I’ve gotten to the WELLS family folder in my digital clean-up. I will be SO happy when this is finished, and I can move on to the next stage. My new Apple watch keeps telling me that I have been sitting too long! Electronic nagging, if you will.
Which brings me to the subject of this blog post…
A while back, at Mom’s house, I found a wallet belonging to my great-great grandfather, Matthias Wells. Inside were two letters, one written by each of Matthias’ parents, Hawley Wells and Susan Harlow Wells. I wrote about the wallet and Hawley’s letter in this post.
Today, I transcribed the second letter, written by Susan Wells, my 3x great-grandmother.
The letter is dated April 15, 1860, and it is addressed to two of her daughters, Cordelia and Mary, who are about 23 and 21 years old. Apparently, they had moved away for a time for work, probably as domestics, as the letter mentions sewing.
(To place this letter in time, the Civil War had been officially declared April 12, 1860, just a few days before these letters were written. I can imagine that if word had gotten to Hutisford, WI, before the 15th, this surely would have added to Susan’s anxiety.)
The letter reads:
April 15, 1860
Absent daughters we received your letter last evening and read it with pleasure. We were all glad to hear from you and Cordelia and that you were both well and enjoying yourself so well. We are all as usual but we feel very lonesome the most of the time when we think of our absent children scattered over this wicked world but hope and pray that they will live so in this world they will not be separated in the next. Yes I hope that we shall be one unbroken family in another. Yes this is the prayer of your Mother. Mary if we cannot all live together let us all try to live together in a better one.
Roena is at home now on a visit. She is quite smart. Her babe grows like a pig. He is a pretty little fellow and I love him better than I thought I should.
I believe that our friends are all well as usual. What will you think when I tell you that I have been a visiting three times since you was at home. Should have thought it. Well it was a strange thing. Well home is as good a place as any.
Elder Dan and wife and all the children here a visiting the other day. We had a good visit. I wish I could see my children all at once once more.
How little do we enjoy when we are together but how much we might if only tried to. Well I hope that we shall all be together again some time. I would like to have you come home and do your sewing but if you cannot you must come and make a visit as soon as you can. Write often, good by from Mother.
A few lines to Cordelia.
O my child, you can never know how much I think about you. How much I fear for your health. Now be careful of what health you have. If you think that you can’t stand it to work do not stay to long. You had better not earn so much than to kill yourself. I feel anxious about you. I think of you a great deal.
Oh be careful and not get cold nor fight (?) to hard. You had better get your health than to get more cloth(e)s now. I hope you will think that mother knows best sometimes. You do not know how much I want to see you and Mary.
Roena had been at home almost 2 weeks and we (?) took so much comfort with her. Before I think she is a different woman. She had got as pretty a babe as you would wish to see. He is a fine little fellow and grows like a pig. She is quite smart. If you and M had been here we should (have) had good time. You see I have got to the end of my paper so good by from Mother.
Mothers! Always with the nagging!
Poor Susan. I truly believe that she loved her daughters dearly and missed them terribly. But, poor Mary and Cordelia! I imagine that they read that letter aloud and gave each other knowing looks over the top of the paper. Heavy sighing might have ensued.
By the time of the 1860 census in June of that same year, the five younger children, except for Roena, were all back home. Which must have pleased their mother very much.
The joy she had at the girls’ return may well have been short-lived, though. By 1863, her son, Matthias, had volunteered with the 7th Infantry from Wisconsin. Thankfully, he survived the war. But, I’m sure Susan’s distress might very well have been overwhelming.
‘Til next time!