Brainerd, Minn., February 15, 1923
Your letter of December 14th with the booklet of snapshots of our Cousins was received and I can assure you that it was greatly appreciated, despite the fact that I did not make an immediate reply. I have studied the faces and I must say that there are four in the third group of thirteen that I do not know. They are the two ladies next to Tommie standing, the next one sitting and the one standing in front of in front of Charley Congdon and Jud Seely. It is a lamentable fact to think that some of our kinsmen have changed so that one does not now know them, owing to the separation of so many years. Well, here's hoping that we will be able to attend one of the gatherings ere many more years pass. When I look at your picture, I can only remember you as a baby in your Mother's arms when she was home from Michigan. Shortly after, she returned there and Jennie was born there and I don't remember of having seen her after Aunt Jane Tubbs returned with you both. You see I left Nelson in the spring of 1879 and came to Minnesota and have never been back. During this time so many changes have transpired. I only have one uncle left of all the uncles and aunts. He is over ninety, Father's youngest brother living in York State. The majority of the cousins are now crowding the three score and ten mark. A few have passed it. While young we look into the future longingly, with hopes and aspirations; when old, we look back at our past and wonder how time can be so fleeting. We get a letter from Charley Congdon once in a while which enables us to keep some tab on what transpires back there.
Late years I have grown careless in regard to keeping up my correspondence as I should have done. Since I came West I have had quite a strenuous life and have not taken as much recreation as I probably have done. I have been engaged in either carpentering or farming ever since I came here, but I am beginning to realize the necessity of shorter hours, although my general health is good and my eyesight is also good. I only use glasses at twilight or evening or if filing fine saws. I passed my sixty-fifth birthday the twenty-first of last October. Our family consists of two boys and two girls. Carrie, the oldest, thirty-nine, married, and lives seventeen miles from here; has two children. Edgar, thirty-seven, married and has two children, lives in Montana. Harry, twenty-nine, still at home. Mary, twenty-three, still at home, but at present is in Dickinson, N. C., teaching. She graduated from the State Teachers College at Moorhead, Minn. Her qualifications enable her to secure good positions; this year she is drawing $145.00 per month.
As to weather conditions we have had a rather favorable winter here until the last two or three weeks; thermometer one morning thirty-six degrees below; then the thirteenth and fourteenth of this month they claim we had the worst blizzard in twenty-five years. Train service stalled for about two days; the worst blockades were between Fargo and Jamestown, N. D. The winter seasons here do not appeal to me as they used to, but the summers here are ideal. Minnesota is a wonderful state for lakes; their shores are bordered by hundreds of summer homes and the tourist business is getting to be a big asset for the country; lots on some of the more desirable lakes bring high prices.
Well I must say again that we were glad to hear from you and hope that we my meet face to face. Am glad to know that you are established so nicely in business; this is the first time we have ever corresponded and we hope to hear again from you. By the way did you receive the picture of Mother [his wife, Hannah-wbt] which we sent immediately on hearing from you; was intending to send letter following picture at the time, but the old saying, better late than never, will have to suffice for now.
With best wishes and complements.
Yours very truly,
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