Letter from Mary Carpenter, June 1, 1873

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Letters of Mary Carpenter
Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection P1487

Rochester, Minn. June l, 1873

Dear Cousin Laura,

Your nice long letter was received yesterday. I was very glad to get it and will write a little in reply today and again as soon as I am rested after my journey. We expect to start next Wednesday (today is Sunday) on our trip to Marshall. It is two hundred miles from here, and we have cattle to drive, so it will take us from ten days to two weeks to go. I am not very well, and have a miserable appetite, but perhaps a change will be good for me. Camping in our wagon will be quite a new experience for me. All the house George has been able to put up is a board shanty ten feet square so you can imagine our accommodations will be not very commodious at present.

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We hope to do better before winter. We had our wheat rot in the bin last winter so we are very "hard up" for money, but it is best we should go now and have a place of our own, if ever. I expect to go to town, to see Mother, tomorrow, for the last time before starting. She can hardly be reconciled to our going, though she thinks it for the best. Father thinks he shall never see me again. It is only a short journey by the cars and our new home will be but four miles from the depot, but it costs ten dollars to go each way and that will prevent visits for a long time probably. Mother thinks if my health were good, and we were able to have a comfortable house, &c. she wouldn't feel so bad. George likes the country very much and the neighbors are good Christian people.

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Marshall is growing fast. We have no reason to expect anything but hard times for a year or two; but perhaps after a while, it will be better. You asked the ages of my children in a letter to Frank. Mamie was nine last Jan., Georgie seven last October and Henry four last February. We have buried four, three little girls and a little boy. Perhaps sometime when we get a house and things comfortable, you will come and make us a good long visit, who knows? and you might capture some Western gentleman, and settle out here, wouldn't that be nice. Stranger things have happened. I don't like to think of my nice cousins staying single so long. Why do they? We have had discouraging times financially and loss after loss, but I wouldn't go back and be single for anything.

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It is worth a great deal to have a strong, true, noble heart, all your own to lean upon in sunshine or storm, and to feel that you are all the world and more too to that heart, and that he is to you. Better adversity together than prosperity apart. It seems lonely without Aunt Laura. Our friends leave us quite often. Who will go next? May we feel that we are prepared for the change ourselves. I must not write any more now for I am tired. A letter from you is always welcome. My love to Aunt Martha and yourself. I'll try to write you all the news after we get moved. Frank seems still a little better I think.

Your aff. cousin,
Mary E. L. Carpenter

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When you write again, please address to Marshall, Lyon Co. Minnesota We can see the cars for four or five miles from our claim.