Box 1 Folder 21

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Letter 1 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[First page(s) missing:]
The boats only go as far as Boston from here. Starting about three o’clock in the afternoon and reaching Boston about five next morning. Fare two dollars. Carrie [Caroline Lynette Burr] and some of her little friends had great fun hanging May baskets last evening. The most important thing to do is to open the door very quickly and catch the person before there is time for one to get away. So when the bell rang last night Harry [Harold William Burr] & I rushed to the door and found several May baskets, I brought them in and then saying “how I’m going to catch somebody” rushed out of the door full speed and nearly ran over a young gentleman who was coming to see Cousin Almon [Almon Burr]. I didn’t stop to investigate matters but disappeared very suddenly around the corner of the house.
            Abbie [Abigail E. Grant Burr] told Cousin Almon about it and he seems very much tickled over it. I suppose you imagine [petty?] baskets of moss and sweet flowers when I speak of May baskets, and I hate to dispel the dillusion but the ones that we received last night were nothing but paper cornicopias, some of them trimmed with all the colors of the rainbow and nothing in them. I say nothing & believe there was a little pop corn and candy in one or two of them. Please give a great deal of love to Mrs Earl & Miss Bethel, Wish I could hear Mrs Earl play on the piano sometimes, and play croquet with Miss Bethel. They have a place up at the Building where they play croquet, I should think that the ground would almost go in our sitting room
Excuse me Mama I mean back parlor. Please give love to the people up town
Do Aunts Hetty & Kate keep well? I don’t ever hear a word from Sam [Samuel B. Hill]. Couldn’t you send me one of his letters sometime. If you have any. Remember me to Vesta tell her I hope she is “Very good & very ill.” It is nice that Abbie has some of the volumes of the Ency. [Encyclopedia] (Don’t dare go any farther)
Think I will bring this letter to a close now.
With lots of love to my darling Mama [Mary Burr Hill] and the rest of the family.
Your affectionate daughter
Carrie R. Hill. [Caroline R. Hill]
[Lightly written in pencil:]       I thought it w’d [would] be pleasant for you to read this & yr. [your] Aunt M. sent it to me  –  she seldom does  –  you can return it or part at a time  –  <Don’t answer> Answer this by letter  –  D [Daniel Grant] will send some stamps sometime

Letter 2 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to:]            Miss Mary Burr [Mary Burr Hill]
                                    Litchfield Co.
Ridgebury NY [New York]
March 4th

Ridgebury Feb. 25th 1839.

Friend Mary
            I have to ask you in the first place, whether you and Caroline [Caroline Burr Grant] intend to teach next summer, and then if so, what you could afford to take as a compensation for teaching for myself and Stephen. He has taken on academy in Westown, 6 ms from this place. I do not much expect we shall be able to pay you, your price as our schools will be small, and the people here are not willing to pay enough for tuition, to warrant us giving as large a sallery as we should like. You would have small scholars, with perhaps the addition of a class in needle work or drawing, if you would be willing to teach them, from our rooms. We will be quite pleasantly situated 6 ms from each other. Please write immediately on the receipt of this what is the lowest you could afford to take for a term of 22 weeks, with board and washing found, as also traveling expenses.
From our circumstances we do not much expect we could afford to pay you what you aught to receive, but we thought, there could be no harm in writing. If you should agree to come, one of us would come out in the spring to be your company here.  Our schools will commence about the last week in April. I have said nothing of your Aunt Susan [Susan Jane Benton Wallis], for I understood she was going west in the spring with Edwin. You will please make my best respect to her; as also to your Father & Mother. Miss Caroline & Miss Eliza.
Your sincere Friend
[Wm Bross?]
            Miss Mary Burr.

            March 4th
            I intended to have sent this letter last week but could get no opportunity to send it to Goshen as we have but one mail a week. Please answer it immediately or we shall not receive your letter before my term closes. I wish them to hear from you if possible.
[Wm Bross?]

Letter 3 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to:]            Miss Mary Burr [Mary Burr Hill]
                                    Care of Lewis M. Prevost Esq.
                                                Erwinna P.O.
                                                Bucks Co.
                                                Penn. [Pennsylvania]

Folio post.

Prairieville, W.T. [Wisconsin Territory] May 10, 1844.

My own precious Sister,
            A folio is now spread before me to be filled for my dear sister. I intend writing now & then as time admits & inclination prompts.
            The past week my leisure time has been devoted to letter writing & yesterday noon we had a package prepared wh. [which] Mr. [Isad?] Mills is to take. I wrote several letters to our people, one to Mother Grant [Elizabeth Grant] & notes to Aunt Susan [Susan Jane Benton Wallis], Sarah Brown & Abby Cowles [Abigail Cowles Grant]. Daniel wrote to Joel & Uncle Pettibone [Amos Pettibone].
            I fancy you think of us to day, as one year ago this day my dear husband & I took upon us the solemn marriage vow  –  life has since passed pleasantly with me, & I feel it good “to lean on an accordant bosom, I love
The beating of a heart that beat as mine
The sparkling of an eye that tells of thoughts
That harmonize with what I feel.”   –  
But you know “There will be dark hours for all.” & strange if some moments of sadness should not steal over me, but then ‘tis sweet to feel a Savior [high?]  –  
            May 11. Sat. P.M. This morning I gathered some wild flowers & put them pressing with the view of making an herbarium for you, dear sister  –  I intend to analyze some of them at least by the artificial method as we have Eaton’s Botany [Amos Eaton, Manual of botany for the Northern and Middle States?]  –  I suppose the botanical names will be the same as those given by Beck [Lewis C. Beck, Botany of the Northern and Middle States?].
I love these western wilds they are so fraught with nature’s rich, beautiful, productions.
            Thank you for that paper containing those lines upon a “Forest Home.” They seem true & I love to read them & I think as the Author says, “more & more dear, And far more beautiful, doth Nature seem
So them who daily meet her face to face,
And learn from her the bliss, that, like a dream,
Robes common things with beauty & with grace.”
May 15. Wed. This day completes brother Erastus’s [Erastus Burr] 21st year, does it seem possible that he is “21” O that the bloom of his manhood was consecrated to the Savior’s Service  –  let us sister often & earnestly remember him to the [Heard?] of Prayer  –  
            Last Sabbath was rainy & prevented my attending church  –  Mon. was also rainy & I delayed washing until yesterday  –  Just as I was about to commence washing my pantry floor Levi Grant came up to announce the arrival of his wife [Lucinda Octavia Tryton Grant], & her wish to see me  –  You will imagine that I was pretty expeditious in finishing my work & hastened down found her & her child in good health (exerting a cold & looking more healthy & fleshy than when she left  –  they have been absent nine months  –  
16. Today have been assisting Mrs. Grant in washing her house. She brought considerable dried fruit & has given us some
17  –  One year this day since we left our dear homes & fresh to mind are brought many tender recollections but I trust we shall yet all meet again & enjoy each others society  –  
18  –  Yesterday P.M. went to the village made several calls took tea with Mrs. Tickenor & brought from the P.O. [Post Office] some papers from Joel the N.Y. Weekly Tribune [New York Weekly Tribune] containing articles written on “Association” & in one we learned that brother E.P. Grant Esq is the president of a society of Associationists called the “Ohio Phalax” Their Domain is said to be very beautiful consisting of 2100 acres situated in Ohio on the O. river [Ohio River]  –  You are probably aware that these Societies are becoming common throughout the country  –  
            Joel says he thinks something of the kind will be eventually adopted, though not according to the plan of Fourier  –  thinks there is a great deal of nonsense in their pretensions, & many of their plans visionary, although some of them seem good enough  –  
To day Daniel planted in the garden
May 22. Wed. Yesterday I visited at Levi’s with old Mrs. Brown our neighbor & Mrs. Burgess a young married lady from the state of N.Y. [New York] recently  –  she is acquitted with Mr. Erastus Holt’s family  –  says Mrs. Holt is very much esteemed  –  & her children are pretty & bright  –  the oldest is a son 11 yrs. of age  –  the [next?] two daughters  –  she has a young babe  –  [Georg…] lives near them builds organs &c. is a [pious?] smart young man – Mary does not now use crutches [text missing?]
25. Sat. To day Daniel & a neighbor with whom D. [Daniel] has “changed work” are planting potatoes & corn beside our common corn we have some for parching & also “broom corn.”
[One line erased, reads in part: … part of the day keep…]
28. To day is the funeral of Miss Sarah love  –  a young lady much beloved & one of the finest singers in the vicinity  –  she died of the prevailing epidemic  –  scarlet fever  –  it has raged here since the last of Feb. seizing alike old & young. There have been times when the disease has appeared to abate  –  but there are still new cases every few days  –  I believe inflammation always attends the fever & if it settles in the bowels the case is considered almost or quite hopeless  –  we feel that a kind Providence has indeed watched over us for good <by> thus far preserving our lives & health  –  
            We last week rec’d [received] a paper fr. [from] home & a letter fr. [from] Joel written at Millbrook [Connecticut]  –  they brought Martha home last of Apr. or first of May in Esq. Battells barouche  –  she seemed to be considerably affected by the journey but had mostly recovered from the effect when the letter was written May 6. M. [Martha Grant] does not sit up at all. & we have great fear that she will not recover, though they have a little hope think it may be month before the disease conquers her  –

Give my love to Miss Hill  –  We last winter rec’d [received] a letter from Mother Grant [Elizabeth Grant], Miss Read & Abby Cowles [Abigail Cowles Grant] at S. Hadley we have the crickets made & covered  –  we did not take Levi’s farm  –  please send a paper soon after your reception of this  –  

They say [Mr?] Hurlbut the tailor in Norfolk [Connecticut] is coming out here in June  –  our people intend to send some letters & things by him if he can bring them

May 29  –  Brother Ralph’s [Ralph E. Burr] birth day  –  how I want to see the little fellow  –  one year ago this day we were on Lake Huron  –  
June 1. One year this day since we landed at Milwaukie

I saw last fall in the N.Y. Observer [New York Observer] a notice of the death of Mrs. Henry Cowles of Oberlin died of pulmonary consumption  –  age 33  –  did you not think she was older?

I saw this Spring in the N.E. Puritan [New England Puritan] notice that Mr. <& Mrs.> John Cowles & Mrs. Eunice Caldwell Cowles were in May to reopen the Ipswich Female Sem [Ipswich Female Seminary] also saw in the same paper the marriage of Miss Julia Hyde eldest daughter of Rev Davies [Hyde?] of Beckett to Rev. Edward Clarke of Middlefield  –  I suppose it was our Julia, do not you?

Letter 4 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Prairieville [Wisconsin], <Aug> Sept. 23,  –  [in pencil:] 1845

Dear Sister [Mary Burr Hill]
            <Y> I did not intend that so many weeks should pass away  –  before you rec’d [received] a few lines from me, but our little babe makes such an ado if most of one’s time is not devoted to her little self that I find it difficult to get time for other than household duties  –  She is now in my arms & has just been casting up her bright eyes & laughing me in the face  –  we can hardly determine their color for they seem to be neither blue black or grey  –  we expect however they will be black  –  her hair is dark, her mouth pretty, her forehead good & she is getting quite white  –  she has been called a puny little thing – had a very ill turn about two weeks ago but since her recovery from it has appeared better & grown more than before
            My health is good  –  my back is not as strong as before my sickness otherwise I have felt well ever since  –  have had a good appetite all the time
At the time of her birth expect I got along remarkably well  –  it was not nearly so bad as I anticipated  –  did not suffer more than I have many times before have since been afflicted some with sore nipples for a time they were quite bad I thought, but suppose they were not nearly as aggravating as many are. I kept them moist with whiskey loaf sugar & borax  –  think that prevented them from getting very bad  –  heard that the oil of hickory nuts was good  –  as we could find none of them procured some English walnuts & extracted the oil (by heating the tongs & compressing the meat between them) applied it  –  either that or the former application was quite healing, or the time had come for them to get well. *
*The oil extracted from Butternut meat is also very healing
            I have been a little troubled with caked breasts. I will mention some remedies & when you know any one similarly afflicted you can communicate the information. A brown paper greased laid upon the breast & a flat iron <as> warm as warm as can be borne rubbed upon it until the cake is softened, that was efficacious in my case  –  Cabbage leaves wilted & spread with lard or butter & applied are good.
            A poultice made of hot brandy or whiskey, (brandy preferable) & Indian meal is said to have done wonders  –  Also a poultice of blue flag root, the root simmered in milk, the root is poisonous so that caution is necessary to prevent the child from getting poisoned  –  some use scorched [tow?] & camphor, but camphor dries the milk      .  Sweating the breast is said to be good this can be done by covering it over with a small wooden bowl wh. [which] has been immersed in boiling water  –  and last a piece of new calico applied for sometime is said to be good by those who have tried it.

            Daniel has been looking over my letter & says he thinks I have lost my faculty for letter writing, but you know Mary that I never had any to lose.

Letter 5 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to:]                        Miss Mary Burr [Mary Burr Hill]
                                                Care of Madam Sigiogne
                                                No. 7. Washington Square
                                                                        Penn. [Pennsylvania]

From Caroline while in Wis. speaks of Abbie’s doings & sayings

Prairieville W.T. [Wisconsin Territory] Sab. [Sabbath] Eve Nov. 15, 1846.

