Howe Letters - 1871


Baldwin Locomotive Works
M. Baird & Co.
Philadelphia, 13 Mch 1871
Isaac B. Howe, Esq.
Clinton Iowa
Dear Sir:
Your favor of 7th Jan'y was duly received, and should have been sooner acknowledged, but absence and pressure of other matters have prevented. On receipt of the letter, not being at the time prepared to write to our South American Correspondent, your letter was laid aside without having careful reading. About two weeks ago, the writer got things in shape to write to our South American friend -- when it got to the subject of preserving wood, having several pamphlets, letters, etc. on the subject, he was on the point of sending yours along with a high encomium on the author as a particularly scientific gentlemen and conscientious searcher after truth. Fortunately, an impulse to read the letter before sending prevailed, and it didn't go!
We have, however, referred it to Coleman Sellers, Esq., President of the Franklin Institute, and if you hear of a debate in that august body on the new process you have invented, do not be surprised.
I have just returned from a five weeks tour in the South --
Yours truly, Edward H. Williams I.H.C.
[I believe his point here was the preservation of wood from thieving neighbors. Another aspect might be the aversion to letting out technology advances that might help a competitor.

Second Auditors Office
Addressed to: IB Howe, Esq., Clinton, Iowa
May 7, 1871
Dear Uncle:

I believe I promised Aunt Nett when she was here that I would write to you and tell you something about her visit here: but I neglected to do it and probably you have heard from her before now. I was very glad to have her come this way and think she was not sorry that she came, for she seemed to enjoy her short visit very much; and as she was able to tramp about nearly all day without being badly tired out, she saw a good deal for the time she was here. She promised to write to me from Boxford, but she has not done so yet, though I have heard from her through cousin Ria's letters. By the way, Ria and I have become very close friends -- in short, we have come to think more of each other than of anybody else*. I'm going to see the little woman next month and it is very probable that in the early Autumn I shall visit her again and bring her back with me. I am expecting Ione* to come here so as to go to Mass and Vt. with me, but it is not certain that she will come. Aunt Delia's health has become more precarious. Tomorrow is the day set for Uncle to start with her for Denver, Col. Ione will go to Aunt Nett Alden's [Jennett [42] , Adelia's sister] for a couple of weeks and await news from them. If the change proves beneficial to Aunt, so that she concludes to remain there, Ione will come on here before the end of the month. But if the change proves injurious to Aunt and they are obliged to bring her back home (and it would be to die, I fear), Ione will stay with her.
I wonder if you are not coming East this summer. Probably your business requires all your time and attention, but it seems to be it would pay you to take one summer for rest and the benefit of your health -- coming East and going West to the mountains. If you should come East, I hope you will come this way in that I may see you somewhere. Uncle Geo. * and family are well, for them. Uncle is attending strictly to business here now, having had his fill of politics, I think. Remember me to my little cousins, Aunt Anna, Aunt Hannah, Henry* and all the friends there. I shall be very glad to get a letter from you, when you find time.

Your nephew, Mal

Notes: Malverd [34, he spelled it Malvard] married Ria [27], Oct. 25, 1871.
Ione [28] was his sister who had been living in Paris, Illinois with Aunt Adelia [39] and Uncle John Blackburn [46] . John was a lawyer, became a Judge in Colorado, Adelia thrived in the west.
Uncle George Tucker [46] was married to Aunt Sophronia Burnham [40]; eventually went west with Judge Blackburn.
Cousin Henry Howe, son of Asa and Ann, had a savings bank in Marshalltown, Iowa, started his banking career in Clinton with I.B. Howe. George F. Kirby was his partner, as well as I.B. Howe's son Geo. Alonzo. . -- Tana

Boxford, May 7, 1871
Addressed to IB Howe, Clinton, Iowa

Dear Brother,

I have been hoping every day to get word that you are coming soon. I do not know that Father seems very much worse but I think he is failing all of the time, and unless you come soon I fear you will not see him. He may be better when bright weather comes and stay with us till another May comes, but I'm more think he will be at rest before the roses bloom again. He thinks you will not come till Sept. but if you can, I hope you will come this month. It would be such a great satisfaction for him to see you once more as I know it would to you to see his loving smile. The cousins and Aunt Hannah think that he cannot be here long. He coughs and raises a great deal. O! Ike, I am so thankful for the privilege of being here and the pleasure of it will last into future years. Yesterday Soph had a kind of a family party -- Uncle Charles' folks, Aunt Hannah Howe's [Benjamin's widow, Hannah Berry], Allen's and a few others. You were spoken of many times. We had a very pleasant time though the thought of parting with the dear Father, the thought that he was too feeble to mingle with us, and of the near parting was all of the time there.
I expect to go to Vt. next week Tuesday. I think I shall get my ticket from Boston over the Grand Trunk and not come back this way. It seems but a little while that I have been here but quite a long time since I left home. I am glad Annie is able to leave home. I think it will do her good to have a change. I think it does all of us women good to change the subject of our thoughts sometimes. I think I shall start for Clinton about the 23rd of this month. All are well as usual.
Affectionately, Nett
Apparently Aunt Nett was visiting Father in Boxford.

Boxford, August 31, 1871

My Dear Brother, [from Soph]
I want to just write you a line this morning. We were rather hoping to go to the Howe meeting [big gathering of the Howe clan*] today but Father is so feeble I did not think best to leave him. He does not sit up any. No appetite, he has three kinds of wine. Mr. Palmer sent him some Port. I do not think he has the least desire to get about again. Ann and Malverd [Asa's wife and son Malverd Abijah, 8] are here now or have gone over to Uncle Charles today. Helen came down here last Monday week Tuesday. She and Ann went to Marblehead Beach and stayed until Thursday night. Ann came up to Allen's, got here Saturday night. Susie [16] started for Derry this morning to go to school. I think it is a good chance for her but I shall miss her every way. When Father found Susie was going away he thought I had better send for Martha [Jones, 52] but Evie[18] is better so I shall not send just yet. I try to get everything I can think of for him but he takes very little of anything. Says sooner he has his discharge the better. Maria [Knight 27; will marry Malvard in 2 months] sent me word yesterday that Ione [28, from Paris, Illinois] and Mr. Bussell [Buzzell, husband of Alma, sister of Wm. Tucker and therefore an uncle to Malvard Tucker] are coming next week. Well, we think it will take Maria time to cook.
*This Howe meeting eventually resulted in the genealogy by Daniel Wait Howe

September 3
Father seems no worse. George Howe [son of old Hannah Berry and Benjamin, 45] was here Friday, said he should not think Father would live a week. Yesterday Aunt Hannah and Asa's wife came over, Uncle Charles and Hannah, but he seemed brighter yesterday. The Doct. does not come very often. Says there is not much he can do for him. I do not think Father likes it because he does not come oftner. I told him I would send for any other Doct. he wanted. I will do the best I can. The men went freighting their hay last Friday, going again tomorrow. I hope your wife and Daisy are better. I have not time to write half I want to you. Have probably read of the terrible R. R. accident. It comes very near home.
I have not had time to write to Jim [21, probably working the RR in Clinton] the last week. If you see him, please tell him I will write this week. We are all comfortable. Ann begins to talk about going home. We shall get our letter today. I will try and write you oftner now. Susie boards with Mr. Bremner's folks -- a good place and said to be a very good school. A few lines from you always does us good.
Yours, Soph

Written on back of envelope: "From Aunt Sophia Sawyer to Papa telling about Grandpa Howe's death which happened while Mama was East on a visit."

