Howe Letters - 1866

Clinton, Iowa, Jan'y 12th 1866.
Dear Sis.:
It is a dark, rainy evening and the winds are moaning sadly at the office windows, like homeless, starving human beings and now they go shrieking across the great river like famished wolves, and now they are sighing and making mournful music on their mighty harp, the telegraph wires ---sad, plaintive music like a funeral dirge! Did you ever hear the winds play on the telegraph wires? --No! --Well --you have heard it sigh through the pines --The most mournful, plaintive music you ever heard, was n't?---I have often thought of the wailing of lost souls, when listening to it.
This wind has nothing to do with a family letter I suppose; but somehow it awakens sad thoughts-------You spoke in your letter of the sad expression in Lily's eyes --The picture shows them as they were oftentimes. She had the most beautiful eyes I ever saw. They were full of expression --deep, lustrous, "laughing" eyes!
Little Mary is very good and very well. She creeps all over the house and almost stands alone. Give her an apple and the two little teeth and the two little dimpled hands are at once at work. Annie is better than usual this winter. She occasionally speaks of visiting you next season but thinks you have a house full, now. You have not told me about the last little one. Is it well?
Hannah & family are well. They are courting a young man for Cora --he seems all well enough and if he can be satisfied with music alone, I hope he will marry her. Mattie boards with us, and goes to school some and works at home some. Net writes me but very little. I try to think that her heart is not changed although her words are few and her actions strange ---poor girl! I love her just as much as ever.
I rather think I shall get a place for Asa to work, engineering on our Road, so he will be located about 200 or 250 miles west of here, and can come here frequently. It will be pleasant to have him with us while we remain here. I shall know next week, whether he will be wanted or not.
Soph! There are a great many things I want to say to you; but it is late --Annie will be lonesome. I want to see a sweet little face sleeping in the crib --and --so --I will go home.
Love to all ---write often- as ever,

[Ike is trying to find a job for Asa; Marshalltown is about 150mi and Boone/ Ames are about 200. 250 is now about Carroll where the road turns south to Council Bluffs.]

Office of the Platte Country Railroad
Saint Joseph, Mo., Sept. 6, 1866
I. B. Howe
Spt. Cedar Rapids Div., Chicago & N.W.R.R.
Dear Sir:

I met in southern Ill. Mr. Canfield an old friend of yours who recommends your wooden fish joint, as being a very superior joint fastening, especially for Iron now down on old fashioned chairs. I have seen them on the Mt. C. R.R., Ill, and think they would do well on this road. I have just taken charge of track repairs of this Road and find the iron light but mostly in good order, and think it will be policy for the Co. to substitute a fish joint for the common chair. Will you be kind enough to furnish me a drawing, of the chair, with estimated cost of preparing them, also cost & manufacturer of the necessary machinery. Your Patent for upon them & any other information you may think advisable.
Your Abt. Svt., Edwd. Harding, Road Master PCRR
If you feel inclined to furnish me a "complimentary" over your road it might at some time be useful & at any rate would be appreciated.