Howe Letters - 1894-96

Mr. George A. Howe, 19 Holworthy, Cambridge, Mass
Postmarked: Danvers, Oct. 5, 1894
Dear George:-
Mama has just come home from Peabody and Salem where she has been to get materials for the dress maker who comes next week. Margaret and I came home from Amesbury on the three o'clock train yesterday after having a fine time. We went Tuesday morning arriving at Cousin Rebecca's for dinner then very soon afterwards we and all the cousins went to the church for the Convention. After the afternoon session they left us and we two went with the rest of the Danvers delegation (twelve in all) to the Armory where a fine supper was served; then back to the church for the evening service which closed shortly before nine. It was a fine convention. I imagine the best county one we've had and the addresses of Smith Baker and Rev. Mr. McEwen were excellent; wish you could have heard them both but especially Dr. Baker's on Christian Citizenship. Soon after we got back to the house, Will, Cousin Rebecca's son, and Fred, cousin Sarah's son, came, and we had a pleasant visit with them and liked them both. Yesterday morning Cousin Florence came and took us to drive in the funniest little lightwood cart; we saw a good deal of the town, places we've heard Mama speak of and were fortunate in being able to visit Mr. Whittier's study at Judge Cate's. We took dinner at Cousin Annie's where there is a beautiful baby boy, her grandson, and left for home at 1.15. Last evening entertained my S. S. class but there were only five here. Mama made some delicious ice-cream and cake and Margaret helped me immensely so I think they had a pretty good time since they didn't leave for home until eleven!
This evening the juniors have a geographical sociable which I hope will be a success. Bess [if Sawyer, she would be 12] and her mother leave for a few days visit to New York, this afternoon.
When Mr. Smith began to paint the roof, he found a chimney falling to pieces so yesterday and today we've had the masons here. Such loads of apples as we have I never saw. Perl came in for a minute last evening; he came up to the Hood Richards wedding Tuesday evening. Louise R. was maid of honor at that wedding and they said she looked beautiful.
Must stop now.
Good bye Dode [Oda, 27]
The cousins in Amesbury are from the Gould side. Father James Gould was born and raised in Amesbury and Lib and Harriet were born there too, just before they moved to Northfield. Apparently there were lots of well known cousins there, hence the reference to "places we've heard Mama speak of".
John Greenleaf Whittier was a passionate and dedicated abolitionist, as well as a Quaker and poet.
From Wikipedia: Whittier went home to Amesbury, and remained there for the rest of his life, ending his active participation in abolition. Whittier spent the last few winters of his life, from 1876 to 1892, at Oak Knoll, the home of his cousins in Danvers, Massachusetts. Whittier died on September 7, 1892, at a friend's home in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. He is buried in Amesbury, Massachusetts.
Interestingly, both the Gould family and Whittier's family were Quakers. I think Tana has evidence that the two families knew each other; it would seem likely.

Addressed to: Mr. George A. Howe, Cambridge, Mass, 19 Holworthy Hall
Stamped from: Danvers, May 18, 1895
Wednesday morning early
Dear George
It is six Oclock and Arthur has just built the kitchen fire. It is a lovely morning. We have two dress makers here. We had Mr. Robson to spend the evening last evening I think he enjoys coming and we all like him ever so much. What we call a sensible fellow.
Mrs. Kirby (I.B.'s bank and quarry partner's wife in Iowa) has written to me to send her some Infants breath seed and Mr. Ed Woodman says we will have to get it at a seed store in Boston and they are near the Quincy Market. I would like to send her and Anna some together. Could you get it for me in Boston some time this week if you can. One paper [seeds come in papers, as in folded up like an envelope] is enough and send it to Mrs. Kirby. It would be nice if you could. Charly Peel has run away and they say he is married. It is just what we have expected he would come too. I am sorry to see a young man that might been a smart man make such a mistake of his life. We are all well but very busy glad the play is a success. Want to see you awfully. [Kirby and Henry Howe are apparently now partners; Anna is Henry's wife.]