My dear Sister,
            I suppose you have been thinking of us as being in Wis. [Wisconsin] these three or four weeks, & have expected before this a letter from me but I have kept deferring writing & have no sufficient reason, the principal one is that I wished to wait until we got settled by ourselves  –  Daniel’s sickness prevented his putting up a house [on our?] lot as he expected & we have now procured a room in Mr. Root’s house for wh. [which] we are to give 50 cts. [cents] per week  –  there is a recess in the room for a bed  –  we have room in the cellar & room for a flour barrel in the chamber  –  think we shall be very comfortable indeed  –  expect to have a cupboard  –  day before yesterday we went of our own thing found them all in good condition, & took what we need to keep house with.
            I believe you know that Mr. Root lives in the village  –  we have been staying here since my arrival but not living by ourselves  –  
            Daniel intends to teach this winter in the village it will be two or three days before he will know whether he can have one  –  intends to have $18 per month & board himself  –  he is not able to labor much out & fears he shall not be this winter & for this reason thinks best to teach  –  about the first of Sept. he had an attack of Bilious fever & was for a few days quite sick, after a partial recovery from the fever he had three weeks of ague & fever before my arrival  –  he then escaped [shaking?] three weeks (but continued feeble) & there commenced again & kept at it four or five days in succession  –  he broke it by the universal panacea, quinine  –  this last week his health has been better than for 10 weeks previously  –                 Bilious fever, chill fever & fever & ague [seem?] to be very prevalent this fall in this entire western country the sickness is abating in this region  –  it has not in this vicinity assumed a malignant aspect, there are comparatively but very few deaths. My health is much better than it was through the summer  –  I weaned Abby [Abigail E. Grant Burr] & cleansed my stomach wh. [which] I expect are the causes of my improvement. Abby is now pretty well.  She was severely sick a day or two on the Lake had high fever & bowel complaint. She was very unwell for a week or two after we came & has had one or two ill turn since  –  teething & worms seem to cause her sickness  –  several have remarked that she looks much as she did when she left except she looks [more?] puny  –  she speaks a few words plain & attempts to speak many more  –  we think her easily governed  –  when reproved in any way she usually appears very much grieved covers her face with her little hands & sobs  –  she calls Ma Ma & Pa a great deal, says no no no, when asked or told to do any think she does not wish to.
            Ralph took us to the State Line Depot we staid at Uncle Collars Sab. [Sabbath] night Oct 11. [Sam?] Thankful there, sent love to you, & I think asked me to tell you to write her  –  Mon. Oct 12. left St. Line about 5 o’clock P.M. went by rain road to Buffalo in company with cousin D.B. Hulburt arrived there Tues eve at 8 o’clock. Wed. morn. left Buf. on the Steam Boat Niagara & Sunday noon reached Milwaukie I stopped at public house until Mon. when I came to Prairieville with a citizen of the place  –  while in Mil. called on Mrs. Woodbridge she said she should insist on my staying with her while I remained in town had she not a house full having 20 boarders  –  she has not built a new house as she was expected to do in the Spring  –  
            I found my dear husband pale & think  –  I need not tell you the rejoicing each felt at meeting  –  Although he expected when he sent for me to return this fall that we should be in different circumstances then we are yet he is glad I am here  –  he had a good many crying spells in our absence especially when he was sick & could not bear the thought of being alone through the winter & you know that I could not be happy when thinking of him sick or suffering so <for the> I think we shall live very comfortable indeed this winter certainly if he gets a school. believe his sickness has now cost him not far from $15. Dr. [Van Wleck?] took the $10 note against those Irishmen who owed for the ox they billed, suppose it is not certain that he can collect it but he thinks he shall be able to  –  Daniel thinks by his being sick he has lost the opportunity of selling at least $40 worth of sand  –  he was expecting to put up a small frame house on Joe’s lot  –  The man who lives in the house in Milwaukie is lathing & plastering it for the [rent?] <the> expect there is still some degree of doubt whether we shall be able to get a deed of that place, but if we do not, shall not be obliged to deed away ours.
            The expense of my journey here was $19.50  –  I would like you to send this letter to our people I want you to write us soon my particularly  –  how you like &c. –  vry aff. [very affectionately]
Sister Caroline

Please tell me when you write how Dea. Grant’s family are.
M. Burr [Mary Burr Hill]

Letter 6 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to:]                        Miss Mary Burr
Care of Madam Sigoigne

No. 7. Washington Square
Penn [Pennsylvania]

Written by Caroline [Caroline Burr Grant] from Wis. [Wisconsin]  –  Gives description of their room at Mrs. Roots &c.

Prairieville. Jan. 8. 1847  –

My dear Sister,

            Yesterday & to day are much the coldest days we have seen this winter. but by keeping our stove filled with wood we find no trouble in keeping warm in our snug little room. Several inches of snow fell a few days since & we have now fine sleighing  –  
            A district Convention of Congregationalists & Presbyterians is to meet here next week  –  we have offered to furnish meals for two provided they <they> go quarter of a mile to lodge where our spare bed is  –  Mr. Curtis’ family have removed to Milwaukie. The Cong. [Congregational] church there is divided <&> on they subject of Slavery & Mr. Curtis is to be the Abolition preacher  –  we have here hired for a year Rev. Mr. Tenney recently from New England  –  he has not such an interested eloquent manner as Mr. Curtis, but as much so as ordinary preachers, & seems to be a very holy man & preaches good sermons  –  his family are not yet here  –  
            Daniel has been teaching school about a month at the upper end of the village nearly one half mile from here  –  has had between 30 or 40 pupils though it does not average [that?] 4 to 18 years of age  –  has $14 per month & boards at home  –  he is as well pleased as he expected to be  –  his health is good now though he has times of complaining of his head & stomach  –  
            Abby [Abigail E. Grant Burr] is generally well  –  she has some days of worrying on account of her teeth  –  she has 5 single <teeth> ones another almost through & 4 double teeth wh. [which] have almost made their appearance  –  she grows some speaks a great many words plain, & kisses very sweetly  –  
            My own health is good except that I suffer some from pain in my teeth one side of my head & face  –  expect it is partly nervous affection
            I enjoy myself much better than I expected to living in the house with another family  –  Mr. Root’s people are an excellent family to live so near us. Find it very convenient & pleasant living so near church &c. we are but a few rods from the Cong. [Congregational] house. D. [Daniel Grant] has the care of sweeping it making fires &c. for wh. [which] he receives some compensation  –  $1.50 or $2 per month.
            We live well this winter  –  use as many dried apples as we want D. raised our own potatoes more than we shall need for our own use we bought a nice fat hog for 3 cts lb. weighing about 350 lbs. We have several dollars due at the store so that we obtain sweeting & what else we need  –  our heifer gives 3 or 4 pints milk a day & we make as much better as we wish to eat.
It has occurred to me that perhaps you would like a description of our room. This house fronts the south the front door opens into Mr. Root’s room  –  about half a dozen steps to the N.W. is the door leading into our room as you enter just at the right stands the stove & in the corner near is <are> the wood & chips  –  about three ft. long 2 wide & 2 high wh. [which] answers for a chest & seat. On the same side is a recess just large enough to admit a bed before wh. [which] hang 2 white curtains (sheets)  –  I will not attempt to mention the things kept under the bed  –  on the west side next the bed is kept the stand, with the band box on it, & the carpet bag filled under it, next are placed two or three chairs then a cupboard the top of wh. [which] serves for clock shelf, & book case, it is one of the boxes in wh. [which] our goods were brought out here in wh. D. has put 9 shelves & before wh. [which] hangs a white curtain.
On the South side are 2 windows, between them is the table, above wh. [which] hangs the mirror & under it stands a trunk, a chair is before each window
On the <north> east side between the door & wall is another trunk with the water pail upon it, there is also a window on the west side  –  
            I will endeavor my dear Sister to give sufficient attention to my teeth to preserve them, though I do not feel that I shall often expend an half hour daily upon them  –  I laughed when you said that you had commenced being particular with your own
Wm. Pease said that my front teeth were decayed very badly to fill, & that he gook a great deal of pains in filling them. But I am sorry to say the filling in two of the cavities has for some two months or more been loose & recently a piece came out as large as the head of a pin  –  there had previously one or two very small particles came out  –  
            Why do not the Madame’s & Md’lles’ [mademoiselles] let you have a better place to study French than in the midst of “A mirthful noisy school girls?” & only occasionally a recitation!  I do not see how you can make much advance <much>. I would not spend a great deal of time in writing to cousins &c
Harriet Prevost’s death must be a deep affliction to her friends  –  present to them our sympathy & love  –  
            D. Hurlburt appears much as he used to intelligent agreeable &c. looks some older has two children a girl & boy  –  has acquired a handsome property.
How do you like that plaid dress? The trimming that was on my white hat that I intended to have taken home I have found since returning  –  
Have had no letter from Father Grants people since my return  –  have had two from Joel [Joel Grant] & Abby [Abigail Cowles Grant] –  J. has been sick most of the time since June  –  I rec’d [received] letter from our people soon after yours, am glad they sent yours, your lecture to Ralph [Ralph E. Burr] was needful & good, hope he will hear it  –  I am anxious about Erastus [Erastus Burr] –  Should like you to forward this home as <I> it will save my writing so soon to them  –  
            We are not yet decided where we shall live next summer. Daniel cannot feel that it is best for us to return to Ct. [Connecticut] & stay a few years. As it will be so much expense to go & come especially if we move our goods & if any were left they would be in great danger of being destroyed by mice or persons or both & he does not feel <as though> that there is any one here with whom we could safely trust our property, land &c & think it would cost a third more to live there than here  –  had he built a house last fall the man who was to build the barn would have put it up & [some?] of the $50 that Mr. Short was to pay & some money for D’s work last summer was expended for lumber so that arrangements were made not to run much if any in debt for the building of the house
            Mr. Short has not yet fully paid the $50 & there have been no deeds exchanged

