Kansas Historical Quarterly - Letters of John and Sarah Everett, 1854-1864, 3
Miami County Pioneers
November 1939 (Vol. 8, No. 4), pages 350 to 383
Transcribed by Sean Furniss; digitized with permission of
the Kansas Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets are links to footnotes for this text.
Longwood, Sep. 1, 1859.
We got the last rennet in mother's and your letter last week. I am afraid you are bothered a great deal with us and with getting rennets— We sent a few weeks ago to Pittsfield Mass. for a package, and hoped they would have been here before this time, but I begin to fear they will not be here in season for this summer.
I have had a great deal of trouble because I couldn't get what rennet I wanted. Half the time for the last six weeks I have not bad enough to bring the cheese in any reasonable length of time, and then 'twould be dragging around till noon so that the cheese would of course get sour these awful hot days, and besides it kept my work behind all the time so I could hardly get around with it. I wish you would try to engage a parcel f or us this summer for next.
I dont think what you have sent lately were near so good as those in the early part of the season— Two go no farther than one did then. The reason we dont kill the calves is because all it costs to keep one here is the fodder in the winter which is a mere trifle, and when they are three or four years old they are worth from forty to a hundred dollars a yoke. We can better pay $1.00 for every rennet we use and the postage besides than kill the calves. We have now two stacks of prairie hay (25 tons) and one stack (4 tons) of hungarian, which with our nine or ten acres of corn fodder will be ample for our stock of about 35 head great and small, and our horses.
We shall thresh what little wheat we have with flails so soon as John can get lumber for a floor. Our hand-mill answered a very good turn the first winter but it got broke. Those mills are pretty much of a humbug. There is a mill building in Osawatomie which is intended to be ready for flouring in a short time, and another up above town about the same distance from us that has been in operation a year. It is not worth while to send the salt on the rennet. Shake them as clear as possible from it and save the postage.
Our folks are now working on their wheat ground. They get their seed for $1.00 a bushel. Tuesday we were over again to Paola with cheese sold $19.60 worth, $17.00 in cash. We can now get cash for all that we make by carrying a part of it to Paola. We have sold just $132.80 cts worth of cheese and have all of Aug. cheese yet on hand except three, so I presume we shall have full as much more for market.
We have had a very favorable summer for vegetation. The corn crop (the main crop here) is as good as I ever saw. I wish you could find rennet enough so that you could send us half a dozen at a time. Sarah's cheese has been set two hours now (9 o'clock) and is hardly ready to cut up yet. I am afraid you have a good deal of trouble in getting enough rennet to supply us. If Uncle Henry does not have dry rennets, there must, I should think, be some butcher in Utica who does. Perhaps Uncle Henry would know of some. Sarah has had great discouragements in making cheese this summer, what with hot weather, poor arrangements, flies, mice, &c &c. We try to conquer all as best we can, and do not feel at all doleful about our success; but a scarcity of rennet makes us think of the Israelites who were compelled to make brick without straw. Our ambition is to make as good cheese as can be made in Kansas. If it is a possible thing, we want twenty or thirty rennets to start on next spring. Do you think there is that number for sale in Oneida County, New York? and that they could reach Kansas by any means, by, say, the last day of March, 1860? (I seriously doubt whether there were twenty calves killed in Kansas this year.) I send a gold dollar in this.
The health around us is quite good for the season of the year. This you know is the sickly season, but I have never known as little complaint since we have been here at this time of year.
I want to try to raise funds to get five to ten more cows next summer. I want to build a stable 70 or 80 feet long this fall. What is the size of the long pieces at the top where the stanchels play, and of the pieces at the bottom—how thick & wide? Is three feet the standing room for a cow? Must close. We are all well, for which we desire to be thankful. Wish some of you could come out and see us. But I fear we will have to wait for that.
John & Sarah
Osawatomie Sept 30. 1859
Your letter of the 16, we got today with two rennets also we had one last Sat. which I have not ans. You said in your letter we got Sat. how disappointed you were at not getting a letter the Sat eve. before you were writing (the rainy eve.) "Poor girl" John said "if she only knew what a scolding she will get when that letter comes she would sit down very cheerfully without it." Your budget's had not got to coming weekly when we sent that letter and we were using the only borrowed rennet we could get in the whole Territory so far as we knew, the weather was so warm that mornings milk would sour in 12 hrs and nights milk by noon—so we could do nothing to speak of butter making. go you see as our case seemed desperate we felt constrained to try a desperate remedy hence the wildcat nature of that communication— The 4 rennets you speak of will be sufficient for this year. I cannot tell just how late I shall continue to make cheese—through Oct. I guess— I have set my head on selling $250. worth of cheese—but if I can make more at butter making when the weather gets cooler shall not be particular about the precise amount of either. We have sold $145 of cheese and have on hand at least $85 worth more.
My last letter I believe was sent unfinished owing to my being sick— I had a severe attack of intermittent fever but am well now, only not so strong— According to your letter you will be in N. Y. City while I am writing this. I have been trying to make John think he can afford to go out to Steuben this fall and stay through the winter—but I cant convince him— I'd be willing to get along 'most any shape if he could— I can fairly feel the pleasure it would be to him and his folks if he could be there.
I send this as it is. We are going to Paola to day with cheese (Oct 3.) Pray forgive my bluntness in my other letter. I am obliged to return the $10. bill. Perhaps it is good. But our currency here is mostly gold and silver, and as we are so far from Bill makers people are shy of bills at all doubtful. Bills go undoubted with you, are generally good here. We are all in tolerable health now.
With much love in haste Sarah and John
Osawatomie Dec 14, 1859.
I believe we have let a longer interval elapse than we should without a letter to let you know how we are. Sarah's health is a good deal better than common at this time of year. The children and myself are as well as common. We have had unusually cold weather this month. A week yesterday (Election day) was very cold, mercury in thermometer 90 below zero. It is also very dry. These two causes operating together make winter wheat look badly. The weather is however very pleasant—cool nights, bright days—a bracing air. Yesterday morning we saw a brilliant aurora borealis —rainbow-red pillars shooting half way to the zenith—the second appearance this winter and I think the third I have seen in Kansas. We got a paper from Jane yesterday containing a pair of gloves and belt buckle both very nice & just the thing. Also a letter last week with bonnet lining and ribbon. Sarah says she is going to write to Jane as soon as she gets time. I returned a $10 bill I got from Jane, which was doubtful and would not pass here as much as two months ago and have never heard from it. Was it received safe? I must close now With much love
Your son John.
There was a "nigger hunt" (as they call it) in this neighborhood a few days ago in which the hounds changed places with the hare. The black man had his free papers stolen from him in Missouri and a kidnapping attempted. He got away and came to this neighborhood (where there is a station of the Underground railroad.) He worked and staid here a few weeks. Last week three men came up from Missouri to take the "nigger." One of them pretended to be the owner. They stopped a few miles back a little before night at the house of a man who pretended to be pro-slavery. They told him they were after a runaway slave. As soon as they left his house he posted to the house of a neighbor who was stanch antislavery and told him what was going on. This man immediately gets on a horse and follows these men, goes to the station and gives the alarm. Then one boy hurries to find the negro and get him where his friends were thick. Another gets a pony and rides to town to rouse the sons of liberty. Twas not long before enough got together for all practical purposes and then ensued a search for the kidnappers. They searched the cornfields and woods but nothing could be found of them or their horses. They then bethought them of a proslavery man about two miles off, who was suspected of harboring such I vermin. One of the party went to his house pretending to have lost his way, and found they were there. The result was, the three were roused up and compelled to turn out again. They were taken, to where the negro was. A hemp rope was found with them. One of them the negro recognized as the one who stole his free papers., They gave the negro one of the men's horses and overcoat and $50 in money, and a revolver. He also changed hats with one of the men' as he remarked their hats were the best. So the kidnappers were turned back minus their three horses and their overcoats and revolvers and were followed some way to see they took the straight road to Missouri. They returned probably wiser certainly sadder men than they came. Kidnapping or reclaiming fugitives has never been profitable in these parts, and if justice is not administered with due respect to the forms of law, remember that federal law is law here, the law that pursues such as John Brown—mistaken and erring but noble in his objects—with most deadly and unrelenting hatred; but never has punished a kidnapper—never has punished one of those traitors who tried to steal the liberties of the whole people of Kansas. One of the leaders against the kidnappers was attempted to be killed at the Choteau's Trading Post tragedy.
Longwood Dec 31, 1859
Your letter with the undersleeves and belt came to hand Wed night—the things are all very nice—the gloves, buckle & lining, came, a good while ago, and the boys books came Monday night (26.) Everything is very nice. It was two or three weeks before I could make up my mind to wear any thing so gay as that lining and those strings— I am a very old woman . . . my face is thin sunken wrinkled, my hands bony withered and hard— I shall look strangely I fear with your nice undersleeves with the coquettish cherry bows' —I shall however wear them up to Friend Richards to a New Year' party Monday if it is warm enough though I fear it will not be.
The Mercury stood this morning –7°. We are having winter for Kansas, but no snow. I really fear that winter wheat will all be killed out in these parts— It looks as dead and dry now the prairie grass.
Tho' we have been told of wheat in the west dying down in this way and afterward making a good crop it looks pretty dubious no Two of our peach trees have split open from the ground to the limbs with the cold— You are enquiring what is the feeling in regard to John Brown's surprise party in Virginia.
It has caused a good deal of feeling here— I should not think that excitement is exactly the word to characterize the feeling here—Brown was intimately known in these parts and greatly loved by the Free state men here. Mr. Adair his Brother-in-law, lives just above Osawatomie. He is an abolitionist as the term goes here and is respected by all who know him. He sympathised in Brown's movements here and in reply to a question from a new comer who had heard a great deal of evil of Brown as to what sort of a man this John Brown was, Mr. Adair said he was a man that had always been from his childhood impressed with the idea that God had raised him up on purpose to break the jaws of the wicked. Perhaps I have mentioned before that Mr Adair is the Congregational Miss. Minister of this place—a most worthy man— I must defer this letter till perhaps next year as our folks have come to supper, and this was written while waiting for them and wouldn't have been written at all only I have such a cold I can not work but a part of the time so I get time to write.
Jan. 18, 1860
I have done up my supper work browned & ground coffee for breakfast and popped some corn for the children and now (7 o'clock) I do not know as I can do any better than finish this last year's letter. John has gone to Olathe about thirty miles distant to attend to some business for T. D. Lewis of Utica, will not return till tomorrow. You enquired once something about our house. We have one south window, a west door; and a north door leading into our little orchard & garden thro' a shed 6 ft wide, the ends of which are boarded up and 6 ft of the north side making our cheese-room the west side of which was exposed to dogs and "varmint" generally. Opposite the window is the well about 14 ft from the south side of the house. Our peach trees on the north side of the house already form a beautiful grove—being 10 or 12 ft high and 10 ft in diameter in the tops.
I have been trying out some lard and tallow today. I have finished up all I have till our folks finish butchering the rest of the bogs. We have killed two beeves beside the cow John sold in the summer for beef. We have killed 3 hogs and have 3 more to kill. You enquired once if they came to as much in beef as they cost us. We paid $20, for the one we sold alive, and sold her for the same keeping her calf which is a nice heifer. The other two cost $45, the first one we killed we sold of beef tallow and Hide $19, and had 14 lbs of tallow & 150 lbs of beef for our own use, have also her calf the poorest one in the lot, this last one. We shall not have over 13 or 14 dollars worth to spare and have not kept more than 100 lbs of beef for our own use. She was very light but we have a nice heifer calf of hers which will be worth $8 in the spring. There I have given you a very elaborate answer to both your questions, and now let me say another word in regard to "Old John Brown." I dont like to hear him stigmatized as misguided. It would not grate more harshly on my feelings to hear Moses called misguided, because he failed to enter into the promised land. It's of no use for Christians to pray that the bondsman's chains be loosed unless they are determined to arise in the strength of the Lord and undo them and let the oppressed go free. God works by human instrumentalities, and, it is by these that he is going to break every yoke if ever they are broken. John Brown remembered them that were in bonds as bound with them, and undertook to be a doer of Gods word as well as a hearer of it—
How in the name of common sense do Christians propose to do away with this enormous sin if not with John Brown's method; you know very well and every body knows that southern slaveholders will not allow any kind of Christian teaching in all their borders only the christianity of devils and how is the great southern heart to be reached but by God's ministers of vengeance. If any body knows of another way let them attempt it and when they shall have succeeded I will submit to hear the epithet misguided applied to that glorified hero. And now if I had room I would give you a synopsis of Mr Adair's sermon last Sabbath. It was from the text (I cannot repeat it just as it is in the bible) If a man smite his servant with a rod and he die, he shall surely be punished, nevertheless if the servant live a day or two he shall not be punished for he is his money. Now you know what passage I mean though my quotation is sadly murdered. He preached an excellent anti-slavery discourse
Yours as ever Sarah
Osawatomie Feb. 27, 1860.
Your & Jennie's letter of Feb. 14 was received day before yesterday. We were truly glad to get them as it seems a long time since we had heard from home. . . . We are sorry to hear of cousin Letitia's sickness. Consumption is almost an unknown disease here unless the lungs are very bad when they come here. Franky got the two first numbers of his paper the morning he took his letter to the mail.
You ask "Should I succeed in borrowing $100 for you shall you need it or not?" I answer we would. It would be just the time to lay it out for cows. We have to keep a hired man and ought to keep a girl during the summer months and could as well keep a few more cows as not. It would be a very great advantage to us if we were able to get them. I would like to get it for two years. I am very anxious to get on, so as to get a comfortable place to live in and especially to pay our debts. We are all well, except that Frank has a bad cold. From your affectionate son
John R Everett
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Longwood Feb. 28, 1860
I began to think we should never hear any thing more from Steuben—so was greatly and agreeably disappointed last Sat. when John came home from town, at seeing once more the well known post-mark of that place. Frank and I have come to the conclusion that if we could get "a boit" of those cakes and biscuits we could make a "right smart" lessening among them— I hope you wont have to make yourselves sick to eat them all— We dont get a great many such things here. I haven't seen any biscuits or wheat bread at home since Christmas week— I suspect if ever our big wheat crop "comes off" we shall have "heaps" of biscuits here.
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John is going to try to break twenty or twenty-five acres this spring himself which if he accomplishes and gets a good crop of wheat and our cows do well—and one or two other ifs of a kindred nature turn out favorably, I think we may next fall make a commencement for a house, but shall not be any wise disappointed if we do not, and since you have waited so long I hope you will not come to Kansas till we can make you comfortable, which we certainly never can nor could have done in the house we are in. Our condition is getting every way improved with the exception of our house— We are growing almost everything we need for the table—and when once another harvest comes, do not see why we need to lack any necessary.
It is a dark lowery day. We have been having a good deal of rain the last two or three weeks—all the winter and fall since Sep. had been unusually dry till now it seems trying to make up lost time.
