Frank E. P. Eastabrook and Eva E. Briggs
Frank and Eva ~ Letters 11 - 15
“Elmira, Nov. 7th, 1881
I rec’d your letter Friday night. You do not know how much good it did me. I had been looking so long for a letter, I thought you must be forgeting me, but I see you have not. I haven’t heard from home in nearly two weeks. I think they ought to write more. I think thay ought not to wate for me to write. There is so many of them and there isent so much for me to write about as there is for them. But I am not going to scold. I am thankful that I am enjoying myself as well as I am. I was not enjoying myself last week as well as you thought I must be.
I hardley knew what you ment when you spoke of my new boarding place. I am still at the same place, but I am going to move Wensday I expect. I hate to leave on some accounts. It is very near the college and when it rains it is very nice, and some nights after school Mr. McDowell satays [stays] to write a letter and I can stay and write, and it helps me very much.
Friday night I stayed and wrote one hour, and some things of that kind makes me want to stay, but if I stay here I would have to room with someone and I do not know who it might be, and my room isent furnished here as it will be to Mr. H.’s [Hillibrant‘s]. My room here hasent any carpet, no place to hang my clothes, only on some nales drove into the wall, and I can’t keep them in. My clothes being in the same room that I sleep, they get so dusta [dusty].
Mrs. H. [Hillibrant] said she did not want me to come unless I was realy shure I would like it better. Mary said to Sarah she hated to have me come because the room wasent nice enough. She said the carpet was rag carpet. I think rag carpet is better than none and I think I shall like it much better. I guess I shall carrie my dinner [to school]. I can do as I like, but I think it will be most to much walking to go up to dinner
The next letter you send, direct to 514 West Clinton St.
About your cards, I am affraid you will not be suited with them. I don’t think they [are] as nice as you wanted, but I did the best I could. They did not have any real nice ones.
Saturday I worked in my books all of the forenoon. I got along real nicely, but I thought I would write to you that afternoon. But I was so tiard of siting still, I could not write.
In the evening I went up to see Sarah. While I was there it rained very hard. I thought I should have to stay all night but it did not rain very late last night. I went up and went to church with Sarah. It was a very pleasant evening. Sarah wanted I should send her love to you. She wanted to know if it dident seem real nice to get a letter from you. She said she knew how it was herself. I told her it did, especially if they were as good as the last one.
O I thought that was so nice a letter, and I think it is asking a little to much to have me burn it up. I think it will be safe if I do not burn it up, but if you realy think I must burn it, I will.
I think I can afford to do most anything for you. You are so dear to me. I do not know whether we will have any vacation holodays or not, so it will be uncertain as to whether I come home or not. I do not know what colord mittens I should like. I haven’t seen any red ones but most any color will be very aceptable, especialy from you.
This morning I was feeling quite bad. I had [a] headache. It is all right now and school is going off very nicely. There is five girls going now, so you see that makes a diference, but I guess not with me.
I feel very sorry for Frank Becker. It must be awful for him. I don’t think anyone can realize how bad they would feel. The thought of your dieing realy makes me shudder, but I do not think that I would make such a fuss as Frank did. But I know that I should feel full as bad. It seemes as though that Sarah‘s death would have some influence on some of the outher young persons in the place, but they have been married so many times it seemes to make no diference.
I am very sorry for your father. It must be hard for him to stay in the house. He is such a hand to work. I am in hopes he will get along fast.
I guess I will write to Mart today if I can get time. He wrote and wanted to know if he could drive my carriage when he went to see Anna, and I suppose he is getting anxious to know by this time.
I do not know what you sent that money for. I guess I would dare to trust you for the ammount. I will return what I did not use.
I guess when school is out you will have time enough to write to me real often, won’t you? Please write as often as you can. I am affraid I shall ware your photograph all out before I get home to see you again. Give my love to all, but you may keep the most of it.
F.E.E. – yours”
[On the outside of this envelope Eva later wrote her
students names and a number, and a total of 37.60–the amount she will receive for teaching. –Ed.
“Stevensville, Nov 10 
My dear Frank,
I thought I would commence a letter tonight. My eyes are some better. Two weeks I hardly read a word. I had to get your dear Eva to write the questions for our missionary meeting. We did not have a very full attendance - it was rain[in]g.
I do not know what I shall do when Eva leaves Stevensville. I shall mifs her very much. She has been real good to run in [and help her]. You do not know how lonesome it is here Since you and Fred left.
Pa has been gone most two weeks. I look for him tomorrow night. He went to Synod you know. [He] Got home Monday night – had to borrow money to go with – waited a whole week for money to start on the road again – finally had to get 25 dollars and give his bank note. He had the blues awfully. Said if he could get work of James [Grant – at the lumber mill] he would stay home, but I got a letter from him that he wrote three days after he left home – had cleared eighteen or nineteen dollars then, so I suppose [he] has got over the blues. His horse stands it [the trip] first rate and grows fat.
I suppose Mart is going to see Anna Sat[urday] if Pa gets home with the horse tomorrow night. He has not driven your wagon only to go over to Regis Stevens since you left - has not taken it to the shop yet.
Mrs. Briggs [Eva’s mother] is not expected to live. She went to the barn to do chores [and] was found on the barn floor insensible. All I have heard is what Katie says. Eva left school at recefs [recess] to go home. I presume [I] will hear the part[i]culars tomorrow.
My eyes ache. I must stop writing.
11th – This afternoon I resume my writing.
Eva came down today noon with Katie. It was false that her Mother was found on the barn floor insensible, but she is sick. They are afraid she is going to have the fever. It will be real hard for them, Mr. Briggs being so poorly.
I am afraid I am getting to think too much of Eva. She is so good to me. How I shall mifs her when school is out. I wish she was going to teach here this winter.
There is going to be a singing school in the Schoolhouse tonight by Elmer Clapper. George Sharrer has moved in where Will Walker lived. She that was Etta[?] Penny was buried here Monday. There seems to be a great Many deaths about us. It seems like a voice speaking to me ‘be ye also ready for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man cometh.”
Eva said she wrote you about Sarah Bender’s death. How sad it was–so sudden, and without any prepuration. What a warning to the young people around here. They have been so heedlefs, so carelefs, and unconcerned. Perhaps this will arouse them and lead them to think about the future and their eternal good. Don’t let us forget to pray for them. I hope you will not neglect prayer or the reading of God’s Holy Word. If we are faithful in these duties, God will surely blefs us. He will surely give you succesfs if you trust in Him for His promises never fail.
I shall feel better about you boarding with Sara if you should be sick. Give my love to her. Tell her I will write before long. My eyes are bad–I can’t write much. I owe a good many letters now. I can’t write to you as often as I would like. You don’t know [how] anxious I was to hear from you before I got my last letter. Perhaps Pa will write you before he goes away again. I must say Goodbye.
From your unfaithful but affectionate Mother, E. E........
[p.s.] We had Oysters for dinner. Got them at Arthur Stevens. I presume we shall not keep them this winter if he keeps them all the time. When we have anything good, I think of you and wish you were here to enjoy it with us. You do not Say how much you have to pay to get your washin[g] done. I suppose it will be done at Mr. Hilabrant’s now. I hope there will be a vacation a week or two about [the] holidays so you can come home.”
One of Frank's letters to Eva. ~ Illustrations
“Rushville, Nov. 12, 1881 - Saturday evening at home
Dear darling Frank,
Yours received Wednesday morning. [meaning her letter-Ed.] I should really have felt abused if I had not got a letter that morning. You see it was so long before I wrote, that I thought I never could wait till another letter came.
Now don’t let any one get very close to you when you read this letter for I think it will be rather ‘soft.’ O, I have so many things to tell you about that it dosent seem as if I ever could write it all! Wouldent it be jolly if I had a magic lamp like ‘Aladdin’s in the fairy tale’ that would transport me right up to Elmira tonight!
School did not go at all nice this week. Harry and Fenton [Stevens] acted so disagreeable! They said ‘they had behaved pretty well for them and they must have some fun the last week.’ Yesterday Fenton acted so disagreeable that I sent him home. He went out and stayed till about four o’clock, then he came back and spelled. When he came in, he brought an armful of wood just as if that was what he went for. I thought that was funny for anything!
After school, when Katie started home, the boys took her cap and she started home without it. Then they offered it to her and she came back for it. Just as she got there, Harry threw it over in the lot. I was watching them and I thought that almost too much, so I went down there (in front of the church) and told Harry he must go and get it. He hesitated, but finally went. When he came back he threw it in the ground and I said he must pick it up and hand it to her. He was determined not to do it. I waited awhile then I took hold of his arm and pinched as hard as I could. He finally picked it up.
I expected they would act as badly as they could today, but I was happily surprised. They behaved very nicely, and I closed up tonight at peace with all the scholars for any thing I know. I think I have enjoyed this term the best of any I ever taught, but it has caused me a great deal of anxiety, and I am so thankful I am through it.
I suppose that you have heard through your mother of my mother’s sickness. It isn’t nearly as bad as we at first thought. It was an attack of fever, but the Doctor thinks he will break it up. She feels very much better tonight. I felt very much frightened about her and cried myself to sleep one night thinking about it. Since Sara Bender died, I have just been haunted with death at times. First I kept thinking about you, and I would think it all over, how I could ever get through the funeral and then live without you. Then when ma was sick, it seemed just as if I was sure she would die, and it did seems as if I never could live at all. I am so thankful she is getting better.
You will remember that I told you Mr. Keeler had some new horses. Well the first time they drove them, they ran the minute they started from the door. Mamie [Keeler?] jumped out just above the barn and both the wheels ran over her limbs. No bones were broken, but she was very badly bruised and is quite lame yet. This happened Wednesday of last week. Mamie came up with me tonight to see Ma and Pa. She cannot do much, but tries to work considerable.
Pa is about the same now. He does not have nearly as much pain as at first but cannot walk without a crutch, and the Doctor says he ought not to walk at all. The injury is in his hip and he says there is danger of an abscess being made.
I forgot to tell you the result of my labors this fall – thirty-seven dollars, sixty cents – [and] thirty-dollars, forty cents received. I do not expect to get much of that which is out now. [still outstanding – Ed.]
I wish you would write me everything about your schoolwork. I am so anxious to hear about it.
Sometimes I am so lonesome. It seems so hard that you are so far away! I have thought most about it nights, when I have been alone in some part of a strange house and felt about half afraid.
I am very glad you are to have a more pleasant boarding place, but hope it may not prove a hindrance in any way to your studys.
Last Sunday night while you walked to church with Sara, I went from James’ all alone - a poor forlorn ‘creeter.’
I concluded from what you said, that you do not want red mittens do you? I wish you would tell me the truth about it. Ask Sara to explain to you what ‘dregs of wine’ color is. Perhaps you would like that. If not, how would seal brown suit? Say something decided about it next time you write.
The cards were not just what I expected, but I thought them quite pretty and am much obliged for the favor.
Your Father came home last night and Mart expected to go to see Anna today, but did not for some reason. I thought Elmore [Frank’s brother-in-law] said it was because your father thought it to far to drive the horse. I ran down from school yesterday noon to see your Mother and to read my letter to her and hear hers read to me. I stayed with Clara last night [Frank’s sister].
I should think your ears must have burned all day yesterday, if there is anything in signs.
[One’s ears are said to ‘burn’ if others are talking about them. – Ed.]
Mr. Keeler has his water pipe laid, so their water comes in the house again. They say it is as good to drink as beer. Percy has moved to Carbondale and is to learn some trade in a machine shop. Albert Shafer works in his place and lives in the same house. Mart attended an oyster supper at Camptown last week and took Miss Halie Camp to the table. It is reported that he has since received a letter from her, inviting him to call again. How is that?
It is now ten o’clock and tomorrow I shall have quite a good deal to do if it is Sunday. Deeds of necessity and mercy you know, so I must soon go to bed. So please excuse this short epistle and perhaps I may write a longer one sometime. If my last letter is any particular comfort to you I guess you may keep it, though I have forgotten now what was in it that I was ashamed of. When you get home I am going to try very hard to be good to you all the time and not displease you once. Good night my own darling Frank. Perhaps you are sleeping now and dreaming of me.
Your very loving Eva.”
“Stevensville, Nov, 15th, 1881
I don’t hardly know whether I owe you a letter or not. I guess you got mine the same day I did yours, but I will try and write you a short one. I presume you would like to hear from home every day. I know I should if it was me. You must think we are just as anxious to hear from you as your are to hear from us.
I received a letter from Fred [their brother] last night. I guess he feels quite big over his Band there. No doubt he has writen you and told you all about it. I think he is makeing quite a nice thing off of New Milford. He is agoing to try and get me a job there and he said he was agoing to try and find business there for you as soon as you get through at Elmira. He is agoing to move there as soon as Sara gets through. I think it would be nice if we could all be there together, Board with Fred and play in his Band.
Pa started away again - this morning – [He] is going to be gone for two weeks again. On his last trip he cleared something over sixty Dollars. He felt somewhat incouraged. He is going to stay over Sunday in Binghampton.
We are all well as usual. I tell you, it makes me jump around in the Mill these cold days. We are not going to have work more than ½ of the time until [the] logs come again. We have got every log out of the Pond. It looks some different than it did last Spring. Will stop now until after Supper.
I will try and finish now. I did not get any time to write after supper last night. We had an Agent and I had to light him around town. [Perhaps he showed the county? agent around town with a lantern. – Ed.]
I wish you were here this morning to go a hunting with Olmstead and I. The Squrrels & Rabits are so thick that you can almost make wages a hunting. I haven’t been out before since you left.
The old Pond is nearly all frozen over. I hope you will make calculations on [spending an] evening home over [the] Hollowdays. The Band is to have an Oyster Supper and they say if you are comeing [for] shure they will put it off until then. We will manage someway to have a big time if you will come.
I have given up my trip to Forksville. [to see Anna - letter #8]
Anna is going home in about two weeks and it is nearly 40 [46?] miles over there – most to much of a trip. If I don’t halve to wait any longer than two more weeks, I guess I can stand it.
John and I went to Camptown one week ago last Sat. night to an Oyster Supper. I guess I made quite a smash on a girl down [there] and only took her to the table. And Thursday night I got a letter from her inviting me down on Sunday night to see her. But I didint go or answer her letter either. She appeared like a real nice girl. I guess she was only a little struck [by his charms, ha ha, - Ed.].
Well I must close or I shan’t get this in the mail this morning. Tell Sara that I will write to her sometime this week. I have so many to write to that it takes about all of my time when I woork. You must excuse my poor writeing because I have writen very fast.
Well be good to yourself and write soon. I suspose you have received your money. James said he would send it right a way. If he hasent, you had better write to him about it yourself.
From your Dear Brother Mr. N. E.”
“Elmira 17, 1881
My own darling Eva,
Yours Received Wensday noon.
I was pleased to hear from you as I always am, because there is no one that I feel so much interest in, as I do in you. I am so glad you have gone through your school so nicely. I think it is doing well to go through a school in your own place, as nicely as you have done. I suppose you will have lots of work to do [from] now through your vacation, as your mother is so poorly, but it is nice for them that they have one that can help them, and is willing to, as I know you are.
I think it is to bad Mrs. Keeler has been frightened again with horses. I rec’d a letter from Mart today. He does not have any thing very particular to say. I wish he could come here to school. It would be so nice for him to have some thing of this kind to do. His health is so poor. There is no doubt but what any one can do well at this business [bookkeeping], if they understand it well and are the right kind of a fellow.
Mifs Mary [Keeler] is going out to a parta [party] this evening. It is very high toned. Sarah is very nice to me and she feels very nice to [towards] you.
I cannot write a very long letter to night - I haven’t much time. If it was anyone but you, I do not think I could spend time to write.
I am very busy now. We have very long lessons in arithmetic, and I am so anxious to do as much in [my] books as I can. I enjoy [my]self real well. I am geting real well acquainted with the boys [his fellow students], and we have lots of fun, and then I understand my books so much better. I have a real good room with a closet to keep my clothes in.
We have oysters twice a week. I wish you could be here to eat them with me. You like them so well! I do not carrie my dinner, so you see I have to walk to school three times and it makes about Seven miles travel. But I do not think it is any to much exercise for me.
I guess you will be disappointed when you get this letter, but I thought you would be disappointed if you did not get a letter Saturday night. I will give you full particulars of school and my bording place, and everything next time.
Mart said he had a letter from Miss Camp. She asked him to come to see him Sunday. He did not go, nor answer her letter. She must be struck in good earnist.
Mary says the [Stevensville] band are going to have an oyster supper this winter, and want I should come home Holidays and they will have it then, but if you were going to be home, I would rather spend the evening with you, than to go there. But you will be away from home, so I will be there to attend the supper, but cannot tell whether I shall come home. But I think I shall.
There is so much talking here that I cannot tell what I am writing about. They are awful on talk. [i.e. the other students are noisy.]
About the mittens – I think about the shade of my sister‘s [Clara] would be about as nice as any thing. They are dark blue. I have not seen any red ones since I have been here.
I do not think you have any reason for excuses about your letters. They are good and I thank you for writeing as long ones as you do. I think I am the one for excuses, but I know you will excuse all mistakes and por spelling, so I will not say anything about it.
The fire bell has rang this evening, but I do not know where the fire is. I guess it is not much of a fire.
I must close, my darling. I do want to see you so bad! My hart realy akes for you. I am in hopes the time will soon come when we may be together all of the time. What a happa thought!
Love from your true darling, Frank --Kisses-- ”
“Rushville, Nov. 18, 1881 – Friday, 12 P.M.
I think you deserve a ‘little wee bit’ of a scholding [scolding]. Here am I, away off up here, with Mother sick, and you havn’t written to me in such a long time!
Mother is just about the same, only much weaker. She almost faints every time we get her up to make her bed. We have to use camphor, water fans &c [etc.] to prevent it. Father does not have much pain but cannot move easily. Mamie sat up with Ma last night and I staid down at her house. I was so tired that they thought there was danger of my taking the fever. Clara intended to sit up tonight but she had company and could not leave. We expect to have Mont. [possibly Montie Jones] tomorrow night.
There is to be an oyster supper given for benefit of [the] Band Thanksgiving Night at S[tevensville]. I do not know where, probably at the hall. Mr. Clapper tried to start [a] singing school last Friday evening. They opened the church for him and I think he got thirty names signed. Mrs. Van Gilder and Eddie called on us last Sunday evening. Eddie told me that Jesse Hillis has left his father for good, and now works for Frank Crandall. Isn’t that sad? He was the only son they had at home you know.
Wednesday eve, Nov. 23.
Again I am beginning a talk to you. Since you have been away, I have enjoyed writing to you better than I ever have before. I am afraid that the first of this letter, written last week, will be old news. You don’t know how much I want to see you tonight. If you were here I guess I would sit up as late as you would dare to.
How nice it is to have a pleasant boarding place and agreeable company. I am so glad you went to Elmira instead of Binghamton. You said ‘Sara is nice to you.’ How about Miss H.? Don’t you think it is nearly time you apologised to her for not answering her last letter?”
[NOTE - The final pages of the letter are missing, but Eva may have given it to Frank when he arrived, unfinished. Frank was in Stevensville for Thanksgiving. Ed.]
Between Frank and Eva and Other Family Members: