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Letter from Mary Carpenter, November 22, 1873

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Letters of Mary Carpenter
Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection P1487

Rochester, Minn.
Nov 22, 1873

My dear Aunt Martha,

You are, no doubt anxiously expecting news from us and I have been desiring to write for a long time, but it has seemed impossible to get connected time. At the time I mailed you a card acknowledging the receipt of 5.00 to pay freight on the box I was suffering so much from loss of sleep & anxiety about the rest of the family that my head would not allow me to write much of any. My health is now very much better. George, Mamie & Georgie got to Mother's a week ago last Thursday evening. The children are well but Geo. had not yet recovered from his night work & the hard journey.

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They were ten days on the road, & George did not ride much of the way for the roads were very bad & he had quite a heavy load. He is at work now, hauling wood for Mr. Eddy, who has fifteen hundred cords of wood ready for hauling. He has to start very early in the morning, & does not get back till late at night for they go twelve or fifteen miles & the roads are very rough. Never such a time known in Rochester for wood. It is almost impossible to get enough here to keep people from suffering. We have quite a comfortable tenement with three rooms for $4.50 a month, but it is up town, and Mother is in the lower town, so we are more than half a mile apart.

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We are sorry for this, but it is all the house we could get. It is much more inconvenient to church and school than if we were in the lower town. Now about the box. We got it from the depot a week ago. How can I express our feelings in regard to the munificence of our dear friends? I might almost as well not try. Pen ink & paper would fail to convey what I might say by word of mouth. It seems as though you all had sent first what we wanted most, valuable as the presents are, the love and kind thoughtfulness, which prompted them, is still more so. Please accept our united thanks for what was sent and also please thank the others who contributed in our name, when you have opportunity.

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I cannot name everything as it would take more time than I have today. Everything was very acceptable & so nice. Mother & Father desire me to thank you for the presents sent to them. They were much pleased with them. George, also myself & the children were much pleased with "Aunt Martha's noisy gift." A good bell is very useful on a farm and will save me running often. The little S. School song books were very acceptable. Mamie is very much pleased with the "Young Folks" & has read a good many of them already. Geo and I appreciate Dear Aunt Laura's remembrance of books, and we are all much gratified by the other books.

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I am ever so much obliged to Cousin Willie for his beautiful gift of "Farm Ballads" I like it much. I am so busy just now getting settled I have let Mother take it to read. I have lent her those numbers of "Harpers" also. All that nice bedding makes me feel quite rich. Old Boreas may blow now. We can defy him, can't we? Some of the little coats & vests just fit the boys. All will come in play nicely. Isn't Lorenzo a favored baby? I tell Father it is because he has his name. Cousin Lucy's trunk contained nice things for him and your box overflowed with good things for him. It is nearly "Thanksgiving." Though we can't afford a turkey (we sold fifty turkeys a year ago) we feel that it will be a Thanksgiving indeed.

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The Bible speaks about "making the widow's heart sing for joy." Isn't it almost as good to make one who is not a widow sing? My special thanks to cousin Laura for the interest she has taken and for all those "bows" I hope she has a "beau" left hasn't she? Now Laura, don't go & get married and not let me know beforehand. If nice young men "just suited to your mind" are scarce in New England, why not come West and get acquainted? We like it at Marshall very much. It seems like home, I knew a young lady there, a neighbor of ours, Miss Ticknor, who took a claim of 160 acres, but young Mr. Hill came along and wanted a claim on her, so she thought she couldn't wait five years to secure the land claim but gave it up for the sake of an interest in Mr. Hill.

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They were married just before we left. He has a claim of his own so I suppose they have land enough. Oh, before I forget it! You don't know how much pleased I was with Cousin Lucy's workbox. Dear to the feminine heart is just such a collection of knick knacks as it contained, even to a vanilla bean! And the tweezers & earpick, did you notice them? Sometimes I wonder why it is my friends are all so kind to me, & then I think, "Man's extremity is God's opportunity." Did not He put it into the hearts of my friends to be so generous? I have a great deal to do today, as it is Saturday so must hasten to close.

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I am intending to have Mamie commence school next week as soon as we can get her a pair of shoes and the necessary books. She is anxious to go. Perhaps Georgie will go too. The baby is well & hearty, and never cries unless he is hungry. We are all in usual health except George. I intend to give him a sweat tomorrow. He won't stop work during the week. Much obliged to cousin Laura for the millinery. It will come in play nicely. The beaver hat from cousin Lucy I have trimmed with black velvet & Cousin Laura Hall's scarlet plume and a scarlet flower from cousin Laura Brown. It is very pretty. With much love from Geo & the children & myself. Your most aff Niece,

Mary E. L. Carpenter

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Please write soon if you are able, also cousin Laura.

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