Archive for May, 2008

Tina writes Emma in 1867 and 1868

Friday, May 30th, 2008


Sunday April 21, 1867

My dear Emma,

I guess you have begun to think I am the meanest specimen of humanity you ever met with for not answering you letter sooner. Perhaps you are not very far from thinking right, but excuse my seeming neglect for we have been very busy cleaning house and have had a great lot of company and my time has been occupied in attending to household duties so that I could hardly find leisure to write to you and now I have commenced I know not what to write about as there is nothing transpiring which is worth relating and I have long since exhausted my brain in trying to compare something sensible but have given up in despair, for sensible writing is out any line of business so do not criticize my nonsense too severely for it is only the outpourings of a nonsensical nature. 

I went to  church this morning and intended to go to the chapel this afternoon but was sadly disappointed for no one seemed inclined to do up the dinner work, so I had to remain home and do it myself. Oh Emmie, I get so discouraged that I sometimes wish I was dead. Everybody and every thing seems to be against me. I wish I could be with you and talk for I can not write what I should like to say to you, is for you alone and I do not care to give full expression of my thoughts on paper to be perused by other eyes than yours so shall have to wait until I come up if I am not disappointed about that the same as I am in everything else. 

I was up to Belle’s Thursday and spent the day. Belle and I went out…we had such fun. I enjoyed my visit very much and wish the world had a few more like Belle in it. There would always be happiness and peace if every one were like her. But I am going to write a little note to Belle so I shall have to close with much love to you all I remain your loving Cousin,



New York July 29, 1868

Dear cousin Emma,

I was very much surprised when I received those few lines from you asking me to answer your letter for I wrote to you more than a month ago and have looked for an answer so long that I had begun to think you had forgotten me or else I took up too much of your time by writing to you so often. But I am glad to find my self …although I can not account for your not receiving my letter, but there is no use trying  so much about it so I ask, let the subject drop.

So you are going to School in the village. Do you like it as well as you did going here? Mort said you came running out the schoolhouse to meet him and he could not think as to who it was. [Perhaps Tina's brother Mort.]

…Well Emma I was going to tell you that I cannot come up this summer and you cannot be home…disappointed than I am for I have made so much reckoning of coming and having such nice times with you but so it is and there is no use of murmuring.

Mother has been very sick but she is better now but her feet trouble her so that she cannot be on them at all. She does not even go out of the house, so you see I have enough to keep me busy and she could not possibly spare me this summer. I should dearly  love to come up if I could for the weather is perfectly intolerable here and I have not been well at all this summer, but I may as well maybe the …

Chapel is going to have a picnic on the second of August and I am going to attend. I wish you were here to go with me; but don’t you think they ought to wait one more day for the third of August is my 18th birthday and it would be quite an honor to me for them to celebrate my birthday. But I long to tell you that I was to your town to “Uncle Peters” [Maybe this is O P Schoonover that married Ann Mary Austin, daughter of Fanny and Ralph Austin?]. 

I went the first of July going with the intention of staying over a week, but they…urged me to stay much longer than I should like to have stayed…but I thought Mother needed me. While up there I formed the acquaintance of most all of Ernie’s relations. They were very friendly and sociable to me especially Carrie’s cousin Will Lavender. He was very gallant? and took me out riding and sailing very often and I tell you, Emma I just put…But enough of such nonsense. 

I want you to ask your folks to let you come and make me a good long visit this winter. I should be home all the time and you wont’ have to sleep in the the little old trundle bed either. Write soon and believe me, ever your loving cousin,



McKinley Postcards 5

Friday, May 30th, 2008








1866 Justina writes her cousin Emma Austin

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Feb 4, 1866

I was just beginning to think you had not received my letter…but I was very glad to find myself mistaken.

And now Emma you must excuse me if my letters are not as long as usual as I do not feel much like writing and would much rather have you here to talk to, but that is not to be…

We used to have nice times when you were here did we not…if we did have to sleep in the little bed…And do you remember the night I slept with you, and Grandmother [Hannah Hickok Eldred] thought It was Maria? By the way, give Grandmother a bunch of love for me. Tell her that I think of her often and that I like applesauce almost as well as I do myself.

Tell Eldred [James Eldred, Emma's brother] he must have a lot of apples picked for me by the time I come up and I hope he has got over his bashfulness enough to be able to give me a kiss.

But dear Emma, you can not imagine how I long to see you. It seems like it was twenty years instead of two since I saw you last. And I could not wait until next summer if I did not know I had got to.

But I have got a feared headache tonight and as it is Saturday night, I have my lesson to study for Monday. I do not study then on Sunday anymore. I am gettting to be good.

Emma, you shall know all you want to when I come up next summer.

I do not care about writing it and having it read, as it would be if my letter was open when you received it, but I guess I will bring my letter to a finale. Give my love to your Mother and Father and all the rest. Write soon and believe me when I say

your loving cousin,


Feb 28, 1866

My Dear Emma,

I suppose I deserve a good scolding because I have not written to you before this, but we have been so busy and had so much company that I could not possibly find time to write to you before and now that I have commenced, I hardly know what to write you for I feel unusually stupid and so if my letter is stupid, you will know why it is so.

I do wish it was summer so I could come up there. I want to see you so much and I long for a change of some description no matter what, I think it would…put a little more ambition into me of which I am sadly in need. Have you seen Aunt Laura [Laura Austin Clark, their aunt] lately? When you see her give her my love and tell her I want to see her awful badly and that she must come to NY and see us.

How is Grandmother getting along? Does she keep well and make you laugh as much as ever? How are all the little pigs and big ones…How is Billy Kyte and his pig prospering…

But I must close for I have got to get up early in the morning. So goodnight and pleasant dreams.

Love to all and believe me, 

ever your loving Cousin 



Sept 17, 1866

Oh dear Emma How I wish you could come and stay with me all winter. We would have such a nice time. I am home all the while and we could go out together and enjoy  ourselves fine. Can’t you coax your folks to let you come?

Have you heard form Carrie Newman lately? I have written to her twice but have received no answer from her and I am afraid she is sick. I wish when you write you would try and find out why she does not write to me. WIll you? I cannot write any more, as I am very weak yet. It is the first I have been up for three days. I came very near having the cholera, so near that there was not much fun in it.

Ever your loving cousin,


Love to all and write soon.


Dear Aunt [Mary Austin] from Addie 1865

Monday, May 26th, 2008

New York March 18, 1865

Dear Aunt [Mary]

I am now going to try and write you a letter. Whether I shall succeed or not remains to be seen. We have all been sick again (as usual), but I believe we are all convalescent now. I have been playing sick for the last few days but am getting about tired of it. I have been very sick of congestion of the lungs. I have not been out of the house for over a month.

I am going out next week if nothing happens. “Cousin George” [George Eldred?] was here to see about two weeks ago. He looks very well considering the “trying scenes” he has past through lately, don’t you think so?

Well how are you all getting along? Mother talks of coming up this summer, but whether it will end in talk or not I can not say.

We were very glad to hear that Uncle Henry was not drafted. How did it happen? I should have thought it would have past been his luck. There has been no battling in our district, nor will there be if the men volunteer fast enough to keep the Provost busy.

Mother finds liberty in employment in worrying about the draft. I don’t know what she will do for something to fret about should it pass on without hurting anybody.

How is Grandmother? [Hannah Hickok Eldred] Give her my love and tell her I have been quite a good girl lately. I have not laughed for sometime for the simple reason that I could not

How is Aunt Laura’s baby? [Laura Austin Clark, sister of W. Henry Austin] Emogene wrote that it was very sick. I hope she will not lose it. I suppose your boy is quite a young man if he grows at the rate he did when I was there. 

I am glad to hear that Billy Mires? was so sensible as to not go down with the bridge.

I am getting very tired and will try to bring this to a close before you get quite tired out. Mother sends her best love to you as do all of the rest…

Nettie talks of writing you today. She does not have much time for writing. You must give my love to Uncle Henry, grandmother and all my cousins both great and small.

Write soon and believe me with love your affectionate niece,

Addie Austin [Adelaide Austin, daughter of Augustus and Phebe Maria Eldred Austin]

PS How is brother Charles? Forgive me for not asking about him sooner. I hope he is [in] good health.


McKinley Postcards 4

Monday, May 26th, 2008

McKinley Postcards 3

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Tina (Justina) Austin writes Cousin Emma 1864

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

New York September 24, 1864

My dear Cousin,

Although a few days only have elapsed since I received your letter, yet I thought I would answer it today as I have more time to do so than I do any other day. I go to school now and you know with studying lessons and writing compositions it occupies ones time very much, so if my letter is not as long as usual, you must make some allowances for me and besides I have got a most terrible headache another plea for an excuse.

Mother [Phebe Maria Eldred Austin] says that she thinks if your Mothers’ [Mary Eldred Austin] eye does not get any better she had better come here and have it attended to. She will go to the infirmary with her and she will have the best of care.

I have not been to church at all today, but Nettie and I are going this afternoon and as it is most time for me to prepare my letter will have to be brief, next time I write, I will try and write something a little more interesting to you, hoping to hear from you soon, I remain ever

Your loving Cousin


my love to all

Though others may be dearer

In friendship’s brighter glee,

In strong connections nearer,

Emma forget not me.


New York Dec 18, 1864

Dear Cousin,

At last I have seated myself to write to you the long promised letter although I am almost ashamed to for I have put it off so long. But then they say things are relished twice as much when we wait a long time for them. Hoping [it will] be the case with you, I will only ask you to excuse me and I will try not to commit so grave an offense again.

I have not been to my much loved school for the past week as I am suffering very much with a bad cold in my head.

So our esteemed and most worthy cousin G E [George Eldred?] has at last stepped into the blissful bonds of matrimony etc…Congratulate him for me.

Well Emogene, how [is school and the teacher]? [Is] it work as good as ever and have you got any thumps on the nose like the one I received when I was there?

How I wish I had a monstrous piece of pumpkin pie. Do you make it as good as ever? And do you? Any more cucumbers and make them like the night we went on an exploring expedition down to the cellar? Is Retta [Henrietta?] as found of feeding the pigs as ever and has Maria gotten stung by any more hornets?

How is grandmother [Hannah Hickok Eldred] and cucumbers getting along? Does she eat as many as ever?

Tell Aunt Mary I am getting very thin for the want of a good dish of string beans and tell Grandmother I have at last learned to like applesauce and apple puddings and if she will only come and see us, I will make her an apple pudding everyday. But I guess you are getting tired of reading such nonsense and as I have another letter yet to write, I will bring this to a close, My love to all is the closing sentence of your loving Cousin’s letter, 




Dear Cousin Emma,

You told me not to write to you until I found time to write you a good long letter. I guess you will think it has taken me a great while to find time to write to you, but you know that schoolgirls have a great deal to attend to and you know I am always very particular in studying my lessons and in doing everything else required of me and you must not think it was for want of inclination to write that I did not do it sooner.

Now that I have commenced I do not know what to write about. I am still going to school; wish you were here to go with me. I expect to graduate soon with the highest honors my conduct in school has improved very much since you were here—had no less than six bad marks last week, but they were well earned. I do not write this because I think I’m smart. No. I am really ashamed of myself. but Em if you were in school (I mean in my class) I fear you would have a dozen bad marks unless you could control your laughing faculties better than I do.

I never was in a class where the girls loved fun so much as they do in ours. it seems to be the chick thing on which they live. Just as Miss Appleton, commences to hear the lessons, some girl will accidentally upset the pitcher of water over the floor, another pretends there was a rat in her desk, gives a yell and jumps most across the room, setting the class in the greatest confusion imaginable while a third is so frightened that she faints away: by the time order is restored, it is past the lesson hour and ciphering is commenced, thus affording an escape to the girls who did not know their lessons But I guess you are as tired of hearing about school as I am of writing it. I thought I would write you a little so you could have some idea of how we improve the time given us to learn.

Rand is still at Elmira. I wish she was home; it is so lonesome without her. I have to sleep all alone. Can’t you persuade your Father [Henry Austin, my great grandfather] to let you come and spend the winter with me? You know you are entirely welcome. I will do all I can to keep you from getting homesick and you won’t have to sleep in the little tumble down bedstead, nor in the dark bedroom for it is packed full of Belle’s furniture. I have the little front bedroom all to myself and we could have nice times if you would only come. If I could have my way, I would have you here in a jiffy.

You must try and behave well and not get your Spencer upside down.

But I have written so much now that it has been too much for me. I have got a fearful headache so you must excuse this miserable writing. We are all well and I am happy to say behaving well. Write very soon if not sooner and believe me ever,

Your loving Cousin


Cousin Mortimer Bruce Austin writes Great Great Grandpa Ralph Austin

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

I am going to leave Edith Emogene Austin at Albany Normal in 1872, go back to some older letters, and catch up with Emma later.

Here is an interesting letter from Mortimer Bruce Austin, son of Aruna Augustus and Phebe Eldred Austin. Aruna is a brother of Great Grandpa Henry Austin. The brothers are sons of Ralph Austin, to whom this letter is sent.

New York January 6, 1863

Dear GrandFather,

Your letter of December 18th came to hand in due time and I was very glad to hear from you, but sorry to hear that your health continues so poorly and hope this may find you enjoying better health. I have sent you a paper today by mail containing some very important news which I know you will read with a good deal of pleasure.

General Rosencrans has gained a great victory over the Rebels at Murfreesboro “Tenn.” After fighting five days the Rebels retreated in great disorder and our army is in pursuit of the fleeing enemy. The loss is said to be very heavy on both sides. There has also been a great battle at  Vicksburg and we have gained another glorious victory and the Stars and stripes are now waving over Vicksburg and the Mississippi is cleared of the Rebels. But there is no need of my saying anything about the battles as you can read it in the papers. We have not as yet received any particulars, but as we do I will send you another paper.

We are having very fine weather here at present and so far we have had an exceedingly mild winter.

Business is quite dull at this time, but has been very fair until within a few weeks past. Uncle James is working in the store that he used to cart for and is as well as usual.

Father’s business has been pretty good until lately.

Uncle Samuel was at our house Christamas and stayed two or three days. He has got  his discharge from the army. He looks much better than he did when he was here before.

I received a letter from cousin William Austin last month stating that he was at Nashville and enjoying good health. Said that he had been to Memphis and seen his mother and brother Charles. I don’t think of anything more of importance to write about. All the folks are enjoying good health except mother who has been sick since Christmas but is getting better.

Give my love to all inquiring friends and reserve a share for yourself.

I remain as ever your affectionate grandson,

M. B. Austin

I’m not sure who some of these people are. Here are some possibilities:

Uncle James, son of Ralph and Fanny, wrote the letter from 1858.

Samuel may be Ralph’s brother. Ralph and Fanny had a son named Samuel Knapp Austin, but I have that he died in 1850.

It is interesting that M. B. Austin talks about his father’s business, as I have his father’s death as 1855.

I don’t know who William Austin or his brother Charles are. 

Another letter: This one is from a sister of Mortimer Bruce to Mary or Henry Austin, I think.

Nov. 15, 1863

“Isaac Teed was here Thursday. We went to a party in the evening and had a right nice time. He had a letter from cousin Eddie about a week ago. He said that poor Will was dead. He lived 8 days after being shot and was insensible all the time.”

Net Austin

[Antoinette Augusta Austin, daughter of Aruna Augustus and Maria Eldred Austin.]

Isaac Teed may have been the father-in-law of Samuel Knapp Austin or Clara Austin Teed, a daughter of Ralph and Fanny Austin. (Two of Isaac’s children married Austin siblings.) I suppose it could also be a son or grandson of Isaac.

May and June 1972: Emma Writes her mother and father from Albany

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Albany May 19, 1872

My Dear Mother

Another rainy Sunday! It has been raining all day and I haven’t been out of the house since yesterday afternoon when were went up State Street and through the grounds of the Capitol for a walk. The grass is so green, the trees are all leafed out and the flowers in blossom and it is very pleasant here so much nicer than N Y. I thank fate every day that I am here instead of there. I never was away from home when time passed more pleasantly or quickly than it does now. Only six more weeks and I shall be with you all again. I am so glad I can hardly wait for the 3rd of July. O, mother, I want to see you so much.

Libbie Koffinagle, one of the girls here was taken sick last week. She caught a very heavy cold and I think she is consumptive, though it makes her angry to say so to her. She has been studying very hard and is  half tired to death and way.

The Faculty of the school held a consultation over it Friday and Prof. Husted came yesterday and told her she must go home. She was getting along so well in school it seems almost too bad. Miss Daly was  in to see her today. Carrie said she wanted to know where the “little Miss Austin” was. She always calls me little and I’m used to it. There are plenty home smaller than I am and she herself is not much larger.

We met Miss Miss Kirtland on the stairs Friday. Carrie asked her standing and she said it was very good, then turned to me and said, “And Miss Austin’s is all right.” Carrie said afterward, “Miss Kirtland meant both of us when she said the standing was alright. She did not mean that yours is better than mine.” I did not suppose that she did. I do not doubt that Carrie is as good, probably better than mine and I should not have thought anything of her saying so if Carrie had not mentioned it.

Sunday 26th

I commenced this last Sunday. I will try and finish it today. We were up to the cemetery yesterday and went through the hot houses with Miss Gordon? I never saw so many flowers before. I wish we had some of them home…

[she talks about paying $1.50 for a room]

“I wish you could get my money of Mr. Myres unless? he has paid it you, and send it to me. I owe Mrs. Wright some for board room. I paid her five dollars of the money Father sent me last. He gave me 4 dollars when I was in NY, but I spent some there. I think Mr. Myers ought to pay me now.

I received a letter from Mary Darling last week. She thinks [first I thought it said Maria, but it may says something closer to Maina] Tassaskmass? ought to take the village school and board at Sergeants. I wonder if Joe would not have liked it just as well if she would have kept the Beaver Brook School and boarded there. She says Joe is sick.

I shall have to stop. Please give the enclosed letter to Emma Kelso, and tell Eldred I will write soon to him. With love to all, and especially my mother, I am as ever

E E A [Edith Emogene Austin]


Albany Monday June 11, 1872

My Dear Father,

Your letter was received last Tuesday. It was the first that I had had in two weeks and you may be sure it was welcome. That afternoon I received one from Mother and Lonny. Mother said she had been sick. Ida forgot to write the cousins. She had been so busy she did not have time to write. I am quite anxious to hear from Mother again. I hope she is better. I was sorry to hear that Addie was so sick. I hope that she will go up with you…

I wish you were going the 3rd instead of the first. If Dr. Alden will let me, I will not stay for the closing exercises, but will go the first that is if you will meet me at Newburgh and go home that way.

Annie Collins said she always went that way and that it costs less than to go right through from NY. I am very much obliged for the money. I shall owe Mrs. Wright nearly $30 yet when school is out. I have paid her $60 and my washing has cost some. She does the most of it without charging extra. I am sorry it costs so much.

I wish I could teach as soon as I go home. I would just as leave as not if I could only get a school. If Bee would only give up hers for a little time.

I asked Miss Daly my standing this morning and she said it was good in all my classes, and excellent in arithmetic. I know it is good in algebra as Mr. Jones let me see it and I had only one 8, two E’s and the rest were 10s. He gives me three tens in one day sometimes. We were examined in Physiology Firday and changed it for Physical Geography this morning.

I went with Carrie yesterday morning to hear Budgeman preach. He is called the Beecher of Albany; the sermon was very good, but I should prefer to hear one from Henry Ward. They raised 26,000 dollars to finish paying for the church. It cost 152,000. And this much had not been paid. Gov. Hoffman as some one called him was there. I am sure it was him because he looked so much like the picture that  we saw of him in the Bureau of Military Statistics.

I must stop writing and learn my lesson. I am obliged to ask you to excuse the writing again and have only the old excuse as poor pen, which you must be tired of hearing and I ashamed to give.

Tell Addie I spent yesterday afternoon or a part of it writing verses to Ida. I commenced some to her, but took pity on her and stopped before I finished them. Give my love to her. I wish I could see her.

Father, if you have not the money to spare now, I guess Mrs. Wright would be willing to wait a little while for it. I am sorry I owe her so much. Please write to me soon and oblige.

Your affec. daughter


note: Addie is an Austin cousin. Emma’s father Henry Austin (my great grandfather) worked in New York City and it seems must have lived with or near the Austin nieces and Nephews. I’m not sure how often Henry returned home to Eldred.


McKinley’s Postcards 3

Friday, May 16th, 2008