March 30st 1881
My Dear Cousin Anna,
I owed you a letter and kept thinking all winter I would write to you but when I got to writing would forget you entirely. I had to write down home any way and there was about all the place I did write & to Deette.
I was real pleased to hear from you and should not have blamed you one bit if you had never written again because I neglect to answer your letters so much. When I got yours I was sick or at least had been and was not out of bed yet. My boy was about a week old then he is five weeks old today. a nice boy but pretty cross. I have got my boiler on to do some washing to day but here I sit holding him and trying to write to you so don’t
look at the writing read what you can and guess at the rest.
I had awful sore nipples they are just beginning to get better now. I had to see the doctor for them it is now over four weeks since they began to be sore the baby was only 4 or 5 days old he had a lot of hair but it is all falling out the top of his head is almost bare but the new hair seems to be started so he will soon have more. he has dark blue eyes and they have always been real strong. at the very first he opened them like a child a month old and is real strong will nearly raise him self up on his feet now if he gets a little spunky at least and he has lots of spunk to he weighs now about 8 pounds. I think he weighed about 6 in the first place and Jake says I have lost at least 20 lbs since I was sick. I weighed 140 just a few weeks before
Well Anna this is the 4th of April and I am holding baby again so thought I would try and finish this if I could and begin a letter to Mother if I did not write the whole of one. It is a wonder to me that I ever got your letter. our address is Mapleton, Blue Earth Co.
our town is Beauford but the Post-Office is at the village in the town of Minn. only about a mile from us and the railroad is only a few rods from the house. Mapleton
I love my prairie home. Anna is has always been home to me ever since I came here. it is in the second tier of counties north of
Well Anna don’t you think I have done well. we have 160 Acres of land and all our own and are not very much in debt. I believe as we are just at present $100.00 is all we owe that is not very much and we expect by the beginning of another winter
to have that all paid and some besides.
We have had a cold hard winter and now the snow is not half gone we shall have a late spring and the crops will be late.
Our nearest neighbor has a little boy born the night of the 31st of March and when dressed it weighed 4 ½ pounds. I have not got mine named yet but think I will call it Frank Albert that suits Jake as well as any thing I can find your little boys name is Frank is it not?
Well I will have to stop I guess for this time and try and keep up our correspondence a little better in future.
With love to all I remain as ever your Cousin
E L McKinnon
Blue Earth Co.
I can't imagine waiting five or more weeks to name a child. The records of one of Ella's descendants show that she named her son Donald Ray McKinnon and that he was born 23 February 1881. I wonder why she changed her mind. Donald was the name of Jacob McKinnon's grandfather (Jacob - John - Donald) and I hope that the decision was made to honor him. I've noticed in this letter and others that babies were referred to as it rather than he or she and it bothers me, however I assume it was customary for the times.
A rod is 16.5'. I wonder how many rods in "a few." Looking at a map, Beauford is due north of Mapleton but I didn't find any railroad marked on the current map.
For more see:
Carlisle - Wisner Letters
Family of William Wisner
Descendants of Maryetta Wisner
Descendants of Sarah Ann Wisner
McKinnon, Ella Hall (Mapleton, Minnestota) to “My Dear Cousin Anna” [Sarah Ann Camfield Carlisle]. Letter. 30 March 1881. Digital Images 1-4. Privately held by Apple, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Snowville, New York. 2008. [Carlisle Family, Box #1, Correspondence, 1881, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan]