Howe Letters

Pennsylvania Rail Road Co.
Office of the General Superintendent
Edward H. Williams, Genl. Supt. Altoona, Pa. 4 Jany. 1869

Dear Isaac
I am in receipt of yours of 31st (Inst.) and will attend to "Old Davis" - enclosing herewith passes for him from Chicago to New York - east of that there is an "evenings? country". and I am unable to coax any favors out of any one - Davis is pretty good at the business & I would like to see what success he meets with. He may make it so sweet that they will run him over the Roads special, an honor they have not even accorded to Genl. Grant. - I am pleased to learn that the scraper?, is a good thing. Tell Davis that we keep a man here specially detailed to lick all persons who even hint at patents, so he must (if he values safety) keep quiet while hereabout, on that subject, he may make a few remarks on California & elsewhere as he sees fit.
I was at St. Albans & Montreal last month - they were at both places building snow plows your pattern & on my return home, I sent a draughtsman to St. A. & we are now building a plow here - we have little use for this as our snows are seldom liable to trouble us, yet occasionally there is trouble. Regards to wife - we hoped to see you with ???.
Yours truly, Edward H. Williams
Note: St. Albans VT, was at that time a primary RR entry point from Montreal and Canada.

Whiskey Bottom Affair
On envelope: Whiskey Bottom & Ames Deviltry
[Punctuation problematic; also wording and spelling. The track arrived Tama in 1862. Iowa river bridge is major crossing. Unclear if these are train wreckers for robbery or sabotage.]
Chicago and North Western Railway Co. Tama Station, April 26, 1869
IB Howe Sir
Enclosed please find my passes which will expire this week. Judge Hubbard [Nathaniel M. Hubbard; former judge and C&NW Counsel] wishes me to go this week and see some men in regard to the whiskey bottom fires and I shall have to hire a livery rig, / do you think best to take a good witness with me, as I don't think it best to be a witness in the trial if I can avoid it. My man Gleason thinks some of our men are connected in that Rail Road affair at Ames as he missed some of the leading men from the meeting that night. Three would come with him but he would not have them as he wanted more of the leaders of the gang / Friday night they wroat [sic] out some threats to lay along the track. If you should get one you will know we understand it.
Respectfully yours, LFB

Chicago and North Western Railway Co. Tama Station, April 26, 1869
IB Howe Esq.
Dear Sir
At request of LFB I give you as near the statements of his man Gleason made in my presence / I first saw him on Saturday at the depot. He there stated that the night before the leaders stated that they had sent to Harden County for one Herrington Wilcox & Brooks who they said would do anything for money. Also that they were the parties that tore up the track to Tama / it was taken up before. Also that he could have brought three boys onto the track on Friday night but he did not come for he wanted to get the leaders into it & not the boys. Today he came again to see me. When he told me that the track wanted to be watched at all times during the night / before on Saturday they went to Marshall & got a keg of powder for the purpose of blowing up the Iowa River bridge. The first plan was to saw the stringer of the bridge nearly off so that the weight of the train would break it. He also stated that they have the tools to take off the nuts from bolts that hold up stringers. He thinks they will try to run the train into the river where the for River meet in as they say then is a better chance to do it & not be detected. He says he does not think there is much to be feared until those parties arrive when it will be done at once / they are expected about Wednesday. The gang have sent money & new clothes & they will be here So. sure. The three are all prison birds & will not hesitate do anything for money. There is now warrants out for their arrests. They had a secret meeting Sunday night -- which held until one o'clock & decided that the work was to be done before court sets at Marengo & finally that the first dark night after the arrival of the three parties thus leaving the fixed time very uncertain & we will have to watch every night with force enough to take them at any time.
Yours etc. C.N. Davis

Mr. Town
Dear Sir
I went to Ames and investigated that matter / I am satisfied that one of 2 causes brought it about / first that the gang at work below on the track sent their men up here for the purpose of drawing the attention away from there while they could accomplish their design down there on the track / watchman was afraid that the company would take off the watch and thereby he would loose [sic] his job and took that plan to keep it / the thing looks dark on his side I think (four men and but one tie & it very small on the track to throw off the train) if I had the time I would like to follow the matter up.
GW Crooks, S.e

Tama 24 440 PM
IB Howe
You will get a letter from O. Smith today / please keep it safe as I know who wrote. LFB

Tama 20 11:35 AM IB Howe Clinton
I have such arrangements with a certain party at whiskey bottom that by paying him 200 dollars and passing his family to some distant point on our road he will disclose the names of persons who have put obstructions on the track and will let us know when they are to do it again / he says he is in the ring / money to be paid and pass given when we have secured the men we want / authority from you to make this bargain with him / ans quick.
MH Estabrook

X 24
IB Howe
There is two (2) men on my train that know the money to pay off west End is on train & are I believe following it = one of them is the man who was arrested on suspicion of robbing the Camanchi [sic] bank. Richardson

S. Cedar 24
Watson took the small safe off at Cedar Rapids. They know the money is in charge of the messenger. I will watch them closely and see what can be done. Richardson


This letter is addressed from "Carlisle, Ind." to I.B. Howe, Clinton, Iowa.
[There is a reference previously that she was staying at Oaktown Indiana with George's friends while George was in Missouri (rebeldom) teaching school.]

Oak Station, June 20th/69
Brother Darling:
I have just got Charlie [son 7] and laid on a comfort at my feet so that I can keep the flies off him and now I will write the letter that I have just dated yesterday when I happened to think I ought to write to I (Ione Tucker, Malverd's sister, see below, the only two children of Ike's sister Theoda) who is alone among strangers in Kansas, Ill. about fifteen miles from Paris. I do not know why she did not stay with Delia [Adelia Tucker Blackburn; step sibling of Malverd and Ione by WmRice Tucker's second wife Armena Simons; no blood relation. Ione was a music teacher.] but suppose she could not get a good class there. I guess the poor child had a hard time in getting a piano and everything arranged. I am very glad Malverd is in so good a situation - rec'd a letter from him a few weeks ago. I suppose Annie is now making preparations for her journey eastward -- do you go with her or stay alone to dread evil tidings of your Mary. [Mary was born in '65 and was the first child to survive; two previous had died in Clinton.] I am glad she is going and wish Han. could take her little flock away from that (to me) dreadfully fatal place for children. I fear our sister has many a very bitter heartache for which she can ask no sympathy -- we can offer none -- but you are near her and can love and cheer her often and thus help her to bear her secret sorrow. Ike, can you imagine any more painful state of feeling than for a mother to feel that her husband dislikes her fatherless children and that they reciprocate his feelings towards the husband she is to love, honor, and obey, and the father of her little ones? I think it rather of a hard place for all parties concerned but worse for her than all others, but I had not intended writing this, only I was thinking of it. I do not mean to be a fool about my child but I prize a smile for him more than for myself and know that through his sufferings, follies or vices is the keenest dagger with which Fate can reach my heart.
[Han's first husband Thomas McGregor died in San Francisco in '50 when the two girls, Cora and Martha [Mattie] were babies. My guess is he died in the gold fields 4 yrs after their marriage in '46. Apparently Roys Jones did not like the girls, who were 11 & 9 yrs old when they married in '59. Roys was 49 and Han was 36.]
June the month of roses is almost gone, the roses quite gone, and now green peas and beans, ripe cherries and currents are the observed of all observers. I have been washing today and then studying in my old Latin Reader a little. Sometimes I almost fancy myself back in the old home with so much quiet --- so great a chance for dreaming. Have ten years passed since we laid her down to sleep? [Martha Bridgman died June'55, actually 14 yrs. past] I can think how Father [Abijah – will die two years later in Sept'71.] looked over toward the cemetery when I was at Asa's. I wept for his sorrow and loneliness, borne so unmurmuringly . I hope you will go and see him this summer as I suppose you will. Kiss Annie and Mary for me and send me a lock of her hair.
With love,

Northfield Oct. 16, 1869
Dear Children,
It is a long time since I wrote to you. I will name the reason I waited until July to have Robinson bring down your cheese. Got William Tucker (his son-in-law, father of Malvard and Ione) to call and see about. They said it would be ready in two or three weeks. The last of August I went up. Mrs. Robinson said the weather was so warm she was afraid it would mould. Last night they sent them down. The two weigh fifty pounds at one shilling put. I don't know how soon we can send them and your sugar as there has been no freight train over this road for over two weeks and I don't know how soon they will get them running but as soon as they do we put your articles aboard.
23) After so long a time your sugar and cheese have got started. A few days after you left I saw G???p. He said you paid your taxes. [George Howe Peabody would be 33 and apparently already handling Ike's business in New England.] I thought I should have money enough to last me until Asa came in Sept. and I paid his tax of $7.00. Martha to (told?) me you wanted two more tubs of sugar of Boynden at 14 cents per 10 paid $20.80 paid your school tax $6.90 and a town tax of $8.15. Henry [Asa's son; is 21] wanted that he had to go west so I let him sixteen dollars $16.00 which he is to pay you as soon as he earns it. If I have done wrong I hope you will forgive me for I thought you would have done it had you been here. Mr. Barret has paid his note $49.50.
I kept enough to pay for your cheese until I was taken sick.
It weighed 50 pounds at one shilling per lb.
Sugar $ 20.8
School tax 6.90
Town tax 8.15
Henry 16.00
[Interesting he is still using the term shilling for dollar.]
My health is pretty good now, my appetite is good but gain strength very slow. I had one of the best and kindest of nurses in Ann. Some of the time she would get up two or three times to give me medicine. Malverd has been quite unwell for two or three weeks.[This is Malverd Abijah; is 6.] The Doctor called it Measles but no others have had them. Ann has had a hard time in seeing to things out door and in the house. Aunt Hannah Peabody came and stayed about four weeks and helped Ann what her health would permit. Uncle Charles and Augustus came and stayed a week. They all started for home (Danvers, Mass) last Monday. I hope you will always be blessed for your good deeds as you are in the good will of who know and in your family.
Peace and happiness. Love to all. I am some tired.
Abijah How
Notes: Aunt Hannah was a younger half sister to Abijah How. See Howe genealogy , page 180, #57&58. Aunt Hannah and Uncle Charles Peabody were the parents of George Howe Peabody, who played a large role in Ike's family. Augustus must be Benjamin Augustus 27, younger brother of Cousin George 34.