Frank E. P. Eastabrook and Eva E. Briggs
Emiline (Potter) Eastabrook, Frank's mother
Frank and Eva ~ Letters 6 - 10
“Elmira Oct. 18, 1881
My Dear Eva,
Your letter was rec’d this morning as I was eating my breakfast. I did not expect to get a letter before night, and was very much pleased to hear from you. It is now almost time for school to call to order. School commences at 9 o’c [o’clock] and lasts until 12 o’c. From 2 o’c to 4 o’c, from 7 in the evening to 9 o’c. [A total of 7 hours – Ed.]
I cannot studdie much out of school because it is mostly writing and general practice. I wish it was so I could studdie out of school. I feel as though I ought to improve every minute.
I am not getting along very well today, but I think I will get to going after a little.
The teacher boards here, but he don’t act as though he cared much about sho[w]ing me [how to do better]. I am satisfyed it is a good school.
Mr. Warner has been teaching about 20 years. He reminds me very much of Mr. R?yon. (I do not know how to spell R....)
Last Frida[y] evening I went up to Smiths’. They were eating oysters and they asked me to eat. Of course I did not refuse. I enjoyed them ever so much. It seems real good to go there. It seems some like home. While I was there, I picked up the LeRaysville Advertiser. I wanted to read every word that there was in it, advertisements and all.
Saterday afternoon I went up to see Sarah. Had a good time. Mary [Keeler or Hillibrant?] has two sisters and they are full of fun. So you see, it makes a chance for quite a racket – take us all together…
They want I should come up next Saterday and go with them after nuts. They say there is some about a mill [mile] from there. Mary cannot go. She cannot walk down to her school. She has to take the car [horse drawn street car – Ed.]. Their folks seem to be real anxious to have me come and stay as long as I can.
You asked if there was any ladies at school. There is one. I do not know her name.
I am getting a little acquainted with some of the boys. The most of them are pretta fast[?].
I guess I feel almost asshamed to tell you what I did Sunday. The folkes where I live are not church going people. This teacher come and asked me to take a walk. I told him I wanted to go to church. He said he would go with me in the evening and he said there wasen’t any meeting in the afternoon. So I went off with him. I expect he will want me to go out next Sunday but I think I shall refuse. I went to Beacher’s church in the evening. It is a fine building. I liked his surmon quite well.
[Rev. Thomas K. Beecher of Elmira’s Park Church, was a well-known liberal preacher and good friend of Elmira’s famous inhabitant, Samuel Clemens, i.e. "Mark Twain." – Ed.]
I did want to see you so much Sunday. I would look at my wach [watch] and think where you was and what you could be doing.
[About] Your speaking about my diing [dying]. I was thinking Saterday how we would feel if eather one or the other of us should die. It is hard to think about, but it is a pleasure to know when we do, that we have that precious promise of meeting again in the land of rest.
I did not go to meeting Sunday but I had a little meeting of my one [own] by myself. I felt that God was present and I enjoyed it very much. I sang the hymn that you marked in my hymnal thed [that] we sung on Ford St. You do not know how much that pleased me when I saw it. I wish you could of been here to of helped me sing it.
My room would not be very pleasant for some, but I like it quite well. It is on the back side of the house, but I can see out on Lake St. bri[d]ge. There is so much noise on the St. [street] that I am glad to get as far away from it as I can.
I am very sorry that I cannot have the pleasure of seeing that new dress, but I would give more to see you than all the dresses you have got. I am glad your are willing to write once a week.
I have had my ring marked. [engraved with her name?] I enjoy ever so much to look at it. Of course I cannot look at it without thinking about you.
I have a plenta of bedclothes now, and if I do not when it gets colder, I shall make a rock! [be cold as a rock?]
Happie shall I be when the day comes that we can spend our lives together.
I must close.
Love to my Dear Darling Eva. Write soon. F.E.E.”
“Rushville, Oct. 22, 1881
My Dear Frank,
Yours was rec’d Friday evening. I was waiting for the stage to come, as I was obliged to come home in it. So I stopped at your house to wait, and read your letter to your Mother. Do you care?
Your Mother is pleased because you write often. She thinks it will be beneficial to have the practice. My Mother does not look on the plan quite as favorably. I cannot promise to write every week, but I shall if it [is] at all convenient. I did not quite understand why you cannot study out of school hours. I should think you could study Arithmetic then. Please tell me more, particularly about your studies? If you don’t, I shall scold you a little.
I do hope you are enjoying your studies and will make enough advancement so you will feel repaid. I am pleased to hear that you have such agreeable company at Mr. Hilabrant’s. Hope you enjoyed your nutting expedition today. It has been beautiful weather for it.
You are quite right in forming a resolution to spend your Sabbaths at home. May you have strength given to keep it. Wouldn’t you enjoy yourself better if you should attend some church and Sabbath School regularly? If you could only have as nice a teacher as I had in Scranton!
We rec’d a Postal from Percy [Briggs, Eva’s brother] tonight saying that he is to move to Carbondale and work in a machine shop.
Cora and James are having quite a hard time taking care of the children. The poor dear little baby is cutting teeth, and that with the cough makes it feel very badly. I am so afraid it will die! You know so many babies have died this Summer. [from smallpox?]
Ray is staying up here with Ma. Says he is going to stay ‘four weeks.’
Are you homesick any? Now confess like a good child and tell me all about it.
Mr. Thomas has gone to attend the Synod, so we shall not hear any sermon tomorrow. Mart went to Towanda yesterday. I expect you hear all about Band meeting from him. I cannot find out anything to tell you about it.
How does Mrs. Sarah &c [and company?] enjoy her home and employment? Does she tease you any about writing to me?
My Mother sends her regards to you.
I am going to write all my letters to you during Saturday if you write every week. Will you please send the letters so they will arrive Thursday night?
“Stevensville, Oct. 24, 1881
As I have time tonight, will try and write you a short letter. Of course you will be thankfull for small favors. I don’t know as there is much news to tell you, but I will try and tell you all there is.
I went to Towanda last Friday. Charley Hamlin went with me and took part of the Engine over. Has got it now so that it runs perfectly still. That ‘knocking’ is all stoped.
I bought me a[n] Over-Coat – cost me $16.00. It is a very nice one. It is an ulsterette [a type of coat].
And on Saturday I wasent able to woork at all. [ill?]
I have taken my Horse [out?] again.
Olmstead Sias[?] come back for good, but I tell you, you are missed on the old Tuba. We had a good [band] meeting Saturday Evening. All the boys were out but you and Fred.
You missed quite a time over at Regis Stevens to a surprise Party. Had a splendid time. There were four Couple[s] from Camptown. I made quite a mark on one of the young Laides [ladies]. Will finish after supper.
Will try and finish now. I feel some better. I was very tired and hungry.
I am geting along first rate in the Mill. James lets me run the Plainer. I haven’t set it [but] once. Of course he stood right by and told me how. It makes it more interesting to be so that I can go a head with the woork.
I expect if nothing happens, I shall be far from here next Spring. Ed Fowler is agoing to move his family to Denver City, Colorado, and wants me to go with him. He just received a letter from his Brother and he wanted him to come right along this Fall, but he can’t get ready so soon. He says that he will promise me a job of $2.50 a day in a Car Shop. [Streetcar or Railway Shop – Ed.]
Our folks [say] that I can do as I am a mind to about it, and I think it is the best thing I can do. [Mart is 19 years old.] I think the trip would be good for me. What is your idea of the thing?
I suspose Fenton [Stevens] is comeing to Elmira in the Spring to school. I don’t know what will become of the Band.
I haven’t hitched on your wagon but once, and that was last night. Drove over and got Angie Stevens and went to Church. I find she is very good company - much better than I had any idea of. She asked me very politely to come again. I presume I shall when there is anything going on so that I want company. I should want to use your Wagon again in about a month then if you haven’t any objections. I would like to drive it to Forksville to see Anna [LaMent]. It is just the same distance that it is to Towanda, but it may be Sleighing [weather] by that time.
Papa has just came home. He has been to Wilkesbarre since last Thursday. Katie [Frank’s sister] took him to the Depot, and went after him today. She thinks she has done with it now.
I received a letter from Dell [Woodruff] today. He sent me his Photograph. It is a splendid Picture. Looks much better thane he did when he left here. Perhaps he has improved.
I suspose you are enjoying yourself in the City. I don’t suspose we can beginn to keep up with the ‘style’ when you get home. I hope you will enjoy yourself as well as you can. I find it isent [isn’t] so pleasant to be left all alone. I get along very well, only nights and Sundays. But I suspose I shall halve to put up with it for awhile.
I can spend my evenings in writeing letters. I have plenty to write. To you, Sara, Dell, Ida, and Anna (the one of importance of course). Tell Sara that I will write to her soon. Well I suspose I shall halve to stop writeing for this time. I could write right on and fill up another sheet, but guess I had better wait until next time. I have got so used to writeing long letters that it begins to come handy. I only [hope] I shall receive one as long from you. We are all well as usual. Hope you will keep well and not get to flirting with the girls. Give my regards to Mate H. [Mattie Hillibrant?] when you see her.
I guess that is all for this time, so good night. Write soon.”
“Elmira, Oct. 27th, 1881
My Darling Eva,
I am so lonely being away whare I cannot see you. Sundays I feel so lonesome. If I only could go and see you instead of Sarah, how much better I should like it. But then I am glad she is here, and I like to go and see her, but you know there is no one so dear to me as you are. [Fred, Frank’s brother travels a lot, selling musical instruments, so his sister-in-law Sarah is glad to have his company.] Know [that] there is no one dear to me as you are, and no one that I care so much for to be with, as I do with you.
Saterday, Fred surprised me. I did not think of such a thing as seeing him, but I had a nice time while he was here and I think I was a little homesick when he come away. I did not go after nuts that day. I spent most of [the] time with Fred.
Saterday night ther was a fire here. The allarm was given about seven o’clock. Fred & Sarah were down in the evening, so we went to the fire. I never saw Fire engines work before. It was exciting. There was two barns burnt, no houses.
Sunday I went to church alone. After church Fred, Sarah & I went to Smith’s. We stayed there most of the afternoon.
In the evening, Mr. McDowell (the teacher) and I went to church. I had to urge him some. Now he says he will go to Sunday S[chool] and church with me, and Teachers meeting Friday evening. He is quite a rough fellow though. I do not think he drinks any nor has any very bad habits, but he talks real rough. He said the outher evening when we were comeing home from church, that when he was to church he felt real wicked, and I am in hopes he will get with a change.
It is very nice weather here now, and it seemes a little more like home here now than it did. The longer I stay, the better I like it. I think it is because I am geting more acquainted.
I have a chance to studdie out of school now. He [their teacher] is the worst fellow on Arithmetic I ever saw. He is very particular about every little rule and he has the most shortest wayes for doing nearly everything and he makes us learn his wayes. So I have to put in my time studding [studying] that [h]our out of school.
When I wrote before, I had nothing to studdie but my bookkeeping, and when they first commence[d], cannot do much without help. My head is so filled up today with it I cannot think of anything. I have taken annouther set of books today, and there is so much to remember that I cannot think of much to write about. It is anything but easy work to go through the college, but I am glad I come. I guess I am doing as well as most of them. There is one fellow that sits next to me has been here more than a week longer than I have, and I am ahed of him now. He is nearly 30 years old I should think, and it is hard for him to learn. I expect to stay here while I graduate if it takes me 6 mounths.
What do you think about our not seeing each outher in that length of time? I suppose you are going away dureing [the] Holidays to Towanda, so I should not want to come then.
I could not get around to write to you so that you would get the letter Thursday. I am sorry you had to be disapointed. I commenced this letter yesterday (now it is Friday). I expected to finish it last night, but I felt so much like walking that I went out walking. I get so tiard siting that I do not know what to do, only get up and walk. It is some exercise to go from my room to the college. There is 62 steps from my room to the streat and 64 from the streat to the college room.
I do not know about your going and reading Ma’s letters. I am affraid it will be most to much like reading a poor story twice. I have to write the same thing nearly to each of you.
You wanted to know if I was homesick. I do not think I am now, but I have been, but not so much so as I was at Scranton, though I should like to be home if I could.
I am in hopes the baby will get along with its sickness allright. I should like to see it. I wish you would kiss it for me. I do not know how it is that I think so much of Cora’s children.
How do you get along with school? Do you get along with it now any better than you did when you were up nights, once in a great while? Are you going to teach at your place this winter? I wish you would tell me all about what you do and what outher people are doing. I do like to hear from home so much. I must close for the want of room.
Give my love to all the prettie girls and all that I love, and that will not be anyone but you. If you see any of my people, tell them that I am well. Remember me to all who inquire of me. I must now go to my school. Please write as often as you can. I do love to hear from you so much.
From your Darling Frank”
“Stevensville, Oct. 31, Monday night, [Halloween]
My own darling Frank,
Received yours Saturday night. I had school that day and went down to your house to write the missionary questions for your mother. It was so late before I finished them, I finally staid all night. Your father brought the letter from the [post] office and I read it to your Mother. Then we had quite a long talk about you (we are both so much interested you know!)
I went down to Mamie’s [Keeler’s] Sunday morning before breakfast. Came back at eleven o’clock to attend the funeral of old Mrs. Clink. (She lived up by the bridge near our house.) After the funeral, I asked Mart if he would go down to Mamie’s with me after prayer meeting. He said he would, and after S. S. [Sunday school] I went over to Cora’s to stay till evening. Then I thought Mart would hate to go with me perhaps, so I went down before night.
I had been there only a little while when Mart came with a horse and carriage and so I went with him. We sat together in that seat where you [and] I sometimes sat. I was so afraid Mart felt bored at having to take me. I felt real pleased with going with him and was ‘awfully’ sorry I had ever said anything against his loved Miss LaMent.