Letter 7 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to: ]                       Miss Mary Burr [Mary Burr Hill]
                                                Care of Madame Sigoigne
                                                No. 7. Washington Square
                                                            Penn. [Pennsylvania]

Written by Caroline from Wis. [Wisconsin] Speaks of Mrs. Codding  –  of her seeing Martha Leach Curtis & Mary Humphrey  –  Speaks of a teacher sent out by Ed. Soc.  –  Inquires about receipt from Mrs. Moses Cowles for Cough  –  & for Aunt S. what to use to arrest progress of [Crysipeton?]

Wankesha. Prairieville, Sept. 11, 1847  –  

My dear Sister,
            It is rainy Sat. evening  –  Daniel is setting glass & little Abby [Abigail E. Grant Burr]is sleeping in the rocking chair in which she has sat a good deal of the time for almost three weeks past. For she has had a chill<s> fever every day [during?] this time & she does not feel much like playing during the intervals of fever  –  she sometimes says Abby feels bad & very often says Abby’s tired  –  we are giving her medicine & bathing her in cold water & hope she will be well before long.
            About five weeks since Daniel had a violent attack of chill fever, but by prompt measures succeeded in breaking it so that he was not confined to the house but about a week, he has not felt as well since, but he has been able to work most of the time  –  My health continues good it is much better than it was last summer there is a good deal of sickness around this season fevers of various kinds & ague & <I don’t know but> it seems that there is sick in Ct. [Connecticut] also for we learn in a letter rec’d [received] from John to day [mailed?] 1 Sept that Bilious fever is rather prevalent in that region, he says Abby [Abigail Cowles Grant] had been sick six weeks & was then able to sit up but little  –  says she & Joel will probably remain East  –  also says that Martha [Martha Grant] seems to be declining is much emaciated & has no strength & speaks as though she would not probably live but a few weeks  –  is very patient & enduring  –  John’s health is improving  –  can walk nearly as well as ever  –  has walked repeatedly two or three miles without great fatigue though the diseased spot in his spine gets easily tired  –  is expecting to teach somewhere soon  –  spoke of his calling on you in Phil. [Philadelphia] said you seemed happy & was apparently pleasantly located  –  he has spent five or six weeks in Watertown since leaving Phil.
            I wrote home <two or> three or four weeks since  –  have not heard from there or from you this long time  –  I have no knowledge of what you expect to do after you leave there, about the first of Oct. I think  –  Do you intend visiting the Provost’s on your way home? I expect you are wearing yourself out, but I hope not. how I do want to see you. I am sorry that checked calico dress does you so little service  –  the one that I had in exchange is of great use to me  –  I think the pieces of silk & [berage?] that you sent me very pretty did you have the berage altered over for you this summer?  it was a present I think. how much was your silk? & how is it cut?
            Mr. Codding is now preaching for us – believe the people are well pleased with him. Mrs. C. is an intellectual, intelligent lady – She [sane?] not long since in Milwaukie Mrs. Martha Leach Curtis & Mary Humphrey said they enquired after me, sent love &c. I presume they learned that I resided in Prairieville from the Mem. Catalogue [Memorial Catalogue from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary] – you have rec’d [received] one I presume  –  Mr. Curtis preaches in Ann Arbor Mich. [Michigan]
Mrs. Codding said he looked & appeared well, but she did not think he was a great man  –  is pro-slavery. They were on a journey to Chicago as Mrs. Curtis’ health was delicate she having been confined a few weeks previously & lost her child  –  Mary Humphrey is an assistant in Sem. [Seminary] in Racine. I think her sister Helen (widow Paler) resides [there?] now. & Mrs. Codding was not previously acquainted with them, but they happened to be at one place   I was exceeding glad to hear from Sarah Sibley  –  have not yet written her, but intend to when I have time  –  
            Where is cousin Thankful now & where is Warren. & how is his health? Did he visit Vermont with T. this summer?                          has just curled up in the rocking chair
13 Mon. A.M. I am in the midst of washing but <but> Abby has a chill coming on & wants Mama to rock her, so I improve the time in writing  –  Abby does not like to be bathed in cold water, she frequently says on [waking?] in the morning & during the day, “Mama, need Abby be washed? Abby don’t want to be washed”  –  Willis Tickenor brought her a pretty Maltese kitten the other day which is a great comfort to her  –  many remark on hearing her talk, that she speaks very plain for one of her age, but she is not constantly jabbering like some children  –  
            We lived in Mr. Purington’s house about three months & have since been in our own. It is in quite an unfinished state, we shall not be able to have more than one room plastered this winter  –  
            We have not made much taking boarders, don’t know but we cleared 50 cts. per week. Think it was better to board Mr. Purington than to paid a dollar in or even 75 cts money. he called his board 1.50 & the house rent the same
 Mr. Canfield the young man who boarded with us 14 weeks has lately gone home to Vt. [Vermont] Are now alone  –  expect before long to board a mare to pay for some work done on the house  –
            Mrs. Root & her children expect to go East soon & spend the winter with her parents her father’s name is Wilcos cannot think of his first name in Alford a small town near Stockbridge  –  Mr. Root is in rather embarrassed circumstances  –  I would like to have you & the rest see her though I have no particular anxiety perhaps it may be convenient for you to go up. I do not know as she would think as she could go to see you & I should have no objection on account of house &c.
You have probably heard or read something of the Society for promoting National popular Education  –  I think there are a Committee of six  –  do not now recollect any but Pres. Beecher & Ex Governor Slade  –  teachers are sent out by the Soc. chiefly to the West. Miss Catherine Beecher gives the lectures &c. previous to their coming  –  we have one here in Prairieville  –  Miss Baker from Lancaster N.H. she commenced with a very small school but it increases & she is very much liked  –  I sent for her to tea one P.M. found that she has been familiar with the hist. [history] of the Hol. Sem. [Mount Holyoke Female Seminary] from its commencement. Came [very?] near going there &c  –  spoke of the high repute of the Ips. Sem. [Ipswich Female Seminary] while under the care of Miss Grant  –  of the respect & admiration & veneration & with wh. [which] she was regarded  –  
            I want you should ask Aunt Sally if she knows what it was that Dr. <Bide> Welch applied to her Daniel head to check the swelling when he was so bad with Erysipelas  –  I am anxious to know & tell what she bathed him in. She told me but I was so careless as to forget. Also will you ask Mr. Moses Cowle’s people of what that syrup is composed wh. they consider such an excellent remedy for a cough  –  cured Lorenzo Roys they think  –  I asked Abby to send me word about these things but she has been so sick I presume it will not be attended to  –  I also asked her to ask Parna the way that she used camphor for sore nipples, but you need not find that out if you do not wish to. I ought to have remembered  –  do not know as we shall ever have occasion to use any of these remedies ourselves, but we may have & others do have  –  my love to all my friends & yours  –  I feel anxious about Ralph I don’t know how he will grow up  –  
Very aff. [affectionately] yr [your] sister Caroline.

