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Copyright 2001, ©:, by Shirley Farone


Reading Guide to Old Letters

The forty letters which follow were compiled and edited during the past few years into an unpublished book called “Write and All The News.” By “edited,” I mean that I have guided the readers through them with my comments based on the limited knowledge I’ve acquired by studying the family genealogy. I hope these interruptions will not be annoying. This introduction appeared as a foreword and I have modified it for electronic reproduction.

Why the title, “Write and All the News?” Well, many of the earlier letters contained that command, which I found a strange expression -- write and all the news. There were many intriguing expressions, such as “I now sit down to write you,” but I felt the title, “Write And All The News,” better conveyed the pleas for informative communications between family members in those days when people began to move so far from their families and roots.

What, you ask, could be the intrigue in a pile of old letters from the 19th and 20th centuries? Silver-fish have crawled among them for decades, sections of their brittle pages have provided meals for hungry mice, and their existence with time has yellowed their properties beyond belief -- so what’s the big attraction? Why subject these old pieces of paper to more intrusion as I attempt to transport the words and thoughts contained on them into the 21st century? Let me explain.

My hobby (some say “lifestyle”) for some time now has been dwelling quizzically with names, birthdates, obits and miscellaneous facts about a group of people from the past called ancestors and their families. With over 9700 names, it became necessary to use our modern-day miracle called a computer. All these names became denizens of a computer unit called a database...the names became inextricably linked to one another in ready reference fashion or shall I say, in clickable order. But, that wasn’t enough for me. Allowing this information to lurk solely among electronic impulses seemed such an impersonal and fruitless medium. I felt a need to know more about these people, their true feelings for one another, how they lived, what made them happy, what they worried about, where they worshipped, how they died, etc. What better resource for this than old letters -- if I could find any, that is.

My birthplace and childhood residence was a farm in the Town of Hounsfield in Jefferson County, N. Y. (see my photo section) The farmhouse was built in 1897; and our family had lived their since it was built. Naturally, papers, books, diaries and other items accumulated through the years. When young, I remember seeing these treasures packed away in places which pretty much remained unexplored -- places off limits to nosey little girls. After our parents’ deaths, my siblings salvaged some of these items from the estate auction; and of course, a packet of old letters quickly caught my attention. It is arguable whether the diaries and letters are considered private in addition to being personal, but in the minds of those interested in genealogy, it really doesn’t matter. We pry into anything. I apologize to those who feel I have violated the rights of those who wrote the letters or those who were mentioned in them.

And so it is that the letters which follow take on a life revisited. Most of the letters have connections, directly or indirectly, to a family named Wallace who lived on Pillar Point in the Town of Brownville, Jefferson County, N. Y. Those which appear not to have been written by and to Wallace family members were from members of their extended family. Example: The first letter from a Hamblin was written to the mother-in-law of a Wallace girl. The very fact that the letters were found among the papers of my grandmother, Mrs. Minnie Gladwyn Conklin, a Wallace descendant, is indication that there was a link, though remote, among the authors of the letters.

I haven’t yet completely answered the question -- why this little book called “Write And All The News?” The first reason is so that members of our family, our friends and now, you cyber-readers may enjoy and be informed by the letters contained here. Secondly, it will serve as a means of peeking into what life was like for our predecessors and who mingled with them. And third, these letters provide a perspective in writing styles of the times, spelling*, grammar*, punctuation, colloquialisms, etc. -- perhaps reflective of educations acquired by those who wrote and read them. And last, and not least to those like myself, a place to locate very reliable genealogical facts.

*When I prepared the book, I did an exactly-as-written version, which is not included here.

It’s going to take me some time to post these forty letters so if you like old letters, stop by often.


Letter No. 1

The first letter was from Abraham Hamblin, the son of James and Charlotte Hartwell Hamblin, born in New York State in the year 1794. He came to Antwerp in Jefferson County, N. Y. with his parents. His letter stated that he served in the War of 1812. One researcher, a Mr. Densmore, whose letter may be found as No. 27, suggests that Abraham may have been a school teacher; however, at some point it appears he returned to Jefferson County where he pursued farming. In 1853 he and several of his children moved to Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. Information from a Wisconsin researcher revealed that four sons served in Wisconsin Civil War regiments - Hartwell, Spencer, Holland and Miles. The area in which Abraham settled is now a very scenic area, very popular as a tourist attraction.

According to the text, Abraham addressed the letter to multiple names; however, the envelope was not found with the letter. The reader will find this letter an enlightening account of pioneer purpose, spirit and courage -- and yes, there are reflections, regrets, and a sense of saying good-bye to his mother.

Forest July 11, 1856

Brethren, Long, Long, it has been since I have written to any of you or heard from any of you (except incidentally) or you from me, I suppose. Neglect is how cruel in us. Probably you have heard that I have left New York State. I left there for the want of wood and to get more land. Therefore I sold my small place there and on the fifth of May, 1853, and with my family started West. On the 16th of the same month we arrived in Northern Wisconsin, all safe. I have located in the Town of Forest, Fond Du Lac County, about half way between Sheboygan on the west shore of Lake Michigan and Fond Du Lac, at the head of Lake Winnebago. The two cities are forty miles apart, plank road between them and a railroad now being made from one city to the other. So you can see by looking at any recent map or atlas that our chance of market is good.

Though prairies and openings are in abundance in this State, I have chosen heavy timber of sugar maple, white and red oaks, basswood, butternut, red elm and white ash; not a hemlock in all this region. My place, which is a quarter Section or 160 acres is neither level or hilly, but all good plow land. Wheat is our staple crop, but we grow corn, oats, barley, potatoes and grass. It will be three years the first of next August since I struck the first blow on this place -- nothing done before. Now, I have a good and comfortable log house and back kitchen well done off and a well, stabling and so on. I have now 25 acres cleared and well fenced with oak rails; 15 acres more chopped for fall wheat.

I have 10 acres of wheat, 9 of oats, 5 of corn and potatoes and five of grass; also, 4 acres of the oats on a neighbor’s land. It is decidedly a wheat country. The timber and face of the soil is beautiful to behold, exceeding the lime ledge on our Father’s old farm, but no rock under it. The trees are tall and many large with considerable underwood, yet the limbs are so far from the ground one can see 40 to 60 rods in the woods when the leaves are on. Enough about my place and the country.

This, I believe is a healthy place and my health is remarkably good. I chop and log and do a great deal for one of my age. (Abraham, born in 1794, died between 1870 and 1880.) My wife’s health is quite good (His wife, Susan, Connecticut born, was still alive in the 1880 Census.). Our children are all here (except two who are in York State yet). They are all well. Those who are married are doing well.

As I know not who of my brothers or sister is alive or who are not, my first inquiry is: Is my Mother alive? (The mother was still living and lived until 16 March 1860 at the age of 94. Her name was Charlotte Hartwell Hamblin.) How is she faring? Harmon, James, Niles, Hiram, Luther, Charlotte -- how are they? (these were six siblings out of the 11 children of James and Charlotte Hartwell Hamblin) Where are they and how are they doing? Will someone write me when this arrives. Now, if Mother lives, do comfort her in her very old age. May each of us trust in God, believe in Christ, live the life of the righteous, that we may inherit Eternal life. Farewell each, farewell all. Give my best respects to all.

A. H. Hamblin

N.B. My address is Greenbush
        Sheboygan County, Wisconsin

I have heard Martin was dead.

I place two or three names on the envelope, not knowing which is there.

I am entitled to a land warrant of 160 acres for my services as a soldier at Brownville in the fall of 1814. I have made application for it, but fear I shall fail because the letter “b” is not in my name on the Muster Roll at Washington, and perhaps not on the receipt which my father gave when he drew my wages. Now, is Capt. John Howe there or alive? Or anyone else who knows that I am the identical person who rendered such service? If there is, please do write me who they are, what they know, and what their address is. They will, no doubt, recollect that I was the only one of our name out on that service. Please make inquiry touching the above facts and write to me.

Yours, A. H. Hamblin

Dear Mother (if yet I have a mother),

Three years ago last January when I sold my place, I thought I would see you before I went west, but I found all I could was to sell my stock, hay and grain and prepare for our journey. I could find no time but to leave home. Be assured I should have been very glad to have seen you one more time. But, alas! Do we meet not again on earth. How solemn the thought! O! How cheering the hope that we may meet and enjoy peace -- that rest prepared for the true child of God. I hope and trust you are like a shock of corn, fully ripe. May the widower’s God comfort, bless, guide, sustain and save you -- is the prayer of your unworthy Abraham. Susan sends her love and best respects.

Note: As stated above, Mr. Hamblin’s mother was indeed still living and we hope she was able to read the letter. Charlotte Hartwell Hamblin died 16 March 1860 at Lowville, N. Y. A family history written by her grandson, William R. Gladwyn, indicates that she spent her last days with her daughter, Mrs. Charlotte Gladwyn. It is known that these Gladwyns lived in or near Lowville, but exactly where hasn’t been determined. In that the letter was preserved by a Gladwyn descendant, it is very likely that Mrs. Hamblin read her son’s letter.

Note: New information regarding the Hamblin family has arrived via E-Mail from a Niles Hamblin, of Louisville, KY. Mr. Hamblin has been very helpful in clearing up certain points; for instance, the date and place of death of Abraham's mother. These are now reflected in a revised Hamblin Descendancy Chart. The ancestral charts have been amended to reflect the results of Niles' actual research. There were discrepancies between the Niles’ info and that of the family tradition information written down by Mr. Gladwyn. I have not, however, adjusted any portion of my comments -- (meaning those I wrote before the new data arrived.) February 2, 1999 - Shirley Farone

Letter No. 2

The only “Civil War letter” found in the collection was from Hiram Wallace, born 17 October 1833, the oldest son of David and Asenath Chase Wallace. He was born on Pillar Point in the Town of Brownville in Jefferson County, N. Y. He married Maria Clark of Ellisburgh on Christmas Day in 1858. He was 31 years of age when he wrote this letter. They had no children at the time. Their only son, Sherman, was born in 1869. Hiram’s obit stated that he had enlisted in Company K, 94th New York Infantry, and was discharged with the rank of sergeant. Hiram died 3 February 1914 at Chaumont, N. Y. the age of 80.

The letter was written to Hiram’s sister, Laurentine Wallace, and her husband, Theodore Conklin, who were living on the Conklin farm on what is now Evans Road between Brownville and Sackets Harbor, N. Y.

Rush Barracks    
Washington, D.C.
August 17th 1864

Dear Brother & Sister,

I will now write a few lines to let you know that I am well and in the best of health. I never felt better in my life and I hope to have the pleasure of hearing the same good news from you and all the rest of the good folks in that place.

At present, it has rained here every day for the past week and I hope it has there, too. (obviously he was a farm fellow - knowing the need for rain in the North Country’s dog-days of August) There is only one thing going wrong with us and that is we haven’t been paid in four months. The boys are getting damned mad and I don’t blame them. But it’s “How are you? $64.” When we do get paid, there will be a happy old time!

I hope that the little one doesn’t cry as much as it use to and I don’t think it does. (He was undoubtedly referring to an infant daughter of Theodore and Laurentine Wallace Conklin. A family scrapbook indicates they did have a daughter, Ella, who died 15 September 1865, at the age of one year, sixteen months. She was buried at the Muscalonge Cemetery, but her body was removed to the Dexter Cemetery some years later.) Give my respects to the old folks. (If, by old folks, he means his parents - his father was to be 65 in November and his mother was soon to be 60.) Tell them that I hope to see the time come yet when I shall come and see them again and have as good a time as usual.

Well as there isn’t much going on here at present worth speaking of, I won’t write much this time -- but more next time. I want you to write me a good long letter and tell me all that is going on in your part of the country. This is all at present. Good-bye. Write soon.

Theodore from Hiram             
Everett Hiram Wallace           
Co. A. 1st Regt N.R.C.           
War Dept, Washington, D. C.

Letter No. 3

The third letter was written by the youngest daughter of David and Asenath Chase Wallace to her husband who had gone to Michigan for work. Their daughter, Adelia Adelaide was born 4 August 1848 on Pillar Point in the Town of Brownville in Jefferson County, N. Y. In 1865 she married Albert Adams, also from the same area.

The couple’s great-grandson, Robert Hunter, Ph.D., is in possession of the original letter. Its inclusion in this collection provides much information about the Wallace family of Pillar Point, the neighbors and life as it was in and around Chaumont, N. Y. in 1866. It was at this time in the mid-19th century when many Jefferson County residents had moved or were about to move to Michigan, Wisconsin and other points west. In many cases, the men went ahead of their loved ones and this letter deals with the lonliness of the situation. To make for more poignancy, the reader should know that Dilly as Adelia Adelaide calls herself, died 12 May 1869, less than ten months after the couple’s son, Adelbert, was born.

The names Adelia and Adelaide seem to be used interchangeably among these letters. Dr. Hunter, however, has used the name Adelia A. Wallace on his family charts. This letter was not the only letter written on Christmas Day. David and Asenath Wallace had a total of 10 children and after reading these letters one gets the impression that Christmas Day was a very special day for the members of this family. As the family scattered about, their Christmas letters to one another tended to express loneliness.

Note: Albert Adams was born in the Town of Brownville on 18 March 1841. Prior to his marriage he served in the Civil War from 22 August 1862 to 12 June 1865. He enlisted from Brownville, N. Y., as a private in Co. H, 10th New York Artillery and was honorably discharged at Ft. Monroe.

December 25, 1866

Well my Dear I wish you Merry Christmas, but it is not very merry with me. Mahala is spinning and you can see for yourself what I am doing. (Mahala is Adelaide’s older sister, Mahala Wallace Ackerman, whose husband appears to be in Michigan with Albert.)

It is snowing blue lick and the going under foot is horrible. The snow has all been off since I commenced your letter but there are fair prospects of there being plenty more. It is a lonesome, dreary day and I am lonesome too. I feel almost as though I hadn’t got a friend and why shouldn’t I. I esteem you as my best friend and you are gone so far away -- perhaps never to return again and I haven’t as much as a picture of you to gaze upon those life-long days I should think you might have some photographs or some kind of a picture taken and send me. You said you would when you went away. I would have mine taken and send it to you if it was so I could -- but it is not.

Alson (Alson Rounds, the husband of her second oldest sister, Harriet) was here yesterday with a big pair of stilguds and hait (types of fish caught in one of the bays near Chaumont, N. Y.) and one was weighed She weighed 136 and I weighed 148 Well my love, Alson has just this minute come to take Mahala to Chaumont -- so I will close and send this to the office (post office) by them, but I would like to sit here and write to you all day. I shouldn’t wonder if they was another letter at the office from you by this time, that is if you got my last -- and I hope you have. Well, I will close by bidding you good-bye and a Merry Christmas -- Happy New Year’s. When you write tell me how you enjoyed yourself and all about it. Who is your bed feller and is he as good a one as your Dilly. Write soon from your little loving Dilly to her kind and affectionate Husband, Albert.

Letter No. 4

Adelaide’s second letter, the original of which is also in Dr. Hunter’s possession, was dated January 28, 1867. There were apparently two letters written between the previous letter and this one, but those have not been found. She was still very lonely but busied herself with relatives and friends. There was concern and curiosity about her husband’s living arrangements, his pay, how he spends his leisure time and more than a wee bit of longing to be an attentive and caring wife. Oh, did I also mention the nagging? Dilly, as she calls herself, had such hopes for the future and how sad it is to realize that the couple’s time together would be so very short.

Pillar Point Jan 28th 1867
Sunday Afternoon              

My Loved Companion,

With pleasure I sit down to write a few lines to you which I hope will find you well and enjoying the comforts of life as well as can be expected. I know you don’t enjoy yourself very well for the very reason that you are away from the one that I trust you so dearly love and see her when you feel bad and lonesome nor so much as to hear from her very often (sentence not edited). My Darling I hope the time is not far distant that we may ---- enjoy each other’s love and take as much if not more comfort than we ever yet have done.

I received your kind letter Friday. I was very happy to hear from you and was feeling rather discontented and down-hearted. You say you haven’t received but two letters since you have been there but I have written four. One was mailed Christmas and the other was mailed two weeks ago yesterday. I hope you have received them both by this time.

Well Abb, I am glad that you are trying to leave off chewing tobacco. I hope you will leave off entirely. I should awfully hate to have you sick by the means. You know that I prophesied before you went away that if you went down there that you would take up bad habits, but I feel thankful to you and to our Redeemer that you are leaving off your bad habits instead of taking up more. I hope you will put your trust in God and he will help you out of your trials and troubles, if you have any. To tell the truth about it, you always had (or at least ever since I got acquainted with you) as much love for him as half the folks.

But enough of this -- we will talk more about it when you come home. I have been out to Theodore’s (she means also her sister, Laurentine’s) and stayed 2 weeks. I came very near getting homesick. There is no place that seems so much like home as it does here at Mahala’s, and when I get to feeling just so it doesn’t seem like home here. I shall be glad if the time ever comes that we will have a home of our own then we will take comfort, won’t we? I’ll bet we will.

I was over to Rind’s the other day (cannot identify). She says she should think you might write to her (could this be Albert’s sister?). I got a letter from Hattie the same day that I got yours. Hatt (cannot identify) is at her folk’s getting ready to keep house, and By is working in the woods. He gets $30 per month. You never have told me how much you get. I want you should write all you can think of. I want you should write all the news that you are a mind to but be sure and write the most (news) about yourself.

I heard that some of the boys had left Rockas (cannot identify - may be short for the name Rockwood. Possibly one of the Dexter (NY) Rockwoods owned a lumbering business in Michigan and hired men from the Chaumont (NY) area as workers) and that Will (her brother) was one of them. If he has left there, tell me where he is if you know. I want to know where he is and how he is getting along.

I shall have to stop and warm my hands for it is so cold I can’t half write. We have had a very agreeable winter thus far. It has been very cold but it hasn’t blown and drifted as badly as it has some winters.

Angeline (cannot identify) has been over here visiting She is over at to Fred Dorchesters now (a well-known Pillar Point resident?) but she is coming back here again this week. When you and Durg (her brother-in-law) get home (there is no letter from Albert in order to identify when they planned on going home) we will all go over there and make her an old snifting (strange term?) visit.

I am much obliged to you for my ring. I think it is nice. It seems kind of natural to get presents from you if they aren’t quite so nice. I don’t expect to get anything so nice in a letter as though you fetched it yourself. I wish I had something to send you but I will make you a present when you get home, if I don’t before. I want you should tell me what day of the month as near as you can when you will be at home and we will be all cut (haircuts) and dressed.

How do your clothes last you and who does your washings? Go neat and clean as you can and come home the same. I guess I had better take that caution to myself. Hoping to hear from you soon, I will close.

From your Darling Dilly to her blessed Husband
Albert Adams AA (AA in monogram style)

Note: A poem appeared above the salutation, upside down on the page --

Thou what if I think of you twice in awhile with a
little kiss and a little smile.
With a kiss that comes and goes
like the sweet, sweet wind of memory blows.
To Albert..... ...... ..... (From Dilly)

Note: Rind was possibly Lorinda Adams, Albert Adams’s sister. Lorinda was about three years older than Albert. Brad’s (Lorinda’s husband) full name is not known. Hatt, who is spoken of in the letter, was the first wife of Byron Adams. Her name was Harriet Perkins and the couple divorced in May of 1877, while living in Michigan.

