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History Lives Here Text

Letters from a Saugatuck Pastor's Wife

(Continuedfrom Page 327)

Mon.forenoon Feb. 2, 1880

Dear sisterHattie,

This morningI finished copying the letter of Cousin Isaac Porter to Kate and returned it toyou. I had not time to drop even a word to yourself. I have long been wishingto mention the name of a "Dr. Fenton" to you who formerly resided in Kalamazoo but who wasengaged in a drug stare in Penn Yan last autumn.


A MissHubbard who formerly did dress making; in Saugatuck made us a short visit latein the autumn. Soon after leaving; here her health so much failed her that shewas obliged to give up all labor and as her home was not very pleasant sheaccepted the invitation of her aunt who resided in Mass. to take up her abode with her. Heraunt lived in affluence and Miss Hubbard had the very best of medical treatmentand of rest and tender nursing that wealth and affection could bestow. For sometime her health seemed to improve but some new danger threatening it, which itwas feared the climate was aggravating, she felt compelled to leave Mass. and fled to Conn.She was there similarly situated, welcomed into the household of interestedrelatives. She consulted the best of Conn.physicians and gave their remedies a thorough trial with but unsatisfactoryresults.


Quitedisheartened she again returned to Mich.Her difficulties were chronic and she seemed to suffer from a variety oailments. Her spine was much diseased; her lungs very sensitive and Easternphysicians considered her almost a certain victim of paralysis, at almost anymoment.


Finally herfather heard of this Dr. Fenton who then resided in Kalamazoo and with great reluctance she wasinduced to try his remedies. In short she feels that he has helped her far morethan any other physician. She feels that he understands her difficulties farbetter than the Eastern physicians did. As we had other company here the sameday she was here (one Saturday) and as we were very much interrupted in manyways I could not ask her as many questions as I wished. I do not know whetherhe is a regularly educated physician or not or whether he would be dubbed byM.D.'s as a Quack.


Miss Hubbardseemed to feel great confidence in his skill respecting herself. I asked abouthis charges. She replied that they were moderate. I think she visited us aboutthe time you were feeling quite hopeful respecting the success of your Rochester treatment. Ifeel very loathe to say anything to a stranger but I was sufficientlyinterested to take his name on a card. His address is: Dr. E. Fenton, Penn Yan.The lady I spoke of is Miss Emma L. Hubbard, Kibbie PO Van Buren Co., Mich. She says hecompounds his own medicine and her experience has been that the prescriptionswhich he put up were far more efficacious than those which other druggistsfurnished. I think Miss Hubbard's health has never been very firm. It is fiveyears since she considered herself an invalid. She is a person of mostindomitable energy and always inclined to overdo. I should not be surprised tohear that she was prostrate at any time. Still during the past winter sheworked at her trade very steadily. I do wish you might find some relief, foryou all. It pains me much to hear of dear

"E.W.'s"[her sister's husband] sufferings. He must be very careful of himself. IfGracie's practicing tires either one of you, let the child stop her music orpractice somewhere else. Make her as useful to yourselves as possible.




Wed. morndeb. 4 [1884]

Dear sisterHattie,


Your letterreached me yesterday, we are very grad to hear that you are all somewhatbetter. I have felt very anxious about :you all for some time past. The weatherhere is now more favorable for health than it has been much of the winter. Lastnight it commenced snowing after dark, and now Willie says there is about onefoot of it all over the ground. This will revive business if it does not driftbadly and will remain a few days. Many of the lumbermen have been idle.


James has agreat deal of learning to do in gathering the materials for his barn. he hasengaged a pile of lumber at Mr. Henry Moore's mill for $60.00. Yesterday he wasdown there assorting it, Part of it is to [be] drawn around the basket factorythere to be run through the planes and part of it drawn home as it is.


William hasbeen drawing manure from the Douglas tanneryto scatter around the trees ill the new peach orchard. He finished the jobyesterday. The cutter is down in the new barn where it has been stored forrepainting. James will have to take them down to school in the large sleigh andgo on to Saugatuck and get it.


Thurs. MonFeb. 12

Dear sisterHattie.

This linehas been a long time unfinished. Now the children are to be off in a fewmoments James and William are very much hurried on the teaming for the barn.


The snow isnearly all gave again., The weather is very mild and spring-like-had a copiousrain yesterday P.M.


Monday morn,James took a barrel to Hamiltonfor which I send the bill. This is my Christmas present to you postponed untilEaster. I will write more about it when I have time. James bought Mary Skinnerback with him. She is going to do some plain sewing for me, brought her own newmachine and only charges one $2.00 a week. I am piecing out a pair of pants forWillie which we wish to make immediately. The last mentioned person is nearlyas large as his papa. His present unmentionables are almost air-tights. Annaexpects to go to Allegan this coming Saturday with Mr. Cummins daughter.


The mohairwhich we used with the maroon skirt was the old overskirt to the black dress Ibought for Anna in Chicagothe first season she lived with me. My own dress pattern is not cut into as yetas I do not need it this Spring. It is not my custom to "cut up a ship tomake a plow."


The littlepoem is to help Grace on her spelling. I hope she will preserve it as it is allthe copy I have.


I sendscraps of the dyed cloth. I did not attempt to change the shades of either.They both look very nicely indeed. I used Leamon's Analine dyes 25 cts perbottle or package. I do not know how permanent they will be as I never usedthem before. It took but very little trouble to dye with them

Sabbath eveFeb. 22, 1880 Dear sister Hattie:


We aregreatly rejoiced that you are all improving in health. I hope dear E. W. `sbusiness caress will not lead him to unnecessary exposure of health. Buildinga-barn so far from borne will be both perplexing and expensive. The stagnationin farm property seems to have "touched bottom." as the Westernerssay. There have been more sales of real estate here this winter than there hadbeen before in some time. We do not yet find purchasers for our village lots,but do not despair. We expect to hear favorable returns from our onions soon.When these reach us we will inform you. We feel hopeful about getting a goodstart on our barn without incurring so burdensome a debt as never to be able todischarge it. Were it not for this barn building we could reduce the mortgage alittle this spring.


I feel verytired tonight as indeed I always do Sabbath morning. Tell Gracie I have wornher nice ear-cap for the past two Sabbaths and like it very much. Mrs. Dunesays it is very becoming. This week the ladies of our church hope to collect abarrel of clothing for the Negroes in Kansas.The Mrs. Haviland who takes so much interest in them stopped with us formerlyin Chelsea. Ihave been looking around somewhat with Anna to see what we better send. If Ihad time I could make many comfortable garments out of scraps of material.


Anna woreher Maroon and black suit today. Et looks very nicely indeed. Willie also hadon his new pants and the striped mitten:. Anna finished for himself recentlyout of the yard spun from our own sheep's backs. I wore the brown mittens yousent also the felt skirt you sent some time ago. I have just finished repairingit and have put it into a yoke at the top to lengthen it. It will last me along time for nice, if no accident happens to it.


The clothingand fabrics of various kinds which you have sent me from time to time save manydollars of expense. There is nothing which I cannot utilize sooner or later.The red flannel you sent like Gracie's skirts I matched here and relinedGracie's old waterproof cape and hood and Mabel looks very comfortable in it. Itook a flannel sheet which was sent to me which belonged to our own mother -colored it a pretty garnet color and Mary and I have made Mabel two pairs ofdrawers from it. It was so much worn through the middle that it was notpracticable to patch it. Yesterday we worked very hard and got an excellent jobdone on the Bismark brown poplin dress for Anna. She will soon have a verystylish looking garment out of it. We cannot make it up simply as the materialis so cut up. We are making the skirt and overskirt together. It has a shinedfront and the old folds have been assorted over and bound into ruffles. Theseare put on two together separated by a fold so as to break the monotony. I hadlinings and &c from the abundant stores bestowed upon us by your bounty.


I hope youwill put just as little expense and work on Gracie's clothes as possible thisSpring. "E. W." will have heavy expenses out this spring with thebarn building and all the other repairs of a farm. This is one of the drawbacksof farm life, so much money and labor have to be expended in outbuildings. Teamis here, your aff sister

Mary P. T.

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