[notes along sides:] Direct letters to Wankesha Co.  

Abby’s hair <wants> is not long enough to put behind her ears it lacks about an inch & a half  –  it is no darker than it was last year  –  I intend to make a net for her  –  
            I want you not to fail of going to father Grants when you get home. I have some fear that this letter will not reach you before you leave Phi [Philadelphia] though I think it will – if it is not too much trouble I wish you would send a paper on the reception of this if you cannot find time to write, as I shall be anxious to know whether you get it.

I have forgotten all of the names of those cousins that Thankful told about being in Wis. [Wisconsin] & Ill. [Illinois]

When you get home if those papers are not attended to you can see to it  –  
D. will be getting uneasily  –  also about the Dodge Co. [land?]

Is not Ralph […] going to College? If he does not […], he must certainly sometime a long time at school yet & study very hard too  –  Mary Burr

Letter 8 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Flemington [New Jersey] Sept 19th 1849


Dear Mary [Mary Burr Hill]
            Now that you are at home (your Father Land) once again I have commenced this in the old style of byegone days.
Was very glad indeed to get your letter, expected it a little and only a little on Monday, told the folks that you were at home if any where because I did not receive a letter on monday.
We are getting along quite smoothly now, Catharine was a little cross at first but telling Aunt [H?] some of her troubles and getting much sympathy seemed to become quite reconciled to her new mistress.
The day after your left mother brought us over a rice pud., for dinner a squash pie for [H?] my self & an apple pie for supper which with the bread on hand when you left brought us through until Saturday, when baking was done up very well indeed; and to morrow is to be done again better than ever.
You must excuse the jumbled style of this on account of my having been up with the kiln last night and no chance of rest to day my thoughts are as upside down as they well can be.
Father left home for Trenton on Tuesday morning where he was summoned as a grand juror in a United states court, expect him home tomorrow though not certainly. So you see I have affairs all in my own hands once more.
By the way one would never suspect that you were a neat house keeper to look at the very neat style of your letters as they would most certainly think that you must neglect something of your other duties to be so particularly neat on this one point.
Sorry that Mr. Storms did not get his letter in time to meet you at the wharf. and glad that you received such polite attention from [M?] Muirhead and from the Estranger under whose care you were put.
Did not intend that your Mother should pay you any thing for those little article of [ware and?] would much rather that she would accept them as a present from me.
Did you walk home from M. Phelp’s or ride if you walked just get ready for one of those violent scoldings which you are so used to since you have become Mrs. Hill, & thank your stars that you receive nothing worse.
Expect to commence cutting corn to morrow and as soon as we get through will start for strong land (as Ralph calls it) with quite as much pleasure as I would take a dose of Castor Oil Now don’t be too much flattered with the infinite pleasure that I have expressed, because I don’t like Castor Oil very much.
Remember me kindly to all our friends, and if you can persuade any of them to make you a visit I shall be well pleased to see them at any time they may take for coming.
Tell Ralp [Ralph E. Burr] that I will try and devote one day to his pleasure when I come on, especially if he can engage a flock of pigeons for our benefit.
I miss you much dear Mary & most especially on sunday, for that is the day on which we spend some of our pleasant hours together. I hope that you may enjoy your visit thoroughly and let no thought of home trouble you for I am as happy as I can be separated from you. Hope you will grow fat & stay quite well. Your new Gingham came home to day, am sorry to say that I made a mistake and only sent for 8 yards so you will be minus an apron.
Now if you do not find sweet things enough in this, just sit down and write all you can think of applicable to the case and when I see you I will sign my name to the paper and  you will there get just exactly the sweet things said that you want said. Finished sowing most of the wheat on Saturday last. Have had most beautiful weather since you left us mild & clear, no frost as yet. Remember me to Warren Benton if you should see him or write. No news about town, except a robbery in town last evening, a trunk was broken at the stage office and one hundred dollars taken out, it belonged to a poor [Irishman?] and was all that he had.
You see that I express my self beautifully & with great ease to night, wont promise to do any better next time however for I am not as Women (When she will she will “depend on it”,) I have no such power over my will as to write by its express effort. What I write must come easily, without effort as it were, or else to me it is work and you know I hate work  –  Good night dearest
With kind wishes for your happiness I am as sleepy an husband as belongs to any woman.
Truly Yours
Ever Wm. Hill

Dear Mary  –
            Willie asked me if I would add a few lines, & I will just say we are all well, & were glad to receive your letter last eve. I gave your farewell message to sister N & cousin [Capress?]  –  but I have not seen Nancy Emery since you left us. Willie says you sent many kisses to your friends & “those who wish to receive them may kiss your letter.”
You speak of the receipt of those ginger crakers  –  I did not make them by a receipt tho’ I think I can tell you pretty nearly the proportions of the ingredients a teacup of lard or dripping rubbed into two quarts of flour  –  with a little salt, & half a tea spoonful of saleratus pulverized very finely  –  About a pint of molasses & two tablespoonfuls of ginger, & one of cinnamon, the flour to make it stiff enough to roll
much love.
HBH [Henrietta Hill]

