Howe Letters - 1897

Danvers, June 9th l897.
My dear Son:
Your nice letter to us written to the Palmer house came today. It was sent to Decatur, Illinois. I was so glad to get it even if it was some time ago. I have been all alone all day and wrote to cousin Anna, [Henry's wife] and it has rained steady. We find the account of our expenses in this letter so you will not need to send another. Received your postal written Sunday we have just received Bill Ewings engagement card to a Miss Wood we do not know what is the name of the family you board with at the Quarry do they know any Quaker families we know this way Mrs Leonards mother is dead you used to see her driving with the little white horse she wore the grey quaker bonnet...........this part of the letter has been cut way Mrs. Blake died but it seemed as though it was ordered to be. I do not hear anything from Mr. Cutting about the interest on the mortgage. (In Northfield, Vt. a Mr. Cutting bought the house I.B. built when they moved to Iowa in 1861 - actually don't know when it was sold...this house is still there at the top of Elm St. and was owned by the Cuttings until recently. ) I think your going away this Winter gave Mr. Kirby time to think well how you were fixed and his own situations and things sort of shaped themselves you see so it is not best to borrow trouble as your mother does everything comes around right - if we trust in Providence and wait,- Billy Perry inquires after you with much interest - I think he likes you. He was pleased when I told him how you were getting along. He says George is all right. Margaret gets along fine keeping house. She attends to the marketing and all. She is a fine cook. I wish I could give you a good night kiss. Mother.

St. James Rectory, Fall River, October 14, 1897
My dear George.
After my vacation I found a great many little details awaiting my attention and have neglected your letter. But I was very glad to receive it and my only wish that you could follow it in person, then I could talk with you and tell you all about my life. I have a mission down here among the cotton mill operatives. There are about 900 persons, men, women and children, on my perish list, most of them born in England. They are very hearty & earnest. They are poor but generous. They give more liberally to the church than you would suppose they could. Then they work. You would smile to see me painting and varnishing or putting down carpets with my parishioners. But all of this is very beautiful and has made my year here a very happy one. Just now we are struggling to pay off our parish debt. We have had a picnic and an excursion and have raised part of it. The people now are subscribing what they can. I have promised to get what I can from my friends. Could you help me, George? I should be very grateful for any sum you can spare. We are making our payment about November 15.
I am more interested to get the debt off because I have been called to New York to work with Dr. Greer in a position where there will be much more to do and to learn. When you come on, you must come to the perish house, 209 E. 43rd St. and see me in my new quarters. I cannot tell just when I shall make the change but sometime before December 1.
I feel great hesitation in assuming this larger work. I am not sure that I should undertake more than a little parish, but my friends have advised me to go and I am trusting their judgment, not my own.
Let me hear from you, George, for we are old friends and it does me good to hear from one whose friendship I have always prized.
With most cordial affection, Leslie E. Learned

Marshalltown, October 16, 1897
Dear Folks:
I rec'd your letter mother about half an hour ago & note what you said about going home for Thanksgiving. I told Henry what you said & asked him if he thought I could work it. He said he thought the Kirby's would not go East until December and that I could go before then just as well.
Therefore I think you can plan on my being at home sometime in November, but I can't tell when I had better leave until I have talked the thing over with Mr. Kirby.
I can hardly realize that this long anticipated visit is so sure to succeed. And I don't believe you can know how glad I shall be to take it.
I judge by what you said, mother, that you think I have no rest from society. Well, it's not so bad as that for I have plenty of quiet evenings at home when I just read & play my guitar & go to bed early. Besides I am feeling first- rate & am really almost growing fat.
In the same mail with mother's letter was a letter from Leslie Learned. He told me about his mission work among the cotton -mill operatives, & says he is going to N.Y. to work with Dr. Greer in a position where there will be much more to do & to learn. He will make the change sometime before Dec. 1. I will send the letter to you or let you see it when I go East. How good it seems to say that with some feeling of definiteness.
Friday evening Jessie Binford gave a little party for Ruth as it was the latter's birthday; & she invited me over to see the fun. The children were just from the neighborhood about 15 of them, all of them about 10 years old. They were very nice & polite & we had great fun playing games with them & serving them refreshments of ice cream & cake. Although the rising generation is fully up-to-date, still I think they are all right.
Yesterday was a busy day at the bank and I had plenty of chances to get experience. Saturday evening is always a busy time although most of the work is simply cashing checks. There is very little chance of getting into trouble in doing this as either Henry or Geo. Willigrod are there, & whenever I'm in doubt I ask them about it.
Mrs. Kirby & Miss Anna leave tonight for Chicago where they will spend a week, and then Miss Anna will go on East to her home. Cousin Anna has a Mrs. Thayer, a prominent member of the Federation, visiting her. This noon we all took dinner there & this was what we had: -- oyster stew, chicken, giblet gravy, sweet potatoes, bread & butter & jelly, a desert of gelatin pudding & coffee.
I will close now but only to open again soon. Geo.

Mr. George A. Howe, Marshalltown, Iowa
postmarked: Fall River, Mass
(Geo now working with his cousin Henry John Howe, son of Asa, at a Marshalltown bank. The bank was somehow affiliated with the LeGrand Quarry, owned by IB Howe and Mr. Kirby.)
Fall River, Oct. 30, 1897
Mr. dear George:
I write at once to acknowledge your generous gift and to thank you for your words of congratulation. I pray that I may not prove unworthy of your faith.
I have never told you, though I have often said it to your sisters and to your mother, that your life has been a great help to me and to all your friends. You may deny it as you read these lines, but yours is one of the few lives which are strong and sincere. Culture did not spoil your character when you were at college. I always think of you as a Harvard man who does credit to his college.
I had a delightful chat with your mother the other day. I have always admired her but in the half hour we spent together I came to know her better and discovered the secret of your own poem? for good in the world. She told me you were coming on and if you do visit you hunt me up in New York? I shall be glad enough to see you and we will have a good time, - you, the Western business man with the rush of commerce clinging to you, will give the minister something to think of.
With heartiest gratitude for your kindness to my little parish and most cordial regards, I am always,
Your true friend, Leslie E. Learned
[Dr. Learned was shortly to be posted as rector of a small church in NY, St. Bartholomew's Chapel, E. 42nd St, NYC. He moved to All Saints in Pasadena about 1909 where he was rector 27yrs, married Bob & Dorothea Howe in 1941 even tho' he was retired.]