Letter from Mary Carpenter, January 1, 1882

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Letters of Mary Carpenter
Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection P1487

Marshall, Jan. 1, 1882

Dear Aunt Martha,

Your very welcome letter, mailed Dec. 22. came to hand last Wednesday. I was very glad to hear from you so promptly. Now let me wish you & cousins Lowell and Laura a very "Happy New Year." We are all in pretty good health, excepting colds. George Sen. has been sick for over a week with a severe attack of neuralgia but is now recovered. Nothing helped him till we gave him a sweat in the manner told us by a doctor we had in Rochester, years ago. Perhaps you never heard of that way. It is very thorough, and effective in reaching the seat of disease. We have often found it of great benefit. Have the patient undressed and enveloped in a sheet with a comforter wrapped outside of it.

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Then have the feet in a boiler of water (nearly full) as hot as can be borne. Keep this water at this heat by taking away water, a little at a time, and substituting hot water. This will soon cause the sweat to pour from the person from top to toe. Geo. stayed in this for three hours the other night and it cured him. I presume they use the same method at the water cure, do they not? I never can endure it long at a time. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your property! I did not know of it before. I am very glad to hear you have the prospect for another daughter. My mother is not so fortunate, as yet. Please present my congratulations to cousin Lowell. I was afraid cousin Lucy had been sick again, as I had not heard from her for so long a time. I wrote to her recently. I hope she will be able to reply. Mamie was disappointed in getting that school. I presume she will teach next summer.

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She will be eighteen a week from today. Lucy was six last Wednesday. Willie will be four the 15 of this month. Henry will be thirteen the 26th of Feb. and Baby l year old the 18 of March. Georgie was sixteen last October. If all the eleven had lived, we would have had a nice family, 6 boys and 5 girls. How many children has Johnnie Brown now? Mother has been sick, but is better again. Willie has been home awhile working at his trade, but has started out again for an engagement as traveling agent. I see they have advertised their place for sale, so I suppose Willie is intending to go somewhere else to settle. It is a great comfort that I still have a good mother living. This world would seem desolate indeed if she were gone. I suppose one never appreciates a parent till they are separated from father or mother. One of my parents I can never more see this side of the grave, and the other very seldom, if at all. I wish we could live near together, Mother and I. The children would be quite a comfort to her in her advancing years.

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It seems as though I could see you, as you started to smooth your hair and change your dress to meet your children. How I wish I could stop in and make you a visit. Our folks think I look like Aunt Martha since I have grown fleshy. I weigh over 150 and so does Mamie. If we had had an ordinarily good crop we could have been entirely out of debt this last fall. We had 150 acres of wheat, but it did not even pay expenses. We have to buy our flour, paying $3.50 a hundred. We were all invited away to Ben Lockey's for Christmas. Geo. was unable to go so kept the baby and stayed with Grandpa! The rest of us all went. We had invited Mr. Lockey's family for yesterday, Sat. for New Year's but it was so cold they did not come. They live seven miles away. We have had very pleasant weather till lately. Now it is very cold just at present, but no snow as yet. Not much like last winter. I have been writing with the children all about me and the little ones are not out and about still.

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My letter doesn't seem worth much, but it is full of love and good wishes from us all to Aunt Martha. Thank cousin Laura for the line she wrote. I haven't forgotten that it was my end of the correspondence that lagged and I'll try to write to her sometime.

Most affly your Niece,
Mary E. L. Carpenter

My husband sends his love to Aunt Martha.