New Old letters 1873 to 1885

I received a wonderful “new” batch of old family letters on loan from my Cousin Melva Austin Barney. As I type them up, I am posting them here on my site for you to enjoy.

I did the best I could figuring out what was written. I hope I haven’t offended anyone by correcting most of the spelling and  putting in punctuation.

I found several delightful surprises in these letters today. Hope you enjoy them.

February 23, 1873

Dear Lon,

I…write to you and let you know that I was well and hope you are well and how is Mort and Do [Dorrie] and Eldred and Ida and aunt Mary getting along? It is a bold day here. Is the snow out there now? We have 4 horses and we bought 3 horses…the best of the other horses and they run a way every chance they get. We are going to put in this year [stables?]

Me and father….will have about two thousand bushels of corn this year to husk. I miss [you] a lot. Good by

from wyk

November 20, 1873

Dear Lonnie,

I thought I would write and see how you were getting a long without Mother. She is not very well. 

What is the reason you did not write to me? I think it is real mean. 

I am having a good time, but I want to come home and see you all. How is Mort and Dodo [Dorrie, her brother]? Tell them I want them to write to me. 

Have you any snow. We have not got any, but it is cold enough. How is it up there? I had a very nice time Thanksgiving day. I saw? lots of rag muffins. Well, I must stop writing. I send my love to all. Write soon.

Ida A. Austin

[colored drawing of a two story house]

January 14, 1874

Dear Brother,

I thought I would write a few lines in answer to the letter that you gave to Maria to fetch to me and she left it to New York.

I have not seen Elsworth yet to give him that five cents you sent.

Ell goes with Marry West. He took her to Church last week and Harland? went with them and just as they was going down the first hill, Harland stuck out his foot and Ell fell flat and Mary almost fell. Ell was quite mad.

The snow is quite deep. Mort and Harry ride downhill a little and slide on your pond. I do not go out much. 

Mother is learn me and I learn the boys. I can not write much as I want to write to Marie and it is time I was studying my lesson, so I will close. 

Hoping to hear from you soon. I will close. My love to all. good by. 

write soon from your aff sister 

Ida A Austin [age 12]


Dear Brother Lonie,

I thought I would write you a few lines and let you know that the bull is alright.

Mortie wants to know when you are coming home. If you stay all winter, will you sell me your nuts and tell how much you want for them and I will send you the money in a letter.

I found your pocket book on the table the morning you went to New York and I put it in your box and nailed it up. I will close. write soon love to all 

good By

Ida A. Austin

Eldred found the key in his pocket

do not let anyone see this letter

December, Sunday 20th, 1874

Dear Brother Lonnie,

I received your letter the 19th and was glad to hear from you. I do not want you to give me the nuts for nothing. Tell me what you want for them and I will pay you. 

Mother says tell Nettie or Randy to be sure to come up with Maria. Be sure and have little Emma to come up with them. Mother says for them to come on Thursday, so they can go to Mr. Burl’s donation.

It is snowing quite hard and the ground is covered with snow. The ice on your pond is real thick. We glide on it a good deal. I wish you were here to slide on the pond with us.

Shurman [Sherman S. Leavenworth] and Maria Myers was married. They had a fight with boys that was making a noise out doors. Tommy, Annie, Mr. and Mrs. Colllins went to the wedding.

Love, to all write soon


February 21 1875

Dear Brother Lonnie

I received your welcome last night and now I set my self to answer it…

You do not think it can be any colder there than it is here. I guess if you had been here a week ago last Tuesday, you would maybe [think] it was colder here. The snow is awful deep here. It snowed all day yesterday, but the sun is shining bright today. 

I suppose you know the ME Church has been holding revivals from Eldred and his wife George Parker’s wife was taken in on probation. Mother says to tell you to be sure and dress warm and not get cold. Mr. and Mrs Burl were here week before last and stayed three nights.

Have you seen Mr. Culver? Does he look just the same as he did? If you see ?Larmmie tell her to answer my letter, but you will have to excuse a short letter as I want to [write] Marie and a few lines to Emma, so good by. 

Wrtie soon. Your aff. Sister

Ida A. Austin

[flower vase and flowers drawn in pencil]

December 9, 1875

Dear Brother Lonnie,

I received your letter last night and will answer it. I will send your book if I can and send my third reader to Harry, for I do not need it (the fourth reader). I have not been to school this week, nor have I been outdoors until today.

Agnes a little girl in school came around on Monday and Tuesday to see when I was coming to school, but has not been around since I am going around to school this afternoon just to report not to stay.

Mrs.Sims? is in here and I cannot write very well. I hope you are all well. Mother is a little better today. I am glad to hear you are going but wish you was here. I like it here real well and think you would if you were here.

“When you write, write all the news”. Have you heard anything from Marry West? Are you going to have singing school this winter, or anything else?

Excuse a short letter. Write soon. My love to all.

Good bye, your aff sister, Ida Austin

PS? [looks like PO]: Emma says her 5 reader is home in her big trunk. I guess and you can use that untill I can get yours to you.


January 31, 1876

Dear Brother Lon,

I received your very welcome letter last night and was verry glad to hear from you. Harry and I have have splendid times riding downhill. My oxen is growing real big. I wish you were home to ride downhill with Harry and I. Your pond is all covered over with snow. Ell takes Marry to church every once and a while. We are having a revival here in the ME Church. I milk a cow and lead my calf to water. Excuse a short letter. My love to all write soon. good by, your brother Mortie Austin

February 7, 1876

Dear Brother Lon,

I received your letter some time ago, and I have just got time to answer it. Mother came over on Saturday and stayed all night and I went over and stayed with Addie and Emma stayed with Addie last night, and I came home. Mother is going back today. Linnie and little Lon? or Leon? was to Net’s on Saturday to see Ida. 

I did not go to school this morning because I did not have time to learn my lessons on Saturday as I went over to Addie’s early in the morning.

Eldred went to Florida a Thursday. He had to buy a ticket.

When you write, direct your letters to Mother, 11 Picks Street, because we are going to move on Wednesday and I do not know the street or number. Em knows, but she is not here. 

I would write you a longer letter, but I have got to write to Maria and I have got to go to Bleaker Dr.? and put Mother on the cars. Mortie is going with her and I will be alone until Em comes, so I wil close. Write soon. My love to all good by

Your aff sister, Ida

New York, October 29, 1876

Dear Brother Lon

I thought I would write you a few lines. I have been waiting for a letter from you, but it has not come. I hope you will write to me. I want to hear from [you]. I wish you was here. I want to see you so much. I think you would like it here. I do. 

I have got the sweetest teacher ever was. She has gone to the Cent[enn]ial. I I guess she will be back on Monday. I hope so. She went on Friday after school. 

Lon, do come down. Write and tell me you will come as soon as Tom gets you a place. Please do. Don’t stay there any longer, but come as soon as you can. 

Lon if Em tells you anything to tell Jim Myres, do not tell him. Please do not let anyone see this letter, but burn it as soon as you read it. Lon do not tell Jim anything about me. 

Please write soon and tell me all the news. Good bye your ever true and loving sister Ida.

[something written on the back page, but I can't read it very well.]

Eldred, January 30, 1877
Mr. Alonzo Austin

The pleasure of yourself and company is respectively? solicited to attend a party to take place at the residence of Mr. George Clark on Wednesday evening, January 31, 1877 at 7:30 o’clock pm

Complyments of Charles Grinnell Jr.

Cuba, NY, August 1878

Dear Friend
Your kind and ever welcome letter was duly received on Saturday last and I was very glad to hear from you and as you said that you would like to come out here, I think it is the best thing you can do to stay where you are although it is none of my business, but it is very hard times and wages, or very low and You know that I would like to see you, but as work is scarce and wages to, I do not want to encourage you to leave a good home to go out in the world to seek your fortune as I have done, because it is hard to find it. 

I had news that you wanted to come a month ago. I could a found you a job, but now haying and harvesting is over and jobs are scarce again. A Eddie Myers? ? to tell him I want to hear from him soon. Give my regards to Ida and Ria?. 

Well Lon it is late I must bring my letter to a close, but by the way are we square on the watch trade. I have forgotten whether we are or not. 

Rite soon. if not sooner. from your sincere friend

L L Myers? [it's stamped on upside down]

Cuba Alagan [I bet it is Cuba, Allegheny county], NY

Eldred February 14th, 1882

My Dear Son
I received your more than welcome letter last night, but was disappointed in its not telling me that you had left for home. 

Oh, Lonie, with what longing and hope I have been waiting to see you and with anxious fears for your welfare. I began to be afraid you had gone on to Alaska, or that you  was sick or dead untill Aida received your letter. She said we might look for you anytime. 

Oh, my Dear child. Why don’t you come home? What can keep you? Can’t you get your pay, get enough to get home on some way. There is plenty of work here this winter. Come and see. Your Father said to tell you that if you wanted to see me alive, you better come home. I guess by that he wants to see you and oh, I want to see you more than words can express. 

Aida is going to school yet, but I won’t tell my news hoping that that you may hear all by word of mouth. I do hope to hear from you very soon that you are coming home right away.

Did Aida tell you I was sick and sent for her? I told her ever so much to write soon.

Don’t forget  your loving Mother

New York, January 23, 1882
Dear Little Tom
Gussie wants me to write you a little letter to tell you that he wishes you would come home and see as he wants to see you very much. He says for you to never mind about bringing the pup home, he thinks it will grow big faster if you leave it up there and he says you can have his Velocipede all day while he is at school and he thinks you will like the little horse that Santa Claus brought you very much.

You will have to hurry if you want to see that Christmas Tree as it is getting so dry we shall have to take it down pretty soon. You must coax aunt Mary to come down with you as we all want see you very much

Gussie wants you to write a letter and tell him what day you are coming home. I will not write anymore as I am most sick tonight.

Papa, Gussie and? mama all send you lots of love and kisses and hope we will see you home now very soon

Be a good boy and do not be saucy to aunt Mary. Good night and many kisses from 


New York December 10, 1882
Dear Ida, 
Maria says that she will answer your letter when her eyes get better. Tom says how is Jack and the pups? How is Aunt Mary? Mort also. How is Lonso, Tom and ? I have had a slay (sleigh) Ride Thanksgiving. I have a nice time going to school. All send love. I do not think this is very good good by
write soon
Gussie Thompson [Gussie was the young son of one of Aida's Austin cousins in NYC.]
[little drawing]

Brookside April 29, 1883
Dear Friend
I hope you will forgive me for not writing before. I have treated you real mean, but as it is the first time that I have done so, I hope you will forgive me for so doing I received your letter in due time…

Snowing here today. We are having a varry late spring, just sowing oats when it is time they were up. I am well as usual? and working at my trade? traid massion for 150 a day. This is my second year, so that I can not get very much, but I hope to get more next year. 

When you write, let me know what you are doing. You told me that you thought a fellow was better of with a mate than he was alone, but I am alone yet and will be for sometime yet and will let you know when it happens and have you on hand. 

I wish I had something to send you. Did I send you one of my pictures? If I did not, let me know. Anna and I are going to have ours taken together and I will send you one, if you have any, send me one.

from your friend, George A. Lovee

Brookside, Morris Co., NJ

Brookside, December 18, 1883
Alonzo Austin
Dear Sir
I have long thought that I would rite you a letter, but kept putting it off till now. I am now in a store here for a short time. 

While charging a young man with some tobacco by the same name as your first name is, I charged it to you. My boss wanted to know who Alonzo Austin was. 

I asked him what he wanted to know for. He said I charged you with some tobacco. They laughed at me a great deal, but it has been a long time since I heard from you. 

I am a married man now. I expect you are too, but whether you are or not, please come down and see me (will you). I would like to see you varry much if you will come down, it won’t cost you a cent to stay here. Customers is coming in so fast I will have to stop. Hoping to hear from you soon. I am yours respt
George A. Lovee
Brookside, Morris Co., New Jersey

Sunday May 11, 1884
Dear Brother Lon,
Your welcome letter was received  as ever with pleasure. I was glad to hear from you, but I think you are too slow about answering my letters. If you don’t write sooner next time, I will frig you in the ear with a stick. 

It is quite lonesome here after the good times we had last winter. I never enjoyed myself better in my life, so I have lost my dear Carrie. Well, bid her a finest farewell. Tell her for me that I am real glad to hear that she thinks so much of the bootblack and I wish her much joy and shall be happy to hear of her wedding for it would be a wedding in High life, no doubt of it. Tell her not to forget to send me a piece of cake. I presume you know how bad I fell over losing Carrie. 

Well Lon, the long looked for Austin arrived here, two weeks ago, Friday night. It is Miss Lillie Austin. Well, how does Uncle Lon sound? Don’t you fee quite proud at being uncle? Ell thinks that their baby is just right. He got it a nice carriage cast? 

We are having splendid weather only it is pretty warm. We have got corn up. 

I am too lazy to write so you will excuse me. I hope you will write soon. Tell me all the news. Love to all Yours truly, 

Cuffey Cove, Mendocino Co., CA, Aug 9th, 1884
Mr. AA Austin, Eldred, NY
Dear Friend,
Your very welcome letter of July 24, came to hand a few days ago to find us all well. My wife’s health is far better than when you left here. After you left she had a severe attack of the erysipelas, thought she would hardly get over it but she came through all right.

Rose has been married two years. Married a man by the name of Teal of Napa Valley. Mr. T is big, has pawn…went down soon after you left. I think it will be all right soon. 

I have a piece of timber 1 1/2 miles? from Abe’s landing. Live on it, got about 10,000. Tirs? made about 50,000 [They are 2+2 in 4 ft long] ?made stakes made. I will commence to have the stakes in about 10 days. Mr. Viland Grant and Warel and other failures of NY city has affected us here quite as much as the East. There will not be much love? until after election. I think then times will be better at least I hope so. 

My all here is depending upon the timber biz. If times get good, I would like to have you work for me. I would give you a job if I had one for any body about—school teaching they pay at Bowees $60 per month board costs $12 at Boners in the Valleys. The schools are larger board from $16 to $20 for month Salaries from $60 to $80 for month. If you want I will see the Trustees and see if I can get this school for your sister and if anything starts up in the Timber Biz, I will let you know. 

Now for what little news I can think of.

Jim Murphy married Mrs. Howard the July after you left. They lived together five weeks. Murphy left for parts unknown. She has applied for another divorce which will make four. I suppose she has another man spotted.

Ross Rower has been married for more than a year. Married a gal of Calistoga Napa, Valley. They live on Rowers Ranch up in the mountains. The Simpsons, Powers and Will Murphey are all at Calistoga.

Folpers live in San Francisco. Dix lives closest by us. They have a fine boy. 

My dear friend, I received one letter from you over two years ago, commenced a letter to you soon after. I was taken sick and never finished it. I am very glad you wrote again. We were very pleased to hear from you. I would for more place to see you. I will now close. My wife joins in sending our kindest regards to you
WD Muche?
If your sister should conclude to come out, I will do what I can to get her a school.

Sing Sing, August 11, 1884
Dear Miss Austin,
I would have written before I received the first letter from Miss Knipe, but I had not your directions…

Did you feel the earthquake at Eldred yesterday? Mamma and I were in our room dressing for the afternoon when it occurred. We thought some of the children were dancing in the attic, and our peace of mind was not at all disturbed. But when we descended, we found that the rest of the folks were congregated in the kitchen with very anxious faces…

Give my love to Miss K and tell her I will answer her letter as soon as I can.
Write Soon
Helena Gillespie

September 24, 1884
to Alonzo and Mortimer Austin
Your presence is requested 
at the Marriage 
of Emma Middaugh
to Howell Hankins
October First 
at One o’clock pm
at home
Eldred, NY
September 24, 1884
To AA Austin, Eldred, Sullivan Co., NY


envelope addressed to Mr. W. H. AUstin
Eldred, Sullivan Co., NY
Oswego, NY, Feb 26, 1885
Dear Father,
I have received the money from Eldred and hasten to let you know.

Your kind and welcome letter was received some time ago, but I have not had time to answer it before being kept so very busy with my lessons which are much harder this term than last.

We are not going to have finals this term, so it will all depend upon our classwork and our impromptus whether we pass form our subjects or not.

I am getting along pretty well so far, but begin to feel rather tired, and shall not be sorry to see the first of June.

I had a letter from Lon a few days ago. He tells me that he thinks the trouble between Mr. Perine and the Church will end in a law suit.

It seems strange they wil act so foolish. I should think that by this time, they could see it would be better to leave him alone.

Those verses were splendid, especially that one about the Governor.

Will you tell Lon that I received his letter and will try to answer it soon?

How is mother?  Does she keep well this winter?

I would write you more about the school and my work, but my head is aching quite a badly and I am very tired and sleepy.

Hoping to hear from you soon with love to all, 

I remain your loving daughter 

Oswego, NY, November 1, 1885

Dear Brother,
Both of your letters were duly received last week, but I had neither a postal card or stamp in and no time to run downtown for them (as I was extra busy all the week), and so I could not answer your letter immediately as I should have done to let you know that I received the money alright. Mr. Poucher was at the Welland yesterday afternoon to collect but I did not give him the money as it was not enough to make another full month’s payment. But he will most probably be here again next week and I can pay him then. So please be sure and send me some more money as soon as you receive this letter

I had a letter from Maria Friday. She says they are going to have ad onation at our house soon for Mr. Perine. I wish I could be there, but I suppose it is no use wishing. We had a party here last night, but I was so busy that I did not go down.

My room mate said they had a very good time.

Have you seen Becca lately and what is she doing? I saw her while I was in the City. She did not seem to feel very badly about going blind. I thought she would most probably make a great time and was quite surprised to see her so calm.

I suppose things are going on as usual at home. If our father left Sand Beach for good or does he go over once in a while yet? I do wish you would write me some news once in a while.

Why don’t you write anything?
Love to all. Write soon.
Your loving sister, Aida

New York, December 31, 1885
Dear Aunt Mary
Tom went down to Aunt Nett’s yesterday and I am alone with mama. She is not very well and wanted me to write for her to let you know that we have not forgotten you.

We often think of you and wish we could see you. Mama wants to know when you are going to be ready to come down. She sends lots of love and says she will send you the money for your fare when ever you will come. Grandma sends her love and hopes you will come down as soon as you can.

Hoping this will find you all well and wishing you all a Happy New Year with much love, I am ever your affectionate nephew,

A Austin Thompson

our address is 60 East 83 Street

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