Letter 9 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Flemington [New Jersey] September 26th 1852

Dear Mary [Mary Burr Hill],
            As I thought the commissions in Williams [William Hill] letter were more in my line than his, I undertook them, and have to report, that Miss Allen will be perfectly satisfied with your mothers coloring of the article in question, tho’ she is sorry to trouble your mother with it, and aunt Maria prefers to have her yarn of the color of the sample you enclosed
            Whenever I have time to think about it, I feel quite lonely, as cousin Mary left on Tuesday last taking Kate and father with her. The latter individual returned on Wednesday evening but Kate will remain some time yet. Her health had improved considerably before she went away and I hope rest will make her still better.
Mrs Evans infant died on Wednesday night at eleven oclock, was buried on Friday. It was the purest specimen of humanity I even saw, Its tiny hands were actually as white as the dress it had on.
Your Marquis de Boulla has had a number of lovely roses on since you left. Will is so good as to let them all come over here, and they perfume the room with their delightful fragrance.
I was glad to hear that Sammy [Samuel B. Hill] had conducted himself so well away from home. We all anticipate seeing him able to walk alone by the time he returns. How I would love to see him just at this moment.
We had a refreshing rain last night, that has improved the appearance of our streets very much, cleaning the [trees?] and washing the pavements nicely.
I will leave the rest for Will to tell. With love from all to all I remain as ever, Yours truly
Henrietta Hill

Mrs. William Hill

Letter 10 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to:]            Mrs Mary B Hill [Mary Burr Hill]

Flemington [New Jersey] October 11th 1852

My dear Mary
            You will please ask your [mother?] to accept the enclosed [infle?] for the trouble she has taken with the flannel.
I hope she has not exerted herself too much
As William of course will tell you all that is interesting in our little circle of friends. I can only add  –  Love and kind regards to your mother and sister, from yours very truly             Jane Allen

This note was written by Miss Allen an English lady who came to this country when young & was for many years a teacher & has her home […] Mr. Hills family
She is about 75 yrs of age I think Oct. 52.                     C. Grant [Caroline Burr Grant]

Letter 11 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Bolton, March 4           ,59 (Friday)

My Dear Daughter,
            You chanced to say in your last that Daniel & Caroline [Caroline Burr Grant] were thinking of selling their farm & going to St. Pauls Minnesota with a view of buying lot[s?] cheap with the the expectation of land rising. I felt obliged to answer your letter so soon that I had not time to think much about it, though it did not strike me favorably at the time, I have thought more of it. & I feel compelled to write & say to Caroline that I think she better stay where she is, she has now a house to cover her head & can get something & to wear & to eat & <is> in a healthy quiet moral town & I don’t believe she will ever be any better off, change, as much as she may. She has been out west once on a speculation & Where would she have been now if she had not have had a home to come back to. Now the home is her own & if she knows when she is well off she better stay there Her children are now large enough to be of some assistance & will soon be able to support themselves <If I ever> I think the best thing for Edward [Edward Grant] would be if they could possibly spare him when he gets a little older to learn a trade then he could go out in the world prepared to make his way. Only think how much your Uncle Kimball has earned. I think a trade would be better than a farm a great deal I don’t know their circumstances where they are but I suppose they have at least a house of their own & land enough clear of debt to keep at least <to> one or two cows & a horse & if I were Caroline I would stick to my home. There is some times something to be made in speculation, but your father & I think it will be more likely to be out of pocket than in to them. We don’t believe that Daniel understand the business of speculation & it is our opinion he better stay where he is Even if he cannot <ma> advance at all I don’t believe that he will ever any where do any <where> more than to get a living & if he does that he will do as well perhaps as one half the world. There is so much cheating & the like going on & Daniel is so honest himself I fear <if> he would not be sharp enough for the keeners, & instead of making anything would loose what they together already have. We should have been much better off now in a pecuniary point of view to have staid in [Hadlyme?]. It cost a great deal to make the change. I presume we shall never be so well off again, as we were when we came here However I like living in a village better than at a <one so> distance. Your father wishes he could sell, but I don’t think I should be willing As long as the farm lasts I am sure of a living till I die & what is the use to keep changing, I think Caroline has a right to stay there & if I wore she I think I should & not worry myself to sell my home & all I have & go off to Minnesota. It would be a hard expensive job & when there I venture to say she would wish she had staid where she was
If Daniel cant make up his mind to stay there, perhaps he might go & find some other situation that would suit him better & he could avail himself of it & if he had anything to spare might send something home the same as your uncle K. does & some others. If the work of the farm is too hard for him, why could he not get some agency or work about the factories there in town or somewhere-else, If I were Caroline I think I would not give up my home, She may say others go west & do well so they did when she went before but it was not her fortune. Some go to California & come home wealthy others do not. I know this farming is hard business for some persons & anything is hard for them as soon as once in it & they find the difficulties. Others overcome all difficulties by diligence, perseverance, patience & cheerfulness & go on prosperingly & happily through life. I hope Daniel & Caroline will keep up a good heart & if they cant gain anything there, not be discouraged, soon their children will be able to go abroad if need be & do something for themselves I verily believe more than half the people I ever knew could no more than barely get a living for their family, almost every farm in this town is mortgaged, or rather I presume 3/4 of them are & it is pretty much the case in Berlin. O’ I must tell you that it is reported that Caleb Morse the Butcher is not able to meet his demands, he has been in business more than three years & has out debts to the amount of $15.00.00 & he cant collect it & he is owing as much as that & cant pay if he cant collect & he is a little deranged in consequence it is said. Mrs Edes has another son
Caroline has not asked my opinion in regard to going West. I give it freely without the asking, & of course I do not know all the circumstances as she & her husband do<es> what trials they may have where they are & what inducements are held out to go but judging from their past & my own experience & observation & knowing that that farm has brought up & supported two families before them I think that the old saying “change the place & keep the pain” will prove too true in their case as well as my own, and once more my advice to them though unasked it to keep still where they are & make the best of it, & not be over anxious for the future, but try & take some comfort where they are & just as they are & “Let the world [wag?] on” I believe they will get a living if they dont get rich. Every body cant be rich. I guess there are few that have stove harder than we have to gain something but you know nothing of the discouragements we have met. It has seemed sometimes as though I should give up in dispair <of> every thing would look so discouraging & adverse The best way I can do is to get my mind off the subject take some good interesting book & read & get a good nights rest It is no use to be over anxious about worldly gain, & I would not give up a present home for an uncertain one in some far off country

[Notes in margins:]
Mary you can let Caroline read this I do not sent it to her because she says nothing to me on the subject nor does not write me at all any time you need not say anything to any one else about the contents of this letter only let Caroline see it

I sent this now ‘because the subject was on my mind & if I was ever agoing to say it the sooner the better & <has> know I feel I have done my duty be the result what it may & have the consequences to take their course

Miss Osborn ahs been thinking of selling her place but you need not mention it in […] of your letters because she only mentioned it to me & a few others But she looked around some to see if she could find another house to live in to send her but could not my advice to her was to keep still where she is I am fully convinced that she never can fix herself as well again & Mr Brooks tells her so too she told me when I saw her last that she had given it up for the present

Daniel & Caroline & family have my best wishes           I wonder if Caroline will discover in this letter my resemblance to her mother I think of her more since I came on to this farm than I ever did before that is to say I understand her feelings better now than I used to & it seems to myself that I see things as she used to & in fact am growing some like her in many respects
as I grow older & see more of life but I do not suffer from ill health as she used, but I am sure if I allowed myself to worry about things my health would soon fail.

