Letter 1 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Omaha [Nebraska] So. Wednesday June 27 
My dear Aunt Caroline [Caroline Burr Grant],
I hesitated some time whether to write to you or Grandma to send with the letter that I have just finished to my Uncle and finally concluded that I would reply to your letter, knowing that in that way she would hear from me. Tell her I think of her often and would love dearly to see her but I by my last remove have more than doubled the distance between us -- I am thankful now I assure you for pen and paper and I think the man who invented writing should be considered quite as much of a public benefactor as he who invented printing. I wonder who he was and what he wrote first. Then just think of all that has been written since from the Bible down through all great and small books papers &c. to this letter which I am writing.
But enough of that -- you know I suppose, that I am living now, in sight of the fast flowing Missouri but you probably have not learned that my husband and I are keeping house -- I am now waiting for him to come home to supper which is all ready, -- We have rented a little house and are really a family if it is a small one. I have no servant -- but work right busily myself at doing what I know how to and learning the rest, and we think we are about as happy as we can be.
Mr. Gaylord, the Congregational minister came to see me one day last week and he spoke of visiting Conn. [Connecticut] last year, seeing you and visiting at Grandpa’s. He seems to be a very pleasant man <I> and I was very glad he thought to visit me for it was a treat to see one who knew so many of my Eastern friends.
I received letters from Mary Burton and sister Mary [Mary Burr Hill] recently from which I learn that Mary Burton is going into the Grand River Institute as Assistant or Associate Principal two weeks after she graduates which will bring it about five weeks from now. She seems pleased with the prospect and will I doubt not, do well. My sister does not wish to return to Painesville [Ohio] another year but will pursue her studies in Canton [Ohio] where she can have every advantage so far as teachers are concerned that they have at Painesville. She has set her heart upon teaching too but I don’t think Pa will be willing that she should go from home for that purpose. My precious “little Jennie [?]” as Boyd calls her is a great comfort to Mother and a great treasure to all of us.
Tuesday July 3rd I was interrupted just here by my husband and since then have not found time to resume my writing. We are having scorching weather for the last few days -- yesterday was terrible. The spring has been very dry too but the soil is so spongy that it seems to retain the moisture and vegetation is not suffering much.
You ask for the date of my little sister’s death. It was just one year from the commencement of this letter -- the morning of the twenty seventh of June, 1859.
I wrote to Abbie [Abigail Cowles Grant] at [?] N. J. [Flemington, New Jersey] immediately upon the receipt of yours and shall hope to hear from her soon. I was under the impression that she was my debtor on the score of letters or I should certainly have written before.
Please write me soon and keep me advised of your whereabouts as well as your plans for the future -- also of my dear Grandmother and Grandpa. Give my love to them both and to Eddie -- bless his black eyes. Thomas remembers all whom we saw at Mill Brook [Connecticut] when there with great pleasure and would send love if here.
Libbie [Burr] Hereford.
Letter 2 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Flemington [New Jersey] Jan 2 1858
Dear Brother & Sister [Daniel Grant and Caroline Burr Grant],
The Bundle that you Sent came safely to hand, think the counterpane very pretty and Sam is very much pleased with his pencil and Liquorice root. As to money matters you need not borrow at present so send me any I can get along now very well until spring and than if it is not convenient for you to pay will try and do without it until you find it convenient Grain is getting so low here that I hate to sell it but if it continues so will have to do it corn is only 45 cents oats 30 and wheat 113 per Bushel and that seems very low after paying two dollars a day to have it gathered Hope that Daniel [Daniel Grant]Will write soon and tell us what he is so busy about and settle up that affair with Mary about that western land and also give us his views about Virginia. Whether he would like to go there if you can sell out where you are &c.
Father is more comfortable and has been for a few days than when I wrote before but still requires almost constant attention. You think it requires some energy to write a letter but it takes a great deal more for me to work hard when I do not feel well more than half the time & I think I grow more lazy every year and that is one reason I have for wishing to go to a milder climate and cheaper land I think, for what my farm would sell for I could buy twice as much land of better quality and have enough money to build a house & start the farm over so as to Start entirely out of debt and remain so -- whereas if I continue farming here must 100 dols a year rent or put up a House & building that will not cost less than 3000 dols which will keep me in debt for some years to come & might always Am going to try and work to better advantage the coming year and see if the prospect will brighten any -- We have very mild weather for the season and it will be a great help to those that are poor on account of taking so little fuel -- Think about, raising might answer well with [you?] and have lately seen an account of some pasture lands in Connecticut that were very much improved by the use of plaster -- have you ever tried any on pasture lands, it is one of the cheapest fertilizers and if it answers well would advise you to try some of it. Am glad to hear that some of you are being led to a better life and though we do not all think alike as to the best method of conversion (That is not quite what I wish to say but cannot express it better) we ought all to rejoice that any are turned from the eror of their ways to walk in wisdom ways of peace & comfort I should like to slip in and see you all if I could but as things are that pleasure is not to be thought of -- We have killed our cow and our hogs were done some time ago Do not remember whether I told you that we killed one that weighed 521 pounds, Jersey corn will fat hogs Am glad that you had a pleasant time (visit) with your friends and think that most of us spend too few hours in social pleasures that would help lighten the cares of life and might prove good opportunities of gathering strength in the conflict with selfishness which sin is hard to root out -- We have gone out but little on account of Sickness & Death in the family for two years past and now another has gone to his last account. Mothers Brother John was buried last Saturday and so the world keeps passing away -- Sam wants to send a letter that he has made with his pencil and often talks about Abbie & Eddie -- Shall we look for a visit from any of you this winter – Mary [Mary Burr Hill] is trying to break little Alletta from eating in the night and had a free concert for 1 1/2 hours last night and anticipate a continuation of the pleasure for several nights but after the playing is over they are expect to take a benefit
I saw quite a long article in the Presbyterian the other day about [gift?] lotteries and an happy to see that others coincide with my opinion, which you have been favoured with and I need not repeat [see William Hill’s letter of Nov. 8th 57]. Only when you look at that [pen?] do not feel badly will [”?] you? But as you are lucky perhaps you had better try again & next time you may get a farm --
I am glad to hear the good tidings from Norfolk [Connecticut]. What a happy thing could Erastus [Erastus Burr?] share the blessing Is Mr. Nelson Moses living? What a trouble the counterpane must have been to pick apart all that was sewn & do it all again. But how much better it looks! I think it very pretty & am much pleased with it. Sam is also pleased with pencil & Liquorice. The socks are too small for Allie [Alletta Hill] that is the soles are too short even for her [naked?] feet. She wears leather shoes (she is helping me write now) creeps all about & climbs up by things & grows every day & with no change of diet or very little believe I gave her bread when at Conn. [Connecticut] I occasionally give her potatoes & turnips -- I like the flannel color & quality it will be pretty & durable.
