Jane Plank Brandow Hass"
Contributed by Karol Hughes
Most of the following letters were from Rachel
Jane Plank Brandow Hass to her son and daughter-in-law in Tonica, IL. However,
there are also letters from and to other family members. These other writers are
all noted at the beginning of the appropriate letter. The letters were in the
possession of Celia Brandow Barton, great-grandmother of the transcriber, and
presently are in the possession of her other great-granddaughter, Lisa Barton
Piecha. The letters have been edited to make them easier to read as very little
punctuation and capitalization were used in the originals. Much of the spelling
was left the way it was written.
Rachel Jane Plank and Charles E. Brandow were married in 1861.
He died in 1864 leaving Rachel Jane with two very young sons, Howard and Frank.
Howard migrated to La Salle Co, IL in 1881 and Frank followed later. Howard
married Emma Nancy Ford in 1890 and they had two children, Celia Ella and
Charles Elmer. Emma’s parents, Francis Ford and Celia Rosaline Allen, lived in
Lexington, Greene Co. prior to their move to Illinois.
Rachel Jane married a second time to John Hass. After his
death, in early 1898, Rachel Jane moved to Illinois to be with her sons.
I have added notes about the people mentioned in the letters
and their family relationships. Keep in mind the family genealogy is a work in
The first letter is a Ford family letter. Although the
letter was written to ‘Emma’, from the date and contents I would say this
letter was written to Celia Rosaline Allen Ford. One of her daughters, Lillie,
died in 1890 at 4 years of age. I believe the letter was written by Homera
Brandow Humphrey Hitchcock. Her mother was Merinda Ellen Stryker and Celia’s
mother was Excy Stryker Allen. They were daughters of Peter B. Stryker and Mercy
Rullifson. Emma and Mittie may have been some of those family nicknames that
have nothing to do with a person’s real name. Homera’s father was Cornelius
I’m still working on the family relationships of the
Strykers and the Allens. It appears three Stryker siblings and three Allen
siblings married: Jacob Stryker and Caroline Allen, perhaps the ‘Aunt
Caroline’ mentioned in this letter; Hetty Ann Stryker and Jacob Allen; and
Excy Stryker and Cornelius Allen.
Main and Roy were probably Peter Romaine Brandow,
Homera’s brother, and his son Leroy. Rose was probably Rose Alice Gaylord,
Homera’s sister. Blanche was the daughter of Homera and John R. Hitchcock.
Andrew Baldwin was married to Charlotte Stryker, the daughter of Jacob and
Minnie was Celia Rosaline’s eldest daughter.
She was born in Lexington, Greene Co. a few weeks before the family’s
move to Illinois.
Note: smart means well.
Manorkill May 18th 1890
It is a long time since I received
your letter & should have answered it soon after receiving it but have been
so very busy. Rose & Main & Roy, that is Main’s boy, have all been
sick. Rose was taken about the first of March. She had the grippe first &
then typhoid fever & soon it has settle[d] in her left limb & foot. They
are swollen nearly as large as two[?]. I have been there the best part of the
time for six weeks or more. Main & Roy had typhoid fever but they are both
smart now. Nearly every one around here had the grippe last winter.
We have been down home today. Pa
& Ma are well as usual. Georgie is staying with them this summer. He went up
to Sabbath school this morning & went up to E___ a little while. He said
Rose was a little better today. He is agoing to have a birthday party the first
of June. He will be 12 years old. He is making great s___ing on it. I wish your
children could be here. Blanche says she don’t know what she will take him
They had a great fire in Gilboa two
weeks ago last night. There was three dry goods stores, one hard ware store, 1
church, one hotel, cabinet & undertakers building, monitor office, telegraph
office, harness shop, two blacksmiths shops & quite a number of dwelling
houses. Andrew Baldwin lost some by the fire but the house where they lived did
not burn. Pratt[?] Selleck’s grocery store burned also. They lived in the
upper part of it. They saved some of their clothes & some furniture. We were
down the next day. It looked terrible around there. Aunt Caroline said she could
not look at the fire. We saw her in the street. She is quite smart. She was up
to Pa’s last Winter & stayed a week. The house next to Uncle Sponzo’s [perhaps
Alonzo] burned but they saved his, but a great deal of the furniture was
We are milking 25 cows so you can know we have plenty to do. We have just
finished cleaning house last week. I have the same girl to work for me that I
have had for two summers past. I guess we are going to have winter here all
summer & we have so much rain it is almost impossible to get our crops in
We were very sorry to hear that your
baby was dead for we can imagine how lonely it would be to part with our little
ones. Has Ella returned to Streator yet? Write me about all the friends. Tell
Minnie I will write to her by & by. As I did not receive her letter until
after yours I thought I would have to write to you first. Her letter was missent.
Uncle Steve is not very smart. He has
a bad sore on his life. It has been there nearly a year. He hires a man &
woman & is running his farm this year. John has just laid his paper aside
& picked up my letter to read. I guess he will think that I have written all
the news & I guess I have. Blanche has gone to bed. She sleeps alone in her
crib & thinks she is almost a woman now.
Well, Emma, as it is getting bed time
I guess I will close. With love to all, Hoping to hear from [you] soon &
promising to try to do better in the future, I remain your Cousin,
Aunt Ann was Rachel Jane’s sister, Cornelia Ann Edgerly.
Ann was William Edgerly’s second wife. Ina was their younger daughter, Grace
Iantha. The ‘Gramma’ referred to in this letter was Eliza Vedder Plank,
Rachel Jane’s mother. ‘Uncle George & Aunt Gusta’ were Charles
Brandow’s brother and his wife, Augusta. Uncle Dr. John Vedder was a brother
of Eliza Vedder Plank. He was still living in 1902 according to another letter.
George Hass was the son of John Hass from his first marriage.
Catskil Dec 14 1890
I will try to answer your very
welcome letter received the third. Glad to hear that you were all well. It found
us the same. Glad for the Pictures. Think they are nice. Aunt Ann said the same,
that they were nice, and wanted me to thank you and Howard for them for her to
you. It is cold but no snow so you see we can’t sleighride; splended wheeling [skating?].
Gramma is not confined to her bed. She lies down through the day. Was out to see
her Thursday past. She said to give her best wishes to you and Howard and Frank.
I hardly think I can come to help you
tie that comfortable [comforter], but I think of coming visit if [for]
nothing more than to help raise chickens and turkeys. Chickens are worth
fourteen cts, turkey 16 to 18 cts per pound, butter 29 to 30 cts, egg thirty cts.
Remember me at your Christmas dinner.
How I wish my self and John could be with you. We are invited to spend Christmas
with Uncle George & Aunt Gusta. Brandows invited. Also invited out to Aunt
Ann Edgerly’s, but will go to Uncle George’s. They invited us first. George
Hass asked his Father & me over to Thanksgiving dinner. Uncle Dr John Vedder
came up two weaks ago. Did not come to see me as he did not know the number and
he is troubled with a very severe headache so he hurried back to Saugerties. He
has these bad headaches once in seven or eight days. I think probably he will
die in one of them spells yet as he is seventy three or four years old, so you
see he is not able to stand many of them.
Tell Howard John A Foot sold his
lumberyard to Ed Lampmen. Ina Edgerly has bin very sick. Is out of bed now. Does
not go out yet.
I think your dress must be very
pretty. H__ has a god choice. I think I will send you a piece of my dresses.
John and myself atended Mrs Meach’s Daughter[‘s] wedding. He did not dare to
took up. She was drest in a cream collord henryetta cloth, plain.
Last Thursday evening we had company
to supper. What do you think, the spout came off of my teapot, but we had had
our supper. You could not have cut it of any smoother. My little granddaughter [John’s
family] said, “Granny, you will have to drink water.”
Well, I will have to close for you
will not be able to read what I have all ready written. The Children on the
street have me nearly wild. There are so many teams of horses going just as fast
as they can, Children screaming. And I say no more. Tell Frank I will write to
him in a few days. Write soon & often. Make the rest write, to.
This from your Mother R.J.H. to her Daughter Emma
Don’t fail to write.
Aunt Mary is probably Mary Brandow Underhill Raymond,
Charles Brandow’s sister. Her second marriage was to Isaac Raymond. They lived
in Tonica, IL. Ell Edgerly was Ellsworth Elmer Edgerly. He was the son of
William Edgerly from his first marriage to Elizabeth Brandow, another sister of
Charles. Eva Hopkins was the daughter of George Hopkins and Rachel Catherine
Brandow, yet another sister of Charles. Ellsworth married Rachel Melinda
Hopkins, his cousin, in 1892. The Hopkins family and Ell Edgerly lived in
Granville, Putnam, Co. at the time of this letter. [Ell and Melinda lived in
Iowa for several years.] Truman Brandow is not mentioned in these letters, but
he was a brother of Charles, Elizabeth, Rachel, and Mary. He lived in Granville,
Viola Burget Sherman was a cousin to Rachel Jane. Viola’s
parents were Jeremiah Burget and Maria Vedder.
Agnes was Ann Plank Edgerly’s elder daughter.
Catskill Feb 27 1891
Emma, Excuse me for waiting so long
before answering your very welcome letter. Would like to hear from you oftener
than I do. What is the matter that Howard does not answer my letter? I have had
no letter from him since Sept past. Why is it? Tell him to write & explain
himself why it is. I know he does not like to write.
We are well. Hope this will find you
the same as it leves us. I have not seen mother in a long time. Can’t say when
I can go out. Was out to Violia Sherman’s on Monday past. Had a nice time.
Tell Howard Dave Duncan has softening
of the Brain. Addison Beach went to feed his cow in the morning, the next day
they found him frozen to death in the feed hose.
It is cold today. We have had quite a
sever snow storm yesterday, but is clear and cold today. I have been making
pillow cases, white shirts & so on. Collored carpet rags. I sopose you have
your carpet woven, have your not. I do not think I will get mine ready until
Fall. Have you got your quilt done? If so I think it must be nice.
Mother has fallen and hurt her side
very bad. Aunt Ann & Agness was here Monday. I was not home but was told
they had to wait to see the Dr so they came up to see me. Agness has not bin
very well. She has a very bad cold. As it is very sickly, Ann is scared about
her. A great many sudden deaths. She [Agness] said. the last I saw her
she felt good, but she coughs quite a little.
Where is Frank? Tell him to write to me. I live on Main street
one and the other grocerier.
Pedlar tramp are at the door so I do not know what I have
written. So I do not blaim you for not writing oftener for I think you can
scarcely read what I have already written.
Did Uncle I_c and Aunt Mary go out to
Ioa [Iowa] last Fall visiting? Has Ell Edgerly bin out to see you yet? He said
he would go and see you the following his return home. He said Eva Hopkins was
in school at Chicago.
I often wish you and Howard and Frank
could come home and see us. Think of you all very often. I dream of H and Frank.
I thought Howard was gone and I could not find him. I am afraid Frank or himself
is sick though I have not much faith in dreams. I would like to hear from Frank.
Where & what he is going to do? Answer this letter soon as convenient. I
want H & F to write as I am willing to read all and answer all the letters I
get. Love to all. Good Bye.
This from mother Hass to Daughter Emma
soon & often as you can.
Eliza Plank died October 1893. Lulu Plank was a daughter of
Henry Martin Plank, Rachel Jane’s cousin. The grandson who died was from John
Hass’s family; George was probably the father. Mary Lizzy was George’s
daughter. Alfred Lorenzo and Edwin were sons of Abraham Vedder, brother of
‘Uncle Peter Vedder,’ ‘Uncle Dr. Vedder’ and Eliza Vedder Plank.
‘Girty’ is Gertrude, daughter of George and Augusta Brandow; ‘Little
George’ and Frank, their sons. They had a third son named Charles.
James Priest was married to Angeline Brandow.
Catskill April 21st
true it is along time since I have had a letter from you or yours, but do not
think for one singal moment that I had for gotton you, but I have not at all
times been able to write to you. Am better at present.
Was out to mother’s. She is
helpless. Has to be lifted in and out of bed for over four months. She can use
her hands but can’t walk. She had a shock of Paralacys the twelft of April
1892. It was of the throat so she cannot speak plain. Those who are not
accustomed to hear her speak would not understand her. She sends her love to you
and Howard and Frank. Says kiss baby for her and tell her it is Great Granmas
kiss sent to her from Cauterskill
It snowed here the day after I was
out to see mother. I think there was all of four inches of snow. The spring is
Aggie Edgerly and Frank Adsit were
married Easter morning. Live in New York. Lula Plank and Frank Barker were
married Apr fourthe. Live in Freck, Cattaraugus C. _ N.Y. Tell Howard, Sellick
Smith is dead. He was in the afternoon buried and his sister died the morning
after his funeral.
There are but very few doors that the
messenger of death has not entered and left an aching void. The tenth of
November our little grandson was taken with membrane croup. Died the twelft. Ten
months old. We mis him very much, but our loss is His Eternal gain. I expect to
meet him, if faithfull, on the other shore where we shall meet to part no more.
Mary Lizzy Hass have bin sick for
three weaks, not any better yet. I fear it will be consumptions in the end. Lib
Ryan is dead. Leves four small Children. Just Eleven months to a day be tween
her and Will Ryan’s death. Mrs Ryan has Lib’s Children without the baby.
That, Mrs. Bell has in charge. Lib was only twenty nine yrs.
Peter Vedder died February the fourteenth, buried in Jefferson. He gave his wife
seven hundred and fifty dollars or the use of one third of his real estate.
Lorenzo gets three hundred dollars. Uncle Dr Vedder’s son, Charley, gets three
hundred dollars. The rest of his real and personal property goes to Edwin Vedder.
Frank Overbaugh has bought Peter
Martin’s place in Cauterskill. Moved on it first of April. George Akins has
bought James Priest’s for twelve hundred dollars.
Sally Ann did not move on her place
this spring. Stay where they are on the Saugerties road near John Post’s.
Aunt Augusta has bin quite sick. Was
not able to go to see her. Better now. Am going to see her soon. Have not bin to
see her since Girty went to work in Bridgeport Connecticut. Uncle George is
night watch in the Ice house at the point yet. Little George and Frank are
clerks in Boughton’s store. Frank is carryer boy.
Unable to place Aunt Sally Ann Perry. Charles had a sister,
Sarah Ann, but she married Abram Van Gorden.
Catskill Feb 25, 1894
Dear Son & Daughter,
It seems to me it is a long time
since I have heard from you. You say you don’t owe me a letter. You owe me one
when ever you can write to me. Always glad to hear from you & yours.
Is Howard cutting caps yet? It must
be hard for you to do the chores, or does he help you? I sopose Frank does them
when he is with you. Is he with you now? I am so glad Howard sold that black cow
for I did not like her, she was no good. How is Fanny? Has she got all right? I
was very sorry to hear the pigs had eat up three of your Ducks for they were so
nice. Does your hens lay good now? Eggs are 22cts a dozen down here now. I hope
they will be cheaper by Easter time
Mr Boyl going to stay on his place this year or will he move away? I sopose
farming work will soon begin.
has done very little work this winter. He was coming acrots the River when he
slipt and fell & crack one or two of his ribs. It seem with my own trouble I
still had room for more, but [he] thinks he will go to work Tuesday, that is if
nothing happens again. We have good Ice weather now. It has bin bad the fore
part of the winter. Now from twelve to sixteen below zero but very little snow.
We have had a great long series of
protratter [?] metings. A large number claim to have come out from the world
& turned to Christ. I live to do his will but I have not bin able to go to
any of their metings for the reason that the air hurts my face & so I was
kept in doors.
Tell Howard & Frank that Aunt
Sally Ann Perry is going to moove in her own house in Cauterskill first of
What become of the Dimon Drill
company? Did they fall through the basket?
Emma I used the last of my Citron
sauce yesterday. It was nice. Is yours all gone?
Did you have enough for Celia’s apron
without pieceing it? If I could have went myself I would done different. I want
to know who knit her other pair of stockings.
Emma, I want to
hear from you often. Do not wait for turns. I wish I would get a letter every
day and pass my time. I am lonesome.
Tell Celia Granma
has her letter yet. Reads it often. She must write to Granma when mamma writes.
If Granma & Granpa lives we will come out when Granma’s face gets well.
The Dr wants me to stay in case it should break out again, yet he said he
thought it would be all right
Brandow looks very bad. Girty has had the irricipalas [?] in her face for two
weaks. Better now. Little George & Frank work in Doties store. Charley goes
Emma, perhaps another year if we all live we will come out
& be more help than now. If things go right as I hope & trust it will.
We would come this spring only for the Dr. wants me to stay untill he does
Howard must not
have his hair cut so short on the top of his head again for he don’t look
natural. I am sleepy. Granpa is on the lounge asleep and I will stop writing.
Love to you all RJH
Hattie was Emma’s sister. Not certain
who Aunt Geanere was, but Emma had an Aunt with the name of Jeannette in the
[crowded at top]
We have gone down stairs to live. Like it
better than we did upstairs.
We have an imporded sparrow bird. His
plumage is something grand. He chirps & wistles so you see he is no
songster. [We} have him for his beauty.
Catskill Sept 9th 1894
Dear Son & Daughter,
I thought I would
write you a few lines this morning. We are as well as usual. Wish you &
yours enjoy the same blessing when these few imperfect lines reach you.
We had a little
rain Wednesday night & also yesterday. How is the weather where you are,
Emma? Write & tell me. We feel worried about you. Has the Fires reach any
where near you? Father feels very uneasy about you. He thinks your are burned
out. The fires have bin some thing terrible around here and all our surroundings
both East & West, North & South. Have bin almost surounded by fire. The
Wallkill Valley road was burned so the traines did not run. Do not know wether
they run yet or not. Father has worried so much he has me near killed and I
worried in my own mind so I did not sleep at all good. Now Emma, if you have had
bad luck in any way, write. I think of your horses. They have died around here a
great deal and all of their best horses died.
The dry weather has
bin worse than was ever known around here by the oldes people. We wet our garden
and it looks very good concidering the dry time. Very warm this morning. Think
we will have more rain.
We have six stained
windows in our M.E Church. One in memory of Henry & Sally Gaylord, one of
Newton Keler, one in memory of Emmory M. Gage. They are nice.
I have a beutifull
sofa pillow to work for Agness. She sent it three weaks ago, have not worked it
yet. Will this weak if nothing happens.
you get my last letter? I have written two, this is the third one. No answer
yet. Did you have the Baby’s Pictures taken? It seems I can’t wait to get
one. O Dear, how much I think of you & yours. It seems six
year since we left you. Hope we will see each other soon again. Has Hattie come
home? I have looked & looked. Have not seen her yet. Hope she won’t come
home & not see me for we want to have her come so much. Emma, I believe I
would walk 20 m to see you. How I wish you could come with Hattie. Kiss the
children for Granma.
How is Frank? When
have you seen him? How are all the Friend around there? Aunt Geanere sent her
love to me. Tell her she has my best wishes and I think of her very often. Also
remember the pleasant visit we had with her & family. Love to her.
Emma, I want you to
write soon. Granpa is sure some thing is the matter. If it hant [?] the fire
then he says some of you are sick & don’t write. If all is well write
& get it off of your mind so I can write again. Ma Hass, Pa Hass
Kate Ham was Sarah Catherine, a
daughter of William Edgerly by his first marriage to Elizabeth Brandow. She was
married to William Ham. I believe Lotty (Charlotte), Ella, and Etta (Estella)
were George Brandow’s daughters by his first marriage to Jane Pulver. George
was in Bridgeport, Connecticut during the 1880 census and it is probable that
his daughters settled there.
Ella Plank may be the wife of Jeremiah
Plank. Jeremiah, Henry Martin (mentioned above) and perhaps Minna Plank (in this
letter) were Rachel Jane’s cousins. Their father was Abram; Rachel Jane’s
at the top – Catskill answer right away if we come we come to stay
Sept 27 1894
Dear Son & Daughter,
Your letter came to
hand Monday past. Glad to hear from you & glad indeed to get Elmer’s
Picture. Think he is a very beautifull Child. I have his hair in my hair Book
with yours & Celia[‘s], H & Fs.
Sorry to hear
Howard had not been very well the past Summer but glad to hear he is better now.
We are well as usual. The only & all trouble is hard times & no money.
Father has lain idle 8 weeks & all of the gang that worked with him. Of all
I think this is the worst Fall I ever saw in Catskill. No work. Streets full of
Idle men, & will be so until after [the] election, and wages are reduced to
half the value that they was before.
We took Elmer’s
Picture out to Aunt Ann’s Tuesday. She thanks you for it. Thinks he is hansome
& so is Celia. One is light & the other dark. I wish you & your
Family could have come with the Picture. Every day seems a year as it passes by.
I want to see you all so much.
says he & I would come right out if you want us to, but I tell him we will
have to get rid of our things. It won’t pay to move them. Father says if we
can arrange matters we will be out & help husk corn. I think I beat him. He
has his husking pin yet. He says he can do better now than he did last Fall. I
laugh at him for I can do as much as he can. I do love to tease him. He says I
shant come in the field at all; I must tend baby.
William went up to Albany Tuesday to have an operation performed on his eyes.
Giving all he had to Kate Ham, he now is in the soup & Aunt Ann is badly
Howard, Old Mr
Roberts lost his wife three years ago & he was married last Sunday to a Mrs
Hewart[?]. She being 52 yrs & he 76 yrs.
Last Friday to
prisoners broke Jail. They caugh George Norton, but Kelly is gone. He is a
desperate man. Three cases of rape against him. He filed his chains off with a
corset steel, then he tied the chain with a thread. Five were chained down to
the floor & when the sherf went in to see if all was right, Kelly push[ed]
one of the prisoners against him pushing him down, and so two escaped.
Aunt Gusta & Girtie Brandow
& Minna Plank were here last night & spent the evening. Had quite a
pleasant time. Girtie is going to Bridgeport, Ct & N.Y. to spend two months
with Lotty & Ella. Etta is not married yet. Aunt Ann was here & spent
the day last Friday. We are going to have a stranger come upstairs to George
Hasses & one to Ella Plank’s. One came to Mrs Bell’s last night that is
in the adjoining yard. That makes her five sons and one daughter. Excuse all
From Ma Hass
O granma will answer Celia[‘s] letter. So
glad she write to granma. Granma is coming to see her & her little brother
& her little pony[?]. She must take good care of it till we come. From
Granma to her little Celia
Believe Hattie was Celia Ford Brandow’s
Catskill 25th 1894
Son & Daughter, I received your welcome letter for such they are to me when
ever I get one from you. Emma, I received your letter last evening. I also got
your other letter but was not able to answer it. Am better. I was nearly wild
with pain all over me so I could not write. Taken quite sudden.
Hattie came to see us the fifth of [Sept.
scratched out]. Wanted her to stay over with us & she said she was &
did go on the six[th] to Boston. Expect to hear from her soon. She said you sent
with her a present for me. She forgot it.
Emma, we are coming if nothing
happens as soon as we can get rid of our things. Can’t say just when. I never
saw such a time in Catskill. So many Idle men & money is so hard to get hold
of. One woman owed me for sewing & it seemed that I never would get my pay.
It was over three months, so I just asked her for it. She said money was hard to
get hold of. I laught & said it would be just as well for me to keep it
after three months waiting for it. She is waiting to have more sewing done. I
got it all the same. I think after [the] election perhaps we can sell some &
some I am going to fetch out with us. Oh, Dear Child, how much I think of you
& wish I was out with you. I could save you hiring a girl, but, Oh, the
distance that lies between us. Father says he is coming if he lives. If he
don’t husk corn this year if he lives he will try to help put it in the ground
& husk another year. But we will see each other soon if all goes right.
Martin Plank is
laid up with a sprained ancle. Michael Decker’s wife was taken sick three
O’clock & died six in the evening. Neauralagy of the heart.
It is raining and
the weather is warm. Emma, how I wish you see the Trees. They are just lovely.
Uncle Dr Vedder was visiting us the secont of Oct. Hattie came the fifth of
October. Andrew Beaunach is going to fetch Mrs [or Miss] Beaunach home
Saturday of this week from the Asylyn. She is all right now, was there two years
& seven months. I am expecting company, Phebe Allvoert. Have not seen her in
thirty four years. In youth she was one of my chums.
Emma, hug &
kiss the children for me & hug & kiss H B & F B for me & I will
make it all right with you when I come.
Like to her from
you. Write often as you can. I will write soon again.
Love to you, H & F & kiss C & E for me
Catskill July 21 1895
Dear & loved children
Well, but tired.
Worry about you & yours. How do you get along? What did Celia say when she
woke up & found Granma gone? Does Elmer look for Granpa yet? He speaks of
you all, but most of the little ones. He dearly loves Elmer. Celia was so much
help to him. He loves them both.
We had a little
delay. The train ahead of us broke down. We waited after awhile, then back[ed]
up & passed them. Conductor said we were one hour & fifty five minits be
hind times. He said they would make up the time when we got in Buffalo. The
conductor came to me & said change cars for west shore. Would have to wait
till half past six, then [the] two oclock west shore express got in Catskill
half past three in the after noon Saturday. Supper to George’s. Went to Aunt
Ann’s. So lame she can hardly walk. Going to visit this week if I can.
The Knights of
Pitheas are going to have a great time here Tuesday, Wednesday, Thurday, &
Friday. Wed night grand Bycycle rides. Will go if I can.
Well, to day is
Sunday. Perhaps Frank may be to your house. Think how I wish I could be out with
you & spend the day with you. Is Howard got over his lameness or not? Had
quite a time while waiting with Granpa.
Very dry & hot.
Look[s] lik rain. Thunder & lightning neary all night. Very warm & close
this morning. Quite & [an] exciting time. A lady pased and said the
cow was in the creek drowning & scared us so. But it proved to be not true.
She was in the bushes near the edge of the water.
the flies nearly eat me up. Emma, excuse me for the time. I am so tired. Write
soon & often [with] all the news. Ma Hass
I want you [to] kiss Celia & Elmer for
granpa & three times for me; one for you, one for H, one for F.
soon & often
Catskill Feb 2, 1896
Dear Husband and children, Your letter came
in the office Sunday past but I did not get it. Just received. Will answer
immediately. Hope Granpa is better. If he is not, write me right away & I
will try to come. I have bin sick four weeks under Drs care. Don’t go out yet.
Today & for three days past I have so much pain in my left side and up
through my chest that I can hardly draw my breath. I had the Lagrip & cought
something terrible, so if he is better I would rather not come until settled
weather. If not, will come. Hate to come alone feeling so bad but the Lord will
be my stay. Do write me right away. Did not sleep last night for I had so much
pain & of course worring all into gather so I [am] worthless today. Am to
Jerry’s. Write in care of Jerry Plank so perhaps they will carry it to the
mill. Then I can get it right away.
Dear Husband, did
George send you one of his pictures? Have not seen them in five weeks. Don’t
think they know I have bin sick.
Aunt Ann was here a
couple of times. Last Friday afternoon she tended a Funeral of a young man, Abe
Simpkin. Married last July. Died with Typhoid, pneumonia, & spiral
mineogitus. Mrs.[?] Kater is dead. Mrs. Avery has a mortgage of six thousand
dollars. Addison Plank has a chattle mortgage amounting to twelve hundred. The
heirs will not get much.
We have not much
snow. It looks very cold out. Stormed most all day yesterday.
Answer right away.
Anxious to hear.
Message on right side is in German. John
was born in Germany.
Catskill May 10th 1896
Dear Husband & children, I sopose you are looking & wondering to
know why I did not come. I had another fall & hurt my back again. Then the
winter Cholra set in so I had all I wanted to do to get up to my room. It has
cost me a great deal of money up to this present time, but I thank God that I
was able to go to see the Dr today & get another bottle of medicine. If I
get no more pullbacks I expect to leave Catskill Monday, the first of June, but
will write you again. It seams a long time since Granpa & I parted then
thinking I would come in March, but, oh, what a stormy March. I had sick[ness]
so I could look for disappointments all the time. Tell Granpa I will see you all
soon, God helping me.
Excuse my blotted
paper & I can tell you all & better when I see you all. Will write you
again before leaving. Tell no one I am coming.
From Freddy Plank to Celia Brandow.
Celia was Rachel Jane Plank’s granddaughter. Believe Freddy Plank was the son
of Jeremiah Plank. Aunty would have been an honorary title unless there was
another connection I have yet to find. Freddy was born June 1892 and Celia in
Catskill Dec 1896
Celia, I thought I would try and answer youre kind letter wich I received from
you. I thought so much of it that I had it sleep wit me nights till it was wore
out. I would like to see you very much. Tell anty Rachel that I have not had my
pictures taken yet. I will close now for the time hopeing to here frome you a
From Freddy Plank
Envelope says ‘Granpas Hasses last
message.’ He died Jan. 8, 1898.
Agnes’s baby was probably Frankie.
Hattie Huss had a daughter, Lillian, and Frank and Mattie Ford had a daughter,
Catskill Oct 17 1897
Dear Children, I am well but very badly
disappointed as expected Agness & baby home today. Did not come. William is
going over tomorrow to see what is the matter. It has bin very warm August
weather for the last week. The weather changed last night & today we have
fire & doors & windows shut. Granpa is with me. He is quite feble. He
can hardly lift his foot high enough to reach the step to get in the house. We
have a plumb tree with not one leaf on it, yet it has five beautiful blows [blooms]
that forms the bunch. It is lovely to look at. Granpa said it was a token of his
death. The same blowed when Uncle Jake Vedder died & the same for mother.
I think you had
better not unpack the boxes as your a going to move. It will save you so much
work. The large box has my Dishes & glassware in it so be carefull as they
are not packed on feathers as before. Nothing will take any hurt till spring.
You will hear from
Ann anon [?]. She said she was going to write to you. We got [a] Postal
yesterday saying [what] Uncle & Aunt & all wanted & said They was
going to stay until Spring, but I think N.Y. will fetch them home. If not, they
will hear from me & don’t you forget it. I have ten lbs grapes, spiced ten
lbs cycle pears, pickled some greene tomatoes pickles, can quinces, caned
tomatoes, caned some grapes. She caned the pears before she went away. I have
packed two gars of butter. Will sell what I make now.
I do wish you, H
& F & [the] little ones were here today with us. Granpa was so pleased
with Elmer’s letter &, O, how bad he felt saying, “I will never see them
again in this world. Yet I would like to see them all once more. Give my love
& also my best wishes to them, & kiss & hug both the little ones for
me telling them that is Granpa[‘s] kiss for his big man & also [to] his
nice little girl from Granpa.” He says good bye. If he loses as he has for the
last week, he won’t live to see Christmas.
Well, my Dear
little Celia, you don’t know how pleased Granma was when I see your welcome
letter & to hear you could read in the first reader. It won’t be very long
when you will be able to write to Granma in stead of mama. Won’t that be nice?
What did you think of Aunt Hattie’s little girl baby? I sopose you will have a
better time when Aunt Matie comes with her little girl. She can run & play
with you & Elmer. I wish I to could be there with you. Must write to Granma
often. It will train you to write. You kiss Elmer for me & Elmer must kiss
you to for Granma. Is Elmer my sweet neusence? Yet you was my lovey & you
are that still.
From Granma to Celia & Elmer
I would like to see
you in your old home where you have lived so long & which seems so much like
home to me. But I hope & trust it will be for your better interest &
that you will do well, for surely you work hard enough to get along. I think
Frank ought to go with Howard after the things for they won’t stand much
garing [jarring] & it will be to much for Howard on account of that
pain in his chest. I have often thought I would scribbl a few lines to Minie.
Found no time yet, so this must satisfy her. Love to all. Write soon as you get
Three members of the Ford family died
of Typhoid in 1899: Emma’s father, Francis Ford, and two brothers, Frank and
Eliza Plank’s brother, Isaac Vedder,
died in 1887. Mary Elisabeth Peck was his wife.
Catskill June 22 1899
Emma, I am afraid
to ask. Is your Dear mother & Dear Sister still living? I hope the Lord has
spard them. I am so anxious to hear, yet I think it is the longest time I have
ever experienced since you wrote me. I wrote to Frank & he did not answer.
So I don’t sleep or take any rest at all worrying about you. Aunt Ann thinks
you & Frank are sick if you can’t write. Let H write. I sopose he has his
hands full, but I am so anxious to hear how is Hattie & Minnie & all
what is left. Emma, if you or any of yours or Frank is sick with the fever do
let me know, I am almost wild. Yet I know you have your hands full. I think you
must have given out by this time. Hope you are well & able to do for those
that are left. We all feel so sorry for you in your sad trials but we all have a
cross to bear, so stem the storm, it won’t be long we will anchor by & by.
I am out to Aunt Elisebeth’s now. Let me hear from you soon. It is supper time
& I am going to help get supper. Answer right away.
Agnes’s birthday was September 3. The
baby must have died young. It is not named on the 1910 census.
Sept 7 1899
Ever Dear Children,
I now sit down to
talk with you a few minits. I came to Aunt Ann’s last Saturday to tend the
feunerel of Will Johnston buried Sunday. Died with tumor of the stomach. Closed
up the passage between stomache & bowels. Suffered very much.
All well as usual.
Agness had a baby Boy born Sunday night on her twenty six[th] birthday. Frankie
said to me, “Aunt Janie, puts baby in baby wagon in the yard so I can ride it
in the yard.” He calls it a little doll.
I am going back to
Aunt Elisebeth[‘s] Sat. for a short time. Emma, I don’t know just when I
will start to come west. Aunt Ann says I shant come as long as she lives. I
think she will come with me if nothing happens. Aunt Elisebeth is telling me I
must stay & live with her. I said my Children is the place for me, bound by
the ties of nature. Dear, very dear, to me. So you see I am between two straits.
I expect to be with you & all on H’s birthday, that is if you want me to
come this Fall. You know when I come I come to stay. I will take my trunk down
to Catskill from Auntie’s so it will be close to the Depot. I don’t know
just how I can come. The West shore was sold. It now belongs to the Central, but
I think I can get through on the west shore all right. If not, will come on
Central. Hope you & family are well. & how is Frank & also your
mother & all that are left & Mina & her family? Kiss H & F &
C & E for granma & who will kiss mama for granny? Celia & Elmer I
Will Johnston was
buried in Jefferson. The pall bearers were United Labor & Odd Fellows. Forty
United Labor & fifty Odd Fellow met the procession at the upper Iron Bridge
& so on to the grave. White Dove united Emblem, odd fellows green sprig.
Expect to hear from
you soon. Will get one more letter I think will be all, but it won’t be
written with lead pencil I asure you. Aunt Ann has gone to Agga’s to wash to
Love to all
Let me hear from
Direct Mrs I Vedder Leeds box 64
As I will be there till 23 of Sept.
Rachel Jane eventually moved to Tonica,
IL to live with Howard, but apparently made extended visits back to Catskill.
Agnes’s baby would have been Ethel
Kellerhouse. Minis Plank was another son of Abram. He was an attorney in New
I believe ‘Aunt Sarah Platt’ was
the wife of Platt Ford, a brother of Francis. He married Sarah L. Newton whose
family also came from Greene Co. Mrs. Huss and Mrs. Grant were Ford family
in-laws and other people mentioned in the second paragraph are also members of
the Ford family.
May 16 1902
Ever Dear Children,
I am alone so sat
down to talk by way of pen & ink which is short conversations. Oh, if we
were to gather how our Tongues would clatter.
Well how is H, F,
Elmer, yourself & Celia. Are you all better & well again? Tell Celia I
wish I had a piece of her pie, the first she baked. Well, Emma, you did not tell
me what came between Ira & Hattie. & how is Mrs. Huss? Is her leg sore
yet? & Mrs. Grant also? Now I was sorry to hear such news about Ella. Hope
she will get better soon. Your mother has her share of trouble. We all have our
share of that. How often I think of Mable when we were to Maggie’s. What a
good time we had. I sopose Dorathy talks every thing. How is Minie & all the
rest? Has Aunt Sarah Platt got smart again? I feel better than I have done in a
long time. I am taking Dones Teidney pills. My back is all right. My feet are my
We have had frost
& quite thick Ice. Bill Lee’s wife is dead. Four Feunerels yesterday, the
fourth of May.
I went out to Aunt
Ann’s. As I came in the gateway she came in the back door. They have had a lot
of chickens stolen. Uncle William would say to me last winter all the chickens
are here to eat when I feed them. Anna says they are stole at night [when] they
[William and Ann] are all here. One day she came from Catskill, met &
[an] Indian woman & a collored woman. Soon as they saw her they stood still.
The squaw had on a long cape. She had two chickens & lot of eggs. Ann got a
serch warnt, [but] could find nothing. They say she conceals it outside. He [William]
could sell his chickens for twelve cts a pound, but he won’t do it. She said
to me that day he gave the place to Kate he owes John Posson fourteen dollars or
more for chicken feed. She said she won’t pay it. She said she did not think
she could keep house another winter. She has not bin well since she was sick in
Michigan. She talked about your coming down this fall. I said you dident [?]
speak favorable. She sat a minit & said will I be disapointed in that? &
we all will be disapointed but ma & myself know you will come unless
sickness prevents. If you want to see the East come while she is in her old
She thinks Ina will
be married this fall. Aunt Ann has not seen Agga’s baby yet. The 30[th] of
this month it will be eight months. It will walk & talk, so she says, before
she sees it. Can’t go untill Ina can come & stay so she can go. Don’t
know when she can come but where there is a way [sic] will there is a way. Uncle
Bill [William?] was afraid the place would be sold last spring. He told
Ina it would go till next spring. Emm, keep this freemason secret. You H, F,
& no more. She would kill me a little bit if she knew it. What she don’t
know don’t hurt her
[Crowded at top of second page.}
Do you blame me to
be homesick? Tell Howard Minis Plank came to see me Sunday. The first thing he
wanted [was] H-adress. If he writes H must answer it. He wants to see both the
boys so bad.
May 28th 1902
Dear Children, Wednesday
Will now tell you
why I did not send my letter. Just finished the letter when I got the word Uncle
Dr. Vedder was very low & Aunt Eliza had a council of Drs & they said
they had no hopes as he is in his 84 (?) yr. So held on untill further notice.
Aunt had some hope of betterness Sat. He is the last one from my mother’s
side. All dead from my Father’s side.
Aunt Ann told Uncle
William last week she did not think she would keep house another winter. Thinks
she must do it all. He did not go to the barn last winter in seven weeks.
Last week Will Conine was up on the
mountain & encountered quite a snow storm. The shad & herring fishing is
poor. Last Sunday Aunt Ann had herring for dinner. We all of us wished for you
all. If it was not so far we would send you some. If F[rank] was here he & I
would go up to the dam & fish. They cach herring up there. A boy caugh forty
eight yesterday. Had some for dinner. They was nice.
am with Mrs. Saulsbury for a short time. She has a millinary shop on Main St so
I came to please her. J. B. Saulsbury, Tomson St., No 18.
You are coming down if nothing
happens. See her in her old home. She was going to have pictures taken but [continues
crowded at top of first side] so thin her hair comes out. So she said she
would be bald yet in time. Now answer my letters & I will answer the
children’s letters. How is Frank? Is Elmer better? Have you got your girl who
is the hired man’s name? Hope Ella is better.
The following two letters were together, but they look like
parts of two different letters. They are written on different paper and the
sentence doesn’t continue from first to second page.
Letter from Cornelia Ann Plank
Edgerly in Catskill to Celia Brandow in Tonica, IL. Celia’s father, Howard
Brandow, died October 1912. Cornelia Ann’s daughters were Ina (Grace Iantha)
and Agnes Josephine. Ina was married to Abram Hack. Agnes was married, first, to
Frank Adsit, and, second, to Frank Kellerhouse.
Catskill, July 22, 1912
Dear niece & all
Excuse me for not answering before. I
have been sick. I caught a cold & it settled on the bowels. I suffered such
pain. Am over that now but my back will never be any better. & my leg swells
much more. Then such very hot wheather. So long & the worst drought in 12
years. Evry thing is dryed up, but hay & rye is good. Yesterday we had a
little rain. Caught water enough to wash. You remember how near the house the
road went. Well the dust was terable & smoke from the a__oes.
How is it out there & how is your
Father? We all are so anxious wishing for improvement. Do you get along all
right with the work? Milk is so scarce here, 7c quart; meat, 30 & 35c; salt
pork, 15c per pound; eggs, 30c.
Ina & Abe have had tonsaleitus.
Celia, I never had so good a chance to come west as this summer, as I have
rented my land & garden to Frank Overbaugh. No apples…
‘Aunt Nancy’ was probably Nancy Plank Vedder. Nancy was
the widow of Abraham Vedder, brother of Eliza Vedder Plank. Not certain who
Addie was, perhaps a granddaughter.
…is old jim alive yet? The wind blows a gale this morning.
By night dry as ever.
Aunt Nancy is so deaf we have to
write on paper to her. Have not see her since last Dec. I do not go much any
more. Have not seen her & Addie since before they went west. Wish I could
see you once more. Is your ma well this summer? They intend to commence to
repair Kate Ham’s house today. Partially destroyed by fire, oil stove.
here this morning. Well I will close & get my breakfast. Eat all alone
come to see me. & how is Frank? Tell him I send love to him if he does not
write to me. Love & best wishes to your pa,.Celia. Do write often so I can
Letter from Agnes Edgerly to Emma Nancy Ford Brandow.
Frankie was her son from her first marriage to Frank Adsit and Ethel from her
marriage to Frank Kellerhouse.
Sent from Schodack Landing
Renns Co. NY
Feb. 23, 1913
I will now try & answer your letter & Postals, which I am allways
pleased to get, but must confess am very slack about answering. I realy do not
know what to say to you Emma, only that you have my deepest sympathy as I to
have passed through the same thing. And only those who have passed through such
sorrow can realize what a loss it is to loose a good husband. But God had a
greater need for them than we had. It does seem very hard to us but God does all
things for the best & we must look at it in that way.
have had a very few real winter days & last night we had a hard thunder
shower, & tonight every thing is froze up & it is getting colder all the
time. Frank has only worked 5 days on the ice yet but may go again in the
morning, Then we[‘ll] have to get up early, but I don’t mind that for he
gets up & get[s] the breakfast, puts up his dinner & then calls me to
eat with him. Frank certainly is a good man in every way even though he is firm,
& that I knew before I married him. We have all had colds & Frankie did
not get over his as he ought. He lost 7 pounds in two weeks but now he has a
great apetite & weighs 171 pounds, & I weigh the same. That is the
heaviest I ever weighed. Still I have Bronchial trouble all the time & take
medicine 3 times a day. Ethel is quite tall this winter but is thin. She is
getting along fine in school & loves to go. Has only lost 1 day this term so
far. She wants to be a teacher.
I was to Catskill last week & Ina
is quite some better. She has heart trouble Dr. says. Still she works and walks
to the village. Ina is looking good for all she has gone through in the last
year. She is heart broken over her little girl. She was a lovely baby. Frank
& Ethel have gone to Church. Frankie stayed home with me. How is Frank [back
to top of first page] & what is he doing & where is he? Remember me
to Elmer & Celia.
Well, I must close for they have come
home from church & it is bed time so will say good night.
Our love to you all.
Envelope says: From Aunt Ann Edgerly. Wrote Sept. 15, 1915.
Died Sept. 17, 1915. Age 75 yrs 9 mo 1 da.
Catskill Sept. 15, 1915
After a long time I will try to
answer your very unexpected letter, but a very welcome one. I was so glad to
hear from you & the lovely picture of your boy. Thanks. Take good care of
him & may God spare him to you. Ina has 3 fine children. One girl, Cornelia;
she is lovely.
Celia, I am verry miserable. Have not
laid in bed at night in a long time. Sit in a big chair. Do not sleep any. My
feet & legs are swelled large but but from dropsy come purple spots on my
feet & they have got sores, very painful. Legs are drawen up. Can’t walk a
step. Creep on hands & knees. Can’t be cured. Dr [has come] every day now
[for] 5 weeks. Can’t live long.
Very hot here. Breathing short. Hired
[a] woman since January 7, but [she] can’t stay. Can’t stand it, 72 years
old. Do not know what I will do.
a letter from your ma. Not able to answer it. Tell her I can’t stand on my
feet at all, fall. I will try again to finish it. This will be the last from
Aunt Ann. Think of me kindly when I am gone. I have a nice home, love my
children, but the Lord’s will must be done. Love to you all & to Frank.
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Letters from the Past