Mr. George A. Howe, 19 Holworthy Hall, Cambridge, Mass
Postmarked Danvers, Nov. 18, 1895
Monday morning
Dear George
Twenty three years ago today was washing day. (George was born Nov. 18, 1872) We wonder if the chair has arrived and how you like it.- wish I could make you a birthday cake. It is a lovely morning Arthur has his ditch filled and the gas man is diggin away. I am feeling better Oda & I are going to drive with Gretchen will take this up to the Office so must hurry.


Mrs. H.R.Howe, Danvers, Mass
Cambridge, Feb. 20 '96.
Dear Folks:
I wish I could see you tonight so as to know just how you are. I feel rather guilty about going to Northamp. tomorrow & leaving you to have all the hard work of the plumbing business. Last night we had a fine time down to the Club House. Prof. Beal, one of the head profs. of the Law School & an old Pi Eta man, gave us an interesting talk on Cuba, explaining why we ought not to recognize the insurgents down there. Then we had another graduate give an exhibition of sleight of hand. He was as good as many professionals and kept us laughing and guessing for nearly an hour.
Night before last I had an experience which was highly entertaining, &, in a certain way, very instructive. I assisted Mme. Calve in her production of "carmen" at Mechanics Hall. I haven't time to tell all about it now, but will some other day. It was a great opportunity to see life behind the scenes at short range and such an opportunity I thought ought not to be lost. As soon as I have time I will tell you how calve?? and Mme. Salville look "near to," how the minor characters, or "supes" get dressed, and how I fastened on the bracelets of the "premier danseuse". Now don't worry about the last -- I have felt no desire to espouse her.
I also wish to tell you about the Vermont Daughter's reception [DAR?]. And I thank you a thousand times for sending me that ticket, for it let me into a little event which will always be a delightful memory. All I will say now is that I met both Mr. & Mrs. Taber and had a bit of conversation with the latter on the strength of Stewart Coonley's acquaintanceship, as she knows him. I fear I shall have a little more "outside" work to do as I have been put on the committee to look after the class day spread of the club. It is 11.30 so I must go to bed.
Geo .
If you will save this letter I will put it in my journal.

Cambridge, Mar. 9 -'96. [Preparing for graduation.]
Dear Folks:
It really looks as tho we were going to spread but have made no definite arrangements yet. We are going to all meet up here tonight & talk it over. As we figure it each fellow can invite 100 people for $150 or less (i.e. 100 accepted invitations.)
Yesterday I went out to Wellesley. Arrived there at 2.48 & found Miss Eddy waiting for me. We went right up to the Main Building, then to the Art Building & then over to her house, (she rooms in a private house). I expected to return before supper but she invited me to stay over & go to a temperance lecture by Mrs. Livermore in evening. I finally decided to do this as she didn't seem to be busy; but I declined her invitation to take supper with herself & 20 other girls there at the house, and found a very fair lunch room near by. We were early at the lecture & got a front seat in the gallery which is a favorite place with the girls for they can get out easily if the lecture is not interesting. I was the only male in hall & the gallery was packed with girls. I could not help thinking of the last time I was there, when Leslie Learned was with me. The lecture was fine but parts of it were very funny from my point of view, for, you know, Mrs. Livermore does not mind running down the men. I enjoyed the trip very much. Miss Eddy was feeling quite jubilant as she has been lately initiated into the secret literary society. She is not a particularly attractive girl and is evidently not accustomed to the society of men, but she is so well bred that she knows how to treat them properly. I asked her about Miss Weston, but she had not happened to meet her.
Do you want me to bring Fred [son of Gould cousin Sarah?] down next Sat?

Cambridge, May 24, 1896
Dear Folks:
Fred & I have just come home from Boston. About five we started & walked into town arriving there at 6. We tried to find a restaurant Fred knew of on Fremont St. near Rutland, but not succeeding in that we dropped into a good clean looking place & ordered beef stew, sausages, & coffee. While waiting who should walk in but Will Ewing with a friend. He takes his supper in there regularly.
After supper Fred & I looked around for a church, &, hearing a bell ringing, decided to follow the sound. This brought us to the Shawmeet Av. Church where we read on the bulletin board -- "Lecture by Major W.H. Trickey - The Story of the War." At 7.30 then, we went in & heard some good singing & quite an interesting talk on personal reminiscences of the War by Mr. Trickey. Wasn't it funny I should run across him & Will Ewing too in the same afternoon's rambles.
Do you see how Harvard is picking up in athletics? Two victories yesterday p.m. The Varsity & the Freshmen beating Pennsylvania in baseball, & last Wed. we beat Brown who beat Yale. Last night about 1500 of us formed in line & marched around the Yard & the Square cheering, & singing just as we did Wed. night. This is the first time in my 4 yrs. that I have seen anything like a celebration & I'm glad it happened before I graduated.
Yesterday I took my last singing lesson & Mr. Mull gave me two complimentary tickets to Charles Adams's concert-opera Lohingrin in which Mull taken - part of Tallrymund. Last week I got in money enough to make up the needed $25 for English prizes which the Andover Club sends up to A-- every year, & sent it up to Dr. Bancroft. Then we had a meeting & elected officers for next year, so that is off my hands now. There is one special reason why I should like to be at home tonight and that is because of the expression of love in mother's manner when I said good-bye last Sunday. She was lying on the lounge when I went in, but as soon as she saw me with my dress suitcase in my hand she sat up & exclaimed, with a really grieved face, "Are you going away now"? -- simple words in themselves, but with the tone of her voice & the expression on her face they thrilled me. Her whole manner was so natural, so spontaneous, that it forced upon me more than ever the depth of her love. I think it is true that no love can be like a mother's love. And that is the beauty of the love which one's family bears to one -- you never can doubt it. Friends you may think love you, but sometimes you doubt it is real, or that it would stand a severe test, but the family love you know is always there and ready for you when you need it. Mother's action was simple in itself but it meant a great deal to me & was something which I shall never forget.
Perhaps you notice how unusually scraggily my writing looks. It is because I have written so much this week -- 53 pages of thesis paper for a Phil. 9 thesis & an economics report, besides my home correspondence.
Geo .

To: Geo. A. Howe A.B., Danvers, Mass
Stamped in corner envelope: P.J. Farnsworth M.D., Clinton, Iowa
Clinton, Ia. June 24 '96
My dear Friend,
A paper came to me today with a pen mark on your name, and then I remembered that it the most glorious day of all your life, and was very much pleased that you remembered me when it came. I recollect when those days came to me and was reminded of all those ?odes and? addresses given by the "immortals" from your college who will now be to you fellow alumni. I am not so fortunate my "parchment" however reads as yours does. "To men of letters all around the globe. greeting" So I greet you by that degree.
To your father I was indebted for many kindness and your success will be always of interest to me. "Thine own friend and thy fathers friend, forget not." Come to see me if you come this way and you shall always receive the warmest welcom. Remember me to your mother.
Very truly yours,
P.J. Farnsworth.

Note: George Alonzo Howe (Pepa) has graduated from Harvard in 1896. A number of the following letters are written to Uncle Perl who is on his honeymoon in Europe. Ten years after Mary died he married Jessie Carter & had about 3 children. This letter to Perl from George's sister, Oda 29.
Addressed to: Mr. Alden White, 34 York Pl., London, England, postmarked June 29, 1896.

Dear Perl:

Your post-cards telling of your safe arrival in Liverpool, have arrived, one yesterday, and George's this morning June 26. We had heard of the steamer's getting into port some time before. What a pity you had so much rain on the voyage, but you didn't say a word as to sea-sickness! Did you discover the preserved ginger and flag-root? Those sort of things were more acceptable to us than the ??.
Well, the great, eventful days are over, and 19 Holworthy, as far as George is concerned, is a thing of the past: completely dismantled, its residents for three years, gone to their respective homes, it has a most desolate appearance as Mama and George both admit, and we can well imagine. I hear you say - "Let us begin at the beginning - we left Danvers, etc." Mama, Margaret and I went out to Cambridge at noon Thursday June 18, found a pleasant boarding place provided near Memorial, got Mama settled, and then George, Margaret and I joined a party of about fifteen, mostly Portland people, friends of Mr. Denison's and Fred's including his father, mother and sister (Fred's) and went to the game between Princetown and Harvard. It was a fine game and we were disappointed that Harvard lost, but perhaps it was as well, for if there had been a victory there would have been a celebration and everybody was tired enough there for Class Day. Mr. Tucker of Northampton, came Thursday evening and called upon us while George went to something or other at the 'club'. Friday was a perfect day, not a sign of a rain cloud, and yet not too hot: in the morning at nine we went over to Holworthy and saw the seniors in cap and gown, form in front of the building, and march around the quadrangle to Chapel where they had a brief service, not public. We then went to Sanders and Mama and I sat with Mr. and Mrs. Dudley. Dr. Lyman Abbott and Pres. Eliot sat where we could see them well: before long the seniors came marching in, filling up the seats on floor and stage, the Class Day com. occupying front seats on platform with Dr. Peabody; the latter offered prayer and these followed the exercises, oration, poem, ivy oration (funny) and ode, all being good, but the greatest impression was made by those four hundred students themselves and I am sure I never forget it. After this George and Margaret went to the Pudding 'spread' while Mama, Mr. Faud and I went to our boarding place for luncheon. Then we changed our gowns, and went over to the Gym for the Pi Eta spread which I won't attempt to describe, only everything was beautiful, decorations, gowns, etc. There was a big crowd, fourteen hundred or so and I think everyone had a good time though the 'ten' had to work tremendously looking after their individual guests. Most of George's invited guests came but we were so sorry about the Kenneys: you know Mrs. K. took the opportunity to have the whooping cough so couldn't come tho she had a sweet pretty hat bought for the occasion, and Mr. K. wouldn't come without her. After this came 'the tree' and both George and Fred took part in the scramble, much to Mama's anxiety, the cheering and the crowd were the best fun there. After the tree, the seniors got into their dress suits, cape and gowns (decided contrast to tree costumes) and then made the round of the spreads: we had been invited to two, and afterwards George took Margaret, Susie, Mary Herrick and me to Pres. Eliot's senior reception where we had a chance to see the big man, and eat some ice-cream, while George really had an opportunity of a brief conversation with him, the first time in his four years! Then back to Holworthy for the band and glee-club concerts, fireworks, and over to the Gym to see the dancing. This ended the days festivities and after packing our trunk, we were glad to get to bed about twelve; we left at nine next morning without seeing George as we knew he would want to sleep late. Sunday noon he and Mr. T. came home and George went back that evening while Mr. T. stayed until noon Monday. As we could get only one ticket for Commencement, Mama went out to C. for Wednesday and had the privilege of seeing the 'sheepskins' passed out in bundles to the Bachelors of Art among whom George was numbered, but she didn't get a glimse of him. I've sent a paper which will tell how it was done. Then came the packing up, the last thing, and George came home at five yesterday, no longer a Harvard student, but ready for 'ye? next thynge.' I'll leave him to tell of a lot of things you'll be interested in besides what I've written.
Fritz [dog being kept at Danvers for Perl] is flourishing, in good health and spirits and seems quite content: he was restless for a few days, started for Salem several times but finally made up his mind to accept his lot, and really behaves beautifully; he and Arthur [handyman] are great friends, and we don't have so many visits from the cats of the neighborhood, as formerly!
I had a short letter from Annette [Annette Sawyer, 32 married Frank Manny of NY] a week ago, saying she and Nathalie [daughter, 12, of Susie Sawyer who married Nathaniel Howe in 1881] expected to spend the summer in Germany, so you may run across them in Northern Germany, Hanover, Bremen perhaps.
Monday, a dozen of the D.A.R. went to Concord and Lexington, having a most delightful day and seeing more than one ordinarily would, for we had Mr. Barrett, president of the Concord Historical Society, to show us around Concord, and Mrs. Lothrop took us all over the Wayside [Wayside Inn?]. Tomorrow, if pleasant, we expect to go yachting with the Palmers, and about July first George expects to take a weeks cruise with Will and his father, which we think will be a fine thing. The work on the H.H.S. has been begun and it is hoped it may go on all right. Mrs. Carter was very kind to send us some wedding cake and the notice of the wedding in the Springfield paper. This afternoon and evening, there is to be a reunion of the Willard School and we anticipate a pleasant time.
Well, I think this will do for the present so I will let some of the others put in a few words and send this off, not knowing where or when it may reach you. Trusting that you are both well, and having a delightful journey, and hoping to hear from you occasionally, I am
As ever, sincerely
[The I.S. Palmers owned the sailing yacht 'Eugenia',]
Sunday, June 28. Yesterday Margaret, George and I spent with the Palmers sailing most of the time; the Eastern Yacht Club was entertaining and there were concerts, a race, illuminations, etc. all of which we enjoyed. Please tell Jessie the Willard reunion was very successful, about forty there, and we had a jolly, informal time. The rest of the family will write later, telling me to send this off now.

Gloucester Harbor, Sunday - July 5, 1896.
Dear People:
I am lounging in the cabin of the knockabout yacht Eugenia owned by Mr. [I. S.] Palmer of Marblehead. On the other side of the cabin, not far to be sure, for the cabin although roomy is small enough to be cozy, is Will Palmer, reading the Sunday Herald. We are on a cruise with the Corinthian Yacht Club fleet - started this a.m. at 10.30 & reached here at l.30. Tomorrow the rest of the fleet will go on to Portland but we shall have to stay here all day to make repairs caused by a collison in which we engaged as we entered the Harbor. We were in rather close to the shore with the large schooner - yacht Rueen Mab about 150 on our starboard quarter. Will thought we were getting pretty close to shore and came about with the intention of shooting by the bow of the Rueen Mab. But she was too close to us & was coming faster than he reckoned while we ourselves lost some headway in coming about. Before a collision could be averted the bowsprit of the Rueen Mab tore through our main-sail, the strain ripped off our stem, carrying away our jib-stay & strained the bulwark. Fortunately neither boat was moving very fast & no one was hurt. Everyone has been very kind & sympathetic. The commodore immediately sent over condolences & offers of assistance & later in the afternoon we paid him a call on board his beautiful yacht "Loyal." The whole thing was very unfortunate, but we are thanking our stars it wasn't worse.
So much for the cruise, now I will tell you about commencement. I shall not tell about Class Day for I presume the folks have written about that. At commencement Mother was the only one for whom I could get a ticket. The number of the candidates for degrees was so large that the undergrads. were allowed only one ticket apiece. In the morning at 10.30 all candidates met in front of Holworthy & marched over to Sander's, with the Yorenor?, his staff & the candidates for honorary degrees at the head of the procession. It was really quite an imposing sight, the line reaching nearly the whole distance around the college ground, and many of the men wearing silk gowns. The exercise at Sanders were the same as usual except that they were given in English. Honorary degrees were conferred on T.B. Aldrich, Booker Washington, & Gen Miles. The last received a regular ovation.
After the exercises, feed was served by the different classes graduated, the class of '63 having our room. In the p.m. there was nothing but the commencement dinner, & Fred & I spent the time in packing. Commencement evening the "96 men of the Pi Eta had a dinner. Nineteen of us met at Marliane's & sat at one long table. Between courses speeches were made each one being called upon. The fellows all seemed to realize that it was the last time we should all meet together, and all said "what they felt, not what they thought." It was surprising into what a serious strain we dropped, but it was worth while for we got nearer to one anothers hearts than ever before.
Since getting home I could have been homesick to get back to college if I had allowed myself to think about it much. I can realize now, Perl, better than ever before your feelings of love for Amherst. At home the folks were all well & happy when I left (but I hope not because I left.) I must close now so as to mail this when I go ashore.
Geo .

Addressed to: Mr. A. P. White, Hotel Ketterer, Clarens-Montreux, Suisse
Danvers, July 20, 1896.
Dear People:
I am now at home again, having returned from the cruise three days ago, with many charming memories & a bright scarlet complexion. "The last time I wrote to you" I was in Portland Harbor, (New Hampshire) I believe, & I will begin there. We found the rest of the boats there and went with them to Potts Harbor, about 3 hours further down the Harbor. There we spent the night & Will & I went ashore & got some provisions. We also visited the hotel & on examination of the register I was interested to find the name of W. P. Hood & wife who had stopped there a few days before.
Next day we had a strong breeze & skimmed swiftly down to Booth Bay. There the Commodore hoisted the "go-where-you____ - please - flag", & the fleet disbanded. Some of the boats went further east, but we stayed there two days, sailing around the mouth of the Damariscotta River and doing the town of Booth Bay & then we turned back towards home. The first night the whole party (15 or 20 of us) went to the play called "Muldoon's Picnic", (Did you ever see it?) at the "Opera House." The wife of one of the gentlemen went with us – as chaperone or something I suppose. She could stand only the first act then had to go out. On our way home we stopped at Biddeford Pool from whence we took a steamer trip up the Saco River to Biddeford & then took an electric down to Old Orchard Beach. Leaving Biddeford Thursday morning we made a long slow run of 72 miles reaching Marblehead (near Salem) at 1.40 Friday morning. It was a fine cruise & we all enjoyed it very much. I think I grew fat & surely I ought to have done so for we had plenty to eat & went to bed at nine o'clock regularly. I was glad to receive your letter telling about Yale's chances in the boat race & the cricket games, & I was much interested to see the Isis & the Oxford Review. Really, I think the Harvard Crimson is quite as newsy as the latter, don't you?
Fritz [dog] receives a great deal of attention & consequently seems quite contented. He & Arthur [handyman] are constant companions except when Arthur has the hose on. Then Fritz keeps at a safe distance, with a funny anxious expression on his face. There isn't much gossip just now. Mr. Massey, I believe, has had a scrap with Mr. Hyde & threatens to leave the church if Mr. H. does not. Must skip now.


Addressed to: Mr. A. P. White, Antwerp, Red Star Line, Friedland
Danvers, Aug. 5, 1896.
Dear Folks:
It is a broiling hot day here, but if you are up among the mountains of Switzerland you can't imagine what heat is. Mother & I are keeping "bachelor's hall" , while the girls are at Northfield.
Ike Sawyer [) has been on East with his wife. While he was stopping up at the farm he & James (Ike's brother) & I went up to see Jim's new farm at Bradford. [Ike 38 & Jim 46 Sawyer, George's cousins, Aunt Sophia's sons, raised in Boxford, Mass. Jim became a dairy farmer with large acreage.] It is a fine one -- 80 acres in all, over 40 of it being in one immense field with a 5 acre strip of oats running down the middle of it like a pale green ribbon. It's not often you see such a field about here. We all think it is going to be a great opportunity for Jim. Yesterday Mother went up there with Evie Harris & Sarah. [Eva Sawyer , 43, married Nelson Harris in '73 and live in Orange Mass.] On another day Ike & Jim & I drove over to Ipswich Beach to see some land Ike was interested in. I never realized before how pretty it is over there.
Last week I went down to Salem & looked over the papers with Miss Ryder. She was very good - chased over to the safe deposit vault & everything. The insurance policy on my Lynn Davis mtge has been renewed but is still in the hands of the insurance co. awaiting payment from Davis. As soon as he pays for it the policy will be sent to your office.
I feel as though I ought to go West soon, but I want to wait & be here when you people get home, so I hardly know what to do. We shall be very glad to see you both back and shall expect to find you very thin and very tanned.
Geo .