The [freight?] [...]. 62 cts.
Letter 3 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Milwaukie [Milwaukee, Wisconsin] Sept. 21, ’58.
Dear Brother [Daniel Grant],
I am thus far on my way to attend to your business at Jefferson various causes have combined to delay my going -- it is not necessary to mention any of them.
Arriving here I have received $75 from Mr. Hill -- and to night I start for Whitewater as being the first point necessary to make on the journey. How I shall go from Whitewater does not yet appear, for no one I have met here seems to know any thing about the way from there to Jefferson.
I obtained from Mr. Hill a statement of your affairs and find them substantially as follows
Due on the note of Mr. Rogers (the last of those given for your place) $38.00
Due on the money lent by Mr. Hill 139.00
I carefully examined, the sum total might vary a few cents from the above. Of course the amount will increase a little every week.
Mr. Hill says the money can be paid on a very short notice. The $139 is loaned <his> to be paid on call, and probably will be paid when asked for, though he must be doing a remarkably good and safe business who can pay 12 per cent interest on such conditions. On the whole Mr. Hill thinks it will be as well to have the whole settled up, as you have no other interest in Milwaukie [Milwaukee, Wisconsin].
I would not attempt to advise you particularly, but would say that as the amount secured by Mortgage is now very small (only $38) a sum too small ever to warrant the foreclosing of a Mortgage I think it would be well to end that if there is an opportunity. Mr. Rogers says he will pay for it Oct. 1, and as soon as may be convenient thereafter he would like a release of Mortgage. He does not require it at once, but if you think fit to ask payment, you had better get it as soon as may be convenient. I inclose a form of release and will suggest one or two ways in wh. [which] you can execute it.
The best way, if not too inconvenient is to have the release acknowledged before some Justice of the Peace, who can attach to the document a Certificate of the County Clerk, certifying to his identity. <Another way probably more> I presume there are Justice of the Peace in Norfolk [Connecticut] who can secure these certificates with a few days delay -- perhaps at once.
On consideration I think this is the only way it is safe for you to use. In Illinois such a paper acknowledged before a Notary Public would be valid, but this is Wisconsin, and the laws are different.
I am <am once> expecting to move again -- I am going in the course of a few weeks probably three or four to Newark [New Jersey], part by to see John [John Grant] & consult with him about his affairs, and partly in the expectation that it may be best for me to take his school. Abbey [Abigail Cowles Grant] will remain here for the present until something definite is arranged. The times are so hard that just now it seems not easy or advisable for me to insist on the payment of certain debts due me -- amounting in all to near $300 about half of it for salary & the other half for other things. Under these circumstances, I would like if you think it best to take up your money in Milwaukie [Milwaukee, Wisconsin], to secure the loan of it for a year at 10 per cent. It will be a help to me & I should consider it a great kindness on your part. Perhaps you might be willing to let me have a part if not the whole.
If you think fit to act on this suggestion, please answer this as soon as you can inclosing an order somewhat like that in your last letter.
Should you wish it, I can secure you by mortgage or transfer of secured notes.
I will write you again after I have been at Jefferson
Your aff. [affectionate] brother
Letter 4 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Chicago, Ill. [Illinois] Sept. 23 ‘58
Dear Brother [Daniel Grant],
I have just returned from Jefferson, and am prepared to make a Report. Unfortunately neither you nor I thought of the necessity there was that a description of the land should be given (& the Township, Range, Section, and part of section) and therefore my journey failed, in part at least, of its object. We could not find the name of either Grant or Burr among those whose property was sold for taxes <& and> & therefore I could not select yours from the large list of “unknown” who were represented as the owners of nine tenths of such land.
The matter can however be arranged now. Please write at once to
Jefferson Co. Wis [Wisconsin].
<requ> giving him a description of the land, <thereupon he will> & requesting him to write to me the amount of taxes due upon it, whereupon by draft I will forward him the money. He will charge about 25 cents -- possibly 50 but that will be all.
I found that in 1857 the townships transferred to Jefferson Co. were re-transferred to Dodge Co. on the ground of illegality. Consequently the taxes for 1857 are to be paid in Dodge Co. The way to meet this is to address a letter to Clerk of Boars of Supervision Juneau, Dodge. Co. Wisconsin giving documentation as above & requesting him to write to me what amount is due -- & I will forward to him also by draft & in this way will have it all soon settled up. Each of these men will forward a certificate that the property is redeemed. This certificate costs I believe 25 cents in each case. I may think it best to go again to Wisconsin, & perhaps near Dodge Co. -- but if I do it will not be for your business (--wh. [which] had I known as much as I do now I could have settled without stirring from my study) and if I do I will endeavor to step into the office & see that all is right.
My expenses are as follows
Chicago to Milwaukie 90 m. $2.00
Milwaukie to Whitewater 50 1.75
Whitewater to Jefferson 15
& back by horse & carriage 15 3.00
Lodging & breakfast at Whitewater .75
Whitewater to Chicago by Janesville, on the Chicago
St. Paul & Fran du Lac R.R. 3.75
This is a large outlay for paying a tax, but is less than you could have got any one else to do it for. I have a free ticket on the road from Lockport here -- hence there is no charge for that part of the journey -- I staid with a friend while at Milwaukie, so there was no charge there. It was expensive travelling from Whitewater to Jefferson, but there seemed no other way so good. There is a stage every other day, but as I was there in the morning & it did not leave till near night, and even then would have charged me $1 each way, it did not seem best to waste time in waiting for it.