Addressed to: IB Howe, Clinton, Iowa -- September 20, 1871

My Dear Brother,
You have probably received the dispatch informing you of Father's death (he died September 16, 1871). Mr. Gould and Annie came to our house a little after 11 o'clock. Father knew them perfectly well -- was very glad to see Annie, asked for the little girls, said he guessed he knew Uncle Jim [probably Annie's brother]. Annie lay down on the sofa. Father wanted me to get her some wine. So thoughtful for others to the last. Your wife said it was just like Ike. Monday Father said he hoped the change would come soon. I asked him if he felt any fears in meeting death. "Oh no" he said. He hoped to meet mother -- that was joy to him. His hope and trust was in the savior. Jim came just in time. He could move Father easier. George Peabody took care of him the last night he lived. He died without a struggle. Ione and Malvard [Tucker, 28 & 34] came the Thursday before he died. One [nickname for Ione] did what she could. The funeral was Monday at two o'clock. Mr. Boggin and Mr. Gammal were present. Father said he had no choice of ministers. I wish you could have heard it. Mr. Gammel's remarked he had some conversation with Father. He spoke of his shrinking to speak of his feelings to others, but as a minister of the gospel he had asked him questions and he had freely told him his opinions. He spoke of the grandeur of his character. Had he known him intimately as we did, his estimate of him could not have been truer. There were a good many present. I was so glad your wife could be there. Everything looked appropriate. We got a good coffin. Annie said it was none too good. She and Maria got a cross of flowers. The undertaker and his wife from Lawrence came with the coffin and arranged everything as it should be. Last night we sent a letter to Ann to Lawrence -- but she was at Newton. Did not get the word until Monday. Not in season to get to the funeral. I was so sorry. I wish Asa and all could have seen him. He looked so grande, so peaceful. Thomas, George and I came to Northfield. We telegraphed to Martha to tell William Tucker. The train was an hour late. When we arrived at the Depot we found carriages in readiness to go to the cemetery. Doct. Nichols took charge after a prayer. Dear Father was laid where he had long desired to be by Mother. He looked perfectly natural -- only 10 years younger. We all came to Addie's [Addie Jones Clark, 27] and had supper. Now, dear brother, I have done what I thought would please Father and you. If I have failed it has been through ignorance.
You will tell Hannah [Han, 48] all particulars until I can write. I wish you would write Nettie. I shall write to them soon as I get home. I shall write to you all particulars soon. Father had his last smoke with you. I do not think of an impatient word during his whole sickness.
Yours ever, Sophia

We send you a tube rose taken from the cross.

Note: Mr. James (Jim) Gould was IB's father-in-law/Annie's father, but usually uncle Jim meant Annie's brother; William Tucker was married to Theoda who died many years before; cemetery is Elmwood in Northfield, There is a big Howe family plot; Addie is Adelaide, daughter of Martha (sister of Sophia) and William Jones, married to George Clark; who all lived in Northfield -- Tana and Mark


Letterhead: Office of Iowa Midland Railway, Clinton, Iowa, September 25, 1871
Dear Cousin George! {Peabody}
I was very glad to learn that you went to Northfield with Thomas & Sophia {Sawyer} and now I cannot sufficiently thank you for the many kind and good deeds you have done for father!
His own son could not have done more and we all thank you.
Father passed away so calmly and pleasantly that it does not seem like death. Old, weary and worn, he longed for rest and although it is sad to think that he will never be with us here, anymore, it seems as if he was feeling the same interest in us and waiting for us in the other world, the same as he watched for our coming here.
To me, there is nothing fearful or dreadful about such a death. It is only the departure of a weary spirit to a world of happiness and rest!
I wish that more of us could have been at the funeral but I had no desire to see the form, after father's spirit had left it.
If you see that little wife of mine, please tell her that I continue to direct letters to her at Malden, not knowing where else to send them. Tell her that up to this time, Monday afternoon, the children have been and are well and doing well. Daisy, (she is the yearling, you know,) keeps house and orders the old nurse and the Irish girl and Oda and -- me, around just about as her little majesty pleases.
George! {George Scott or G. Peabody} A baby is a good thing to have in a family, occasionally -- do not you think so?
We have had beautiful weather during the last month, but today there are indications of a bad storm. Crops are good and business fair.
If you will be here about the middle of Oct. I will take you over the 72 miles we shall have built of this Midland Road.
I wish any and all of you who can would write to me -- Please remember me to Messrs. Hyde & H. -- and tell them that I remember with much pleasure our fishing.
With love to all -- Truly yours, I. B. Howe
Notes in {are in shaky pencil by Pepa}. The George of this letter is most certainly George Howe Peabody, son of Uncle Charles and Aunt Hannah of Danvers, who did much for the family and became guardian after Ike's death. Cousin George was in the shoe business, legislator, not yet married.

Boxford, October 27, 1871
My Dear Brother,
Your letter is received. What I wrote you about Father's things, I had no reference to anything, only what is here. I have been glad of what has been brought and sent me. Further than that I have had no anxiety. I know Father seemed anxious that I should have some things. I told you what he said when he gave me the spoon -- but I never asked him for anything -- never hinted to him that I wanted anything. Father seemed determined his bed should come down here. He asked about it a good many times. I think Ione told him it was sent. When I went into the room he told me and looked satisfied. Now if the girls feel as though I ought not to have it, you just tell me Ike, and as I can I will pay them. I do not want any hard feelings towards me. The only thing that provoked me about the things was what Father said he heard Asa tell Ann -- seems as though he might not have heard correctly. It does not sound like Asa. If there is anything at Northfield Martha and Nett want, they are welcome to them. I hardly know whether there is anything that would fit Allen or not. If the boots George gave him are not too large, he can have them. I shall see. There is a silver dollar in Father's pocketbook. I had half a mind to give it to Malvard the 25th, but I knew it belonged to you.
I wish I could write you about the wedding. Everything passed off pleasantly. Maria had help from all quarters. Allen is pretty much pinched for money. There was a good deal of expenses attending the wedding when one has to borrow the money to get along with, but things usually come out right for Maria. Tell Annie that Ione did not get her white?? done for the wedding. Maria had some handsome presents.
Thomas is very glad of the watch. He needs one sometime very much. I think he did all he could for Father willingly and would if you had not paid expenses. I am sure what you have given me he has done me a great deal of good. I have had rather a hard Summer, but I had good health too. I am thankful Father could be with me. I did what I thought would please him -- and we have had a good many good visits together.
You see I am short for paper. Father did not like to be fussed over. One night his head seemed hot -- I wanted to bathe it. No. He did not wish me to. The next night L? Killam watched. She said she got some water and commenced bathing his head. He told her he wished she would get through soon as she could. Well, Ike, I feel as though Father had more enjoyment than many men with their thousands. Thanks to his children and you in a great degree. Father said he wanted Asa to have the Bible that he gave him and Mother (Mark has this Bible -- 2016). I think I told Ann. I hope Asa will come this way.
I am glad you have chosen such a good portion?? Now I must go to work. Probably I shall think of something else in the course of the day. One day I was not feeling quite right about something. Father read it in my face I suppose. He said if he had said anything I must not think it was him -- he did not mean it. Dear man, he was the last one to say anything to hurt my feelings. Oh, Ike, we have lost a true friend.
Love to all -- tell Annie to just let her work go. What did the children say to her?

Tom is at Ogdensburg river lumber yard. I hardly dare to write lest he should see me before you get it, but I have not?? up. Allen is sort of stylish -- he just got a new shirt.

Notes: Ann is Asa's wife, Lucy Ann. Killam was Sophia's mother-in-law's maiden name; many Killam cousins in Boxford.

Out of order some, to keep death of Father intact; Railroad section separate.

There are two letters from Dr. Williams of 1874 and 1875 describing European rails in detail but they are very hard to decipher. I can get only a word here and a few words there so I decided not to add them. There is also an 1871 letter from a man in Buffalo that is too difficult to decipher. Tana


United States Internal Revenue
Assessor's Office, 6th District, Iowa
Nevada, Mch 17, 1871
I.B. Howe Esq.
Clinton, Iowa

Dear Sir,
I have consented that my name may be used in next State Convention as candidate for Governor.
Could I be assured of your occasional 'good word' with the many active and prominent public man of Iowa with whom you are associated? The favor would be highly appreciated by
Your very truly
John Scott


The Great Chicago Fire would have been about this time, Oct 1871. Wiped out a considerable part of the Chicago NW RR central offices and depots.

Ike is in Clinton, Annie with Oda in Janesville with an upset Harriet. Cub is nickname for Mary who would be 6 1/2. Kate is domestic with Ike and 2 girls.
So why is Harriet upset? Walter was born 3 June, perhaps as a twin to a Willie, that perhaps did not survive. Have not yet found information on this possibility. She has only two more years to live. Previous twins, Freddie & Alice, born 23Dec68, did not survive.
Clinton, Iowa, Nov. 20th 1871
Monday morning.
Dear Wife!
I have just come to the office and found your welcome letter. We are well and comfortable. Cub is delighted with her school -likes Mrs. White. Mrs. Taft gave her a letter asking Mrs. White to let her out at recess to take her music lessons, so that is all right. Cub sleeps with me and is a pretty good girl; but she tries the patience of Mrs. Sibley. [Harriet Sibley, nanny]
We had a few flakes of snow Saturday and yesterday and it is cold and gloomy this morning. I am glad if my pictures are really any comfort to you. We have some butter and old Quaker writes that she will furnish some for winter. Daisy sticks her little bill up for kisses, quite often. We have frightened Kate about the Indians so she does not dare be out so much, nights!
I send you Clinton papers. Write a few lines, at least, often. Tell Oda that papa misses his "little pet", but will soon have her home again. Try to comfort and cheer up Harriet. If you want her or mother to come home with you I will arrange the panes, all right.
As ever -----Ike


Clinton, Iowa, November 22, 1871

Office of Iowa Midland Railway

Dear Wife --

I got home from Anamosa last evening and must start again tomorrow morning for Anamosa and Cedar Rapids. May get home at midnight tomorrow night or may not come till next day.

We had a little snow last night and it is real cold today. I think I have taken care of everything that will be hurt by freezing. Cub is as good as she can be, I suppose, but she tries "Harriet" [Harriet Sibley, nanny] terribly. She goes to school and likes it as well as at first. Daisy is all right. I haven't time to write more but not knowing when I would have another chance, thought would just drop a line.

Does Oda want to see Papa?
As ever -- Ike


(Addressed to: Mrs. I.B. Howe, Janesville, Wisconsin, Care of James Gould.
No year, postmark is Nov. 27. probably 1871; week after previous
Office, Sunday Evening. [probably 26 Nov 1871]
My Dear Wife!
We are well and comfortable. I suppose you will be most interested in hearing about Daisy. She has been combing my hair and wiskers today and frequently would wet her fingers on her lips and brush my hair back. ---then she brushed all the dust from my coat and stuck her little chin up for a kiss. Last night, at tea, Kate had her and Daisy snatched a piece of cake from a plate, broke off a small piece and put the rest back on the plate as quick as you could, so you see she is learning to take care of the old man and herself
If I hear nothing to the contrary I shall think that you want to see me at Janesville, Wednesday night, and shall try to arrange to go. If I go, I shall expect to come home Friday morning, but if you care to remain longer you can do so. Cub (Mary) talks a good deal about mama and Oda, but seems quite contented and full of interest in her school. I have not sent you any more Clinton papers as I have not seen a single thing of interest in them. We have had some real cold weather and a little snow, but last night and this morning it rained a little. The river closed, Wednesday night. You will remember that the closing or opening of the river was an important event, before the bridge was built. [Mississippi Bridge at Clinton completed Jan 1865]
With kisses --good night. Ike


Washington D.C. Dec. 20, 1871
Dear Aunt Annie, [Annie must have been back in Clinton again]
.. What a blessing it is to come into possession of so many dear good aunts, all at once, together with a corresponding number of right smart uncles - with a good share of cousins of the very best quality. Now I well know how to appreciate all these blessings having been limited to a very small number heretofore. How "Miss Ria" would like to step in and see you all this morning, expect I should hardly know the little flower called "Daisy". She must be quite a little girl by this time. I'm thinking Mary and Oda would hardly be willing to exchange her for one of Aunt Hatie's little boys, would they?
I hope your health has much improved since your visit to New Eng. It seems but a few days since that little visit you gave me, so short but sweet. I really thought I should see you again - it seems like a dream as I look back. Now, Aunt Annie, I shall certainly hold you to your promise and shall expect to see Uncle Ike and yourself sometime this Winter - without fail. I think it must be time that that mail-road was in running order. If so, Uncle Ike can do no better than to visit his nephew and niece in the Sunny South. And be sure to come in a "big team" so as to bring all the children.
We had a touch of New Eng. weather yesterday, a snow storm. Have seen a few sleighs go pass. I get a letter from father [her father was Allen Knight] every week. Guess he misses his naughty girl some. He takes his meals at Lev's and says he gets along very well, only the evenings are long and lonely - but he is to blame for all this for he should not have taken me out west. The Carrier has just brought me a letter from Aunt Soph, the dear good woman is well and as busy as ever. Jimmy [Sawyer?] has gone to work in Lawrence.
Mal is a dear good husband, he wears like gold. I am having a good rest this winter - am taking music lessons - enjoy them very much. We had a nice letter from Aunt Hannah a short time ago. Give my?? love to her and all her family, also to Mattie and Jimmy [Mattie Jones about 22; married Jim Leslie yet?1877.] should like to see little?? Think Henry Howe [24] must miss Jim [Jim Sawyer 22; Jim Gould 30 ] a good deal.
Washington reminds me of some of the western cities. They are building so many houses and at present the streets are badly torn up as they are paving a number of them. Yes, it is a big city with some big institutions and some big men I suppose.
Mal usually gets home about half past three o'clock and it is nearly time for him now - so I will not write much more but will leave the rest for him. By the way, do you hear from Aunt Nett? I wrote her two letters before I came to W. to live and have not had any answer. Wish when you write her you could ask her if she had any objections to my marrying her nephew? Am almost inclined to think she had or she would have written ? [before]? this. But she certainly did not talk that way last Spring.
Much love and a "Merry Christmas" from "Ria" -- please write soon.

Addressed to: I.B. Howe, Clinton, Iowa
December 24, 1871
Dear Uncle
As Ria has written a long letter to Aunt, I must write a few words to you, at least just to wish to you and yours a "Merry Christmas and happy New Year". We are living very pleasantly here this Winter - Ria and I and Uncle Geo. and family[George and Sophronia Tucker]. Shall be greatly pleased if it happens so that you and Aunt come to Washington and make us a visit this Winter or in the Spring. Winter has begun unusually severe for this latitude - it has been colder than for five or six years past, with more snow yesterday and today. The sleighing has been very fair.
John Stevens writes that money is very scarce and dear in Iowa now and that farmers are having a hard time to raise funds, and a hard time generally. Is Kirby* still in the Real Estate business? May interest has been forwarded all right and the money is to lay another year. I don't remember whether I ever wrote to you about it, but last summer I invested in "town lots" here to the amount of some $1300., 1/4 cash and the balance in 5 annual payments. 1. percent interest - l in 8 of us bought a small square and divided it up. Think it is a good investment. Shall be very glad if you will write to me when you find time. How is Aunt Anna and my little cousins; also to Aunt Hannah and family and cousin Henry.
Your nephew, M. C. Tucker

*GeoF Kirby Ike's partner; Malvard Clarence Tucker, son of Theoda Howe & William Rice Tucker. --- Tana