Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Old letters: Mrs. D. Mashias (?) writes to Mrs. Eva Mercer, 1912

I have loved reading about the pioneers all my life. I found an old letter in an antique store this weekend from a lady in Iowa to her sister in Kansas, talking about their difficulties in homesteading. I'd like to share it here. The letter is transcribed below the pictures, and I've kept the original punctuation and spelling.

[FROM: Mrs. D. Mashias (?), Lenox, Iowa TO: Mrs. Eva Mercer, Baldwin, Kansas / Aug 3 1912]


Dear Sister & Family,

I guess I had better write. I think our letters crossed again. We kinda have a hunch to write the same time at any rate we hear from each other . I guess we each have plenty to write about and thats the weather. To start in with, it will soon be 2 months since we have had any rain to speak of. have had only 6 in of rain fall since Jan. 1 [?] so you can form some idea how vegatation looks. Our pie plant we set out in the spring is gone. And we watered garden & everything till one well went dry. And concluded not to haul water. Wheat was not very good crop from 2 1/2 bo [?] to 16 on valley land. Oats were the same way. I think we have enough hay up to carry our few head of stock through. We have no grain for feed. Have about 400 chickens, after we cull out the roosters. We want 200 pullets. Have hopes that they will go laying before we exoust o[u]r feed money supply. And with our 3 young cows we can live. It sure gives a person a feeling they want to live in an irrigated country.

We had a fine prospect for crop till this set in and it nearly brings tears. Yet where I read there is 16 other states that have drought sections larger than Kans or more families in need, we should not complain I guess. Our potatoes done fine as to the amt of ground we had in. Would have put more in if we had been extablished and knew our land better. Sold around $50.00 worth [$1171.42 today] and by the looks we will have to be content as that is the sum total of our crop sale. Now its up to the cows and hens to feed us. Every one is worried not blue. What the end may be. This heat is driving us wild today I had to stop and come to the house. And let the outside work go on. It may look crazy or lazy but what do I care. It beats being sick. I just don't know which way to turn. Seems like I have reached the end after 4 yrs of failure. Having the children give us money to live on when we are able bodied. And work is crushing. Roland seems to think we ought to be content with a roof over our head, where its furnished. Yet when you plant and have everthing dry up just before our eyes. And no work to do. for no person has enough money to pay for anything only food.

I don't mean to complain yet these are fact of which I can't controll. Not finding fault with our Maker or cursing the Country or Govm't. Yet we can't support ourselves I know I have written about the same trend of thought in the last 4 yrs. I hope you will forgive where we work with hope we would like to reap.

We wet the ground so the chickens will keep cool. and they sure look fine. Have 2 fresh cows. I ought to have some cottonseed meal to keep them up, the dry feed is not sufficient. Have been letting the calves get their supply of feed from their mothers. So they are fat, and will sell them soon.

I hope you are well & Florence has been able to go back on her work before this. How I wish I could help you. I know Florence will say another blue letter. Why don't they move to a better state. We may.

As ever Charlie

Thurman wrote Mrs B - would like to have us back on her place

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