Frank E. P. Eastabrook and Eva E. Briggs
Stevensville Presbyterian Church about 1914.
Frank and Eva ~ Letters 36 - 41
[Missing a Letter from Eva to Frank that would have been
here. – Ed.]
“Elmira, Feb 18, 1882
I was somewhat surprised to get a letter from you so soon. It came to me yesterday and I guess you will laugh when I tell you about it. I got it while in school and it was opened. It was sent to some outher Eastabrook and opened. [It appears to have to gone to W. N. Eastabrook by mistake, as his name was added to the envelope. – Ed.] There is people here by that name, but I am not acquainted with them. I guess the ones that read it must of had some fun. I cannot help laughing when I think how you will talk about it when you get this letter – but don’t think you will care much. I am sure I don’t because I am not acquainted with them. They must of read it because they sent it to Mr. Warner. You must put the number and streat on your letters.
I am glad you think of me so much and that you like to write to me so often. I do not know what I should do if you did not write. I see you value my letters very high, but I am sure I think as much of yours as you do of mine. I shall feel lost not to get a letter from you today, but I can think of you just the same. I was thinking of you the first thing this morning when I got up, and had to look at your picture. But it was not much satisfaction to look at that. I think if you were here I would give you one of the greatest hugs you ever had by me or anyone else. But I will save it for you, so you will have to take it when I do see you.
I rec’d a letter from Mart the first of the week. He and John Lyons expected to go up and see Fred and Sarah and be at their concert this week. If you go to S[tevensville] you will be apt to hear all about Mart and what he expect[s] to do. He wrote me that he was going to go away or expected to. Uncle Den [Denison] Potter has a place for him in a Clothing Store. I am in hopes he will get setteled after a while. He is not contented any whar. It is hard for him to settle down.
He said Pa [Edward] expects to be here and stay over Sunday. I am in hopes he will be here.
After school I found Fenton on the streat waiting for me. I went up with him. He brought out his cornet and we had some music. He plays real well. In the evening he came up and we had a good time. Mr. And Mrs. Hillabrant were away, so we had things about as we wanted them. Fenton went to church and Sunday school with me. He will be in the same class at Sunday school that I am in.
I have had a letter from Ma this morning. It was a lovely letter. I could not keep the tears back. I think she wrote the best letter to me that she ever did, and it was a long one. She says when she sees you, it seemes like seeing me because we are so near each other. She thinks you are nice for reading my letters to her. She said Elmore was going up to get you and have you stay over Sunday. I am glad she likes you so well.
I am in hopes you can go down to Clara’s. I should enjoy haveing a sing with all of you.
It is a very fine day. I should like to be out all day, but shall have to write most of the time. I enjoy writing now more than I did. I think it is because I can write better, but still I get tiard. I think it will be five or six week[s] before I get through, and it may be longer. It has now been a longer time than I was ever away from home before. But it does not seem as long.
Your school must be nearly out, and I suppose you are glad. What are you going to do when it is out? Are you going to play up lady? [he probably means relax like a rich lady. - Ed.]
I wish I could be there. I think we would go off somewhare. We would have to go over and see Miss Warner for one place, and go and have some pictures taken for another.
It is now nine o’clock. I layed your letter a way this morning. I thought I would finish it this evening. After this I will try and mail my letter so that they will get there Monday night. If I put them in the box Sunday, you will get them Tuesday.
I have not accomplished much in my books today. I have a very hard set to work now (at least it is for me) and I don’t understand it very well. I have to work very hard, but I expected I would when I came here. I have been trying my pen some, and I will send you this that I have written. Sometimes I can write better than I can others.
I guess I shall have to close. Tell Raymond that I think of him and wonder what he is doing. Remember me to your Mother and Father always. I am sorry that I could not [have] been there more when I was home.
Ma gave me lots of Motherly advice in her letter, and I enjoyed it to. I am sorry she has to be alone so much. I have not seen anything of Pa yet. I guess he isent comeing.
I wish I could be with you so that I could sing. I am in hopes that I shall always like to sing with you as well as I do now, and I think I shall. I am well, and this is no fib.
Goodby. Much love and many kisses to My Darling Eva, F.E.E.”
[Editor’s note – In the letter above, Frank, for the first time, spelled “other” and “writing” correctly. He also crossed out the “u” in “anouther” after he wrote it incorrectly. He is trying hard to improve his spelling!]
“Rushville, Feb. 20, 1882
My Very Dear Frank,
Elmore came after me Friday night and I went home with him. Clara and I sat up rather late--‘as usual.’ Your Mother came down Saturday, about noon. Then she and I read ‘our letters,’ and we all talked, you and your interests over for certain.
I intended to go home with your Mother and stay all night, but just after dinner, my ear began to ache, and grew worse till about eight o’clock. Clara put a drop of laudanum* and sweet oil in it at first--and at last Elmore put rattlesnake’s oil in it. That helped it after a while. I think I cried about a teacup full of tears before it stopped aching. I know that was very childish, but I really could not help it. I think Elmore was almost as sorry for me as you would have been. Clara told me again about your having the earache &c. [etc.]
[*Laudanum was a commonly used medicine of the time--made from opium. – Ed.]
I went to church and Sunday school, and home with your Mother to supper afterwards. It seemed so lonely at your home without you. I thought of ever so many times that I had been there with you. I sat and looked at Mart and wished some Fairy would wave her wand over him and change him into his brother. Elmore brought me home Sunday night.
I suppose I took more cold, for Mother had to doctor me nearly all night, and this morning my throat was sore and I could not go to school. But I think I can go tomorrow.
Do you remember that pretty plate your Mother gave Clara, Christmas? (I admired it so much that evening we were at your house.) (New Year Eve.) Well, your Mother gave me one nearly like it, yesterday. I think I like mine a little better than I do Clara’s.
I don’t believe Mart’s prospects bring to him as much pleasure, as ours do to us. He seems rather sober for him. When the ceremony is performed for them, I wish we could, together, give them something real nice - that they could always keep. You must put your thinking cap on, and hit on something that will be nice and that we can afford.
Elmore says he must hurry up and fix Springer’s house so we can have it when you come home.
Well is’nt this a dismal day! I wish you were here. I know we would not care then, if it rained all the time. After some deliberation, I started for school this morning. None of the pupils came—most likely they thought I could not come out in such a storm after being sick. I staid at the schoolhouse a short time and then came back. I have just seven days more to teach.
James has a new job over by Bigsby [Bixby] Pond. He has purchased one hundred fifty acres of solid timberland, and is to finish the job in five years. He gave three thousand dollars for the land and sundry privileges. A man by the name of Bradshaw is to get out all the bark paying one dollar per cord. [A cord is a truckload, normally 4 by 4 by 8 feet, or 128 cubic feet - Ed.] James is to sell him the bark at that price because Bradshaw got the work for him. James intends to rent a place near to move his family to. Ma say she would like to have Pa sell and move up on the hill to work for James, so she could live near Cora. I guess Cora does not feel very much pleased with the new plans, but I am. I think it much better than ’going West.’ Elmore says you will come home and go into the lumbering business with James, but I ‘don’t guess’ you will if you can get any other work. Will you Dear?
I expect you are feeling just as poor and discouraged as you can, because you are staying so much longer than you expected to stay. But you must not feel so, if you spend all you have, because you know it is the best way your money could be spent. And I shan’t find any other ‘feller’ to elope with, if we are not married in a dozen years!
We shall be just as happy, I presume, as if we married in haste. I have taken warning from some others who seem in so much hurry, and feel quite reconciled to waiting. There was another wedding a short time ago – Harvey Stevens and Miss Ida Cooper. What do you think?
I have nearly concluded to teach in Stevensville next Summer! You know I thought I would not have that school again.
I am very much obliged for the pens. Also the paper you sent. I was much interested in reading about the Rail Road accident, and have tried to remember to thank you.
I began this letter intending to finish it after yours came, but the roads are so bad, I don’t know when I can go to the [post] office. So I will send this by Pa today, and answer this week’s letter with next. It will not be quite as pleasant for you, but I cannot well do otherwise.
