Letter from Mary Carpenter, March 26, 1887

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Letters of Mary Carpenter
Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection P1487

Marshall, March 26. 1887.

Dear cousin Lowell

Night before last I received yours postmarked Mar. 17, also one from George H. written Mar. 21. I intend to send a reply to him when we go to town tomorrow enclosing your last letter, & wish to answer it first. I have already sent your other three letters to him. Two of them he will not have received till this morning. We seldom send, or receive, mail more than once a week as we are five miles from town. The roads are very bad now. George has seemed much pleased with the idea as it was the business he always thought he would like, but in this last letter he seems, as yet, quite undecided. He doesn't like giving up his studies.

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He has also, some fear on account of his health. He has good health where he is & if it should be bad by going East he would be sorry he went. I suppose, of course he must decide very soon.

As to Henry. Your view of the case is the same as ours. We did not think it best for him to leave home till 21 & did not consent that he should go unless he hired a man in his place which he readily agreed to do. He was so discontented here as to be nearly useless in our view & his own too, so we consented for him to go on those conditions, that he hire a man from the first of April to the 1st of Dec. A good man here, gets 18 to 20 dollars a month. It has not broken up for spring here, yet. Has it with you? A good deal of the snow is gone, but there are large drifts remaining & it freezes up nights & thaws little daytimes. But it will not be very long before the ground will be in good condition for work.

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George senior, has a hard cough, on his lungs, just now, and is not feeling at all well. Worries a good deal about the work. The rest of us are pretty well. I would like it if I could live where there was plenty of wood to burn. This is the third season we have had to burn straw & it is a great trial to me. But it has been absolutely necessary. If we can get out of debt, we shall not use it any more. Those who live where wood is cheap & plentiful, little know the inconveniences that many prairie settlers have to put up with. I call tending straw fire one sort of slavery, for someone must stay right by the stove and feed it constantly. It makes life seem long sometimes. But we have neither starved nor frozen & ought to be thankful. I don't think, in all these years, I have become accustomed or attached to life on a winter farm, but it is my home and in the summer I enjoy it, when I am well.

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But all my youthful air castles have tumbled about my ears. I have no Bap.Ch. [Baptist Church] here so we are homeless in that respect. Many old settlers have sold out & French & Belgium Catholics have taken their places. They do not harmonize with Americans, very much, as neighbors. I do not wonder that our children do not want to settle here. I should not want them to. But we will soon be in the [illegible] & yellow leaf. It does not matter so much where we spend the rest of our allotted time, in this world if we feel that we are preparing for a happy entrance to the better Home above. My spirits are often saddened but I try to keep up, for if I get way down what would my family do. I have a good husband, but often think probably he would have been better satisfied if he had married a farmer's daughter, one less socially inclined than I am.

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But regrets on that score are useless. I feel yet like a transplanted plant. But I suppose God knew best. With love to Aunt Martha & Laura & you,

I am, Truly Your Cousin,
Mary E. L. Carpenter