Frank E. P. Eastabrook and Eva E. Briggs
Frank and Eva ~ Diary Excerpts, Epilogue, Appendix & Sources
Following are a few excerpts.
March 17, 1882 (Friday)
“...I finished my school and I was a happy boy. In the evening I prepared my trunk to come home.”
March 18, 1882 (Saturday)
“I got up very early in the morning to get ready for going home. I took the St[reet] car at eight o’clock. Arrived at Rummerfield about eleven. I had to walk home. It was a long walk, but I was glad to get home. At evening I went up to see Eva. I was contented once again. I stayed all night.”
March 19, 1882 (Sunday)
“I stayed to Mr. Brigges until about twelve o’c [o’clock], then we went to S[tevensville]. We went to church. After church we went over to James’. I did not stay but a little while. We went to Prayer meeting in the evening. Then I took her home. It was late when I got home.”
March 20, 1882 (Monday)
“In the morning [I] went down to Clara’s and stayed until after dinner. Then went on to see James’es children. Then went from there to the mill and stayed until night. In the evening went to the store and stayed a little while.”
March 21, 1882 (Tuesday)
“In the fournoon I did earrands for Ma. After dinner I changed my clothes and started for Mr. Brigges [Eva’s]. I went a foot up through the woods. I took them with surprise! But it was a happy surprise to Eva. I stayed all night and [had] a lovely time.”
March 22, 1882 (Wednesday)
“I stayed at Eva’s house until after dinner, then went home. It snowed real hard most of the time. I came back the same way that I went up. I stoped at the mill on my way back. In the evening [I] went to Band meeting. It seemed good to be there again.”
In late March Frank began to board with the Lewis family, and life was fine and full, with Frank writing in his diary every day. Then on April 5th the diary entries stop. Most likely Eva’s health started to fade. There are a few short entries in June about Frank’s work, and then nothing, until this last entry:
November 3, 1882 (Friday)
“In the morning Mr. Avis came for me. I was on Clapper Hill. Eva was still liveing when I got there. I went home for Cora, and while away, she died.”
In the Memoranda in the back of the diary is the following entry:
“Nov 3, 1882. Eva’s choice of music for [the] funereal – In Pure Gold. Twill all be over soon. In Gospel Hymns No. 308 and 259.”
finished college at Warner‘s, and after Eva’s death stayed in Stevensville.
He worked for his friend James Grant at the Stevensville Lumber Mill,
and then in 1883 he and Elmore F. Stevens (his future brother-in-law) bought the
mill and lumbering business from James. They
went on to create a successful business that lasted many years.
It is likely that as Eva lay on her deathbed (see cause below), she made Frank promise to go on with his life. Frank once again became an active member of the Stevensville Presbyterian Church, and was appointed as Sunday school secretary, a position his brother Mart had filled the year before. There he became better acquainted with Ella May Stevens, daughter of Jonathan and Sarah (Rockwell) Stevens. On January 19, 1885, Frank married Ella, and a few years later they had two children, Mildred Clara and Victor S. Estabrook.
Frank was a steadfast Republican, and was elected as tax collector in 1891. In 1914 he helped organize the People’s State Bank of Wyalusing and eventually became its President. In 1930, at age 70, he retired from the lumbering business. He was an active member of the Stevensville Church for over fifty years, loved by all who knew him, and for many years was the Sunday school superintendent.
Frank and Ella were happily married, raised their two children and gave of themselves to their family and community. Frank died on August 11th, 1943 at age 83. His obituary states that he was “a highly regarded citizen,” and that the funeral was well attended. Frank and Ella are buried in the Camptown Cemetery, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
Eva is buried a few miles away in the Stevensville Cemetery near her parents. Her memorial reads, “Our beloved Eva; dau. of N.B. & A.B. Briggs; died Nov. 3, 1882, aged 20 years; ‘Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep; from which none ever wakes to weep.’”
kept all of the letters he and Eva had written, as well as her well-worn picture and the
engagement ring he had given her. And
though he was a faithful and loving husband for 48 years, his granddaughters state that on
his deathbed, his last word was..... “Eva.”
died of Consumption, later called tuberculosis, but then
also known as the
“white plague” because its victims usually had very pale skin.
In the early nineteenth century consumption was responsible
for about one-third of all deaths.
Its victims gradually “wasted away.” They felt very tired and
Other symptoms were sleeplessness, loss of appetite, weight
loss, and a nagging cough, sometimes producing blood.
For a long time, some people thought the disease was caused by vampires!
Ironically, Robert Koch discovered the bacterium that caused the
disease, in the same year that Eva
OTHER MAJOR CHARACTERS ~ Table of Contents
Mart did go West to Denver, as evidenced by a note in Ella Steven's autograph book. Then he moved to Philadelphia, probably with his father, and worked as a clerk. He did not marry any of his childhood sweethearts, but after a long engagement, married Nellie Quinby of Stevens Point, Wisconsin in 1893. They appear to have moved to her home state. Sadly he died a few years after his marriage, at age 32.
and Emeline Eastabrook, Frank’s parents, also moved to Philadelphia
and settled in nearby Hammonton, New Jersey. After
Emeline died, Edward married Anna Belle Gifford and they raised another daughter, Frieda
Fred Tyler and Sara Estabrook had a very successful music business. Fred lived to the age of 77. Among the pieces of music he wrote, “Welcome Spring Waltz, for the Pianoforte” was published in Boston by O. Ditson & Company in 1885. Copies of this sheet music are available on the Internet as part of the Library of Congress’s American Memory website at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mdbquery.html
Grant, who was Frank’s friend and boss, ran the Stevensville Lumber
He was married to Eva’s sister, Cora.
After 13 years in the lumber business, they took their children Raymond,
Mary and Winifred and moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, engaging "in
the manufacture of sash and blinds" as Grant & Son.
In 1886 James and Ray formed the Johnson City Furniture Company
with the goal of “becoming one of the nation’s largest furniture
Fenton Stevens was a mischievous but delightful seventeen year old in 1881, as is often noted by his teacher-Eva. He was Sarah (Stevens) Eastabrook’s brother, and a friend of Frank’s, as well as a member of the Stevensville band. He lived next door to Sarah and Fred in 1880, and then moved to Elmira in 1881 with his parents H. H. (Hartley) & Mary Stevens. In Elmira he worked as a clerk, file cutter, and then for several years as a carpenter, probably with his father.
Commercial College, also called the Elmira Business and Shorthand College,
was started in 1858 by Augustus J. Warner, a business teacher.
It is now called the Elmira Business Institute.
It had several locations, but in 1882 its address was the Arnot
building at the corner of Lake and Water Streets (see sketch).
present college is a few blocks away at 180 Clemens Center Parkway.
Its purpose still remains the training of young men and women in
business and office skills. It
appears to have the distinction of being the first business college in the U.S. to offer evening
is still a small, peaceful town. The
church that the people in these letters attended, and where Eva taught Sunday
school, is still there, and looks out on the river and town cemetery.
The Stevensville mills are quiet now, but it is still a nice place to
live and to raise a family. See picture above.
NOTES ON GRAMMAR, SPELLING, ETC.
It was the style at the time to write one’s thoughts without much regard to ending a sentence or starting a new paragraph, and commas and periods were little used. To improve readability, I have added punctuation, sentence division, capitalized the first word in a sentence, and created and indented paragraphs.
Spelling and capitalization is usually as found in the original letters because it is of historical interest and often amusing to the 21st century reader, but instead of cluttering the paper with unnecessary corrections in brackets, I corrected some short words such as “there” versus “ther.” I have shown many common words as 1 word, instead of the slightly confusing 2, for example: “a bout,” “to gether,” “any way,” “to day,” and “my self.” Double “ss” sounds were still commonly spelled with the now outdated “fs,” as in “Mifs” (Miss), but I have tried not to alter these.
Several clarifications are given in brackets [ ], as are notes about uncertain spelling or words. Items in parentheses (in italics) are the writer’s own parenthetical notes. Single quotes are used when a letter writer uses quotes, to differentiate from the double quotes I used around the body of a letter or other quoted material. Underlines are those used by the writers. Note that the writers placement of apostrophes is usually different than where we now place them, for example, do’nt versus don’t. Some dates were figured from postmarks on their envelopes or other clues, and these are placed in brackets.
The first time someone is mentioned, they are further identified in brackets whenever possible. If you, the reader, have more information about anyone in these letters, I would be happy to hear from you at email@example.com .