Letter 12 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

West Winsted June 16,/61. [in pencil: 1861]

Dear Aunt, [in pencil: (Mary Burr)]
            I really meant to have answered your kind letter long before this, and I trust I shall not be so tardy again
            I do the milking have all the care of the cow and chickens, and get the tea.
            I do not believe I can sit down and write a sober letter about sober things. I am so excited I cannot talk anything, think anything or write any thing but war.
And I have been doubly excited since Mr. Eddy went, and our first and second Conn. [Connecticut] Regiments have been stationed half a mile beyond any other U.S. troops. The companys from about here are in the second reg. and our own dear Mr. Eddy is its chaplain he received his appointment Saturday and went Tuesday. I was examined for admission to the church the Monday evening before he left. Oh! He is so good and he has the right spirit too. I’ll tell you what I’d like to see him hold of a rebel.
            I saw two drops of Col. Elsworth’s blood the other day, they were upon the standard of a banister which came from the Marshall house within two feet of where he fell and his blood had spattered on to it. And when I hear about the Ohio troops how when they were reinforced and came back for [their?] dead and wounded, the rebels had severed every finger which had a ring upon it. I declare it is terrible hard work to stand it, it is enough to make any patriots blood boil, and Oh! How I wish I were a man
            Millbrook July 26.
            I have been home about two weeks and [and?] am fixing up my clothes and am just as tired as I can consistently be.
            I was up to Norfolk day before yesterday and made a few calls. Aunt [Crissey?] was not very well.
            Sarah and Henry Gaylord came home with us and staid until this morning.
            Eddie [Edward Grant]sprained his wrist last Saturday so that he has not been able to do much of anything until to-day.
            I am studying Arithmetic (Greenleafs National) Latin, and Grammar, and have got along pretty well in them
            Mr. Eddy is among the missing of the battle of Bulls-Run and [I?] one other Winsted Volunteer though I have not yet heard definitely about that, all I am certain of is that Mr. Eddy is gone. The last that was seen of him was he was on the field after the <wounded> battle carrying water [to/the?] wounded.
            We expect Aunt Gertie up here before very long and rather think cousin Mary Burton will come with her.
            Please give my love to all.
            Your aff. [affectionate] niece
            Abby [Abigail E. Grant Burr]
It was the last battle fought at Bulls Run <they [guess?]> that Mr. Eddy was lost. Mother thinks it is called the battle of Manassas.

I think a great many times how awful hateful I used to be to you, and how impatient when you tried to teach me any-thing. I am really very sorry and hope I shall never do so to any one again.
            Please give my love to Miss Cowless, and if you have an opportunity remember me to Mr. Clark and tell him that I still remember his Sabbath school teachings with a great deal of pleasure.
            Give my love to Grandmother Aunt Kate and All the rest,
Abbie. [Abigail E. Grant Burr]
I am going back to Winsted this week. 

Letter 13 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Catskill, Green Co. W.S. [Wisconsin] Box 282
Jan 9th 1882.