One night last week we had a cow get hooked into a small creek which runs through the pasture, and in the morning when our folks found her she was quite unable to help herself, with struggling and the chill she got from lying stuck in the mud and water, and had to be drawn out. We did what we could for her but she never got up again. She had the horn-ail, but would have lived I think if it had not been for the accident and even then if it had been a dry warm time but it came on cold and rainy, so it made it impossible to Dr. her properly.
Franky & Robbie want to send word to Aunt Jennie that their black cat has got eight little black kittens!! and want to know if she wouldn't call that a stack of black cats and beside that they have some little chickens. . . . I should like to have you get me some ribbon to trim my bonnet with this summer. Such ribbon as used to be 12 1/2 cts when I came from there cost here about thirty cts.
[Sarah M. C. Everett]
Longwood June 5, 1860
Your last two letters came duly to hand, freighted with rennets. I am very glad to get them in time and hope soon to get more of the same sort— We are milking IS cows now and in a few weeks will have two more giving milk— I am making cheeses now that weigh, about 30 lbs or more— We have already sold over $20. worth of the stuff at the same price as last summer— We are in passable health at present though a little dull because of the hot weather
You cannot think how oddly it sounded to hear that you were just turning your cows out to grass on the 8. of May— Cattle here to be sure run out all winter but many an one's I guess got only what they picked up in the commons two months before that date— I have just got my cheese in to the press and am too tired to write much. Mr Snow is cutting the wheat. We shall not have much of a yield. We have had not rain enough to bring up the corn in these parts and farmers are growing quite discouraged. It looks now very uncertain about raising enough to supply the home demand. A great many have not yet made garden. How is it with you?
Do you read H. W. B.'s sermons in the Independent? I believe if it were not for reading now and then some things in his sermons that I should tire to death of this life and give it up— I dont read them all— I perfectly abhor a printed sermon. But sometimes when every thing else grows so tiresome and weary and the vexations and cares of life seem like a multitude of thorns piercing me on all sides I get hold of one of his sermons and it always contrives to turn the sharp points and make a pathway through them— Verily they are like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
While I was milking this morning I was seized with a sudden desire to record the names of our cows, for your special edification. "These are they"—
Dow, big Line, little Line, Queen, Pinky, Minky, Blaze, Red, Nig, Snip, Pied, Bim, Lil, Cherry, Star, Black, Beauty, "Remmy," California, Leopard & Rose— You see I have nothing to say and will be happy to see the close— How many rennets have you on hand ready— I wish we could send for a box (by express) with a hundred in it. The freight would be less than the postage. We could send on the money one of these days I guess. I've been getting the boys some pants.
[Sarah M. C. Everett]
Saturday June 9 
Yesterday morning just before day a hurricane passed over these parts. It blew down the house, a new frame building of our next neighbor, Mr Holaday, and killed his wife. He tried to get her to come out as the wind suddenly raised, and they heard the roaring of the coming tempest, but could not persuade her. When the crash came he stood by the door and reached to draw her out, but some thing came between. he sprung through the door and was knocked down by the falling house but fortunately away from it. He asked his wife if she was killed. She said she was afraid she was. He asked her if she could hold out till he went to Everett's for help, but the poor woman spoke not again. Mrs. H. was a Quaker and much esteemed by a large circle of relatives and acquaintances. Another house was unroofed in our immediate neighborhood, but no one hurt. Three lives were lost in Stanton, 7 or 8 miles from here. This event as is natural creates a very solemn feeling in the neighborhood. We have heard of many houses that were unroofed or blown down. Much of our fence was blown down. We feel especial reason to be thankful that our house was not injured, and that our lives are spared. I send in this a draft of $8.25 for the interest to David Jones and the rest towards the rennets. In haste
Longwood Sep. 6, 1860
We had sent a letter yesterday to the P. 0. to Father and Jennie and this morning we got Mother, Mary & Jennie's. We have been greatly troubled at not hearing from you for so many weeks. Last spring or early in the summer we sent a draft of $8.25 to pay interest to Jones—and have never heard whether you received it or.not— Did you?
The story of our returning or intending to return is all humbug— We have never thought of the thing.
In the summer, as early as June or July—before it was supposed that crops were going entirely to fail, I tried to persuade John that if he kept a hired man this winter he could leave home well enough, to go back for a visit and stay all winter— The only thing at all in the way, was lack of money to pay for his, journey & that quite upset the charming project— A little later when the drouth shut out all hope of anything but a scanty crop of potatoes and sugar cane and I was taken down with fever, we seriously ruminated on my going back to spend the winter—and the way I was to raise passage money was in this wise— A great many families were leaving for Iowa, Ind. and Ill. with their teams. If I could find some one with so little load that they could carry me and cheese enough which I was to peddle on the way to pay my expenses after I left them, why I could go— One of our neighbors offered to undertake it but I doubted the ability of his team— A wise doubt in the right place I you will probably exclaim, I think so now myself—
About the things I spoke of some weeks since. We can stay without out them. we cannot raise money to pay for them, and shall go with-out them— We dont want any assistance this winter— We are going to do on our own resources, unless we are all taken down help lessly sick, and our cattle all die off with the blackleg or starvation.
We are doing what we can to provide against the latter. It is far gloomier to contemplate the coming winter than it was the winter of '56 & '57— This is an old settled neighborhood and the people just here are better prepared to withstand the fearful calamity that has fallen upon the Territory than those of the more newly settled portions— I suppose Mr. Hyatts statements reveal the actual truth. And yet the real suffering has not commenced— Our next door neighbors on two, or three sides, here in this old settled neighborhood will be obliged to get aid from some quarter.
Our dairy business has turned out badly but will enable us to live along somehow or other till another year. The weather here was so warm all through July that a great deal of our cheese rotted down—and all of it was more or less injured by the warm weather. Then I was taken sick and John had the cheese to make & take care of till finally we gave up the cheese and went to making butter— So every thing you see went wrong for Kansas and now the cattle are going with the black-leg— We have lost 5 head as John wrote to you yesterday and there is another we have not seen for several days. I suppose that too is gone. Others besides us have lost stock with the same disease— Now our principal pinch is paying our hired hand— We hope to be able to turn some cows some way so as to partly pay that and perhaps a little wheat. He will not crowd but we know how badly he needs it and it worries us.
I am glad you have commenced writing to us again. I hope you will not wait two months again till there is a little brighter times here to take up our thoughts— We haven't written to B'r Butler's in a year as I know of—the truth is there are too many things in this country to absorb one's time and thoughts. There are a great many poor & sick around you—and every thing is awkward and unhandy. When provisions are getting low with you, you can step to the store and get a bbl. of flour at a time—we get 10 to 12 lbs. just what we can pay for— It takes quite a part of one day to search up the team and take a bushel of corn to mill and a part of another to get it again, and so on too tedious to mention but I must close. Dont feel sorry for us—some of our neighbors say, if we had your chance we could get along—but that ragged coat and those ragged pants one woman said to me yesterday is all that William (meaning her husband) has got for the winter—and this dress a, slitted out old calico my only outside garment and not corn enough for bread no potatoes nor any other eatable except meat which they were to have enough for themselves and a little to spare—and not fodder enough for their stock and her husband not a sock for winter. I think we shall in all probability have plenty of corn bread meat and milk and if you were in the midst of such suffering as will surround us you would not want anything much better, as for clothes I candidly think we shall go awful "shabby" & in so doing will form no invidious contrasts to others around us— So dont worry about us till you hear that we are getting worser and dont offer us any more money, it is us now that should be sending money to you rather than you to us.— As I said a page back I must close Sarah
Osawatomie Dec. 10 1860.