Be sure to see the detailed indexes of all people, towns, streets, and subjects of significance, with the number assigned to each letter.
The man mentioned in Letter #22 was Joseph Abbott. In 1990, Sheriff Charles Houper wrote about the hanging in the Chemung Historical Journal:
“Now we move to the most controversial hanging, of Joseph Abbott, on a cold Jan. 6, 1882.
the time, Abbott was an inmate of Elmira Reformatory.
During a fight with another inmate, George Reed, who struck him first,
allegedly, Abbott took an iron pipe and beat Reed to death.
Because it wasn't premeditated he should have been found guilty of
second-degree murder. However he
was ultimately found guilty of first-degree murder.
The reporting in those days was fantastic; it was like reading a novel.
Abbott had a lengthy trial. He
gave a vivid account of what happened during his fight with Reed.
But he was unsuccessful in convincing the jury that he acted in
was the last hanging in this community.”
“Abaelard's Krankheiten,” (about diseases)
The American Railroad Network 1861-1890, George Rogers Taylor, Irene D. Neu, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, 1956.
“Business Schools,” Chemung Historical Journal, March 1995, pp. 4413-18.
Census, Pike Township, Bradford County, PA. Also on the web at:
Ella Steven's autograph book, 1880-86 (in the Editor’s possession)
Elmira Fire Department History on the Web: http://www.elmirafire.org/History.htm
Frank Eastabrook’s 1878 and 1882 Diaries (in the Editor’s possession)
Historical Record of the Stevens Township Cemeteries, Linda Culver English, 1988, 1994.
History and Geography of Bradford County, PA, 1615-1924, Clement F. Heverley, 1976 edition.
History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, H. C. Bradsby, 1891, p. 784.
History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania 1891-1995, Henry G. Farley & Doris W. Hugo, Co-Project Directors, p. 23, 193-94.
Library of Congress' American Memory web site.
Lipincott Gazetteer of the World, Angelo & Louis Heilprin, copyright 1905, 1911, & 1922. Also titled A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer or Geographical Dictionary of the World.
“Medicine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” by Shalin Shah,
News clipping on “F. E. Eastabrook Elected President of People’s State Bank” (clipped by his daughter Mildred).
The Nineteenth Century, Michael Pollard, 1993.
Obituary of F. E. Eastabrook in the Wyalusing Rocket, PA newspaper, Aug. 19, 1943.
Peddling Snake Oil, by Joe Nickell, on the web at http://www.csicop.org/sb/9812/snakeoil.html
Pennsylvania County Maps, County Maps, Puetz Place, Lyndon Stations, WI 53944, copyright about 1985-1990.
The People’s Chronology, James Trager, 1992, 1994.
“Railroading,” The Settler, published by the Bradford County Historical Society, Bradford Co., PA, Vol. XXIII, No. 4, Nov. 1985, p. 18-29.
Southern Tier , Vol. 2., Arch Merrill, [circa 1954], p. 74-76.
Stevensville Sunday School Register and Ledger (one volume), 23 June 1867-29 April 1888, (in the Editor’s possession)
“Three Local Hangings,” Chemung Historical Journal, June 1990, pp. 3953-57.
Twigs from Family Trees, Edward C. Hoagland, 1968, “Easterbrook” section, p. 642.
Material on the Elmira business schools was provided by Kathleen M. Hamilton, present Director of the Elmira Business Institute. For more information see the school’s Web site at: http://www.ebi-college.com
Information on Edward and Emeline Estabrook (long lost to this researcher) was supplied by Theressa M. Graham. Thanks Randy and Theressa!
from Linda Culver English, author of Historical Record of the Stevens
Township Cemeteries is gratefully acknowledged.
She also gratefully granted permission for use of her sketch of the
Stevensville Presbyterian Church that I used. Thanks go to Barbara Conrad, Tim Rodabaugh, Carol Brotzman and George
Farr for research assistance, and again to Carol B. for some of the
Although Eva is not a true member of our family, but for a twist in fate she would have been my great grandmother. As I read these “soft” letters I could not help but feel close to her because of the love she held for Frank during those wonderful and fascinating years. I hope you too have enjoyed reading them.
Between Frank and Eva and Other Family Members: