Letter from Mary Carpenter, August, 1873

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Letters of Mary Carpenter
Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection P1487

[August 1873]

[To Aunt Martha]

The quilt you think of sending will be just the thing. Those I had when I was married are worn out and I have never had one since. They are just what we used very much. I have a new one that George's sister gave him before she died but cannot quilt it because I've no lining & cotton for it. Mamie has commenced one. She has twenty squares done, but she needs more pieces than we have to finish it. I have some woolen pieces & would like to piece a log cabin quilt if I had more, have you any fabric or woolen pieces that you don't need? By the way, had cousin Laura any pieces left of that silk dress black and red, that Mother gave her so long ago, the one from N. York. I would like a scrap of it very much, for a pin cushion or something. Mother offered me that, when I was married, but I wouldn't take it because I thought she ought to have it dyed for herself. My silk dress, Cousin Lucy Brown gave me, is just as good as new now. The brown alpaca she sent in the box, I have worn but a few times. Please give my love to her & cousin Brown also their Laura. Did you know that she was born the same day as our first baby, George Lowell. He would have been 12 years old last July 13, if he had lived.

[Page 2]

If cousin Shubert & his wife are with you please remember me to them. We are all very well. I wish I had the children's pictures to send you, but we have never had them taken, except the first one. Aunt Laura had his photograph. Mother's health is better than it was when I left Rochester. She writes that Father and Frank are much debilitated by the bad weather. Willie is well. They have been having revival meetings in Rochester and many conversions lately. Rev. Mr. Lilford, a retired missionary from China is settled there now. I like him very much. He has union meetings at Marshall. Rev. Mr. Spalding from Massachusetts, a Congregational Minister, preaches. I have not been to church since Geo. went away as he has the horses & wagon with him. I have no way of going. We are four miles from Marshall. There will be a paper published in Marshall soon. The printing press has arrived already. One year ago Marshall consisted of one sod house, now it is quite a thriving railroad town. The cars pass in sight of us for several miles. The children love to watch them. You do not mention whether the "two new babies" are boys or girls or one of each. Please tell me in your next. Our "new baby" that is to be, has its name already scheduled. It is to be Lorenzo Lowell, if a boy (that has been waiting some time you know) and we shall call him Lowell, or Lucy Frances if it is a girl.

[Page 3]

I do so hope it will have good health. A house seems lonely without a baby. It is one of the greatest comforts we can have. George is so fond of children too, especially little babies. He is one of the best of hands to help take care of them [illegible] &c. and Mamie is large enough to do a great deal. Mamie has never been to school but she is a great reader and revels in books. She learns very readily. She has studied geography some & seems to be a natural mathematician, can reckon in her head very nicely. She has learned to print some and wants to learn to write. She loves to sew and can mend very well. She helps her father a good deal, being the oldest. Can harness & unharness &c. as well as a boy. She does the milking during his absence, for I cannot milk, not having learned when I was young. She will be ten years old next January. Georgie will be eight in Oct. and Henry, five next February. My birthday is the 21 of this month. I shall be thirty-three. It does not seem possible I am so old. And Frank will be thirty one next November. Willie was twenty the 20 of July. So time goes on. How soon it will bring us to eternity. You recommend a diet of "hope". I am very well acquainted with that kind of fare and it is "wholesome".

[Page 4]

I wish poor brother Frank were only able to live on it a little. If we had a house, I should want him to come to make us a visit. I think such a change would do him good. He might come back when Geo. comes and not cost anything for the journey, one way, but it would cost ten dollars to go back on the cars. I am sure his appetite would improve. Mine has very much. I am much better in health than when I came. If Geo. was at home, so I could sleep nights. I should be all right. But we cannot ask him, while we have only a ten foot shanty. I wouldn't go back where we lived before for anything. We have a good well of water here. We have 80 acres of good land with plenty of hay. Have not I written you a long letter? We intend to start [illegible] hedges, small fruit another spring. Geo put out currant slips, but most of them died on account of the grasshoppers. If cousin Laura will send me some flower seeds, I'll be only glad, as I must plant some next spring. Please excuse pencil, as I have no ink. With much love to cousins Lowell and Laura, also yourself. I am as ever,

Your most affectionate Niece,
Mary E. L. Carpenter

Perhaps before many years, you'll come to see me. Who knows. Tell cousin Lowell he had better come & get a claim here. Money comes at 6.0 per cent in Marshall & is hard to get.