Yours containing draft of $32.05 ree'd to day. I write this in town, and can but just acknowledge receipt, and say how grateful I am to you and my dear friends for remembering us so kindly. This help will come very seasonably although we hoped to be able to pinch through. I have sent for the box to day by the Kansas City and Fort Scott Express, which runs through this place and has an office here. 0. J. Owen has written me that he had directed a barrel of flour to me at Atchison. Kansas City (or Leavenworth)—is our river point. Kansas City is 45 miles, Leavenworth 60, Atchison between 80 and 90 miles distant. But I hope to be able to send to Atchison by some team that will be going for relief grain. We are all well. The winter is very favorable for stock. I am foddering only my milch cows and horses. To day 3 or 4 inches of snow—the first. In haste With many thanks
Your affectionate son
Longwood Dec. 31. 1860
Dear Jennie—and all at home—
I am not in much of a mood for writing my thanks . . . however much I may feel them. You can have little idea how much happiness your box brought into our homely cabin. In the first place it came from the loved ones at home and was welcomed as a messenger of love from them. Then the things were so apropos to our wants— The blankets as we shiveringly nestle beneath are a nightly benediction—and the boots and shoes not less so— My feet were cramped into a pair that I wore in the summer which though large enough then were quite too small with woolen stockings and the soreness that has been occasioned by getting chilled— These are one number larger than I usually wear, but fit my feet as they are this winter admirably.
The stockings too—just the thing.— Robbie and I had on the only ones we had and they needed washing and mine mending— Auntie got a very happy fit on those little socks— The children think their mother's knitting is quite thrown in the shade by those socks— Franky is sorry he cannot write a letter himself to say how nice they fit. . . . [Robbie's] clothes fit him pretty well— The coat would be better if it was broader in the chest and between the shoulders—but he can wear it this winter well enough and perhaps next winter too for he is such a chub that he will naturally grow slimmer. The waist & pants couldn't be bettered Frank's waist & pant bands have to be enlarged—otherwise all right— The smaller of the two caps just fits both boys— The little boots are nicely fitted— Franks will suit him another winter after this—but Robbies will be rather tight after this winter.
He had been teasing for some little boots and a knife for a long time, and when he heard that there was "a whole big box of things coming to us" he had a full and complete faith that the boots and knife and a little clock would come for him
Mary hoped I could find some use for the dress she sent. I found so much use for the skirt of it as to wear it to a, wedding at Mr Chestnut's Christmas Eve—also your nice undersleeves hood and skeleton— Sarah's shawl, Annies collar & mittens, whose shoes comb and gloves and pocket handkerchief I know not but hope you will inform me— Frank went to the wedding in his new suit and John had the benefit of his new cap, gloves cravat handkerchief (Fathers) boots socks & a pair of the pants for the occasion. Robbie we left at Mr Snow's house, which was as great a treat to him, as the wedding to us.
Mr Snow has rented a farm for next season and is living on it keeping bach this winter—just now a man and his wife whose house and all in it were burned a few weeks ago are stopping with him till they can put up another cabin. Mr. Snow was very pleased with his things. He seems to think your way of mittening a fellow an improvement on the old fashion and wishes us to say he feels obliged for the handkerchief and mittens both. I gave him a pair of socks also from the box— He always comes in once a week—every Sunday—just as any body goes home. It was quite lonesome here at first without him.
That nice de laine I shall keep over till next fall when you must be sure to tell me the fashion to make it by— Whose gifts are the little flannel sack—(a capital thing in windy weather) and the heavy piece of pant cloth? Mother's presents came into requisition immediately— I put on one that night, John the next day— You can judge how much they were needed— Frank has got one of his aprons made and Robbie will soon have one to match it— It's a marvel to us now how we got along before the box came— That great shawl I have been needing. I think now I couldnt get along without it. The apron too came the right day, the last one I had went to pieces very much after the manner of the "Deacon's One Hoss Shay" a short time before John came home with the box. We should like to know the price of such de laine—collar and pants cloth as you sent also of the apron checks and boots and gloves— I have been asked 500 times more or less the price of that ribbon belt and buckle you sent me last New Year's. My paper is used up and I am very tired— I was almost laid with a cold a good deal of last week and am not at all well yet. John is coming down with a cold. The children are quite bright Yours as ever
There are a great many other things I meant to have spoken of but have got too tired.
We gave Mr. Adair his gloves Christmas Eve at the wedding. He had them on up at meeting yesterday.
Longwood, Jan 21, 1861
We have had two letters from you since we have written. Mary's and yours written Christmas and your last dated Jan 8.
It is very cold here, and the ground is covered with snow— We have all had hard colds this winter, but John, but are getting some better from them. I dont know but he is just coming down with his— I have had a cold now for two months, and it was worse last week than any time since I was first taken with it— I have had a very hard cough for the last ten days—more than all I've coughed before in Kansas.— The children too have coughed a good deal.
Mrs. Chestnut—you've heard us speak of them before—died a week ago today. She had been sick only one week and there was nothing alarming in her sickness till about twenty four hours before she died when she sunk into a state of unconsciousness in which she remained till she died. John was acquainted with them before I came out and we have always been on intimate terms, and her death somehow seems to loosen my attachment for Kansas strangely. She was one of the most amiable and lovely women that it has ever been my lot to meet. There is no other one here that can in any measure fill her place.
You made mention in your last before this, of a willingness to aid any in our neighborhood that might be suffering.
I do not know of any that think you ought to assist. I think so far as my acquaintance goes, those that really need assistance more than they can get from the general fund have friends back that would assist them if they made known to them their necessities. There are but a few but show a very laudable zeal in trying to help themselves and such might starve before I'd ask a friend of mine to help them— I expect the suffering in the southern part of the Territory is very great owing to the bad state of the roads which renders it impossible to get provision there as fast as it is needed—the reports from that quarter are painful to hear.
Jan. 22. We are feeling rather poorly to day—with cold and a little fever, and will close this letter without writing any more as we have a chance to send to the mail. Our Eastern mails have been irregular for a few days on account of heavy drifts to the North. There is a solid coat of sleet and snow on the ground now. This is the first that cattle have had to depend wholly on feeding. Till now cattle have got at least half their living on the prairie In haste
John & Sarah.
Feb 21, 1861
Frank has been writing to you, and has very kindly offered me a chance to put in a slip of paper with his letter, so I take the opportunity to send you a line in answer to your last which was received two days ago— In answer to the seed question, you could not possibly get seed wheat through in season to be available this spring and the cost of sending small parcels from Ill. or Wis. would make it somewhat impracticable we fear to send seed-corn—tho' that would undoubtedly come thro' in season, otherwise we should be very glad to accept your kind offer. We have a small piece of winter wheat self sown at the time of the tornado which in consequence of the dry weather did not come up till it ought to that, may supply us with bread if it has not winter-killed. We cannot tell yet whether it will be worth anything or not. We have corn that will answer for seed, but not nearly as much as we ought to have for our horses and milk cows. John has just come home with a load of corn for which he has paid .85 cts a bushel on the cob for old corn and 40 cts a bushel for last summers growth.
We are greatly obliged to you for all your kind offers of assistance. About the money, if we borrow at all it will be only a small sum to build with and we can not say at this time whether we shall want that— We are sorely in need of a better house and our plan if we can execute it, is to build a hewed log house but we have already so much team-work on our farm, that I do not know that we can undertake anything more— In speaking of seeds I should have mentioned that we have plenty of seed-potatoes but of small garden seed we are out— I wrote to you two weeks ago Tues. that we had sent that day for the bbl. of flour. Last Tues. it had not arrived. John is going to town with the wagon this afternoon to see if it has come in yet— We live a hundred miles from Atchison and I do not know of any teams that have been able to make the trip there this winter in less than two weeks, so bad has been the going. If John gets the flour to day he will put a pencil mark across his name on the corner of the envelope Sarah
All pretty well
Longwood, March 4 1861
Last week we had soft mild balmy breezes and warm bright sunshiny weather—but this morning such a black sky and cold blustering snow squall as broke upon us I It made me think of the mad, turbulent outbreak of rebellious South Carolina and her sister secession states.
Wonder if Old Abe's accession to the Presidential chair had anything to do with this bluster in Kansas— I rather think it was the sympathy of nature with human passions for at the hour of noon when democratic rule retired from power the sky lightened up, the air grew warmer and the snow ceased its furious driving and came straggling noiselessly and quietly down dissolving so soon as touched the earth— So I think mad rebellion and blustering secession will subside and melt away under the more genial influence of Republican rule.
But this was not what I begun to talk about—or rather not what I sat down to talk about— I thought as I do not feel like doing anything to day I would say a little about those rennets— As I wrote before we do not need them till probably the first of July— but since you spoke of sending some seeds I have been thinking that if it is just as convenient for you to send them earlier, you might accommodate us also in another way—by sending some peas and beans &c. . . . It is five o'clock and I must write in haste what I have to say— Have you any of the regular real snap beans, what we used to call string beans? I should like a pint or so if I could get hold of them also a pint each of two or three different kinds of peas as marrowfat and a smaller kind. very productive that farmers usually sow in the field. I do not know any name for them; and the early June— I wish also that we could get a few of your raspberry bushes and strawberry vines and would like to try once more a few currants and one or two rhubarb roots— And I am homesick for some old-fashioned double pink roses— Can you send me a rooted bush if you send that package early enough? There are a number of such things I should like to get but I do not feel that I ought to trouble you with such things.
That tight sleeve pattern that you have told me two or three times of you have never sent, or at least I have never ree'd— tuck it in to the rennet bundle some where and if you have a summer cape pattern late style put that in with it also— Tell me also what kind of border or face trimming is worn in summer bonnets— I got a cheap plain straw bonnet last fall—as I only wanted to wear it a few times & felt very poor I did not get any face trimming at all— I got one y'd of plaid green and white ribbon for strings and made a cape & put folds on the bonnet of green barege. This summer I propose to change it a little but am not certain that I shall do more than put in face trimming— It looks far better on the outside than you would suppose— Oh I want you to put in some boneset &c some worm-wood. . . .
Friday—8 I have laid aside my begging letter for a few days considering whether it would not be ridiculous to trouble you with all of these things and "others too numerous to mention"—but my desires have got the better of prudence & so I have commenced again— Can you get in that country a patent wheel-head— I want one if you can— Also a box of genuine cheese annatto— There is an old Herkimer county cheese maker in this place that says it helps to guard against cheese flies and there never was a country so pestered with cheese flies as this— I don't know as there is anything else unless you put in a few cuttings off your lilac, bushes and another piece of that remarkable sticking salve— John most always has sore hands—if the skin gets broken it remains raw or else makes a large sore especially in the fall & winter and that salve will stick tight and keep the air out so much better than anything else we have found that he would like to feel that he had enough to last him through the season— The weather is mild and beautiful again and farmers are going along with their spring's work as fast as their lean teams are able. John has been hauling out barn yard litter on to his field for a week past—is going to mill today and intends to commence plowing to morrow. We have 5 young calves so our dairy work is commencing a little you see— Expect before the month is out to be milking 14 or 15 cows. I have no help yet but mean to try to get a girl next week that can milk as I can do but little of that for some time yet. Have you kept an account of what you have expended for rennets for us— We would like to know when you send these how much we are owing both for rennets and the postage & freight on them also the cost of these things we send for now— There's no telling when we can pay for them—but I think we shall surprise you some day by paying up our debts!— We have heard again from that bbl. of Flour. It has been sent to a warehouse in Leavenworth City and we are now endeavoring to get a chance to send for it— The freight on it is $3.40— If we find an opportunity to send for it by a team it will not cost over .75 or .80 a hundred to get it from there. I must not write more for have not done up my work this morning and I am trying to braid a straw hat for Robbie—the poor boy has gone bare-headed all the, spring and I want to finish his hat this week, so good bye till the next time. Write as soon as you can. John will write some day when he finds time
S. M. C. E.
Longwood, March 15, 1861.
Your letter of Mar. 2. came to hand yesterday— I have sent you two or three notes I believe since you had written before. In my last I spoke of some seeds and other things being sent—but of course we do not want you to put yourselves out to send the rennets earlier., than is convenient, for the sake of sending those things. We shall be able to get seeds here, so that we shall not have to go without garden stuff— We are having our plowing done now— John hires a man—(Mr Kinter) to come by the day at 40 cts to do it for him—
When there is a day that the man cannot come he plows a part of the day himself—but he has so many chores to do that he cant do a great deal else— He is not strong enough for farm work any way-this dairy business is just the thing for him— He can stand it to take care of his stock and then he can hire the harder work done. He does not calculate to hire a hand steady-but only by day's work this summer which will be the best course I think— Mr Kinter has a family and we can pay him along in butter and cheese and meat and anything we have to turn off and we do not feel the pay so much— I have one of his daughters helping me now,—came this week. She is very lady like and companionable and I should be glad to keep her all summer—but I am afraid I cannot— Her mother put it into my head to get her for a few weeks this springand hinted at the possibility of her staying till fall— The trouble is she is engaged to be married and when her lord that is to be calls for her she is bound to go. The family are N. Yorkers and are smart and intelligent— Came in from Mich. a year ago last fall. Lost their furniture and a great many of their clothes on the way and have of course lost all their farm labor by drought like every one else and so they are willing to work out. That's the way I am able to get one of the girls— Mary the one that is with me now taught our school last summer, one of her brothers the winter before 0. C. Brown's letter contains more truth in it than is apt to come from him— He has put the population of our town down I believe a good deal higher than the census man if I remember rightly— He speaks of "one thousand souls"— I am sure the bodies counted less by a few hundreds but I may be mistaken otherwise he is not so much out of the way perhaps if you proportion other things down— A great many get help that dont need it, and a great many need help that might have helped themselves last fall if they would—but they looked for help from "the East" and so neglected their plain duty— Such ought to suffer some— I have no sympathy for them and I wish "the East" (whatever that may be) would inform Kansas that this is the last time she is to be helped from that source and see if some of the beggarly spirits wont try in future to take care of themselves instead of waiting for strangers to support them and then grumbling because they are not better provided for. Those that should have most will many of them get the least. . . .
. . . You wished one of us would write a letter about Kansas to be published— I dont think either of us know any thing to write—we are such a domestic family that we dont know any thing only what pertains to ourselves and our particular quarter section— It is simply "Us four and no more" with us—
It is very dry yet this spring and unless rain comes soon spring wheat will do nothing—though the whole country seems crazy to sow it because it is charity wheat— Mr Kinter is going to sow some on our place on shares—he finds the wheat and does the work— John finds team and gives the land—& then they divide the threshed wheat some way, I dont know exactly how— I guess the piles will both be small if this dry weather lasts a couple of weeks longer.— I must close— Write soon and often— It is very lonesome this spring— It is so dry and windy, and no one fee in good spirits on account of the hard times—and people's dispositions have got soured by suffering and misfortunes—and when we meet we gossip one about another— In short one more drought would corrupt utterly the morals of the country— So write often, and try to keep me at least from having nothing to do but gossip
I perceive on reading over my letter that I am blaming or seeing to blame the noble spirits that have so generously contributed. their means to relieve the sufferings of the starving many of Kansas—and I should hardly do right did I not make some explanation of what I have written— I was thinking of a few cases of mis-applied charity and wrote what I did with those only before my mind. I did not then remember the little hungry children and their grief worn parents that but for the noble benefactions of "the East" would have gone down to their graves long before this time-nor of, the barefooted and half clad teamsters toiling beside their half-starved teams thro' the snow for days together with the food se from "the East" that was to gladden the hearts of those destitute ones at home— Every dweller in Kansas owes a lasting debt gratitude to "the East" for what she has done for the suffering here
Osawatomie Apr. 12 1861.
Dear Sister Jennie
Yours of April 3 was received yesterday. We had been getting rather impatient to get a letter, for it was about a month since we had heard from you, and I do not know but you will have the same feeling to get ours. Sarah has been very sick since I wrote last. She was smart as usual for a few days. . . . Then she was taken with fever. . . . She continued to grow worse till a week ago Wednesday which seemed her worst day and the crisis of her disorder. Thursday morning she woke feeling better, and since has been slowly gaining. Is still confined entirely to her bed. The weather has been the worst for invalids I hardly ever knew in Kansas.
It has set in to rain, and now it rains every day a little—damp and cold consequently. This has brightened farmers up not a little you may be sure, but it is unfavorable weather for the sick. I am hoping that when it clears up and gets a little warmer she will gain fast. The baby has had some boils on one of her little arms. Otherwise she is well and very good. We feel thankful that we are all alive and so well. Sarah says she cant call the baby all those names you sent. In fact we have had very little time to think of names. I tell her she must give the baby whatever name it gets.
We feel very much encouraged at the turn the weather has taken. Winter wheat which bad been nearly given up has revived wonderfully. This weather is just the thing for wheat winter and spring. Write soon, and we will try to do the same. We are obliged for the mouth piece Your brother
Osawatomie May 7 1861.
Dear Folks at home,
Excuse a short letter. Sarah is getting pretty well though still weak. The rest of us are well. I help with the cheese. That and planting keeps me quite busy. Milking 18 cows. Raising 14 calves. Making cheese weighing fresh from the press about 35 lbs. Making more cheese than we expected consequently using up rennet faster. We would like to have those rennets sent as soon as anyways convenient. Direct by express to Osawatomie. Leave off "Via Leavenworth" if not already sent. The sentiment in Kansas is very strongly patriotic. I hope we may have quiet to raise our bread this year. I think there is little apprehension of home trouble since we heard the glad news of the uprising of the North.
We are having a cold and somewhat backward spring—with seasonable showers however— The weather is very favorable for wheat of which almost every farmer has sown more or less.
There will also be a better prospect for fruit in consequence of the backwardness of the season. We have now a fair show for a large crop of peaches. Our orchard contains about 60 trees most of which hang full. Our wheat too (8 acres self sown by the Tornado) promises now a fine yield
. . . I would get little Robbie's likeness taken for you if there was any good operator in these parts—he is the fattest roundest faced blackest eyed reddest cheeked boy you ever saw and the most mischievous one too I guess.
The new comer, who seems to cause more rejoicing among her distant relatives than those at home, we think of calling Clara Elizabeth—though I like Irene Colegrove much better— It isn't of much consequence however seeing it's nothing but a girl anyway— I must close to help him a little about the cheese— I have not got stout enough to do much yet but am gaining slowly all the time. I have to hire my work done, and we are getting wofully shabby for the want of a little sewing. I wish I could get to your machine for a few hours— Write a little oftener if you can get time—
John & Sarah
Longwood, Sep. 4, 1861.
Dear Cynthia & Jennie two times over—
(I believe that is the order in which we owe,) it is such a dull rainy day that I cannot set myself to work so I am going to inflict a dull muddy letter on your patience. We have had no rain to do any good for a month, till night before last there came up a thorough thunder storm. John and Frank were caught out in the hardest of it while searching for the cows and had to come home without them.
After midnight the rain set in again and continued in fierce showers till morning-this morning again a drizzling rain commenced before sunrise and still continues. (now 9 o'clock) We have a haystack not topped out!
Clara has been sick with Fever since Friday— I cannot find whether it arises from teething (she has one little tooth) or whet she is attacked with chills— Whatever it is it makes her exceedingly worrisome so I can hardly get along with her. Last night she was awake two or three times an hour. John and I are doing alone (except haying) and we cannot get time to write much— I generally milk 11 cows in the morning and 10 at night that is about three good hours work in a day—then it takes 4 hours more to work the cheese off and the rest of the time I have to do the family work— How many letters a month could you mail and do all the work including sewing for a family of five, and do 7 hours hard work in a day extra? I am very glad Uncle Henry sent rennets enough so that we need have no thought about them, for I am just in the condition of the camel we read of, before that last feather was added to his load. I have not seemed to have much strength this summer, and have felt very little interest in anything about me,—business is dull, we have over ninety cheeses— We cannot just now sell cheese to get bandage cloth.
I am obliged to do without help because we cannot pay— We have turned a cow for haying.
You seem to feel a great deal of enthusiasm in regard to the war— I dont get very much excited except at the miserable guilty tardiness, (or what looks like that to me,) of the administration in accepting troops and forwarding them to such points as require them— Lyon might have been shot if the administration had done its duty, but the chances would have been far less if he had been properly re-enforced— And it's no justification of the powers that be, to say that men could not be spared without rendering other points liable to attack, so long as every body knows that there were thousands of volunteers that were anxious to serve their country, but were refused the privilege of doing so. Something seems to have. awakened up the dull-heads at Washington and it is to be hoped something will be accomplished yet before it is too late. Hitherto their acts as seen by the public have been such as to excite in the minds of true loyal and earnest people, little more than doubt and shame. We will hope now however to see some of the great things done that have been for months past promised—that wonderful policy carried out that was to satisfy the most earnest supporters of anti-rebellion— I must stop soon on account of the baby. I hope you will write soon and as often as you can without neglecting any other known duty. If you who have so many pleasant surroundings find it pleasant to hear from us, much more you must remember will it be to us, to hear from you—to us, who are struggling on with debts, poverty and all the inconveniences of a pioneer life—overburdened with strange work & surrounded with uncongenial associations. Your letters filled with kind remembrances are as great beams of sunlight among the shady places in our pathway.
Yours wearilySarah M. C. E.
Clara is very low with bilious intermittent fever aggravated by teething
S. M. C. E.
I got your last yesterday, while returning from the grave-yard, where we have laid our sweet little Clara— She brought a great deal of sunshine into our homely cabin this summer, and when she was carried out of it, it certainly seemed very dark to me
She died Monday morning about eight o'clock, (little Henry's birthday). Mr Adair preached her funeral sermon yesterday at two o'clock from Job 1, 21.
Robbie & Frank are well, John & I considerably worn with watching— I did not undress the last week Clara lived as she needed constant attention. Our neighbors were very kind, doing much more than is commonly done on such occasions but we were alone till Saturday.
There is sickness in a number of families near us. It is indeed the sickly season and it has been more sickly than it usually is— I shall leave the rest of this for John to fill out for it seems useless for me to try to say anything I feel so utterly prostrated, not so much in strength as in spirit— Sarah
It was very hard to part with our little darling, but she is gone, and the Lord's will be done. She seemed a greater comfort to us than either of the other children at her age, she was always so good a child. Her disposition was very amiable, and she was easily pleased. She was quite restless for several nights but slept well the last night. In the morning when we spoke to her she answered in her little pretty talk, the first time for several days. When she went it was without a struggle, a few gasps, and she was gone. May the Lord prepare us all to meet in a better world. [John]
Osawatomie Aug. 15, 1862
I wrote a letter to you a month ago, or more enclosing two dollars or rennets— Did you get the letter? . . .
