excepting (preposition): With the exception of.
shanty (noun): A roughly-built hut or cabin.
salt pork (noun): Pork cured in salt; white bacon.
I know a young lady here, a neighbor of ours, Miss Ticknor, who took a claim of 160 acres.
homestead (noun): A house together with surrounding land and buildings, especially on a farm.
claim (noun): A demand of ownership for previously unowned land (e.g. in the gold rush, oil rush).
printing press (noun): A mechanical device used for printing text or images repeatedly.
Your affectionate neice,
Mary, E. L. Carpenter
Dear Cousin Lucy,
The children are all well and hearty and all send love. Mamie, Georgie and Henry have helped their father plant and they have our cows to watch.
hearty (adjective): Exhibiting strength; sound; healthy; firm; not weak.
harness (verb): To place a harness on animals; to tie up or restrain.
commenced (verb): Began, started.
creep (verb): To move slowly with the abdomen close to the ground, crawl.
skimmed milk (verb): Removed the cream from the milk.
churned (verb): Agitated the cream rapidly and repetitively with a rocking motion to make butter.
lame (adjective): Moving with pain or difficulty on account of injury or sickness.
threshed (adjective): Separated the grain from the straw or husks(chaff) by mechanical beating, with a flail or machinery.
endowed (adjective): To be furnished with something naturally.
exhausted (adjective): Depleted; used up.