Should you ever have occasion to send to Jefferson again, the best way is from Chicago through Janesville 175 m. <all the> to Whitewater all the way by R. R. [Railroad] Probably in two or three years there will be a R. R. [Railroad] all the way from Chicago through both Jefferson & Dodge Co.
So the $11.25 above charged to you I must add 75 cents paid to Mr. Hill for $50 in gold – making my charges $12.
I stopped last night at State line Depot, staying with Dwight Phelps. He and his wife are well.
With love to Caroline [Caroline Burr Grant] & the children I am
Yours most truly
Letter 5 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to] Mr. Daniel Grant
[Addressed from] Milwaukee [Wisconsin]
Mutual Fire Insurance Company
Office No. 3&4 martin’s Block. 2nd floor.
Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Sept. 21st 1858
Danl Grant Esqu [Daniel Grant]
Your brother is here I have paid him $75.00 I wish you to send a release of the mortgage and instruct me what to do with the money it can all be paid when you wish.
Respectfully yours Etc.,
Letter 6 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Newark N.J.[New Jersey]
My Dear Sister [Caroline Burr Grant],
I intended to have answered your kind letter and expressed my thanks, for the “present” which came with it -- before this, but have been so occupied with my household duties and taking care of “baby” that it is with difficulty I find time for any thing else.
We have a very sweet little babe, with blue eyes, dark hair and pug nose, I almost forgot to tell you that she has a mouth, a very pretty one too -- when she is good natured -- We have named her Gertrude. How I do wish you were all here with us this evening! We are better prepared to entertain our friends now than we were when father Grant was here. I am afraid he fared rather poorly -- but it was the best we could do under the circumstances.
Joel left here last Monday morning for his home in Ill. [Illinois] I presume you have heard ere this of the death of his little boy, Robbie. Oh! how I do pity Abbie [Abigail Cowles Grant]! What a trial it must have been for her to bear, alone!
We are all very well at present, I think John is rid of the “Ague” for a time at least, can’t say how long, he has grown very thin since you saw him last. He is now teaching a small class -- only five including my little brother -- Our house is not yet completed, I believe the masons are preparing the second coat of plaster, which they hope to put on in a few days.
I wish Abbie [Abigail Grant] would write to me she has a great deal more time than I have to spare, but I should try to answer a letter from her “between this, and spring.” Does she study French? if so how is she progressing?
How is Aunt [Nettleton’s?] family? Give our love to them when next you see them.
When last we heard from home, all were well, excepting Libbie’s husband, Pa wrote he had been unwell several days, but was getting better, Hope ere this he has entirely recovered.
Mr. Grant [John Grant] is making so much noise in trying to keep the baby quiet that I can not collect my though[ts] enough to finish this letter. Just wait until I scold a little and then I will finish. Write as soon as you can conveniently, for all love to hear from you, All send love to all. That you may spend a “Merry Christmas” and a “Happy New Year” is the wish of
Your Aff. [affectionate] Sister
Gertie D. Grant [Gertrude D. Grant]
Our address is Mt Pleasant Newark NJ
Letter 7 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to] Mr. Daniel Grant
Bristol, Ill. [Illinios] Feb. 5, 1859.
Yours of the 29th ult. reached me to day just one week from date. It reached Lockport [Illinios] day before yesterday. My family are still there, but I am employed here, a place 25 M. West.
As to St. Paul, or lots in it I know nothing whatever about it or them, and if I did, it is now too late to give you advice. This letter cannot leave till Mond. the 7th and and will not reach you before the 12th, or a fortnight from the date of yours. As to the lots in W. St. Paul [Minnesota], so much depends on this situation that no one could tell whether they were worth little or much without seeing them. You need to sell your farm well <to> if you take them. One annoyance connected with them will be the taxes, for in a city or growing village (as I presume W. St. Paul may be) the authorities lay taxes almost as often as the months come round for some purpose general or Special. How ever, if you have become the owner of them you must, I suppose, do the best possible with them. It is a place much visited by travellers in summer, and by some of them we may be able to learn something. It is a good ways from this – about 330 miles from Chicago, in <in> a straight line; probably 375 <in> by any of the ordinary routes of travel. At present real estate is very much depressed in Minnesota generally, & I presume in St. Paul also. If these lots are not now sold for taxes, and you can keep them free from that kind of incumbrance for three or four years, they may prove of value, but I should rather have $300 than both of them at a guess. I presume you think so too.
As to your taxes I have to day received the last letter that I needed to get them into shape. Matters have gone a little contrary, but we shall now be able to manage them I think. You will recollect a letter I wrote to the Clerk of Board of Supervisions & sent from your house. I received answer to that to the effect that he had made <a> two mistakes, in the letter to wh. [which] mine was an answer. This speaking of the sale as taking place March 10, instead of April 10 he admits was a mistake, but says truly, that it was of no consequence. Another mistake is of consequence, but it is against us. The sale was April 10 for $19,98, and in his first letter (Oct. 16) he had added 12 1/2 per cent ($2.49) for interest for six mos. and 25 cts <cost> fees, making $22.72. In his second letter he says this was a mistake because the Rule & Practice of the Office is to charge 12 1/2 per cent interest for the first six moths, and 25 per cent for the second, and if it is six months & a day the charge is 25 per cent & 20 on to the end. Hence after Oct. 10 -- then close of the first six moths -- he should have charged 25 per cent $4.99 instead of $2.49. As the matter now stands he demands $25.22 -- or $5.25 more than what it sold for last April. As he will charge no more until April 10, I have concluded to let the matter rest till March 1.
This years taxes too (or for 1858) have been the innocent cause of some annoyance. Just about the time (after Robby’s death) I had concluded to return to Ill. [Illinois] Abby received a letter from the Collector at Ashippan, <station> answering mine written from your house. Without taking any note of its contents, she inclosed it to me at Newark. (Let me throw away this horrid ink) I suppose this was about Dec. 20. I arrived at Lockport Dec. 24. The same day John, to whose care letters were directed left Newark to spend the holidays in Williamsburg -- to be gone therefore some 10 days. I leaned this, and therefore did not wonder that the letter did not return at once. It did not come, however, as I expected even up to Jan 6. I then wrote to John telling him the letter was important. He wrote back that it had not come at all -- perhaps it was among advertised letters -- he would look -- I have not since heard from him. Jan. 20 I wrote to the collector (not knowing his name even) & to day I have received answer. He says he had transferred to the county Treasurer the tax list, the day before he received mine i.e. Jan. 30, and that now I must deal with him. He states the amount to be when in his hands $22.89, and I suppose it will be enlarged $2 or $3 by the transfer. I shall write to him by the first mail, setting that matter at once. Mr. [Tichenor?] says they can be paid with 5 per cent added till last of Feb., I think. I will try that plan, and will let you know its result
Your aff. [affectionate] brother,
P.S. Feb. 7. In the accompanying letter I have given you the history of paying taxes under discouraging circumstances, but I think the matter will be closed up soon -- in three or four weeks. If it should prove necessary to visit Juneau before, or at the tax sale I will do it.
And if you have sold your farm what do you propose to do? You will bear in mind that the proceeds belong to your family, and only in a modified sense to yourself. You will of course lay them out in such a way as in the opinion of judicious persons is safe, and best adapted to promote their good. If you could arrange to invest in Ill. [Illinois] or Wisconsin, on good security, at 10 or 12 per cent, wh. [which] will be readily done, (and I will do it for you at the latter rate if you wish) that might be a good plan. At your earliest convenience I should like to know your plans. Some very good farms might be bought now in either of these states at reasonable rates, for cash, and this may be the best course. Many places are now sold under mortgages, usually bringing only the face of the notes for wh. they were mortgaged, & of course going into the hands of those who have the mortgages.
I am not certain where I shall go at last. I am engaged here till Oct. next, though not so but that I can probably leave previously if it should seem best. I do not quite like the place, though the people are kind and appreciative & give me $800 salary. I go home to Lockport once in two weeks or thereabouts -- am going to day.
If you could contrive to work a part of Father’s farm, and occupy a part of that great house, and let whatever money you can command be loaned, will not that be the best plan? I wish you would think fit. With love to Caroline [Caroline Grant Burr], Abby & Eddy I am
Your Aff. [affectionate] brother.
Letter 8 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Bristol, Ill. [Illinois] March 24, 1859.
Dear Brother [Daniel Grant],
I have to day received the last paper necessary to put your taxes in a satisfactory shape. It has been a long, though not a very laborous process. It has cost something, but less than to send a messenger to the place, while I think there need be no difficulty in managing it hereafter by correspondence. This course is best as it is hard to tell whom we can trust in such matters. I give below a Tabular view of the whole transaction so far as I have been able to arrange it. Some parts of it (as for example the original tax of 1856) I have had to come at by calculations not having the papers.
Original Tax Int. for Chgs. including 25 cts for certificate Total
1856 $16.75. 2 1/2 yrs. $10.47 .75 cts pd Oct ‘58 $28.00
1857 18.47 1 yr. 4.62 3.00 pd March 59 26.09
1858 22.89 <no> Int. .52 .[88?] [smaller] 28 pd Feb. 10 ’59 23.69
$58.11 $15.61 $4.06 $77.78
Now this it must be confessed is not a pleasant show for a man who has to earn his money by the hardest, but even this is not all. To all this must be added the $12 expenses of my trip last fall, and the postage on more letters than I can now think of (each letter inclosed a stamp & therefore [counts?] 6 cts) the interest of the money deposited in Bank to meet the claims, and the interest of each of these payments up to the present hour. I mention these things as you are only part owner of this property & others must therefore share the burden with you.
I will now present the account so far as I am able to make it out.
Charges to last fall’s journey $12.00
Postage on 8 letters & replies (I presume
there have been more but these
are all I can recollect) --48
Int. [interest] on $37 kept in Deposit in Chicago
to meet these taxes as soon as I could
find their amount; 3 mos. at 10 per cent. .90
To this you should add such expenses and such interest of money as <to you> is justly due you.
The account, as already met by you is something as follows
Oct 1858 To Mr. Sandborne <Dodge> Jefferson Co. $28.00
Feb. 1859 Allen & Atwater Dodge Co 23.69
charge 1859 do do 26.09
Expenses of my trip in Sept. last 12.00
Postage paid by me .48
Thus far for the taxes. Let us now look at our individual accounts.
In Nov. last you let me have $50, conditioned on my paying up these taxes.
Daniel Grant Cr. by Cash Nov. ’58 $50
Int. 3 months (ere the three months was up I had to Deposit it to have it ready) 1.25
Contra Dr. 1859.
Cash Feb. 10 to A.A. Atwater $23.69
do March 22 do 26.09
Due you ------ $0.09
I gave you due bill for $50. If you think under the circumstances you can be satisfied to strike the balance, and give it up, you may do so at your earliest convenience, sending me due bill in a letter. You will notice that the charges connected with the taxes of 1857 are large = $3. There is dishonesty there though I see not that it can be helped. You recollect the German correspondent whom I suspected so much when at your house. Well he wrote me in two letters that your tax last April was $19.98, and after Oct. must have 25 per cent added to it making 24.97 & 25 cts for certif. $25.23. I saw no reason to doubt this <but> and therefore sent him $26.09, judging that he ought to have 75 cts. or more for his trouble. On the first of Jan. however he & his Company went out of office, & were succeeded, I suppose, by those who sign these certificates. They present an account whose total is only $23.08 add 25 cts = 23.33 almost $2 less than he claimed. I can discover no explanation for this, other than that he deliberately exaggerated the tax. But having got the money he keeps it $2.75 for his expenses! He would have kept the whole, unquestionably, if I had sent it in bills, but I sent it in a draft in Chicago, that specified the purpose for wh. [which] it was to be paid.
I am sorry this and some other accidents have happened, but am glad the matter is ended & doubt not you are so -- I inclose the certificates. With love to Caroline & the children as well as yourself I am,
Your aff. [affectionate] brother,
Letter 9 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Lockport, Ill. March 25, 1859.
Dear Sister C [Caroline Burr Grant],
I was very glad to receive a letter from you a few days since. John was delighted with his from Abby & Eddie, and has often asked when I was going to write so he could write to them -- I hope their correspondence will continue, for John longs so to write to some one, & will not do it, unless written to. He has had a great deal of comfort in communicating with his Grandma Grant, and will continue it, also while his Pa has been away from us, he writes to him -- John will be benefited, and Abby & Eddie too, if they will pass up these exchanges of thought as long as they live; they are cousins and would love each other dearly if they were well acquainted, as I hope they will be some day -- J. has one intimate friend here by the name of George Smith, who is like a brother, and they mutually share in every thing pertaining to each other but he often weeps over the loss of their sister Mary, & brother Robie --
Our home has been made very desolate by death, and the reality of the loss, becomes greater & greater day by day: but those children can not come back to us: neither will I have them (if it had not been God’s will they would not have been taken) for soon we shall go them. These lessons of bereavement are very hard, but not profitless to the soul -- The <only> assurance that God never makes mistakes, He knows when we are sufficiently driven by affliction, and need no more, and does shew the light of his countenance to every humbled and subdued heart, should be sufficient balm for every wound.
You have probably known something of the situation of our family the past winter -- Mr. Grant went directly to Bristol [Illinois] in this state, where he is still laboring, with more encouragement than in any other place -- The town village is not as large as this, but spiritual things are valued more. Meetings are better attended, church members more active, indeed every thing more encouraging -- The location is fine, on Fox River -- it is three miles away from the R.R. [Railroad] station of the same name, which seems a great way, for now we are only a quarter of a mile from the depot -- I hope Mr. G. [Joel Grant] will think it best to remain then -- I spent a week with him recently, leaving my family of seven in the care of a girl, that makes [Flora’s?] place good -- I have the four teachers of the public school, & [Tom?] Hubbell (formerly of E. Avon) in my family -- John, & Isabella (the girl) -- Willy is taken care of near by -- shall leave him for the summer, in the same care -- Mrs. Spenser does more for him than I could -- He grows, but those dreadful fits have taken so much of his reason, that he cannot take any care of himself -- not so much as to go & get a drink -- he asks for it -- but would empty a cup all over himself if let alone -- we think him a little better just now, but I cannot feel much encouraged as long as he has them at all -- The discipline of someone in his care, is more than every other trial --
I expect to break up here the first of May -- and shall go east after a few weeks -- don’t now know just when -- The place is rented from that time, with the reserve of one wing of the house in that I shall pack, away my furniture to await my return from the east & Mr. G [Joel Grant] will board in B. [Bristol, Illinois] as he now does till fall --
Mr. Grant [Joel Grant] has not yet decided whether John goes east with me -- I hope he can go -- he is a great deal of company for me -- I cannot realize that the time for leaving this pleasant home is so near -- it will be a trial -- There is a spot in our cemetery where two little graves are, side by side that I dread most to leave -- There will be no one to visit them, & remember the beautiful forms that lie beneath -- no other heart yearns over theirs as does the mothers tho their father’s is just as sad and lonely as mine. I shall hope to see you in a few months or weeks -- With love to Daniel & the children as well as yourself. I am your aff. [affectionate] sister Abby
Letter 10 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Newark [New Jersey] Apr. 14, 1859.
Dear Brother & Sister [Daniel Grant and Caroline Burr Grant],
For some weeks we have been just going to write you, but I believe no letter has yet been dispatched.
But with so many irons in the fire as we both have kept, we are at least excusable. Our house is nearly finished, but the grounds will require much time and labor yet. So to get such rooms furnished as we need will require some time and skill.
We have had applications to board families from New York and we think favorably of devoting our house to that use for this Summer. The principal obstacle is the expense of furnishing so many rooms. Our house is very generally admired and the location is very beautiful. It has cost me a year of anxiety --, but I have enjoyed it. Notwithstanding, and now cannot but rejoice at the result so nearly does it meet my idea of what I wanted it to be.
To-day is very rainy and my work is therefore suspended. This is the reason why I am found with pen in hand.
The spring promised to be very early, but for two weeks we have had it chilly and now almost cold at times, and so far this week it has rained a good deal.
Our family are well. Baby grows finely, and is very fat. We call her a beautiful child -- such she is to me.
If Abby [Abigail E. Grant] should visit N. Jersey [New Jersey] she must spend some time with Ms. If she were here now, we should find abundant employment for her, and I think she would enjoy the partial care of her little cousin Gertie. Can she not spend several weeks with us? I think it will not be practicable for Gertrude [Gertrude D. Grant] to spend a part of the Spring <at> in Conn, [Connecticut] as we contemplated.
I have now Mr. A.L. Dennis’ eldest son under my instruction -- to fit for College immediately.
Abbie [Abigail E. Grant] wrote a very pretty letter -- Has improved greatly. We shall be very glad of another such soon. Write soon & often. Your aff. [affectionate] Brother J Grant. [John Grant]
We have a girl now to assist Gertie [Gertrude D. Grant]
-- I home this will relieve us in some degree.
Letter 11 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Care Mrs. Samuel Fletcher
Concord. N.H. [New Hampshire] May 2, 1859.
Mrs. Daniel Grant [Caroline Grant Burr],
My Dear Friend,
Since I was at your house, I have thought of you with deep & tender interest. By writing to me at once I can hear from you here. Since I came here tho last of October I have spend my time in the family of Mrs. Fletcher. Her house is to be rented a year & to day her occupant has taken possession. She & I board near the homestead two weeks perhaps.
Possibly I may remain in Concord longer. But if you wish to write me, now is the best time. The weather has been very fine here for several days the roads very dusty, Crocuses, daffodils to pansies are in bloom.
Will you not tell me all about your family? individually. In your family worship, where are you now reading in the Bible? The advantage is much every way by reading a whole book in course. In the family of Samuel Fletcher Esq. while he lived, each had a Bible in the morning after breakfast & read around two verses each. At the time he departed to heaven last October, they were reading in Pslams. Now they are reading the book of Jeremiah -- I have attended public worship almost every Sabbath morning through the winter. Lessons in the S. [Sabbath] School at noon. I have formed very profitable. In love your aunt. [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]
Please tell me of your children & give them my love.
Concord, N.H. [New Hampshire] May 2, 1859.
Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Grant [Daniel Grant and Caroline Burr Grant],
With your leave I propose to make you a weekly call, or to remind both of you of me, by the arrival through the mail of the “Albany Cultivator,” Today the postage stamps have been enclosed to pay for it the current year. A small book may be expected with the first package. Afterword only the Cultivator from week to week. By your paying the postage in advance from this time onward it will be but little. Perhaps you may like to stitch together the package of No’s that came at first into a book form with paper cover, & often you have read them, loan them for a short time to Marcus [Marcus Grant], for his perusal instruction & entertainment. Tho you may not either of you be able to buy many of the experiments in horticulture or in improved agriculture, you may enjoy knowing something of what is done elsewhere, you are called to do the best you can with such field as you have. But we shall never do the best we can unless we aim at an ideal above our reach of attainment. He that is faithful in that wh. [which] is least, is faithful also in much. In all we do. We are sowing for eternity, & shall soon reap the harvest of our own sowing. May we each of us sow to the Spirit. In best wishes yours Z. P. Banister [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]
Letter 12 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[...] Mrs. Samuel Fletcher
Concord, N.H. May 18, 1859.
Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Grant, [Daniel Grant and Caroline Burr Grant]
My dear friends,
Your responses to me, received five days ago, were most welcome. It is gratifying to know that what I have put into the mail from time to time, for you, has not been added to the immense mass of dead P.O. [Post Office] matter at Washington. Still more gratifying to have evidence, that it has received your attention & approval.
The children given you, are a precious charge. You may use arguments in pleading for grace so to train them, that with Heaven’s blessing, they will glorify God & enjoy him forever. In no other way can you so affectionately benefit your race, as by training <training> these children to be blessings to the world while they live in it. In considering your location, & in choosing your future business, the great question will be, what will be best suited to promote the good of these children, the good of your posterity, to the end of time. Many lapses of business one constantly changing & therefore very uncertain. Many, & even most departments in our country, except that of cultivation of the soil, are crowded. Multitudes of young men & of middle aged, are in vain seeking for employment in all parts of our country. Every where I have been, I have inquired for openings for young men, & for much as had capacity for business. And every where I have been told, that places would not be formed for nearly all that were then on the ground. Often has it been said, “If a man’s income meets his expenses, I could not encourage him to leave his present situation.”
A boy that is brought up on a farm, & in his youth learns how to work & manage a farm, is better prepared to get a comfortable & respectable living in the vicissitudes of life, than he would have been without an agricultural education. Should he even have large means, he knows better how to use them. If his health becomes impaired he has capacity for interesting himself on the soil, in the open air, under the most favorable circumstances for regaining it -- Farmers have much more favorable opportunities, year by year, for reading & mental such time, than tradesmen, & ordinarily also, for exerting a healthful influence on the community around them. The regular industrious habits wh. [which] they can lead their children to form, are a great safeguard to their morals.
These thoughts were in my mind, & I suggest them as you requested. The chance of final success in new business could not be equal to that of continuing in old. “Slow & sure” “[Taint?] yet [promising?]” are mottoes not to be despised,. May Heaven guide you in the best way.
The study of Latin, under good instruction, is uniformly acknowledged, as better suited to promote mental discipline than the study of French. Latin forms a part of the foundation of English & French, & of many other living languages. One who knows Latin, can easily acquire any other language. The nations of Europe are pressing in upon us in such numbers & spreading themselves through the length & breadth of the land, that our descendents near & remote may find a great advantage in such a discipline of studying Latin as shall facilitate their learning any living European language. They may need if for common intercourse, for teaching Germans & others to read the Bible as well as for usefulness in extending school education.
Learning to write rapidly, & as legible as print is important to both your children. They need first to write well & then practise in copying such hymns as they commit to memory, & various other things. Let them make out bills & learn Book Keeping if you can.
I thank for all the particulars you wrote. My love to your children. Let each write me a note sometime if I cannot answer them
Your friend & Aunt
[Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]
Letter 13 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
N. Stonington [North Stonington, Connecticut] Sept. 2, 1859.
Dear Sister [Caroline Burr Grant],
Your letter mailed Aug. 30 at Norfolk [Connecticut] sent to Stonington remailed there Sept. 1. to No. Stonington came to me this morning -- I am afraid I shall not see your sister Mary [Mary Burr Hill], but have written to her, that I shall be happy to see her in Newark [New Jersey], and assuring her that she will be welcome at Brother Johns [John Grant] -- that letter will not go till tomorrow, and she will not get it till Mond. or Tues. I should like very much to see her, & hope to -- Was glad to hear from you, & that John [John C. Grant] was a good boy, & is well -- he will always remember this visit at your house, and I hope the children will henceforth correspond -- J. [John C. Grant] will have to learn to write better, before it will be pleasant for any one to receive from him -- Your assurance that he is a good boy, is grateful, for I think you are honest in your expression -- I do not expect perfection in him, but I do want him to do right, and be kind, polite, and gentlemanly -- I miss him so much, when away from him -- Tom Hubbell is sorry he did not come here with me, but it is best (economically) that he did not -- I came here Wed. leave to-morrow morn -- hope to get to Winsted [Connecticut] tomorrow noon -- shall leave there Tues-morn from Newark [New Jersey] -- & often spending our week in N. & N.Y. [New York] shall start for my western home.
Received a letter from my husband [Joel Grant] here this morn -- shall have another from him next Mond at W [Winsted, Connecticut], He is rejoicing as much as I am in the prospect of being again united -- I hope if I ever come east again, to be accompanied by him, I do not like to be long separated from him. I know it is nothing in comparison with years but three months seems to me a long time --
I think of my visit at your house with a great deal of pleasure. I know you all better than ever before -- and Sister C. [Caroline Burr Grant] I shall never forget your sisterly kindness -- I wish we lived nearer together, so that as brothers & sisters we might in time exchange those thoughts that have a sympathy -- Mrs. Grant writes as if Bristol [Illinois] was improving, and becoming more and more desirable -- I long to be there, and arrange our homes. If you should go west you will not fail to visit us --
My welcome at Avon [Connecticut], was touching, all seem to remember our stay there with pleasure, & wish Mr. G. [Joel Grant] would return there --
The bell is ringing for Mr. Hubbell’s preparatory lecture -- I must go -- a word more after meeting. Tom says there is 15 minutes more. Is Abby [Abigail E. Grant B ] going home with Mary [Mary Burr Hill]? I wish I lived near enough to have her come and stay awhile with me -- & Eddy [Edward Grant] too. John [John C. Grant] will miss him --
Did you and Daniel [Daniel Grant] enjoy the Aurora Borealis last Sab. [Sabbath] eve? It was beautiful in Avon -- we watched it a long time -- I shall hope to hear from you soon after reaching home -- You know I am interested in particulars Brother Daniel [Daniel Grant] knows so too --
Love to all your family from your aff [affectionate] sister Abby [Abigail Cowles Grant]
Letter 14 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Bristol, Ill. [Illinois] Sept. 19, 1859.
Dear Brother [Daniel Grant],
I was absent last week at Chicago, attending the National Fair &c, & did not therefore receive yours of the 10th. (mailed the 12th) until day before yesterday. I hasten to acknowledge its receipt -- also of its contents -- viz. a draft on N. J. [New Jersey] for $300. As soon as the necessary papers can be drawn wh. I will forward your note & mortgage for a loan of $500 I write now to acknowledge receipt, and answer a few questions -- also to state that Abby [Abigail Cowles Grant] & John [John C. Grant] arrived safely in Chicago, day before yesterday (Saturday) where I met them, & they all accompanied me here. They visited John [John Grant] & Phelps [Elijah Phelps Grant] on their way here -- speak with interest of their visits with you & yours, & seem in the main to have had a good time. They met Mrs. Hill [Mary Burr Hill] at John’s [John Grant] as you have been already informed.
Now as to some of your inquiries. The taxes on this $500, it will be best to pay in Norfolk [Connecticut]. My impression is that they must be paid there, since there is no one here upon whom the law can properly lay any such obligation. But however that may be, it would be best to pay them in Norfolk, because taxes are so much lighter there than in any place at the West.
I do not see the way clear to pay your Wisconsin taxes from the interest of this money -- though it may be best as well as possible to do so. The difficulty will be that no interest will be due at that time. But as the amount will not be large, & as I shall be owing you more than enough to meet the taxes, I will see that all is made right. It will not be the best to pay, I think, till the returns are made at the County Office -- though I will give the matter another investigation & see how it may be. Some new laws have been passed during the past year, but whether more or less are favorable than the past I have no means of knowing.
Your remarks concerning caution were not amiss, nor do I take them so. I feel that every obligation bind both you and me to use this money sacredly. I am aware that it requires caution, I am aware that it requires caution, & Judgment to make these things right, & moreover that even these qualities cannot make matters absolutely sure. I have no fear but that I can invest it safely, but ere many years <long> perhaps, the investment will need to be changed, & there will be the danger. At that time unless you have some one here in whom you can place entire confidence it may be well to put it into land. But land even here does not year by year pay even 6 per cent, and an investment in a loan, secured by land, is as safe as the land can be. The questions to be answered have reference to the title & value of the land -- If the title is good, & the value sufficient, the loan is safe. If the title is not good & the value not sufficient, a purchase would not be safe.
Indeed do not say that the view of your uncle & aunt, who keep some thousands by them for fear they should lose it, is both unwise & inhuman--–unwise because if <you> placed at interest, it would require by a little time (11 2/3 years at six per cent) for it to double, & even if they should lose the principal they would be no worse off than <to> in hoarding it, inhuman, because that money in the hands of some industrious, prudent, & deserving man would do him good, & the world likewise. But every one must take his own way. This, however, can never be untrue that riches take wings & fly away. Secured by mortgage they are as safe as in any other way -- yet not absolutely so. If hoarded, the thief makes through & steals; if placed in banks that fail, if invested in buildings they burn, or decay, or decline in value -- if invested in lands, those lands may, & often do diminish in value, (as almost every where in New England & state more so enduring the past year for two at the West) Your mortgage & note will probably be ready in three weeks. With love to all
Your aff. [affectionate] brother Joel Grant.
Tues. [...] Sept. 20 --
Dear Sister [Caroline Burr Grant],
I am at last at Bristol [Illinois] once more, happy with my husband, perhaps enjoying these talks the more, for having been so long away. A kind Providence protected us in all our way, and kept us from accident -- we were delayed three hours at Altoona, and in consequence eight at Pittsburg wh. [which] gave me only 24 hours at brother Phelp’s [Elijah Phelps Grant], but the visit tho [though] brief, was very pleasant indeed -- If you ever come west again you will enjoy the south route -- from Phil [Philadelphia] to Pittsburg, beauty and grandeur are most exquisitely combined -- the ascent of the Alleganies is quite beyond any poor words of mine to describe. It must be seen to be felt, enjoyed, & treasured --
I was very glad of the little visit with your sister Mrs. Hill [Mary Burr Hill] -- I want to know her more and shall endeavor to if circumstances ever permit -- should love to live near her, and you too dear sister. How pleasant it would be if we could daily, or even a few times in a year speak to each other of the many things that interest us! I feel a great way off from those nearest my heart, (of course excepting my own husband & children) -- Let me hear from you fully & often -- Give my love to your husband & children & your sister when you write to her -- Tell Daniel [Daniel Grant], I am still interested in “little things,” for they are what life is made up of -- J. [Joel Grant] is waiting, & I must close -- John [John C. Grant] is well & enjoys the remembrance of his visit with you sends his love to you all -- Mine also to you all
your aff. [affectionate] sister Abby –
My visit with you was very pleasant -- Enjoyed it a great deal more than I can tell you -- hope for more of the same sometime
Letter 15 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Flemington [New Jersey] Nov 20/59
Dear Brother & Sister [Daniel Grant and Caroline Burr Grant],
We received Carr’s [Caroline Burr Grant] short letter with its one item of intelligence and its promise of a future letter which we hope will contain more -- Am glad that you rec’d [received] the Bundle and hope that it will be worth the expressage -- Mary [Mary Burr Hill] has gone to evening meeting and I thought I would chat a while with you. We finished husking our corn yesterday and it was just in time for last night the very pleasant weather of the last two weeks was suddenly blown clear out of he country by a decidedly cool north winter that has lost none of its intensity by a days acquaintance, We have a little snow sprinkled over the ground and should it not get warmer will have a good ice by morning -- put [pumpkins?] in the barn today out of the way of Jack frost and some of the better ones in the cellar and garret for winter use. Our corn crop did not turn out so well as we expected quite some of it did not get ripe in the flat part of the field of the last planting, many others complain of the same defect. In consequence if so much soft corn shall feed a young steer that I wanted to keep another year, a fine growing animal that would be that time weigh 800 pounds of meat. Have had some rats in our cellar lately for the first time since we kept house and find them troublesome stock. to entertain as they help themselves to whatever they like and take more than they want to eat as that. Have caught several of them in a trap and think we have them all -- Aunt Nancy had a letter from Aunt Eliza a few days since. She is well but says that the hard times has reached them and that they are economizing to raise money to pay interest and payment on farm in the spring. Had dried 20 Bu [bushels] peaches around the stove and was drying all the apples that she would. Father [Ebenezer Burr] was quite poorly again a few days ago and did not sleep for several nights, is better again but feels very weak today. Daniel [Daniel Grant] better not put on all the coats that he has as I think that we will have colder weather before next harvest. Have not received any answer from the person that I wrote to about Virginia land so that the fever is likely to die out for want of fuel to feed upon. The land is said to be quite hilly but fertile and the climate such that cattle need not be fed in ordinary winter more than 4 months what a saving of labour over making provision for 7 months as you have to in Conn. [Connecticut] and we do here almost for the same length of time. Were it a free state it would be very speedily taken up and made productive, they have but very few slaves in that part of the state: I mean to see it sometime if I live -- A person can not get as good prices for produce in countries so far from market but you can raise them at less cost and you can have about you almost all the necessaries if life with less outlay of capital and labour than in the older settled parts of the country -- but then you miss some of the comforts of society and refinement -- Should I ever [...] like several families of my acquaintance to go and settle in the neighbourhood. Hope that you will find time to write us a good long letter before long and that Brother will let us know how he is getting on -- I will do some ditching should the weather soften a little, and get my threshing along as fast as possible. How tired I get sometimes of that which many people are now craving and how little we think of the blessings that we enjoy in times of prosperity. Many will be the sufferers that would gladly do something for their daily bread this winter and can not find is to do but the fountain of charity will not all dry up and many will still be able to spare of their abundance. Hope that you will have as good thanksgiving and that you may be truly thankful -- And that we may be also
Letter 16 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Flemington [New Jersey] Dec. 5, 1859.
My dear Father and Mother [Daniel Grant and Caroline Burr Grant],
I got here last Saturday noon and I came alone all the way from Newark [New Jersey].
And now as you want to know what I do I am going to tell you what I have done since I have been here when I came in Saturday the children were having their bath Allie [Alletta Hill] was not dressed and she came to me and let me dress her and knew who I was though she said that she had never seen me before then we ate dinner and after dinner Aunt Mary [Mary Burr Hill] made a fire in my room. At two o’clock she went to a meeting and did not come back till dark and while she was gone I unpacked my trunk (I packed my trunk all alone at Uncle John’s [John Grant] and did not let any one help me) and played with the Children, when Aunt Mary came home we had tea and then I put Minnie [Mary P.B. Hill]and Allie to bed. Minnie was to sleep with me but Allie cried so that I put them both in my bed (and when Aunt Mary came to bed she carried Allie into her room) then I went down and hemed one end and part of another of a [?] and then I went to bed.
Tuesday morning just as quick as I was up and dressed and dressed Minnie too I went down to breakfast and after breakfast I went up to air the beds and was called down to <air the beds> see Miss Henrietta as Aunt Mary tells me to call her. Uncle William [William Hill] and Aunt Mary went to church But I did not there was a kind of sleet commenced a little while after I got here saturday and it rained and was.slippery. This morning I got up at six oclock and dressed my self and went down to breakfast after breakfast I came <down> up to air the beds and then I went down and washed the dishes and then swept the sitting room and then helped Aunt <move> fix some beds then I made Aunts bed and then put some seeds into my skirt and then began to write a letter to Uncle John [John Grant] and Aunt Gertie [Gertrude Day Grant] for Aunt Mary thought that would have to go first and when I had got it partly written she found out that this had got to go first so I had to stop I am writing up in Aunt Mary room by the register.
I have got on my old green delaine dress. Well give my love to Uncle Erastuses [?] and Aunt Sallie’s and Carrie Tibbals and Miss Sevens and Sarah Gaylord and Marh Norton and cousin [?] I cant think of any more you will have to tell me the next time you write
Your aff. [affectionate] daughter,
Abbie E Grant [Abigail E. Grant B ]
instruction as she needed -- other wise she might have staied a few weeks longer.
Abby [Abigail E. Grant B ] says her teachers would never allow her to go through Mental Arithmetic & Father [Daniel Grant] would not allow her to study written Arithmetic until she learns the mental -- She wanted to study Grammar & mother [Catherine Grant] made her study History. She does not seem to have studied the last of any book thoroughly -- if at all -- “Uncle John has been scolding” &c, I have given her a Grammar Lesson which she is to repeat this P. M. “She never could understand the last of Colburn. I intend to make her,
Abby is just now teaching Sammy [Samuel Hill] a column in Multiplication. I have also given her Minnie [Mary P.B. Hill]in charge to teach the Phonetic Alphabet [Phonography], I laughed to read its letter to uncle John -- She said “she had been hungry as a bear ever since coming here but she dare not ask for any thing, for Aunt Mary was all the time scolding the children for asking,” She meant between meals. You need not fear she shall have enough to eat.