Letter No. 5

The last of Adelaide’s three letters (of those that were given to me by Dr. Hunter) to her husband Albert Adams was written March 19, 1867. The 18-year old Adelia was still living apart from her husband. She seemed to be more settled in. She was probably still living with her sister, Mahala Ackerman. The letter was suggestive of a permanent move to Michigan. This was a newsy letter and much embellished with Dilly’s poetic mood.

March 19th 1867

Well Abb, I don’t know but you will get tired of reading my scribblings, but I haven’t had any chance to mail my letter and I thought I would say a few more words to you.

Mr. Luther (The Luthers were prominent residents of Pillar Point, N. Y. Not sure, but I think the ares is still known as Luther Hill on the Point) was here yesterday. He took those drafts and said he would go today or tomorrow and get the money. He said he would go around by Pumerois (Pomeroy’s ?) and see if he could buy that land (?). I shall know in a few days and then I will either write or come myself and let you know all the particulars.

I want a full description of the place you talk of buying (?) as near as you can give. Tell me how much flour is per hundred (lbs.) and whether there is a mill or store, church or schoolhouse or any other kind of building anywhere near that or not. What kind of folks live there and what kind of house they live in and tell me how Mr. Perkin’s (probably the father of Harriet Adams, the wife of Byron Adams) folks are getting along. What kind of a house are they living in and how long before they are going to move on their place? Do you hire your board or do you get three dollars a day and board? What do you have to eat and who does your washings and where do you sleep nights? (“sleep nights” appeared to have been inserted after the letter was written) Write a good long letter -- fill two sheets as I do. What’s the use writing half a letter. Has By taken up a piece of land there? Tell him and Hatt to write to me -- I wrote a letter to Ansauble (a town ?) that you didn’t get and it was sent back to me. Someone had written on the envelope (started out and started for Limerick). You never say anything about Levi Rockwood (The Rockwoods were also prominent early settlers in the township.) I should like to know how he is getting along in the lumber woods. His folks haven’t heard from him in over two months. They are feeling rather uneasy about him. If you know anything about Will (probably her brother, William W. Wallace - he didn’t stay in Michigan, but returned to N. Y.) Write and let us know. Well Abb, I heard that Matt Green has a baby two or three months old. I can hardly believe it, but I hope she has (aren’t I mean). They are living to Watertown with his folks.

You said you had something to tell me. I should have thought you might have told me what it was. Well Abb, it is a very pleasant day today and if Dirgy (referring to her brother-in-law, Dirgy Ackerman, Mahala’s husband) and Albert was here everything would be lovely. Oh how I want to see you. Give my love to Dirg and tell him I should like to see him. Do the best you can and I shall be satisfied.

Mahal’s black sheep has done as well as she did last year. She has two black lambs they are both a like and the right kind too. Three of the sheep have had twin lambs. Old “Smutt” only had one. It is three weeks old and as big as any of the sheep: Mahala says she expects the next thing she has to pet will be bigger than a lamb. She says tell Dirg she was glad to hear from him and glad to hear he was well. As soon as she gets some paper, she will write him a good long letter. I borrowed this to write to you on. Rind and Rad (Rind was Albert’s sister, Lorinda, and Rad was probably Brad, referred to in Letter No. 4*) have moved out beyond Chaumont Theodore (Theodore Conklin who married her sister, Laurentine) has moved on his place (Conklin Farm in Town of Hounsfield) and Priscilla and her man (referring to her sister and Wm. Gladwyn, who were married 18 November 1866) are living in Brownville (There is some evidence that the couple was working in a cheese factory owned by Gladwyn’s parents.) We got a letter from our sister, Sally, (Sally, the oldest of the Wallace’s 11 children, was married to Hiram Sixbury. The couple may have been among the first to have moved west to the state of Michigan) a few days ago. She says she should think you, Dirg, and Will might come and see her when you come home. I don’t think it would be far out of your way -- they live in Shiawasse Co. (Very few people had access to maps. With all the pioneering to new lands, it was probably difficult to keep uptodate maps.) If I ever go to Michigan, I shall go and see her.

Hoping to hear from you soon, I will close. I remain as ever your true and loving wife,


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Till next we meet I’ll think of thee
Oh, will you then remember me.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Write soon as you get this. Will you not, my Dear Berttie?

Were every heart as pure as thine    
We then might view a world divine.  
Were every heart from guile as free  
Loved by a world, a world might be.

Albert, write soon for my sake and come and see us as soon as convenient --


I have just got a letter from By & Hatt. Tell them I was glad to hear from them. I will answer it soon as I get some writing paper. I haven’t got a bit.

Remember me when this you see
And think that I remember thee.  
Remember me as your best friend
Remember till life shall end.         
From Dilly      To Albert

*By & Harriet had one son, Charles, born 7 August 1868. Notice that Charles was near in age to Albert’s son, Adelbert. Dr. Hunter wrote that Charles and Adelbert competed for the hand of Myrtle De Bolt, Adelbert’s future wife. Charles took the loss very hard, then disappeared. A letter written in much later years indicated that he was living in Oregon, but Dr. Hunter’s attempts at finding descendants have been fruitless.

Letter No. 6

The sixth letter was written by a Priscilla, daughter of David and Asenath Chase Wallace. Priscilla, born 10 May 1840, married William R. Gladwyn on 18 November 1866 at Brownville, N. Y. She was the couple’s sixth and next to the youngest daughter. There will be many letters in this collection from Lettie, as she called herself. The letter, written in April following her marriage, was directed to her next oldest sister and husband, Theodore and Laurentine Conklin.

Lettie’s husband was at this time employed as a carpenter at Sackets Harbor, N. Y. Mr Gladwyn’s autobiography states, “In the spring of 1867, we moved from Brownville to Sacketts (sic) Harbor on to a small farm -- in a short time my father rented the cheese factory and he and mother moved out with us -- father conducting the farm and I worked a carpenter work for the government at the garrison in Sackets Harbor.” It wasn’t clear if William Gladwyn, Sr. purchased this farm or rented it, but it was just outside Sackets, beyond where the High School is now located. The house is still standing today. They liked the community and attended church -- both would play an important role in their lives. These newly-weds enjoyed the coming of Spring in New York’s North Country. Lettie was just a touch lonesome for her family and longed for a visit from members of her own family. Her sister, Laurentine, lived about 7 miles from her in the northern end of the Town of Hounsfield, the same township in which the Gladwyns now lived. Of the many letters we found written by Lettie, this was one of the happier ones. This could be because exactly seven months from writing this letter a daughter was born to the couple.

April 27, 1867

Dear Brother and Sister,

After so long a time, I will write a few lines to you to let you know how we are. I am all right with the exception of a lame foot. It has been lame for about 5 weeks. Will is tough as a fine knot. (William Gladwyn was 6 years younger than his wife.) He has worked every day since we have been here. We went down home two weeks ago. Found them all well but Harriet’s (her second oldest sister, married to Alson Rounds) baby was very sick. I guess it will never be any better. (Not sure if the baby was an infant who does not appear on Dr. Hunter’s charts, or if this is Acelia Rounds, who was about 2-1/2 years old at the time; Acelia lived to maturity and married Charles Crosby.)

I like it here much better than I expected. It is a very pleasant place and we have good neighbors. We have been to meeting (church - not sure which denomination - most likely Methodist) every Sunday since we have been here until yesterday. We stayed at home.

Tine, (interesting nickname for Laurentine) that jug you lent me I took down home (meaning Pillar Point near Dexter, N. Y.) when I went. Thought perhaps I would see you down there, but as I did not, I left it with Mahala (another sister, Mahala, married to Cyrus Durgy Ackerman) as I thought you would get it from there sooner than you would from here.

Well, I have done a large washing today and my foot pains me some and with all that, I don’t feel much like writing. I am very anxious to hear from you and I shall expect to see you out here or get a letter in a few days. I don’t want you to disappoint me.

Theodore, if you will come out here next Sunday, I will treat you to beer. Will and I dug some roots and made some root beer. I think it as good as I ever drank. I think you had better come out next Sunday. If you can’t, you must write to us.

From your sister,
Lettie Gladwyn

Tusola Co
(these addresses were scribbled at the bottom of the stationery)


As mentioned in Letter No. 6, Mr. Gladwyn left a brief autobiography and it is here that a researcher meets up with total confusion. The information in his works does not correspond chronologically with Letter No 7. After the birth of his daughter (Nov. 27, 1867 at the Sackets Harbor farm) he writes, “The next spring we moved into Sacketts Harbor village -- I (was) working at carpenter work -- In the fall of that year we bought a small place in Dexter and moved there. In the spring of 1870, we sold this place and moved to Lowville, N. Y. (my early home) -- my work there was in a cabinet shop. In 1872 we returned to Dexter...” This compiler/researcher believes that Mr. Gladwyn wrote this biography at age 56 (or later) and may have neglected to look up exact dates.

According to the following letter, March 16, 1868 found Priscilla and William Gladwyn living in Lowville, Lewis County, New York. The letter was written by Lettie to the Conklins, Theodore and Laurentine. Nothing useful has been found as a means to establish how long the family had been in Lowville; but it appeared that they had been there through the winter; one can get very tired of winter in this part of Northern New York. Even at that, this 29-year mother is fairly upbeat, as she deals with sickness and health, family responsibilities, and hopes for the future in this post-Civil War era.

Lowville, March 16, 1868

Dear sister,

I received your welcome letter. I was glad to hear from you and that you were well. We have all been sick with a bad cold. There were two days that one of us wasn’t able to take care of the other. Neither Minnie (Minnie was the couple’s only child. She was born 27 November 1867.) nor I sat up any to speak of for a week. We are all well now and able to work again. But my health is not very good and I am getting so nervous that I can hardly do anything.

It snows and blows here today. It is as stormy a day as we have had this winter. I shall be glad when it comes settled weather for it has been the longest winter I have ever seen.

We haven’t had a letter from Dirgy (brother-in-law, Dirgy Ackerman, married to Mahala Wallace), yet I can’t see why they (must be both the Ackermans had both moved to Michigan) don’t write to us.

His father (she probably means to say her father-in-law, William Gladwyn, Sr.) doesn’t want us to go West. He says he doesn’t know what they would do if we should go off and leave them here alone. (See Letter No. 16 for a letter written by the elder Mr. Gladwyn.) I feel as though we ought to go some place where we can live cheaper than we can here. (It was at this time in the 19th century that many members of Lettie’s family had moved to Michigan or were about to.) Will has got a good trade (probably doing carpentry work, independently) now and if we could go where we wouldn’t have to pay so much for house rent and wood (Firewood must have been an incredibly expensive item. Remember in Letter No. 1 that one of the reasons for moving West was because of lack of wood -- that was in 1853. Why would this be -- in a recently developed area where they were, undoubtedly, plenty of trees?) we could save something for ourselves. (notice the desire to save!) Will thinks sometimes that he would come to Brownville (the community in Jefferson County where the couple married) if he could hire out to Mr. Codman, (Mr. Codman was a well-known home builder.) but I don’t know as we could get a house or do any better there than we can here. If we could, we would come. Will has got his brackets and what-nots done and they are nice as they can be. (These what-nots are now owned by Will’s great-grandson.) He will make you some brackets when he gets time.

I would like to be down there this Spring and eat warm sugar with you. (The Conklins owned a sizable stand of hard maple. Lettie was undoubtedly referring to maple sugaring.) I guess I should feel better if I could get out in the woods and gather sap. I don’t expect to come down there this summer if we stay here, for it costs so much to go and come. (What costs would there be via horse and buggy? Perhaps they did not own a horse and buggy, necessitating a rental.) Are Frank and Eva going to keeping house this Spring? (This is a referral to Frank Conklin, Theodore’s 21-yr. old brother and Eva Ball. “Keeping house” was apparently a term used for “getting married.” )

My love to all. Write soon and all the news. (“and all the news” is a very familiar phrase used throughout most of the letters during this era) from your sister

Don’t forget to write to us.

Letter No. 8

The Gladwyns, William, Priscilla and Minnie were still in Lowville, N. Y. when they wrote the next letter to Theodore and Laurentine Conklin. The letter’s date appears as November 14, 1870, but it isn’t clear exactly where they are living. One can assume that William had been working for the cabinetry shop in Lowville, but was laid off at that time. The stationery was different from the previous letters - it was a single sheet, unfolded; however, the bottom part of the sheet was torn off as were parts of the right edges, but here is what remained:

Lowville, Nov. 14, 1870

Dear Brother and Sister,

I now sit down to write to you a few lines and let you know that we are all well as usual. Hope this will find you all the same. The weather is remarkably fine for the time of year. About a week ago we had enough snow so that the ground was white for a little while. We have had enough rain to fill the wells.

My work has about stopped for this Fall. I have a few jobs to do yet if the men get ready (sounds like he was a finish carpenter - he also made furniture pieces of which are now owned by family members) I did not succeed in buying us a place this Fall -- such a one as we would like to call home for good, so I have rented a house until I can do better.

I am going to chop tomorrow (rest of sentence was torn off) I think and hope that I won’t be troubled (torn off) was at Dexter. (probably referred to a physical problem caused by working in the woods) I think of going (torn off) and sap buckets (remainder of sentence and letter torn off) (It was possibly a referral to helping Theodore, to whom the letter was written. Might have been reminiscing the frolic of maple sugaring on the Conklin farm.)

Note: The back of the letter was written in Lettie’s handwriting, thusly:

Dear Sister,

This pleasant evening finds me seated to write a few lines (classic first sentence) to you. We have moved once more, but not for the last time I suppose. (was this an expression of disparagment?) Will could not get the place that he talked of when we were down there, (she may have meant in the Dexter, N. Y. area near where she was born) so we thought we would not buy a place this Fall. It is a very pleasant place here. There are apples and other fruit on the place. It is, after all, rather lonesome for me, as I have to be alone most of the time. I live farther from neighbors than you do, and all strangers at that. (apparently, their abode was in a very rural setting)

Do you hear anything from Mahala? (an older sister, Mahala Ackerman, who was living in Michigan) I haven’t heard from her since I saw you. I can’t see the reason why they don’t write to us. How are Ma and Harriet (her mother and sister, Harriet Rounds) getting along? Do Ma’s arms trouble her yet? It hardly seems as though I had been down there this summer. Minnie often speaks about you and the children (Herbert and William Conklin). She asks me every day if Uncle Theodore (torn off) well yet. My love to all and write as s---(torn off.)

Letter No. 9

Another Christmas Day letter is next - William and Priscilla Gladwyn were still living near Lowville on Christmas Day 1870. Their letter was to Theodore and Laurentine Conklin, Laurentine being Priscilla’s next oldest sister. One cannot help but feel the homesickness of Priscilla (Lettie), as she wrote this letter, many miles away from her 8 living siblings. William and Lettie wrote separate letters and the reader will have to agree that each was probably suppressing a tear or two. Let’s not forget, though, they had a little one in the household now - their Minnie, now over three years old. Be prepared to read about this little 3-year old’s desire to write a letter to her grandparents. Little did they realize that pen and paper would become the tools of Minnie’s art -- writing letters, poems, diaries, speeches and essays - wondrous works which made many people happy through the years. This compiler has typescripted many of her poems and diaries -- a task which has proved not only interesting, but enjoyable.

The first portion is by William:

Lowville, N. Y.
December 25, 1870

Dear Sister & Brother,

I now sit down to answer your welcomed letter of Nov. 21st. We are all well this pleasant, but cold Christmas day, and hope this will find you all well and enjoying the holidays. We are at home alone, as we are too far from a village to attend church or any doings and too far from friends to have company or go visiting. (It is not known where the little family was living - probably between West Martinsburg and Barnes Corners.)

The weather has been bad enough for the last few days. We have had no sleighing until the 20th when it snowed all day. It fell about 2 feet deep. Since then, it has been very cold. Last night was the coldest night we have had this winter. We live in a comfortable house and will try to enjoy ourselves and keep warm.

I am not at work anywhere now. (Mr. Gladwyn was a carpenter, probably working independently.) Work has stopped entirely since the cold weather came on. Have the boys commenced fishing yet? (possibly a referral to his brothers-in-law, Hiram and William Wallce, who lived not far from the bays near Chaumont, N. Y. and most likely he meant ice fishing) Tell them to come out and see us. How are Father and Mother Wallace’s healths this winter? Do they live in that old house this winter? (may have been living on Pillar Point, near Luther Hill) How is Alson’s folks? (meaning Alson and Harriet Rounds, Harriet being Lettie’s older sister) I presume you will see them today. Is Anace teaching this winter and is Orlando at school studying for the ministry now? (Anace is the daughter of Alson and Harriet Rounds; Orlando, a son.) Do you hear anything from Dirg and Mahala (meaning Cyrus and Mahala Ackerman, brother-in-law and sister of Lettie. The Ackermans were living in Michigan.) We have not had a letter from them in four or five months. I wish you could come and see us but it is a good ways to bring your little children. (the family would have had to travel by horse and buggy - the railroads had not yet been laid) You must write soon and all the news.

From William

Lettie wrote on the back of the stationery:

Dear Brother and Sister,

I once more sit down to write to you to let you know that we are all alive and well. I was sorry to hear that you have not been well since I was there, but I hope you are all well now and enjoying yourselves this pleasant Christmas Day. I was in hopes to see some of our folks out here before this time but it seems they did not come. I should like to have been with you today if it had been so I could.

Minnie got some paper and a pen the other day. (A pen in those days required ink - imagine a 3-yr. old using ink!) I asked her what she was going to do. She said she must write a letter to her Grandpa and Grandma (although she had two sets of grandparents, the reference was probably her mother’s parents, David & Asenath Chase Wallace who lived in Jefferson County in the Town of Brownville on Pillar Point) and ask her if her arms have gotten well yet. She talks a great deal about all of you.

Are Birtie and Willie well? (meaning Herbert, who would become Minnie’s husband in 1897 and William, Minnie’s future brother-in-law -- William married Carrie Chapman in 1893) I wish I could see them. I had a letter from Mary Ann (another Wallace sister, third oldest - a widow of David Cummings) a few days ago. She wrote of several deaths in Dexter. (Dexter is in Jefferson County, Town of Brownville.) It beats all how sickly it is down there. It doesn’t seem to be so bad here. I wish you a Happy New Year. Write soon with all the news.

Your sister,

Letter No. 9

Another Christmas Day letter is next - William and Priscilla Gladwyn were still living near Lowville on Christmas Day 1870. Their letter was to Theodore and Laurentine Conklin, Laurentine being Priscilla’s next oldest sister. One cannot help but feel the homesickness of Priscilla (Lettie), as she wrote this letter, many miles away from her 8 living siblings. William and Lettie wrote separate letters and the reader will have to agree that each was probably suppressing a tear or two. Let’s not forget, though, they had a little one in the household now - their Minnie, now over three years old. Be prepared to read about this little 3-year old’s desire to write a letter to her grandparents. Little did they realize that pen and paper would become the tools of Minnie’s art -- writing letters, poems, diaries, speeches and essays - wondrous works which made many people happy through the years. This compiler has typescripted many of her poems and diaries -- a task which has proved not only interesting, but enjoyable.

The first portion is by William:

Lowville, N. Y.
December 25, 1870

Dear Sister & Brother,

I now sit down to answer your welcomed letter of Nov. 21st. We are all well this pleasant, but cold Christmas day, and hope this will find you all well and enjoying the holidays. We are at home alone, as we are too far from a village to attend church or any doings and too far from friends to have company or go visiting. (It is not known where the little family was living - probably between West Martinsburg and Barnes Corners.)

The weather has been bad enough for the last few days. We have had no sleighing until the 20th when it snowed all day. It fell about 2 feet deep. Since then, it has been very cold. Last night was the coldest night we have had this winter. We live in a comfortable house and will try to enjoy ourselves and keep warm.

I am not at work anywhere now. (Mr. Gladwyn was a carpenter, probably working independently.) Work has stopped entirely since the cold weather came on. Have the boys commenced fishing yet? (possibly a referral to his brothers-in-law, Hiram and William Wallce, who lived not far from the bays near Chaumont, N. Y. and most likely he meant ice fishing) Tell them to come out and see us. How are Father and Mother Wallace’s healths this winter? Do they live in that old house this winter? (may have been living on Pillar Point, near Luther Hill) How is Alson’s folks? (meaning Alson and Harriet Rounds, Harriet being Lettie’s older sister) I presume you will see them today. Is Anace teaching this winter and is Orlando at school studying for the ministry now? (Anace is the daughter of Alson and Harriet Rounds; Orlando, a son.) Do you hear anything from Dirg and Mahala (meaning Cyrus and Mahala Ackerman, brother-in-law and sister of Lettie. The Ackermans were living in Michigan.) We have not had a letter from them in four or five months. I wish you could come and see us but it is a good ways to bring your little children. (the family would have had to travel by horse and buggy - the railroads had not yet been laid) You must write soon and all the news.

From William

Lettie wrote on the back of the stationery:

Dear Brother and Sister,

I once more sit down to write to you to let you know that we are all alive and well. I was sorry to hear that you have not been well since I was there, but I hope you are all well now and enjoying yourselves this pleasant Christmas Day. I was in hopes to see some of our folks out here before this time but it seems they did not come. I should like to have been with you today if it had been so I could.

Minnie got some paper and a pen the other day. (A pen in those days required ink - imagine a 3-yr. old using ink!) I asked her what she was going to do. She said she must write a letter to her Grandpa and Grandma (although she had two sets of grandparents, the reference was probably her mother’s parents, David & Asenath Chase Wallace who lived in Jefferson County in the Town of Brownville on Pillar Point) and ask her if her arms have gotten well yet. She talks a great deal about all of you.

Are Birtie and Willie well? (meaning Herbert, who would become Minnie’s husband in 1897 and William, Minnie’s future brother-in-law -- William married Carrie Chapman in 1893) I wish I could see them. I had a letter from Mary Ann (another Wallace sister, third oldest - a widow of David Cummings) a few days ago. She wrote of several deaths in Dexter. (Dexter is in Jefferson County, Town of Brownville.) It beats all how sickly it is down there. It doesn’t seem to be so bad here. I wish you a Happy New Year. Write soon with all the news.

Your sister,

Letter No. 11

In the deep of the Lowville’s Winter 1871-1872, the Gladwyns again corresponded with the Conklins. They were as lonesome as we’ve seen them. There were expressions of anxiety about the area economy, their parents’ health, and that ever-present desire on Lettie’s part to go to Michigan. William even sounded down - as in “forgotten little us.” On the other hand, they both seemed quite excited about the pending arrival of the railroad. But above all, they felt deserted. There is a puzzling absence of Minnie’s name - here’s the letter -- rewritten for easier reading - but with a lot of comments.

Priscilla wrote first:

February 4, 1872

Dear Sister,

I have delayed answering your letter a long time thinking you would come out, but as you haven’t come, I thought I would write to you. We are all well, as usual, and hope this will find you the same. I was sorry to hear of little Willie’s (Willie was Laurentine’s son) having fits. (Willie was born 18 July 1870, lived to the age of 49, passing away 4 January 1919. He probably outgrew the epilepsy -- no mention was ever made of that condition.) I am afraid he will always be troubled with them, but I hope not.

This has been a long and lonesome winter for me so far. The 18th of November that was the couple’s 6th wedding anniversary) three feet of snow fell and we have had plenty of snow ever since. I haven’t seen nor heard a word from any of you this winter. (The writer’s family of 8 living siblings resided either in Michigan or in the Brownville-Dexter area of Jefferson County, N. Y.) I think Durg’s folks (she means the Ackerman’s - her sister, Mahala and her husband, Cyrus Durgy Ackerman.) are doing well since they went West. Hope they are prospering as well in everything. Think I will go west in the Spring and see if I can get a boy. (Is this her idea of prosperity?)

I suppose you have had lots of sleigh rides this winter, while I have had none. (19th century envy!!) I hope you will go and see Ma for you and me, too. (referring to their mother who is now age 68 - probably living out on Pillar Point) How is her health this winter? And Harriet, I should like to hear from them and see them and you, too. (Harriet is the second oldest sister, born in 1825, married to Alson Rounds - probably living on Pillar Point.) I wish you would come out here. If the roads are so bad you can’t come with a team, you can come on the cars (their way of saying railroads). (Lettie lived about 32 miles from the sister to whom she wrote this letter.) Take the cars to Watertown (She inferred the starting point as Brownville.) and you don’t have to stop until you get here. (Wow!) Write soon with all the news.

William Gladwyn wrote next - directing his message to Theodore:

As Lettie has left some room, I will try to write a few lines, too. I am at work yet for Mr. Conover in the cabinet business. I like it first rate. The wages are not first rate on account of the hard times for money (there was very high inflation at this time), but it is steady employment and that is what counts. Also, I can be at home for meals as we live right in sight of the shop.

We have had quite a severe winter so far, but we don’t know much about it here in town. (The village of Lowville borders a very well-known snowbelt known as Tug Hill. There tended to be much more snow accumulation out on Tug Hill than there was in the village - even though it was a matter of only a few miles.) The thermometer belonging to the Academy (meaning Lowville Academy where the couple’s daughter would someday study music) here has stood at 39 below zero three or four times this winter. We have about two feet of snow on the ground.

We have not heard from any of our folks in so long, we begin to think all that we used to know are gone out of existence or have forgotten little us. Is Orlando at school yet? (Orlando was the son of Harriet and Alson Rounds - sister and brother-in-law of Lettie - it is believed he was studying to be a minister, perhaps in New Jersey -- he someday would have a church in Utica, N. Y. He was born 13 June 1849.) Is Anace (spelled various ways -- she was the daughter of the Rounds and was born 6 Nov. 1850.) teaching? Are Hiram and William (Lettie’s brothers - last name Wallace) fishing this winter? (These brothers lived in the Chaumont area of Jefferson County and apparently did considerable ice fishing in the Guffins Bay-Sherwin’s Bay area during the winter months.)

How is Father Wallace’s health? (He was about 72 at the time and would live until 12 December 1873.) And how are Mary Ann’s folks getting along? (Mary Ann was the third oldest of the 10 children born to David and Asenath Chase Wallace. She married David Cummings in 1846, but he died sometime between 1864 and 1865. It is believed that they lived in a house next to the Muscalonge Creek near Dexter.) Where is Jeff and what is he doing? (Can’t identify Jeff, unless it was Mary Ann’s son, Judson, born 29 July 1847 and about which nothing is known.) Who is married and who is dead and who is going to be. Come and see us. I don’t think we can come down until Spring.

So good-bye.

Yours be,

Lettie had more to write:

Minnie says to tell Aunt Laura she can read and spell and is going to learn to write so she can write a letter to her Auntie. (Minnie probably did read and spell at the age of four - no doubt about it - she would write a great many letters throughout her lifetime. Her handwriting was very good - with an unusual separation of letters - very carefully formed. Her contribution to the war efforts was a tremendous output of letters and poems to those serving in the armed forces. ) She often speaks about Birtie and Willie and says she should think she might have Willie for her brother. (Well -- would a brother-in-law do? Birtie and Willie are the sons of the addressee -- Birtie, being Herbert D. Conklin, born 10 April 1869, and Willie, was William Conklin, born 18 July 1870. Minnie married Herbert on 2 June 1897.) Said she would piece up blocks and make bed quilts (must be Lettie did these activities - environment made a difference in a child’s upbringing even in those days) for him and everything nice (meaning for Willie). Write soon,

Your sister,

Letter No. 12

It was now August 25, 1872. Mrs. Gladwyn wrote to her sister and brother-in-law, Laurentine and Theodore Conklin. She was very lonesome and quite down in the letter that follows. Her husband wasn’t feeling good and there seemed to have been indication that there were other medical problems in the household. She had an urgency for visiting her mother before winter came on. Her discouragement may have been because she was alone all day with Minnie while William spent long hours at the cabinetry shop. Perhaps it took a toll on her strength. We begin to see an obvious flaw in Lettie’s nature - she didn’t seem to understand that her sister’s circumstances were quite unlike hers. The Conklins were farmers whose spring and summer schedules were extremely busy. It was virtually impossible for them to take a trip to Lowville or anywhere at that time of year. Was Lettie demanding, impatient and self-centered? Maybe so - for now at least - but wait for forthcoming letters - there’s very convincing evidence that she was quite different in even less fortuitious circumstances.

August 25, 1872

Dear Sister and Brother,

As I don’t hear anything from you, I must write you once more. I wrote to you a long time ago but have had no answer yet. We are all alive yet but not very well. Will came home from his work sick yesterday. He was very sick all night and is not able to sit up much today.

We are having some very warm weather here and there are a great many sick. How do you get along this summer And all the rest of the folks? How are Ma and Harriet and family? I haven’t heard a word from any of you since last winter. I think it too bad some of you don’t write to me if you won’t come and see me. I have been looking for you to come up here all summer but have seen nothing of you. We have been talking some of coming down there this Fall if nothing happens to hinder. Perhaps we will come next month. I should not like to go over another Winter without seeing Ma.

Minnie says tell Aunt Laura she has a swing and wants Birtie and Willie to come and swing with her. The dear little ones, I wish they were here tonight. How does Jeff Beebe’s (cannot identify) baby get along? Does John Rawson (don’t know who this was, but have seen the Rawson name when doing Jefferson County genealogy) and his woman live together? Do you ever see Mary Rounds? (Mary was possibly a member of a second generation Rounds family from Pillar Point. The writer’s oldest sister, Harriet, married Alson Rounds.)

This is all I think of now, but I want you to write to me as soon as you get this with all the news. Come and see us if we don’t come down there.

From your sister,
Lettie Gladwyn

Write as soon as you get this.

Letter No. 13

It was holiday season, 1872, William Gladwyn was putting in long hours at the Cabinet Shop in Lowville and Lettie and Minnie Gladwyn were lonely again. Her plea for company were again directed to her next oldest sister, Laurentine Conklin. And if we want to determine just where they lived, we now have fairly precise directions.

Dec 8th 1872

Dear sister,

Your welcome letter came to me last night. I was glad to hear from you once more. We have all been sick since I wrote to you, but we are all well now. I think Will’s health is better than it was in the summer.

You say your horses are sick. It is so here -- everyone’s horses are sick, but not many have died. It has been very healthy here among children and grown folks, too. I haven’t heard of more than one or two deaths since I came from your house. (must have gone to Jefferson County since August of 1872)

We have had a very pleasant winter so far. The snow hasn’t been over 8 inches deep here.

Now I wish you would come up here for Christmas or New Year’s if you can come; and if you could write and tell us what time you would come, William would meet you at the Depot. If you can’t tell us when you will come -- when you get off the cars, you inquire at the Depot for Campbell’s Hotel. When you get to the Hotel, turn to the right. We live on the lefthand side of the street about a quarter of a mile above the Hotel in a cream -colored house with a picket fence in front.

I hope you will come and I wish Annice (a niece, born 6 November 1850, daughter of older sister, Harriet Rounds) could come with you and stay with me a few weeks if Harriet can spare her. If you will bring the measure of Birtie’s pictures so Will can tell how large to make them, he will make some frames for them.

Minnie wants me to tell you she has a new thimble. Give my love to our folks. Father Gladwin doesn’t live near the Depot now. Lottie’s man (referral to William’s sister and husband, J. Martin Prame ) has bought a place about (2 ?) miles out of the village and her Father and Mother live with them. (the mileage figure was not clear, but the compiler remembers the home being about 2 miles out of Lowville -- on the lefthand side going toward Hamblin’s Corners) They came and stayed with us one night before they moved.

Will takes his dinner to the shop now. So Minnie and I are alone from before daylight in the morning until after dark at night and we get pretty lonesome sometimes. I can’t think of any more this time -- only come and see us if you can. If you can’t come, write to us often as you can.

From your sister
Lettie to Laura

Letter No. 14

Now we’ll know. Letter No. 14 will reveal that Laurentine and Theodore finally paid a visit to the Gladwyns at their Lowville, N. Y. home. It doesn’t say when -- perhaps it was at Christmastime. It was February when this letter was written -- not an easy time of year to live in Lowville, N. Y., yet Lettie seemed to be in a state of contentment. The Gladwyns had an added responsibility -- that of overseeing William’s parents, who lived nearby. A hoped-for move to Michigan probably provided an uplift of spirits, too. Not since Letter No. 7 (March of 1868) have we read about the couple’s desire for financial betterment.

February 9, 1873

Dear Sister,

I will write a few lines in answer to your welcomed letter. We are all well as usual. I am alone today. Will has gone to see his folks. (William and Charlotte Hamblin Gladwyn). Lottie and her man (meaning Will’s sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. J. Martin Prame) have gone to Rochester (N. Y.) to live and left Father and Mother alone.

We haven’t had a letter from Durgy’s folks (Lettie's older sister, Cyrus Durgy Ackerman’s family) since you were here, (ah! ha! so the Conklins visited the Gladwyns) so I don’t know yet whether we shall go West or not. (“West” meant Michigan, where the Ackermans had gone to live) Have you seen Will yet and what does he say about having his house built in the Spring? (Will was probably Lettie’s brother, William Wallace) You tell him that Will says he will build his house if nothing happens to hinder. Tell him he must write to us and let us know what he is going to do, for if we don’t go West, he will hire out to Mr. Conover for another year, unless he can do better somewhere else.

We have had some very pleasant weather here for the last week. It has been warm and seems like Spring. I suppose Orlando (a nephew, Orlando Rounds, son of Harriet and Alson Rounds) will be home (believed to be studying in seminary) this month. If you see him, tell him I said I should like to see him. Ask Annice (Orlando’s sister) if she received the few lines I wrote to her. I should like to have her answer them.

Well, Laura, I can’t think of much to write, so I shall have to stop writing. I wish I could see you and talk with you a little while, for I am so lonesome I can half write. I will do better next time.

Write soon with all the news.

From your sister

Letter No. 15

Yet another letter between the two sisters, Priscilla Gladwyn and Laurentine Conklin. This letter was written in the Spring of 1873 and expresses the possibility that the Gladwyns would go to Pillar Point to assist in the building of a barn. The hoped-for move to Michigan was still a brightly burning ember. Priscilla (Letty) is approaching her thirty-third year of life and it appeared she is physically frail. And, as usual, we will notice the awesome amount of closeness the Wallace children had with one another.

April 11, 1873

Dear Sister,

We received your welcome letter. I should hve answered it before if I had been able to, but I have the rheumatism and have been so lame that I could not help myself at all. I am a little better now, but I can’t walk without help. I hope to get better soon.

We had a letter from Will (her brother) and he wants us to come down there (the Chaumont area of Jefferson County, N. Y.) and stay this summer and work on Ed Moffet’s barn (This may have been the huge barn on Pillar Point which was always used as a landmark by area citizens.) until they get done and then build his house. I guess we shall come as soon as I am able to get there. If we come down there, we can’t keep house this summer and we would like to store some of our things at your house if you have room for them.

We had a letter from Durgy and Mahala (the Ackermans). They are all well and doing well. They want us to come West right off. They have a house all ready for us to move into and are looking for us to come. We can’t go until next Fall. I wish we could go this Spring for they offer us such a good chance and Mahala wants us to come so badly. She says we would have such a good time if I was there.

I hope you won’t make yourself sick working this Spring. I wish I could be there to help you clean house (spring house-cleaning was a popular “attitude” in those days and I remember the concept being prevalent with my grandmother, Lettie’s daughter) and get your work done up. Well, Laura, I can’t write any more. I am so tired, but I will tell you more when I see you. We want to be there the 1st of May. You need not answer this for we might not get the letter.

My love to all.

Your sister,

Letter No. 16

The following letter was written on July 20, 1874 by William Gladwyn (Sr.) to his son and daughter-in-law, William and Priscilla Wallace Gladwyn. The elder Gladwyns were living in Lowville, Lewis County, N. Y. The younger Gladwyns were living somewhere in Dexter, Jefferson County, N. Y. The senior Gladwyn was now almost 74 years of age, having been born 6 August 1800 in Essex, England. He died at Lowville on 16 February 1880. His wife, Charlotte Hamblin, was born in Antwerp, Jefferson County in 1813. She was the sister of Letter No. 1’s author. Charlotte died 23 February 1883. Their letter reflects an age-old problem -- younger generations being so involved in their day-to-day struggles of raising their families that their allotment of time to their parents is minimal. Parts of the letter were difficult to read and where this was so, the material will be in italics. How sad this letter is!

Lowville July 20th 74

Dear William & Lettie

It is a long long time since we heard anything from you. We thought as you did not write perhaps you were sick; then we thought Lettie would write or perhaps you waited to come up in July. We could not stand it any longer so I though(t) I would write and see if I could hear from you. You have and (an) old father & mother living yet in Lowville and I hope you have not forgotten them. We should have come down this summer but we had not the means. We live the last house on Dayan St to the High Bridge. Martin and Lottie (his son-in-law and daughter, the Prames) left us last week and have gone on Mr. Rea’s farm at Slab City. We stay to take care of my garden about an acre.

I am getting to be an old man and can’t do much though I made something last winter making one halves (sounds like they had no communication since the previous winter!!) You might have done some last winter. You could have got yourself some store pay. (not sure what store pay is - could be like company store - trading goods for your labor) It is better than nothing. Mother’s health is pretty good now. I so hope you will come and see us or at least write when you get this. We long to see you and know how your health is, what you are doing, how you are getting along and how Lettie and Minnie are.

I think you would have done some better to homestead here. Mrs. Rea has put up a barn where Martin is. O’Donnel has put up a block of stones between between Pfister’s store and the Engine house. The railroad has put up an eating house opposite the Depot. The whistle down Valley Street blows at 8 and 5 -- all summer so far. Howell leaves Lowville today for Gloversville. Kellogg owns the Hotel -- carries it on himself -- O. P. Hedden boss. Walter Hamblin, bartender.

Heavy thunder shower last night -- wet summer, big crops. My garden looks pretty well -- plenty of peas, beans, beets, onions, corn, potatoes, and cucumbers ?

And now William, please do write and let us know how you are doing. For weeks and months -- almost every day -- we talk of you and wonder why you did not write. Come and spend a few days with us if you possibly can for you cannot see me much more. I am an old man and must soon return to the earth and try the realities of the eternal state. Mother sends her love to all and Minnie. May the good Lord bless and guide you all through life and bring you all to the home of the blessed is the prayer of your affectionate father.

Wm Gladwyn

Note: The original of this letter was found in the Conklin Family Scrapbook. It has not, however, been mentioned in the Contents List which this transcriber prepared of said book. The Contents List is an abstract made to facilitate searches for items contained in the deteriorating book. Perhaps, I will post the Contents List sometime in the future.

Letter No. 17

Our 1870 letters are no more. January 11, 1882 is the date of the next letter. The Gladwyns of Dexter were in receipt of a letter from a Mrs. L. D. Adams of Michigan. I cannot identify her for sure, but we believe she may have been a second wife (possibly the third) of Albert Adams. Remember, Albert who had the wife, Dilly, -- Letters No. 3-5 -- I consulted Dr. Robert Hunter, who was Albert’s great grandson. He is not sure what L. D. stood for - but tells me that one of Albert’s wives was Drucella Stevens Adams. Another wife was Mrs. Anderson, possibly the third, but it is quite possible we have them in the wrong order. (see updated notes)

Albert Adams’ household now consisted of Adelbert, his son from the first marriage, and L. D. The family was living somewhere in Michigan. Whoever L. D. was, she seemed to have taken good command of being an active part of the Wallace family. Notice that the letter is addressed “Sister & Brother.” It was Albert’s first wife, Adelia Adelaide Wallace who was Mrs. Gladwyn’s sister - yet this salutation, as far as the Adams’s were concerned, remained suitable. This letter was very difficult to read.

January 11, 1882

Dear Sister & Brother,

I will try to answer your kind and ever welcome letter which we received the 7th. I was glad to hear from you. We are all well at present and hope you are the same.

I will relate to you the dying words of Durgy (Albert’s brother-in-law who was married to Mahala Wallace). He had his senses until the minute he knew he was going to die. He had the Methodist minister come to pray with him the day he died. Then, in the evening again, of the same day, he had Smith Luther (most likely a member of the Pillar Point Luther family) go after him again; but before they got back, he was gone. Before he died, he called for Mahaly. She was in bed and she came and talked with him. Then he called Gene (Eugene Ackerman, a son of Durgy) and talked with him and wanted that he should take care of his mother as long as she lived. Then, he called for Netty (probably their youngest daughter, Jeannette, who married a Brown) and talked to her; then, to Birty (second oldest son, Wallace Bert Ackerman) and he could not tell Birty what he wanted to. He was no more He did not say anything to Ida (not really clear, but there was an Ida who was the second youngest Ackerman daughter).

Dirgy told me on Sunday he had rather die than live if he was prepared as he had been. One day they had been having an awful time again. This Fall they had hardly gotten over it (?) at the time of this awful accident happened. (know nothing about an accident - haven’t researched this) Mahala is getting better now. Nettie was married the next day after she buried her father and the second day of this month, she went to housekeeping. I have not heard from her since she went away. I was there and got their dinners for them. We were slightly (word not clear - looked like slightly, though) invited to her wedding, but I did not go. I did not think it a proper way to do business.

I do wish I could see you. I would like to talk with you all. You said Aunt ? Landing (first name looked like "Brndy" and surname may be incorrect) was on her way here and that you had sent me two frames and an apron and Delly, a handkerchief, but we have not heard a word from her yet. We would like to have her come and make us a visit, but I do not believe she will.

Give our love to all the inquiring friends. We were surprised to hear of Jennie Adams’ wedding. You wanted to know if Mr. Locker ( name could be Lockes - cannot identify, may have been someone whom the Gladwyn’s had met while on a trip to Michigan) had any family. He has four children, two girls and two boys. The girls are awfully bad girls. They live in Caro. She takes in washing in order to support herself and family at present. (“She” must be Mr. Lockes’ wife??)

I want to write to Minnie. (Minnie, was Minnie Gladwyn - see letter below)

From your Sister,
L. D. Adams

The letter written to Minnie follows:

Dear Minnie,

As God has been so kind as to spare our lives so far, we must improve the time. First we know, it will be ours to die and then our privilege will be stopped -- writing to each other. (This lady surely had the family’s religious orientation.)

Minnie, I think your dress is very pretty and I think you got lots of presents. I will tell you we had a Christmas tree at our house. I got a new scarf and a pair of red worsted hose and a dress. I have not made it yet, but when I do, I will send you a piece and tell you how I made it. (in those days, it was very rare to have a store-bought dress). Dell (Dell was Adelbert - he was Minnie’s cousin and of Minnie’s 1st cousins, Dell was the closest in age. He was born 22 July 1868 - and died 24 September 1957.) got a mouth organ and a slate, a copy book and pens, a box of pencils and a bottle of ink and five (or fine?) books. Uncle Albert got a new cap and a new shirt. We got candy and nuts all around.

Well Minnie, Phy (cannot identify) has gone and gotten married, too. He was married the day that Netty was. His girl’s name is Lacy Foil (also unclear - also cannot identify this girl). They live in Sebwaing (Michigan).

Minnie, you don’t know how your Uncle Alb (looked more like Abb) would like your picture in that new dress, but we would rather see you. Good-bye. Write again soon.

Aunt (indecipherable)

Concerning Letter No. 17: According to Civil War Records procured by Dr. Hunter, Albert was married to Drucella on 22 March 1871 by Justice of the Peace Henry D. Rogers in Midland, Michigan. Why she used the initial “L” in her signature is a mystery. At the time of Albert’s death in 1915, Albert was married (at least we believe he was) to the widow of John Anderson of Cass City, Michigan. From analyzing the pension file, it appears that Albert’s marriage to Mrs. Anderson, took place at least by 28 May 1908 when the pension file showed some activity. At that time Albert was living in Akron Township, Tuscola County, Michigan. The war record shows Albert’s statement, “I am living with her, yet she’s good to me.”

Also concerning Letter No. 17 and L. D. Adams: (Now a surprise!!) The Civil War Pension File, dated 19 March 1915, requested by Dr. Hunter, revealed that Drucella divorced Albert in Caro, Tuscola Co., Michigan (no date given). This was Albert’s statement for the record regarding the matter:

“I lived with D. S. Stevens 30 years and I was too old for (her) and she left me and got all of my Pension that I have saved, then went to Midland and married one she liked. Left me with nothing. I did not spend my money for drink or spating.” This was written a day after Albert’s 74th birthday. How sad. When reading the record, one notices that Albert used the words, “”living with” in reference to both Drucella and Mrs. Anderson.

Letter No. 18

This one was was written by two Ackerman women a little over two months after Durgy’s Ackerman’s death. Durgy was Cyrus Durgy Ackerman, the husband of Mahala Wallace Ackerman. It is believed they lived in the Sebewaing area of Michigan. The first of the two was written by Nettie Brown, whom I believe to have been Jeanette Ackerman; the second, by Mahala. The letters were written to Theodore and Laurentine Wallace Conklin of the Town of Hounsfield, near Brownville in Jefferson County, N. Y. The dates appear to be March 12, 1882 and April 9, 1882.

At the top of the letter in a less practiced script than that which appears in the body of the letter were the words: “Got a leter Libbie this wek.” Libbie may have been Libbie Prame, the daughter of Martin and Charlotte Prame of Lowville, N. Y. Libbie was not related to the Ackermans - but she was a niece of Priscilla Wallace Gladwyn’s husband. It seems strange that she would have written to these people who had lived in Michigan even before Libbie herself was born. Catching up on out-of-state correspondence must have been a difficult task for Mahala, so soon after her husband’s death.

Nettie’s letter was first and was dated March 12, 1882:

I now seat myself to write a few lines to you. We are all quite well and I hope this will find you the same. We have been having some poor luck. We have lost our best horse. It stepped through the barn floor and broke 2 ribs and burst something inwardly. It only lived one day.

Give my love to Grandma (Asenath Chase Wallace)tell her I would like to see her very much. Tell Bertie and Willie (Herbert and William W. Conklin, cousins of the write) I would like to see them. I came home (her parent’s home) yesterday and am going home tomorrow. I went to a school Exhibition Thursday evening and had a nice time. We are all going to meeting this evening. (March 12, 1882 was a Sunday.) I got a letter from Carrie Gillan (perhaps a girl from Dexter, N. Y.) a few days ago. They are all well. I live 13 miles from home. Give my love to all inquiring friends. Tell Celia (probably a referral to a cousin, Acelia Rounds - b. 1864) that I should think that she might write to me. Is Anis at home? (Anis Rounds, b.1850). I cannot think of any more this time, so good-bye from your loving niece,

Nettie J. Brown

And now for Mahala’s message:

April 9th Sabbath Afternoon (1882)

Dear Sister,

I will now try and finish the letter that I should have sent you long ago. Four weeks ago Nettie was home, you will see, and wrote some to you. I was to finish it and one to Amelia (cannot identify), one to Truman (related to her late husband) and to Carrie Gillan. Now, I must finish them all and send them at once. Also, one to William and Julia (brother, William Wallace and his wife, the former Julia Bauter, living in Chaumont, N. Y.) and to Hiram (oldest brother, Hiram Wallace, of Chaumont) so that I may hear from him again. I was glad to hear from him, but very sorry to hear about his losing his fingers. How is his hand?

I hope you will forgive me for not writing sooner. All the excuse I can make is that I have not had to write much and it seems a dread to get at it. Dirgy and Nettie always did the writing. They would write a long letter in a short time. It takes me a long while. I think faster than I can write, but I will endeavor to do better hereafter, for I do like to hear from my friends.

We are all well as usual and I hope this will find you the same. Ma, how are you? (perhaps Asenath was staying with Laurentine at this time) I wish you could come and see me. I have been thinking so much about it the past week. The cars now run from Saginaw to Sebewaing. There is a Depot at Unionville, and a flag station one mile from us. The passenger train commenced running last Monday. It seems as though some of you might come and see us now. When I hear the car’s whistle, I would soon meet you. Curt Luther (probably a member of the Luther family, formerly of Pillar Point, N. Y. -- the writer’s son, D. Eugene Ackerman married Carrie A. Luther, b. 1869) went out to Wats (could possibly be Watson Cummings, the son of David and Mary Ann Wallace Cummings). He came back in the evening. He said the folks were all well and Aunt Charlotte (?) is well and took the cars to Marathon to visit her friends there. This is Pa’s birthday. (a referral to her late husband). I want to go to his grave today and set some flowers if Eugene is going to the office this morning, April 14.

A post script written along the side:

Nettie was home Thursday and went home yesterday. Write soon as you get this. Good-bye from your sister,

Mahala S. Ackerman

Notes Concerning Asenath Chase Wallace: The matriarch of the Wallace Family, as you have noticed, was mentioned in severeal preceding letters. After the book was assembled, new informtion came in regarding Asenath Chase and her parents. The information came from Joseph and Mary Perrault, of Torrance, California. The Chase family was a collateral line in research they’d done on Mary’s family. I CANNOT verify their findings about Asenath Chase, but what they found is worthy of mention and hopefully further research will result. They indicated that Asenath was not born in Ellisburgh, N. Y. and that she was the daughter of Stephen and Orryanna Rowe Chase -- that she was born August 25th, 1804, and not August 23rd of that year. She was born in Providence (Junction?), Saratoga County, N. Y. They did not specify when the family moved to Jefferson County, but indicated that in 1822, the family, without Asenath, left for parts West. Thru many struggles, the death of many family members and their conversion to the Mormon faith, Orryanna arrived in Salt Lake City where she died 14 July 1880. The account (diary) of this trek, which consumed many, many years, may be found on LDS Film No. 0000048. Stephen Chase died February 11, 1847 about 40 miles from Council Point across the Missouri border. He was buried on the plains there.

If anyone has information to support the theory that this was indeed Asenath’s family, I would appreciate being advised. If anyone is interested in the diary prepared by one of Asenath’s brothers about the adventure west, please let me know.

Letter No. 19

This letter was undated and the envelope was missing; however, it was probably written Sunday, November 21, 1886 or Monday, November 22, 1886. A biographical sketch prepared by William Gladwyn, indicates that William and his daughter, Minnie, went to Wichita, Kansas in the Fall of 1886 for health reasons. Minnie, about to be 19 years of age, suffered from a lung ailment. The letter which follows was written by Mr. Gladwyn’s wife, Priscilla Wallace Gladwyn, who remained at the family’s home on Grove Street in Dexter, N. Y. The message is in response, in part, to a request made of her. A letter written by Prisicilla, dated simply Nov. 24th, reveals the request. After reading many of Priscilla’s letters and maybe sensing a frailty in her, the reader must be prepared to see her take on a true-grit - seemingly taking hold of her faltering family in time of great need. The Nov. 24th letter will appear shortly. Here’s the undated letter:

Dear Minnie and Pa Pa,

I got your letter Saturday. I will answer to your request as soon as possible for me to do it. (Was Minnie not aware of the request and thus the reason why the request was referred to in indefinite terms?)

You must both keep up your courage and don’t get discouraged. Let what will come (probably meant to write a second “come”). As soon as you get a letter from me, you had better come back to Michigan and stay this winter. (have you figured it out yet -- what the request was, that is?)

Now don’t get homesick to see Ma for I am well and all right, if I could know that you were contented. I can’t write any more now but will in a day or two.

Good night,
Your Loving
(from) Mother
(to) Minnie and Pa

Letter No. 20

The Nov 24th letter (no year) was written by Mrs. William (Priscilla) Gladwyn to her husband and daughter, Minnie. See previous narrative and note (Letter No. 19), especially the contents and remarks. The year was, without a doubt 1886, and the main purpose of the letter was to relate the results of her quest for money. The amount of money is $100 and she stearnly warns the two to spend it wisely. They stayed in Wichita, Kansas at 804 Cannon St. until after April of 1887, perhaps having gone on to Michigan from Wichita.

Nov 24

My Dear Husband and Little Daughter Minnie,

I will write a few lines to you this morning. I made out (we’d probably say, “set out” today) to get the hundred dollars for you last night. I had hard work to get it. Mr. Hubble (the name looked like Hulble, but was probably Hubble) had let (old-fashioned term for “lent”) his money all out. He told me to tell you he was sorry you did not ask a little sooner; he would have been glad to let you have it. I got the money of Charley Mowyers’ (she consistently spelled the name with the “w,” but one wonders if it may have been Moyers) wife. She wants a mortgage on the place and it has got to be made out and sent to you to sign your name. So, she took the note you sent for one month with Mr. Seeber’s and Jim Gilmore’s name on it. (Not sure of Mr. Seeber’s identiy, but I think he was a neighbor who lived in Dexter, N. Y.; Jim Gilmore was the principal in the firm, Leonard & Gilmore, for whom Mr. Gladwyn worked in Dexter.) Jim Gilmore would let you have the money if he had it and took the note. He told me to tell you to bring Minnie back to Michigan soon as you can get back. He would like to have you come home. (Mr. Gladwyn was a splendid carpenter and Gilmore without a doubt missed him.) But I don’t want you to leave Minnie and I would not dare to have her come home this Winter unless she should be sick. (The mother probably meant that if Minnie became ill, she’d need to be cared for by her mother, whereas, someone would have to be hired to take care of her if she stayed in a place other than home.) If it is better for her in Michigan than here, I would like to have her stay until Spring anyway. (These letters all lead one to think that Michigan is on the route to Wichita, Kansas, don’t they? -- Why? There were relatives in Michigan, but they lived miles north of Detroit. Is this a result of limited knowledge of geography or were the railroad routes constructed so that all tracks lead from Michigan?)

Now, I must say to you again that we must keep up good courage, try and keep our health, and look out that we don’t lose our place. You know Charlie Moyers (not sure of the name) wants the place (a term used for house and lot) but I don’t mean that they shall get it -- not on that mortgage. (This resolve is a turn-about in attitude from previous letters -- was her knowledge of mortgages typical for women of that day?) I want you to think the same and do the best you can to pay it up and I will do all I can towards it.

Now my darling Minnie, Ma would like to see you and Pa, but we will have to keep up good spirits and wait until Spring, unless you get worse. If you do, you must come home. Perhaps if you keep well, you can go and see Uncle Abb’s folks and Aunt Mahala, but you must look out and save money enough out of this to get you home if you want to come. I don’t think I could get you any more if I should try.

I had a letter from Aunt Lottie (Lottie, Charlotte Gladwyn Prame, Mr. Gladwyn’s sister). Libbie (Lottie’s daughter, Libbie Prame) wrote a few lines to send to you. There is no snow here now but it rains and the wind blows. We can’t tell how soon we will have so much snow here that the cars (referral to the railroad cars) can’t run to carry our mail. Now, you had better come to Michigan soon as you get this. (don’t let this confuse you, the writer is definitely in Dexter, N. Y., at the time, not in Michigan.)

Now, they all tell me I had better send postal orders instead of registering a letter. They think it will be more safe so I will send postal orders and you can get the money on them. Also, I want you to write to me soon as you get the money, for I shall be worrying to know if you get it all right.

Now, take good care of yourselves. I shall be so glad when you get settled in some place. Then, I shall be contented and I hope you will get where you will be contented.

Lettie Gladwyn

Write soon and tell me first, how are you.

Minnie & Pa

At the bottom of the letter was a message which is apparently the end of a message written upside down on the top of the last page:

Note for a year with Jim Gilmore’s name on it. (He owned the firm, Leonard & Gilmore, where Mr. Gladwyn had most likely been working before he departed for Wichita.) I will have to wait until we know what they will do.

A second message was written at the top of the back page, upside down - looks like the end of the sentence was what appeared in my preceding paragraph.

I went to Meade Woods (very unclear) this morning to get the mortgage and he hadn’t gotten it made out. He said it was going to be a bother to you to send a mortgage there to be signed and he would see Charlie and see if they would take your note for a year with Jim Gilmore’s name on it. I will have to wait until we know what they will do. (a repeat of previous sentences).

Letter No. 21

And now for something more cheerful!! The letter which follows was written by Miss Libbie Prame, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Martin Prame of Lowville, N. Y. Mrs. Prame was the niece of William R. Gladwyn. The letter is dated December 5, 1886 and was written to her cousin, Minnie A. Gladwyn. Minnie was living in Wichita, Kansas for health reasons. Libbie was 13 years of age (born 25 June 1873). The Prame family lived near what was called “the high bridge” in Lowville.

Libbie’s father, J. Martin Prame, was a Civil War Veteran. He was wounded on 24 September 1864, at Chapin’s Farm, Va. His injuries included the loss of his lower jaw. His obit stated that he was “industrious, reliable, the faithful friend of his employers, the friend of all the children, many will miss the cheerful greeting that always came from him.”

The reader will enjoy the playfulness of this young lady.

Lowville, Dec 5th 1886

Dear Cousin Minnie,

I hope this letter will find you feeling still better than when you wrote to me. I was glad to hear from you. Papa got your letter day before yesterday and he thought he would have some fun with me so he was going to hand me the paper and he pulled out some sample copies of the “Youth’s Companion” (a magazine for young people) and that gave him away. He said, “Well, this must belong to me,” and he pulled out your letter and a letter from the firm and he tried to make me believe they all belonged to him. I knew better. I guess I can read my name and I knew your writing.

I have had a sore throat and when I get any snow on my clothes it makes it worse. I have been out of school three weeks now and my throat is better, but if I get out it will be as bad as ever. I suppose you don’t know anything about snow, but we do. There is about two feet on the ground now and so cold that when Papa comes home from the village his whiskers are white with frost. (Lowville, as was stated before, is a community in Lewis County, N. Y., which borders a well-know snowbelt called Tughill.)

Friday evening: I was interrupted the other day when I was writing and have been so busy I could not find time to write. Mama and I went to the village and I got my books. I am making a tidy (an ornamental piece of handiwork used to protect the arms, etc. of a sofa or chair) for Aunt Anna (probably Martin’s sister -- he had two sisters) for Christmas and helping Mama.

Mrs. Leonard does give me such awful lessons it takes all my time to practice. You were telling about your awful hold-downs last winter and now I have some where I hold down four fingers and play with one and some where I hold down three fingers and play with two. Ain’t that fun! And she gives me scales and five finger exercises without number. (Libbie was probably studying piano at the Lowville Academy and Conservatory. Mrs. Leonard was her teacher. This is the same school at which Minnie studied. However, it is believed Minnie studied there in 1890.)

Well, you must have had a splendid time Thanksgiving. We had a very quiet Thanksgiving. We had a baked chicken, but it was not old Dick. (could one speculate that Old Dick was the rooster?) There was no one to help eat the chicken but Michel and Addie. (Michel and Addie were relatives of Libbie’s mother and Mr. Gladwyn -- Michel and Addie Hamblin Thomas. Mr. Thomas was of French origin - see his letter (No. 35) later in this collection.) Clint (can’t identify) did not come up -- there was no attraction. (Was he a possible suitor for Minnie? Had they met before?) Well, the next thing you will be writing about will be Christmas. I don’t believe I will get anything. I am too bad a girl for Santa Claus to visit and I am too poor to give away anything. How will Christmas get here anyway?

Uncle Gilbert (brother of Martin - he had three brothers) is here and he sends his best respects to you and wants you to get well fast. Mama will write some. Tell Uncle William that he must not think this little fat girl has forgotten him and you must not get lonesome way up there. Tell Uncle William to write to me and if I don’t write too much to you, I will write to him. Papa will want me to write some for him now (do you suppose Martin was unable to write or was there another war injury that made it difficult for him to write?), I suppose, but I have no room -- so Mama will have to write it. Excuse all my mistakes. (very nicely written -- with the exception of failing to make her m’s properly -- they all looked like n’s). Good-bye for this time.

From your ever tormenting cousin,

Note: The compiler, who is Minnie’s granddaughter, regrets that there were no other letters between Minnie and Libbie. There are mysteriously no referrals to Libbie in later letters and dairies, with the exception of a statement in Letter No. 32 by Carrie Chapman Conklin. That reference might lead one to consider that Libbie became a changed person after her marriage to Fred Ball. The surviving family members who knew Libbie haven’t given me any clues. We hope she had a good life. Libbie died in Ithaca, N. Y. 31 October 1944, a little over a month after the death of her husband, who died 26 September 1944 at Toledo. The couple had three very nice daughters, one of whom provided descendants.

Letter No. 22

Now we get a chance to see where Libbie, who wrote Letter No. 21, may have acquired her personality -- her father or her mother? I think, both. They must have been a wonderful couple. The previous letter showed her father’s sense of humor, as well as her own. Now, we’ll get to see what her mother, Lottie Gladwyn Prame, was like. The letter is the first among several written by Mrs. Prame. It was dated December 10, 1886 and was written to her niece, Minnie Gladwyn, who was living temporarily in Wichita, Kansas. Lottie was universally (or so it seemed) referred to as Aunt Lottie and she was the sister of Mr. Gladwyn and the wife of J. Martin Prame of Lowville, Lewis County, N. Y. Her handwriting was very much like Minnie’s. The letter was well written and seemed to reveal much of her strong, lovable character. Through the years, this woman played a very important role in the lives of those who knew her. The twentieth century diaries written by Mr. Gladwyn show a very close relationship between Lottie and himself. See if you agree with me that Lottie’s family was probably a very happy and well-adjusted.

Lowville, Dec. 10th, 1886

Before the letter commenced, one notices the following message:

You did not send your address so I will direct this hoping you will get it.

My dear niece,

Libbie has her letter all written so if I want to slip my little unworthy note in one corner of her letter, I must be about it. I suppose she has written all the news, judging by the length of her letter. (An officious mother, she was not!). We are all quite well.

We have been having some extremely cold weather but it is warmer now. For about a week the thermometer was from 22 to 30 degrees below zero. To read your letter, it almost made us want to be in Kansas. I am so glad you are better and that the climate agrees with you so well, but aren’t you afraid if you get better up there and then come back here to live, that you will be as bad as ever in a little while? I almost think I would like to live up there myself. Of course, it is lonesome among strangers, but one soon gets acquainted and after two or three months, it will begin to seem like home.

Wages must be quite high there to be in proportion to everything else. How much does your Father get and what kind of a shop is he in? (How about that for directness? This is the first mention of Mr. Gladwyn’s having had employment in Kansas.)

Addie and Michel are getting along as usual. (Addie was Lottie’s cousin. She was the daughter of Luther and Jenett Witson Hamblin. Michel Thomas was her husband. He was from the Alsace-Lorraine region of France.) You can imagine her trotting around the house and him climbing Tug Hill (an area now classified as “protected lands” - situated between Hamblin’s Corners near Lowville and Rodman in Jefferson County) every day with Nell and Ben. (can we guess that these were probably horses?). (It is unknown what Michel did for a living, nor why he had to go out on Tug Hill.) Life is the same here as usual. I generally manage to keep busy from morning till night. Mary (unknown - perhaps a maid or one of Martin’s sisters) isn’t here but Gilbert is (her brother-in-law). Martin (writer’s husband) says he wouldn’t care if he was up there with you this winter, for he is tired of flouncing around in the snow. You must be careful of yourself and not let any of those Western cowboys, ranchmen, etc. (looked like &c) spirit you away for I hear that they have a great partiality for eastern girls! And now Minnie, write often and tell us all the news about the West. We like to hear it.

Tell your Father that I haven’t forgotten him because I haven’t written to him, too. I haven’t time to-night. Perhaps next time I will write to him, too, for I know he must be lonely up there among strangers. Give him my love. He is a good brother to me and a good Father to you. Write soon, too.

Aunt Lottie

Note: Aunt Lottie was born 27 Dec 1851; she was almost six years younger than her only sibling, William R. Gladwyn. As the years went by, she would spend much time with her brother and his family, always tending to be protective of him and aiding him when he faced adversity. She lived to be a day short of eighty years.

Letter No. 23

Mrs. Priscilla Gladwyn wrote the next letter and it was written to her husband and daughter who were still living in Wichita, Kansas. The letter was dated February 25, 1887. It appears that Lettie had gone to live with her sister and husband, Laurentine and Theodore Conklin. The Conklins lived on a farm on what is now called Evans Road in the Town of Hounsfield in Jefferson County, N. Y.

February 25, 1887

My Dear Ones,

It is Friday and I have not got your letter yet, but I think I will get it today. Bert (She spelled the name with an “i” - he is the son of Laurentine and Theodore Conklin and in a little over ten years would become the writer’s son-in-law.) came down after me Sunday. I didn’t intend to come up until the last of the week, so I went to Mr. Blume’s (possibly incorrect - could have been a postmaster) and told him if there was any mail for me, to send it to Brownville. Bert and I are going to Brownville this afternoon and I hope to get a letter from you. A week seems a long time to wait for a letter and I know it seems long to you, too.

I feel very anxious to hear if you have changed boarding places yet and if you have, how you like your new place? I hope you don’t have to change, but there is no use for us to worry when we are praying, hoping and trusting in our Lord and Master.

We were going up to Delia’s (cannot identify - there was a Delia Wallace, daughter of William Wallace, but she was only 15 yrs. old - and not married to Philip Favry until 1889) yesterday, but the wind blew so hard we couldn’t go. It is pleasant today -- no snow, except a little around the fences -- some ice in the road. Uncle Theodore and Aunt Laurie have gone to Andrew’s (Andrew was Theodore Conklin’s brother and they lived about a mile southwest of the Conklin’s near the Muscalonge Cemetery.) to help them butcher today. The folks in Dexter are all quite well except Girtie Anderson (cannot identify). She is quite sick.

(The ink used on the second part of the letter was much darker than that used on the first part.)

Well Minnie, I came to the village. Didn’t get a letter from you, but may when the mails come in tonight. I am at Celia’s. (This is definitely Celia, not Delia as stated in the first part of the letter. Celia was probably the writer’s niece, Acelia Rounds, b. October 1864 - she was married to Charles Crosby, b. 1856 - no idea where they lived - Celia Crosby was the daughter of Alson and Harriet Wallace Rounds - Harriet, being another sister of Priscilla and Laurentine Wallace.) They are well, except the baby has a bad cold. (The baby may have been Clarence Crosby, b. December 1886.)

I would like to hear from you and know how you are getting along. How is Pa’s face and teeth? I will be so glad when you can come home and be with Ma. Then, I can take care of you both. When you are sick, do the folks where you board do anything for you or do they let you take care of yourself? There is no news to write. You must take good care of yourselves and keep up good courage. Those pieces you sent were nice. (Pieces must refer to samples of a fabric which Minnie was using to make a dress. One wonders if she would sew it by hand or would there have been a sewing machine available to her. Do you think that Lettie’s acknowledgment of these pieces was little more than a brush-off? Probably Lettie was wishing the precious money she had just sent them was not being spent in this manner.)

I will write again as soon as I hear from you. If they don’t send your letter to me, I shall go home and get it. I am well and you mustn’t let anything worry you, but do the best you can and take all the comfort you can.

Your dear Mother,
Lettie Gladwyn

Letter No. 24

Here’s another letter which had a lot of torn out (or chewed off) areas, but it is interesting, so I will attempt to transcribe it. It was written by Priscilla Gladwyn on April 19, 1887, to her daughter Minnie. Minnie was living with her father in Wichita, Kansas. At the age of 19, Minnie continued to be troubled by a lung ailment and was living in Wichita for that reason. The writer, Minnie’s mother, remained in Dexter, N. Y. at her Grove Street home. One biographical sketch written by Mr. Gladwyn indicates that Priscilla spent some time with her sister, Laurentine Conklin, who lived in the Town of Hounsfield in Jefferson County. The same biographical sketch states that Minnie and her father stayed in Kansas nine (9) months, having left Dexter in the Fall of 1886. It is thought that they may have gone to Kansas on the referral of a pastor, Rev. Severance.

Tuesday April 19, 1887

My Darling Minnie,

I got your letter today. Was so glad to hear from you again. Wish I could hear from you every day. Ma (herself) is sorry for you to think you have got to suffer so much with your lungs. How glad I would be if I were with you. I could take care of you. I would like to have you stay in Michigan (There were several aunts and uncles living there.), but we will have to wait and see how you get along. If -- (torn out) -- well enough you must stop there two or three weeks at least. I would like to have Pa Pa stay with you. I know you feel anxious to get home and I shall be so glad to see you. It seems (torn out) hardly wait but I know it would not answer for you to come now.

It is pleasant here but damp and cold. About your having your hair cut off, I should have it cut by all means. I told Pa Pa when you went away that he must not let you comb your own hair and I am sorry you have had it to do when it hurts your lungs and tires you so. I think you had better have it cut. Pa can cut it for you. If you do, you must be careful not to take cold.

Note: On the subject of Minnie’s health, it should be of interest to the reader to know that Minnie lived to be almost 87 years of age. She remained frail throughout her life, though.

The reader might also find it remarkable to know that Minnie never once had her hair cut. Her hair was a source of great pride to her. During the day her hair was wound in a braid and the braid was then formed into a bun. At night, she could be observed undoing the bun and braid and combing it out. The hair cascaded down her back and the effects of the bun gave it gentle waves. This will be hard to believe, but Minnie may never have had her hair washed after she began having lung problems. It was believed she could catch cold if she washed her hair. She combed it almost daily with a fine-toothed comb. It always looked clean and neat, never greasy.

Mrs. Seeber (probably a neighbor in Dexter, N. Y.) was here yesterday afternoon. Her mother ....(torn out).....Mrs. Shimil (cannot identify - possibly spelled wrong) has been slipping plants for you this morning. She has them all set in a box ready for you when you get home.

Do you think Delly (perhaps Adelbert Adams, a cousin near in age who lived in Michigan - see the 1867 letters) or Ella Sprague (cannot identify but I believe she was from the Sally Sixberry line and Minnie’s cousin) will come home with you. It is most time to clean house. I want to get mine cleaned (chewed off -- may have said “before...”) you come home, then I shall have nothing to do only to visit with you and take care of you. I wish Dellie would come home with you and Ella, too. I don’t know but we shall all have to go to Michigan to live if it is better for you there than here. You and Pa Pa will know about that. I am glad to see the time pass away so that you may be home with me and I don’t think I will let you go so far from me again.

There is no news to write. I haven’t seen (torn off) folks since I came home (torn off)... Aunt Laurie and Bert (Laurentine Conklin and her son, Herbert) (incomplete)

Write soon. Tell me how you are. I hope you will be better when I hear from you again.

Your dear mother,
Lettie Gladwyn

Letter No. 25

A change of content and a change of families follows in this next letter from a lady who always refers to herself as L. J. Sipes. The letter is dated January 24, 1888, and was written at Ravenna, Muskegon County, Michigan, to Herbert and Laurentine Conklin of Brownville, N. Y. Mrs. Sipes was Lavinia (or Lavina) Conklin, born on Pillar Point in 1835, the daughter of Peter and Lucy Joiner Conklin. Peter Conklin took his family to Michigan in 1851. Lucy died within a year or so, Peter and the children returned to Pillar Point only to return to Michigan within a year or two. This letter from Lavinia, who married a John Sipes, suggests that perhaps the Sipes had made a visit to northern New York sometime prior to 1888.

Ravenna, Jan. 24, 1888

Dear Cousins Theodore & Laura,

As I have just been writing to Andrew’s folks, I will write to you (Andrew was Theodore’s brother who lived southwest of Theodore on what is now Evans Road in the Town of Hounsfield, Jefferson County, N. Y.). I have been intending to write ever since we got home, but keep putting it off because I have something to do. I will not any longer. We got home all right the next day after we left (Monday) and found everything all right.

We are having very severe weather for Michigan. The snow is about two feet deep. It is about all I want to do to keep three fires going. We have five stoves, but I can’t afford the time to tend to all of them unless I have company.

Mary has just come home from school. She says there are several of the scholars that have the measles so I expect she has been exposed to them. Just think, I never have had them. If I had, I would not have kept her away from them as long as I have.

We got home all right. Had a splendid time and have been busy ever since. You know we had to clean house after I got home. Oscar’s folks (writer’s brother) have another girl and he feels quite proud. They have not named her yet. She is five weeks old. (Notice the scripted version of the letter uses the word “it” in reference to this unnamed baby. The girl was Grace, who married a Negus.)

Oscar and Will (brothers) have bought 500 acres of land. Lately, there is some talk of a railroad here. We hope it will not be all talk. Oscar and Will offer pretty well. They will pay as much as all of the town. (? meaning ?). They want $20,000 in this town and the boys will pay half that or $10,000 -- if they can raise that much. I think we will get a railroad.

The friends here are well, I believe. Ethel (cannot identify) has been sick, but is well now.

I think a great deal more about you all than I did before we were down there. I wish I could see you all up here. Theodore, why don’t you take a trip West -- not work on those side hills so long? It will make your feet crooked climbing those hills ha ha . (She is referring to the Conklin farm. Although not all hills, those located on it certainly were significantly higher than those seen in her part of Michigan.)

I will have to close for want of something of interest to write. Please write soon and I will try to do better next time. Give our love to all. I suppose the boys go to school. (she must be referring to Theodore’s nephews, the sons of Frank Conklin -- Roy and Glen). Tell them Ethel plays Dominoes (cannot identify Ethel -- surprised to hear about the game being played in 1888) to beat everything.

From your cousin
L. J. Sipes
Ravenna, Muskegon Co., Mich.

Letter No. 26

The 26th letter was written August 11, 1890 by William R. Gladwyn of Dexter, N. Y. to his daughter, Minnie, who was visiting her Aunt Lottie, Mr. Gladwyn’s sister at Lowville, N. Y. Aunt Lottie was Mrs. J. Martin Prame. Minnie, soon to be 23 years of age, continued to suffer from her lung ailment. This letter was from a very concerned father; however, one can’t help but think that Minnie’s mother had much input into what Mr. Gladwyn wrote.

(At the very top of the letter, written sidewise, is the ending of the letter. That will appear at the end of this edited text.)

Dexter, Aug. 11th, 1890

Dear Minnie,

We received your letter Saturday and were glad to hear from you. A few days seems a long while to wait when we are so anxious to know just how you are getting along. We hope the climate and everything is proving a benefit to you and that you are enjoying your visit. (He seems to be admonishing her for a delay in writing to them. As regards the climte, did they expect the Lowville weather to be that much different from Dexter’s?)

We are as well as usual. Your mother got home from the Point (meaning Pillar Point where she was probably visiting her realtives - really not over 5 miles from where they lived). I guess she had a good time and came home feeling quite well. (sounds like they weren’t very communicative)

There is no news to write except Jed (can’t identify) hurt his hand in the shop (Leonard & Gilmore) a few days ago. It will lay him up a short time. It leaves a good deal of hard work for me to do there to be shorthanded as it is quite a driving time.

Our Sunday School has a picnic in Mrs. Brilus (difficult to decipher and probably incorrect) woods on Thursday of this week. The Presbyterians have theirs on Wednesday at the same place.

In regard to your staying at Lowvlle until the first of September, you will know best by this time. It is to your health and enjoyment that must be looked to first, last, and most of all. Do not stay unless it is for the best. If you think it is, stay. We hope by this time you have been able to go to Mrs. Lampher’s (not sure of the identity of Mrs. Lampher - perhaps a music teacher at the Academy) and around some. But, you must not walk any distance. We have had some showers here. We fear it has been raining and bad there -- look out for changes of weather and dress so as to not feel these sudden changes.

(along the top)

Do not sew any, it will hurt you. It has always hurt you to sit and knit and sew. You had better be a stirring around and then lay down and rest. Don’t sew any. Your mother said if you do stay, you must be very careful. (Do you get the impression that this last paragraph was being dictated by Mother?)

From your

Letter No. 27

The letter below is a genealogy letter written to William R. Gladwyn, Dexter, N. Y. on February 15, 1895 by Mr. L. W. Densmore of Hillsboro Center, N. H. Accompanying the letter was a Report of the Eighth Annual Reunion, of which Mr. Densmore was Secretary. The year of the report was 1891 and the Reunion was held at Concord, Mass. As one reads the letter one gets the impression that Mr. Densmore is attempting to update the Hartwell History. Mr. Densmore is seeking more information about the family of Mr. Gladwyn’s mother, whose maiden name was Hartwell. Mr. Densmore may never have received an answer from Mr. Gladwyn, or if he did, Mr. Densmore was unable to include the addenda in the 20th century versions of the Hartwell histories. One source points out that Mr. Densmore passed away before the turn of the century. Mr. Densmore appears to be a forthright genealogist whose papers have undoubtedly been placed in a library in or around the Boston, MA area. The man’s handwriting, although an impressive script, was very difficult to read and there are several blanks in my transcription.

Hillsboro Centre, N. H.
15 Feb/95 W. Gladwyn
Dexter N. Y.

Dear Sir,

I am glad to receive yours of 12th as it gives me a basis to work on. You pass the principal object of my inquiry. The record of your mother’s family. To go from there back and inform me of what I already know, names of her brothers and sisters. You do not give your own date of birth, family record, brothers and sisters, if any, names of your father’s parents with maiden name of his mother, where he settled at marriage, occupation, removals, places and years, all of which is fully indicated in the first five queries on the printed schedule I sent you, and applies equally to all his children and grandchildren if any.

I have heard that Abram Hambline (did he mean to write “Abraham Hamblin” - note also that no research has been done to determine if the gentleman to whom Mr. Densmore is referring was the same man who wrote Letter No. 1) married in New Bern, N. C., taught school in Barnegat, N. J. If I could get name of his college and consult catalogue, I would get residence, year of graduation, probably history in brief since. Knowing his movement would afford means to get his regiment would afford means to get his mil.(military) record. Can you give month and day as to births and deaths of your mother and any or all her brothers and sisters. Mrs. Doane (wonder if Mrs. Doane was from the Antwerp or Lowville area of New York State) only gave years as you did--not at all the thing. (scolding sort of fellow, wasn’t he!) Though as I say on page 10 of my report for 1891, New York is the (not clear - undoubtedly an unbecoming term) state to hunt records in that I know. Also day of your father’s death.

I will correct your history of Charlotte Hartwell by saying that Major Abraham H bought of his father-in-law the day before Christmas when she was 19 months old the Orville Dakire (?) farm in Northeast, N. Y. Spent the rest of his life on it, was buried on it, his grave stone moved to the Campbell (?) burying ground at Spencer’s Corners. Tracing the Hambline family to Cooperstown gives me the solution of Phebe Hartwell’s marriage to Dydinus (?) Kinney of the Chenango valley. Also, I think gives a clue by which to trace Abraham Hartwell. I now feel sure that Abraham H who married at Richfield Springs (born at Monticello) (Richfield Springs is in Herkimer County, N. Y.) about 1815, had a hotel at Savannah, Ga., was his son. (the existence of this partnership has not been researched, or has it been established that the two ever lived in Savannah, Ga.) When the matter is disposed of I shall feel that I have found all the families descended from Maj. Abraham Hartwell.

NOTE: On the back of the so-called query sheet was the following note:

The first five queries on opposite side of this paper apply in part at least to every adult of the connexion. The extreme illness of my aged mother so delayed my work last season that you will be soon enough with record if reasonably prompt. Send record as complete as you can, make it very soon. Then I can advise what points need further explanation. What can you tell of names and addresses. Also of Louisa Wright (unidentified) and Abram Hambline (probably meant to write Abraham Hamblin) and address in Kansas (?) son of your cousin Henry? (unidentified) What year did your grandfather go to Antwerp, who was he with at death and where did your grandmother spend her last years? (See a biographical sketch at the end of this letter. It was prepared by William Gladwyn and will provide more information about this family.)


NOTE: In that the query sheet may be of interest to genealogists, the contents follow:

“To put your family record in best possible shape for use in Hartwell Genealogy, please answer as closely as you can on all points indicated below that touch your case and that of your family, except those struck out, by permission of 3rd Asst. P. M. General, who allows circulars so marked to pass in the mails third class (D. 563, Vol. 48, Nov. 6, 1893.)

“First--Full names of all members of family, husband, wife, children, including all births, regardless of age at deaths (important as vital statistics as a basis of comparison with other families as to relative stamina and hardihood), places and exact dates of birth, marriage and death. 2--Names of parents of husband or wife, including maiden name of mother. 3--Settled where at marriage. 4--Occupation. 5--Changes of occupation or residence, in what years. 6--If any children married, all the above details applicable to them. 7--Names of brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents, on line of Hartwell descent. 8--College and academic education, where, what years. 9--Professional employment, preparation, when, where; practice, when, where. 10--Military or naval service, exact dates of muster in and discharge, company, regiment, ship, campaigns, principal battles. 11--Positions of honor or trust held, years. 12--Notable incidents and pecularities as to yourself or anyone named. News clippings and obituaries will be useful. 13--If families of your ancestors not of the Hartwell line have been in America over 200 years, give line of direct descent, as nearly as you can, naming wives where known.

“Names of first importance, last known residence next, with all dates accessible. Corresppond at once with those able to supply want of know- ledge on your part, and take pride in making your share of the record com- plete down to 1894, when the work goes to press.”


Hillsboro Centre, N. H.
(crossed out was Hartwellville, Mich.)

The following was found in the Conklin Family Scrapbook (Brownville-Dexter, Town of Hounsfield family) and was written by Mr. Gladwyn sometime after 1903. As a researcher I believe there are errors in this biographical sketch; however, it does serve as an informative “family tradition” item.

"Thomas, Isaac and Cornelius Hamblin came to America from Scotland -- Thomas Hamblin had a son by the name of Thomas -- he had a son by the name of James and this James had a son by the name of Thomas, and he had a son by the name of Amasa, and he had a son by the name of David, and he had a son by the name of James Hamblin (this was our grandfather). He was born in the state of Massachusetts, May 7th, 1763 and was a soldier of the Revolutionary War. He married Miss Charlotte Hartwell, daughter of Major Abraham Hartwell. She was born May 8th, 1766 -- probably in the town of Northeast - Dutchess County, N. Y. where she married grandfather.

They came to Antwerp, Jefferson County, N. Y. to live about the year 1790, through a dense wilderness - their only conveyance being an ox-team. James Hamblin died on his farm near Antwerp in the year 1847 -- his wife died at Lowville, N. Y. in 1860 -- spending her last days with her youngest daughter, Charlotte Gladwyn (our mother). They had eleven children as follows:

Polly born 1786
Harmon born 1787
Roxena born 1790
James born 1792
Abraham H. born 1794
Hiram born 1797 Niles born 1799 - died 1896
Lewis born 1801
Martin born 1806 d. 8/5/1852
Luther born 6/1808 died 3/17/1876
Charlotte born 6/6/1816 died 2/23/1883*

NOTE by the transcriber: The date of death of James, who married Charlotte Hartwell, differs with what I found in a book prepared by the DAR on pensioners. It shows 5/8/1846. If anyone is interested, contact National Archives for the records. Re: Luther's date of birth, I believe his tombstone at Lowville read 1809.

As to Charlotte Hartwell Hamblin, Mr. Gladwyn wrote:

"She lived in Cherry Valley, N. Y. at the time of the Massacre in that place in 1778, after which they moved to the town of Northeast in Dutchess County, N. Y. where she married Grandfather."

Letter No. 28

This letter was written on January 17, 1897 by a man named Bert Sprague of Cohoctah, Michigan. It was written to a nephew, William R. Gladwyn, of Dexter, N. Y. Although the identity has not been confirmed, it is believed that Mr. Sprague was the grandson of Hiram and Sally (Sarah) Wallace Sixbury. Sally was the oldest of the Wallace family of Pillar Point, Jefferson County, N. Y. Mr. Gladwyn was the husband of Priscilla Wallace, Sally’s sister. Perhaps Mr. Sprague was the son-in-law of the Sixbury’s. Research shows that Hiram and Sally were buried at Howell, Michigan, as were the Spragues, Bert and Cora. The writer referred to visits the Conklins made to Michigan during the summer of 1896. It is quite possible that Mr. Gladwyn went with them. He undoubtedly accompanied his daughter, Minnie. Minnie’s 1897-1903 diary referred to a visit to Cohoctah in the summer of 1896. Not much data exists of the Spragues and Sixbury’s so it is difficult to determine Mr. Sprague’s age; however, he indeed dwelled upon death and the passings of his friends and relatives.

Cohoctah, Jan. 17, 1897
Uncle Wm. Gladwyn

Dear Sir:

I have been impressed for some time that I ought to write to you, but the cares of life would almost make us forget our friends that were not living close by. Perhaps you think we had quite forgotten you, but be assured we have not.

We are all as well as usual, except Ella (must be a daughter or maybe the writer’s wife -- have no data on her). She has been very poorly all the Fall and about three weeks ago she was taken worse. She doesn’t sit up but a very little. She says tell Minnie (Mr. Gladwyn’s daughter) she received the Christmas greeting she sent her. It did her so much good to read the verses.

We have had but very little snow this winter so far -- a green Christmas and a great deal of sickness in our neighborhood. Have had three or four very heavy rains within a few weeks.

Ella (could Ella and Cora be the same person? the writer’s wife) received a letter from Carrie (the wife of William Conklin, the brother of Theodore about whom he is about to comment) awhile ago saying that Uncle Theodore (Theodore Conklin, husband of Laurentine Wallace) was sick -- thought he had cancer. (Yes, he had cancer of the stomach and died two months to the day this letter was written.) She hasn’t been able to answer the letter and we haven’t heard from him since. We would like to hear how he is getting along. How true it is that in life we are in the midst of death. The gentleman, Mr. Haigler, who brought Uncle Theodore from the station to our place last summer, died with cancer of the liver about two weeks ago and a child in our little berg was taken to Ann Arbor last night to be treated. The doctors say he has quick consumption. How necessary it is that we be prepared to meet God in peace.

Grandma Sixbury’s health is very good this winter for her. (Grandma Sixbury, probably Sally (Sarah) Wallace Sixbury lived more than 7 years from this day - passing away on her 83rd birthday) Pa and Ma (not sure whom he means - perhaps his own parents), have grown old very fast since you were up here.

Now it is getting about chore time. (Was he a farmer ?) I will close hoping to hear from you all soon, I remain your nephew and friend.

Bert Sprague

Letter No. 29

The last two 19th century letters in this collection are written by Herbert D. Conklin to his future wife, Minnie A. Gladwyn. Herbert was the son of Theodore and Laurentine Wallace Conklin and Minnie was the daughter of William R. and Priscilla Wallace Gladwyn. Yes, they were cousins and the following letter, dated March 29, 1897 contained a subtle reference to an objection, probably for this reason. There may have been an objection to the marriage because Herbert was a farmer and Minnie, a frail person, may not have been, in their opinion, physically capable of serving as a farmwife. As one reads the following letter, look for Herbert’s expression of sadness for the loss of his mother who died over three years ago. Yet, his father’s passing of only two weeks earlier is not mentioned as a loss to him.

Hounsfield, N. Y.
March 29, 1897

My Dearest Friend --

I will endeavor to write this evening to you though I know not whether I will bring it to a close or not. My eyes are dim and my heart is full. I was looking for some paper and I came across some postals I received when you were at Cases Lake in Michigan. I thought of the friendship and love we had for each other at that time down to the present with a steady increase of love and last evening we were as far apart as we ever were, seemingly so. Knowing not the further (probably meant to say future) that is before us, do you wonder I feel bad for God only knows. We have trusted in God’s Providence that all things will work together for good and probably (they) will. I was thinking back the last 3 years of my life - the sad and lonesome hours I spent (after) the taking away of Mother. Yet there was a joy before me for we have (had) some splendid times together since and perhaps we may again. Oh! Minnie how I wish your folks knew the love we had for each other. I don’t think they would look at it as they now do; but if our days be few or many together, may they be happy while we are together. I know that I enjoyed myself splendidly with you last evening; only sorry that we could not have visited longer and talked over the past and looked into the future if possible. It was quarter past eleven o’clock when I got home.

Oh! Darling are we to be separated or are we to enjoy the future that lies before us together or not. It is wholey between you and your parents, for their only girl in the world for me. (compiler believes he may have meant to say that their only girl was for him). Perhaps you will think I am expressing my thoughts quite freely but I think I have a right to know if ever.

You asked me to write how I was. I will do so now. I am feeling quite well with the exception of a little sore throat. Went to Brownville this morning to the mill. I saw Dr. Massey and had quite a long talk with him. He said from the analysis given of Father, it was a fibrous tumor ranging from an inch and quarter to an inch and a half. (It was the) whole length of the stomach and the fiber extending entirely through it showing one of the worse forms he ever saw. (Herbert was speaking of his father’s cancer. His father passed away 17 March 1897.)

Now in regards to going to Quarterly Meeting (probably a church meeting), I will come down in the morning, if nothing happens and the weather is suitable. I will now close with Good Night.

I remain as ever loving friend

P.S. I will expect to hear from you this week.

Letter No. 30

This, the final letter 19th century letter in the collection, is another letter by Herbert Conklin to his soon-to-be wife, Minnie Gladwyn. It was written on May 19th of 1897. The couple was married on June 2, 1897 at Dexter, N. Y.

Hounsfield, N. Y.
May 19th, 1897

My Darling Minnie:

I will enclose a few lines and send by Carrie. (Carrie was the wife of Herbert’s brother, William W. Conklin. Carrie was Carrie Chapman. The couple lived in half of the double farmhouse owned by Herbert and William.)

Will it be convenient for you to come up and stay a few days. I will make apologies for not asking you last night but thought you would not come last night. If you have any work or sewing, bring it with you. If you do not come tonight, could you not come Sunday night?

Oh! Minnie, I will be glad when we can be together. I will close for this time hoping to see you soon. Bye-bye.

Your loving friend,
H. D. C.

Letter No. 31

The first of the 20th century letters was written August 6, 1908 at Star Lake, N. Y. It was from Minnie Gladwyn Conklin to her husband, Herbert D. Conklin. Minnie, as evidenced by previous letters from earlier years, continued to suffer from lung ailments and was spending some time in the Adirondack community of Star Lake, N. Y., where the climate was considered healthier for those with breathing problems. She was apparently boarding in a private home, that of a Mr. and Mrs. Eager

Herbert and Minnie had adopted a son, William Bell, back in May of 1905 and it is interesting to note that this letter does not inquire about her son’s welfare. He was undoubtedly staying most of the time with Minnie’s father and second wife, William R. and Anna Getman Walts Gladwyn.

Thursday evening

Dear Bert,

It has cleared away lovely and I am feeling good. Was awake some last night but didn’t cough any. Mr. Eager came home yesterday. He is a small man. Kind of a gentleman fisherman and quite smart. He is going to take Mrs. Eager and I (me -- grammatical errors were seldom found in Minnie’s writing, although her earlier writings contain more than those written in much later writings) around the Lake tonight after supper. The hired girl is here. The board is fine.

Mrs. Eager is going to Benson Mines this morning and has just asked me to go and of course I am going. Am getting used to wearing my shoes but I think I will have to have a pair of rubbers.

Haven’t had any fish yet. I wrote to Carrie about your all coming a week from Sunday. How is that? Now, if you want to hear from me, write. If you were here, everything would be complete, but I think a lot about you. Don’t work hard and be sure and have your meals.

I can breathe good this morning. Tell Eva (Eva was Eva Wallace Hall, a niece) I will send her a card soon.

With love and kisses (she wrote this with
x’s - that tradition is older than we think)


Star Lake, N. Y.
c/o Mrs. Eager

Letter No. 32

This letter was written by Mrs. William W. (Carrie Chapman) Conklin, Brownville, N. Y. to her sister-in-law, Mrs. Minnie A. Conklin. The letter was postmarked “Brownville, N. Y. Aug 27 8:00 A.M.1908.” The envelope was addressed to Mrs. Bert Conklin, Star Lake, N. Y. c/o Mrs. Eager. It was mailed for 2 cents.

Carrie, William, and daughter, Rosamond were apparently living on or near the Liddy Farm, which was located at the far eastern end of the Town of Hounsfield in Jefferson County, N. Y. Minnie Conklin was still living at Star Lake, N. Y. for health reasons (lung ailment). This was one of the more interesting and delightful letters found in the collection, one which probably reveals much of Carrie’s personality. It should be noted that an autograph album owned by Carrie Conklin has been reproduced by this compiler.

Tuesday 9:30 P.M.

Dear Minnie:

I hardly know what I am about tonight. I am so tired, so you will excuse me from writing with a pen, as long as I write, won’t you? I received your lovely long letter tonight and I can’t tell you how I did enjoy it....some way it sort of rested me. Yes, Lou (her sister, Lou Reeves) was very sick. We thought for a day or so it was all up with her. Now she is better, is up and dressed, still the pain sticks by. It was in front of the shoulder joint in that little hollow and would streak across her chest. She is so very nervous that the nerve muscles of the throat contracted and that was what caused the trouble. She could hardly get her breath. The Dr. injected medicine in her arm four times before there was any change. She said she thought she was going to die and thought she was prepared to go but that she wasn’t ready to go yet. I told her I guessed that was the way with a great many of us.

Father is very poorly they say. How I wish I could go out there, but I can’t just now. (Carrie’s parents, the Chapmans, lived in some other part of Jefferson County - perhaps Clayton or Theresa.) To have been on a gad so much and spent so much I feel that I must stay at home now for awhile. (a family member recently told this compiler that Carrie belonged to the Eastern Star and it was hinted that the money spent for this was a matter of contention) Still, if I do not get better news from home, I shall have to go.

Rosamond (Carrie’s daughter) misses Baby June (a pet ?) so very much that we have been trying to get Smut (another pet? left behind on the Conklin farm where the family once lived) but it does seem as though there is no time to do only the necessary things. William (the adopted son of Herbert and Minnie Conklin) and Bert (uncle, the husband of Minnie) were here Sunday and William said Baby June was lost at Grandpas. (William was 5 years old at this time - Grandpas was probably Wm. Gladwyn, who lived in Brownville village). He said they couldn’t find him. So Rosamond has had something new to cry about. She said, between sobs, “I shouldn’t ought to let William take him anyway. What will my Aunt Minnie say?” Nearo (probably Nero, a dog, maybe a puppy belonging to Pearly mentioned in next sentence) came near getting drowned today in the swill pail but his good old mother saved his life. We got there just as he was landed on dry land. Tell me Pearly isn’t a cunning dog!

By the way, my dear sister, your (?) waist is laundered and looks fine, but don’t give me the praise. Give it in the cloth. I never in my life ironed anything that I dreaded as I did that. Yet, I never did any up that ironed so easily, and it look dandy. My bedspread is finished and ironed; also my quilt is ready. Minnie, you will be surprised when you see it. It is very pretty and they did a fine job quilting it, but I had to pay them $3. I expect Bertha (not sure, but this may have been Bertha Adderly, a relative of Carrie’s) tomorrow. She has been to Lou’s (Carrie’s sister) two weeks, helping her. Her school begins Monday, so I expect she will return home Saturday.

Nina (second cousin of Carrie’s husband - Nina was the daughter of Earl and Eva Wallace Conklin) has gone to stay with Ruth (cannot identify) for a few days. I kept at her until I got her to draw a girl’s head in ink and make a sofa pillow for the Fair. I only hope she will take first on it.

I suppose you were very much disappointed about Lowville. (looks like she meant, circumstances with relatives at Lowville - where Minnie’s Aunt and Uncle lived). Jenny, was it not? (I believe a favorite cousin by marriage into the Hamblin family, remarried to a Jenny. His name was Michael Thomas and he was formerly married to Addie Hamblin. Michael was a Frenchman, with a magnetic personality. One of his letters has been found and reproduced.) I can’t help but think that Aunt Lottie (Aunt Lottie was Lottie Gladwyn Prame, Minnie’s aunt, not related to Carrie at all) was looking for you for all Libbie(Minnie’s cousin, daughter of Lottie) wrote so unconcerned. I think she has inherited some of Fred’s (inherited was probably the wrong word, because Libbie married a Fred Ball, maybe “learned”or “acquired” would have been a better word - not sure, but I believe Mr. Ball owned or worked in a jewelry store in Watertown) smooth ways. (No comment! Compiler has never been able to find out the mysteries surrounding this couple.) I saw him (Fred) the day I got your skirt in the City. (I believe Fred was a jeweler.) The next time you fool me as you did today, I won’t do a thing for you. I thought I had, oh! such a fat letter and only found it to be part cotton cloth. I suppose Eva (husband’s cousin) will think it very strange that I haven’t been over there, but I will make up by and by.

I wonder if you will be surprised when I tell you we have about given up our trip west, but we are astride the fence and don’t know which way to go. I have thought about it a great deal lately. Father and Mother are not well and I would feel dreadful to have anything happen to them and me so far away. It would almost kill me. Sometimes, I think we had better let well enough alone, and then again, oh! how I would love to see the boys in their own little cozy homes. (She may have been referring to several cousins of her husbands or possibly she, herself, had cousins who moved west, one relative in particular, lived in Washington state.)

I have looked for my boy (probably an endearing term for William, Minnie’s adopted son) but alas, he didn’t come. Maybe he will come tomorrow. Hope so and bring Smut. Bert said he would keep him a day or two and then bring him (the pet, Smut) over. Susie and family (perhaps Susie Seeber Chapman, Carrie’s sister-in-law) came up and stayed while I went to Lou’s. I didn’t know what to do. Mr. Dodge it (cannot identify, perhaps she was being funny with “Mr. Dodge-it” - whole sentence doesn’t make sense) was he at work??? I asked her to come up. She didn’t go home until last night and then left the children as she wanted to go to the city (Watertown) today. I sent them home tonight. Couldn’t stand it any longer. I think I have an extra few gray hairs in my head since yesterday.

We had quite an exciting time here yesterday. A woman came along and put her arms around Mr. Liddy’s hired man’s neck and kissed him. He was right in front of our house fixing fence. I thought it probably was his wife, but today I found out it was Mr. Innis’ (not real clear) hired man’s wife. Ha! Ha! I laughed until I cried when Ella told me this morning that their hired man’s wife was up to see him (she must mean to see Liddy’s hired man) yesterday. Mr. Liddy says what a shame that he or Will wasn’t fixing that fence.

Poor little R (Rosamond) said today, “I wish I knew the way. I would go over to see William and get some of Aunt Minnie’s pansies.” I would just for the fun of it like to have someone tell which of the six will be the most pleased when you get home. I hope you won’t have to go back. Still, I suppose it would be for the best,where if it were me, I should die sooner, a great many months.

I suppose Mr. Rhody (I think this was Herbert & Minnie Conklin’s hired man) has a more easy time now that he isn’t hauled over rocks and blackberry bushes to entertain me. (This seems to be a reference to the era when Carrie and Will were in partnership at the Conklin farm.) However, just tell him I had a fine time and would come again if I could. How I would like to hear him laugh. Tell him I am glad I left something behind so he would have to think of me for a few days at least, but I suppose if I were the only girl that took his heart away with her, he would not mind.

I wish I could have some fresh fish, but I am like you, I would prefer to have their heads cut off and their tails cut short if they were to be on my plate. How are Rhody, the pet, and Bell, the cat? Go along in the same track (unclear), do they? Well, Minnie, if you get this read without a headache, you will be fit to come home alive. I think I must say good-night to Minnie from us all, Mrs. Liddy included. (no signature)

Letter No. 33

Letter No. 33 was actually a postal card, dated August 27, 1908, from Mr. Wm. R. Gladwyn to his daughter, Minnie Conklin. Minnie was still in Star Lake, N. Y. where she had gone to nurse a lung ailment. It appeared as though Minnie is about to return to her home on the Conklin farm in the Town of Hounsfield in Jefferson County, N. Y.

Thursday evening

Dear Minnie,

Have not seen Bert since yesterday morning -- William (Herbert and Minnie’s adopted son, now a little over 5 years old) is with him this week -- He went home with Bert Saturday evening -- We expect you home Saturday afternoon -- I am working in the shop (probably a woodworking shop known as Leonard & Gilmour in Dexter, N. Y.) now but am home today on account of “no power.” It is very dry here -- I think Bert is digging his potatoes. Don’t try to lug too much stuff home.

Your father

Letter No. 34

An excursion on the St. Lawrence (through the lovely 1,000 Island region), an obviously healthier Minnie, and a Minnie who apparently had gotten away from being a farmwife for a little while -- that’s what the next letter appeared to reveal. There was no envelope with the letter, nor was there a date on the letter, but from a picture in Minnie’s photograph album, I suspect the letter was written in 1921. The salutation was “Dear husband.” but again, there was no mention of her son, William. One wonders if the trip may have been an excursion for a church-related group. There was mention of a boat called the “New York” having gone upon a shoal, but Minnie doesn’t say if she was on the slightly damaged boat.

Tuesday afternoon

Dear husband,

Yesterday proved to be rainy so I didn’t go out anywhere -- helped Libbie (her cousin, daughter of Lottie Gladwyn and Martin Prame) a little with some sewing. (looks like these women always carried a sewing project with them when away from the home). Today has been fine. We left Alexandria Bay about 9 o’clock this morning for Kingston and are now between Clayton and Alexandria Bay on our way home. It is about half past ive. I am waiting on the boat so I can mail it when I get to the Bay. Have had a pleasant trip and I am well, but beginning to feel tired. Beulah and Nettie Nolan were on the excursion today with a company of girls from Little Falls. They got off at Clayton.

A wrecking barge from Canada came over and got the New York off the shoal. She was only slightly damaged. (If this was Minnie’s boat, perhaps Minnie had written an earlier letter about the event -- or perhaps she construed that Herbert had already gotten news of the accident via newspaper.)

I think I am going to spend a very pleasant week. The only drawback is your not being here. I think a considerable about home. Tell Papa (her father, William R. Gladwyn, who was living in Brownville at this time) not to worry about me and remember the same yourself.

Aunt Lottie is laying great plans for us to stay until Saturday. (Lottie lived in Lowville, Lewis Co., N. Y. - perhaps she owned property in the 1000 Island region) I haven’t said anything very much. I didn’t want to get into a fight (strange word to have been used by such a gentle lady - Lottie, from what I can gather may have been quite an in-charge person and certainly acted as a mother hen to her brother, William, and his family, but unless it is very stormy, will leave on the morning boat, Friday. (sentence doesn’t make sense, nor can I understand why they’d be taking a boat to get to Lowville in the 1920’s!!)

Take good care of yourself and buy something good to eat.

With much love,

Letter No. 35

Travel during the early part of the 20th century was somewhat limited to the immediate area in which a person lived, particularly for those whose occupations were farmers. The next letter was written by a gentleman named Michel Thomas, whose first wife, Addie Hamblin, was a cousin of William R. Gladwyn. The letter was written from Lowville, N. Y. (Lewis County), February 17, 1924 to Herbert and Minnie Gladwyn Conklin of Dexter, N. Y. Mr. Thomas, even though he had remarried, remained an important member of the Gladwyn and Conklin circle of friends. He was born on February 20, 1852 in Grostenguin, Alsace-Lorraine, France. After Addie’s death on January 6, 1912, he married Jennie Savell. Although at the time of his death, he was a farmer at Hamblin’s Corners in Lewis County, N. Y., it is believed he had worked in a number of disciplines, one of which may have been surveying. This compiler remembers many kind, admiring, and loving words being said of this man who made this trip to Washington, D. C. in his 72nd year. We can be thankful that he took the time to write this letter to those whom he knew would derive great pleasure in reading it.

No research has been done on Michel, but it would be interesting to know if he ever applied for and received his U.S. citizenship. When reading his letter, one cannot help but marvel at this man’s use of the word “our” in respect to the glories of the United States capital city and still, when he talks about the contributions sent by his native France, the reader feels he must have swelled with pride as he admired these costly treasures from his native country.

Lowville 2-17-24

Dear friends,

I will now take a little time and write to you about our trip. To begin with, I must say that we have enjoyed it very much. We took plenty of time. You cannot see (I believe he meant to insert the work “too”) much. Our first tramp was to the Capitol -- that was about 1,200 feet distant from where we stayed. Now, as for me having handled surveyor’s tools in my younger days, I felt right at home there. Every walk and every corridor is laid out to the compass and Oh! what a nice building it is. There are paintings that cost all the way from $8,000 to $30,000 a piece and a great many of them. It is called the most beautiful building in the world. It is over 750 feet long by about 200 feet wide. The whole dome over the rotunda or what is called Uncle Sam’s reception room is lit by reflection at night and it looks dandy -- it is situated in a sixty acre lot and it is surrounded by granite steps. They are more numerous on the west side than on the east side. One the west side the grounds slope down about 75 feet to the Botanical Gardens. To the S.E. about 1,200 feet from the Capitol stands the Congressional Library, an immense building covering three and one third acres with three floors. You are liable to get lost. It is so big and every floor is full of showcases. Everything shown here is labeled. You are not likely to see the whole thing in one day as there are too many other things to be looked at.

The proper way to do is to take your dinner and go there at 9 a.m. and stay until half past nine at night. That is the time they close the reading room. It is too grand and too big to describe it. Anyone must go there and see and then you won’t remember about half of what you have seen. There is a very nice fountain on the west side of the stairs that leads up to the building. There are seahorses, snakes, turtles -- great big ones, and everything there is spouting water in every direction. There are also big spouting fountains in the Plaza east of the Capitol. This Plaza is all clear. The rest of the ground is set out to every kind of tree that will grow here. Every kind has on it an iron label, blue and white, telling what it is and where it came from. There is also plenty of shrubbery and many kinds from the south lands. To the S.E. of the library is the Navy yard. Here, you can see many boats including the Mayflower -- and the President’s boat. Here also is the Navy graveyard for old and obsolete guns. Here also is a good radio outfit. The skeleton towers are 400 feet high but the best wireless of the government is at Fort Meyer, just a few rods from Arlington Cemetery. Here, the towers are 600 feet high and send or receive a message 3,000 miles away.

At a distance of 1-1/2 miles from the Navy yard is Lincoln Park. Here is a bronze statue of Lincoln -- in a standing position with a Negro slave in front of him -- taking off his chain. On one side is the Declaration of Emancipation, on the other side are the names of the donors for the erection of the statue. The first one is the name of the first Negro woman freed and she gave the first $5 she earned as a free woman. The next tramp was to go to the fisheries. Here, you see everything in the shape of fishes, even to hatching the eggs. The next thing you come to is the Army and Navy Museum. Jennie did not care to view all the different skeletons and the different parts and pieces of diseased humanity, so we went on to the next place of interest and that is the old Smithsonian Institute. Here you cannot see all in one day. It would take a week and every time you go there, you see something that you have not seen before. In the first builing, you see works of art. You see the different clothes worn by our great generals on parade, all kinds of weapons for offense and defense and you see all kinds of orders in their own handwriting. You see all kinds of mining machinery, even the shacks the miners lived in, You see how buttons are made from pearl, all kinds of manufactured ivory, you see cotton -- how it is planted, how to grow it, pick it, gin it, bale it, spin it, weave it, and color it. You even see clothes ready to wear -- all made of cotton. Here you see looms for weaving -- some very old -- some of the latest spinning machines -- all kinds, all ages and all makes.

There are musical instruments that must be centuries old -- some very old pianos, all inlaid with gold and silver; band instruments all studded with precious stones; books old as Greenland, manuscripts in all kinds of handwriting and lots of them very old. I think it was here I copied the poor scribbling I am doing now. (not sure what he means by this) There are many other things I cannot now mention.

The next day we went into the other building and the first thing that we see here are two vases of Haviland, or rather Sevres (an elaborately decorated French porcelain) ware, as manufactured in France -- one is dated 1700, the other 1800 -- their cost is $8,000. Yes, they are a present from France. The next thing that attracts you is the Statue of Liberty by Bartholdi (this one has the compiler baffled - was there or is there a miniature S of L. at Washington?!!!) This is a rather noble looking woman -- it weighs about 12,000 pounds and is surrounded by a fountain spouting water from six different jets. From there you go in a circle and inspect every kind of destructive weapon that has ever been invented to kill people, from the long tom of a battleship to the machine gun of recent make machine guns for one man to carry. Others heavy enough for four men to life, with endless belts crammed full of cartridges ready to fire. You see miniature battleships, submarines, torpedo boats with torpedoes standing there beside them, floating mines and every other kind. Also, printing presses from the oldest to the latest showing the kind of work they do.

The next place is the Agricultural Dept. All there is to be seen here is one of the big California trees. They have transferred all their exhibit to the new National Museum about a 1/4 mile from here. Will write of this place later on. (unfortunately, no other letters were found)

The next place is the monument (He has to mean the Washington Monument.) Don’t think of it as you would of a shaft, like in a burying ground, as it is nothing like it. The foundation of it is 27 feet deep and extends a good way beyond the walls of the monument proper. The walls just on top of the foundation are 55 feet long to a side and are 15 feet in thickness and at the height of 500 feet they are 18 inches thick. They are built of solid blocks of stone and faced with marble blocks of the same size at the height. At this height there is a room 32 feet square. Here, the point, which is 55 feet high begins to taper. There are four windows in this room. These are 8 (?) feet by 3 feet, yet from the ground they look to be 7 to 9 inches. From this room you can look all over the city and the surrounding countryside -- Maryland and Virginia. There is a very good elevator in there and everything is free. It takes seven minutes to go up or down as they run slowly -- for safety -- there were 38 (people) going up as we went up -- there are stairs also, but I did not care to climb 902 steps.(remember, the writer was 72 years in age) The grounds at the Agricultural Dept. were full of pansies and roses, all ready to blossom and every such plot of ground is bordered with low hedges of boxwood.

My next letter to you will be about Pennsylvania Ave to 27th Street and from there south and past the Lincoln Memorial towards Arlington, Virginia.

Hope this will find you all well. We are both well and wish you good.


I hope to have a better pen to wrote my next letter to you.

Letter No. 36

Another 1924 letter follows, but this one was from a member of an early Conklin family who settled on Pillar Point in the 1840’s. The letter is dated March 26, 1924, and was written by a lady who consistently signed her name as Mrs. L. J. Sipes. It was written to Herbert and Minnie Conklin of the Town of Hounsfield in Jefferson County, N. Y. Research done my friend and Conklin genealogist, Mrs. Alice Gershman of N. Hollywood, CA, revealed that Mrs. Sipes was Lavina (or Lavinia) Conklin, the daughter of Peter and Lucy Joiner Conklin, who lived on Pillar Point (Town of Brownville) in the 1840’s. The family moved to the Ravenna area of Michigan in about 1851; Lucy died, and her broken-hearted family returned to Jefferson County only to re-join the pioneer life in the Ravenna area cira 1855. The family got back on its feet, so to speak, and Peter’s sons became very successful members of Muskegon County, Michigan.

According to my records, Lavinia was born in 1835, making her almost 89 years of age when this letter was written. She also wrote a letter two years later and in each of her letters she quests for an Olive Tucker, whom she states was her cousin. This compiler’s efforts at trying to determine Olive’s identity and residency in Watertown have been fruitless. Perhaps L. J.’s memory failed her; but one thing is sure, she did not forget her New York State relatives and the good times spent with them. Her comments about Minnie’s letters reinforce the continuing theme found in most of the letters in this collection: Older people enjoyed receiving letters from friends and relatives with whom they shared fond memories.

NOTE - May 29, 2007: Today’s date, this siteowner received from a Michigan researcher, Mr. McElfish, a newspaper clipping found in the Ravenna Museum concerning Mrs. Sipes and her two brothers, Oscar and William. Since the article appeared in close proximity to when Mrs. Sipes wrote the last letter to my grandmother, the contents of the clipping seem appropriate here. Thanks, Jim.

GRAND RAPIDS NEWSPAPER (full name of paper and year not visible)

Tuesday, August 4 (perhaps it was 1925)

What’s Age to Them?

Conklin Brothers and Sister Continue Active
Roles: Oscar, 88, Drives Here from Chicago in One Day

(the piece was accompanied by a photo of the siblings)

Ravenna, Aug. 4. -- The reputed allotted span of three score years and ten, the sweep of time or an infirm old age apparently holds no terror for members of the Conklin family, Mrs. Lavine (sic) Sipes, 90, of Ravenna; Oscar F. Conklin, 88, Jacksonville, Ill., and William P. Conklin, 85, of Grand Rapids.

Each of the brothers, despite his age, is active and conducts his own business, while Mrs. Sipes continues doing her own housework.

Peter Conklin, father of the pioneers, came to Ravenna 70 years ago and in later years the brothers organized a mercantile business at Ravenna which they sold in 1887 (year not clear) to engage in farming. Oscar now superintends operation of large farms owned by him at Jacksonville, Ill., and two weeks ago, on a hurried business trip, drove his own automobile from Chicago to Grand Rapids in one day. William P. resides in Grand Rapids, but each week spends considerable time at Ravenna and vicinity watching over his farms in the district.

Mrs. Sipes was 90, July 25; Oscar was 88 last May; William will be 86 August 5.

(Photo of the three appeared to the right of the article - both spanned the upper portion of what appeared as front page. Under the photo: Oscar F. Conkllin, Mrs. Lavina Sipes, Wm. P. Conklin.)

Now....for Mrs. Sipes' letter of March 26th, 1924)

Ravenna Mar. 26th 1924

Dear cousins, Bert & Minnie:

How are you today? It acts a little like Spring, a little warmer. We have had a hard, cold winter here -- lots of snow all thru January & February into March. Even the groundhog didn’t show itself -- then he went back in his hiding place and stayed six weeks. What do you think of that!

Well, my brother, O. F. Conklin (Oscar), has been in Florida (possibly near Jacksonville) this Winter and he got a letter from Olive Tucker. You know who she is? She spoke of you folks and said Bert wasn’t very well and she said Will and Carrie were both dead. Is that so? (Bert probably had bouts with quinsy, a throat ailment - and yes, Bert’s brother, William, passed away in 1919 and Carrie, Wm.’s wife passed away in 1922) Where does Rosamond stay? (not sure, she was probably in nurse’s training in Watertown at this time) I wish if this reaches you that you will tell me about yourselves and about the others.

I expect you see Olive (Olive Tucker - obit may be seen in the Hart Scrapbook on this site) once in awhile. She is my own cousin and was your Father’s cousin and is in Watertown. My brothers, O. F. & Will and their families have been in Florida this Winter. Ora and her husband (Ora was L. J.’s sister, married to Earl Fuller) are in Madison, Wisconsin where he is taking a course in the University -- I guess that’s what you call it. (interesting how knowledge of academia was so gradually being absorbed by the old-timers)

It was thirteen years the 5th of December since John (her husband) left us. Mary ( her daughter who was married to an Ora ? Cox) lives close by me. Her youngest daughter lives in Indianapolis, Indiana -- that’s Eva; and Mary’s boy, Ray, is Post Master here in Ravenna -- has been two years. He is, or will be, 28 years old the 24th of May. Me, your humble servant, will be 89 if I live until the 25th of July (yes, L. J. lived until after February of 1926). I suppose your boy (William, age 21, who had married less than a month from the date of this letter) is a young man before now.

Write to me and tell me the news.

From your cousin

L. J. Sipes

Muskegon Co., Ravenna, Michigan

Letter No. 37

The second Sipes letter was written in the deep of the winter of 1926. It was also written to Mr. and Mrs. Herbert D. Conklin, Herbert, being her second cousin, once removed. L. J. is five months away from being 91 years old and it appears she is still living by herself. She expressed her appreciation and pleasure for Minnie’s letter with “it seemed almost like a visit.” This compiler has never had the privilege of reading one of Minnie’s letters, but judging from my childhood observations and the volumes of mail going in and out of Minnie’s home, L. J.’s description seemed aptly put. We tend to answer letters we enjoy receiving.

Ravenna Feb. 5--1926

Dear friends,

I was very glad to get your good letter and so quick. It seemed almost like a visit. I wish you could come and see us. It’s quite a chore for me to write. I can’t see very good and haven’t felt a bit good for several weeks. I do stay alone, but Mary is here nearly every day to see if I want anything or how I am. If I’m not well, she stays night and day. They are very good to me. We are having very cold weather and a week of glare ice. There were so many accidents with cars and people slipping down. I don’t believe I ever heard of so many boats going down and men being drowned -- such awful storms.

Last Fall it rained so much that the corn didn’t rippen or the beans get dry or the potatoes get ripe. There was snow laying on them for days. Then, it was a job to get them dry and they brought a big price -- from $3 to $4 a bushel - they are $2.50 now. Fred (cannot identify) sold some today. He was lucky he rented his new farm, but pitched in and dug his share to get them dry.

If I knew Olive's address, I would like to write to her but I do not. My brothers are in Florida, but not at the same place. Will is at St. Petersburgh and Oscar is at Deland, Florida where......(remainder of the letter torn off - subsequent pages not found)

Letter No. 38

The next two letters, No. 38 and No. 39, were written a day apart by Charlotte Gladwyn Prame to Mrs. Minnie Conklin of Dexter, N. Y. Charlotte, known as Aunt Lottie, was Minnie’s aunt. She was the sister of William R. Gladwyn with whom we made our acquaintance many, many years earlier. From reading old family diaries, the compiler found that Lottie left the Lowville, N. Y. area back in the second decade of the 20th century. These letters were written in October of 1930 (per the envelope) from 118 Hudson St., Ithaca, N. Y. where she lived with two granddaughters. Lottie was 78 years old at the time. She was disturbed about her failing memory and did hint at failing health. She passed away one day short of her 80th birthday on December 26, 1931. Neither of her letters has a salutation and there were no indentations for paragraphs, giving one the impression that she was trying to make the very best use of the space available on the writing paper. Also missing was a complimentary closing.

Saturday afternoon 4:30

I am just beginning to answer your lovely letter -- the one with all the pictures. I have the envelope directed and the pictures of Pearl Congdon all in the envelope. (I believe the compiler has the picture of Pearl Congdon and others. Pearl was a single lady who lived on the Airport Road between Brownville and Dexter, N. Y. She was a teacher and at a time between the world wars, she was a missionary in China. She had no connection to Lottie Prame.) The picture of all of us taken around your table, I have kept for the present. I always wanted one of those pictures, but of course, this is yours. Now Minnie, you wanted me to tell you when that picture was taken and I can’t do it. I can’t remember a thing that happened for two or three years there. I don’t know why. I don’t know when Elaine’s (Elaine Conklin, Minnie’s granddaughter) birthday is nor how old she is nor what her middle name is. I haven’t her name in my birthday book and I don’t know if I ever gave her a birthday present. Now Minnie, I want you to help me out when you write again. Tell me when Elaine’s birthday is and her middle name and what year she was born. I have Leonard’s (Elaine’s brother, Minnie’s oldest grandson) in there. Leonard John, Aug. 17, 1928, and Roland (she left space for his middle name, but it never came to her - Hasner - Roland was Minnie’s youngest grandson) Conklin, April 23, 1930. Now help me out and I will put it in -- and Roland’s middle name. I used to be so good to remember, and now I can’t remember at all.

I hope you are all well and happy today. We (we, meaning at least two of her granddaughters, Hazel and Dorcas - there was a third, Marion, who was married and possibly living elsewhere) are about as usual. I have not had any vomitting spells for a week or more; otherwise, I feel about the same.

I am wondering if your snow is all gone yet? What has become of the old hen and the six little chickens. (the people in this family had a great love for the animals found on Minnie’s farm - and after reading the next sentence, Lottie may have been worrying about how the fowl was being housed now that there had been a snowstorm so early in the year). My, what a bad snowstorm (Minnie had undoubtedly written about a snowstorm). What a lot of cars stalled in the deep snow! Fortunately, it did not reach us and I have not seen a snowflake yet this year. Today, the wind has blown very cold and sometimes it would mist or rain and then it would be like snow in the air, only fine and white. Sometimes there would be enough of them on a roof to look white like a snow ridge -- to tell us what is coming.

Everybody is rushing for warmer clothes until Hazel doesn’t know if she is on her head or heels. (Hazel was a very good dressmaker - looks like she was kept very, very busy in this town where Cornell University is located.) They (probably meaning Hazel and Dorcas, her granddaughters - not clear if this was organized hiking by a hiking club or some private routine between the girls) adjourned the hike until tomorrow. Perhaps it will be better weather. They couldn’t go last Sunday. There was a very large funeral in the Church and Hazel had to sing (Hazel had a wonderful singing voice - maybe contralto - Dorcas also had a very good singing voice.) I guess I wrote you about that last Sunday (sounds like Lottie and Minnie exchanged letters with some frequency).

I suppose you are wondering how my hickory nuts and butternuts are coming. (the nuts were most likely given to Lottie when she visited Minnie’s farm earlier in the Fall) Well, no one has had a single one out of the can but me, and it is half full yet (that’s optimisn!). I have a few every day. Maybe you think I am selfish with them, but I offer them and they refuse. And my book you gave me, “The Christ of Every Road” -- I haven’t finished it yet. I like to read a chapter or two and then have it to think about. So, I am reading it slowly and surely. I suppose you will go to church tomorrow if it is pleasant up at Glen Park (not sure why she wrote Glen Park - Minnie and her family attended the Brownville Methodist Church - diary entries from the 1920’s indicate that Lottie frequently accompanied her brother, Minnie’s father, to Sunday services whenever she visited Brownville) and then write to me.

(the letter was unsigned)

Letter No. 39

Lottie’s second letter to Minnie Conklin follows. It was written the day following Letter No. 38 and appeared to have been sent in the same envelope.

Tuesday afternoon

Your dear letter came today. Didn’t I enjoy it! And there was so much news in it! (another testimonial to Minnie’s great letter-writing abilities) Was sorry to hear Bert (Minnie’s husband) was having a bad time with his stomach. (Bert passed away several years later with stomach cancer) So much milking, papering, painting, cutting and drawing wood -- no rest -- and the sudden changes of the (unclear word) is too much for him. Hope he is feeling much better. Too bad he missed the Carrol speech when he wanted to hear it so badly. (both Minnie and her husband attended many evangelistic appearances

So Glenn is up there again. (Glenn was Glen Conklin, the son of Bert Conklin’s brother, Frank. He was not in any way related to Lottie Prame. Glen was known for his meanderings - never stayed in one place very long - had several hospitalizations - would disappear for years at a time. Although no family members know where he died, this compiler’s recent research points to Reno, Nevada as the place of his death.) I guess Elisabeth (cannot identify - she may have been a Sheldamine from Lorraine, N. Y.) is a great attraction. I hope he and Elisabeth will get down to see us. We will be more than glad to see them. (Aunt Lottie, it was said in this compiler’s earlier commentary, was a lovable person, loved by her family and those who knew her - this last statement sort of reflects that, doesn’t it?)

Wasn’t Sunday a beautiful day and wasn’t the sunset gorgeous? (Both Minnie and Lottie’s family enjoyed sunsets - this compiler hopes to include a poem written by Minnie, called “Beyond the Sunset Glory.” This compiler remembers sitting in the front room on the Conklin farm with Lottie’s granddaughters as they watched the wonderful sunsets of a July day.) I thought of you when I sat out and watched it. The girls were out for their “hike” when they saw it and stopped to see its brilliant colors. They enjoy such things as much as we do.

I am glad Adeline (cannot identify) has named her baby girl after Anna and Bessie. A mutual admiration society there. Lots of love on both sides. It must have been cold up at your place to be down to 16 and 18. It hasn’t been below 30 here and was up to 58 today and perhaps higher. It will suit the kids for Halloween -- lets them have their fun if they don’t cut up any mean pranks. The police are after them here if they do. Has the snow all gone up your way? I haven’t seen a snowflake yet this fall, but there is time enough to see lots of it before next May.

I had the nicest letter today from Vera Rice (cannot identify). They are like angel’s visits -- few and far between. Had a letter from Ida Prame yesterday (Ida was probably a sister or a sister-in-law). I do enjoy getting them but it is hard work to answer them sometimes. Oh! How good it is to have the dear old friends that you have loved so long and that you know have loved you long and well.

About my cemetery lots -- I pay $2.80 a year at the West Lowville Cemetery and $3.00 at the Lowville Cemetery. Before I left Lowville, Mr. Stevens told me that he would give me perpetual care at West Lowville for $50. I did not have it then and a year ago when I wrote him about it, was very much surprised to have him write me that he wanted $100 for perpetual care for that one small lot. I am going to write him again about it next week. In Lowville Cemetery, they asked for $150, as the lot is 20 feet square. The last time I was in to pay for the care of my lot, Mr. Ledette Bostwick, the man to receive the money -- a man I had known since we were children (he was older than I) -- told me if I could raise the money while he was there, he could let me have it for $130. But, I did not have it then and he is dead and gone now, so that chance is gone. But I do want to get perpetual care on the West Lowville lots and I hope I can. I am going to try, but $100 is too much for that small lot. I am the last one to see to it and I feel as if I must see to it and the time is short. I will be 79 in December. (what a worry this matter appeared to be for this dear old lady - this compiler has visited the West Lowville Cemetery and noticed the graves of William and Charlotte Gladwyn, the parents of Aunt Lottie and William R. Gladwyn - Minnie’s father -- one has to wonder if this was a plea for monetary assistance from Minnie -- however, Lottie would have been pleased to know that the graves in both cemeteries were well taken care for at least the next 40 years by family and other relatives -- and maybe even to this day)

Write me often.

Love to all,

Aunt Lottie

Letter No. 40

The final letter represents a cross-country friendship among three people. It was written by a Henrietta Gladwin of Los Angeles, California in the Fall of 1936 to Minnie Gladwyn Conklin of Rural Route Dexter, N. Y. At one time this transcriber saw a genealogy of the Gladwin family, whom I believe lived at Utica, N. Y. before the turn of the 20th century. It was believed by those who prepared the chart that the Gladwyns and the Gladwins were related, but very distantly. However, the descendants of the Gladwin family (Utica ?) became friends with Minnie Gladwyn Conklin of Dexter. One sister, the author of this letter, was Henrietta. She never married. The second sister was Minnie Gladwin, who also never married and may have worked for the U. S. Government. This was a letter of mourning, also. The author’s sister, Minnie, had passed away October 18, 1936, according to Minnie Conklin’s 1936 Diary.

The letter, although written only sixty years ago, is being included in this collection because it is an interesting cultural study of what life was like for a pair of spinsters, living in a large city during the depression years. Henrietta’s political philosophies were touched up -- her concerns about the Democratic president sound somewhat familiar to us sixty years later.

Changing weather patterns are mentioned - very noticeable, but not disconcerting. The Dust Bowl years had hit their peak and it appeared that remnants still remained. And a gas oven to keep warm? Yikes!

Racism? Yes, it was alive and well even with these two elderly ladies in Los Angeles. You’ll see why. There were several old-fashioned, household words used: Filling station, laundry porch, cleaning fluid, silk hose, ice box flowers, gorgette (how many of us know the names of various fabrics?), sweater blouses, and waving of hair.

Have you ever wondered how long Goodwill Industries had been around? Yes, it was called that sixty years ago. And here we are with the dressmakers again. Was this a service used only by the wealthy? See if you don’t agree that Henrietta was probably very fastidious, maybe eccentric and certainly a bit of a “fuss-budget!”

Yes, the letter is quite boring - that’s why I saved it for last.

Tues. Nov. 17 & 18, 1936

Dear Friend Minnie:

I have had an early supper, dishes are washed and now at 6:30 I am ready to sit down to writing. Nobody comes in evenings so I am not likely to be interrupted. I intended to start a letter last night but was so tired thought I’d better not. Had done a big washing and at noon after cleaning the laundry porch, went up to the filling station a block and a half from here and got a gallon of cleaning solvent and started right in cleaning skirts, sweater blouses, a pink knit shawl, a tapestry pillow cover, silk kimono and several other articles. It was an afternoon’s job and I shouldn’t have started it after a washing but all of them needed cleaning before being worn again, used, or put away for the winter. Every few days we have definite signs of rain and of course, it’s almost impossible to clean or air clothing during rain or dampness. No rain yet, though. We are having real Indian Summer, so dry and dusty, very warm, almost sultry during the daytime, but quite chilly and frosty nights and mornings. Indeed there has been frost some nights people say and it’s surely been cold enought for it. I believe it’s this dry, dusty atmosphere combined with the extreme changes of temperature that is causing so many colds. Every one I hear of or speak to either has a cold or is coming down with one, or just getting over one.

Was glad to hear you say in your last letter of November 8th that your cold was better and I hope you are entirely rid of it by now. I came down with a cold and sore throat the first week in November. I got right after the sore throat with all the mouthwashes, gargles and lozenges that Dr. Beck had me use for the infected throat and mouth last summer. Many of the symptoms were disturbingly like that. This time, I checked it quite soon. Though my throat felt strange and I could hardly swallow for days. On Monday, the 2nd, I stayed in bed all day; but on Tuesday, I did get out and voted, though I might better have stayed home and in bed for all the good my votes did. (she was undoubtedly a Republican and the loss to President Roosevelt disturbed her) Minnie (her sister) had wondered many times if she would be able to get out to vote, but that is something she never has to worry about again. (Minnie was the author’s sister and she had died October 18, 1936) Perhaps she can know now what the future has in store for the rest of us, while we, in our human blindness, cannot foresee what drastic changes our President may bring to our country. With everything his own way, heaven only knows what he may do or undo in the next four years. But, I guess there is nothing we can do about it now. To go back to my cold, I felt wretched all that week and accomplished none of the work I had planned to do. Mrs. Fairly came over that Monday and Tuesday a.m. and lit the gas oven to warm the house and got my breakfast, what little I could eat. After that week I began to feel like myself again and every one says I am looking much better.

A week ago today I spent the day with Minnie’s old office friend, Mrs. Adelaide Mullen. (Mrs. Mullen wrote the air mail letter to Minnie Conklin advising of Minnie Gladwin’s death - as noted in Minnie Conklin’s 1936 Diary.) I took along some mending. She had a nice dinner and we had a good visit. She is coming over here to spend the day with me Thursday. I had hoped she would stay overnight, but when I phoned her this a.m. from Mrs. Heidel’s, she reported she was not feeling very well and thought she would be better off at home at night. Then Saturday of last week (the 14th) was my cousin, Mrs. Ella Squire’s birthday. She had been so grand about coming out often to see sister and bring her things nearly every time. I wanted to do something for her, so I phoned a couple days before to see if she would be too busy on Saturday for me to go over in the p.m. She said, “No,” to come on. She had a dreadful cold, or had had but was feeling much better on Saturday. I found another cousin (May Esmay Smith) there and a young woman friend of Ella’s, so it turned out a real birthday party with cake ‘n ice cream ‘n coffee, ‘n candy. Ella’s step-daughter sent in the birthday cake, the friend went out for the ice cream and I had contributed the candy. I also shared with her a nice bouquet of chrysanthemums of which my good neighbors keep me bountifully supplied. Two ladies called this p.m. and brought me another nice bunch. I have no less than three bouquets in the house now, which helps to make the living room cheery and bright -- besides those I took to Cousin Ella Saturday and on Thursday went out to Rosedale (probably a cemetery where the author’s sister, Minnie Gladwin was buried) with a big bunch of them. It is a comfort for me to go out (the cemetery) with the flowers Minnie loved to have around her, but the coming away alone and leaving her there alone is the hardest part.

You asked in one letter how she looked and how we had dressed her for her last long journey? I think I have answered the first question (so sweet and peaceful) before. Mrs. Fairley came over the morning we were to take her clothing down to the undertakers to help me select, knowing it would be a hard task for me. I will enclose samples (this letter’s envelope had in pencil, “Minnie’s burial dress” and the samples were indeed preserved with the letter). With one accord, we agreed on this apricot gorgette, trimmed with the matching lace at neck and wrists and worn over the slip of apricot cotton crepe. Also, we selected nice silk hose that harmonized with this color of gown and her daintest teddy of snowy fine muslin and an all-lace insertion. She had that dress made in Denver for real dress-up and it was always most becoming and of a style that didn’t look out of date. As she was sick so much after we got here, there were few “dress up” occasions to use the dress and I had almost forgotten it. A friend who makes the “ice box” flowers brought a snowy white gardenia which they let me lay across the lace of the shaped neck. The woman attendant at the undertakers had shampooed and waved her hair so beautifully. Indeed I had no fault to find with anything they did. Now if you hadn’t asked for it, I wouldn’t have told you all this.

Was sorry to hear of the passing of your cousin. What a strange coincidence that your relative (she was probably referring to Watson Cummings of Chaumont, N. Y.) and your friend (Minnie Gladwin, Henrietta’s sister), who never saw or heard of each other before, should have had a stroke within 24 hours of each other and both passed away on a Sunday within a very few weeks of each other.

Speaking of birthdays, I see by sister’s little red date book that you have a birthday in the near future. Now it may not seem much like a birthday present to get something someone else has worn, but I hope you won’t feel offended if I send you a few things of Minnie’s. Of course, I can always give things to the “Goodwill Industries,” but I can’t bear to see some of her things pass into the hands of strangers. They fix up things (the “Goodwill” I mean) and sell them for small sums and I just can’t feature a Mexican or Negress coming out in my sister’s clothes. Lots of things I can and will need to use in the future, for my income has shrunk considerably. But, there is the blue and white print dress I got her for Easter. She didn’t wear it more than three or four times. She was sitting up and up and around the house then, but with the Dr. coming twice a week, had to wear a short-sleeved dress to have blood pressure taken and the injection put in her arm. I do not wear long-sleeved dresses for around the house. The dressmaker had shortened it for sister, as it was much too long. She took it up at the waistline and that was never cut away. It could be let down 2-1/2 inches there. There is a quick hem that could be let out and faced with plain white or a plain blue. I know you are taller than sister was but how much taller I do not remember. I know you and Doris are handy with the needle, so if you can wear it at all, you could lengthen it without any great trouble.

Then there is a tan sweater blouse striped with dull old rose. I never wear tans or browns and have several sweater blouses. This had a few breaks in it which sister had neatly mended with her own never-idle fingers. The quilted jacket I gave her some winters ago for extra warmth under coats as our winters grew increasingly more severe. She did not need it out here, so it shows little wear.

And there is a litle surprise that I won’t explain about. Elaine (meaning Minnie Conklin’s oldest granddaughter) may be interested in her namesake (Elaine’s middle name was Minnie) and like to have the picture for her room sometime. I put in an article about the artist. The little “biddy” coinbank, she might like, too. It has never been used. I bought it of the Indians in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on my way back to Denver for our furniture. I intended to give it to a little girl I had known from babyhood, but learned the family were not even in the city anymore. I have never found any little girl to give it to.

I am finishing this Wednesday night. I went overtown to visit a friend this p.m. and on my return, Mrs. F. (probably Mrs. Fairley, whom she referred to earlier) had me come in and have dinner with them. Will send the package off as soon as I can.

Henrietta G (Gladwin)

Copyright © March 2000 Shirley Farone

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