Mary Harvey to Ruth Fletcher, 1883 February 22

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Glen Elder Mitchell Co. KansasFeb 22nd 1883Dear Aunt,

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your kind and very letter of the 16th of Jan- came to hand the 18th of this month. I am living here in the country. I hoped when we left Malcom. to have the rest, of living in Town a while but the fates (and stubbornness) were against me and I am here drudging away as I have been ever since I left the shelter of your roof to marry for a home, which I have never found and which I shall scarcely find this side the grave. If I have caused you pain by not writing? it has been to spare you pain. for you know it is almost impossible to write, and entirely hide ones feelings and I am very unhappy.

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For the first 12 or 14 years after I came west I said very little about going East although I had promised you I would go in 5 years. I thought I could not spend either time or money. since that time I have spoken of it often, always with the same success, I am met with either silence or there are thousands of obstacles thrown in the way, how often I think of you, or how my heart aches to see you, you can never know. How many; many; times I have tried to write to you and could not because I could not see for tears If you could know the true history of my life for 32 years you would be more supprised that I ever write, than you are that I do not write often one comfort that I have always had, I knew that you always remembered me at the family Alter I have even calculated the difference in time so as to know nearer the exact time you were at your devotion, and another thing I have allways felt sure of was that if my trials become unendurable that there was a home

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where I should be welcome. I used to tell my Children when they were too young to take care of themselves, if I should die to go straight to Uncle Andrew, as they could expect no help or comfort from Father There are many things I want to tell you, many that I cannot write one thing I think I had tell you is that C.C. has been the cause of some trouble to me, he is the same in many respects that he was as a boy he has talent of a high order, but lacks stability He always goes into every thing deep and is always just going to make his fortune, he makes a great deal of money and is always short and wants help from his friends, is always offended if every one does not give him every cent they are worth to try some new project that they have no faith in. But worse than all that he put away his wife she was as old as I and as neat as could be, and a respectable woman (Emma I think you have her picture) and took a low sweed Girl less than 20 years old and ran off to Texas, was gone

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1 1/2 years came back with one baby & now they have 3. they live in the south part of this Co.

The following is added upside down and between the previous lines.

she was more sinned against than sinning and is a kind hearted person but so uncultivated they are as dirty as he used to be fastidious not away from home of course all these things are thrown up to me and I feel terribly disgraced I think he has misled you in thinking many things differently from what they really are, I know one thing he wrote you that I was a very strong woman when at that time I had my [courses] every other week. certainly I worked, for the work was to do, and no matter how much I need help, I allmost never have any. Now he has a big on hand and is determined to have my Clark to help him and I feel as though his influence over Clark at his age (19) would be bad and I suppose I shall mortally C.C. by not letting him go, besides they are so dirty C could hardly stay there six months on a wager

Clark has nearly completed a four months Term of school. it is 2 1/2 miles away, he has boarded at home, will receive one hundred dollars, for the Term he earned over one hundred last year and still helped at home 2 months of the time he intends as soon as he is of age to save all he can earn and go to school, he is one of the best boys in the world and does not mix readily with the rough people one meets, I have great hopes that if he lives he will be a good man he has been (I think) a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church since he was 13, his health is never very good but he is as tall as my Father

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Lizzie and her husband are very kind to me, they, as you are perhaps aware, commenced on very little, still they never suffered for any thing but comfortable buildings, After they had been married about 5 years his Father gave him one Thousand dollars, and he was for four years Sheriff of the Co. which payed pretty well. They have now 640 acres of land 2 fair houses ocupied by renters for rent, a comfortable house well furnished and barn in Beloit they live in Beloit they have I suppose as many as 80 cattle 300, sheep and 25 or 30 hogs, they have now only 4 horses, they ride in a Cariage, wear fine cloths, or as Aunt Mandana would say, array themselves in purple and fine linen. They have 2 Boys, one 8 the other will be 3 the first of June in some respects Lizzie is like aunt Lydia, she weighs about 100, lbs

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how hard it seems that Aunt Lydia is so treated after all she did for those children, and in fact it seems as though she had been doing good all her life I am sure I owe her a debt of gratitude which can never be paid If I could get her here I could take care of her, and it would be a great comfort will you give her my love I think of you both oftener as I grow older. How much care and trouble I was to both of you and how little I realized it all that time What a blessing to you that your children are settled so near you. I can see in my mind where you all live, how glad I should be could I see with my eyes, I shall still keep trying to go to see you, I may fail as ever before but I shall do my best, I hardly dare to ask but want to know if Uncle Lem is still living, will you tell me of them all, and their address, also Carlos and Ellen, will you tell me of them I never hear from them only through you

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The following two sentences are written upside down at the top of page 7.

can you give me Mr Leach's address if he is still in Kas? Did you mean Eliza Hodgkin? you know my age and the need I have of rest from both labor and care_ but I get neither, their is always more wanted of me for four years I have had chills and hot flashes, I should say as often as every half hour, it is hard to bear and I often feel as though it would be a comfort to lie down in the grave, but I must still drag along this weary way, on my feet from early morn till late at night, My house work has always included the hog feeding, raising chickens, [hunting] Egs bringing wood and water, making garden Churning, and getting the cows, And there is very little work on the farm but I have helped out, At the same time I have twice had my lungs examined for application for life insureance and the companys would not accept my application because of diseased Lungs. Still I dont think I shall die of consumption, and with propper rest I might yet be of some use in the world

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I am afraid, I have written what I had not ; that you will wish I had kept silence in stead, but is is hard to stop when once started

I have written so poorly that it will be hard for you to read, Lizzie and Frank are away for 5 or 6 weeks to visit in I.l.l., Ia, Mo and Kas the children are here. Their noise, and wants have not helped me to write well

I know I need not ask you to remember me in your prayers, you will without my asking I do hope you will write to me. and don't think for a moment that, I shall ever for one day cease to remember you with both gratitude and love

yours AfectionatelyMary

The following postscript is written upside down at the bottom of Page 8.

will you tell me of Mrs Lock's Boys & Jonnie [Yale].


Mr. Andrew FletcherWaterville,Lamoille Co. Vermont.BeloitKAN.FEB 24