Frank E. P. Eastabrook and Eva E. Briggs
Frank and Eva ~ Letters 16 - 20
“Elmira, Dec 3, 1881 – Saturday afternoon
My Dear Love,
I am so thankful that you are so true to me. I feel that your love is great to[w]ard me, and I cannot express my feelins to you for it. I was pleased when I Rec’d your letter. I did not get it until Thursday noon.
I thought when I was comeing up to dinner, how pleased I should be if I could get a letter from you, so you see, you pleased me very much by writeing, and I do not think your Mother ought to say one word. I think if pillow caces come as cheep as she says they do, I think you can afford to write more often than you do.
Monday was rather a dull day for me. I did not take the early train. Katie drove over with us. It was real cold and Kit [the horse] went so slow I thought we would never get there. We walked from the top of the mountain to the deapot. The train was late. Anna had some hickrenuts [hickory nuts] with her, so we passed the time cracking those. It was nearly noon before I got here.
I was homesick enough for a day or so. I do not know as it was homesick. I guess I was sick to see you. It is lonesome here without Sarrah, though I feel as wel contented here as I could any whare without you I think. [Sarah is apparently visiting her husband Fred, who travels a lot selling musical instruments and teaching music. –Ed.]
School is going off about the same. The boys say I am nearly half through. Some of the boys do not want a vacation Christmass. I think it will be to bad if we do not have one. I expect I would get through all the sooner, but I do like to be with you so much that I do not think I could stay away so long.
I think there is not much danger but what I shall come home, and I do hope you can meet me at the deapot. If Pa comes home Frida[y] night, you can drive his horse and our carriage. I will write to Mart about it and he will let you know whether he will be home or not. I will come on the morning train.
The boys were telling how much they were out [at] night when they were home [at Thanksgiving]. They were all trying to see which could till the largest story. I come out ahed when I told them it was nearly Five o’clock one morning when I got in. I have not felt any the worse for anything that was said or done when I was home.
I think Raymond is concdrable [considerable] on writeing. [perhaps meaning 6-year old Ray Grant is beginning to write his letters nicely. – Ed.]
I do not want to put you off with a little short letter, because you write such good ones to me. I have pleanty of time to write, but do not know what to write.
I am glad school commenced nicely. I am in hopes your Father & Mother are getting along nicely. It must be quite a change for you now since you have a girl to do the work.
I do not think you can spend so much love on me that I will not appetiate [appreciate] it. You know I am one of the soft kind so you nead not be affraid of being to soft in me. Your letter was no dry one, bit [but] I was sorry there wasent more of it.
I am anxious to hear from James to know how he is geting along. I was to Mr. Smith’s last night. He is geting well, but Mrs. Smith is feeling rather poorly. I have been writeing in my books nearly all of the fournoon. Have done nicely. I wish you were here to show me how to do a few examples. They are not very hard, but I do not get them exactly right. I should enjoy haveing you show me so much.
The Mail Man come here today, but did not have any mail. He was geting the names of all of the persons to each house. He wanted to know if my wife was comeing back again. (That pleased the girls wonderfully.) I told him I had no wife. He wanted to know if I was going to have one. He is a real nice fellow.
I am sorry you have had to wait so long for a letter, but I know you will not be put out. I am going to write to Mart this afternoon and this evening I shall go to the [post] office. I think I may get a letter from Sarah.
I must close. Write soon to your Darling F. I am thinking of you most of the time and hope you are of me.
Love to Dear Eva.”
“Rushville, Dec. 7/81 – Wednesday eve.
Your dear welcome letter came to me Tuesday morning just as school began, and I was obliged to wait until recess to read it. Wasn’t that a trial though?
I have five new scholars this week, all large ones. One of them a boy eighteen years old. It requires a little more exertion to manage them now.
Stevensville school opened Monday Nov. 27. The teachers are Miss Atwood in the Higher Department, Miss Butles in the Primary. Both are from Herrick. They brought their things to Mr. Keeler’s and expect to stay there over Sunday during the term. They think they have a right to because he is director. I call that downright impudence!
Mamie says she won’t have them. Her health is so poor she could not get along with them unless she hires a girl.
I went down to Camptown last Saturday and stayed all night with Mamie. I called a few minutes at Clara’s in the evening. I did not stay to church Sunday. When I was coming by your house, your Mother came out and talked to me. She was anxious to learn whether you were in time for the train, but of course I could not inform her. I enjoyed seeing her and Clara very much.
You don’t know how glad I am that they like me! I think I like Clara almost as much as I do Cora or Mamie. Our girl [maid] went home last Friday. She has had hemorrage of the lungs and Ma was afraid she might get sick here. She did not feel well that day. We felt relieved when she got away. She was so contrary and disagreeable. It is about all we can do to get along with the work. Father does the chores and has ploughed a small piece of ground, but the housework is much too heavy for Mother. She is very tired all the time.
Raymond [Grant] is here yet and says he is going to stay ‘all Winter.’ He went down with me Saturday, and Mamie wanted to come back with me. While Ray was home, Mame [Grant] said to her Papa, ‘Girls turns don’t never come do they, cause I’m a girl and my turn don’t come, but Ray’s does.’ I guess we shall have her up here next week.
James is well enough to sit up some, but his strength comes back very slowly. I think they said his business worried him so he could not sleep much.
I am glad that you are not here to see me tonight for I have a severe cold in my head and I feel and look just horrid. I hope it will not settle into a cough which will last until Christmas. I have lots of plans laid for that time and shall feel very badly if anything interferes with them.
Mother says I can’t go to the depot if it is such cold weather as this, but I guess I shall have to anyway. I intend to lose the Monday after New Years and take you to the station if I can. I suppose you will have to furnish a rig [carriage]. That is’nt much help is it, just to have a driver. You must come anyway. I can’t get along at all without you. I wish you could bring some of your books home so I can see them. I am real glad you get on nicely. May I ask you dear, if it is’nt necessary to study spelling some in order to keep books correctly. I am in sympathy with you on that point, for spelling is my ‘weak point.’ [Actually she is a pretty good speller – Ed.]
I suppose I shall have to stay in Towanda [see note below] from Monday [the] 26th to Friday afternoon, but we will improve the rest of the time, won’t we? I guess we can manage so you can take the early train back.
[Teachers in the area often attended education classes at the Susquehanna Collegiate Institute in Towanda, PA. -Ed.]
I am ashamed that I said anything about mittens to you. It will be so long before they are done. I have one begun now. The finger marks on this letter are the result of knitting on it. The color came off on my hands. I half think you did’nt want any, but thought you ought not to say so because I offered to knit them. I am going to pinch you for it when you get home.
good care of my dearly loved Frank.”
“Elmira Dec. 10, 1881
My Dear love,
I am going to try and keep my promise. You know I said I would write every Saturday. Though I do not write because I feel compelled to, but because I love you, and love to talk to you. Though I get awful tiard writeing. I have been writeing Four hours this morning.
Last night I was almost shure I would get a letter from you, so I went down to the [post] office and I felt well paid for my trouble. I think I could have gone Three miles if I had been shure of geting a letter.
I am sorry to hear that you are not fealing well, and I wish I could be there to pet you. I should be very sorry if you should be sick when I am so far away. You must be very car[e]ful and be good to yourself.
I am so sorry that you thought I did not care for the mittens. I think I must be a quear fellow because there is nothing that I would care so much for, as I would for them, and felt pleased when you said you were going to make them for me. I don’t think you will peanch [pinch] very hard, will you Dear?
I went down to the city this afternoon [Elmira]. I thought I would not stay long. I went through the car shops [streetcar or railway] and most of the plaining [lumber] mills. There was not much fun about it, but I like to see the machinery run. When I got back it was nearly darck and this evening there has been a young lady here and I could not write. Mary, Ada & I have been home with her [they took her home] and I am now in my room.
Mr. Hillabrant said he saw Mr. H. H. Stevens [Hartley, Fenton’s father] at the station Wensday morning. I think it very strange that he has not been here [to visit].
I received a letter from Sarah this week. She says she enjoys herself ever so much better. [she is with her husband Fred] She says I must not get married until I can be home half of the time at the least. When I wrote to her, I told her that we had a nice time and that you felt bad because we could not see each outher more. She says tell Eva, I can sympathy[ze] with her, for I have been in the same boat. She says she wants we should come and make them a visit next summer, and I think we will have to. What do you think? Fred has ordered him a new cornet [an instrument]. It is like H. E. Cogswel’s.
School is about the same. I am now half done. I have left the boys that were working with me when I was home. I waited a number of times for them, but now have gone on. [i.e., he has progressed beyond his former schoolmates.] I am in hopes I may improve in spelling. He [the teacher] is very particular. He will see every misspelled word, and from now on I have to write a business letter every week, and he corrects them. There has nothing been said about Christmass yet, but there is no doubt but what we will have vacation.
I am glad to hear that James is geting better - also your Father & Mother.
I think now of the number of days before I shall see you. It seems like a long time yet, but I guess it will soon pass away. I should like to know some of your plans that you have for Christmass. You say you have so many. I have some made, and am in hopes I can carrie them out.
I went to Sunday school last Sunday, but did not enjoy it much. Did not have [a] very good teacher. The teacher that uasualy teaches the class was not there. But I think he will be tomorrow. I am affraid I will take cold if [I] sit here much longer. I do wish you were with me this minute, and every outher minute for that matter.
I look forward to the time so much when we can spend [our] life togather and I know you do [too]. Two years seemes like a long time to wait, but I think perhaps we would enjoy life enough better to wait. We will try and do what we think will be the best for us won’t we love. I am so thankful that I have someone that loves me and takes so much interest in me. I pray there shall never be a minute that I shall be unkind to you. You are everything to me, and my desire is to make your life a happ[y] one.
Do write soon to your true lover F.E.E.”
“Rushville, Dec. 14 – Wednesday eve
I hav’nt received any letter yet in answer to my last, but I dare say there is one at the [post] office. It has been such bad weather of late [that] we have not called at the office very often. I am writing tonight because I have time and I want to send my letter in time to make you write once more before Christmas.
Please do’nt set a higher estimation on my regularity in writing, than is deserved. I suspect selfishness is at the bottom of it, rather than a desire to please you. Of course there is’nt much to interest me here, and our correspondence is my chief pleasure.
Last Saturday morning I drove down to Mamie’s to see about getting a cloak cut. On the way back I stopped to see Clara. Your Mother was there, so I had quite a nice little visit with them. I do love them both so much! How badly I shall feel if I ever act in a way that will make them feel unfriendly toward me.
Your Mother said she guessed Sara did not want her change of residence made known this Winter, but it is out. Cora told us about it. She said Mont. told her. “Sara got homesick and had to go where Fred was.” You know Mont. always knows everything.
Mart went to Towanda last Sat. to see Miss LaMent, and brought her home with him to make a visit. I wonder if she will stay until Christmas?
After I left Clara’s, I went to Cora’s and got Mamie to bring home with me. She has wanted to come for some time, so when we got up to Mr. Estace’s, (the first house below the schoolhouse if you remember), there was a hay-press standing in the road. Old George [the horse] was afraid of it, and turned straight up the bank out of the road. Then he backed down again a little and went on till the wagon struck a large stone and turned over, throwing Mamie and I out. She was not hurt at all, nor even frightened. I think she clung to me and struck on my back.
It did not hurt me, just a bruise on my knee and a general lameness from the jar. The wagon did not fall clear over until it was beyond us. Then it was dragged some distance ‘bottom side up,’ and the horse was so frightened that he kicked some of it to pieces. That piece between the fills—I don’t know the name of it. I can’t tell all the parts of the wagon which were broken, but they are a good many!
The worst of the matter is, Ma says I shan’t drive Old George again, and your Father isn’t going to be home Christmas, so I can’t see any way to get to the depot after you. But perhaps they will let me drive him by that time. They say the whole affair was entirely my fault because if I had spoken to the horse he would have stopped. But I was so surprised and frightened I did not speak at all. I suppose they are right. You know I never could drive good at all. O! I forgot to say that some men who were with the press caught the horse just after he turned the wagon over, and Lewis Goodwin led him home. We walked.
Would you dare trust me to drive ‘our’ carriage after I have had such bad luck? I don’t know as I could trust myself, for I should feel badly a long time if anything should happen to that when I had it. Dear me! It will be such a disappointment if I cannot come after you.
Cora and James have been here today. Cora intended to go to Grangerville to trade, and James was to stay here and help take care of the children, but it rained so she could not go. They went back tonight, taking the children with them. We feel quite lonely and the house seems very still without them. We have had Ray so long. We shed just a few tears when he went home. He is going to have some new clothes and then perhaps he will come again.
There is to be a donation for Mr. Thomas at the hall tomorrow night. I should like to go and help if I could, but hav’nt any way to go as I know of. I have heard the profits from the Thanksgiving Supper were twenty-three dollars, to be divided between band and church. If their expenses were not very heavy, I think there must have been much lost at the tables, don’t you? [They probably sold cakes and embroidery, etc.-Ed.]
The ‘school ma[r]ms’ do not make their home at Mr. Keeler’s now [Miss Atwood and Miss Butles]. He told them that Mamie’s health was poor and they could not have them all the time, but asked them to come once in awhile.
Miss Atwood has had a time with Fenton. He was drying his slate by the stove and sprinkled water off from it on Dan Hartwell. The latter said ‘don’t you do that again!’ Fenton did it again of course, and Miss Atwood hit him on the head with a book. I don’t know just what they did next, but any way Fenton told the teacher, ‘if she hit him again he would spoil her mouth.’ Wasn’t that dreadful? I do not know how they came out, and perhaps this is’nt just as it occurred. All I know is what Cora told me.
I have three boys in school as large as Fenton, but not as disagreeable or badly behaved rather. They are Harry, young Ford, and Ben Babcock. As yet they have acted nicely, only they get to laughing once in a while.
I wonder what you did last Sunday? I stayed at home all day and tried to amuse the children and keep them quiet.
Frank Darling, I do so much want to be good for your dear sake, but just as I have been patient and meek for quite awhile, something happens and I feel very angry, and Ma says I am just like Father and always show it if anything displeases me. I know you will always be very patient and loving to me, as you ever have been, but I do hope I shall not try you as I have sometimes before this. It is of no use trying to be good by depending on one’s self. I have tried it so many times. The only way I ever make any progress is by often asking Jesus. Then sometimes I forget and let some worldly thing come into my heart, and then I am naughty again. Dear loved One, I do hope we are trusting in Jesus for our happiness, for then we shall not be disappointed if earthly hopes fail. And if those hopes are realized, Faith will be a great blessing.
It is ten o’clock, good night darling. God keep thee in sleep.
At school. Thursday.
Yours rec’d this morning. I think this letter pleased me more than any other I have had from you, but I do not suppose I can get my thoughts together here at school to answer it.
‘My plans for Christmas’ are nothing in particular as I know of... only being with you. I hope we can visit Clara and Cora - together you know. If I cannot come to the depot for you, I guess about half of the plan is gone or spoiled. There is one thing which I think would be nice if it is’nt too much trouble. If the roads are in a nice condition, I should so much like to have you come over to Towanda after me when I come home from the Institute. Don’t you remember, you came for me two years ago and we had a nice time.
Of course if it is bad weather you cannot come, and I will have to come down by train. Perhaps you will not care about it anyway. I do think it is too bad I have to be away most of the time you are gone! I hope I can go to church with you both Sundays while you are home. I must take you back to the depot anyhow, whether I come after you or not. What time will the train reach Rummerfield on which you would come down?
I have one of your mittens nearly finished, but it does not please me very well. You know I did not get the others to suit me. If they do not suit you, I suppose you will bury the fact down deep in your mind and never reveal it to [any] mortal!
Be sure to bring one of your books home if it will not be inconvenient. I am quite grateful for Sarah’s sympathy, and should be pleased to see her. I think I feel better acquainted with her than I should if she had staid here, and I like her much better than when she went away. I think I should enjoy visiting her. I am not going to have school tomorrow because it is necessary to go to Camptown and see about [my] cloak cut. I must have it to wear at [??] and I have had the greatest time you ever saw.
“Elmira, Dec 18, 1881
My Dear Eva,
I was very much pleased to day noon when I come home to find a letter here from you, but was very much displeased Friday and Saturday nights because I did not get one. I went down each evening. Was very much diapinted [disappointed]. I thought if you onl[y] knew how bad I wanted to hear from you, [you] would have been shure to sent one in time. But is seemes that you were not to blame, even if you did not mail it in time. I will not scold you, for you know that I could not scould you if I should try.
Dear Eva, you do not know how badly I felt yesterday. I had such an awful cold, I was nearly sick. I did not scarcely go out all day. O’ I wanted to see you so much. If I could only of had your letter, it would of been so nice. I was very lonely, but am glad to say I am feelinng a great deal better today.
I did not know yesterday but [that] I had better start for home this morning, but I shall stay until S. morning. I shall feel very bad if I do not find you at the Station [waiting] for me. I wanted to have you come after me and come to Wyalusing. I want to come there so that we can have our pictures taken. I want your picture to take back with me. You know, we have been talking about haveing them taken so long, and I think this will be about as good a chance as we will get. So I think I will come to Wyalusing and if there is not any one there for me, perhaps I can get a ride with someone.
I am very sorry that you were so unfortinate while you were rideing out. You must of feelt badly, and I presume there was a few tears rolled over your preshious cheek. I would liked to of been there and wiped them away. And I think I should have pressed my lips on the same place that they rolled over.
I should be pleased to come to Towand[a] for you if I can get anyway to come. I remember that we had a nice time when I come after you before, and I am shure we would have one this time.
There was a very sad death here the outher day. The [railway] cars run over a man. He died in a short time. He was comeing across the brig [bridge]. There was two trains on the brig. One on one track, and the outher on the track that the man was on. He saw the one on the oposite track, but dident seem to see the outher until it was to late.
Saturday I went skateing with Sara and Ada. I could not skate much. The skates that I had were to larg[e] for me and the pond was very small. I think I cought more cold there.
Mr. H. H. Stevens was here Saturday night. He is working here at his traid [trade]. He boards in the City somewhare. He is thinking of bringing his Family here to live. I do not know what will become of poor Stevensville, but suppose it will be about as it always has been. [He is probably joking about ‘everyone’ moving to Elmira.]
I shall be at Wyalusing about Eleven o’clock if the train is on time. I am in hopes to see you there. I guess I can bring some of my books with me.
Mr. Warner praised me the outher day very much. A few words from him goes a good ways. I think he takes me to be smarter than I am.
I will tell you everything when I see you, and am glad it is going to be soon.
Goodby my Dear Love for a few days. F.E.E.”
Between Frank and Eva and Other Family Members: