Letter from Mary Carpenter, July 9, 1874

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Letters of Mary Carpenter
Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection P1487

Marshall, Minnesota,
July 9.1874

Dear Cousin Lucy,

Yours of June 30, was received last Tuesday. Much obliged for a prompt reply. I don't feel now as though I should write many more letters to any one, but you express an interest in hearing from us, so I wish to answer your letter now, for fear if it is delayed I may feel less and less like writing till I may not write at all. I know that I am not well, as I should not feel so low spirited, but perhaps I shall be better sometime. I was sick last week (a miscarriage) induced probably by worriment and a low state of the system, consequent upon irregular diet, &c. But it is all right. The Lord knew what was for the best. It makes one less thing to worry about in the future. My husband did not know that I sent the last letter to you till afterward.

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Probably it would never have gone if he had seen it. I sent it on my own responsibility, and if it were wrong, I alone am to blame.

George thinks our prospects more hopeful now. The grasshoppers seem to have passed over without injuring our crops materially, though we can see clouds of them between us and the sun every day now. We lost a span of horses last year through no fault of our own; so we have no breaking team now. It takes four horses to break. If it had not have been so, we could have got our land in shape to raise crops much quicker. The land here is rich and productive. We have in four acres broomcorn, four of corn, one of potatoes, and beans; besides quite a good garden. After our vegetables come on we shall have something to eat. Some friends here gave us a little flour and Willie sent me a dollar, so, we have not come to our last meal quite yet.

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We have a little Indian meal & some beans left. But these are not interesting items, so we will turn from them to something more so. Little Lorenzo will be nine months old tomorrow, and has just commenced to creep. He also pulls up by chairs. He is very healthy & weighs just eighteen pounds. He is very good natured, and of course, a great pet with us all. Mamie, Georgie & Henry have helped their father plant potatoes, drop corn, &c. and they have our cows to watch. They are all very well. They have no chance to go to school. We have no schoolhouse in our district as yet. Mamie is always reading when there is a chance and has learned to write a little. She has commenced several letters to her cousin Laura, but they were not finished. I guess she will send one in this. We usually get the papers from you in Monday's mail. We get our mails, in Marshall Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays.

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It would have been much pleasanter for me, other things being equal, to have lived near Mother, especially as I am the only daughter and she is in rather poor health, and advancing in years, but there was no place for us there. George could not endure the kind of labor he had, to get just a meager living last winter. He thinks he would not have lived two years. He had a cough fixed on his lungs that nothing reached till he was on the journey back here & the [illegible] tax was too great. His health & spirits are good now. He is largely endowed with hope, which is a blessing. A farm is the best place for boys too, we had no means to buy one there. I had a pleasant letter from Cousin Laura Hall lately. I would not impose a penciled letter upon you if I had any ink. I shall always be glad to get a letter from you, or a card when you can't write a letter. With much love to all of your family including cousins Johnnie and Susie, I am, as ever

Your affectionate Cousin,
Mary E. L. Carpenter

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George has learned the broommakers trade, & expects to work up the broom corn, he raises himself, into brooms. He brought a machine with him when we moved here. This will be a source of income, if nothing happens to the broom corn.

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I noticed the price you marked on "Accepting the situation" but it is a good deal easier to go this in theory, than when one comes to a hand to hand fight with poverty and all its attendant ills. Some nations rise while others, though for a long time elastic, are finally crushed. "The destruction of their hour is their poverty" I firmly believe. It is so crippling in ambition & [illegible] & health.