My Dear Husband [James],
I wrote you one day last week that [our son] Willie was quite sick with inflammatory rheumatism. He kept getting worse everyday or the disease spreading until now, and I hope he is rather better this morning, although the doctor has not been here yet. He said yesterday he thought he would be getting better in a few days unless it changed to some other locality – like his stomach, bowels, or heart. His feet & legs can be moved now without his screaming. Yesterday both arms lay lifeless by his side & if they were moved or touched, he would cry. Today the first one affected is better & he can move it. He has suffered a great deal & has not had a good night’s rest for over a week. We hold him considerable. It seems to rest him & gratifies him. He is very peevish but no more so than anyone would suffering as he does. He is asleep now & so is [our daughter] Mary, else I would not write, for both keep at least one busy. They have moved a bedstead down into the dining room and here we sleep & keep a fire & a light all night & I have given him medicine nearly every half hour day & night since he was taken [unwell].
We heard yesterday morning that [your sister] Mary Pike’s baby died Saturday & was buried. They had no funeral. It has not been well & only lived a week. Mary is not doing well & has a doctor everyday. She took cold. We heard she was no better Saturday & [my sisters] Sarah & Mary rode up there yesterday. Your mother said she thought she was a little better but feels very anxious about her. I cannot leave Willie or I should go up. She looks dreadfully. The girls did not see her as Miss Bates, who doctors her, said they must keep her quiet & not let her see company.
Two letters came from you the past week, but the one you spoke of sending from Table Rock [Nebraska] has not come. I am glad you went up there. I hope the Indians are not going to be troublesome. If so, you may be called out [with the Militia again]. Dear me, it would be awful and so cold too. It must be colder there than it has been here. So far it has not been near as changeable here as it is in Kansas. You must do as you & Bro. Taylor think best about being sent [to Seneca for] another year. You might have a better [appointment] & then again, a worse place.
How can you manage about clothes for Conference? Will you have enough to be comfortable & respectful? Is your overcoat a light or dark blue? I hope the latter. The one here is too nice to cut up. We do very well with help for winter clothes. I did not bring any. That five dollars came safely but I would not risk it so. [Our son] John hurt his face again after the gashes were healed but they are well now. Bad scars are left though. When Willie is able, I intend to have their photographs taken.
I hope Mother Phillips [who married Batson Dennis] will have a pleasant home. I was quite surprised to hear what she had done.
Yesterday was Christmas & old Kriss  brought us all something & put on a Christmas tree. John & Willie had tippets [hats] from Aunt Lucy, [and] pocket-handkerchiefs from Grandma. Willie [received] a pair of shoes from [my brother] Steve and rabbit from [my sister] Sarah, & little book from Lucy Fiddis & a little tin horse & gig from Lucy, which he thinks is pretty. John had a ball &c. I had a new hoop skirt costing nearly two dollars from [my sisters] Sarah & Mary, a pair of gloves from Ma costing a dollar & in them two dollars towards getting my photograph taken. Aunt Lucy gave me hers & Uncle Robert’s photographs. And there were other things that I have not time to write about. Ma had a four dollar coffee pot from Gurd [Horton].
Willie has wakened up & eaten his cup of tea and cracker & a baked apple & is full of talk. I hope you will keep comfortable & well. I think of you a great deal. With much love, ever your affectionate, -- Augusta
Evening. The doctor has been here & says Willie is better & will get along unless it takes a worse change.
My Dearest Cutie [Augusta],
I was greatly disappointed in not getting a letter from you today. I am afraid you always wait until Sunday before you write and only write once a week. This makes your letters seem so far apart. I expect to go in the morning to Turkey Creek and hold meeting there Saturday night and will write you this evening although it is quite late. It seems strange to look out this late in the winter and see the prairie fires. You can see the lights in several directions this evening. We have had but little snow as yet. The ground is all bare now and the prospect is favorable for an open winter.
Everything moves on just about as usual here at Lincoln. I am boarding at Sister Connell’s this week. She has quite a bad cold but is just as good and kind as ever. I called and took dinner with old Mother Dennis (Phillips) today. She seemed very glad to see me and had a quail pie. Said I must come and stay all night some. She & her old man seem to get along pretty well. Says she had much rather have a home of her own than to live with other folks. Sister Jones heard this evening of the death of her cousin, a young lady living at Geneva, New York. She died very sudden of heart disease before they could get any Doctor to the house.
I found my tippet [hat] hanging up behind my panama [hat] at the foot of the stairs. H’aint I a searcher? I thought it was something red and scarlet and was looking for anything of a dirty striped hue. Did that money come? And those last Repositories? And did [the photographs of] Gen. Grant & wife, also Gov. Sprague & lady, arrive safely? And did they produce much of a sensation? I enclose in this [letter a photograph of] Col. Chivington [and] also Gen. Tab. for Master Willie. I guess you will have to give him a place among your other celebrities [in your photograph album].
And now dear Cutie, this is perhaps the last letter I shall write you in 1864. How very fast the years are all moving. How short a time it seems since we were married and how very soon will it be when we shall be called upon at long last to bid each other a final farewell. Oh as you bow in secret prayer before the great Giver, forget not to commit the interests and efforts of your absent husband to a throne of heavenly grace, that he may be a better and far more useful man and that he may have the pleasure of witnessing that his labors are not in vain in the Lord. As [eternity is] nearing, I feel the need of a more entire conformity to the Will of God. Please not let the children forget to say their little prayers and oh forgive my many shortcomings in duty in many respects as a husband. And through the aid of grace divine, I will try and do better in the future, should life be spared. To err is human, to forgive divine. These thoughts seemed suggested as we are about to bid adieu to all that another year will bear either for or against us to the irreversible tribunal. Please write often. Your dear husband, -- James
My dear husband [James],
Wish you a happy New Year. We are all at home today. It is rather cold, too cold for Ma to go to church and I cannot very well leave to go so none are going. [Our son] Willie has been improving all the week and yesterday put on his waist & pantaloons for the first time. He does not bear any weight on his feet. One of them still keeps sore & I have put on flannel wet in warm water today. He can use his hands but at night his joints pain him so that he is restless. He sits in a large rocking chair or on the bed all day & is beginning to have an appetite. He looks rather pale. The doctor stopped coming two or three days ago. He came 10 times and his bill will be about $20, I expect. I shall hardly dare let Willie step out of doors this winter.
I bought [our son] John a pair of shoes to economize but am sorry I did not get boots, which were $3.50 instead. And I do not know but I shall get them yet as he wets his feet every day when he steps out & there is snow. The boys all wear boots & can run in the snow & of course he does too & consequently [gets] wet feet. I think he learns at school and he certainly thinks more of his book. He has been home for a few days with a cold.
[Your nephew] David [Griffing] was here Friday and said his Aunt Mary [Pike] was no worse, but they could not see that she improved any or very slowly. I think she is in a critical condition. [My brother] Steve is going to take me up to see how she is. I cannot leave long but want to see how she really is.
I have written to [your sister] Permelia [Brooks] and also to Mrs. Naylor, Mrs. Hannum, Carrie [Winans], and Mrs. Curtis.
I wrote in my last of the Christmas presents. I forgot yours – two pairs of stockings & a pair of wristlets from Ma. The boys hung up their stockings last night. John got a book & toothbrush & candy. Willie [got] candy, paper flowers & a picture. Old Kris hadn’t much left after Christmas.
You must do as you think best about a coat. That overcoat would not pay to make over into a coat. It will make vests or children’s clothes. If you can do without until you go to Conference, have someone go with you to the tailors at Topeka & get a good one – not such cheap ones as will not wear well. Wherever you & the [Presiding] Elder are satisfied, I am unless he sends us farther west. I would not like to go to Marysville or out in that direction. If we should move, how would you manage to let the next minister move in? I hate to have anyone else move our things out but ourselves & would want to be there.
Have you found your tippet [hat]? If not at the foot of the stairs or in that small black trunk, it must be lost as it hung there only a few days before I started [for Owego]. I hope you have found [my brother] James Goodrich’s paper.
Two letters came yesterday – one written two weeks ago today, that rainy Sunday and the next one. The one from Table Rock [Nebraska] & three [Ladies] Repositories have not come yet. I hope Sister James Jones was not sick long. How is Sister Luther B. Jones & is her husband safe? Have any of them bricked up or concreted their houses? If not, they must suffer. It must be colder there than it has been here.
Harriet Mosher looks very natural. She does not like the West at all. Mr. Patch’s oldest son (Calvin Patch) married Mr. McCallum’s daughter and she is now [sick] at her mothers just [about] gone with consumption. They live in one of the nice houses on the Glenmary place. Mr. Patch lives in Towanda.
[My brother] Steve is busy getting logs to mill & wood to town. [He took them] off his share back of the orchard. He wants to make enough to buy or help buy the wood lot.
Monday. I went to see [your sister] Mary [Pike] a little while yesterday. She is not able to sit up only to have her bed made. I hope she will begin to improve soon. Willie’s right foot still troubles him. I am afraid it may settle there & trouble him. We keep something on all the time. Your mother has received your letter. Hope this will find you well & enjoying yourself well as you can. Ever your wife, -- Augusta
My Dearest [Augusta],
I took two letters from the [post] office this morning bringing the sad news about Willie – the first written the 18th and the other the 21st. I shall be full of anxiety until I may hear again. I hope a letter will come in the next mail. Sister Connell told me that Charley Beers had had the inflammatory rheumatism most distressfully so that he could scarcely be moved. They sent [to Centralia] for Dr. Hidden who came and gave them colchicum seed  & hot water, which seemed to help him right away. It resembles the mustard seed some. Take a few of the seeds and pour boiling hot water on them and give a teaspoonful once in two hours – probably not quite so much for one so young. It is painful to think of the poor little fellow suffering so much. I do wish I was only there to help take care of him. You will need when he recovers to watch against his getting his feet wet again. And little Sis too. Oh how I would like to take her in my arms. Has she completely recovered? It seems like a long time before I shall get to see you – almost three months unless I should come on after my last Quarterly meeting. Should Willie get a great deal worse, I think I had better come at once. But if possible, I think it would be best to stay until after Conference as I think there will be much more paid in this quarter than any previous ones.
We had a very good Watch meeting and kept it up until about one o’clock. The night being quite cold, we held it at the house of Bro. [Hiram] Burgar's.  There is a lady living in Seneca named Johnson who was formerly a widow Mitchell of Centralia. She was married this summer. She was out at my meeting today and seems like a very fine woman. She has insisted me to call at her home, which I want to do sometime. I think she and her husband are members of Nash’s church.
Three horse thieves were hung at Table Rock [Nebraska Territory] last week. In their dying confession, they implicated several men in this county – two or three of whom live in Seneca. This thing has produced considerable excitement, as there is undoubtedly an organized gang through this section of the country. The stolen property was found with those who were hung. They were arrested and placed in charge of the proper authorities but quite a number of citizens about Table Rock came in disguise, took them from the authorities, and attached them to the nearest peg. Considerable property had been stolen when I was up there last [month] and the citizens were considerably aroused.
I found [your brother] James’ note after looking the papers carefully over again. I suppose he is at work at Junction City and should think he would write as they have regular mail there.
Cutie, do write often – especially if Willie gets no better. Tell me when you think I had better come home. I think of starting for Topeka next Friday & hope I may hear better news before that time. Kiss all my precious ones and ever believe me yours most truly, -- James
My Dear Wife [Augusta],
I have just been down after the mail and am thankful that you were so prompt in writing but grieved to hear that Willie has been much worse and that my precious one suffered so much. I am sorry that I cannot be with him in his suffering and assist in taking care of him. I do hope that I shall hear more favorable news next time. Kiss my precious one for me and tell him Pa thinks of him very often and would be glad if he could hold him in his arms and tell him some pretty story.
And so [my] sister Mary [Pike] was called upon to part with her precious treasure. It is a source of comfort to know that dear as we may love it, we commend it to the care of one who loves it infinitely more than we possibly can and it should only tend to make that upper and better world more attractive and desirable. Remember me kindly to sister Mary as well as all the rest when you see her. I dropped her & Mother a few lines a few days ago and hope to get an answer, but sickness may prevent. In my lonely room I think of them as well as you all very often and do hope to hear more favorable news next time. If the Doctor should pronounce Willie’s case a very critical one and give his opinion that it is quite doubtful about his getting up, I would be glad to know and will hasten on with all speed. Otherwise, I think it would be best that I remain at my post. Our Quarterly meeting will take place six weeks from next Saturday & Sunday which will soon roll around now, or the 18th & 19th of February, after which it will be much easier for me to leave. Yet I think it will be better all around if I can wait until after Conference.
I expect to start in the morning for Topeka to see about my taxes. Mr. Coffinberry, our representative, will ride down with me so that I shall have company down. I received a letter from Bro. Hannum the past weeks. Says that Rolla & Mrs. Naylor are well now. Says that Rolla was quite sick and that the baby had the lung fever and they thought for some time would die, but is better. Says that Rolla & baby’s sickness was the means of keeping Sister Naylor from getting sick. Says Sister Naylor talks of selling her stock and has sold one hundred thirty dollars worth of pork. Says Hiram Ward is about to move in where Bro. Stith’s is but does not know where Bro. Stith moves to. Eddy & Elery sent me word that old Kris [Father Christmas] was pretty near broke when he got there but want to know what Johnny & Willie got [for Christmas presents].
Do you think should Willie get better that I had better come before or after Conference. If before, I must be back to Conference if within the range of possibilities. Have you written to [my brother] Daniel lately or [my sister] Permelia [Brooks]. And has [my] sister Mary [Pike] & child’s sickness seem to wear on Mother any?
Kiss all the children for Papa. Should you get theirs or your photographs taken, please send me one. Don’t let Willie use his limbs too soon and be very careful about his taking colds. Pa will not have time to write to his boys this time but he thinks of you all very often and will write to his precious ones next time. Yours, -- James
My dear James,
Over a week has passed since I wrote last as it is now Monday evening. You wish me to write often and I think every week I will, but if you knew just how it is here you would not blame me if I did not. Of late some one or more of us have been sick all the time and we have had wakeful nights & gloomy days. Willie is better than when I wrote last – has walked a very little, but his ankle still troubles him. If it continues, I shall see the doctor. Last night his neck troubled him… and is stiff today – a cold I think. He sits on the bed the most of the day and has his playthings there and amuses himself better than I would think. I took a hard cold getting up nights with him and have been about sick the past week. Saturday afternoon I had a chill & fever followed which made me feel miserable & then I had to be awake nearly all night, first with [our daughter] Mary & then with Willie. My cold is better and I feel better. [Our son] John took cold wearing shoes & getting his feet wet and coughs still, but goes to school and learns. I bought him a pair of boots the first of the week. They cost $3. I wish I had bought them in the first place.
Ma has had another one of her severe colds and almost croup. [My sister] Sarah was up with her nearly all night trying to prevent it and expecting to have to send for a doctor every minute, but she finally was relieved and is better now. Sarah too was not well for a day or two. And [my brother] Steve has a hired man & works early & late, so we have to be up in season to eat by candlelight. We do not feel very ambitious or do we accomplish much but the housework.
[My sister] Mary [Horton] & her baby Fannie came up here yesterday & just as Steve went to take her home, Mr. Bristol & his daughter, Mrs. Kingsley, came & spent the evening, so I did not get a chance to write yesterday at all. I hear that [your sister] Mary Pike is gaining slowly. I intended going up there last week but was not able. Mrs. Calvin Patch (Janette McCallum) died New Year’s night & was taken to Towanda to be buried.
I hear that Melissa Clark (Catlin) has come from Michigan to make a visit. I hope I shall see her.
Where did you get those photographs you sent? Am much obliged. Your letter with [pictures of] Col. Chivington & Gen. Tab. came Saturday. Am glad you keep well and that you found your tippet [hat]. Have you found that note of James Goodrich’s? That is Charles Welles of this place. He is conductor & Steve Sharp is at work overseeing or something of the kind on the road.
I have not heard from [your sister] Permelia [Brooks] or [your brother] Daniel lately. Ephraim Goodrich has just come in. I cannot write when they are talking.
Tuesday. Willie was very restless all night. His neck is very stiff & sore & his right ankle & knee trouble him. Those who have been here say it is the rheumatism again & that it will hang about & trouble him a long time. He cannot bear any weight on his lame foot today. It is storming and Steve has not gone to the woods. If he goes to town, I shall send word to the doctor by him. If I had known he was to be sick so much, I should have wanted to be where you are, but I hope he will get over it [soon]. I write often as I can. Ever your affectionate, -- Augusta
My Dear Wife [Augusta],
I came down Saturday evening and reached here a little after dark and found nobody home. After putting out my pony, I concluded to go and stay at Bro. Stevenson’s but happened to think it was possible that the key to our front door [in Lincoln] might fit our door here [on the farm near Topeka]. And sure enough, I found it would and came in, built a fire, found some supper in the tin boiler, and after satisfying a keen appetite, I passed the evening in reading and retired about half past nine. About eleven I was aroused by someone opening the front door, which proved to be Br. Hannum’s folks coming home from meeting. Quite an interesting protracted meeting was in process at Tecumseh and will probably result in considerable good. They had seen my buggy in the yard and did not seem much frightened. I staid at Bro. [Jesse] Stevenson’s last evening. They are quite well. Children growing finely. He has sold $500 worth of pork and has as much worth of corn or more and getting along quite well. [Mr.] Rice raised 2200 bushels of corn and will probably realize $1.25 a bushel and I hope will feel rich enough to square accounts with Bro. Curtis. I have not seen sister Naylor yet but expect to call in there a few moments in the morning.
I realized enough from my farm to pay my taxes which amount in all to $35 and I guess to get all my yearlings wintered which you know did not come into the bargain. The stock, some 18 head now, seem to be doing very well. Bro. Hannum is taking very good care of them. [Our cows,] Old Lill & Rose still give milk. None of them will come in very early in the spring. Bro. Hannum’s hens lay finely. He took up some eggs this morning and realized forty cents a dozen. I was thinking if we could only have received that where we were getting two or three dozen a day, it would have been a fine income. Everything seems quite natural about here. I believe I shall be glad when we become reinstated in our home again. I was glad to find the people at work on the Railroad over the river. A number of hands are engaged making a dugway around the bluff at Calhoun and I think that the [rail] road will be completed as far as Topeka by midsummer. A gentleman who came through on the Hannibal & St. Joe [Rail] Road last week says it is in the most miserable condition. Says a great many of the crossties are rotted off and scarcely a train goes through but what it runs off the track somewhere. Unless it is different by Spring, I think I shall come to St. Louis on a [steam]boat from Wyandotte.
I do hope when I get back home to Lincoln that I shall hear my dear Willie is better. The poor boy. How often Papa thinks of him and wishes he could only be with him in his suffering. Does he cry a great deal and has he forgotten me? And does he speak of coming back again? I took dinner with Mother Winans today. She enquired after you and the children. Father [Winans] has withdrawn from the church on account of alleged injustice in Sister Allen’s case. Brother Henry Winans' folks are well. Mother [Winans] has spoken for me to stop with her at Conference. I expect to start back home tomorrow and preach at Indianola tomorrow evening, and will probably reach [Lincoln] sometime Thursday. Bro. Williams is getting better slowly. Bro. Linville, Malone’s son-in-law, died this morning. Bice, that Southern Methodist preacher, has come back here to join our Conference – the one that used to preach at Tecumseh. Please write often and always believe me your own dear, -- James.
My dear husband [James],
When I wrote last [our son] Willie was not as well as he had been and has had another attack but not as severe as the first. His neck & arms and one leg are affected, but is better today. The doctor came yesterday and will come tomorrow. He has been sitting up in bed nearly all day, which he could not be yesterday as his neck was so bad. He talks about you a great deal and wants me to write you that he is sick. His little hands are nearly a third larger than usual and lie so helpless and the least movement hurts them so. He requires almost constant care. His nose itches or pains him and it must be rubbed and worked at and his ears & forehead &c. He sweats a great deal and is very thirsty. I feel in hopes he will get along after this attack without any other. We don’t know how he took any more cold. He was in this comfortable room all the time & the most of the time sitting on the bed or in an easy chair. The rest of us sick ones are better.
Harriet Mosher was up here today. She says that [your brother] Samuel & [his wife] Malvina were there yesterday. Samuel is not well & Malvina said [your sister] Mary [Pike] was gaining now – was able to sit up some. But after awhile Mrs. Mary Steele came there & had been in to see Mary & she was having a chill. They are not our ague chills. Harriet said she thought if she did not get better soon, she would go into a quick consumption. I have been afraid of that. She has not had good health for a long time and this last child has seemed to be too much. I hope to be able to go up and see her before long.
Your letter of the 1st came day before yesterday & Willie was so pleased with his. He has it kept right before nearly all day & has to have it read very often & tells everyone he has a letter from Pa. I don’t think Sis [our daughter Mary] would know you, but it would not take her long to get acquainted. I hope you will have a pleasant time at Topeka. Write me all the news. What men from Lincoln were implicated by those horse thieves?
I intended to write you last evening after the children were asleep as it is an impossibility to write now in the day time, but when I was getting [our daughter] Mary to sleep I went to sleep myself and slept till bedtime. I have lost so much sleep lately that I could not keep awake. Now I do not suppose I can send this until tomorrow evening.
If you do not come until after Conference, you need not bring my furs or anything I spoke of except John’s overcoat. If you can find that, you can bring it. But [do] not [bring] his shoe. I hope your neighbors won’t get tired of feeding you, but I did not think they would have it to do so long when I left. You must study all you can, as you won’t have so good a chance after we get back. Give my love to all. Ever your affectionate, -- Augusta
My Dear Wife [Augusta],
Not getting a letter from you Saturday, I staid down to Seneca evening (Monday) until after the mail should come thinking certainly one would come but I was disappointed. I can but conclude that [our son] Willie must be getting better and that you all keep well or you would have let me know. It is just two months now until Conference and it will not be long before that period will come around. I hope you will all keep well. We have been having most delightful winter weather the past two weeks. The sky for the most part has been clear & bright – the weather not cold enough to be disagreeable. And the roads [have been] smooth, dry & hard, making splendid wheeling.
I had quite a pleasant time to Topeka & back. Found the people there generally well. Sister Hannum never had received but one letter from you and had been looking for an answer to her last one to you for a long time. Nancy [Orcutt] & [her] girls were well. The girls go to school. [Her brother] Jake is living with them and has bargained for the house they live in. Says she is getting along well as could be expected.
Mother Winans is just the same. I feel always at home there and always have a good visit. She is a mother indeed. She always enquires after and has a great deal to say about you. Rev. Mr. [James H.] Hawley of Emporia is to take charge of the work at Topeka until Conference. He is a stirring man and will do the best he can to get things ready. I am afraid my [Presiding] Elder will not come around again this quarter. I understand he is at home sick. He was not at Bro. Tegart’s last Quarterly meeting. I am sorry for we shall need him then if ever. I have not as yet held any protracted meeting but expect to before long and hope we may have a most blessed revival. Our meetings are well attended and the brethren, I think, would be willing to do their duty in every respect if we had good official brethren that would take any interest.
Have you & the children or Mother Griffing had their photographs taken? If so, please send one to me or I am afraid I shall forget how you look. How about the draft this time? Will it likely reach [your brother] Steve? It may feel about in Nemaha County a little. How is [my] sister Mary now? I hope to hear favorably. You must go and see her when you can.
I received a letter from [my brother] Daniel last evening [saying] all were well. His wife and her sister are still carrying on their [artificial flower] business at the same old firm and he has been employed in a cigar store since three squares and says he would be happy to meet us when I come on, and will try to do so if only so doing it will not cause him to forfeit his present position. Says times are hard, everything high, and it requires terrible hard scratching to make both ends meet. He had received [my brother] Sammy’s letter dated January 1st.
When at Seneca at few days ago, Mr. Scofield handed me a photograph sent on to me by the parents of that young Ostrander whose funeral I preached last summer (the one killed by the Indians), which I enclose in this. Nick Hocker has just been in and wants me to come up the Creek next Thursday evening and do a small job for him and I expect I shall have to. Nick Hocker drew a prize the other night in the shape of a little daughter. The folks about are generally well and nothing especially new. Jim Lane is to be our next Senator. So note it. Ever yours, -- James
P.S. I never really knew how much I loved you until being obliged to be separated from you so long. The days and nights seem long and I shall be glad when we can be back together again…
My dear husband [James],
We feel a great deal better here today so I thought I would tell you of it. [Our son] Willie is improving but the pain or soreness is not gone yet. He can use one hand quite well. The other is improving and not as strong as the first. He is sitting in the bed playing with his playthings of which he has quite a number and [our daughter] Mary is standing by the bed squealing, “see, see” wanting his playthings too. He said this forenoon, “I am glad papa is coming today.” I told him you were not and he said you were coming some Monday. He talks about you a great deal.
Ma is better but not able to do much of anything. My cold is much better. [My sister] Sarah, [our son] John, [our daughter] Sis and myself rode up to see [your sister] Mary Pike yesterday, the only day we could have a horse. She is gaining quite fast now. She was sitting up eating her dinner and had a good appetite & is gaining strength & if she has no pull back, will get along now I think. Her physician came Friday for the last unless sent for again. It was about four weeks that she had a physician nearly every day. I was alarmed about her as her disease was a dangerous one and am glad she is getting so much better.
Joe Berry’s wife was sick about the same time & lost her babe & [was] sick very much as Mary was, but she is improving now. Your mother still has a hard cough; otherwise is very well. [Your brother] Samuel is not well. He had quite a sick turn last week. Your mother said she thought it was liver complaint.
Mrs. Dr. Sprague died Saturday. She had been sick two years. Frank Platt is better, but not able to sit up yet. She lives on raw beef as that is best for her disease. Lucy Fiddis, Eliza Stedman, Mrs. Tenent, Miss Seymour, & Wilbur Stratton were here and spent Saturday evening.
Those three [Ladies] Repositories came, but had been wet through & torn & looked badly. Did you ever find [our dog] Dan? Have you looked to that bottle of gooseberries on the lower shelf in the [pie] safe? If they freeze, the bottle will break. If it is so, give it to some one before they spoil. I wrote to have you put them in Mrs. Stinson’s cellar so it would not break. It is quite cold weather with a little snow which makes excellent sleighing. [My brother] Steve has drawn quite a number of logs to mill. The doctor came here 12 times & his bill is $18. Shall I borrow of Steve or wait until you come [to pay the bill]?
I feel anxious
to hear of your visit to Topeka. I have not heard from any of them since the
fight. [Our son] John goes to school and the teacher is coming here tomorrow
night he says. He likes to go & learns faster than ever before. I hope I
shall not have to write of any more sickness among us, but I expect Willie will
be troubled all winter with this rheumatism. [Your brother-in-law] Grove [Pike]
had it last summer & his ankles still swell. I hope to hear from you soon.
Ever your own, -- Augusta
 Kriss Kringle or Santa Claus
 Colchicum is a plant with a poisonous root. The dried seeds are a source of colchicine, which is used medicinally for the treatment of gout.