Letter from Mary Carpenter, February 10, 1874

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Letters of Mary Carpenter
Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection P1487

Rochester. Feb. 10. 1874

Dear Cousin Lucy,

Your last was duly received, and I have been wishing to reply for a long time. I supposed I could lay my hand upon your letter at any moment, but I have mislaid it, therefore must write without rereading it. Baby is four months old today. He weighs 16 ¾ lbs. And nearly sits alone. We think him a forward child. He is very quiet and but little trouble. Mamie, Georgie and Henry, all go to school and are progressing finely. Mamie has learned to write; and will soon write to her cousin Laura Brown, she says. Please accept our thanks for the papers so regularly sent, also the little books from Johnnie to the boys. They were much pleased with them. The little piece of board belonging to the puzzle, picture, came safely in the last papers.

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I have been much troubled with my head of late, caused by sitting up late, and much loss of sleep. I cannot write as much and as often as I desire on account of it. I have dizzy spells when I cannot reach the bed alone. They go off after several hours sleep. My health is not very good. Care and [illegible] seem to affect it a good deal. Geo. has to work very hard, and is gone long days, traveling thirty miles a day. He is better in health than he was for awhile. We have had a poor winter for teaming, sleighing so poor that he had to lose several weeks, and horse keeping & rent had, to go on just the same, but the sleighing has been good for two weeks now. One of our horses died since we came here. It was a young horse, five years old next spring. We lost one just before we left Marshall, so that spoils our breaking team.

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We seem to have many hindrances and discouragements but still we hope for the best, & that the Lord will open some way. We are all pretty well now and shall be glad when we can get back to our claim again.

You must excuse the penmanship for the baby being uneasy, I have taken him up, and am holding him while I write. My head aches so, I fear this letter will not be worth sending. I owe Aunt Martha a letter and shall try to write to her soon. My work keeps me pretty busy, with the care of Baby I had his picture & Henry's taken last Saturday. Have not seen the proofs yet. We could illy afford it but felt as if we could not go back without them. We wish to get Mamie & Georgie's too. You shall have some when they are done.

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Father and Mother have not been at all well this winter but seem better now. I don't see them very often as we are half a mile apart. Frank goes out some, comes up here quite often. Willie is so busy in the shop, I hardly ever see him. His apprenticeship will be out in March, then he will get good wages. I suppose we shall start back again in about two months. I dread the journey. George says it makes him feel blue to think of it. If we are not there by May l. we stand a good chance to lose our claim. We hoped when we came here to lay aside half of George's earnings to go back with, for a house, &c. but we have barely lived in the cheapest way because he could not run his team all the time. But it is not right to look on the dark side. We do not mean to complain. Please give my love to cousin Susie & Johnnie, also cousin David & Ms. Brown and yourself must share a large portion between you.

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Your letters always do me a great deal of good. Hoping to hear soon, I am your affly,

Mary E. L. C.

I'll mail a "Prairie Schooner" with this.