Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1867 Feb. 10 Letter to Sarah Blain Slane (3705) from Anna Bell (3703)

Letter written in ink on four sides of a folded single sheet. From Anna Bell (3703) in Findley, Mo. to her Cousin (Sarah Blain (3705)). Dated Feb. 10, 1867. Pages are crammed with script in margins, on top of page, in all spaces. It is not possible to reproduce as written.

Findley, Missouri February 10th 1867

My Dear Cousin,

I seat myself this pleasant evening to pen a few lines for in answer to thy kind letter which came to hand in due time and was read with real pleasure. I received and read it one night at church before the minister commenced his exercises. I did not want to read it until I got home. I think I was perfectly excusable in doing so. I was a little surprised to learn thee had been married so long and I had not been duly apprised of the fact. I had a great mind to scold about it but concluded it would do no good. So I wish thee much joy, a long life of happiness, and may thee never have to regret the change thee has made in thy circumstances. Oh, Coz, it surely is a great undertaking and one that ought not be lightly entered into. When I take a retrospective view and call to mind the friends of my childhood – they are mostly married but also how many of them are really happy. Too few I fear. Some of them I know are not. And when I muse on their blighted hopes I am sometimes almost ready to vow I’ll never marry.

There, I know my dear coz will say I am only looking at the dark side of the picture and am trying to throw a shadow over her fair future. No no. I would not do that for anything. I was simply thinking of some of my friends who I have reason to believe have found the golden apple bitter at the core.

I would really like to see who won the prize and carried off my cousin. Do send me his picture now. I want to know the color of his eyes, hair, beard & mustaches (if he wears them). Is he tall or short? I also want the same description of thyself. There, you will say, I am getting very
inquisitive. Expect I am some times and in some cases.

I would really like to come over and see you all, but fear I’ll never get to. I’m getting to be an old maid you know and have nobody to go with me anywhere. No man I mean of course. Well, that’s enough on that subject certain.

We are all in reasonable health at this time and sincerely hope that this will find you all enjoying life and health.

We are having quite a moderate winter so far generally. New Years morning
Mercury sank 4 degrees below zero, and yesterday morning it was 6 below, and that is the coldest. We have had several light snows, but only two or three that made good sledding.

Thee spoke of coming west some time. I think some of our western countries are indeed beautiful, but father and mother (3559) often say they have got ahead of the best country. They think the Sciota bottoms are hard to beat. But an honest industrious saving kind of person cannot fail to make a good living in the west, and many of them get wealthy. I admire the west, but of course I don’t know anything about any other place.

I think this section of the country is very handsome - high rolling prairies dotted over with grasses, and here and there a stream of water skirted along with a narrow strip of timber. The water in the streams is a little inclined to be muddy. The most of us have to depend on cistern wells for house use. I think it is rather a poor chance for renters here. There was so many people moved in since the war and refugees returned that every old shanty is filled up. And farms that can be rented are generally poorly fixed with accommodations. There is plenty of land for sale from 4 to 30 dollars per acre according to improvements.

A great many are ready to go to what is called the ------ purchase on the south border of Kansas. It is said to be a good country well watered. Sister Martha (3700) and her husband expect to go out there somewhere this spring. They will not likely get started before the first of April as there is four weeks of his school to come yet. Martha (3700) would like to see those pictures before she leaves if thee can send them conveniently. Address me in Findley, Grundy County, Missouri. Mail matters got so irregular at Alpha that we changed to Findley. We live six miles from the last named village I sent my letter to the office by some one that was going to Chillicothe and that is how it came to be mailed there. We live 18 or 20 miles from Chillicothe. Consequently, I never heard there was a letter there for me.

Brother John (3698) met with quite a loss about the middle of last month. His house was burned to the ground just before daylight. They saved their beds, bedding, and most of their clothing, but lost their meat and molasses with many other articles besides nearly 40 bushel of sweet potatoes he was keeping. It caught from the stove in the room where the potatoes were put up.

Please write as soon as convenient and tell all the news. Give my love to Uncle (3562) and Aunt (3565). Mo more at present but remain thy affectionate

Anna Bell (3703)

Brother (3698?) sent uncle (3562) a paper. He addressed it to Chillicothe. He did not know you had changed your address.

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