Last Friday Pa [Newell B. Briggs] fell from an apple tree and hurt himself quite badly. There was no bruise and he struck [landed] on his feet. It is thought that the jar injured his spine. There is some doubt whether he will ever entirely recover from it.
Cora’s children are getting along well with their cough.
Wednesday, [Nov.] 2
I suppose you are disappointed because you have not rec’d a letter from me yet, but I dare say you are enjoying yourself at your new boarding place, and so can get along without it better this week than you could before. I thought my last letter to you was rather dry and I intended to atone for it by writing a real good one this time, but I have not liked to write before folks, and when I start for bed I have to work on the examples for the next day [for school] until it is so late and I am so sleepy, that it would be impossible to write a letter. I am so tired tonight that I fear this letter will not prove very interesting. So much for excuses! I shall not write such a chapter again.
I received news from Pa tonight. He can sit up some, but cannot walk any yet.
Perhaps some of the folks have told you about Sarah Bender‘s death. She was taken sick Tuesday [Nov. 25th], and died Saturday. The funeral took place Monday at 2 o’clock. (I did not have school in the afternoon.) I never saw mourners make such a fuss as they did. It was dreadful to hear them, Frank Becker especially! Some think that they were to have been married in a few weeks. He acted as if he would go into fits, and sobbed and groaned all the time.
I want to tell you now while I think of it, that if I die before you do, I do not want you to feel so badly about it. I think it is wicked. Sarah’s death gave me such a shock that it just haunts me. I see her face and think about it nearly every night. If you die before I do it dosent seem as if I shall want to see you very much [after] you are dead, but shall try to remember you as you were when living, and shall think of you as being in heaven, not in the ground.
[Sarah was the daughter of J. A. & S. J. Bender, and was 21 when she died. –Ed.]
The night before Sarah was buried (Sunday) I thought it all over - how I ever would endure it if you should die now, before we are married. I do not think I could realize any thing about it – how I should feel. I feel very sorry for Frank [Becker], but you know it is different with us. We must not set our affection on things on the earth. All day Sunday I felt O so thankful that you were well and happy.
About your coming home Christmas – if this is vacation there, you will come anyway, won’t you dear? You can come the Friday before I have to go to Towanda, and I can see you Friday night, Sat. and Sun. Then I shall be gone through the week, but will be home again Friday night. I think that if we were not to see each other for six months that our meeting would be as great an event in our lives as we expect our wedding to be! Don’t you?
I want you to tell me whether you think you will want any mittens this winter and whether you want red ones.
Before I forget, I want to tell you to burn this letter right up and be careful to keep all my letters in some safe place, or else in the fire. I do not care to have them recvd. by anyone. I suppose you think that is an insult to your friends, but I would rather risk insulting them than having my letters read. [Luckily Frank kept them! – Ed.]
I am going to enclose fifty cents and want you to buy me some cards with it. That is all I can afford for them. I would like ten nice ones for scholars, and twelve for smaller ones. [as rewards for her students.] But I dare say you will be obliged to buy more than that as they will be in packs, and if it is more convenient you can get them all alike. I want them for Saturday (12th) as that is my last day! I am so glad! School went just horrid for about two weeks after you went away. It was more pleasant last week and is about middling this week. You can get any kind of cards which you think pretty, only don’t get those which have “Reward of Merit” on them. I shall be much obliged to you for the favor if you will do it (please).
You wanted me to tell you some news – now I am going to try hard. Mr. Keeler has bought a span [a pair] of young, black horses. They have their ditch nearly all dug and expect to lay pipe soon for their water. The Palmer boys are around looking at farms and talking of buying. I think you know that they pretend to have forty thousand dollars.
Mrs. Will Grant of Fall River has another boy. Joe Bender was here at the funeral. He must have given up his western sojourn. I can’t remember which things have happened since you went away and am afraid I shall tell you some old news. Here is some that is doubtful – Mr. Ed[?] Place[?] and wife do not live together at present. Mr. Joshua Burrows has taken a wife and is going to move away somewhere (Troy I think). Mr. Arthur Burrows family [Joshua’s son] is to live on his place. Mr. McCumber is married to a Miss Cleaveland, so Mrs. Rockwell is saved from that fate. John Lyons has taken Vira [Elvira] Brown out once or twice. Mart has taken Angie Stevens [out] once I think, and Clara Fowler once.
I am to teach [at] Pine Glen this winter. I have received seventeen dollars tuition. Think I shall have thirty-five in all.
I want you to think about me and pray for me every night, and I will of you. Please forgive me for sending you such a ‘scrawl,’ and write soon to
your very loving [Eva].”
Between Frank and Eva and Other Family Members: