Frank E. P. Eastabrook and Eva E. Briggs
Stevensville Lumber Mill,
Frank and Eva ~ Letters 21 - 25
[Frank & Eva’s Christmas visit took place between this and the last letter. – Ed.]
“Rushville, Jan. 4, 1882
Darling Loved One,
I hope you did not quite freeze getting to the depot and that you are not sick. I have been thinking about your not being well while you were here, and have feared you were going to have a fever. When you write, be sure to tell me whether you are feeling better.
Please do write all the little things about school just the same as you tell me when you are home.
The medicine I brought seemed to help Mother very much at first, but yesterday she felt as badly as ever and is quite discouraged about herself.
I have the mittens nearly done and one is much larger than the other. I feel so provoked about it! I don’t believe you will like them at all. The next time I make anything for you I will wait till it is done before I tell you, so you won’t have to wait so long. I hav’nt heard anything from ‘my hat’ yet. Is’nt that a caution!
Mr. Clink has built a fire for me every morning this week so far. Is’nt that nice?
I did not feel any the worse for setting up late. I guess I am getting used to it. I think you must have been very tired and sleepy by Monday evening.
Tell me how you have got along with your books since you got back &c [etc.].
I want you to think that you will never be in the same place again, in which you now are, and you probably will never have any less care or trouble, and so you must enjoy yourself every day as well as you can and not live too much in the non ‘rosy future.’ You know that time may never come to us, and if it does it may disappoint us.
Darling, I have written this, because I am afraid you will someday look back and wish you had been more contented and happy. As for myself, I feel as if I care for nothing, only that time which we have named.
I told Mother about our plans the other day. She said that seemed quite a long time to think of now, but that it would soon come around, and that before I am ready for it.
It does’nt seem possible that I ever can treat you as some do treat those whom they ought to love so much. I feel sure you will be good to me, so I only worry about myself. While I am in school days, and you come to my mind, I have to put you out of my thoughts, but when I walk home, then I think of you all the time.
Ma says I might have gone to dinner with you, and she would not have cared. [without an escort – Ed.] I am not very lonely without you yet. I can remember so many things which you said to me that it does’nt seem as if you were so far away. I cannot realize that I shall not see you in such a long while.
School has gone very quietly. I do not have scarcely any trouble I am thankful to say. I have written all of this epistle at school, so please let that be an excuse for the blunders in it.
I hope to have something to tell you next time I write, and not have to cover a sheet saying nothing.
Write soon to your very loving girl, Eva.”
“Elmira, Jan. 7th, 1882
My very Dear Eva,
It is a pleasure for me to write to you. I have been think[ing] about writeing all of the week. I rec’ed your letter Thursday night. I thought it was doubtful about geting one, but I went to the [post] office and was ple[a]sed to find one. I am so glad you like to write to me. I think if you did not write any oftener than you did when you were to Towanda, it would almost brake my heart, but I know you would not use me so again.
I am glad you were not tiard Monday morning, but I must say I was. I thought I was going to be sick sure, but did not say a word about it and ate as much as I could. We were late about starting, and had to drive very fast. When we got there we found that the timetable had changed. So I had the pleasure of waiting until after Ten o’clock, so I did not get here until about One, and I was late to school for the first time. I did not do much that day, but have done nicely since then. I do not think that there has been anything done in school that would interest you.
There was a good many people out here yesterday. There was a man hung. His name was Abbot. I presume you have heard of him. He was only Twenty years old.
[For more on the Hanged Man see the Appendix -Ed.]
I saw Mr. H. Stevens here Thursday night. He is looking for a house. If he finds one they are going to move next month. That will be rather hard for Ella I think, and also for the band. There is a house vacant here near whare they lived when they were here before, and it is near here. I should like to have them come.
Last evening Sarah, Ada and I went over to one of the nabers [neighbors]. We had a nice time. Thay are very nice people. I have written to Fred this morning and my business letter for school. My last letter was marked ‘B.’
I felt something hard in my nightdress one night and it did not take me long to think what it was, and whare it came from. I remembered seeing Clara have Twenty-Five [cents] in her hand, and I saw her whispering to you. I thought she was going to put it in somewhare, but did not think of such a thing as her sewing it in. I had worne it Three or Four nights befor I felt it. It was the money for the celery I got her and I would not take it.
I wish you could be here with me. It would be so nice because I am here all day and could talk to you most of the time. I do not know as it would be pleasant to be here, but I wish we could be togather and I do not know how we can stand if for so long a time, but expect we will have to. It will soon pass a way, and then it is such a happy thought to think of the time comeing. I am so glad you are willing to please me. You were so nice to me when I was home. I can never doubt your love to me because you have proved it to me allreaddy. I shall never forget the times we had while at Clar[a’]s and your house. I think if anyone ever knew what true love is, we do, and I am in hopes it always will be as true as it is now.
I shall always remember what we heard Mr. Richmond say when we were at LeRaysville. He gave an instance whare two (man and wife) we[re] dissagreeing and very unkind to each outher. One reminded the outher how they onced loved each outher, and it set them to thinking, and they soon loved one [an]outher as well as ever.
I think a little forethought is all we nead, except the help from our Dear Jesus. You know if we trust in him, he will safely guide us.
I am glad your school is going off so nicely, and I am in hopes it will continue to go so. I think the teacher at Stevensville will be glad to have Fenton leave.
It was hard to leave home Monday morning. It seemed hardder than it has any time before. Katie cried after I went out and I could have done the same thing without much trouble. I am feeling all right now. I think I feel better than I did when I was home.
The brush you gave me is very nice, and I like to use it and think of you and think how nice you brushed my head when we were at James’es.
I shall have to close. I am geting so tiard and I think I have done well for me to write so much.
Please write as often as you can and as much as you can. I do love to get your letters and I like to have the long[e]r.
From your Love, F. E. Eastabrook”
“Thursday morning, 8 o’clock
The fire is only just started and I am rather cold, so you must not expect a warm letter. I have not received any letter from you yet, though I expect there is one at the [post] office. I have not felt like walking much lately and so have not heard from the office.
Mother went down to Cora’s Tuesday, and is coming back tomorrow, so you see I have been alone with Father nearly all the week.
I sent your mittens down to your Mother last Monday. Ma did not want me to mail them and so let people know I sent them to you. I hope you have them by this time. I know it will be hard work to put them on for I could scarcely get them on my hand. I wore them last Sunday.
I have heard from my hat at last. Miss Bailette sent it to the office according to “contract,” but the Post Master forgot to give it to the stage driver, so it did not arrive at S[tevensville] till Monday. It is now at Mamie’s and I expect Mother will bring it up tomorrow.
The present gossip of this place is that Ed Van Gilder was married yesterday. I do not know whether it is so or not. If Mart and Dell [Woodruff] are [each] married next Spring, how lonely we will feel won’t we? I told Ma the other day I guessed we would be the last couple to ‘step off.’ She said we could console ourselves by thinking that ‘chaff goes before wheat.’
I hope your letter will tell me all about how you prosper at school. I do not know as it will be possible for me to write regularly to you on account of its being so far to the [post] office. So you must not expect a letter till it comes. I am very sorry I could not have written this week so you would have received it tonight. Please excuse this short dry letter for I have the headache, and feel just as if I would like to lie down and go to sleep instead if [of] teaching school.
I hope you are well my darling,
Your loving girl, Eva.
[p.s.] Have just rec’d your letter, and it has done me lots of good. Am so sorry I hav’nt a better one to send to you in answer. I thank you so much for your loving letter.
[Note - This letter is written on the stationary of the “Office of W. C. & A. B. Burrows, General Merchants, Stevensville, Bradford Co., Pa – Also Manufacturers and Dealers in Flour, Feed, Grain, &c. [etc.]”]
“Jan  1882
No doubt you are wondering why some of us don’t write. I calculated to write before, but had so much to do and haven’t had any time after I closed the Store.
Will [W. C. Burrows] is out the most of the time and leaves everything in my care. Ed Vangilder and Miss Canfield were Married last night. Will said that he was scared about to death at first, but soon got over it.
Well I came very near to coming to Elmira tomorrow, but gave it up on the account of the Small Pox. There is one case in Wyalusing and seven cases in Towanda now. There was three buried there last week. The Graded School is closed. Expect the Institute is by this time. I want to go to Towanda tomorrow, but guess I shan’t on the account of the Small Pox.
I am agoing out to see what I can do toward raising money to go into business here in Burrows Store. If I can get my shares of the Capitol [capital], Mont. & I are agoing to try it here. We haven’t got to raise enough only to buy Will’s share out, yet of course Art [A. B. Burrows] isn’t in any hurry for his shares. Hope I shall halve success. I know that there is money to be made here. Mont. has this share where he can get a hold of it at any time. I wish you & I could go in here, if we only had the Capitol. I think it would be just the thing. What do you think about it?
I suspose you halve gotten your Mittens by this time. Of course you know who sent them. They are good ones.
I think we got a letter from Fred last night. Don’t know but I shall go out there before long. Elmore [Elmer F. Stevens] is talking of trading places with Uncle Lizar [Eleazer C.] Potter. If he does, he wants I should go with him and woork for him. I guess I shan’t halve any trouble in getting a job if I don’t stay here. Will wants me as long as he stays here, but I am agoing to find a job before I get through here, so to go right to woork as soon as I get through here.
[I] Presume I shall come to Elmira before a great while, if the Small Pox drys up before long. We are all well and hope you are the same.
You will do well to read this. There is so many talking that I can’t get my thoughts together & will halve to close. You must excuse a short letter this time because I certainly haven’t got time to write anymore.
Write soon. You haven’t so many to write to as I halve.”
“Elmira, Jan. 14, 1882
My Dear Love,
If there was ever a person pleased to get a letter, I was this morning. I have been working in my books for about two hours, and looking for the Postman every minute. At last I saw him comeing. I met him at the gait and fo[u]nd that he had Two letters for me. I was happy. I should have felt real badly if I had not got any.
Mart wrote me a good long letter (for him). It was the first I had heard from home since I come back here.
I am sorry to hear that you are not well. I am in hopes you will soon feel better. I thank you for writeing. It must [have] been hard for you to write when you were so poorley and not haveing rec’d any letter from me eather. You are the girl for me every time, and I am glad you are mine. I did not think of makeing a rime.
I rec’d the mittens Thursday night. I could not understand their being mailed at Stevensville, but understand it now. They are what I call a fit, but more like the fit of a kid glove than a mitten. But I can get them on very easy when my hands are not damp. I think they are ever so nice. They have such long wrists. I showed them to the girls. Sait [a young lady boarding there] wanted to know who sent them. I told her there was no word sent with them. I called them my birthday present. It was the night before my birthday [Jan. 12] that I rec’d them. I am now 22 years old. I wish I was not onley 20 [in my twenties?].
We have had some snow here and it made real nice sleighing. I thought if I was onley home, that we would have a nice ride if there was snow there.
I hear that Small Pox are geting near there. Mart says there is a case at Wyalusing, and I see by the paper that the schools at Towanda are closed. There is fear of its geting here, but there is no caces here yet. I am in hopes it will not brake up our school.
Mart said that Ed Van Gilder was married, and Will Burrows said he was frightened almost to death. I can immagine how he looked.
I guess Mart is going to be a man of business by his talk. Will wants to sell out his share in the Store, so Mart and Mont talk of buying it and going into business.
Mart did expect to come here today, but did not dare on the account of the Small Pox. He did not say what he was comeing for, but I have made a guess. I think he is comeing to see Spence Stevens about money. He says he wishes he and I could buy it. I wish I had money enough to do it, but there is one thing certin. I would not do anything of the kind unless I had money, and I hardley think I would want to if I had the money. Elmore talks of traiding farms with Uncle Lizer Potter at Lawsville Centre. He has a small fary [ferry] and a store. Elmore wants Mart to go with him if they traid.
Please do not say anything about this talk. I do not know as they will care to have everybody know it. I do not think you would tell it much, but you know how everything spreads there. I wish Mart could do well, but I should like to have him be with someone else besides Mont.
I have got along with my studdies nicely. I passed in the examinations this week real well.
Last evening I played checkers with the girls. I am geting to be a fine player. Mr. H. Stevens has been here one evening this week. We expect him up tonight. He likes to play checkers and he understands it to.
I feel as though I must write a few more words to you. If I were home I am sure I should talk to you, and I do not think it any worse to write. [on the Sabbath - Ed.]
I have been to church and Sunday school. I enjoy the Sunday school ever so much. We have such a nice teacher. There is 15 in the class, boys and girls. The teacher is a man and he is very smart. We have a blackboard and he explains everything so nice. I think if I ever come to Stevensville to live again, I shall not like to go to church as well as I did before, and I do not know what I should do because I must say I do not like to go to church there, but I would not allow myself to stay away. I am in hopes some day that we may be permited to live in a place like this, because we would enjoy going to church togather so much.
It has been a very nice day here. It seemes like Spring. It is not much like the Sunday just weeks ago today. It was a very cold night I thought, but perhaps my heart being so warm to you, that I was not a pripper [proper] judge. The cold might [of] effected me more than it did some others, because I know our hearts we[re] very warm to each other.
I showed my album to the girls last night. They wanted to see Fenton’s Girl. They wanted to know if that was my girl (your picture). I said it was. Mrs. H. thought you looked very young and was real nice looking and she ment it to. Mrs. H. wanted to know what I was going to do after I got through school. I told her I should go West if I could not do any better. She said I ought to take you to, and let you teach school. She said she knew of a fellow doing that once, and they did well. I think she is takeing most to much interest in me.
Last evening there was Two young fellows come here and spent the evening. I guess they wanted to see the girls about as much as they did me. I did not go away from the house yesterday. I am pretty well contented here. I like it better every day.
I do not think we will ever have the chance to be togather as much again as we have been before, until we are married, but I cannot tell. I am thankful that we have had the chance to be togather as much as we have. I think so often about what a nice time we had when I was home. I know I could not be as happy as I am now if you did not love me. I do love so much to look at your picture. It seemes to me as though you were looking at me when you had it taken, and have not moved your eyes yet.
I must close, but if you were here, I do not think I should close until about Twelve o’clock. I wish you were here to sing with me. I do want to sing so bad, but I will be contented without you as well as I can, and when we are married & we will make up lost time. I guess you will want lots of time to read this.
Goodbye my Dear Love Eva. F.E.E.”
Rough Day in School
[The following letter was mistakenly placed in the wrong envelope and the first portion is missing, so the exact date is unknown. However, from the content, most of it is replying to letter #25 above. This misplacement caused the numbering to be off, so this became “25B.” – Ed.]
“.....School has gone very unpleasantly of late, but I guess you would not care to hear a long string about it. The gist of the matter is people are not very well pleased with me, and some of the pupils have gone down to Mrs. Scofield [the Principal]. I do not know but the small reputations I possessed will be entirely destroyed by the end of this term. I am afraid I have not done my best because I did not like the school from the first you know. I am so glad you get along nicely, and I hope Mr. Warner does’nt say any more disagreeable things to you.
Is there any ‘stretch’ to those mittens yet?
I wish I could get that dirt out of your eye. I most certainly should not be afraid to try. I hope it will not cause inflammation.
Mrs. Tyrrel has been here today to buy the farm back. They will give twelve hundred and we only paid eleven. But Father will not sell for less than thirteen, and not for that, as I know of. I do wish he would sell. It would be too good to get away from here.
O Dear, I suppose the reason I have so much trouble is because I am so unthankful and discontented. I want to grow better before I am your wife. How funny that sounds dos’nt it?
I dare say I shall not see your folks very soon. I have not been down there since you were home. I hav’nt worn my new hat yet! Nor my cloak since that Sunday when you were here. Is’nt that terrible! I have some new blue mittens so near like my old ones that you could scarcely tell the difference.
Last night I went down to Mr. Dowricks [boarding house?]. It is a good thing I went. I shall appreciate boarding at home more now. I do not think I could teach at all if I boarded around.
I am in full sympathy with you in regards to sleigh rides. I hav’nt had any either, but then I should not care much about it if I could not go with you.
I want to tell you how glad I am that you do not want to go in to any such foolishness as borrowing money to set up in business with. I should feel so badly if you were of Mart’s mind about that matter.
Mrs. H. takes such a motherly interest in you. I think she would have made a delightful mother-in-law. I wish you had told her that picture was taken some time ago, and I am an ‘old maid’ now.
You are nearly right about my picture. I really was tr[y]ing to imagine myself looking at you when it was taken, so that I would look pleasant, you know.
I wish I had lots of money so Clara and I could come out and see you after school is out, if you were still there. But most likely Ma would not let me come if I could.
I wonder if I will get any invitation to Mart’s wedding if it takes place? I hope I shan’t because in that case they won’t have to come to ours, would they? I know you will think Yes to that question.
10 o’clock! Good night Dear.”
Between Frank and Eva and Other Family Members: