Mary Harvey to Ruth and Andrew Fletcher, 1863 January 24

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Malcom Powesheik Co IowaJan. 24th 1863Dear Uncle & Aunt

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we received A letter from you last April but had written A few Days before and told you every thing I could think of that would be likely to interest you and I have hardly written A word since we have all enjoyed as good health as usual for the year past Calebs Eyes trouble him a great deal yet; and he has been laid up by L[       ] Considerable and as we are not able to hire but very little and have plenty of work to do a few days lost time puts us back more perhaps than one would think but we have on the whole done well the year past Our crops were for the most part good, Corn especialy was excellent

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I think we had about 600 bushels which would bring 15 cts per bushel if we had any to spare but we have not wheat did not do so well we had only 100 bushels, shall have about 60 bush to spare price varies from 50 to 70 cts Barley was good: raised 120 bushels shall have about 80 bush. to spare price about the same as wheat Potatoes grew nicely but as they ripened a great many rotted we had when dug only 60 bushels they are as high as 75 cts per bushel we have Shaker Russets, Carters, & Jackson Whites we raised all the vegetables that wanted this is a great Country for any thing of that kind. we have bushels of Tomatoes we think A great deal of them they ripen very Early. we fatted and sold [9] Hogs besides 2 for ourselves. have raised about 20 Pigs, sold [5] and have lost three nice ones so we have but 12 for next year (or the next fall market)

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have raised 1 Colt & 5 Calves Besides Caleb is Highway Supervisor and his District is the Stage Road through the Township 6 miles. he has to work about 40 Dollars every year more than the our Tax we have [hired] in all about 6 weeks. the rest we have done alone and have had to be quite busy I assure you. now I suppose you think we ought to be makeing money; we do not strive to make money but to improve our little place and make ourselves more comfortable, when we came from Vt our means were small we have had to study economy in every thing, we have been blessed with good health and have prospered as well as could have been expected still we are poor and perhaps always shall be: but we are in hopes to be comfortable if we are poor. but we have to pay enormous prices for every thing we buy, we can

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get but 4 lbs brown sugar for [100] Tea is 1,80, per lb Coffee has been as high as 50 cts per pound, but is now selling at 40 cts. Cotton Cloth 30 cts per yard and any thing in the shape of Flannel is 70 or 7[ ] cts, Thread 10 cts per spool, and every thing else in proportion we wish we had brought more Cloth of all kinds for we begin to need it already we wear out more clothing here than we used to East we are haveing the most Beautiful winter that I ever knew any where, there has been no snow and but few Cold Days the weather is just right for every thing but getting up wood, we need snow for that, the Cattle and Colt, ran in the Corn stalks and do not come up half of the time to be fed although we always feed them when they will eat in your last you spoke of Lyman? of his being , that was news to me, how long since he was married, what sort of A Wife has he got and where was he living that the [     ] troubled him, how are the rest Uncles Lem, Shepard, and Verona, I wish I could see them then perhaps I could feel more like writing to them I dont feel acquainted and dont know how to write to them

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how is Aunt Lydia and her family; well I hope; and Maria is she still liveing at Mr Peck's and is his health good Ella wrote that Elias and Enos had gone to the War. and that Elias was Dead, very sad news, and must be especially so to his relatives, how is his Wife and where and have you heard from Enos please tell us about it. how is [Abba] getting along; did you know that Cornelius was in the Army. how are Mr Coddings and Mr Locks Families and every body else that we know Ella is a real good hand to write what is going on I wish she would write often and tell us all about every body and Craig must not be a bad Boy and say he wont write to his poor Relation (Cousin) for when I write I certainly mean every one and write I guess more than enough for the whole Family. I do wish Craig would come out here I think he could do well, if you would

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furnish him with a flock of about 500 sheep and a good Team he would need to buy no Land at and in 5 years by good management he would be as well off as you are now, do you wonder why we dont by Sheep if it is such profitable business, well you see we are not able if we was we would have 300 in less than six months wool growing is at presant the most profitable business in this state, in this part of the state there is plenty of Prairie where they can get their liveing through the summer only they have to be herded Days and nights a man can with a good dog herd 500 quite easily and there is plenty of good grass to make hay, think of it; we had a letter from Danville a few days since, Chas is at home his Wife Died last winter he has 4 children 2 Girls which he left with his Wife's Sister in Ohio [ ] 2 Boys which he sent to his

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Father last Spring. the little Boys were both Sick in the fall so he went home and his Father he says was taken sick soon after has been very sick is not well yet also that Mr Kimpton's youngest child had lately Died, it seems to be quite sickly in Vt

I suppose you knew that Ellen C went home last spring, she has not written to me but Grandma wrote me that she had been there I never could imagine why she came West or why she went home after she had come Levi is Teaching in Ill,s

Lizzie does not go to school in Winter, so we have a school at home, she is learning pretty well but not half fast enough to suit me when she gets so as to she will write to Ella. but I am not a very good hand to learn any one to write so I am aff afraid she will not be able to write for some time

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she thinks of you all often she is sure that she will go back home the first . she is quite a large Girl and is much stronger than she used to be have you got those Pictures for me yet, you remember that you was to send me the whole Family I should be very Glad if you would send them soon you can get them on small Plates taken seperately and without Cases put them in a little Box with a little Cotton Seal. Direct Plain: and send by mail Please write: all of you?

Love to allMary