I wish you would find out the address of the rennet vender in Philadelphia you once mentioned to me in one of your letters, where Jane's Uncle gets rennets five years old, and send it to me. We would send there for our next years supply and not bother you any more.
If you could ascertain the directions for us so as to let us know by New Years it would answer our turn.. I have not made cheese for several days. I have been out of rennet, and sick or half sick rather besides, and probably should have stopt a week to rest if I had had the rennets. It has been very hot and we have been unfortunate with cheese losing quite a number. Our crops do not promise much this year; the early drought nearly ruined them. I hope though that we shall raise enough to get through with. We have had some fine rains recently. John sent twenty dollars to you three weeks ago. Have you received it? We are back one year's interest on Jones' note. Hope we can pay it soon. We are anxious to build a room this fall. Our old cabin is very unsafe in windy weather besides it, is very cold and has settled so much that John can hardly stand upright under the joists. I believe it has settled ten or twelve 'Inches in a year and a half.
I have nothing special to say—today our school closed. I went up to see it end and am consequently tired out. Write as soon as you can Yours wearily
Sarah M C Everett
Osawatomie, Oct. 301 1862.
I have received a number of packages of rennet—so many I have really forgotten the number.— But I know I concluded that they all except the last package contained two whole rennets, and that that contained nearly another. Is that a correct estimate of the quantity sent? I do not need any more this fall— I commenced using to day from the last bundle and it contained more than I shall probably use. We are having one of the most favorable, mild spells of weather that can be and this accounts for my making cheese so late in the season. Any day we are liable to have a sudden turnabout to the coldest weather and that will "dry up" cheesemaking in a hurry— Last week we had one of those sudden changes, Thursday was a warm day—that night the wind wheeled about into the north, and in a few hours (minutes if I should say 'twould be no exaggeration) we had a spell of winter. Sat. morning at 9 o'clock the thermometer was at 18°— You can imagine there was small chance of making cheese that day in an open shed with a north-side view, even if the cows would give milk sufficient [in] such weather, which they would not— I believe the cheese then in the press froze by its appearance. So much for the cheese question. Can you send me a "little bit" more of annatto; a very small piece will do. I sent by Frank to the drug store for some today and they sent me madder instead, and that too after being told that I wanted it to color cheese.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
There has been an unusual amount of wild fruit in the woods here this season— We had gooseberries two months. I canned about 14 qts after they were picked over beside having them constantly while they lasted, then plums came on and lasted till the frost came, then there were summer and frost grapes all through the woods in every direction, in some places there were a great many blackberries and also mulberries the most insipid fruit that grows, there are in places, too, "heaps" of paw-paws, a large green sickish fruit that some people are very fond of, and persimmons that before they have been ripened by several severe frosts will pucker ones mouth up so that they cant find their tongue for a week after— But which when fairly frost ripened are very nice. Some people sprinkle sugar on them and dry them and call them raisins— but they aint. I dried a flour sack two thirds full of plums after they were stewed and the pits taken out—have besides now about 4 gallons of plum sauce— Peaches were generally almost a failure. We were quite favored however— we had all we wanted to use in every way during the season and sold and gave away about ten bushels. I pickled two thirds of a bushel and made seven or eight gallons of sauce for winter and dried perhaps 7 lbs. I dried only such as fell off faster than I could otherwise dispose of them. We had tomatoes a plenty late but very few early ones. I made about a bushel up into catsup, and a bushel more into a kind of sauce but did not get it very nice— Molasses we failed on this year the cane getting injured by frost or rather by remaining too long unworked after the frost— Our other crops are all light vegetables. We have none of any such except potatoes (I forgot pumpkins of which I have dried 15 and we are eating them in pies every meal) and they are turning out poorer than we hoped (John and a colored gentleman began to dig them today) We all have fair health—John remarkably good for him. He has worked steady all through haying and harvesting.
I believe I have written all that relates to our current family affairs unless it be about the chickens and soap—topics never left out when certain of us neighbors get together for a visit, but those items are perhaps too important to place on the last page so I win defer them. sine die.
It's election day here. There is greater excitement about political affairs in Kansas this fall than there has been before in several years— And the funny of it is there is no ostensible issue—
I have never mentioned the receipt of those Histories. We have received three volumes. Our fine weather still continues—but I dont like the feel of today. I think we shall have a squall soon— Is there anything new in the way of fashions? If its not too much trouble I wish you would send me a cloak or cape (or whatever it may chance to be) pattern.
John says he would like to know what you paid for the Histories and he will send you the money. I will send also the money for those rennets at the same time Yours as ever
S. M. C. E.
P. S. Will the war ever end?
By the subscriber, twenty-five or thirty good, old, home-cured veal rennets. For which the highest market price will be paid by my sister Miss Jane Everett, at Steuben, New York.
John R. Everett
Osawatomie, Miami Co., Kansas, Jan. 16, 1863.
I do not know but you will laugh when you read the above as heartily as Sarah when I read it over to her, but, perhaps, (pardon the coarseness,) on the other side of the mouth. How would it answer to put the above on the Cenhadwr cover. I do not know what we shall do for rennets, unless you can help us. We have been so much indebted to you for rennets, we are emboldened to try again. I am satisfied, rennets in pickle will not keep well in our hot summer weather, at least in wooden casks. Probably, (as we did not immediately dry them,) for that reason, we did not have good luck with the cask of rennets Uncle Henry kindly sent us. The homecured rennets you have sent us have generally been good, and have worked well. We thought if you could get 20 or 30, they could be sent in a bundle by express, and if so, perhaps we will send for one or two other things with them. Please let us know whether you think you can do anything in this way without too much inconvenience.
It is over three months since we have heard from you. It makes us unhappy to be so long without hearing from home. We get the Cenhadwr regularly, and so hope nothing serious is the matter. We too have been very remiss in writing. It seems to be harder work to write now than it used to, and you know I never was much of a letter writer. I have done a good deal more of my work myself this year than usual and, so, have not had much time to write. I am wintering this season, about 50 head of cattle and four horses, or (as they say here, in hoosier language,) 50 cow brutes, and four horse beasts. We have had two or three little snow storms, that have whitened the ground for a day or two each time and that is all the winter we have had yet. Most of the winter so far has been mild October weather. But yesterday and to day have been sharp, cold winter days.
We have all enjoyed first rate health, since we last wrote. Our two children go to school. We have the best school this winter we ever had here. Our teacher Rev. J. H. Carruth, is a college and Seminary bred Presbyterian minister, not preaching, an old settler in our district. Do you know any thing about a "Pilgrims Progress," I used to have, marked on the back Evangelical Library, I believe I would like to get it.—
Saturday.—Do as you like about the advertisement. Change it, or do not publish it. I enclose $3.00 in this. Will send more after hearing from you. Have no more Eastern money or would send more now. What are custom house demand notes (U. S. Treasury) worth with you? Have some of them. They only have heretofore offered 10 per cent for them here. No time to write any more. Let us hear from you soon. Your brother
Osawatomie, Mar. 7.1863
Dear Aunt Jennie
We have got a new baby two days old. And it is a regular Welshman. And it is very fat. And it is the prettiest thing that I ever did see. You never saw such a pretty thing as it is.
Mother isn't very well. Write soon as you can.
Frank R. Everett.
If you ever got a letter from John containing three dollars towards getting rennets for this summer, we should like to know it. S
Osawatomie Mar. 17, 1863.
Dear Sister Jennie
Yours was received two or three days ago. We thank you for the trouble you have taken in inquiring about rennets. Please to get $5.00 worth of dry rennets, and send them by the cheapest conveyance, which will probably be by express. There was a movement made in the H. of Rep. at Washington to have all packages of limited weight carried in the mails for 1 ct. an ounce, but I do not know as it ever became a law. We would like to have a box of annatto sent with the rennets. Sarah had thought of sending for a patent wheel head for a spinning wheel but we have succeeded in finding one here. If you would let us know what the annatto costs we would be obliged. If you could put in a root or two of the raspberries I set out west of the barn, and a rooted sprout of the . . . plum that was in the corner of my old orchard, I would be glad. Cut off most of the top. If inconvenient let them go, for they might not live. Wrap in moss, or old oiled silk perhaps would do. Currants are of no account here. We cant make them live. Once in a great while, on some peculiar soil they grow in Kansas, but in general they will not thrive here.
We are all pretty well. Sarah seems quite well, but not very strong. . . . We call the baby John Edward. Our school is over now. Both of the children went most of the time, Robert staying at home the coldest days. We have had four warm days now and we are in hopes spring has set in. Give my love to Aunt Sarah if she is there yet. I sometimes wonder if father and mother are looking much older than when I left. It is eight years now—a long time. I long to see you all—but it may not be.
Affectionately your brother
Osawatomie May 2, 1863.
I have very little time to write today. The rennets have not come yet, nor have we heard from them, and we are in distress for want of them. Will you please find out if they have been sent, and if not have them started immediately. And if you have one in the house you can spare send it by mail. We have no rennet on hand except some pig rennets, and they are not fit to use alone. We are all well. . . . I have been able to do more work this spring than any spring I have been in Kansas Your brother
Osawatomie Nov. 14, '63.
Dear Father & Mother and all at home,
I have been waiting some time now for time and opportunity for writing a long letter. But they do not seem to have come yet. I feel guilty for neglecting to write so long. I lamed my right shoulder about four weeks ago so that I could not use that arm for writing or, any thing else for some time. I have had less help about my work this summer than any year before in Kansas. Sarah also has had a very busy summer and fall. Her hired help in a great measure failed this fall, and she has undertaken double labor. She has had 40 pounds of wool to work, the product of a small flock of sheep we are keeping on shares. Cloth from the store has become so deceptive and shoddyish Sarah thought she would go back to the primitive spinning wheel and loom. We had to send our wool 60 miles to be carded. We have had a good deal of trouble in getting things together, so that we have all been more than commonly busy this summer and fall. This week Sarah has been making clothes for the boys, and next week intends to make for me out of this home made cloth.
Our general health is better this fall than common. The baby is fat, and healthy and good. He has the whooping cough yet, but it don't seem to trouble him except when he coughs. The boys help me a good deal about my work. . . . Hoping that this apology for a letter will be better than longer waiting, and that you at home will not delay writing for our neglect, I remain as ever
Your affectionate but not punctual
And too often tardy son John.
[Contents Place This Letter Late in 1863. First Portion Is Missing]
Sabbath when returning from church, we pass by the P. 0. and usually look in to see if any thing came in the evening before.
It had been mis-sent and that was the reason of its being nearly three weeks on its journey. You have had the letter John sent about the same time yours was written I hope and so have been relieved from any further anxiety.
A N. Y. City man was taking an excursion in N. Hampshire stopped to ask a back woods man the distance to some town' wished to visit. The Countryman asked the gentleman "what parts he was from, and on learning he was from N. Y. asked him in sympathising tones if he didn't hate to live so far off.
I couldn't help wondering when reading your letter so full of anxiety if you didn't hate to live so far off.
I have not had any heart for writing this summer (I fear the same is the case with some of my friends in the East). I have been more than usually harassed with my home matters. I dont think I ever endured such a hateful (I cant think of any other word any nearer the meaning) summer in my life. It makes me shiver every time I think of it. Besides my household vexations, I had some deeper afflictions to suffer as you will see by the enclosed letters. Thus my mind has been under a cloud and I have seen only that nor hardly made an effort to see beyond it.
As regards danger from Rebel or more properly Guerrilla raids we that is John and I never feel any— We realize that plundering bands may visit Osawatomie the same as they have some other points in Kansas but cant feel it. We are never afraid altho' the community gets its scare occasionally— The border is now thoroughly protected, besides there is hardly inducement enough at present.
The two stores might pay. There is nothing else but an old grudge against the town to entice them, but you would hardly need feel any uneasiness for us if Osawatomie should be destroyed. We are not on any road to any place in particular and when a band of robbers make an onslaught on any place in Kansas they must necessarily do it with the utmost speed or else get caught hence they have small opportunity to murder or pillage among the farmers not on their immediate route.
I wish I could send you one of my chances to compare with the factory cheese— We have had the best luck this summer we have ever had. I think I can make cheese at last that will keep in this hot climate with out spoiling. We have not lost any with hot weather this summer and have made excellent cheese too. We get now 12 1/2 cts a lb. I have yet over 50 on hand. We went over to Paola last week to get our likenesses taken to send home but did not succeed. We thought when we started we could get photographs but were mistaken, only Ambrotypes being at present procurable. The artist intends to get a photographer and perhaps we shall wait till we can get photographs now. It is a great task for us to get ready and go so far (10 miles) with all we have to do in the morning. We cannot get back till after dark and it's mean work doing up the chores in the evening when one is cold & tired. . . .
Tell me something about "the fashions."
. . . You saw the acc't did you not of Spencer Brown's execution in Richmond. He was 0. C. Browns son. He has another son in the army now in Arkansas I believe.
Our children are all very well. Eddie since he got over the whooping cough has been very healthy and has grown very fast and is a great marvel among babies on acct of his size. He weighed 26 1/2 lbs when he was 7 1/2 mo. old, and has been growing ever since. I would tell you that he is the prettiest baby in the world if I was not intending to send you his likeness, but then you will have a chance to see it for yourself so I wont say any thing about it. I expect this week to get his homemade clothes wove, my paper is out and I must stop. Your Aff. Sister
S. M. C. E.
St. Josephs, Missouri, June 7 1864.
I started from home last Friday to take Sarah to Leavenworth on her way to her brother in Columbus, Warren Co. Pa. . . . When I got to Leavenworth I thought best to come this far with her. We came to Leavenworth with my own team and a neighbor's — and from there here by the public conveyances. (Steamboat and cars.) She started this morning for her brother's by the Hannibal and St Joseph Railroad. She has company as far as Indianapolis, one of our neighbor's Mr. Barnard's son. The baby is with her. It. is with a good deal of trembling and: apprehension, I saw her start, as she is hardly fit for so long a journey and I ought to have gone through with her But the expense was too great. I can only entrust her to the keeping of the Lord, as I trust he has kept her heretofore. There is a colored woman taking care of the house and children while I am absent. I received a few lines from father dated May 25 as I came through town last Friday. Sarah will write you as soon as she feels able after arriving in Columbus.
I crossed a railroad on the Kansas River coming to Leavenworth. It is the commencement of the great Pacific Railroad, is completed about 24 miles and is being pushed on. Pray for Sarah, that she may recover if it is the Lord's will. Your son
[Sarah Everett's condition became increasingly serious after her arrival in Pennsylvania, and John Everett joined her there early in July of 1864, remaining with her until her death on August 21 of that year. He later returned to Kansas to dispose of his cattle, then went to the family home at Remsen and resumed work at the printing plant. In the spring of 1866 he came again to Kansas and settled once more on his farm where he lived until his death on August 8, 1896.]
56. Henry Ward Beecher.
57. Thaddeus Hyatt wrote extensively for the Eastern press during the drouth years of 1860-1861, describing conditions in Kansas and urging contributions to relief funds.
58. Reference is to the death of her father on July 31, 1863. See Footnote No. 31.