I understand Harry and Ella do not attend school since Fenton left.
I can’t think of anything more to write. Ray has talked to me so much all the time - I hav’nt known what I was writing. Oh, perhaps you have heard, David Keeney was defeated in the license business [also see #34], and the temperance people are going to try to elect Charles Crandall to the office of Justice of Peace, because Mr. Keeler signed for license. The caucus is today. Blakslee, Keeney, and all those have been working hard for Keeler. Dr. Knapp signed the paper for license and his wife signed the remonstrance [against]. Wasn’t that sense?
Yours with love, E.B.
“Elmira, Feb. 25, 1882
I expect you will be looking for a letter from me about Tuesday, so I shall have to write now if you do, and I have more time now than I will have in a week again. The Mailman has just been here, but did not have any letters for me, but I guess I have had my share this week. I have had four, and would [have] liked one more from home.
Clara wrote me a letter and told all about your being there and what a nice [time] she had. She says Elmore thinks you seem like one of the family. She did not say anything about your haveing [an] earache. I am very sorry you had it. I think I know how to pity one that has it. I have had it so much. Clara says She is geting homesick to see me and thinks she will come out he[re]. I do wish she would. She said someone left some kisses for me and I am geting anxious for them.
Wednesday we did not have any school. I stayed here and worked all day. The most I was out, was to take Sate out and give her a wash in the snow. She [first] commenced throughing water on me at the table with a spoon. I told her I would pay her if she did not stop. She did not stop, and she threw some on the girls. I took her out in the snow and Ada threw lots [of snow] in her face. Then we went in the house and locked her out for a few minutes. It made her mad and she hasent said a word to me since. She has always been very nice, and in the morning we most always go to school together. I think now she is ashamed of it and hates to own it [take responsibility]. She will have to own it before I will have anything to do with her. Her folk don’t think I am any to blame and I know I am not. I can’t help but laugh when I look at her. (Their mother was away when it happened.)
I got the cutest little letter from Mame Grant the other day you ever saw. She had her ma write it. I could not imagine who it was from when I saw it. It was so small. She said if I would come there, she would give me lots of kisses. She said they were going on Clapper Hill to live in a shanty. I think I am sure of some kisses when I get home if Mame keeps her word.
I had a letter from James this week. He told me all about his new plans and what he was going to do, and wanted to know if I was going to brace up and try it [lumber mill work] again. He thinks he has maid a bargain. He wanted to know at once if I will come back. I am shure I do not know what to do. If I should refuse to come and should not find any work here, I should wish that I had come. But I shall not work for the wages that I did before. I think if he will give me $1.50 per day it will be as well as I can do. What do you think Dear? That would be as good as $45 a month here, and I know of some fellows that have been through school here that don’t get but $24 and board themselves. I wish I knew what to do, and you must tell me what you think about it.
I am in hopes your cold is well by this time. I have had a cold, but it is nearly well now.
I think I will be through school in four weeks, and that will soon pass by, and I shall be glad when I am through. The first of the week I had some trouble in my books, but am doing well now.
Yesterday I rec’d a line [note] in school. Mr. Putney gave it to me. (He is the teacher.) It was from a lady there in school, but I think Miss Gidings wrote it, (she is the one I told you about when I was home) and signed one of the other girls name[s] to it. I cannot tell who wrote it, but think she did. I will write it here:
‘Mr. Eastabrook, I take the
liberty of writing you a few lines to let you know
I don’t know what to think of it, but I guess I won’t wory about it. They don’t amount to much. There is a girl by the name of Foulsom and Frankinsteen. [who might have written it - Ed.] Mifs Foulsom is quite nice.
I called at Mr. Stevens last night. They are all well. I went to church last Sunday night with Sarah and Carrie. (Carrie is a girl that works here.)
I wish I could of been there with you when you were sick. But the time will soon come when I can be with you I guess, and won’t we have a nice time!
My dear, I do love you so much, and am in hopes we may spend a pleasant life, as I think we will. Clara says she think[s] we will make a happy couple, and I guess she thinks about right.
Good by my Dear. You must write soon because it will seem a long time before I get a letter.
[Missing a Letter from Eva to Frank, probably because she told him to burn it - see #40]
“Elmira, March 4, 1882
Your letter was rec’d last evening. I went to the office with Fenton. I was the luckey one – he did not get any [mail]. I should like to know whether Ella writes to him or not, but I presume she does. [possibly Ella Stevens] I opened your letter at the office, but I did not have time to read it there.....
It was hard for me to wait so long without reading your letter, but I had a nice time when I did read it. I do like so much to read your letters. I do not think it necessary for you to take any particular panes to write any better letters than you do. I guess you will have to wait until I come home before you see that letter that was opened. I dare not trust you with it. I am affraid it would get destroied.
Clara said you would not write anything again that you would not just as soon anyone else would read, but I knew it would take more than that to scare you out. But I thought when I commenced reading that you were realy going to be careful what you wrote. But I am glad you have changed your mind, because I like to have you write to me, as you would talk when I am with you.
Clara is not comeing here. Walter and Freddie have been sick and she cannot leave them, so I shall not get those kisses. But I shall soon be there to help myself, and I shall like that better than to have them second handed.
I expect to be through school in about two weeks, but cannot tell exactley when I shall be home. I shall stay here awhile and look for work, and I shall stop at Athens for a few days if I do not get a place here.
If I come home, I will walk from the depot or take the stage, and if I can tell the exact day that I will be there, I will let you know. I am sure the thought of liveing on Clapper Hill does not strike me any more favorable than it does you. I think it is nice of you to be so willing to do as I would like to have you, and I think I am full as willing to please you and do as you would like, as you are to do as I would like. And we will try and be happy whareever we are. If I come home I shall not hire to James any longer than six months, and by that time I think I would find some place [else to work - Ed.].
Clara thinks I am studdieng to hard, and that is what makes my hare come out so bad. When I wrote to her I was not feeling very well and so she thinks my health is failing. But I have never felt any better in my life than I have this winter.
I expect to be examined on bookkeeping this week (next week rather), and I must studdie for it today.
Fenton went with me to school yesterday. I am going to take dinner with them tomarrow. Mrs. S[tevens?] says Fred and Sarah are comeing home in a few days. Fred has some tuneing to do there.
O I liked to forget to tell you one thing. It is almost to good to be true. Mart and Anna have had a falling out (so C. says) [Clara]. Mart was through Towanda a short time ago. He knew that Anna was there and was sick abed and he did not go to see her. It does not seem possible that it is true. And you must not say anything until we find out all about it. You may hear before I do, and if you do hear anything about it, you must write it to me. I don’t think I ever said much about his loveing her, but it would be a happy think to know that they would never get married, and I don’t believe they ever will be.
I did not wash Sait’s face [in the snow] for the purpose that I mite to yours. I did it because I thought it would be a good thing for her, and I guess it was, [as] she did not speak until Sunday. She is allright now.
I have found out all about the line [note] that I rec’d from the girls. Miss G[idings] & Miss Sulivan wrote it. I showed it to one of the boys and he wrote to Miss F. [probably Miss Foulsom] and signed my name to it, and we have had quite a time over it. It made her mad, and she wrote a line to me and give me fits for writing to her. Then I wrote and give her fits for writing to me. And the next line I got was from Miss G. and she explained it all. She said she & Miss Sulivan wrote it, and that they were very sorry it had caused me so much trouble. I don’t know as you care much about all of this talk, but you know I like to tell you everything that I know, as I have for some time.
I did not think that you would be idle all of the time after school was out. But I am sorry you have so much work to do. You must take it cool and not work to hard. That is what Ma always tells me.
I guess if your picture could speak, it would want to get somewhare, whare it would not have to be looked at so much. It has afforded me lots of pleasure while I have been here. I guess I have got this sheet about as full as I can get it, so good by.
own darling, I am so anxious to see you.
Words cannot tell how my heart feels to
[towards] you. F. E. E.”
“Rushville, March 4, 1882 – Saturday 12 [noon]
I am alone today, so am going to give myself the privilege of writing to you when there is’nt anything to disturb me. Father and Mother went to S[tevensville] this morning.
Last Wednesday it rained all day and at night. The water was so high, there was danger of the bridge being taken away. The water was over the road when Father came after me, and during the night it flooded Mr. Rogers’ kitchen so that the ‘batter-crock floated.’ [butter?] One end of the bridge at the ‘Forks’ was undermined so it fell and cannot be crossed. Several small bridges were injured. They say LaFayette Palmer lost a large number of logs – all his winter work. I have forgotten just how many there were. James did not lose much, though. I think Father said those two small bridges were washed out. People say it was the bigest flood there has been in forty years! Father and I went up to Wilson’s Bricks [factory?] yesterday, after my school-order, and I never saw so much mud in my life before! We both walked some of the way. The water had washed the road so there were a great many holes and rough places. Down on the creek the roads are beautiful, as dry as in Summer.
The [Stevensville] Band have had an invitation to an oyster supper over at Tuscarora Creek. It will probably be a large gathering because The Band are at liberty to bring their families and invite all their friends, and it is a free supper. How is that?
There are five ex-sheriffs among the committee, so it must be quite a ‘high toned’ affair. I wish you were going to be home to go. James is going to ask Mr. Keeler and Mary. I dare say they will be delighted to attend – Mary especially.
James asked me if I did’nt want to go, and I told him ‘No.’ But it would have been quite different if you had asked me.
Mr. Whitney has been trying to back out of the lumber contract. He returned the money James had paid him. The money was included in a letter handed to him by Charlie Cobb. As soon as James saw it, he told Cobb he did not except it and threw it down on the counter. James has been to Towanda for counsel and says they can’t back out of it, [even] if they try ever so hard. But I suppose they will make it very unpleasant for James, if they can.
Our wagon is mended, so we get out in the world once in awhile now.
I am almost as uncertain about my next Summer work as you are about yours. I am going to apply for the school at Grangerville if the wages are any more than I can get here in Bradford [county], but Cora is very anxious to have me down there because it is the last chance I shall have to teach near her. I think I should rather go back to S[tevensville], but Ma thinks it is’nt best.
You must excuse all the parts of my letter which you have heard before, as I do not know what your family write to you. I dare say you often hear the same thing twice.
Monday Morning, March 6
I intended to go to Grangerville this morning to see about the school, but it looked so much like raining, I did not go, and have decided to take Stevensville school. So you see I am elected to hard work again. I am to have fourteen dollars per month.
I was informed with regard to water damages – the Rushville bridge stands, but is not considered safe, so people are at liberty to risk themselves on it if they choose. The high water injured James’es lumber considerably by leaving so much mud on it. They say the dressed lumber [with the bark removed - Ed.] will have to be washed in the pond to get the mud off.
Whitney and Cobb have come around all right, and told James ‘they hope there is no hard feelings.’
The ‘Grand party’ comes off tomorrow night. It dos’nt look as if the weather would be very favorable for it.
Ma staid at Cora’s until last night, and yesterday seemed the longest day that ever was. O I did want so much to see you! I always want to see you Sunday, more than any other day. I am sure we shall be happy when we can go to church together and come back to our new home and have a sing.
Ma says James spoke very highly of your writing &c [etc.] as he noticed it in your letter. I am thankful God has given you health to get along so well, and I hope you will not abuse this good gift by over-working yourself to gain a little time. I don’t think it will be gain in the end. You better take a rest Saturday. Don’t confine yourself to write a long letter to me. I will be satisfied with a short one.
James told ma ‘he supposed you did not say you would come back, because you wanted him to offer you more wages.’ But said he could not do it.
Mamie is looking for an answer to her letter. Every time they bring the news she asks if there is a letter for her. I think you are rather cool to the ‘young ladies,’ not answering their letters when they write first.
I dare say my writing distresses you! But I don’t know as it can be helped. I have always written horridly and guess I am too old to learn any better. Don’t know but I shall be obliged to get some envelopes printed in order to avoid disgracing you. [a bit of sarcasm? – Ed.]
Mr. Barnetson continues the meetings yet. Dr. Rockwell & wife are home visiting. Mrs. Hartwell was not expected to live yesterday. She has her grave clothes all made – is’nt that queer?
Mr. Ed Fowler is paying great attention to Mary Horton – is’nt that a caution?
Wednesday A.M. [March 8]
I went up to the [post] office yesterday morning before breakfast – after your letter you know. It would have been a great grief if I had not found any letter there. How dare you refuse my orders? I said ‘send that letter!’
I think I shall try to get you under better subjection when you get home.
Please do burn that last letter I sent you.
Yesterday Ma talked about putting a quilt on, and told Pa if he went down to the corner he might ask Mrs. Clink to come up and help. She afterward changed her mind, and concluded to wait till some other day.
About two o’clock Pa came back and brought with him Ed Goodwin & wife, Mr. Barnetson & wife, and Mrs. Clink. They had not had dinner and we were not prepared for company at all. They put the quilt on and men and all hands went to work. They finished it before suppertime. It was not a regular quilt, but a comfortable – to be tied with yarn – understood? We managed to get something for them to eat and lived through it quite comfortably.
I went to meeting last night and did some singing. How much I wished you were there to sing with me.
I am going to S[tevensville] as soon as I get time and away. Then I shall see your Mother again. I guess this will be my last letter to you, won’t it? [because he is coming home - Ed.]
Don’t you feel a little ‘cheap,’ because you have been writing notes to the girls [in school] so much? I am surprised at you. I should like to know what you said to her to give her ‘fits.’ And I don’t see how you can carry on such work without Mr. Warner’s knowledge.
I am very anxious to hear something more about that ‘news’ which is so good. I hope some of my work will be done when you get come, so I will have time to visit with you.
Guess I have said enough for this time. I am waiting for the days to go by, which must elapse before you come. When I read your letters it dos’nt seem as if you were far off. But at other times it seems so long since I have seen you.
You are always with me in thought, Frank Dear. Your loving girl, E. E. B.”
“Elmira, March 11, 1882
I am going to write you a short letter this time. I know you will not care very much because I am so very busy.
I am all through working in my books and now have got to prepare for examination. Mr. Warner is very thorough in arithmetic. He asks nearly every question that thare is in the book. I am not going to try to pass until I am sure that I can. There was a fellow that tryed his examination yesterday, but did not get far before he was stuck, and he was very mad and did not come back, but took the train for home and did not pay for the extra time that he was there, which amounted to about $7.
I think I will try to pass about Tuesday night, and if I do I will be home Friday night. And if not then, I will be there Saturday. I don’t think there is any doubt but what I shall come then, but not to stay long. Stevensville cannot keep me any longer, and I don’t think it will you very long.
I have a place that will be open for me in about Four weeks. I have been out today and feel well paid for it. The place that I am to work in is in Southport [Chemung Co., NY]. It is a large company and the Foreman is a nice fellow. They are going to make an addition to their work and put in new machinery. (I mean wood working machinery.) They have never had any such work there before and he could not tell what the wages would be. But he said when he wrote for me to be sure and come, [and] that he would make the price satisfactory. I am sure I can do well because they are anxious to get help. Common laboring men get $1.50 per day, and it is ready pay. This is not just the job that I would like but think it is better than going on Clapper hill. I will tell you more about it next Saturday night. Is that a happy thought!
I rec’d your letter Thursday night. It was such a lovely one. It was worth a good deal to me.
I had a letter from Ma today. Her eyes are very bad and she did not write much.
Fenton has found a place in a hardware store. He likes it real well. Mrs. Hartlie [Stevens] told me that Fenton got along in school the best last fall that he ever did. I think that is saying a good deal for you.
My examination makes me feel bad, and my good luck makes me feel glad. So takeing both togather, I feel about midling.
You must excuse this short letter. I guess you cannot send me another one because I expect to leave here Thursday. I am so anxious to get home. I feel that the Lord has been with me and is careing for me all the time, and I have faith that he will allways care for us.
From your true love, F. E. Eastabrook”
Between Frank and Eva and Other Family Members: