Mary Harvey to Ruth Fletcher, 1868 October 6

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Malcom Powesheik Co. Iowa Oct 6th 1868Dear Aunt

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yours of Sept 26th is received I do neglect you but I am truly sorry to have caused you so much anxiety and hope if you can you will forgive me but do not for one moment think the reason of my silence is from any ill feeling toward you or yours on the [contrary] I have all the feelings of Love, Gratitude, and sumpathy for you that I am capable of feeling for any human being, I think of you all every day of my life, and when Allie Died, I was very for you not for him, for he has escaped a world, and must be better off than to have stayed, he is the same little Boy to me that [wanted bread and with][        ] and as such can have nothing to answer for at the bar of God; and how many times I have wished in the last 20 years that I had died when my Father died how much better it would have been for me and all concerned, for unless something very remarkable takes place my life will prove an entire failure

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as you request me to tell you whatever is wrong I will do so though it will give you pain, with the understanding it is only for you and Uncle to know for I am just as proud as ever, and if I could have written without your feeling as though the wrong was worse than it is I would have done so the mistake of my life was in an old man and I found the mistake in less than one week. I tried to put the best face on the matter that I could, and hoped as long as we stayed in Vt that if we were away from his folks that we could get along better, but instead of better it has been worse and worse untill I am very unhappy and if it was not for my Children it is impossible to tell what I would do as it is, as long as I can endure his disagreable Clownish ways I shall do so and work hard to educate my Children you supposed him to be a Clever man, so did I untill I found the Cleverness to be indolence and deceit, now the difficulty in his way and the only hope I have for my children in this everything is in my name, and he has told me that he would rather every cent would go to pay his Fathers Debts than that I or my Children should have it he is not even willing to acknowlege that I have ever done any thing to help accumulate what we have got

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says if I had helped half as much as I have hindered he would be a rich man, (he had from his Father when he was 42 1/2 years old eight hundred Dollars and an old watch) I think you know whether I done any thing while I lived in Vt toward a living we have [     ] not called a doctor so many times as we have kept house [     ], I saved up of bedding and clothing so that we have only bought 2 webbs of Cotton since we came west and but very little flannel, until my little Boy was born I worked out of doors more than in the house, have until the last 2 years taken the place of a boy out of doors feeding hogs and horses saving steps for him untill I am as old and stiff in my joints as one ought to be at 60 we have in the last 3 years kept a hired man the most of the time I have always kept all the [        ] for I could possibly do for, we have built and nearly finished a house 24 by 36 and to do that board every hand I had 4 days help in the house, in the whole time that I have lived in the west I have had 4 weeks help the summer that we were in Ills from the middle of June untill the middle of Septemberfirst of Oct I earned mr H, Lizzies, and my own living and saved besides 32 dollars,

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I have kept my own council very seldom go from home if I do go he is jealous and disagreable so I stay at home and work I have been to Church but twice in the last year and what gives me the greatest annoyance is he always, if I get a letter from any of my relatives manages to get up some kind of a family broil so that it is impossible for me to write when we was first married he commenced to tell me I was not like any other woman from that I have got to be the worse, says my Brothers advised him to leave me before we had been maried 2 years, he is an old man in his ways older even than his Father was when we left Vt and has no ambition to be any thing or have any thing and has no ambition for the Children thinks they ought to work for him as he did for his Father, I ought not trouble you with such matters I know but if I did not tell you any thing of these things you would worry more about me than if I told you do not feel bad about it if you can help it remember it is not so bad as it might I shall try as I always have done to make the best of it and shall try and not disgrace myself and Children by makeing any thing a public talk. I wish you would both come west next summer and make me a long visit you know that with the exception of my Children I have nobody in the State I went to see Levi in Ills last spring was gone one week had not been out of the Co. before since I came into it, L was married

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3 years ago to a good quiet respectable Girl her parents were English, they have one Child a little girl healthy and looks like my little one that died L is very fond of her, his is Teaching in Alexander Morgan Co., gets 60 dollars per month for the next 2 months, always gets from 50 to 60 and is saving all he can so as to go to Kansas intends to go to raising Stock C C is in Kansas his address is Emperia, Lyon Co. you are possibly aware that my Grandfather and Grandmother are both Dead. Aunt [       ] came to see me 2 years ago staid 3 weeks and promised to come again and stay a long time when her Children could spare her she was with Levi in Wis the last I heard from her her Children are somewhat scattered, they have a second Cousin living in Grinnell, one of my best friends this Co. is setling up rapidly, it is one of the finest in the State, excellent land, good watter, good society, schools and the College in a flourishing condition altogether it is a desireable place to live and I am better satisfied with the country every year, there is plenty of hard work to be done if one wishes to accumulate property unless they have plenty of capital, but I suppose that is the case in all new Countries, another difficulty there is great want of more womans help men can get along better for there is machines

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and horse power for almost every thing while with women if they have any machinery the motive power is main strength, in some parts of the west Swedes and Norwegians are comeing in great number they are the best of help

Lizzie is rather more healthy than she used to be she is going to school Clark is just getting over an illinois Fever he is quite a promising Child will be 5 years old the 10th of November, for myself I feel old but manage to accomplish quite an amount of hard work for a person of my strength give my love to all my Friends your Children and Aunt Lydia, and remember whatever happens in the future I shall remember you every day of my life with much Love, write to me often I will try to answer, direct to me if you please

Mary F. H