Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 28, 1871

Friends at Home

Ashland Crossing, Iowa

June 2, 1871

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 429.

Dear Friends at Home:

Here we are on our way to Knoxville. James did not feel exactly free to remain away so we are to attend the meeting in Knoxville. We wait here from two o’clock till near seven and then proceed on our journey. 2LtMs, Lt 28, 1871, par. 1

We found our home in Iowa truly beautiful. Our home at Battle Creek can bear no comparison to this in Washington [Iowa]. Brother and Sister Abbey said that they had never seen anything half as beautiful before. Sister Abbey is perfectly delighted with the place. 2LtMs, Lt 28, 1871, par. 2

Nathan has kept up things in good order. We are well satisfied with the appearance of things. Venelia is perfectly happy amid her multitude of flowers. We had strawberries for dinner. They are low in the market, for they are rushed in from Muscatine. They sell for twelve and ten cents per quart. We had a mess of green peas for breakfast. Brother Abbey and James and Nathan have been making apparently destructive work with trees, trimming the orchard and shade and ornamental trees. 2LtMs, Lt 28, 1871, par. 3

We endured the journey well. We were not troubled with dust. I had good rest in the cars. Have slept considerably, curled up on the seat. Yesterday after dinner we walked out to the orchard. The sun was too hot for us. I was very much heated. I have not fully recovered. 2LtMs, Lt 28, 1871, par. 4

We shall return from Knoxville Monday. We hope to prevail upon Ben Auten to return with us and help Brother Abbey repair the house. 2LtMs, Lt 28, 1871, par. 5

We hope you will sow all the seeds you can. Make a frame for the trumpet vine. There is one at the corner of the piazza. It is a small one; is by the large lilac bush. The last needs to be framed. Sow morning glories where we spoke of making a kind of arbor. The gourd seeds have not been planted yet. Plant some gourds and morning glories around the trees in the peach orchard, the oak trees. Let the vines climb these trees. Do not neglect to weed the flowers. I expect Willie will want help in his strawberry bed from Loi and Lilly can help if she would like to. 2LtMs, Lt 28, 1871, par. 6

We do not expect to hear from Father till we return from Washington. We hope that Father is no worse. Keep us informed. If you need more help if Father should be worse, get it by all means. But a hired girl in the kitchen I do not think will be profitable. With calculation in regard to the work and if the children engage in it with will and heart, it would be a benefit to both Loi and Lillie to do the work of cooking, which is less now the family is reduced. The exercise will not injure them. 2LtMs, Lt 28, 1871, par. 7

Lucinda will be a good matron and I hope the children will obey her wishes cheerfully in everything. I believe that they will. 2LtMs, Lt 28, 1871, par. 8

It is my wish that the children study and write some each day. If they improve their moments, they can acquire considerable knowledge of the sciences so that when they shall attend school in the winter they will not be behind children of their age. If the children have a purpose and a will, they can advance in knowledge daily. If they really want to learn, they need not depend upon the excitement of school to stimulate them to obtain an education. If the children would practice writing, following closely the copy books and making use of the instruction they have had in writing, they can by practice become good writers. But patience is required in this as well as other things. This skill of writing correctly will not come to them without an effort on their part. 2LtMs, Lt 28, 1871, par. 9

An education cannot be obtained in school or out without mental effort. If the moments were employed by the children in study that they spend in reading with no particular object in view of benefiting the mind, of obtaining useful knowledge, very many could obtain a good education without ever entering a schoolroom and mingling with those of all classes and grades—the low, the vulgar, the proud, the vain, conceited, the impure, etc., and endangering their own morals by associating with them. 2LtMs, Lt 28, 1871, par. 10