the Home until she returned. We did not see Nellie Hawley, did you know she is going to leave there the first of Sept? going to train for a nurse.

I will enclose a couple of clippings from last nights paper which might interest you. Mrs. Durkee and Ray have decided on moving to Des Moines. Ray is going this week but she is not just yet. Cora Lilly has been here to make arrangements for moving here, so you see things are changing while you are away.

Cora is going to take the part of Mrs. Makins house which was occupied by Dr. Barr. Mrs. Prosser has rented a part of the double house being built on the corner this way from where Jamesons lived. Mrs. Fred Giesler was buried on Friday.

Ed Shoemaker is laid up with a broken arm, fell off a step ladder while picking cherries. This is about all the news I can think of so we'll close for this time.



7-12-1909 Ella Raff Letter

Letter to Edith in college in Cedar Falls. Apparently, even in 1909 college kids wrote home for money!

Muscatine July 12th 1909

Dear Edith,

Your letter just arrived, I have to got a board meeting of the Y.W. this afternoon, so will not have much time but will try to write a short letter in reply to yours for fear something might happen to prevent me this evening. I am sorry about the money order. When I got it at the office said to Ed Link, it is the little one that goes in the letter isent it? I was in a hurry and dident stop to look at them or I would have known better. He said yes, so I put it in and the other away without looking at it and never thought of it again until getting your letter. Do just as you think best about coming home Sat. of course we will be glad to see you. I have not had much time to rest up partly on account of the ants, we are just taken alive by them, I never had such a time, have tried everything I could hear of for driving them away but without success so far, they even get in the refrigerator and at night we pile the bread box, sugar box, &c on the dining room table.

It was beautiful last evening and so the first of our out door services was held in the park, it was quite a success, the young peoples meeting was well attended and so was the other. Carrie and I went out early and went in the club house and around, then sat in Hutchinson's surrey and heard the preaching, then they took us home together with Mrs. Prosser, who had gone out with them.

We have not heard from Jo or Fred either, Carrie has been looking anxiously for one from Jo as she told her if she would come back here she would try to get her something in Chicago to do. She sends her love and says she will write to you or send a card. Good bye for this time.



Letter, Illinois City Ill, July 11-1911

Dear Edie:

I got such nice long letter last Friday and with such good report form the 4th but received a nicer letter last night I will tell you more about it when you come out. To be sure I want you to come out, I wanted to ask you in my last letter wether you coulden come for I wanted to see you pretty bad, but I was afraid I have no one in particular for you to bring you. Bring ever who you want too, try and bring some one that we can get away from a while some time during the day. I want a little visit with you alone, you know? Dear child come any day you want too but drop me a card a day before you come so you wont catch me with whiskers on my face. Mother wants you to come too she said you are welcome any time. Well D. K. I am feeling about as usual lost another lb. last week, I believe it is due to hot weather. Dearie you are a Jewel, how kind of you to send me the other bill. Thanks many many times, my how I will squeeze you in thanksgiving and joy when you come. Be sure and get an early start and make as long a day as you can. I want a good long day. We had a little exitement this morning about 8 oclock a large ballon passed over our place, it was too high we coulden talk with the man. Hoping to see you soon I wont put in any amount this time but will administer them when you come Dear.

Grandpa Karly

Comments: According to the M. Edith Raff Diary, Carl Parchert died Sept. 15, 1911, just 4 days after writing this letter.


1- In a previous letter, Carl had referred to Grandma as Dear Kid.

2- I believe the "amount" he will "administer" referred to were "x's" sometimes written at the end of letters to symbolize kisses and "o's", which symbolize hugs.

3- I believe he refers to himself as "Grandpa" because he is poking fun at his own debilitated condition.

Muscatine, Iowa, May 18-1911

Dear Edith:

You no doubt will be suprised at this letter, but you know strange things will happen. But I have my new buggy now and if you haven't a date for this coming Saturday evening I would like to give you a buggy ride, Old Kid, I want you to have the first ride in it.
If you can go be sure and let me know right away either by mail or phone me at the bank. We can talk more then even though this letter is short, I am,

Yours sincerly,


Muscatine Iowa, Dec. 39 1913

Miss Edith Raff

Dear friend, I hope we shall always be friends and it is with great pleasure to acknowledge it. Knowing it is God's will and your consent that makes it possible. Catching sight of your face through the window of the court house last evening reminded me of a letter I would write, and such as it is, here it is full of grammatical errors. Hope you are open for a date this evening. I'll phone about six oclock. It was very late when we parted Sunday evening and am as sorry as ever to put you out so as it is not your wish. Though the weather is cloudy and dreary it does not make our friendship tarnish, and if you will take a very small amount of advise offered without being ask for. Do not buy any stock in the "Bend City Oil Co." It has been thoughtfully investigated and found wanting.

The Banquet at the Church last evening was fine-a debate followed the business meeting of the Baraca Class.

Hope that you will at some time in the future write a few lines. I'll do another letter soon, as you see considerable amounts of practice is needed.

This is not all I wish to write but it is time to go, I'm so sleepy this morning and mind on case but if you'll be patient I'll express myself.

Remaining your Friend,

Frank Schmidt

July 24th

Dear Edith,

This is the nearest home view I can send you. Two cards received by me, one also by Julia for which she sends thanks. Glad you are getting along all right. May write you Sunday although you did not ask for a letter. Julia and I took our supper at Weed park this evening the day was so fine.

With love,