Dear Cousin Mary
                        I have post-poned writing to you from day to day that I might give you a good long letter & I don’t see that I will ever get the time unless I take it. I have just thrown down a piece of sewing that I am sorely in need of to have a chat with you & yours. When I first reached C. & was at the Hotel I remarked to Mr B. [William Benton] “I will write to Cousin Mary Hill” & he replied, “I am going to write” I knew you all would be so glad to see he was able to write that I deferred writing  –  & ever since I have let different things prevent my writing any letters with the exception of a very few. Mr B. did write to you I believe. The week we were at the Irving-House  –  the weather was intolerably hot  –  & yet we were obliged to go out & suit ourselves with a good boarding place for the winter & a good school for M. Aflie [dree?] deliberation we settled upon Mrs Whitteseys’ on Summit Ave. She with two maiden sisters  –  keep the house. It is very high up. & the views & walks are delightful From my South winders I have the mountains & Catskill Creek in full view  –  & never tire looking at them. I often think of Mr [Dunn?] & the Kaaterskill Hotel. I can see the Kaaterskill Clove from my windows  –  also the mountain House, plainly. The Catskill Creek is a beautiful stream. We are up on a hill looking right down upon it. It is a winding stream & the banks are high & rocky so that there are no floats or marshing places  –  & a strong tide flowing in & out & taking all this might be disagreeable with it  –  The winter so far  –  has been mild & beautiful Mr Boulin began to improve as soon as the weather got cool  –  & has continued to do so. He is very much encouraged & so am I So far I have not had such a happy winter for eight years. He seems bright & cheerful is with us a great deal  –  sits in our room & takes long walks with [my self?] & is companionable & more like his dear old self. & I feel that the ‘grass-hopper is no longer a burden’ Things that appeared like Elephants to me now seem like Pigmies, I begin to take courage again & hope that all will be well with us here & hereafter. We are so blessed in our Rector Dr Harrison from the South. A most eloquent preacher  –  he just holds you spell bound  –  and O! so spiritually minded!  He had no manner & yet you feel as he stands before you that it is a seemed St. Paul. We have our pew & my dear husband goes to Church with me every Sunday morning & remains through service & sermon. If Mr B. continues to get well & some of those delightful days of our married life can be lived over again I shall feel like Simeon “Lord now [lettest?] thou thy servants depart in peace” It really seems as if my mind had been so on the strains that this sudden relief is like sunshine out of the dark clouds. Mr B’s money affairs (investments) trouble him  –  yet he bears it so different from any thing before since I have known him that I feel more hopeful. He wanted me this winter to board M. [with?] Miss Gaylord (the lady to whom she goes to school) & go with him to Florida. A party of his friends were going from here Two gentlemen & their families, & they sailed from U.S. last Wednesday gone with a view of investing & settling. I agreed to go  –  but told him I thought the hot climate would not do him any good as he suffered so much this last summer, but I would go with him. He came to the conclusion that this cold weather agreed with him best & it is post-poned until next winter. We do not care to settle here. It is a lovely looking country  –  but in a business point of view  –  not much of it. Mr B. had numerous [Corbuman lar?] boils after he came here but did not seem any the worse for them <it>  –  but on the contrary better. He had his urine examined by a physician who assured him that was nothing of kidney trouble that has given him another impetus. He goes back & forth to Hudson on his private business.  A dear little Steamer (the Eloise) did ply between H. & the place until a few weeks ago  –  where she was taken off until next Spring the round trip was 20 cts. Now we have to cross in the ferry boat to the East side & then take the cars. M. too has improved wonderfully  –  She has gained 12 lbs. Miss Gaylord says it is “wonderful” Miss G. has taught for 30 years. She is bringing M. on finely. She is studying Latin & Physiology this term. She has grown very much & looks healthy.
We do not care to settle here on her account. Miss G. will break up her school in the spring & retire to a beautiful place in the country that she has just bought  –  then M. has to be changed again & we are thinking of some place where there is a college & let her [enter?] & finish. & we must look out for a place to introduce her into society
It is rather late but let me wish you all a very happy New Year I hope you all enjoyed a very pleasant Xmas & New Year.
Did Allie get my little box?
Ours was quite a pleasant one  –  Mr B. & self gave M. a handsome writing Desk  –  Her birthday came on the 9th of Dec. (She was twelve) & her father gave her a very handsome broad plain gold ring with name & date & I a locket  –  so when Xmas came we united & gave her one present. She received many beautiful cards from Bessie Van Syckle. She also received a handsome pen knife Mr. B received a handsome china cup & sauce from me. Mr. Benton’s improved condition was my Xmas gift & I wish no other  –  In about a month (D.V.) he will make a few visits alone  –  I think he will go to <kind> Kinderhook, Poughkeepsie & Castleton I think they do him good. He is not willing that M. should be taken out of school now & I cannot leave [her?], & it costs more for 3 to go than for two. I hear good news from home (i.e.) all are well.  Did you know that my dear Aunt Mary Pearson at Bordertown lost her adopted son Robbin Hunt? I cannot tell you what a blow it is to her. She took him when 8 years old & had brought him up a splendid farmer & she had given up things pretty much to him & she looked upon him as her support in her old age (she is now near 70) He was her nephew & heir. She is now entirely alone in the old homestead “Spring Hill” When so many dear ones home have been carried out & laid in the family burying ground
He died of Malaria. It was sudden. It attacked the brain on Sunday & he died the following Thursday. He was delirious most of that time. I would never dare to take Mr B. there after this but I did wish <he> I had a home to invite her to at least for awhile. She is too much crushed to write to me yet.
Now for your dear [Celoes?]  –  How are you? Mr Benton sends much love & wants to know particularly how Minnie [Mary P.B. Hill Wright] stands the school?  How does she hold out? Well I hope. Was Sam [Samuel Hill] at home during the holidays? Tell him when you write that I could not have lived to get here without that Palmleaf fan he gave me at the depot. It hangs in my room with his name on it. Tell the girls to write & tell me all they know about themselves. Remember us very kind so Dr Parish. Love to cousin William & all the junior cousins  –  I love you all very much & think of my sojourn with you last summer with pleasure. I hope you all will keep in health this winter  –  Have you had any rain yet? We have had an abundance. Now my dear Cousins I think I have given you a long letter & as much news as I have in my budget  –  at this time. Hope you will give me a long one full of news of yourselves in return. You can send this to Cousin Carrie if you wish to & request her not to sent it any where else but to destroy it, & a little later in the season I will write to her. Please remember us to inquiring friends & accept a larger share of love for each & all from
Your sincerely attached
Mary H. Benton
[P.S.?] numerous interruptions have caused numerous mistakes. The arrival of a [nice?] bill of goods from Stewarts’ was one. I got a whole piece of Victoria [Yarn?] so you can see I am going to have some white dresses & white […?].

Letter 14 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Hallowell Me. [Maine]
Sept. 1880

My dear Aunt Mary [Mary Burr Hill],
            It was a great disappointment to us that Carrie [Caroline R. Hill] could not come at the beginning of this term. Her cousin Almon [Almon Burr] thinks that if she can not be here before the first of Oct. that there is not much use of her coming at all this term, though if she took but two studies perhaps she could make up with out trouble. But whether it will be wise for her to do that depends upon whether or not she can attend the school here any more at present nothing had been settled upon for her beyond this term. I thought that if she could be here and take this full terms work that she would have a years schooling with no expense to you beyond her traveling expenses which were not heavy. And I hoped very much that some money might come in to relieve the financial stress of the school, so that every cent that Almon could spare would not have to be swallowed up in it, and that we could bear the heaviest part of her expenses when we got back to the School, as well must next [term?]. but no way has opened yet. and I have talked the matter over with Almon this morning. he does not see how he can possibly pay more than two dollars a week towards her board. and her board in the hall would not be less than four dollars a week (washing, lights, fuel included) and there would be ten dollars a term tuition besides mother seemed to think that because Almon was Principal he could let Carrie in without tuition he does not own the school. It is in the hands of the trustees and he has not power to remit tuitions. the only way that he can do so, is to pay [them?] himself. and as soon as she begins to board any where for the purpose of attending school, the city will not pay her bills, as it has been doing. I explained to mother last winter the the action of the board of education as to who should be termed “city scholars” The youth of this place have the privileges of the school free, by the payment to the school, by the city government of $1200 (twelve hundred dollars) a year and students from out of the town who can be taken in to families here as “one of the family” have their board given them  –  are adopted by the city, but others are not.
I suppose you wonder how we can have her here while keeping house, if we cannot afford to pay more towards her board at the Hall, but we found <found> that our house keeping expenses Carries board added <was> were just about the same, as the board for our own family at the Hall. and when we go back there come to add her full expenses to our own, and all that Almon has pledged to school and church, it is more than we can afford. I am very very sorry. I do wish we had money enough to take her through without [ones?] break. We love her dearly. and would like very much to have her with us right along, and if we could keep house, could do so, but Almon is obliged to look after every thing at the Hall, and has to be there so much of the time that he can not look after things here in the least. and too it is so very hard at times to get our pay. that it makes the obstacles to housekeeping very great. It is easier <of> for them to pay Almon in board than in money, and if we board at the house, we are sure of our living expenses of which we are not sure out of it.
I am greatly troubled about Almon. I <feel that> feel that he is working himself to death. And he is beginning to feel it himself.
This consideration together with the miserable condition of Bodoin College [Bowdoin College] morally, which makes him shrink from being obliged to send boys there and the continued low condition of the school financially made him feel last year as though he could not stay here any longer. But the trustees said that if he left they would ease their efforts toward the building up the school, sell the property and close up. Which of course was throwing the responsibility of killing the school upon Almon and he didn’t feel that he could do that yet so here he is, and I don’t know but is likely to be for some time yet. School has opened remarkably well this year. More scholarly than ever before so that is encouraging. I do not give up the hope of being able to help Carrie more bye and bye. But what I speak of is what I can do now. If you can not afford this expense, perhaps another year I might be able to do a little more for her. but you see how it is. I do not know what the future has in store for us.
It is time for this to go and I must not write longer. I wish that I could say that I could pay all her expenses not matter what they were. I do not forget your many and continued kindnesses to me. and wish that I could do something to in some degree repay them.
With much love to you all,
Your aff. [affectionate] niece.
Abbie E.G. Burr.  [Abigail E. Grant Burr]