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Ferrisburgh 10th Mo. 13th 1861
My [endeared?] Cousin, (Rachel Byrd)
Thy more than welcome, and deeply interesting letter, was duly [received?], and could I have acted in accordance with the promptings of my heart, it would have been replied to immediately - but circumstances often oblige me to defer the desired accomplishment of a good intention, and day after day I hope to do better the next, but the leisure seldom comes to me now, - for my cares are numerous, and body and mind often very unfit for the increased burden upon each; - do not accept this, dear cousin, as a complaint,- but as an apology for any seeming remissness towrds thee I love - in answering their really valued letters.
I had been hoping for a token of thy remembrance, and felt anxious to know how you were all faring, - but my chief anxiety had been on dear Mary's account, as I knew she was more unwell than usual, - when thy letter came I found there was other cause for anxious feelings, and heart-felt - sisterly sympathy with thee, my beloved cousin, - for I am sensible how great this trial of separation from a dear son - from such a cause must be to thee,- [How?] thy mother's heart will go with him waking and sleeping, and every [nerve? of Maternal tenderness and solicitude be upon the strain during his absence; - it will be a sad "waiting and watching",- but Oh May thy Heavenly Father sustain thy spirit through the bitter ordeal, and watch over and guide the beloved absent one, and bring him back in safety to you.
We have not yet experienced this great trial, tho' the prospects of it is ever before us, - for our beloved Rowland has felt for many weeks, that he aught to go with some regiment from this State, - that it was a duty, - but has deferred on account of our feelings; - we now feel that it is not our place to insist upon his remaining with us - Much as we desire it, and have told him so, - whether he will decide to stay or go, is now uncertain.
I both hope and fear, - for war is so horrible to me - as thou sayest - that I would have all whom we love, exempted from a participation in the dreadful work: I can see no glory on the battle-field, it is all terror, anguish, bodily and mentally, and the violation of the blessed precepts of Him who declared "My kingdom is not of this world" - else would my disciples fight." -
We were glad to hear that dear Mary is deriving benefit from her visit at the Springs near you, and wish it may continue after she returns to her beloved family, - I am truly glad that thou canst have her companionship - for it must be no small comfort, in these latter trials, - so that amid all the discouragements which may seem to surround our path, we often are obliged to acknowledge that there is "a silver lining to the cloud" - which illumines the lonesome way. - I wish thy dear Ann was nearer home the time will seem very long ere she visits you again. - We are much interested in hearing of all thy family, and all that thou art disposed to communicate rspecting their movements will always be received as evidence of thy affection, and confidence in our love for thee. - I think Timothy must be in a trying spot, - so near the scene of violence and blood-shed! - it seems sometimes, as if the perpetrators of such shocking outrages as have been committed in Missouri - could scarcely be [underline]human[/underline] beings! - certainly not [underline]civilized[/underline], - the acts are so diabolical.
Thou asks information concerning our dear ones at Waterloo, - we hear from them once a week, and frequently more than that, - Rowly is quite a writer, and tho' his letters are brief generally, they serve to assure us of their continued health and comfort - as far as they can enjoy much separated from us all, - they have [underline]all[/underline] been very homesick, and are still considerably affected by it, - Lloyd has suffered equally with the rest, - unless I except dear Aggy - it has been severe upon her precious child, - so that she proposed borrowing money of her father for her and R.
"to come [underline]home[/underline]" - she thought if Rowly was with her, she should have no difficulty in reaching the desired haven: it makes me sad to think of it. - [underline]homesickness[/underline] is such a [underline]desolate[/underline] feeling! and for a child to suffer so! Dear Ann has had "to lay a stone upon her heart", and strive to keep a cheerful face for the sake of those so dear to her, but the trial has been a heavy one for her, - she is so much attached to all of us, - and thinks so fondly of her cherished home, - it has always been to her "a dearer, fairer spot" than any other could be: in addition to her homesickness she has had a series of trials in procuring help, - girls in that vicinity being very scarce - at least such as are worth any thing, - a few weeks ago she had two sent from N. York by Lloyd's sister [Nishe?], - very good ones, but one was taken sick with Erysipelas in her legs - confined to her room for three weeks, and in addition to waiting upon and nursing her, Ann had to do nearly all the work which the girl had done, when well, - the other not understanding how to do it, one was German, the other a Prussian widow, - the German girl was patient and grateful for Ann's attenton to her, - [?] down a little too soon, - brought on a second attack - not so severe as the first, - but was so much discouraged that has decided to return to New-York, - where there are now thousands out of regular employment looking with fear and dismay towards the approaching winter, - which will surely bring great want and suffering to an uncommon number. Ann urged her to remain, but her heart is in the city, and thither she turned her face I suppose last week. - Sister Ann is at Waterloo and appears to feel quite at rest, - is quiet and cheerful, and the chldren cling to her very much, - she hears Rowly and Aggy two lessons a day, - and sometimes precious little Fanny thinks she too must be heard: the school is so far from them, that L. and A. think it will be better to have a teacher in the house this winter, - and sister cannot take full charge of them, - as her health - tho' improved, - could not bear the
confinement. It seems very, very long since all these dear ones left us and my heart yearns for them more than words can express. - but I strive to "hope on" for a heart-comforting meeting by and by, - not this year however as the times are so hard, - Lloyd's crops are good, and he is not at all disappointed in his farm I believe, but as yet the [underline]home[/underline] feeling does not come, tho' the place is far handsomer than this.
Didst thou ever meet with [Lucie?] Hazard, cousin William's widow - she was a very pleasant kind-hearted woman, - five weeks ago to-day she was suddenly [seized?] with something like apoplexy, was conscious that her end was approaching, bade her son Willy farewell and sent her love to her son Robert who is with a brother of hers in Chicago, - she became apparently insensible before long, - three physicians were soon there, but all their efforts proved unavailing, - she gave no evidence of much suffering but breathed hard until about seven o'clock in the evening. - when she passed from all the trials and temptations of Time: thy cousin R. had been sent for, and was there about two hours before her death, - her poor bereaved son was nearly overwhelmed with grief - the loss was so sudden, so entirely unexpected, - and they were so much to each other: he is an amiable, steady lad, about seventeen years old, - is still at the homestead, - a cousin of his Mother's about thirty - or more, keeps house for him, and George Hazard stays with him at night. - the poor child looks as if he had been very sick.
Perhaps thou hast heard all this, and that Dr. [Cramm?] too is no longer [?] amongst the inhabitants of this world, - if thou hast not I will inform thee that he was buried Four weeks ago this day. - his health had been poor for some months, but he continued to ride, - was confined to his bed only one day, and died very unexpectedly to his family - poor man he "lived unloving and unloved" - and I believe died unlamented, - tho' there was a semblance of sorrow, when the people gathered to perform the last duty to poor body:
there is something very painful in the contemplation of a life spent and terminated as his was, - there seems to be no bright spot in the whole course of it - at least none to endear his memory to any one, - not even his own family, for in that incle all his unamiable traits had full scope: but enough of this only as lesson to the living: his wife is very feeble and has been very ill, about two weeks before his death, they thought she was dying, - but she revived, - and it now seems probable that she may continue through the fall tho' the doctors think it heart disease, and death may occur suddenly.
John Wheeler too, is quite feeble, - he sits up some, but needs constant attention, - thy cousin R. visits him pretty often,- he has good care as Charles's wife is there, and she is a kind and skillful nurse, - she is a niece of uncle Caleb's - Mary Hartwell's daughter, but is wholly unlike the family, - gentle, well informed and lady-like in her manners. - she is a conscientious, serious person and is a truly valuable woman: we are glad that he has such a care-taker.
About four weeks ago our cousin Eliza came to see us, - she was with about ten days, and went from here to visit some friends in Essen - on the other side of the Lake: she apeared to feel pretty comfortable in mind, - tho' we thought rather less so than when here last, two years since: they are considerably embarrassed by debt, - according to their means of paying, and her husband is growing old: their adopted [deletion] daughter too, is in poor health, and altogether, cousin E. feels as if her lot is not very easy: she said Maria is on the wing again, having become tired of Michigan, - she is now in Canada amongst the Austins, and Eliza said she hoped that she could winter [underline]there[/underline], as she is a burden to her daughters and herself too, - made such, by her unhappy disposition: truly a sad prospect for life's closing day, as dependent as we all are upon others to soothe the hours of suffering, which come to most of us.
David Hazard is still alive, but it seems probable that he will not continue long, as he is confined to his bed, appetite poor, and at times suffers a great deal, - is very patient generally - his wife says - and he appears so, to others. Seneca's daughter Persis is with him, and has been, for some weeks, - she is his constant attendant by day, and occasionally his daughters come from Charlotte to stay with him all night: John is quite attentive I hear, but he has a great house in progress, and cannot stay long at a time I suppose. Rowland goes there pretty often, tho' David can evince but little interest in the visits, as he sleeps a great deal, when not in pain.
Of cousin Sarah I cannot tell thee much, as we have not been there and have scarcely any one of the family - this summer, - the last account in mid-summer - was that she was quite as comfortable as she had been lately, - Ruth Barker brought the intelligence - she had been there on her way to Ferrisburgh, - she made us a very pleasant visit of two days, it seemed quite like olden days, to have her here - she enquired kindly after thee, - and this reminds me that I am commissioned to insert a message of love from Sister Ann, Lloyd and Ann when I wrote to thee, - I know thou hast a warm place in the heart of each, and that they all feel an affectionate interest in thee and thine.
The woman who was here when R. was at your house, left us early in Ninth Month, her health was not sufficient for the work we needed to have done, and she was not quite [underline]adapted[/underline] to [underline]this[/underline] latitude; she had lived in [underline]Burlington[/underline] four years, and been accustomed to [underline["servants"[/underline], one of whom always stood behind her chair at table, as she waited upon the young women, - thati s, poured out tea and coffee - and helped them to pie or pudding, - [underline]we[/underline] do not have "servants", and our girls took offence at the term and its [underline]accompaniments[/underline], and they did not coalesce - they rather [/underline]coagulated[/underline], and a separation was no cause of regret: - it did seem [underline]very[/underline] ridiculous to [underline]me[/underline], to hear a grand-daughter of
poor old Hannah [Jacquary's?] talking so flippantly about "servants", as tho' they were a distinct species of beings [deletions]! Oh! how weak poor human nature can appear, when striving to soar beyond its ability.
The two girls and I move on quite comfortably, we can not have everything as I would like, but I endeavor to let a great deal go, and we do fare better than I anticipated we should, - they are kind and obliging, and I feel favored in having them; - yet the house is strangely altered, it is so quiet, - is [deletion] void of childhood's joyous laugh and song, - even yet I often find myself listening for the tread of little feet, - the times so dear to my heart, - and at times I feel a deeper loneliness than words can express. Dear Willy and Sarah have been with us lately, the first time since their cousins went away; - Sarah staid nearly a week, - W. two weeks, and both to leave then, - but the time set, had passed and we did like to keep him any longer, tho' it made us feel sad to have him go. these children are very dear to us, and gladly would we have them here often if we could.
May we hope to see thee, or any of you, this Fall? do come if you can, as regards my going to see thee I would most gladly do so, if every thing favored it, - and I hope to do so, still: was [underline]very[/underline] glad that thy cousin R. went last summer - and well pleased - when I learned how many were there - that I remained at home, - it would so much more agreeable to find without company, - if such a thing [underline[can[/underline] happen. -
I am glad Paulina's accident was not more serious, as such hurts often disable elderly people for months, - it always interests me to hear of her and her family, - as I hear her and Timothy in very pleasant remembrance, and would like much to meet them once more.
Thy cousin R. George and Rowland desire me to present their abundant love to thee and affectionate remembrance to thy children. -