My dear Couisn
I have promised myself that I would write to you for several weeks but when Sunday came I would be so tired I could not get interested enough in any thing to sit still long enough to get a letter written & if I did was to write to Ray my oldest Boy he is not at home and has not been since Christmas Myrtle was too but she came home at Easter time.
I suppose you have not heard of Emmit’s death it was
quite sudden the Dr told Hermon that he would only give him six months to live and said that he (Emmit) had “Locomotion Ataxia” or creeping paralysis but it was only about one month after when I goy word he was gone he died the 23rd of April being in bed only about one week so he did not have long to suffer at the last he left $3,000 life insurance in the Woodsmans Lodge so he has left his family provided for there is his wife & 2 girls the oldest one is married and has a home of her own it will be a year in August since she was married
so that now there is only Hermon Elizabeth & I left of all of us & we cannot ____ which one will be called next nor ____ _____ and they were all young yet Emmit was 54 last fall Jen was 44 & I think Deette was 40 and Myrtle was only 30 and you know Father & Mother were not very old when they passed away a little over 70.
We have a very cold spring not very wet but every thing is backward my garden is doing well now though if it is cold we had lots of rain lately but today it is cold again we may have a frost again
crops look well now
This is the last of our school the children or a pert of them have gone this afternoon to the Baccalaureate sermon and tomorrow night the graduating class have their Program & receive their Diplomas there is 6 or 7 I forget which
Well I guess I have told you all I know for this time
Give my love to Aunt Sarah Ann if she is their and tell her I will try & write to her soon.
With love to all I remain your cousin
E. L. McKinnon
Ella's oldest child, Donald Ray was 23 years old at the time of this letter and staying with Ella's sister, Elizabeth, in Poynette, Columbia Co, WI. Elizabeth was a widow, however I do not know when her husband, Ephraim Belden, died; on the 1900 census she is listed as married but it is just here and her daughter, Effie, in the household. She may have moved to Wisconsin to be closer to her sister Deette or she may have moved there after Deette's death in 1898 to help with her children. Then again she may have had other reasons, I am just guessing. I don't know if Ray went to help Elizabeth out or to look for work. Ella doesn't say where Myrtle has been.
Emmit's death has obviously upset Ella, three of her siblings have died quite young. But who was Jen (Jan?). Was there another sibling? I believe she must be referring to Martha who died in 1893 at the age of 40.
I wish Ella had given more information on Emmit's daughters. Eva May Hall was born 10 March 1877 and Lulu Belle Hall 20 January 1880. Beyond this I have no information on either.
I wonder if Ella's son, John Albion McKinnon, was one of those graduating? He was born 14 April 1886 so he would have been 18 in June 1904.
For more see:
Carlisle - Wisner Letters
Family of William Wisner
Descendants of Maryetta Wisner
Descendants of Sarah Ann Wisner
McKinnon, Ella Hall (Mapleton, Minnesota) to “My dear Cousin” [Sarah Ann Camfield Carlisle]. Letter. 5 June 1904. Digital Images 1-4. Privately held by Apple, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Snowville, New York. 2008. [Carlisle Family, Box #1, Correspondence, 1903-1904, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. 2008.]