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History Lives Here Text

Letters to Hattie

[Hattie Smalley was the daughter of William James and Anna (Olcott) Smalley who aarrived inSaugatuck in the early 1860s. Smalley was a carpenter and built and repaired manyof the tannery and mill buildings in fire area, in addition to building cuttersand other smaller items. In the first letter it is hard to tell whether L.A. Phelps, who wouldlater be a Saugatuck-area pharmacist, was attempting to Court Miss Smalley, orsimply being friendly. All three items are from the Society's Brown/Viets collection.]

White Lake, Mar. 14, 1882

 

My dear little friend. Here we are in the above named place andnot a very pleasant one from here either.

 

You see, I an: going to keep my promise faithfully for I am lonesomethis morning, indeed I always am when I am away from borne and friends, and totop off with, I have been a little sea sick but I ?m all over that now. I thinkone or two more trips will cure me quite of that trouble..

 

You folks at home think that it is hard to stay alone, and I knowit must be, but Hattie, you don't knew anything about being lonely till you getaway on a boat and get thoroughly homesick.

 

I am not ashamed to own that I am so either. I would not give much fora man who don't care any more for home than any otherplace.

 

I have so much to do today that I can't write a very long letter, and Iguess it won't be a very interesting one, for you are too jolly and full of funall the time to know how I feel. I never saw you when I though you very blue.

 

We will not go to Michigan City as we had expected, but to Chicago again. I have got to write to Wayne again today to lethim know where to find me. I thought he could direct to M. C. and now I willlose his pleasant letter unless I tell him where to find me.

I tell you Hattie you would have found him a very pleasantcorrespondent had you had an opportunity to do so he said in one of his lettersthat he never received a letter from you as long as he went with you. I wonderif Bell findshim so pleasant to write to.

 

Well I must draw this to a close and go uptown to see what kind of aplace we have here. One thing there is good sleighing all round us for as fara; I can see. Don't you want a sleigh ride?

 

I might have stayed ashore till midnight for all of being late, for wedidn't get away till 12:30 A.M. It was pretty rough and cold too. Did Ed go towork today? Write soon Hattie & all the news. Goodbyfrom your true friend

L.A. Phelps

 

[This second letter, written in the fall by L. Viets,from his wintertime job in Tennesseeclearly shows some romantic interest in the young Miss Smalley]

Memphis, September 8, 1882

 

Dear Friend: I begun to think you were never going to write so Sunday Igot the "blues" a trifle (I always have the blues Sunday and Mondaywhen I am into the city). and wrote you a note toremind you of my continued existence in this world of sorrow & trouble. Youwrote before than note reached you t judge from the date of your letter.

 

Well, I stopped just now to eat a watermelon. It was a superb one &I am almost "to full for utterance."

 

I am verypleasantly located here, have a nice room and steady work, the latter of whichI have not had before in nearly 18 months, (except at Waterford when the workwas very steady but the salary decidedly unsteady). In fact I have not muchdesired it till now. But I do want it now. & I don't propose to "loaf'a single day between now and the middle of April, I have firmly made up my mindto be - I was about to say economical but I can't be that - but tocareful curtail my unnecessary expenses. Good clothes, good boards, tobaccoetc. I insist on having if I have to steal them, but whiskey, gambling, etc.are luxuries which in future I will dispense with. I promised to be home lastspring and failed, but this time I certainly intend to be in Saugatuck by the1st f May if! can raise money enough to get there on, and as I have 30 weeks togo yet, & am certain of over $15 a week I think I ought to be able to save oneor two hundred by the middle of April.

Prof Sutton is my particular friend & you positively must not abusehim so outrageously. He got away from Matamora in alucky time, didn't he? [Warner P. Sutton was a former high school principal whohad been appointed a counsel to Mexico.

The love I asked you to give Phile for me wasonly a very cousinly affection. I didn't want you to give all my love to her.While it was in your hands for transmission I should desire that you wouldabstract for your own use as much as you wanted & nothing would please mebetter than for you to appropriate it a11. I don't suppose there is much dangerof your having a disposition to give yourself to such a "What-is-it"as I described, but there are two things you never can bet on with reasonablecertainty beforehand, how far a frog will jump or what sort of a man a sensiblewoman will marry. But if any such a chap, or any one else, attempts to takeyou, just tell him to wait till next April because there's another feller wayoff down south who wants a showing.

Sincerely, L. Veits

I've "rite a pome" on the Kalamazoo river (orrather concerning it). I'll turn that loose on you when I run out of othersubjects.

 

Hattie eventually married L. E. Veits,and they later moved to a house on Water Street behind the Christian Scientist Church. Veit was freight agent for the Indiana TransporationCompany and later for Graham and Morton and Goodrich. About the time of theSaugatuck Centennial in 1930 Hattie (Smalley) Vietswrote down her memories of early Saugatuck.

Saugatuck about 1876 ByMrs. Harriet Veits

 

Going back in review of earlier days about 1816, Mr. and Mrs. WilliamB. Smalley and family lived on the hill overlooking what is now known as thePark House property. I am the youngest child and only survivor of this familyand I am writing this as I remember.

 

There were four houses on top of the hill, and the one in which welived stood on the site where is now the entrance to the road on the landrecently purchased by Mr. Lewis Howard of Chicago.

 

Mr. Horace D. Moore, an experienced young man in the lumber business,who came here from Vermont in this early time, owned all the property along theriver, extending from Willow Park to Camp Oak Openings, now a summer school forgirls.

 

Logs were floated down the river from the Pine Plains and on thepresent site of the Howard home on the river was a saw mill which cut manymillion feet of lumber. From Moore Creek on for some distance were piles oflumber and edgings and lath. Many sailing vessels transporting this lumber weretied up at Moore'sdock.

 

This was a busy spot. There was a dry good and grocery store to thesouth, and a boarding house for the mill hands under the hill and to the north ofthe Moore home (The Park House), which at that time was newly built and veryattractive with many porches which have been torn off, also part of thebuilding to the west, otherwise it looks as it did many years ago.

 

Many were the festivities held in this lively home of the Moore's. Mr. Moore becamea very wealthy man, and in later years he and his family moved to Allegan, thecounty seat, where lit bought a beautiful home and continued on in the businesswork. He lived to the age of ninety some years and still retained a keen mind.His oldest daughter, Winona and myself were schoolgirls together and I have fond memories of this spot.